Toughie 2637 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2637

Toughie No 2637 by Gila

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good Morning from an overcast and windy Barrel.  Today’s puzzle from Gila is a very accessible offering which should give confidence to those new to tackling Toughie puzzles

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        I do various moves holding power weights (11)
AVOIRDUPOIS: To start us off today Gila has given us a word which should be familiar to those schooled in the 1950s and 1960s. On the back of our exercise books, amongst a page full of Tables of Measurement which included Land Measure, Cloth Measure and Aliquot Parts of a Pound was this table of Weight. The answer here comprises an anagram (moves) of I DO VARIOUS and includes the abbreviation for Power. Thanks for the memories Gila

9a        In America, say, chief journalist is retiring (9)
STATESIDE: A word meaning to express clearly in speech is followed by the reversal of both the abbreviation for editor and the word IS from the clue

10a      I’m past the final stage? (5)
IMAGO: Begin with the contraction I’m from the clue. Add a word which of time means past. The result is the final stage of a winged insects development

11a      Decide not to take part in work with unscrupulous seller (3,3)
OPT OUT: Add a seller of tickets to events such as sporting contests and music concerts to an abbreviation for a musical work. Not all of these sellers are unscrupulous. I have had several pleasant and advantageous dealings with them in my time

13a      Help for creating CV on a computer? (5,3)
SHIFT KEY: This is the name of the button that alternates between upper and lower case letters when using a computer. The letters CV in the clue are in upper case

14a      Corrupt, gutless duke accepts being rebuffed (6)
DEFILE: The outer letters (gutless) of duke have the reverse (rebuffed) of a word meaning being inserted

16a      Pasta is to come down in price (8)
FARFALLE: A word meaning to come down or lower is placed into the price of a bus ticket perhaps

19a      Revolutionary insurrection after a strike — it’s a shambles (8)
ABATTOIR : The reverse of an uprising or bout of major public disorder follows the word A from the clue and a word meaning to strike as a cricketer might

20a      I wait for minutes in the same place (6)
IBIDEM: Begin with the letter I from the clue. Add a verb meaning to wait, remain or stay somewhere. Add the abbreviation for minutes

22a      Partner joins old singer somewhere in California (4,4)
PALO ALTO: A partner, mate or chum is followed by the abbreviation for old and the highest of male singing voices

24a      Plot next to street incorporating independent living accommodation (6)
BEDSIT: A plot such as one for vegetables or flowers in a garden and the abbreviation for street are divided by the abbreviation for independent

27a      Where you may use a gun  scope (5)
RANGE: A double definition. Both fairly obvious

28a      Drills and cuts round base end of pillar (9)
EXERCISES: A word meaning to cut out surgically or to remove from a text or piece of music sits around the letter representing base in mathematical logarithms and the last letter of the word pillar

30a      Crab meat is served over one type of grain (7,4)
BASMATI RICE: An anagram (served) of CRAB MEAT IS surrounds the letter that looks like the number one


1d        Sailors had reportedly run off (7)
ABSCOND: The abbreviation for able bodied seaman in its plural form is followed by a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym of the verb had where to be had means to have been done, tricked or swindled

2d        Ordinary, unfinished abstract works (2,3)
OP ART: The abbreviation for ordinary is followed by a word meaning unfinished or some but not all of something

3d        Oriole regularly produces eggs (3)
ROE: The even numbered letters of the word Oriole spell out these eggs

4d        Education centre supported by variable software system (4)
UNIX: A word commonly used to refer to an establishment of higher education is followed by a letter denoting a mathematical variant. Having toyed and struggled with various computer operating systems I have much to thank Bill Gates for

5d        Extra meeting with manager is up in the air (8)
OVERHEAD: Two simple synonyms are required here. One meaning extra and one meaning a manager

6d        Stubborn, small pet (5)
STIFF: The abbreviation for small is followed by a synonym of the word pet where pet means a minor argument

7d        Rejection of some teeny donations is unlikely to cause offence (7)
ANODYNE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some. It is reversed as indicated by the words rejection of

8d        Essentially skilled in ABCs, kid somehow reverted to making mistakes (8)
BACKSLID: The middle (essential) letter of the word skilled together with the letters of ABC S KID are an anagram (somehow) of the answer

12d      Dancing until dark (5)
UNLIT: Anagram (dancing) of UNTIL

15d      Felt frequently unwell, thrashing about (8)
FLAILING: The odd numbered letters of the word felt are followed by a word meaning feeling unwell or in poor health. The answer is also a term used by banjo players …

17d      Great, extremely labyrinthine story (5)
FABLE: An exclamation from the 1960s meaning great is followed by the outer letters of the word labyrinthine

18d      They sell booze and repackaged TV dinners (unopened) (8)
VINTNERS: Anagram (repackaged) of TV dinners minus the first letter (unopened)

19d      Drug aiming to eliminate the onset of gout (7)
ASPIRIN: A word meaning directing ones hopes and ambitions towards greater things needs the initial letter of the word gout removing

21d      Shot of pool featuring occasional touches of this artist (7)
MATISSE: A pool or snooker shot played with an inclined cue and imparting swing to the ball contains alternate letters of the word this

23d      Bitter and excellent case of beer on the counter (5)
ACERB: A three-letter word meaning excellent is followed by the reverse of the outer letters of the word beer

25d      Bite-sized food partly makes us hiccup (5)
SUSHI: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word partly

26d      Cheese is fine to get gobbled up (4)
FETA: The abbreviation for fine is followed by the reverse of a word meaning to have eaten

29d      Detailed bill and letter from overseas (3)
CHI: A short official note usually recording a sum owed has its last letter removed (de tailed)

A tad too easy for the Toughie slot methinks!


36 comments on “Toughie 2637

  1. Gentle, but enjoyable, start to the Toughie week. On a point of detail, I think 19A should be one “b” and two “t”s? 22A was only easy because of the great concert there by Thelonious Monk back in the day!! Thanks to setter

    1. Now corrected. Thank you. I blame the food in front of my eyes at 25 down

  2. All over in **/*** time, except I didn’t know the pasta. The parsing of 21d was beyond me.

    There seemed to be a definite computing theme with 13a, 4d and 22a.

    Many thanks to Gila and MP.

  3. Over way too quickly! What a splendid puzzle, admittedly one that could as easily have been a mid-week backpager, but most enjoyable as the first of this week’s Toughies. Well constructed clues which generally read smoothly, good to see only a small number of anagrams and a good variety of other clue types.

    Progressed smoothly in anti-clockwise direction from NW. Could not parse 21d (had never heard of that particular shot) but that didn’t matter given the checking letters. Loved the lurkers in 7d & 25d, and with ticks alongside 9a, 20a, 30a, 4d it’s difficult to single any one of them for honours, but for the great surface and misdirection my COTD is 19a.

    Many thanks to Gila for the puzzle, and to MP for the review.

    1* / 4*

  4. In spite of watching too much snooker, I’d never heard of the shot in 21d.
    The other meaning of shambles was also new to me. Neither were obstacles to a quick solve.
    I like his clueing but it was all over too quickly. No satisfying some people!
    Thanks to Gila and to MP for the banjo extract (and another new word!)

    1. I thought the banjo technique was frailing with an r not l. Wikipedia confirms. Even I thought this one was easy, but enjoyed. Thanks to GILA and MP.

      1. When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less

          1. I heard the term from Billy Connolly many years ago. That should explain my error. You are quite right

  5. According to Google 22a contains some of the most highly educated people in the US with links to Silicon Valley and Stanford University… strange I’d never heard of it. Surely it must be the Mecca of we Toughie solvers!
    I enjoyed this puzzle with my COTD being 13a. So simple, so clever.

    1. Palo Alto was the site of ‘the garage’, birthplace of Hewlett-Packard and ground zero for Silicon Valley. Now also HQ for Tesla and VMware, amongst others.

      1. My own fault for glancing at the comments before I’d finished. Like JB I’ve never heard of the place. It was my one remaining & guess I’ll never know now if I’d have twigged it from the admittedly fairly obvious wordplay.

  6. I suspect that we could have a sizeable number of people commenting on this very accessible Toughie today. There really was nothing terribly difficult or obscure so I hope that those solvers who rarely attempt a Toughie or are put off by the name will have a go and be pleasantly surprised.

    Like JB at #5,13a was my favourite clue.

    My thanks to Gila for the fun and to MP.

  7. Unbelievably I had to resort to the blog to solve 16ac (but as soon as I saw “price of a bus ticket” all fell into place!) Haven’t eaten them for a long time, but lots are enjoying the wild flowers in the olive groves. 13ac a real penny-dropper (and thought it had to be Dada, but apparently not)! I too didn’t know the pool shot at 21dn but had to be.

    Thanks Gila and MP.

  8. My favourite clue was 13a – 19a reminded me of my Granny who, when you mentioned the word shambles would always say ‘a shambles is a slaughterhouse’ – no idea why, she just did. Not for the first time in a crossword that is supposed to be fiendish, did I wonder about the ‘anagram’ in 12d, not least because it is hardly an anagram at all.

    Thanks to Gila for the exceeding transient entertainment and to MP for the blog

    1. I grew up in Worcestershire (very close to BD’s residence) and Worcester had a shopping area called the “Shambles”. Formerly it was a meat market.

  9. Straightforward apart from I didn’t know the definition of pet in 6d, I’d never heard of the pasta in 16a, I’d never heard of the place in California so I googled all the places there beginning with ‘P’ and I couldn’t parse 21d even though I knew the snooker shot it simply didn’t occur to me. So bottom of the class for me. Hey ho! Favourite was 13a. Thanks to Gila and MP.

  10. Tuesday puzzles are a great way to start the toughie week ,not too taxing but plenty of fun.
    Still pouring down outside ,the local beer garden has lost its allure and I’ve run out of long johns! .
    Never Heard of 22a but precise cluing sufficed-thanks Gila and vaguely recalled the pool shot.
    Got held up with the last two 19a and15d when like CSue’s granny for some reason I too remembered the alternative meaning.in19a
    Thanks to MP and Gila

  11. Very gentle, although I’d not heard of the pool shot or indeed the place in California

    13a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Gila and MP.

  12. Nothing challenging here but pleasant enough to fill in
    The illustration @24a looks suspiciously like my flat, but with more natural light
    Thanks Gila & our resident nutter that is Miffypops – did the sushi restaurant offer you a second course, or tell you they’d run out of seafood? :grin:

    1. Saint Sharon and I had been to see Bob Dylan with my daughter and her boyfriend. It was late, we were the last customers and the restaurant closed its doors and racked the music up. The Bruno Mars song Just The Way You Are came on. I have a very good memory

  13. Easy this may be for Toughie-level solvers. Lesser lights like me still feel satisfaction when we solve a Toughie without having to seek help. Even if it is a “mid week back pager” in disguise. We have had a number of midweek Toughie standard on the backpage of late so it makes a change to get one the other way round!
    As with the backpager I thought there were more anagrams, or partials, and that helped.

    Oldsters like me would remember Joe Davis putting the white, black and red balls oabout an inch apart on the same cushion and with cue almost vertical using the masse to swerve the white round the black to hit the red.
    Thanks to Gila for being gentle and MP for the review that for once I didn’t need. Nice to be reminded of the back cover of the exercise books and the morning chanting of tables.

    1. One of the most amazing things I ever saw in a snooker club was a couple of old boys who only used to play billiards. One of them had advanced Parkinson’s so the cue was all over the place until the point of contact with the cue ball when unbelievably the strike was invariably spot on which didn’t look possible. He was a great exponent of the masse too. I played golf with an old work colleague sadly afflicted badly with the same & whilst he could get to the green ok putting was just impossible.

    2. I wonder how Joe Davis would have got on against the modern day snooker player.

      1. It’s a very late comment but Joe Davis used to play safety and the white ball was more often than not in a very difficult position for his opponent. The standard of safety I saw in the latest World Cup was very poor … but I guess the snooker’s more exciting😎

  14. Didn’t know the Californian town and thought it might be Palm something at first.
    8d and the pool shot were new to me.
    13a was clever.
    Thanks to Gila for the fun and to MP for the entertaining review.

  15. Well, I got there but not without help. I completed about 80% before grinding to a halt. That’s when I resorted to MP’s excellent hints to help me over the finish line (staggering and exhausted). I knew the Californian town was “Palo” something but the second part eluded me. 1a came to me immediately for some reason. It simply leapt out at me. I didn’t help myself by entering “statesmen” in 9a and putting the answer to 13a in the 16a slot – the “F” was in the same position.

    Many thanks to Gila for the enjoyment. Thanks also to Miffypops for the much needed hints.

  16. Very enjoyable indeed. Didn’t find it anywhere as straightforward as others did as there were various things new to me. 1&19a plus 4d all needed confirmation & were worked out from the wordplay so something new learnt there. The Californian town was also unknown by me. Haven’t really seen 23d without an IC ending before & I always need to check the Greek alphabet. 1,19&21d were my picks of bunch.
    Thanks Gila & MP

  17. I thought this was a perfectly pitched Tuesday Toughie, enjoyable from start to finish. Nice to see a a couple of contemporary references too. My only problem was parsing the very clever 21d but it had to be.
    Thought 13a was a brilliant clue with 1,19&23d right up there too.
    Many thanks to Gila for a great puzzle and MP for a likewise review.

  18. Completed either side of walking the dog between showers. I didn’t find it quite as easy as most others, but the clues were well constructed and fair. No real favourites. Thanks to Gila and MP

  19. Straightforward and enjoyable start to the Toughie week. I didn’t know the town in California. Unbelievably, 29d was last in…..not sure why.

    Thanks to Gila and MP.

  20. Hooray, a completed Toughie. I know it was an easy Toughie, but I don’t care.
    Surprisingly, I remembered the pasta, but 10a and the Californian city were new to me.
    Thanks MP for the hints and Gila for the challenge.

  21. An enjoyable solve for us. We had to check on the pasta and the software system but were pretty sure what we were looking for.
    Thanks Gila and MP.

  22. I also had to check on the pasta but finished this superb Toughie all on my own last night (as thunder and lightning roared and blitzed outside). Had a lovely ‘frisson’ when the answer to 7d dawned on me–what a rush! Thanks to MP for the enjoyable review and to Gila for the enjoyable puzzle.

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