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Toughie 2654

Toughie No 2654 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Another enjoyable crossword from Silvanus who is a fine master of the required art of making his early-in-the-week Toughies trickier than his Friday backpagers.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Trendy seaside resort has vacancy on the front (5-2)
RIGHT-ON A well-known seaside resort without its first letter (has vacancy on the front)

9a    Material crew discovered heading towards eastern Mediterranean shores (8)
RELEVANT The inside (dis-covered) letters of cREw and the name given to the Eastern Mediterranean and its shores

10a    Coastal county’s getting cold for daughter, requiring second undergarments (7)
CORSETS Replace the D at the front of a coastal county with the abbreviation for Cold and then add the abbreviation for Second

11a    Weary shifting fudge boxes at sixty minutes after midnight? (8)
FATIGUED An anagram (shifting) of FUDGE ‘boxes’ AT (from the clue) and the time that is sixty minutes after midnight (the ? indicating that this isn’t the only time of day this time appears)

12a    Meal consumed by Asterix, say, failing to finish cake (6)
GATEAU A meal ‘consumed’ by almost all (failing to finish) of the nationality of Asterix or another person from his part of France

13a    Short distance from large tree trim untidy surrounding weeds essentially (10)
MILLIMETRE An anagram (untidy) of TRIM surrounding the abbreviation for Large and a type of tree, the result finished with the ‘essential’ letters of weEds

15a    Humour heartless obnoxious types (4)
VEIN Humour in the sense of a strain of character is obtained by removing the [two-letter] heart from some obnoxious types

16a    Recalled mushrooms being presented to soldiers on island, small samples (9)
SPECIMENS A reversal (recalled) of some mushrooms presented to or followed by the abbreviation for Island, some soldiers and the abbreviation for Small

21a    Raw material for a great boxer? (4)
CLAY Some raw material or the surname of a great boxer

22a    Creep alongside rat? It’s actually quite harmless (5,5)
GRASS SNAKE A verb meaning to creep goes alongside (or after) a slang informer (rat)

24a    Bishops extremely ingratiating in retrospect regarding primate (6)
GIBBON A reversal (in retrospect) of the extreme letters of IngratiatinG, the chess abbreviation for Bishop twice (bishops) and a preposition meaning regarding

25a    Entertaining second encore performed thus? (4,4)
ONCE MORE An informal expression for a short period of time (second) entertained by an anagram (performed) of ENCORE

27a    Stoke’s wingers right to defend corner in game (7)
SNOOKER The ‘wingers’ or outside letters of StokE and the abbreviation for Right ‘defend’ or go round a corner

28a    One from a colony where pickpocketing is unknown? (8)
NATURIST Someone living in a colony where clothing, with or without pockets, is rarely worn

29a    Wine, some brought back from Azerbaijan, is terrible (7)
RETSINA Hidden in reversal (some brought back) in AzerbaijAN IS TERrible


2d    Great admirer of speech at wedding introducing former Republican (8)
IDOLATER Something said at a wedding, an adjective meaning former and the abbreviation for Republican

3d    Eats vegetables we hear, ones that used to be popular (3-5)
HAS-BEENS A homophone (we hear) of a way of saying eats particular vegetables

4d    Exceeds reckless sum Ron bet involving United (10)
OUTNUMBERS An anagram (reckless) of SUM RON BET ‘involving’ the abbreviation for United

5d    Cheese often that is oddly overlooked (4)
FETA Overlook the odd letters of oFtEn ThAt

6d    Moderate, not entirely correct to break silence (6)
MEDIUM Almost all (not entirely) of a verb meaning to correct inserted into ‘to break’ silence

7d    Talent saw couple occasionally featuring in newspaper story at last (7)
FACULTY The occasional letters of sAw CoUpLe ‘featuring’ in the abbreviation for the ‘pink’ newspaper, the result finished with the last letter of storY

8d    Supported by board ultimately, boss that is well-read (7)
STUDIED The ultimate letter of boarD supports or goes under (in a Down solution) both a projecting boss and the abbreviation for that is

11d    Denounce loudly male unit being disbanded (9)
FULMINATE The musical instruction to play loudly and an anagram (being disbanded) of MALE UNIT

14d    Engine Alec designed shows lack of refinement (10)
INELEGANCE An anagram (designed) of ENGINE ALEC

17d    Debts, the basis for strikebreaker in plant (8)
SCABIOUS Some debts go under (are the basis for) a strikebreaker

18d    Christmas with Dad working outside upset card game (8)
NAPOLEON A reversal (upset) of Christmas and a two-letter word meaning working outside another informal word for Dad

19d    About to imbibe first of gins on the rocks (7)
AGROUND A preposition meaning about to ‘imbibe’ the first letter of Gins

20d    Mineral diabetic lacks — a little to be sent over (7)
CALCITE Hidden in reverse (a little to be sent over) in diabETIC LACks

23d    Serious wound is plugged by doctor (6)
SOMBRE A wound ‘plugged’ by an abbreviation for a doctor

26d    Reportedly scullers’ sessions on the river increased (4)
ROSE A homophone (reportedly) of some scullers’ sessions on the river


25 comments on “Toughie 2654

  1. Well that got the old grey cells in a tizzy! Filled in about 85% before grinding to a halt. A quick look at Mr. G. for a few got me going again. COTD is 1a because it was very neat and had a great surface.

    My thanks to Silvanus for providing the mental gymnastics. Thanks, also, to crypticsue for the hints.

  2. I found this more amenable than the back page – it took me a while to get on that wavelength. (That may have been because I did it at silly o’clock this morning.)
    This was readily solvable – with a bit of thought -and had some nice clueing.

  3. I enjoyed this. 15a was the last one in, I needed electronic help and lateral thinking there and the game in 18d was new to me.
    28a was clever but my overall favourite is 29a because the wine truly is terrible!

    1. The 2 that caused you probs in yesterday’s Toughie were the ones I needed hints for & it’s 15a that’s scuppered me here.
      Our brains must have similar limitations.

  4. Very enjoyable – thanks to Silvanus and CS.
    I ticked 1a, 15a and 18d but my favourite was the excellent 25a.

  5. I thought this was great, be it a back pager or Toughie it’s always a pleasure to do a Silvanus puzzle.
    In a very strong field I’ve chosen to highlight the very clever 1& 9a plus 27a along with 3&17d with top spot being claimed by the simply brilliant 25a.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to CS for the review.

  6. Always a joy to get a puzzle from this setter and I awarded plenty of ticks today – 1,21,22,26&29a plus 11d all making the grade. Top two were 1&29a both of which really amused.
    I did have to phone a friend over 15a – I’d virtually got the answer but couldn’t for the life of me come up with the obnoxious types, silly girl!

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to CS for the review.

  7. Need help to parse 15a as I was trying make sense of it by inserting one letter. Apart from that reasonably straightforward. Favourite was 13a, not that I use them any more. Thanks to Silvanus and CS.

  8. Irritatingly needed a CS nudge for 15a but happy to get within a couple of letters of an unaided finish. Mercifully easier than yesterday’s stern exam paper & always a treat to work through a Silvanus crossword. The 17d plant needed confirmation but otherwise all good & for the first time in ages I didn’t read county as country. The similarity between the 3 downs here & in the back pager was quite a coincidence. Favourite was a coin toss between the clever 25a & the humorous 28a.
    Thanks both.

  9. I was beaten only by 15a, and even with crypticsue’s hint, I am not sure I understand the connection between the definition and humour. Otherwise I enjoyed this very much. Many thanks to Silvanus and crypticsue.

    1. In addition to humour meaning ‘that which causes mirth and amusement’, it can also refer to temperament or disposition of mind. One of the meanings of the solution is ‘a mood or humour’

  10. What a lovely puzzle – my thanks to Silvanus for a cracking Wednesday grid and to CS for the review.

    Smooth surfaces, all were fairly clued, many gave rise to smiles and chuckles. Mostly straightforward and even when not, very much within grasp. LOI 21a because I needed and was delayed by 18d – had heard of Nap as a card game, but had not associated it with the full name, and was looking for a strange synonym of Christmas! Lots of ticks next to clues afterwards, and for me 1a is COTD by a short head from 9a and 7d.


  11. I loved this puzzle but was completely defeated by 15a and had to have an electronic assist of one letter, the V, at which point I could have kicked myself all the way to Savannah. So many winners, especially 1a, 9a, 25a, & 18d. (Re 15a, I kept trying to work in one of the classical Four Humours (spleen, phlegm, etc.), then went down the alphabet, but must have stopped before the V!) Thanks to CS for the review and to Silvanus for a masterful performance.

  12. Many thanks as always to CS for her Hints and Tips and a great selection of illustrations.

    Thank you also to all commenters and my best wishes to Kath on her birthday for a quick return to good health.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable solve as ever from this setter. Page covered in ticks so won’t pick a favourite.
    Thanks Silvanus and CS.

  14. Defeated by 15a and 9a, but otherwise a nice challenging but solvable crossword. Thanks everyone.

  15. Beaten by 15a too.
    The plant in 17d was new to me but easily got from the parsing.
    Didn’t know 18d was also a game.
    The man is everywhere, a game, a pig, a coin, and we recently celebrated a bicentenary but the mood was rather subdued as we still don’t know if we should admire him or not.
    The very pleasant little stories in the longer clues are definitely becoming a trademark of this setter.
    Always a joy to solve.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to CS for the review.

  16. I went out to play cricket at 11:15 and didn’t get around to looking at this puzzle until I sank into the bath when I got back home. We lost a very tight 40 over game with two balls to spare but it made for an exciting finish.

    I always love Silvanus’ puzzles, and this one was no exception although I think it was the toughest Toughie he has set so far and I too failed on 15a. Suffice to say my bath water was cold by the time I had (almost) finished it.

    My page is littered with ticks, but I will just mention my top two: 1a & 25a.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to CS.

  17. A busy day so I did this at the other silly o’clock [thanks Bertie]. Good fun and quite straightforward apart from 13a where I spent a while trying to make an anagram from L,tree, trim and E. Those of you who had trouble with 15a probably never read “Mad” magazine as kids. Its banner was “Humor in a jugular vein”.
    Thanks to Sylvanus and CS for the blog.

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