Toughie 2619 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2619

Toughie No 2619 by Firefly

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

Pinch, punch, the first of the month – and Firefly provides us with a suitably themed crossword

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1a    Violent floods disrupting calm is when unsuspecting victims are caught out (3,5,3)
ALL FOOLS DAY An anagram (violent) of FLOODS ‘disrupting’ a verb meaning to calm

7a    Hat back-to-front, girl in predicament (7)
DILEMMA A reversal (back-to-front) of an informal word for a hat followed by a girl’s name

8a    Dad’s resistance is spent, getting notice for 23 (7)
FATHEAD When you work through the clues from top to bottom, the last thing you want to see is a reference to 23d (and there are several today, long before you get to 23d itself). Remove the R (Resistance is spent) from a more formal way of referring to a Dad and replace with an abbreviated notice

10a    Cuddly toys gad about in posh car (3,5)
RAG DOLLS An anagram (about) of GAD inserted into an informal way of referring to a posh car

11a    23‘s bullet? (3-3)
DUM-DUM A 23d or a type of bullet, the latter more often shown without the hyphen

13a    Sticky stuff’s fine for 23 (4)
GOOF Some sticky stuff and the abbreviation for Fine produce a slang word for a 23d

14a    Friend ended some Gallic ‘prickly affairs’ (10)
PALOVERDES These prickly affairs are thorny flowering trees found in the deserts of North America. Even if you’ve never heard of them, the wordplay is very clear – a friend, a synonym for ended and the French (Gallic) word for some

16a    Rig agendas cunningly and increase power (10)
AGGRANDISE An anagram (cunningly) of RIG AGENDAS

18a    Protestant grouping acquires base in 23 (4)
DUPE A Protestant political party (grouping) in Northern Ireland ‘acquires’ the letter that is the base in the natural system of logarithms

21a    Swatch of satin initially rather bulky (6)
SAMPLE The initial letter of Satin and an adjective meaning rather bulky in form

22a    With balti, I go bananas creating essential accompaniments (8)
OBLIGATI Musical essential accompaniments are obtained from an anagram (bananas) of BALTI I GO

24a    Port of New Orleans (7)
SALERNO A simply worded but cleverly sneaky clue – this port comes from an anagram (new) of ORLEANS

25a    Author arguing about ending of novel (7)
ROWLING A synonym for arguing goes ‘about’ the ending of novel

26a    Arrangements for imprisonment confine a large, sadly deserted family (5,6)
PENAL SYSTEM A verb meaning to confine, A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Large, the outside (deserted) letters of SadlY and the main line of a family


1d    Lively member joining in a student run out (7)
ALLEGRO A member of the body inserted (joining) between A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Learner (student), the cricket abbreviation for Run Out being added at the end

2d    Baffled US agent leaving for 23 (6)
LUMMOX Remove the abbreviate US Agent found round the outside of a synonym for baffled or perplexed

3d    Where palms may be found in every direction (2,3,5)
ON ALL HANDS Where everyone finds their palms is also an expression meaning in every direction

4d    Split appearing among upwardly mobile Microsoft Fellows (4)
LEFT A verb meaning split in the sense of departed is hidden in reverse (upwardly mobile) in MicrosofT FELlows

5d    Deviated from route winding through heart of Puy-de-Dome (8)
DETOURED An anagram (winding) of ROUTE inserted into the letters found at the heart of puy-DE-Dome

6d    Flourished with unknown as stopgap leader, then surrendered (7)
YIELDED A verb meaning flourished starts with a W (with), this should be replaced by a mathematical unknown

7d    Deals grass shiftily — kilo wrapped as shown in Polaroids? (4,7)
DARK GLASSES An anagram (shiftily) of DEALS GRASS into which is ‘wrapped’ the abbreviation for Kilo

9d    Mother mounting missing diamonds in decoration (11)
DAMASCENING Decorating steel by inlaying with gold or other materials. A mother (usually of cattle or horses) and a synonym for mounting missing the abbreviation for Diamonds in a pack of cards

12d & 23 Down Sweet Nellie, pursuing undesirable member of group (10,4)
GOOSEBERRY FOOL A weak or silly person (Nellie) pursuing or going after an unwanted third person in the company of a couple or group

15d    Wrongly under a cloud, due painfully to depart in large vessel (8)
CAULDRON An anagram (wrongly) of uNdeR A CLOUD, from which the DUE departs (painfully indicating that the letters aren’t in that order)

17d    Accident on the ropes, say, in ‘Pinafore‘? (3,4)
GYM SLIP This pinafore does sound like a way of describing an accident when climbing the ropes in an indoor PE lesson

19d    We hear you managed one interjection — that’s elemental! (7)
URANIUM The letter that sounds (we hear) like you, a synonym for managed, the letter representing one and an interjection of doubt or hesitation

20d    23‘s nervous carrying weight on the climb (6)
DIMWIT Insert (carrying) an abbreviation for Weight into a reversed (on the climb) adjective meaning nervous or shy

23d    See 12 Down


40 comments on “Toughie 2619

  1. A pleasant puzzle with a very relevant theme – thanks to Firefly and CS.
    I spent much longer than I should have trying to parse ‘nitwit’ for 20d before the penny dropped.
    My ticks went to 24a, 2d and 17d (“It’s gym life but not as we know it” as Mr Spock almost said).

  2. A very enjoyable floughie to mark today. I did bung in the wrong sort of idiot at 20d which matched the checkers and had wt rising, I really should learn to parse everything fully!
    Great fun with thanks to both Firefly and CS

  3. Your spelling of the answer for 9 down renders the puzzle in the digital edition incorrect on completion. I amended my spelling on checking and found I had a misspelling further down. Otherwise a reasonable toughie.

    1. That’s because when one is in a hurry typing the blog (I had to be out by 10 am) while simultaneously in email discussions with Kath about 1a in the cryptic, mistakes creep in. I do know the correct spelling, not least because it derives from Damascus

  4. An elegant and not too tough Toughie for the 1st April. Very accessible and an enjoyable grid to complete. 17d gets my nod for my COTD along with the 12/23 combo.

    Thanks Firefly for the fun and to CS.

  5. I’m in the “Nitwit and head scratching” team as well. 14a is one of those words you know is legit even before looking it up to confirm.
    Topical and fun – thanks Firefly. And thanks CS for the blog.

  6. What an enjoyable way to mark the day and – yes, I was a complete 20d when it came to sorting out the wordplay for 25a.
    Two new words for me in the ‘prickly affairs’ and the decoration, both of which will doubtless be forgotten in very short order!
    No particular favourite but much appreciation for a fun solve.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the review – all done and dusted before 10am? You must get up fairly early!

    1. I usually have it all sorted by 10 but got up a bit earlier to make sure I’d definitely finish before meeting two of my old work colleagues for a walk along the Crab and Winkle Way. We hadn’t seen each other since December 2019 so there was a lot of catching up to do

  7. A very enjoyable solve spoiled by 14ac. Not only is this tree not in my 1998 Chambers, but I can’t seem to make a French sentence with des for ‘some’. The first two bits of the lego were obvious with the checking letters, and running through the vowels did not take long to produce the answer by searching Google, but I hate having to sink to using electrons. Mind you I can sympathise with the setter for using what does seem to be the only word that fits the checking letters. I couldn’t see any quick fix by altering any of the crossing down clues either, and it would have been a shame to scrap a large part of the crossword just because the setter had painted himself into the corner of the room.
    Could anyone with a latest edition BRB advise if I would have found the word if I had bought the new copy I had promised myself for Xmas?

      1. Thanks Ray , I was rubbish at French when I was at school, and I haven’t got much better since.

  8. A very satisfying solve with two new words for me 14a and 9d which could be constructed but needed the dictionary to confirm. I was a 23d and had nitwit for 20d. Sloppy parsing. So I will make 20d my COTD – only wish I had got it right!
    Thanks Firefly, I always enjoy your puzzles and CS for the hints.

  9. All ok but needed to check definition of 14a. A pleasant diversion after battling some horrendous London traffic this morning. Thanks to CS and Firefly.

  10. Am afraid I found this a good deal more challenging than a * difficulty rating. Can’t claim an unaided finish either as I resorted to revealing the 9d/14a checker to crack the last 2. I did know 9d but only saw the wordplay (even with the first bit obvious) once I’d got the answer. Needless to say I’d never heard of the tree but eventually got it from the wordplay. I too toyed with nitwit but for once didn’t bung it in & move on. Topically fun & very entertaining & with 2 of the themed answers (2d & 18a) vying for my pick of the clues because I found both head scratchers.
    Thanks to Firefly & to CS for the parsing of 17d.

  11. I’m awfully sorry but I just cannot see how a crossword can be given a * rating when it has words such as 14a and 9d which I bet 95% of the British public have never seen.

    1. You’re sort of right Malcolm, but with the cross checkers in there and you follow the pretty straightforward wordplay you end up with what must be the word, you check on google and, lo and behold, it is a word which matches the definition. It is a toughie so you would hope to learn a thing or two along the way.

  12. Good fun all the way. I wouldn’t have finished without checking letters. Thanks to all

  13. Pretty straightforward with only a slight mistake in 3d by writing on all fours until I solved the anagram in 16a.
    Then managed the charade in 14a which I had to check.
    Thanks to Firefly for the topical crossword and to CS for the review.

  14. Not really on my wavelength today and nearer to *** than * for difficulty, not heard of 3d and 9d was somewhat obscure but parsible from the cluing, the theme was most helpful -originally had lemmon for 2d! American spelling?
    Did enjoy it and await tomorrows toughie -not Elgar I hope.

  15. Once I found the theme, I was well on my way, I thought, but finally failed to finish on my own because of 18a and 17d (how does ‘pinafore’ produce the answer? I’m quite dense today). I did know the prickly plant and the decoration but not the NI party or the 17d term. Thanks to CS for the hints and to Firefly for making me feel quite fool-ish today.

    1. A gym slip is a pinafore dress worn by schoolgirls – so says the BRB. We certainly wore them at my school back in the day with a school shirt underneath.

  16. 17d is certainly not a pinafore or many of we oldies would have gone through school keeping our backs to the wall as one does with a hospital gown!

      1. That’s a relief! Actually our school uniform changed to a pinafore dress with shirt and tie when we reached the fifth form. Don’t know about you but mine was brown …a colour I’ve never wanted to wear since!

  17. Pleased to finish a Toughie, even one deemed one-*, as I’ve been off the scene for a while.

    I hadn’t heard the 3d expression before but it was pretty obvious. It’s a long time since I heard 2d, although I remember my Mother saying it (not about me!).

    14a was new to me, not being an expert on American trees.

    Thanks to Firefly for the puzzle and CS for the blog. Very impressed that it was done and dusted by 10am: I’m barely awake by then.

  18. We also spent time trying to justify NITWIT for 20d.
    A pleasure to solve such a well timed themed puzzle.
    Thanks Firefly and CS.

  19. Got there in two sessions interjected by the excellent Rayt crossword and my evening meal. Never heard of 14a, 3d or 9d, well I certainly have now. Once I realised what day it was it all became a bit more straightforward. Favourite was 24a for its simplicity. Thanks to Firefly and and CS.

  20. It’s all been said about 14a, 9 and 20d, all of which I puzzled over for far too long. The only difference for me is that it took me a solid 5* time to get it together. Thanks to Firefly, CS and all you bloggers.

  21. Really enjoyed this. I was expecting a reference or two to the day, but not so many synonyms of fool. New words to boot. All solvable from the wordplay.
    Thanks CS and Firefly.

  22. 2*/3*…..
    liked 12D “Sweet Nellie, pursuing undesirable member of group (10,4)”

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