Toughie 2625 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2625

Toughie No 2625 by Dada

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ***

Good day from our humble abode here in Barrel. We start the Toughie week with a genuine Toughie fairly clued. I had no idea who had set this one when I started but quickly decided Dada was the chief suspect. It’s not often that I identify a setter so I think a pint later is in order

1a        Spider spinning on banks of Rhine showed signs of life (8)
RESPIRED:  An anagram (spinning) of SPIDER follows the outer letters of the word RhinE

5a        Land at home east of boat at sea (6)
OBTAIN: An anagram (at sea) of BOAT is followed by a word meaning at home

9a        Dog food at the double? (4-4)
CHOW CHOW: An informal noun for food when doubled becomes a breed of dog

10a      Greek character: shift for capital (6)
MUSCAT: The twelfth (in my list) letter of the Greek alphabet is followed by a verb meaning to move away quickly

12a      Relative number initially cut, that’s a weight off my shoulders! (6)
NEPHEW: The lowest cardinal number has its first letter removed and an exclamation expressing a strong sigh of relief added

13a      Stolen by gang, oven hot! (8)
ROASTING: A criminal gang surrounds an oven used for drying hops

15a      Trimmed, basic figure idiotic (7)
ASININE: Remove the outer letters (trimmed) of the word basic and add a number. Which number? One between eight and a million. Good luck

16a      Queen guarded by good fairy (4)
PERI: The regnal cipher of our recently widowed queen sits inside a short word meaning very good or even saintly

20a      Some nerve heading off old raider! (4)
AXON: Remove the first letter from a group of Germanic tribes that raided and occupied parts of England adding diversity to our wonderful language

21a      Currency as it happens almost pinched by swine (7)
BOLIVAR: A word meaning as it happens has its last letter removing and is surrounded by a male pig

25a      Spare kept in sack, poked nose in (8)
BOTHERED: A pronoun that refers to a second person or those remaining sits inside another word for a sack or where one sleeps at night

26a      Risk breaks, one in Chamonix — on this? (3,3)
SKI RUN: An anagram (breaks) of RISK is followed by the French for the number one

28a      From behind, hold down and grind vegetable (6)
TURNIP: This vegetable can be found by reversing two words. One meaning to hold someone in a specified position so they are unable to move. The other meaning the daily grind, a habit or pattern of behaviour that is dull and unproductive but difficult to change. Try not to get stuck in one of these

29a      Play around, with puzzling one’s aim (8)
 WOMANISE: An anagram (puzzling) of ONES AIM follows the abbreviation for with

30a      Absolutely not getting lift, crash (3,3)
NOD OFF: A two-letter word meaning certainly not is followed by a word meaning to raise as a gentleman might with his hat to greet a lady

31a      Present banking pass for bank (8)
GRADIENT: A word meaning to present, give or allow contains (banking) a word meaning to pass, cease to exist, or shuffle off this mortal coil


1d        People defending popular dramatist (6)
RACINE: A short word meaning popular sits inside a word meaning people as in a nation or ethnic group 

2d        Wet coats left, muddy (6)
SLOPPY: An adjective meaning wet, overly sentimental or feeble surrounds the abbreviation for left

3d        Towards the centre, fold up (8)
INCREASE: Begin with a two-letter word meaning toward the centre. Add a word meaning to fold as with paper 

4d        Love child maybe painful to bring up (4)
EROS: The Greek God of love can be found by reversing a word meaning painful or aching

6d        Fairly colourful glow around India (6)
BLUISH: That lovely glowing tint of redness a shy girl might display when embarrassed surrounds the letter suggested by India in phonetic alphabets 

7d        Records from chief composer (8)
ARCHIVES: A four-letter word meaning chief is followed by a composer. Burl, Charles, Grayston, George or Simon

8d        Turkish commander breaking out? This has happened before! (3,5)
NOT AGAIN: A short phrase 3,2 meaning out surrounds a Turkish commander

11d      Little time free for officer abroad (7)
MOUNTIE: The shortened form of a moment is followed by a word meaning to free by releasing something bound by rope perhaps

14d      Fool breaking game? (7)
SNOOKER: A verb meaning to trick, entice or trap is also the name of a table game played with cues which is started by breaking the pack or cluster of red balls

17d      Stuff still on top of an Asian fruit (8)
RAMBUTAN: A three part charade. 1 to stuff. 2 a word meaning still. 3 The word An. Kindly gifted by our setter

18d      Wine after month in effect contaminated (8)
DOCTORED: A verb meaning to cause, achieve or complete surrounds an abbreviated month. This is all followed by the generic term for wine that is not white

19d      Finance worker shot (8)
BACKHAND: A word meaning to finance something or someone is followed by a term for a worker to produce a shot used by tennis players 

22d      Sports official eating whopper for charity (6)
RELIEF:  The man in the middle with the whistle surrounds a whopper or fib

23d      Mark puts the kettle on, we hear (6)
BRUISE: an injury appearing as an area of discoloured skin on the body, caused by a blow or impact rupturing underlying blood vessels sounds like the making of tea

24d      Throw cakes without topping down (6)
UNSEAT: A small cake typically containing dried fruit has its first letter removed. This is followed by a synonym of the word down which is actually what you would do with this small cake

27d      Coat covering old pair of braces (4)
FOUR: The coat of animals such as Mink contains the abbreviation for old. I like the definition of the answer here

27 comments on “Toughie 2625

  1. Some great clues, nothing too taxing although the SW held me up a bit and I had to check my construction for 17d.

    Thanks to MP and Dada.

  2. Managed about half and, reading the hints, know I could go no further.
    I investigated online and found the Asian fruit and the nerve so will pat myself on the back and try and remember them for the future.
    My first one in was 16a so has to be my (limited!) COTD

  3. All going swimmingly until the SW (as Jonners) and ground to a halt.
    Never heard of 17d and still don’t much like 30ac but I can see how it derives.
    Maybe just grouchy today as no appointments for haircut til next week.
    Thanks to MP and Dada.

    1. I have to confess I found this harder than the Elgar on Friday. I gave up on this as there were too many “cut this or drop one letter” clues. Not the same craftsmanship as Elgar who encourages me to keep going. *****/** for me. Sorry.
      Thanks to MP and to Dada

      1. I agree completely, except I would give it *****/*. For me this was the hardest for a long time. I usually finish but I gave up after only completing half the puzzle. Too much “cut this or drop one letter”. Definitely.

  4. I also managed about half but when MP’s rating gave it *** decided to read the hints to get by. MP why do you give the Toughie a rating but not the back pager? Anyway thanks for the hints.

    1. I don’t ever want to give the ratings but a big boy made me do it today so I rolled two dice and put what turned up

  5. My mother, aged 92, died at 21.48 at home on Sunday night, I was holding her hand. Last night, I couldn’t sleep and as usual instead of counting sheep I started thinking of random words and coming up with cryptic clues for them. Then, for some reason, I remembered an incident from many years ago and, instead of counting sheep or thinking up crossword clues, I found myself writing a “poem”:

    Dead Spider.

    I got up to use the loo in the middle of the night,
    there was a spider trapped in the shower tray.
    I knew what to do, it’s happened several times before.

    Many years ago, the first time it occurred, I was half asleep,
    too tired and decided to rescue the wee thing later.
    I could have saved it there and then, but didn’t.

    In the morning, I went into the bathroom and it was already dead.
    Probably died of sheer exhaustion from repeated attempts
    to scurry at speed up the steep, slippery slope.

    Maybe shower trays should be complete with shallower slopes
    in the corners so that spiders, etc. could escape.
    Similar to the system that allows hedgehops to extricate
    themselves when trapped in the void beneath cattle-grids.

    This time, as always since then, I gently encouraged it onto
    a folded sheet of loo roll and deposited it on the window sill outside.
    Sometimes, I do it with my bare hands – it’s only a spider!

      1. Thank you, CS. Unfortunately, I’ve posted this on the Toughie blog by mistake instead of Mr K’s (not used to MP reviewing Toughies). I’ll put it on there if that’s OK.

        1. Sorry to hear of your loss. I’m pleased that you have posted here but Not too sure about spiders

  6. A bit late on parade today because not only have I had my hair cut for the first time since December, I also went to the local library and borrowed books for the first time for 14 months. A very exciting day :yahoo:

    This is the third week running we’ve had a crossword on a Tuesday that fitted perfectly what I think a Tuesday 1* start-of-the-week toughie should take)

    In one of those grids where you seem to solve one corner at a time, my favourite clue was 27d

    Thanks to Dada and MP

    PS: Jane – if you promise not to go on about twinkly-eyed leprechauns, I’ll tell you that your favourite non-Irish detective has set today’s FT

    1. Agree with your grids, mine were NW/SE/NE and SW, as you say just one of those puzzles!

    2. Didn’t say a word, CS, but thank you for letting me know that the little green man was in the FT!

  7. More difficult than the usual Tuesday start to the week and quite a lot of head scratching required to parse the clues.
    14d provided the D’oh moment enabling me to solve 21a.
    Last in was 20a, I initially put agog in, taking M off the biblical raider then recalled the old German ones and remembered the nerve related word which occurred recently in a crossword clue .
    Going for a ***/*** as per MP.
    Agree with Charlie 3110 re the craftsmanship of Mr Elgar, his puzzles are always *****/***** if time is no problem.

  8. A very fair start to the Toughie week with this comfortable and entertaining solve. In terms of difficulty, it felt no harder than a Sunday Prize Puzzle from the same compiler. 27d was far and away my favourite clue.

    Many thanks to Dada for the challenge and to MP.

  9. Managed to finish this one having failed miserably on his prize in the weekend Guardian.
    Remembered the nerve ending from Elgar and the fairy from MP’s comment the other day.
    Today we’ve had parsnips and turnip. Time to move to more seasonal vegetables.
    Thanks to Dada and to MP.

  10. I fared rather poorly on this Dada. whose brilliance I always admire, and I usually manage to finish his puzzles, but I just never found myself on the right wave-length with this one. Still, tomorrow’s another day, and I’m always game. Thanks to MP whose hints filled in about half of the puzzle for me (!!), and to Dada for the challenge.

  11. The NW just flew in and then we got slower and slower as we progressed through the puzzle.
    We had met the 17d fruit when we were living in the Pacific. They are just amazingly wonderful. If you ever get the opportunity to try one, take it. We’re sure you won’t be disappointed.
    Last in was 19d as we tried to justify MARKSMAN as the ‘shot’ which made a mess of the checkers for 29a and 31a. Eventually all sorted.
    Good fun.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  12. Phew! I always find it difficult to get on this setter’s wave length so was relieved to finish on what must have been the fourth visit to the grid.

    4* / 3*

    Very fair clues. Dredged up 20a from A-levels several lifetimes ago, which with 27d shared top spot.

    Thanks to Dada & MP.

  13. Everyone is right about one corner at a time. I did NW, SE, the a bit of a head-scratching gap, then SW, NE. I too was helped by the lesson on nerve components last week. 30a favourite, 7d LOI.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  14. Just started this & thought I’d just see if anyone admitted to considering chop chop for 9a – sounds a perfectly plausible name for a can of chum which would kind of work. Wonder if that occurred to Dada.

    1. Nearly unaided but not quite. Knew what I was looking for & must have taken the head off every just about every bloody old raider bar the right one so reluctantly read the hint. Disappointing as ought to have got it despite not knowing the nerve. I too solved it in quadrants leaving the SW for bed. Enjoyed it a lot & another vote for 27d as my pick of a fine bunch with mentions for 9&13a plus 8d.
      Thanks to Dada & MP

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