Toughie 2642 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2642

Toughie No 2642 by Hudson

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

I always enjoying solving crosswords by Hudson (and his alter egos elsewhere) and this (quite sporty) one didn’t disappoint, especially as it made it onto the Toughie spectrum.

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1a    Noble discovered Marie Stopes half wasted away (6)
ARISTO The inside (discovered) letters of mARIe and the first half of STOpes (the second half having ‘wasted away’)

5a    Grass tennis body last to install TV screens (8)
TELLTALE An informal word for a television ‘screens’ the abbreviation for the British tennis governing body, the last letter of instaL

9a    John approved this funny cat anagram (5,5)
MAGNA CARTA An anagram (funny) of CAT ANAGRAM

10a    Hip-hop features singular harsh noise (4)
RASP A type of music also known as hip-hop into which is inserted (features) the abbreviation for Singular

11a    Beat the speed of light? Speed is boring! (8)
CHASTISE The symbol for the speed of light followed by a synonym for speed into which is inserted (boring) IS (from the clue)

12a    Watering hole in sweltering island capital (6)
HOBART A watering hole inserted into a synonym for sweltering

13a    Join part of brass section in retirement (4)
ABUT A reversal (in retirement) of part of the brass section of an orchestra

15a    U may be so wealthy! (8)
ENRICHED Something done to the element with the chemical symbol U can also mean wealthy

18a    Vulgar boy having grown up as bully? (8)
FLASHMAN An informal word meaning vulgar and a boy who has grown up combine to produce the surname of the bully in Tom Brown’s Schooldays by Thomas Hughes

19a    Seductive woman The Count pacified? (4)
VAMP The Count is probably one of the most well-known of a type of folklore person, simply pacify him by removing the ‘anger’

21a    Team‘s various red cards (6)
HEARTS A Scottish football team or the name given to various red cards in a pack of cards

23a    Concerning former president: ‘I have a stroke‘ (3,5)
OFF DRIVE A preposition meaning concerning, the initials by which a former US President was known and a simple way of saying “I have”

25a    Eager to review odd Georgian characters (4)
AGOG A reversal (to review) of the odd letters of GeOrGiAn

26a    Picture gory pile writhing around on rugby pitch? (10)
HIEROGLYPH The posts at each end of a rugby pitch look like a letter of the alphabet – a anagram (writhing around) of GORY PILE should be placed between these letters

27a    Sell deathtrap, occasionally the cause of bitter feud (8)
VENDETTA A verb meaning to sell and the occasional letters of dEaThTrAp

28a    Send abroad record gold — 500 tons (about) (6)
DEPORT The Roman numeral for 500 and the abbreviation for Tons go ‘about’ a type of record and the heraldic term for gold


2d    Arrive at open stretch of water (5)
REACH Double definition, one a verb, the other a stretch of water between defined limits

3d    Over in Paris, it is uni study which causes a headache (9)
SINUSITIS Hidden in reverse (over) in pariS IT IS UNI Study – if you’ve ever suffered from this, you’ll know as I do that ’causes a headache’ is an understatement!

4d    Dished out criticism following first two appearances of Orlando Bloom (6)
ORCHID A splendidly old-fashioned word meaning dished out criticism follows the first two letters (appearances) of ORlando

5d    3D musical theatre production? (10,5)
THREEPENNY OPERA The sum of money known in pre-decimal days as 3D and a piece of musical theatre

6d    Tough ex-England skipper leaking 100 runs in the field (8)
LEATHERY An ex-England cricket captain without (leaking) an informal term for 100 runs inserted into a meadow (field)

7d    Pound starts to tank, heralding run on banks (5)
THROB The ‘starts’ to Tank Heralding Run On Banks

8d    Light, very strong amber ales freshly brewed (5,4)
LASER BEAM An anagram (freshly brewed) of AMBER ALES

14d    US flier sailed regularly aboard Darwin’s ship (4,5)
BALD EAGLE The regular letters of sAiLeD inserted into the ship on which Charles Darwin sailed round the world

16d    Two cricket fielders one’s put under the microscope? (9)
COVERSLIP Two cricket fielders combine to make a thin slip of glass used to cover a specimen under a microscope

17d    No 1 exercise: his maths (5,3)
SMASH HIT An anagram (exercise) of HIS MATHS

20d    Provide way to support dyke-builder from the south (6)
AFFORD An abbreviated way ‘supports’ or goes after in a Down solution, a reversal (from the south) of a famous dyke-builder

22d    Severe, without passion, not feminine (5)
RIGID The abbreviation for Feminine removed (not) from an adjective meaning without passion

24d    Celebrity hero skinned snake (5)
VIPER An abbreviation for a celebrity and the inside (skinned) letters of hERo

37 comments on “Toughie 2642

  1. Delightful puzzle, no obscurities and at the gentler end of the toughie spectrum. Quite a few clues for sports fans, my pick of which was the rather splendid 26a.

    Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  2. I love the pictorial representations. Not that I needed any help today.
    Enjoyable without being over-challenging.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this – it’s full of cleverly-disguised definitions and inventive wordplay with a minimum of obscurities (as long as you have a little sports knowledge). That’s the sort of Toughie I really like – thanks to Hudson and CS.

    I ticked 5a, 11a, 19a, 5d and 7d with 26a being my favourite.

  4. Enjoyed this, although one can have too much cricket even this early in the season. Felt more challenging than it was, and I’m surprised my neighbours did not object to the repeated clanging noises as pennies dropped.

    So many witty and clever laugh-out-loud clues, including – 9a, 11a, 26a, 3d, but my COTD is 5d. A very loud clang indeed for that one …


    Many thanks to Hudson for a good puzzle, and to CS for the review – the parsing of a couple of my (correct!) answers surprised me!

  5. The clever and highly inventive 26a was my favourite by a considerable distance. I found the whole a grid a delight to complete, my only complaint being that is was over too quickly. It was, however, one of the more enjoyable Toughies of recent weeks.

    Thanks and congratulations to Hudson for a fine puzzle, and of course to CS.

  6. Excellent puzzle that I found far easier than the Jay offering probably because there was so many cricketing clues, right up my street.
    So many super clues it’s difficult to find a favourite but it would have to be 23a, a stroke I never mastered, I was far happier on the leg.
    Wish they were all like this but then I suppose I would not improve, not that I do much anyway!
    Thx to the all esp the setter.

  7. How refreshing to have the John in 9a be a king and not a euphemism!
    I suppose the cricket terms are seasonal. I did like the one with FDR in it when I sussed it. I kept trying to fit in Ford.
    A very pleasant puzzle. Thanks to Hudson and CS who is still waiting – not for Godot but Brian!

  8. That was fun – **/****

    Candidates for favourite, and an indication of how much fun it was – 15a, 23a, 27a, 28a, 3d, and 4d – and the winner is 23a.

    Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  9. I’m afraid all that cricket made life difficult here and resulted in reduced enjoyment but it obviously appealed to the fans which I suppose is fair enough – occasionally!
    Favourite here was 5d which helped me out enormously.

    Thanks to Hudson and to CS for the review.

  10. That was rogue . (Kid speak for whatever they want it to mean in whichever context used) loved it.Ta to all

  11. Enjoyed that.
    Even the GK clues were well clued to enable solve by parsing then reference to Mr G.
    Don’t think 21a needed the ‘various’
    26a had a ‘slap the forehead’ moment when the Rugby connection dawned on me.

  12. I have to admit to two or three that I couldn’t fully parse, which is always frustrating, but I did fill in the grid and enjoyed it to boot.
    As others have said, any difficulty was through very clever wordplay and misdirection rather than obscurities, which is how it should be.
    23a was my favourite and I also liked the surfaces of 12&18a plus the excellent 7d.

    Thanks to Hudson for the fun and CS for the enlightenment.

  13. Agree – good fun & well-crafted clues. Faves were 5d and 7d.
    Thanks to Hudson and CS

  14. Excellent,thanks Hudson.
    I’d not heard of 3d and needed the blog for the aitches in 26ac.
    (The increasingly common “haitch” is bad for my blood pressure!)
    Thanks to CS especially for the pictures.

  15. Another Toughie completed unaided so it must have been at the gentle end of the spectrum.
    Clues I liked have been mentioned but thought 9a with its use of “anagram” as part of the anagram was clever so it gets my COTD.
    Thanks to Hudson and CS for the explanations.
    Mrs LrOK is a fellow 3d sufferer CS. Years ago the medication that worked for her was banned & nothing as effective seems to have come along since so she suffers in silence.

  16. Unlike the reviewer and many of the previous commentators, I found this very tough but I really enjoyed it as PDM followed PDM.

    As a cricket playing ex-scientist, 16d particularly appealed to me but I am kicking myself for not being able to parse 15a (thanks CS). I loved the use of “anagram” as part of the anagram fodder in 9a, and the rugby pitch in 26a was brilliant. And there were many more excellent clues besides those as well.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to CS.

  17. Thank you for the blog, dear crypticsue, and thanks to those who have commented. 1* for difficulty eh….grrr.
    I just popped in to say, re 3d, that I suffered really badly from it when I was younger and I remember being on a flight from the Middle East into Paris (oddly enough) in my mid-20s when the pain during the descent was absolutely intolerable, so I didn’t intend to underplay the def!
    Best wishes to all, Rob/Hudson

    1. Many thanks for taking the time to drop in to say hello. Don’t be put off by the 1* for difficulty. There will be thousands of solvers who will struggle with it and feel it is worthy of the name Toughie. I thoroughly enjoyed it, regardless of the difficulty.

    2. It was definitely a Toughie, taking me the same time as a 5* Friday backpager, which equates to a 1* Toughie

    3. You have to remember who is awarding those stars for toughness, Hudson. She is a tough task-master. I don’t usually rate the toughies, but I’d give this very enjoyable and challenging one a **** / ****. And thanks for joining us.

  18. I haven’t finished this yet – got about a fifth to go but I am finding it far more enjoyable than today’s back pager. CTD so far is 16d.

    Grateful thanks to Hudson and crypticsue

    1. Just finished and it did not disappoint. It is strange that I finished a Toughie but got nowhere with the back pager. That has never happened to me before. In fact it wasn’t so long ago I couldn’t get anywhere with any of the Toughies.

      I admit to looking at crypticsue’s excellent hints for a couple but, on the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed this.

      Thank you again, Hudson.

  19. I agree, that 3d can be excruciating. It’s on a par when the uninitiated call a “headache” a “migraine “ or a “cold”, “the flu”. . They just don’t know!
    On the medical side and our blogger’s reading, I have just been trawling through my ancient Dick Francis paperbacks.and am rereading “Blood Sport” where I find the hero is battling depression. Who realised they were so woke in 1974?

  20. I got lucky on the cricket clues with my guesses, though the clues helped immensely. I thought that 26a was the star of the class today, but there were many nice contenders, especially 9a, 15a, and 5d. I did not know the bully, and the reverse lurker caught me out as well, but I really enjoyed this lovely Hudson gem, and thanks to CS for helping me parse a couple.

    1. Didn’t mean to overlook 23a. It’s up there with 26a, the more I think of it.

  21. Suffice to say that I found it a good deal tougher than Brian found it & Bertie had led me to believe it was. Like RD & Mustafa G the PDMs were numerous though I strongly suspect my pennies took a wee bit longer to drop. Anyway I thought it was a real cracker & even better than Jay’s back pager which I really enjoyed too. I had to confirm 16d & annoyingly failed to parse 6d (forgot about Mike) but otherwise all ok. If pressed 23a would get my vote as COTD but big ticks also for 5,9,15,18,19&26a plus 3,5,6&14d.
    Many thanks to Hudson both for a super crossword & for popping in & to CS.

  22. For people from a rugby obsessed country it took us much longer than it should have to spot the goalposts in 26a.
    Lots of ticks on our pages and chuckles all the way through the solve.
    Certainly more difficult than one star for us.
    Thanks Hudson and CS.

  23. I don’t like cricket … I love it !

  24. I creaked through half of it, looked at Big Dave to see the rating – if more than three I give up.

    One star? I should have finished it by now!

    Grim determination got me through, without help. Hooray! :-)

    Why do I always take so long to cotton on to lurkers? I did look up the French for “over”, finally seeing the misdirection when even more confused by the possible answers.

    Thank you, Hudson. It is always a red-letter day when I manage Cryptic and Toughie unaided.

  25. I could be wrong because pseudonyms can be deceptive but it seems to me that I could be the only member of the fair sex who gave this one a try – apart from our esteemed reviewer of course!
    Maybe that’s true of most Toughies – I honestly don’t know.

      1. Thank you, CS, there was almost bound to be one! Hi JB – nice to have you on board.

        1. I hasten to add that I am in no way up to CS’s brilliant solving ability! More by luck than judgement and a bit of electronic help best describes me. However, I do like cricket!

  26. Much harder than any of the toughies last week, including Elgar last Friday.
    This was a complete mystery.
    Thanks CS and Hudson.

    1. Thanks for the hints, thank goodness I did not spend too much time on it.
      Very clever clues, but far too clever for my feeble brain.

  27. I’m in the hard but excellent camp today. 5* difficulty in my way of calculating it, but that would be 1* of CS’s calculations! Loads of very clever clues and just loved the use of anagram in an anagram at 9a. This was my last in and cap-doffing moment. Thanks Hudson and CS

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