Toughie 2665 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2665

Toughie No 2665 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Barrel’s blue skies are my view this morning as I review this thirty-two clue puzzle from an anonymous setter. I think it is likely to be Chalicea as it was on the easier side of the Toughie scale just as a Tuesday puzzle should be to give a boost to those solvers taking the step up from back page puzzles. (It is Chalicea) For those who complain about predictive text my hint for 27 down might surprise you 

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. 


1a        Where one sees drainpipes   disregarding rules (5,3,4)
BELOW THE BELT:  Drainpipes here are the trousers worn by Teddy Boys in the 1950s and anybody since who wishes to look like ‘a proper nana’. Where they might be worn is a term for dodgy activity that comes from a term describing a low punch in the world of Boxing

9a        Disposable product of abstract artist and most of following (7)
KLEENEX: The surname of a long dead artist (Christian name Paul) is followed by three quarters of a word meaning following. The artist was so abstract that his works are hard to classify making his work truly abstract

10a      Act over chap pinching Kylie’s first music producer (7)
WALKMAN: We need three parts working out to solve this clue. An act or decree is reversed (over). A chap fellow bloke or geezer follow. Together they pinch the first letter of Kylie. Possibly Kylie Minogue, who knows. The answer came and went in a flash, like VCRs

11a      Fish bishop’s left in streamlet (4)
RILL: Remove the chess notation abbreviation for Bishop from a flatfish related to the Turbot

12a      Spare-time pursuit of small falcon? (5)
HOBBY: A double definition both simple to work out

13a      Dreadful bit of misdirection (4)
DIRE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words bit of

16a      Leading Knight Templar’s top icons exceptionally available for sale (2,5)
IN STOCK: The initial letters of the words Knights Templar and the word icons together form an anagram (exceptionally) of KTICONS

17a      Mostly support a sort of posh cafe (3,4)
TEA SHOP: Begin with two thirds of a support used by golfers. Add the letter A from the clue. Add an anagram (sort of) of POSH

18a      Sweet face reflected decline (7)
GUMDROP: Begin with a three-letter word for ones face. Reverse it. Add a synonym of the word decline

21a      Clasp that is gift (7)
PRESSIE: Find a synonym of the word clasp. Add the Latin abbreviation for that is

23a      Probability of overdraft with limits of dividends (4)
ODDS: The abbreviation for overdraft (I remember those) is followed by the outer letters of the word dividends (I remember those too)

24a      Fury as maritime cities backed (5)
STROP:  The answer here is the reverse of those maritime cities where cargo ships dock to be loaded and unloaded

25a      Partly open a drink (4)
AJAR: Begin with the letter A from the clue and add an informal noun for a glass of beer. I like beer. Don’t mind if I do thanks. Best bitter please

28a      City takes in principally homeless, itinerant, zero-rated rootstock (7)
RHIZOME: The name of a city is separated by the initial letters of three of the words in the clue. This word is used a lot in the code word puzzle

29a      Rough words in violent refusal (7)
EARFULS: Anagram (violent ) of REFUSAL

30a      Plant that’s welcome on breakfast plate? (4-3-5)
EGGS AND BACON: This flowering plant of the pea family might also form part of ones breakfast (only on a Sunday usually for us)


1d        Heavy mallets used for crushing  insects (7)
BEETLES: These very heavy wooden headed mallets used for crushing are also insects with hardened fore wings that protect their abdomen

2d        Wild cat‘s relationships broadcast (4)
LYNX: A wild cat sounds like (broadcast) a series of connections. Hopefully no discussion about the validity of the homophone here

3d        Model to get progressively larger employment (7)
WAXWORK: Begin with a word meaning to get bigger gradually as does the moon. Follow on with a word for employment (I remember that too)

4d        Predator used teeth to tear plant (7)
HAWKBIT: A flying predator is followed by a word meaning (among many other unusual meanings) to have used ones teeth

5d        Brawls occasionally seen before line dance (4)
BALL:  The odd numbered letters of the word brawls are followed by the abbreviation for line. The Line Dancing mentioned in the clue is one of the funniest things I have ever seen in the United States

6d        Gross politician, one found in boozer (7)
LUMPISH: Our regular politician and the letter that looks like the number one sit inside a word describing a boozer or habitual heavy drinker

7d        What woman may wear in grand committee, edging round room? (8,5)
SKIRTING BOARD: Begin with a garment fastened around the waist and hanging down around the legs, worn by women and girls. Add the word IN from the clue. Add the abbreviation for grand. Finish off with a committee or group of directors 

8d        Lady able to elucidate intricately reset printers (13)
INTERPRETRESS: Anagram (intricately) of RESET PRINTERS

14d      There’s ultimately room all round in such open spaces (5)
 MOORS: The ultimate or last letter of the word there’s and the reverse (all round) of room together make large open spaces. Especially when placed in the right order

15d      One producing eggs in blanket? (5)
LAYER: A hen which produces eggs or a blanket as a verb meaning to cover completely 

19d      Hectic minutes followed by some maths (7)
 MADDING:  The abbreviation for minutes and a basic mathematical process or sums as we called in in infant school (where I was properly educated) provide your answer. If still in doubt look up Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdine

20d      Design to gently stroke bird (7)
PATTERN: Well! Do as the clue asks (split 3,4)  to find a design

21d      Saw car encased in lead (7)
PROVERB: The abbreviation for the metal lead is separated by a common name for a dog. The result is a saw, a saying or an adage

22d      Brief visit of offspring including day overseas (7)
SOJOURN: Ones male issue surrounds the French word for day

26d      Chief stud (4)
BOSS: A double definition often used by setters

27d      Potential menace inherent in volcanic rocks (4)
CROC: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words inherent in.

This hint for 27 down has 79 characters separated by 17 spaces requiring 86 taps of the keyboard. By using predictive text properly I only tapped the keyboard 22 times. An amazing tool when mastered



49 comments on “Toughie 2665

  1. I do love puzzles by Chalicea! I needed help with two but the rest was most enjoyable with lots to like. I particularly liked 1a because it took me ages to get away from the things that go down a wall. I didn’t know the flower at 4d but it was gettable from the clue once some checkers were in. My favourite and COTD is 7d.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for a most enjoyable challenge. Thanks also to MP for the hints.

  2. Quite the botanic garden today. Both plants were new to me but easy to work out from the wordplay.
    Let the “ too easy” brigade shut up….I enjoyed this. If only Elgar would take a leaf out of this setter’s book, how happy I would be!

  3. A very enjoyable and not too tough Toughie that was high in entertainment. 1a took a while to crack but as always a few checkers speeded things up and it was my top clue.

    Thanks very much to Chalicea for the fun and to MP.

  4. Slightly trickier than back page crosswords. Not a regular on the toughie so this was good for me **/***. Didn’t take much longer than today’s back page.

  5. I agree with Reggie, I had this done and dusted in * time. I did need to check on a few bits of GK though, artist, flowers, etc. It turns out that I can see some 30a out of my window in my garden. I never knew that’s what they were called.

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  6. Yes it was on the gentle side but it was thoroughly enjoyable & in my humble view not worthy of Bertie’s back page comment about it. I found the south more straightforward than the north as there were a few things new to me. What I like about Chalicea puzzles is the wordplay is rarely convoluted & leads you to the answer. Having zero practical skills & therefore no tools beyond the bare essentials the mallet was new to me, I could identify a dandelion but not the family members & the only thing I knew about kestrels was courtesy of Ken Loach so that was 3 new things learnt that required confirmation. Last 2 in were 4d & 10a which provided the only real head scratchers although 8d was a bit of a mouthful – try saying that after a few. Had I not read the spoiler elsewhere suspect I may have been anticipating a Q as ordinarily would have been on pangram alert early on. No real favourites but I thought 1a was a lovely one to kick off with.
    Thanks Chalicea & MP

    1. How do you reconcile your description of it as gentle with the basic concept of it being a ‘toughie’?
      I would describe it as a back-pager.

      1. I think Stephen’s comment at 10 is correct & certainly there have been a few instances of late where the Toughie has seemed if anything less tricky (for me anyway) than the back-pager of that day. The gentler ones encourage people like myself & Steve to have a go & not get totally disheartened & then you read Ora (well done) has nailed a first unaided completion. So as long as they’re fun to solve & present some sort of challenge (which this one did even if it was at easier end of the Toughie spectrum) I don’t think dismissing them as not worthy of a Toughie is fair. The likes of CS complete crosswords I pore over for an eternity over a cup of tea so I guess the easier ones must be write ins. It wasn’t so long ago that I rarely completed a Toughie unaided & now manage a fair few (even within 1 with last Friday’s Elgar floughie) & it was crosswords like today’s one plus the reviews/hints that set me on the way.
        Don’t know whether you consider that a compelling reconciliation but it’s the best I can come up with.

        1. I could not have put it better myself, Huntsman. Before I joined this blog I rarely finished a back pager and would not even look at a Toughie. Now I finish the back pager most days and often without help and have started to tackle the Toughie on a regular basis. I have not completed a Toughie unaided yet but I have come pretty close as I did today. I do not care if a crossword is “easy” or “hard” so long as it gives me enjoyment.

          1. absolutely agree Huntsman – the clever clogs attitude is really annoying – see cooment just about to make below.

        2. Add me to the comment H. Nearly completed – just a couple in the NW corner which without 1a beat me.
          Very enjoyable the Tuesday Toughie may be easier for some but how people expect to find everything is above a certain threshold that they define beats me.
          Thanks Chalicea and MP, is Rover a common name for a dog these days?
          Amateur Championship highlights are on Sky tomorrow I think.

    2. Amen to comments by Huntsman, LROK, Steve C, & Manders. Not only do we have a pesky Bete Noire who troubles the waters but one who is also rude and belligerent as well. Such attributes are hardly becoming in crosswordland.

      1. Yup. I agree with all of that. I have just finished this with only one reveal (4d) at silly o’clock and felt very pleased with myself.
        Now I am to believe I was not so clever after all !😞

  7. Most enjoyable thanks Chalicea. All accessible and well clued.
    I’d never come across the plants before and was also on the lookout for a pangram as above.
    All over too quickly!
    Thanks to MP.

  8. A pleasantly enjoyable and certainly not overly taxing toughie, I thought – maybe 1.5* on my Toughie Scale. Some lovely clues and a good mixture of clue types.

    Wasn’t sure about 6d for gross, but it’s in the BRB so who am I to question? Can’t see what “to tear” contributes in 4d other than to make the clue scan more smoothly. Had never encountered 1d in the context of mallets, heavy or otherwise, so today has been a learning experience, as with “lum” in yesterday’s Rookies Corner!

    Many thanks to Chalicea for the challenge, and MP for the review.


    1. MG, 4d. As you suggest, I think the “to tear” has been included as a contrivance (and a necessity) to smoothen the clue surface (it wouldn’t make sense without it). But it’s not just gratuitous padding – the full phrase “used teeth to tear” does = “bit”.

    2. I didn’t see the Rookie but presume the lim is chimney as in the Scottish toast Lang may your lum reek, or long may your chimney smoke.

      1. Morning, DG – yes, lum as in chimney, a completely new term for me, not one I’ve ever heard in the southern most reaches of Wales and England!

        Jose – that’s certainly a possibility, but even then I’m not sure I’d describe “using teeth to tear” as meaning the same as “using teeth to bite”, but it’s too minor a point over which to quibble when part of such an enjoyable puzzle overall.

  9. I think this is the first Toughie I have completed,even alone and unaided. Very pleased,eased with myself.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to MP.

    1. Well done Ora. One of my favourite things about this blog is watching people progress from needing help to confidently tackling Toughies.

  10. Barely above a back pager in difficulty so I guess just about right for Tuesday. Any lesser known general knowledge was very sympathetically clued, so all quite straightforward and enjoyable if a little heavy on the double definitions.
    I’ve ticked 17&29a plus 22d.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP for the fun.

  11. I look forward to Chalicea’s toughies, always a pleasure and never a chore, unlike reading Bertie’s comments. A couple of never heard of’s, but that’s to be expected. Favourite was 1a despite, rather stupidly, having the wrong first word in for a while. Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  12. Better weather today. I enjoyed ths whilst watching the tide go out over the oyster beds at Whitstable. A couple of learning points for me today, just right for a Tuesday toughie. Definitely a seafood supper tonight.

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  13. I’ve only ever completed about half a dozen Toughies. I haven’t read MP’s hints yet – this has been slow and steady but still have 4 left so am determined to finish without help. When I get the woman’s outfit I guess I will finish OK. Sorry but if you can’t comment positively, don’t comment at all, it just sounds smug. This site has helped me so much and given so much support especially as I have been so accident prone of late!

    1. Yes, yes, yes! Just finished. Kept thinking about dado rails instead of skirting boards. Knowing it was a pangram minus the q slightly helped when looking for the z. Thanks to Chalicea for a lovely puzzle and to MP for just being lovely!

        1. MP I will never forget your amazing kindness a couple of months ago.. I lookforward to the day you email me and say ‘meet me /us, St Sharon, for lunch at the Dun Cow. (next to Salthouse Stores).

  14. Loved this – only my second toughie, and MP is quite right in saying it was a fairly gentle step up. Thanks to hinter and setter.

  15. Don’t do the Toughies very often.
    Found this a little tougher than the DT back pager from today, but rate it at 2.5*/***
    New word with 11a & 4d not heard of before.
    Favourite candidates 1a, 7d & 21d ( and oldie but goodie) and pick 21d winner

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP for the hints

  16. A thoroughly enjoyable solving experience for us. Thought we were heading for a pangram and when we saw a U as one of the checkers in 29a thought “Ah, there’s the Q”.
    But it wasn’t!
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  17. Entertaining hints as always MP. I took 15d to mean that a blanket was a layer? Whatever!

    1. Blanket. As a verb: To cover completely with a thick layer of something. Wasn’t my first thought at silly o clock this morning but you are quite correct young Chris. I’ll drop by for a beer and a catch up one of these days.

  18. I love Chalicea’s puzzles, even this one with its many, many items that this American did not know or had ever heard of. I could list seven taxing clues that sent me scurrying a bit–a bit of Googling confirmation, mostly–but I did finish this lovely challenge. So thanks to MP for the review and Chalicea for the enjoyment.

  19. Didn’t find it that easy and learned quite a few things while solving.
    When checking 12a which I kind of remembered, I was pleased to see that we also call the small falcon a Passe Temps in French.
    Loved the charade in 7d of course. I love charades.
    Thanks to Chalicea for the great fun and to MP for the usual excellent review.
    Seems that waxworks are a bit like homophones. Sometimes they just don’t work.

  20. We had snuggled down in bed and then heard a loud bang. We did a tour of the house but found nothing untoward, George went back to bed but I decided to sit with a cup of hot chocolate and do the toughie. Yeah! All but Hawkbit which I have never come across. I really do not like 21a as a word and 8d is a mouthful but 7d and 9a and 19d were great. There is a lovely big moon beaming down and I think I’m going to go back to bed. Hope the burglars have got tired of waiting. Miffypops, how did your camomile work out? Fortunately my circle of lawn has recovered from the frosts because I finished up with 6 tiny little seedlings from my packet of seeds. Not my finest hour. But you might not pick this up as I am so late in the day. Many thanks for the hints and to Chalicia for entertaining me.

    1. The seedlings were transplanted yesterday into our grass grid parking lawn. Fingers crossed that it mixes well with the rye grass and smells nice when we park up or mow

  21. Thank you Miffypops, as always. The blogging is a hard task as you have to get it done in a morning whereas we have virtually unlimited time to set (a Toughie takes me a few days as does a back-pager). Many thanks for those warm comments – I think we have to let the Bs have their regular moan – maybe they should get the Magpie ( to puzzle over when they have stormed through an easier Toughie or back-pager. The comment on ROVER is interesting. The clue actually uses CAR rather than CUR and even CAR is stretching it a tad as Chambers describes it as ‘a machine for roving’ so Miffypops generous hint is probably very welcome for a solver.

  22. I don’t usually try the toughie any more but I was tempted into this by other peoples’ comments plus my favourite setter.
    I really enjoyed it and finished it with a bit of help.
    Thanks to her and MP

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