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Toughie 2650

Toughie No 2650 by Logman

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Logman provides this week’s Wednesday Toughie

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    One down in feeble defensive construction (8)
PALISADE The letter representing one and an adjective meaning down or miserable inserted into a synonym for wan or faint (feeble)

5a    Dilemmas resulting from robberies, say with son in for millions (6)
CRISES The abbreviation for Son replaces that for Millions in some violations of the law, of which robberies are an example (say)

9a    Make last call on way public (6,3)
STRING OUT A verb meaning to call (on the phone) goes after an abbreviated way and before a synonym for public

11a    Stop those ultimately involved in legal action (5)
CEASE The ultimate letter of thosE ‘involved’ in a legal action

12a    Measure on the inside of wing arch (6)
INSTEP A measure goes on or after the letters on the inside of wINg

13a    Do better than street kid, losing right man in order (8)
CAPUCHIN A verb meaning to do better than and a street kid without (losing) the abbreviation for Right

15a    Those who will succeed needing husband and father perhaps to embrace high praise (5,8)
HEIRS APPARENT The abbreviation for Husband and a person such as a father ’embrace’ an anagram (high) of PRAISE

18a    Head of house seen as impartial and safe, somehow (13)
PATERFAMILIAS An anagram (somehow) of IMPARTIAL and SAFE

22a    Crew leaving show, inevitably (8)
PERFORCE A verb meaning to crew a ship leaving a show

23a    Answer coming after Laurel’s reported lines (6)
STANZA The abbreviation for Answer coming after the informal way we might refer to something belonging to the Laurel who was part of a famous comedy duo

26a    Rare quality defining peer (5)
EQUAL Hiding in (defined by) rarE QUALity

27a    Laying out previous conclusion about source of pandemic (9)
EXPENDING The two-letters used to indicate previous or former and a conclusion go ‘about’ the source of Pandemic

28a    Fragments of pitcher finally found in outhouses (6)
SHERDS The final letter of pitcheR ‘found’ in some outhouses

29a    Respectful of lease always being accepted (8)
REVERENT A synonym for always being ‘accepted’ into a verb meaning to lease


1d    It’s turned up in nasty cheap copy (8)
PASTICHE A reversal (turned up) of ITS inserted into an anagram (nasty) of CHEAP

2d    Failure surprisingly exposing requirements of angler (5)
LURES Hidden in (exposing) faiLURE Surprisingly

3d    Bowlers losing power? They’ve done something wrong! (7)
SINNERS Lose the abbreviation for Power from some bowlers

4d    Heartless benefactor’s opportunity (4)
DOOR ‘Heartless’ indicates the need to remove the middle letter from a benefactor

6d    Hercules failed, missing first one avoiding others (7)
RECLUSE An anagram (failed) of hERCULES once you have removed the H (missing first)

7d    Dish from poor area mostly in part of Iberia (not north) (9)
SPAGHETTI Most of a poor area inserted into part of Iberia without the N (not north)

8d    Films about European geese (6)
SKEINS Some thin layers (films) go about the abbreviation for European to produce a flock of geese when in flight

10d    Rough speed on a road (8)
TEARAWAY A verb meaning to move very quickly (speed) A (from the clue) and a road

14d    Second design of replica vent for breathing (8)
SPIRACLE The abbreviation for Second and an anagram (design) of REPLICA

16d    Meaning one in Paris could be bother (9)
IMPORTUNE A verb meaning to bother or harass is obtained from a synonym for meaning and the French feminine indefinite article (one in Paris)

17d    Set out to carry freight — delicacy from France (8)
ESCARGOT An anagram (out) of SET to ‘carry’ some freight

19d    Content at last, turned round and did some fishing (7)
TROLLED The last letter of contenT and another way of saying turned round

20d    Popular present, for example, that’s heavy! (7)
INTENSE The usual two-letter word meaning popular and a grammatical term indicating time, of which present is an example

21d    Drugs needed for teeth (6)
UPPERS Some drugs or some teeth

24d    Born yesterday — this person in main part of church (5)
NAÏVE I (this person) inserted into the main part of a church

25d    A note that’s added on the end of late recess (4)
APSE A (from the clue), a note that’s added, and the end of latE

If a member of the crèche had sent me this crossword to test solve, I’d certainly have suggested that they might like to look at the number of times they are expecting the solver to ‘do something with a letter’

37 comments on “Toughie 2650

  1. Had to check a few things along the way which diminished my enjoyment although they are hopefully filed for future reference. No real favourites. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  2. Good cryptic that required some effort thankfully.
    The uncommon word in 28ac bamboozled me for a bit. Thank you Logman for a reasonably good workout – worthy of being a Toughie in my opinion.

    1. You’ve obviously not typed reports for archaeologists as you’d have definitely used 28a quite a lot

      1. I’ll bet he went for shreds and then considered shards. That’s what I did this morning

        1. I thought shreds too. I’m not an archaeologist and have never heard of this word but I doubt I’ll forget it now.

        1. And me, held up a lot in the SW, though I was aware of the word and it’s meaning.

  3. Took a bit longer than usual and I failed to parse 22ac.
    Being distracted by Cummings didn’t help…..
    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  4. I admit to needing help for a few but Miffypops was right – it is doable once checkers have arrived. I would think I did 80% unaided so am quite pleased. 22a was one I had to use the hint for but thought it a good clue.

    No real favourites, just pleased to get over the finish line.

    Many thanks to Logman and to CS.

  5. Thanks to Logman for the puzzle and to CS for the review.
    None of the clues stood out for me.

  6. Nice to wake up to. Not too tricksy. About right for a Wednesday. In checkers we trust. They won’t let you down. Thanks to the Logman and Crypticsue

  7. A rather curious mixed bag for me – two new words in 28a & 14d, help from CS required for the parsing of 22a and some that I wasn’t happy with – not sure that ‘rough’ adequately describes the answer to 10d or that ‘teeth’ really works for 21d. Also thought an indication of ‘definition by example’ was possibly needed for 8d.
    Favourite was probably 23a.

    Thanks to our setter and to CS for the review.

      1. Thanks, Stephen, I’ve never heard of a person being described as a rough – sheltered life obviously!

  8. Two puzzles in one for me. NW, NE, and SE somewhat like an end of the week back pager, which seemed to be emulating Giovanni, and the SW a real Toughie. 3.5*/2.5*

    I am more familiar with the alternative spelling of 28a, with an A, so that didn’t help and, for whatever reason, 16d and 19d just had me with a blank stare.

    Candidates for favourite – 5a, 23a, 29a, and 7d (note, none from the SW) – and the winner is 29a.

    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  9. Good puzzle, which I enjoyed very much. Struggled with a few, sat on the fence for 1a and 8d went right over my head for a while, 13a had me monkeying about…but seriously, new word for me on 28a and 22a confused me because of crew for man, don’t know why.

  10. I hope Chalicea reads this as I actually found this easier than yesterday, just shows how subjective these things are, though like Jonners I needed to check a few along the way.
    Enjoyable enough but I thought the lurker at 2d a tad weak but did like 9&15a plus 7d.
    Many thanks to Longman and CS for the fun and enlightenment.

    Ps the first two words should be underlined in the hint for 9a.

    1. Yes, Stephen L, I am indeed following the comments. As you say, reactions are very subjective. We enjoyed this and thought it a good Toughie, right for midweek. Crypticsue has commented in the past that it isn’t necessarily less difficult to compile a relatively easy puzzle than it is to produce a real stinker, but in general, our editor seems to place us in increasing orders of difficuty with Elgar hanging on to the Friday slot. (We often find his tough!)

      1. I enjoyed both this and your’s Chalicea. Degree of difficulty about the same for me, if anything this was easier, so I guess it’s always a good idea to be tactful in one’s comments!

        I note that the hint for 9a has now been altered.

      2. I don’t think it was me who said that as I wouldn’t know where to start compiling a clue

  11. I hadn’t heard of a number of definitions including 28a where I had entered ‘SHREDS’ with some (I think justified) degree of confidence. Pity – it prevented me from finishing what was otherwise an enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to Logman and crypticsue.

  12. This was a light and pleasant Toughie for the second day running although I struggled for a while in the SW corner with the teeth, the fragments (I too put in shreds at an early stage), and the fishing.

    23a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Logman and to CS.

  13. Another enjoyably accessible Toughie three quarters of which presented no insurmountable problems but then SW delayed things slightly. With offerings such as this I could become a Toughie convert! Thank you Logman and CS.

  14. I enjoyed this but took forever in the SW corner as I had shreds instead of sherds which I must confess I’ve always put as shards. So confusing!
    22a was clever but I think by COTD is 17 d because it makes me shudder.

    1. Hi JB,
      17d is not much different from whelks and pretty tasteless if it wasn’t for the garlic butter.

      1. I hate whelks so I guess I wouldn’t like escargots. All other seafood is OK and we have many happy memories of fruits de mer in Brittany.

        1. Love whelks (vinegar & pepper). Love escargot (garlic, parsley, butter). Very different, you don’t butter your bread with escargot.

      2. Like a lot of French cuisine, the star is usually the sauce. For instance I love coquilles st jacques but dislike scallops any other way.

  15. I thought there was a typo at first in 28a until I checked the BRB.
    The dictionary came handy for 13a, 14d and the ending of 18a also.
    Didn’t know that term for fishing in 19d as I would expect it to be spelled Trawled.
    Nice misdirection with crew as a verb in 22a.
    All in all, I thought that the crossword was full of mistakes when it wasn’t the case.
    Well done to Logman and thanks to CS for the review.

    1. Trolling is puttering along in a boat towing fishing lines. Trawling is dragging a net through the water. We delayed filling in that clue until we had checkers.

  16. 22a was our last one to get sorted and took much longer than it should have.
    Pleasant solve for us.
    Thanks Logman and CS.

  17. I thoroughly enjoyed this nice Toughie by Logman, which I finished without any aids last night. I particularly liked 13a and 14d, which was a new word for me, I think, though some resonance from a college lab seemed to echo in my cobwebby brain. Thanks to CS, who review I’ll read now, and to Logman.

    1. Over the years, the NYT puzzle (which is not, on the whole, a cryptic one; mainly GK-based) has educated us about ‘sherds’ as a variant of ‘shards’, so I had no difficulty there–once my first choice of ‘shreds’ was clearly not going to work. I should have noted above how clever I thought 16d and 23a are, with the former my LOI. I did think the ‘man’ / ‘crew’ connection a bit forced, though.

      1. I think the ‘man’ ‘crew’ useage is pretty general and not rare in crosswords – at least over here. When I lived in the States for about five years I missed proper cryptic crosswords more than I would have thought.

  18. Just popped back to comment. As mentioned earlier I fell into the shreds trap. A couple of new words for me, I can live with that. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  19. Late arrival at the cruciverbalist ball … Started this late last evening, enjoyed a swift run through but stumped by the final 4, which fell quickly this morning. Very enjoyable puzzle, many thanks to Logman. Thanks also to CS for the review.

    28a was my COTD – assisted by my long-standing if somewhat superficial interest in archaeology, sherds was my go to answer (indeed in a DT puzzle the other day when shreds was the answer I was stumped by having written sherds …) and the clue is so beautifully constructed to give that particular solution.

    LOI was 19d – could not get (t)angled and trawled out of my mind at first, but then the penny dropped with a splash.


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