Toughie 2649 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2649

Toughie No 2649 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Good morning from the bottom of our barrel. Which feels like it exists somewhere within the Arctic Circle that has a similar amount of rainfall to Welsh Wales. Can you believe that it is less than a month to the longest day?  A Chalicea Toughie on the easy side means that I will have longer to enjoy the cold winds and the rain today. Oh deep joy

Please leave a comment below telling us what you thought of the puzzle


1a        One retiring clergyman in outhouse shook convulsively (8)
SHIVERED: Do as the clue asks and all will be well. Place the letter that looks like the number one together with the reverse of an abbreviation for a clergyman often seen preaching in crossword land. Place what you have in the regular crosswordland outhouse found at the bottom of ones garden

5a        Counsel’s not primarily bad fault (6)
ADVICE: Remove the primary letter from the word bad. Add a fault, one of the seven deadly sins

9a        Upset ram running amok against the current (8)
UPSTREAM: Anagram (running amok) of UPSET RAM

10a      Lorry circling cold northern area (6)
ARCTIC: The abbreviated name for an articulated lorry circles around the abbreviation for cold to provide a word that neatly describes the recent weathe

12a      A lake in European country or one far away (9)
AUSTRALIA: Place the letter A from the clue together with the abbreviation for lake inside a European country known for its castles and palaces according to Google 

13a      Payload initially carried by mythical ship (5)
CARGO: The initial letter of the word carried is followed by a mythical legendary ship crewed by a geezer called Jason and his cronies

14a      Infatuated about current girl (4)
MAID: A word synonymous with infatuated has the letter denoting electrical current inserted

16a      Strive to be like one friend possessing charisma (7)
IMITATE: The letter that looks like the number one and a pal or chum surround a two-letter word meaning charisma or sex appeal

19a      Country type removing hearts from game birds (7)
PEASANT: Remove the abbreviation for hearts from a long tailed game bird shot in their thousands during the shooting season 

21a      Turned over well-protected weapons (4)
GUNS: A reversal (turned over) of a word meaning well protected like bugs are in rugs

24a      Poke about round ultimately fab machine (5)
ROBOT: A word meaning to poke around, rummage, or search unsystematically through an untidy mess surrounds the last letter of the word fab

25a      Becoming aware of silly regionalism, medical officer quits (9)
REALISING: Anagram (silly) of REGIONALISM after the removal of the abbreviation for medical officer

27a      Moves slowly during unfinished game (6)
INCHES: A two-letter word meaning during is followed by a board game with horses and rooks minus its last letter

28a      Drop in portentous energy in contest (8)
DISAGREE: A word meaning to drop or droop sits inside a word meaning portentous (Think Mark Knopflers first band). Finish off with the abbreviation for energy

29a      Conjecture about tense invitees (6)
GUESTS: An opinion or conclusion based upon incomplete information (a stab in the dark) surrounds the abbreviation for tense

30a      Relieved concerning student freed from anxiety (8)
RELEASED: A two-letter word meaning concerning plus the abbreviation used to denote a student or learner plus a word meaning freed from anxiety or worry


1d        Cry from main cavalcade essentially surrounding queen (6)
SQUEAL: A word describing an elite naval force (The main being the sea) surrounds an abbreviation for queen. 

May I Feel

by ee cummings 

may i feel said he
(i’ll squeal said she
just once said he)
it’s fun said she

(may i touch said he
how much said she
a lot said he)
why not said she

(let’s go said he
not too far said she
what’s too far said he
where you are said she)

may i stay said he
(which way said she
like this said he
if you kiss said she

may i move said he
is it love said she)
if you’re willing said he
(but you’re killing said she

but it’s life said he
but your wife said she
now said he)
ow said she

2d        Is and isn’t improper to accept no refusal (6)
INSIST: Anagram (improper) of IS and ISNT

3d        Blunder removing restraint, finally, from rogue (5)
ERROR: Remove the final letter of the word restraint from a person, especially a child who causes trouble or annoyance 

4d        Allowed rising adversity to crush liberal journalist (7)
ENABLED: An adversary or cause of great distress or annoyance is reversed. The abbreviation for Liberal is added and the whole is capped off with our usual abbreviation for a chief journalist

6d        Command of doctrine I organised (9)
DIRECTION: Anagram (organised) of DOCTRINE I

7d        Characters in winter value break in activity (8)
INTERVAL: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words characters in

8d        Included one conclusion within another (8)
ENCLOSED: One conclusion sits inside another. The opposite of open sits inside the opposite of begin

11d      Make heavy demands on independent transport (4)
TAXI: A heavy demand upon one’s intelligence or resources is followed by the abbreviation for independent

15d      Skill workers put into fitting set of rooms (9)
APARTMENT: A three-letter word meaning skill plus a three-letter word meaning workers or staff sit together inside another three-letter word meaning fitting, suitable or appropriate

17d      Fair and generous to celebrate sheltering harbour (8)
SPORTING: A word meaning to recount or celebrate in poetry or other literature surrounds a harbour where ships load and unload

18d      Grill composer missing the last prompt (8)
BARBECUE: An American composer, first names Samuel Osmond loses the last letter of his surname and gains a hint or tip

20d      Rent hill, we hear (4)
TORE: A word meaning to have rent or ripped sounds like (we hear) a rugged outcrop

21d      Old lady with it, starting to enjoy rock (7)
GRANITE: Your mum or dads mum plus the word it from the clue are followed by the initial letter of the word enjoy

22d      Strands of stories involving Republican Spain (6)
FIBRES: A word meaning unimportant untruths surrounds the abbreviation for republican and the letter used to denote Spain in whatever code used that denotes Spain with this letter

23d      Metal instrument harmonised (6)
AGREED: The symbol used to denote tin is followed by a rustic musical pipe made from straw

26d      Fancy single person who might be enchanting? (5)
IMAGE: The first person singular is followed by a person capable of casting spells and enchantments

Always a pleasure to solve a Chalicea puzzle 


69 comments on “Toughie 2649

  1. A straightforward enough Toughie for a Tuesday. Completed in ** time, but I’ll admit I couldn’t parse 27a or 18d which were my last two in.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP

  2. As I’ve posted elsewhere this was not deserving of being a TOUGHIE.
    It was easy even by back-page standards.
    (I’ll probably get pilloried for this comment!).

    1. I agree for the most part, though 26d and 28a caused me some grief. Fancy hmmm. I was also put off by 23d being almost the opposite of 26a

    2. Have to agree. I don’t usually attempt the Toughie but, with the Giro on a rest day, I gave it a go and completed it in ** time for the back-pager.

    3. While you wait for reactions to this comment, could you please answer the question from Phibs on the NTSPP review

      1. Bertie seems to be taking over from Brian as Chief Mischief-Maker! It’s just attention-seeking in my book.

        1. Just an honest appraisal. If only plaudits are acceptable there is no point in a ‘comments section’.

          1. Surely you mean a personal appraisal made honestly?

            By contrast, if I say that the clue for 19a indicates the plural yet the answer is singular (which, IMHO, it does) is that being objective?

            Many thanks Chalicea for a gentle one.

            1. Wahoo, the editor is very careful and would have picked that up if it were an error. Your comment is fair and objective (and I’ve learned to ignore the ‘Berties’) but you will see that the plural of the bird in question is the same as the singular – though an alternatie plural can have an S. Clearly it’s just a bit more in Toughie style to use the trickier word with no s in the clue.

              1. Chalicea, many thanks for popping in. This may have been light but it was great fun, which is the important thing in my book.

                BTW, I love your avatar. A few weeks ago we were lucky enough to have four robin chicks hatch in a hanging basket in our gazebo. It was a wonder to behold watching mum and dad working their socks off feeding them and getting them to fledge.

                1. I envy you, Rabbit Dave. We have a robin who visits and thinks our terrace is his territory but we have never had chicks.

                2. I love robins! Such bold little birds. When I work in the veggie patch I can hear ours up in the holly tree. It’s not long before he joins me watching the soil I am digging looking for worms.

                  Hmm. Knowing the ”woke generation” robins eating worms will be declared barbaric and robins will be banned! 🙄

          2. Perhaps the problem lies with you being too experienced and accomplished. Accept that you are in the higher echelons of solving prowess and also accept that those learning their skills might not appreciate your comments. Of course we welcome diversity and discussion but not assumed superiority

          3. Bertie, there are many experienced solver and setters on this forum – It’s not your appraisal that is the problem, just that your phrasing can come across as ‘Look at me, aren’t I clever’, when we have solvers of all abilities who contribute to the blog; it is derogatory to them and is discouraged @BD44

            1. Which is the reason I never give star ratings. I have sometimes (not often) finished a back pager in about 30 minutes. However, I would not dream of saying so on the blog. Rather, I say that I enjoyed it and finished unaided for once. Nobody who is struggling to get to grips with cryptics wants to hear that someone else found it too easy. This blog is for all levels of skill and has a duty to encourage those who are setting out as it did for me IMHO.

              1. I had to say this was easy because I can seldom get anywhere near the finish line with a toughie. So, if I can do it, it must be. No offence intended to anyone. Enjoyed it anyway so thanks to setter and MP.

    4. I don’t think I would criticise a cryptic for being either too hard, too easy or not deserving until I can set one myself.

  3. I parsed 1d slightly differently: Main=SEA, cavalcade essentially=L (middle letter) and queen=QU.

    1. Thank you. I wasn’t happy with it myself. Sometimes one just can’t see for looking

  4. I have to confess, Miff me boy, I found this relatively gentle. Completed it whilst trying to find a job to get me back from LHR to somewhere near home!

    1. I agree Chris. I was in The Weavers on Saturday before and after the Rugby. Until the Sainted one came and took me home

      1. Where was that? And when? P.s. ended up back in Southam, via downtown LI, so not a bad result!

  5. Very enjoyable, despite some thinking it not worthy of being a Toughie – it was a Toughie for me. I needed a couple of hints but I am satisfied with my attempt. I have said it before but I will say it again – I do like Chalicea’s puzzles. No real favourites, just happy to have got another Toughie under my belt (even though with a little help).

    Many thanks to Chalicea for the enjoyment. Thanks also to MP for the amusing blog.

    1. I feel sure MP put that in deliberately to see who would pick him up on it! :smile:

      1. You can never tell with MP! It might be deliberate or it might not. He has given an almost convincing explanation below to suggest it may have been a piece of mischief. Who knows?

        * An old headmaster of Kenneth Williams once said of him: “Jokes will make you popular, but you won’t be taken seriously when you want to be sincere.”

        Sorry, I’ve got my philosopher’s head on this afternoon.

    2. You mean you haven’t ever snreed? You don’t know what you’re missing …

  6. I needed help to parse 28a and 26d, so tough for me at any rate. It doesn’t need to be mind numbingly difficult to be enjoyable, in fact the opposite is often true. Favourite was 15d. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  7. All over too quickly. Only 28ac presented any problem.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  8. That was a good puzzle. Not too taxing
    A nice entry to the toughie week
    I think you might have the wrong metal at 23d MP. – unless I have been mis-sold some family silver 😄

  9. Going for a **/***, the usual enjoyable Tuesday starter for me, no further comment on 23d!
    22a was a new synonym for me-as usual the setter was correct and confirmed by Chambers.
    Nicely mislead by last in 28a-my favourite.
    Thanks to MP for the pics and the parsing of 18d.

  10. Surely Tin and Silver are synonymous. The tin in my pocket consists of silver and bronze except I haven’t used cash for ages. I often say to Saint Sharon that although I don’t know an answer I would get it right on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. As a poorly schooled orphan boy I’m happy with my output on this site

    1. MP, re your preamble above. The astronomical summer season (not the meteorological one) starts with the summer solstice on June 21st – the longest day! But just three days after this “first day of summer” is Midsummer’s Day on June 24th. How does that work, then?

        1. I bet you were teased about the shortest night? So, pity my friend who married on the shortest day.

          1. I remember that there are boring photos of every stage of the very long day but none of my my friends and I playing to our guests. Apparently once I plugged my Fender Stratocaster into my amplifier everybody’s camera device failed.

  11. An enjoyable and almost entirely straightforward puzzle, all bar two clues going in almost as they were read, but those two final clues taking half as long again. Could not see 26a for the life of me and needed MP’s clue – thank you, and the quite superb Telegraph Road is now playing chez MG.

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


  12. Very pleasantly easing us into Toughie week. Thanks for the puzzle and blog.

  13. Always like when a definition is more than just one word such as Set of Rooms, Break in Activity or Fair and Generous.
    Put Lières in 22d at first thinking that ivies were strand but it was doubly wrong as it is written with two Rs.
    Favourite 9a.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to Miffypops for the fun review and didn’t realise that you spend your weekends with Noel Edmonds.

    1. I took that photo Jean-Luc. Many many years ago. Weavers Chris knows who the lad is

  14. I found this relatively straightforward, except for 28a which (for whatever reason) I couldn’t get.

    Maybe it was the word “portentous” that put me off… seems to have plenty of synonyms, but is a word I very rarely use.

    Thanks to Chalicea for a helpful Tuesday and to Miffypops for the blog.

  15. Like others I was held up a while on 28a and 26d. I see silver and tin has already been covered.

    Thanks to Chalicea for an entertaining puzzle and MP for the hints.

  16. I managed to finish this without help, yipee. It is a bit depressing then to read how ‘clever’ others are in thinking this is a R & R puzzle. Not to me my friends but thanks to this wonderful blog I’m learning all the time. Ta to Chalicea and MP – wish I hadn’t read the comments though!

  17. I am sure this was on the gentle side for those of you who regularly solve the Toughie puzzles. Recently I have begun attempting to do them, but not every day, and had a lot of success with this one. I’ve been doing the cryptics since our eldest daughter was born in 1969, albeit with a long break when we moved across the pond in 1982. Once a month we drove about 20 miles to pick up the Telegraph from a newsagent who specialized in “out of town” news, as a treat. And I did use the DT crossword books. I was able to get back to the cryptics regularly when the internet arrived in the early 1990s, and made even better when Big Dave created this web site, thank you. Really enjoyed this one today, so thanks Chalicea and to Miffypops for the several needed hints.

  18. That was a lot more fun than the Cryptic so thanks for the recommendations bloggers and thank you Chalicea for the fun and MP for being there in case of need. 👍👍👍.

  19. I’d say that this was pretty much spot on as a Tuesday Toughie, no Elgar but certainly tougher (just) than a back pager.
    My only problem was 28a, where I had the solution but just couldn’t see the parsing, so obvious when explained! That makes up my podium along with 27a&2d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and MP for the entertainment.

  20. We got held up in the SE quadrant which extended our solving time cosiderably.
    It is always a pleasure for us to solve Chalicea’s puzzles and this was no exception.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  21. It is always a pleasure to read your comments, Steve Cowling, 2kiwis and all the old friends and good to meet you BusyLizzie – we, too have to travel some distance to get a UK newspaper but download Telegraph and Times ones from their crossword websites. Thank you as always Miffypops – the tin in your pocket was an amusing variant on the metal I had intended. Apologies to the old grumps for whom this one was too easy – you’ll get Elgar on Friday next week, Sparks this week and maybe another proXimal or Artix soon, and the editor reassures me that we are catering for a wide range of solvers even with the Toughies and that Tuesday is a way in for some new Toughie solvers.

    1. You have given me courage to tackle Toughies, Chalicea and I salute you for it. It was one of your Toughies that made me look at them more closely. Beforehand, I wouldn’t even look at a Toughie. Then folk on this blog would suggest that “today’s Toughie is doable for those who have never tried. Give it a go”.
      Ignore the gainsayers. In my book you are advancing my ability.

        1. With you on that. Only started trying toughies recently, and found this one mostly achievable, just 3 in the SE corner stumped me. In fact i did better on it than some back pagers. Many thanks for hints and to Chalicea.

  22. Very late today (doctor’s appointment; giving blood at the clinic; sleeping away the afternoon), but I always enjoy Chalicea’s puzzles, and this was no exception. Finished it last night; forgot that our spelling of ‘fibers’ over here has done me in before. Thanks to Chalicea (whom I have already praised as my favourite compiler on more than one occasion) for popping in and commenting throughout this blog, and thanks to MP as always for the fun and frolicking.

  23. It A long time since I attempted a tough one but I don’t think this was any harder than today’s I finished both in what to me is a normal time.
    I used to all ways solve the back page one without trouble but recently they seem slightly more obscure- maybe I’m getting old

Comments are closed.