Toughie 2667 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2667

Toughie No 2667 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

It’s always a great pleasure to get a Micawber puzzle to blog. This one’s a pangram and it didn’t pose too many problems but it was very enjoyable.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Fixes up crack in middle of desk (6)
EQUIPS: insert a crack or gag into the middle letters of desk.

4a Tighten your belt and behind — adults are going to be slender (6)
SVELTE: assemble a verb to tighten your belt or scrimp and an adverb meaning behind or delayed then remove both occurrences of the abbreviation for adult.

8a Stocky peasants taking part in Asian festival (8)
THICKSET: insert peasants or rustics into a Vietnamese festival (a word associated in the West with this offensive).

10a Junket of raspberry with rind of lime (6)
RAZZLE: this raspberry is an expression of derision (based on rhyming slang for a fart). A slang word for that is followed by the outer letters of lime.

11a Midriffs rejected as obscene content (4)
SMUT: reverse a child’s word for midriffs.

12a Working out problem, I had backtracked, lacking certainty (10)
DIAGNOSTIC: reverse the contracted form of ‘I had’ and append an adjective meaning ‘lacking certainty’.

13a Finding fault with service — that’s liable to produce a reaction (8,4)
CRITICAL MASS: string together an adjective meaning ‘finding fault’ and a religious service.

16a Not part of match, cared about having only one goal (6-6)
SINGLE-MINDED: not part of a match or unwed followed by a verb meaning ‘cared about’.

20a Lacking height, failed to prepare wall adequately? (10)
UNDERSIZED: cryptically this could mean ‘used insufficient gluey stuff on a wall prior to decorating’.

21a Defect following piece of legislation (4)
FLAW: the abbreviation for following and a piece of legislation.

22a Judge’s case gets thirty days, showing lack of experience (6)
JEJUNE: the outer letters of judge and what contains thirty days.

23a Freshly cut grass roughly tied (2-6)
RE-EDITED: a type of grass precedes an anagram (roughly) of TIED.

24a Fake keepers at zoo houses (6)
ERSATZ: hidden.

25a Star grabbing drink — this is liable to go downhill! (3,3)
SKI RUN: our very own star contains an alcoholic drink.

Down Clues

1d First in election, Prime Minister assuming he has long time — but such things are transitory! (8)
EPHEMERA: bring together the first letter of election, the abbreviation for Prime Minister containing HE and a long period of time. A bit of political forecasting?

2d Not like sliced bread, this burns crust regularly (5)
UNCUT: regular letters from ‘burns crust’.

3d Job on wharf ultimately insufficient for researcher (7)
POSTDOC: a job or position followed by a synonym for wharf without its final letter.

5d Queen entering royal museum gallery (7)
VERANDA: insert our Queen’s regnal cipher into a London museum with royal connections.

6d Zany lass running round you, talking — one circulates with food (4,5)
LAZY SUSAN: an anagram (running) of ZANY LASS contains what sounds like ‘you’ in speech.

7d Cake from leavened grain with half fat stuffing (6)
ECLAIR: the reversal of a type of grain contains the first half of a sort of fat used in cooking.

9d Influencer to advertise jacket (11)
TRAILBLAZER: split the answer 5,6 and it could mean to advertise a type of jacket.

14d They perform sensationally in oral assessments (5,4)
TASTE BUDS: cryptic definition of the things which allow us to experience one of the senses.

15d Greek islander having no right to catch fabulous sea creature (8)
CETACEAN: drop the R[ight] from a Greek islander and insert an informal adjective meaning fabulous or super.

17d Absence of nap, having start of afternoon off, is most curious (7)
NOSIEST: start with an absence of nap (2,6) and remove the first letter of afternoon.

18d Messi’s header getting kid excited about minute when Champions League opponents meet? (3-4)
MID-WEEK: the first letter of Messi and an anagram (excited) of KID contain an adjective meaning minute. There’s a hint to when Champions League matches are played below.

19d Queen embracing old flame in outbuilding (6)
ANNEXE: a Stuart queen contains our usual short word for an old flame.

21d Rifle shot gets you bit of a promotion (5)
FLIER: an anagram (shot) of RIFLE.

I liked 10a, 13a and 20a but my favourite was 14d. Which clue(s) hit the spot for you?


29 comments on “Toughie 2667

  1. A very enjoyable puzzle solved over a late breakfast in Broadstairs. Scratched my head a bit over parsing 10a. Favourite was 4a.

    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

  2. I was just four short in *** time. Having got the Z,X & Q ‘early doors’ I could see it was a pangram. I didn’t know the raspberry or the researcher, and 22a isn’t a word I use every day.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  3. A most enjoyable puzzle and only slightly more difficult than today’s back pager by Ray T. As usual with a Toughie I needed help with a couple but I’m finding I am filling more of the grid each time before resorting to the hints. Maybe the day when I finish a Toughie unaided is approaching? Now I’ve said that, I will probably be knocked sideways by Notabilis tomorrow.

    Anyway, back to the puzzle. Like Jonners I found myself wondering about 10a for ages and I always thought 22a meant dull and uninteresting so I have learned another use for it. My favourite was 13a for no other reason than it was my first one in. Of course, I missed the pangram!

    Many thanks to Micawber for the challenge and to Gazza for the hints.

  4. I didn’t find this pangram (with a surfeit of Zs) as tough as today’s back-pager. They were very different in style but equally enjoyable making for an excellent day in crosswordland.

    I had lots of ticks, but the two best clues for me were 13a & 14d.

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.

  5. I thought this delightful puzzle was splendid, my fastest finish for a Toughie in memory. I just got on a roll beginning with 1a and 1d, and the pennies just kept dropping. I felt that, at my advanced age, I had found a new metier all of a sudden, and it was solving a Micawber puzzle! (I haven’t always been so fortunate with Mr M, though.) I did have trouble parsing 4a, but it had to be what it was. Favourites: 13a, 15d, & 3d. Thanks to Gazza, whose review I’ll read now, and to Micawber.

    1. Super Matilda puzzle in the Graun if you’ve not seen it & have a yearning for more.

      1. Thanks for the tip, Huntsman. I managed all but *two. Happy to see the Florida State Capital made the Graun; I spent five studious but happy years there. *Got the Scottish isle right but missed the dictator (stuck on Amin!); didn’t know about Mothering Sunday or the R.C. term for Pentecost. The toughest novel I ever tried to teach was The Brothers Karamazov.

        1. Never read it Robert. Crime & Punishment hard going enough for me. Great clue wasn’t it & new you’d appreciate Tallahassee – remember the song
          She comes from Tallahassee,
          She got a hi-fi chassis
          Looks a little sassy but to me she’s real sassy
          She’s my Tallahassee lassie…….

          1. I loved “Fathers and Sons” by Turgenev so maybe I should give” Crime and Punishment” a go? I think I take after my mother who read “War and Peace” in one sitting. When I asked her if she had enjoyed it she replied, “It was okay!”

  6. Thank you Micawber for a very worthy and enjoyable ‘Toughie’. I have recently taken to doing my crosswords online and it is most satisfying when “All answers are correct” pops up. There were several intriguing clues but, hopefully, it should not bamboozle too many.

  7. What a delicious pairing – the lesser-spotted Micawber and our own crossword guru!
    Don’t have a clue about when Champions League matches are held so that was a ‘work it out from the clue’ moment and I had a slight hiccough over the 10a raspberry but everything came together nicely with the help of a couple of checkers.
    Podium places went to 8,13&20a plus 14d.

    Many thanks to Micawber (hope you’ll be back again soon) and to Gazza for the review and ‘incidental’ extras!

  8. I found this easier than the cryptic but then RayT and I are rarely on the same page.
    Although the answers were obvious, I could not parse 4a or 10 a.
    Beaten by 21a where I had fiat not flaw.
    So, that’s it for this week. The Friday puzzle always beats me even if it isn’t the dreaded Elgar..
    Have a good weekend everyone

  9. Great crossword thanks Micawber.
    Unusually after 1ac I was looking for the pangram which helped a little.
    Two days in a row with minimal assistance….tomorrow should be fine.
    How often do we get so many Zs in a crossword?
    That and the two Js and Ks had me wondering about a double, but it wasn’t to be.
    4ac required assistance with parsing from Gazza, thanks.

  10. A super accompaniment to the excellent Ray T back-pager & must say it was a much quicker solve though every bit as enjoyable. Last in was 4a & the only real head scratch. Not only did it take a while to twig the definition synonym but I failed to parse it which slightly took the shine off what was for me a fastest ever Toughie solve – can see why Jonners picked it out as his favourite. 6d was my pick for the simple reason that it reminds me of my favourite Thai restaurant (sadly now closed) & making full use of it. 22&24a both lovely words.
    Thanks Micawber & Gazza.
    Ps is it my imagination or has 5d made quite a few appearances of late? Maybe in the Graun.

  11. Top quality fun from Micawber. I thought, for a while, we were looking at a double or even triple pangram. Particularly tickled by the removal of the adults in 4a and the use of leavened for risen in 7d.
    Thanks to Micawber for the puzzle and Gazza for the blog.

  12. A very accessible and enjoyable pangram that went perfectly with the Ray T earlier today. Of many fine clues, 13a was my favourite just ahead of 14d.

    Thanks Micawber for the challenge and Gazza for the review.

  13. Great fun! I couldn’t help but marvel at how Micawber managed to hide so many of the really helpful potential checkers in non-intersecting spots. For instance in 22a the checkers were 2 Es and a U – and look what was hiding in the other spaces! Like Jane, I made an assumption about the Champions League that turned out to be correct. Thank you, Micawber, for a most enjoyable puzzle, and Gazza for the review.

  14. I’m in the “difficult but doable” camp this afternoon. All parsed except 10a, so I’ll settle for that. I went on pangram alert early on which helped no end. Favourite was 4a because I parsed it. Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  15. Really enjoyed this, thank you Micawber – and thank you Gazza for the review, I needed your parsing of my bunged-in 4a. And loved the skinny jeans meme!

    I found this harder than the backpager, which I guess it should be. A bit more stretching required in my mental gymnasium, even with Ray T’s great puzzle having already been solved. So many great clues and I struggle to pick one as a COTD – hon mentions in particular though to 13a, 22a, 7d and 15d. A vintage day for DT crosswords.


  16. The usual loveliness from Micawber. I just wish he turned up more regularly.

    I don’t think it was that tough but I was solving over a cup of very hot tea at Clacketts Services, which was strangely deserted but even so, Mr CS did keep interrupting me to point out the results of his people watching.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza

    1. Saint Sharon was in wittering mode this morning. It’s a good thing that God gave me ears with an on/off switch

  17. Such well constructed clues made the solve a real joy.
    Even liked the cryptic in 14d.
    Favourite 13a.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.

  18. 10a took some thinking about for us but we did get it sorted eventually.
    One can almost guarantee to be chuckling all the way through a Micawber solve and that is how it was for us.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  19. I’m grateful Micawber was feeling merciful when he set this as I have an exam this afternoon which I really ought to be studying for. But I’m glad I made time for it as I found it an immensely enjoyable solve. I really like 1d and 17d, but my last one in and favourite is 14d, which elicited an expletive when the penny finally dropped.
    Many thanks to Micawber for taking my mind off geography for a bit, and to Gazza for the review.

  20. Great puzzle and I was pleased to finish it after a few fell in late. Last in was 24a and now I can’t really see why! Despite loving football it took me a while to get 18d.

    I would normally spell 5d with an “h”!!

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza for the blog.

  21. Took marginally less time than the backpager – both **** time for me. Only non parsed was 7a, so hint necessary. I’m still not finding the same joy in completing as I do with the backpager. I think it’s because the clues are often more convoluted and less smooth, but all in a day’s solving. Thanks everyone.

  22. 3*/4*…..
    liked 25A “Star grabbing drink — this is liable to go downhill! (3,3)” … amongst others.

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