Toughie 2670 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2670

Toughie No 2670 by Django

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Thank you to Django for a proper Toughie which was just what was required on an exceedingly wet and dreary morning in East Kent, where the only thing to do is solve (and in my case, review) crosswords – it is so dark I’ve had to put the light on to see my solved grid in order to prepare the Hints and Tips!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    & 4 Across Drummer’s outside with large chain piercing, tattoo and mullet, maybe finding booze (5,4,1,4)
DRINK LIKE A FISH The outside letters of DrummeR followed by an informal word for tattoo and a cold-water creature of which a mullet is, maybe, an example, between which is inserted (piercing) the abbreviation for Large and a chain of stores selling ready-to-assemble furniture and other items

4a    See 1

9d    Doctors perhaps showing flattery works (4,5)
SOAP OPERA A slang word for flattery and a word used occasionally as a plural of opus (works)

10a    His or her successor is on time (5)
THEIR Belonging to them (his or her) – a successor is put on or after the abbreviation for Time

11a    Record difficult tie before disastrous semi (7)
ITEMISE An anagram (difficult) of TIE goes before another (disastrous) of SEMI

12a    Moose knocks over beam (7)
SPARKLE A reversal (over) of a moose and a verb meaning knocks

13a    Stretched out, taking refined drug to relax (6)
LOUNGE Insert into an adjective meaning stretched out, the letter used to signify upper class (refined) then add an abbreviation for Ecstasy (drug) at the end

15a    European Community still jubilant (8)
ECSTATIC The abbreviation for the European Community and an adjective meaning still

18a    Party tense after ignoring leader of discrimination report (8)
DOCUMENT An informal party, a synonym for discrimination without its first letter (ignoring leader) after which you need the abbreviation for Tense

20a    Build up a band on the radio (6)
ACCRUE A (from the clue) and a homophone (on the radio) of a band or group of people

23a    Hopeful mostly desire new President (7)
WANNABE Most of a synonym for desire, the abbreviation for New and the informal way we refer to the 16th President of the United States

24a    Environment Agency requires public protection for gorge (7)
OVEREAT The abbreviation for the Environment Agency requires the protection of (or to be inserted into) an adjective meaning public

26a    Drawing toy signage occasionally (5)
TYING The occasional letters of ToY sIgNaGe

27a    The compiler is on time, but essentially unprepared (9)
IMPROMPTU How Django would refer to himself (the compiler), an adverb meaning on time and the ‘essential’ letter of bUt

28d & 29 Across Thatcher’s cross about psychological assessments (9,5)

29d    See 28


1d & 23 Down Subject was once steaming drunk — did waiters tell? (9,5)
DISTILLED WATER This ‘subject’ is turned into steam before condensation – an anagram (drunk) of DID WAITERS TELL

2d    Viz magazine’s cutting picture (5)
IMAGE An abbreviated magazine cutting an abbreviation meaning namely (viz)

3d    Using ruler to wrap present is shrewd (7)
KNOWING A male ruler wraps an adverb meaning present

4d    Grow furious — son’s expelled after student looked lecherously (6)
LEERED A two-word (3,3) expression meaning grow furious loses the S (son’s expelled) and then goes after the abbreviation for student

5d    Pasta, oddly packed in gift bag (8)
KNAPSACK The odd letters of PaStA packed into a special talent (gift)

6d    Pull dustcart, taking back bottles (7)
ATTRACT Hidden in reverse (back… bottles) in dusTCART TAking

7d    Perhaps, Dean‘s cool mischievous streak (3-6)
ICE-SKATER A verb meaning to cool and an anagram (mischievous) of STREAK. Hands up who else saw the word Dean and thought we were in for a dreaded Spoonerism?

8d & 16 Down Conkers is rough, we hear — heading for trouble with head-butt during game (5,9)
HORSE CHESTNUTS A homophone (we hear) of a synonym for rough followed by a game into which is inserted (during) the ‘heading’ for Trouble and an informal word meaning to butt with the head

14d    Show recipe for starter after no-frills lunch for stranger (9)
UNCANNIER A well-known musical show and the ‘starter’ of Recipe go after lUNCh without its outside letters (no-frills)

16d See 8 Down

17d    A touch of numbness on tongue, diminishing a flavour (8)
ANGELICA A (from the clue), the first letter (a touch) of Numbness and a language (tongue) where the A that is the second letter moves to the end of the word (diminishing). Apparently, the flavour comes from the root of the plant whereas the plant is probably best known for its candied stems used as a cake decoration

19d    Smoke deposit turned up after Fifth of November — could be related to muscle pain (7)
MYALGIC A reversal (turned up) of an informal term for a tobacco product (smoke) and a verb meaning to deposit, all put after the fifth letter of NoveMber

21d    Something to light leading actor in bed (7)
CHEROOT A leading actor inserted into a bed

22d    Enthusiasm about ace tuba player’s sound? (6)
OOMPAH An informal word for enthusiasm goes ‘about’ the abbreviation for Ace

23d    See 1 Down

25d    Displays some Essex postcodes (5)
EXPOS Hidden in some EssEX POStcodes


36 comments on “Toughie 2670

  1. Am at least relieved to see CS’s rating. Not long started & struggling already…..

  2. Found this fairly easy going although the parsing of 17d had me scatching my head for a while. I enjoyed it despite a few wordy clues.

    Thanks to Django and CS.

  3. I have not particularly enjoyed Django’s previous Toughies mainly because they had included too many long clues with surfaces that were almost more complex to unravel than the wordplay itself (in my opinion!)

    Today there are only three very long clues, and I am delighted to say that the surfaces of those make perfect sense without any need for interpretation. Long may it last as I really enjoyed this one at just the right level of challenge for a midweek Toughie. 2d takes the honours as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Django and to CS, whose help I needed to parse the tongue bit of 17d.

  4. I got on far better with this than I did the back pager. Some great clues and the whole puzzle was most enjoyable. Favourites are 1a, 9a and 21d with 1a being my COTD. Being a Toughie, I did need help with a few but I’m getting closer to that unaided finish.

    Many thanks to Django for the fun and thanks to Crypticsue for the hints.

  5. A pleasant and fairly gentle Midweek Toughie with a very welcome lack of obscurities. Thanks to Django and CS.

    I don’t usually choose anagrams for praise but I thought 28/29 was clever. I also ticked 10a, 24a and 27a.

  6. It’s a long while ago since I did this so am struggling to remember my specific comments.
    I do recall that it qualified as a proper Toughie and was hugely enjoyable. Congrats to the setter for finally providing a proper Toughie.
    Several nice clues. 28ac brought back memories of a book I took out of the library about six or so years ago called ‘The Raw Shark Test’. It was a very, very, weird psychological thriller (as the title would imply if I had thought about it!). I have just looked it up on Wikipedia and I am amazed that I managed to read the whole thing!

    1. I was intrigued by your mention of “The Raw Shark Texts”, Bertie so I looked up a review of it. Don’t think I’ll bother! :negative:

  7. What a lovely puzzle after my trials and tribulations yesterday, speedily finding myself on Django’s wavelength. Can’t remember when I last had the entire perimeter of a Toughie completed before looking at (or indeed needing to look at) any of the internal clues. O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!

    Smiled broadly at 10a & 27a; ticks for 23a, 21d and the wonderful 28a.29a, which was close behind my chortle of the day, 12a.


    A great many thanks to Django for this delight and restoring my confidence, and to CS for her review and thereby parsing my couple of bung-ins.

  8. Thanks to CS for parsing 17ac and to Django for excellent toughie.
    I’d never come across 28/29ac before and looking it up learnt about pareidolia which isn’t in BRB.
    Can’t wait for that to appear in an Elgar!

  9. As with most Wednesday puzzles I found this kinder than the back page. Wednesday’s usual cryptic setter and I just don’t get on.
    No real favourite but good to have a memory of Torvill and Dean’s Bolero and, of course, Danny Kaye singing Tubby the Tuba.
    I was surprised to find that 17d has a flavour. I usually ust think of it as a superfluous decoration for a cake.
    I thought 9a was hard for out of towners. A very old illustration too!

  10. If there’s one Toughie setter whose puzzles I really look forward to its Django, and this didn’t disappoint, surely his best yet here.
    Amongst a plethora of witty, incentive and zany clues I’ve chosen to highlight 1,23&27a plus 5,7, 21&22d. Great stuff.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned setter and to CS for the top notch entertainment.

  11. I do not often try the Toughie but I did today…and managed it except for 23a and 17d. So I am delighted that it has been accredited as a ‘real Toughie’ and given 3* for difficulty by CS. Cannot say I understood all of the parsings until I read the blog, but who cares ?

    Perhaps I’ll try them more regularly now!

    Thanks to Django and to CS

    1. That’s what I decided to do a few months ago, Ora. I have not finished one yet but I’m getting closer. :good:

      1. Thanks, Steve. I have to admit to bunging in answers then using the ‘reveal your mistakes’ button…..but today all my bung-ins were OK. Just those pesky hard ones where I didn’t have a clue .

        I think I will keep on trying, though.

  12. Definitely tough. Definitely very enjoyable as Django’s puzzles always are. Last one in 23 across. It didn’t jump out from the checking letters and I always think that the ending should be a double E. thanks to Django and to CS.

        1. Roy Bagshaw, my mate in the 60s and early 70s, could recite or sing verbatim (and he did do all the time) every track on every early BD LP up to and including Nashville Skyline. Not only that, he could shin up a tall pine tree with no branches at all for 40 ft or more just by using his inner thighs and arms. No-one else in our clique could do either. What a guy!

  13. Wonderful Toughie from Django. I finished it with only one Google prompt–that of the Dean (and Torvill) reference, which immediately sparked my memory of watching them at the Olympics. Loved all four of the double, connecting clues on the perimeter, but I think my favourite is the brilliantly, expressively silly, onomatopoeic 22d. Thanks to CS, whose review I’ll read now, and to Django for the unusual, refreshing enjoyment.

  14. I loved this puzzle – not too difficult and I managed it all unaided but I couldn’t parse 17d, so needed Cs’s help there – thank you – and to the setter. 23a was my pick of the day..

  15. I, too, always look forward to crosswords from this setter and wasn’t disappointed.
    The peripheral clues went in like a shot and steadily filled the rest of the grid.
    Thanks to Django for the great fun and to CS for the review.

  16. Never heard of the programme in 9a or the assessment in 28/28a but both clued sympathetically. Needed the hints to parse 18a, 17d, 19d and 21d, but I’ll settle for that. Favourite was 1/4a. Thanks to Django and CS.

  17. Completed the grid unaided (well sort of) at the third attempt – lacking the A checker the first bit of the 28/29a (never heard of it) anagram took a couple of stabs then Google confirmation. 17d was last in & was a hopeful punt to be honest. Quite surprised so many found it relatively easy going as I thought it Django’s toughest yet & by some margin. Must admit for me it was very much a case of identify the definition, think of a synonym & then hopefully figure out the wordplay. Can’t say I found the last bit of that easy with quite a few of the clues though managed to make sense of most eventually. Got most of 1/4a (missed the store bit) but 17d was way too clever for me. Too many great clues to pick a favourite.
    Thanks to Django & CS.

  18. Found this more user friendly than today’s back pager, which is unusual for me. Only 6 answers eluded me, so I’ll take that as a win. Solving 1a was a big help, and several solved themselves with the checkers. I can never remember how to spell the first part of 28a, despite it being an anagram. Oh well, no excuse not to get on with the housework now. Thanks to Django and CrypticSue.

  19. 17d was our last in and had us head-scratching for quite some time.
    An enjoyable somewhat challenging solve for us.
    Thanks Django and CS.

  20. I enjoyed this, although a little heavy on medical references for my comfort. Several entries came from the definition long before the (nicely constructed) work play came into focus – 1a for immediate example. I didn’t know the Doctors reference in 9a. Many thanks to Django and crypticsue.

  21. Thanks for the blog, CrypticSue and thanks for the kind words so far. Much appreciated!

      1. Presume it is a general oversight rather than French troubles with English papers eg
        No times orSunday Times for months. Enjoy the Toughies so much.Thank you.

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