Toughie 2685 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2685

Toughie No 2685 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Chalicea sets a Tuesday Floughie. This is a perfect entry into Toughieland for those who are hesitating to dip a toe into the water. The only type of clue that back-page solvers might not have previously encountered is the compound anagram at 14 Down.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    Could be a codger’s final resting place (4,4)
GOD’S ACRE: an anagram (could be) of A CODGER’S

8a    Harsh to lop off eel’s head (6)
SEVERE: a verb meaning to lop off followed by the initial letter (head) of E[el]

9a    Exceptionally vain girl’s instrument (8)
VIRGINAL: an anagram (exceptionally) of VAIN GIRL gives an old keyboard instrument mainly seen in crosswords these days

10a    Fine troubles with a heavy metal unlikely to miscarry (4-4)
FAIL SAFE: F(ine) followed by a verb meaning troubles the A from the clue and the chemical symbol for a heavy metal

11a    Some uncle; rich one in religious order (6)
CLERIC: hidden (some) inside the clue

12a    European lands boundlessly managed locking up gold (8)
ANDORRAN: [l]AND[s] without the outer letters (boundlessly) and a three-letter verb meaning managed around (locking up) the heraldic term for gold

13a    Last one leaving one African country after another to avoid duty (8)
MALINGER: drop to I (one) from an African country and preceded it with a different African country – pedants will point out that the word “last” is unnecessary as there is only one “I” in the country concerned

16a    Doctor consuming end of bought fish (8)
STURGEON: a doctor around (consuming) the final letter (end) of [bough]T

19a    Tedious spell collecting cycled (8)
TIRESOME: a spell or period around some mineral aggregates which have their initial letter moved to the end (cycled)

21a    Worn down advantage (6)
GROUND: two definitions – for the latter see definition 15 of the answer in the BRB

23a    Son eager for heavy drinking (8)
SWILLING: S(on) followed by an adjective meaning eager

24a    Sadly admires small weapons worn in belt (8)
SIDEARMS: an anagram (sadly) of ADMIRES followed by S(mall)

25a    Fire up revolutionary meeting, including sandwiches (6)
IGNITE: hidden (sandwiches) and reversed (revolutionary) inside the clue

26a    Retain power with body of troops available in emergency (8)
PRESERVE: P(ower) followed by a body of troops available in emergency


1d    Stays part of 4 Across? (7)
REMAINS: two definitions

2d    Tall structure producing lofty tolls (4,5)
BELL TOWER: a cryptic definition of a campanile

3d    Resort to put right (6)
REPAIR: two definitions – the former is sub-definition 2.3 in the BRB

4d    Direct workers to overlook network military equipment (10,5)
GOVERNMENT ISSUE: a verb meaning to direct followed by some workers and a network

5d    Disastrously holding court without intermediary (8)
DIRECTLY: an adjective meaning disastrously around (holding) C(our)T

6d    Animated US boxer on day of victory (5)
ALIVE: the adopted surname of a US boxer followed by Victory in Europe

7d    Understand price-increase involving brewed ale (7)
REALISE: a price-increase (involving) an anagram (brewed) of ALE

14d    Baby playing unprotestingly rejecting damaged potty (9)
NURSELING: a compound anagram (playing) of UN[P]R[OT]ES[T]INGL[Y] without the assorted letters (damaged) of POTTY – I believe that technically, as the letters of POTTY are in the correct order in the fodder, the second anagram indicator is unnecessary

15d    More sensitive person making an offer (8)
TENDERER: two definitions

17d    Row about stray dog (7)
TERRIER: a row around a three-letter verb meaning to stray

18d    Pleasing feature readjusted any time (7)
AMENITY: an anagram (readjusted) of ANY TIME

20d    Mostly growing fruit (6)
RAISIN: most of a verb meaning growing

22d    Dubious results upset grasping employers (5)
USERS: hidden (grasping) and reversed (upset in a down clue) inside the clue

Not a difficult puzzle, but that’s what some solvers want.


56 comments on “Toughie 2685

  1. I have always said that if I finish a Toughie unaided it will be one by Chalicea. Sadly, this was not it as I needed help with three but, otherwise, I managed the rest with a bit of careful thought along with some head scratching. The three I needed electronic help for where 4a, 12a and 14d. My COTD is 2d because I used to travel the country visiting some of the five thousand or so such structures in the UK.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for a great puzzle. Thanks to BD for the hints. Surprised to see the answers are not covered.

          1. I am so sorry to hear that. In which case, it was very good of you to give the hints.
            All my best wishes to you and Pam.

          2. That’s horrid news, BD. I do hope that she’s soon on the mend, you must feel lost without her by your side.

          3. Sorry to hear that BD
            My thoughts are with you both, sending love and best wishes

          4. Thoughts are with you, and very best wishes to Mrs BD for a swift recovery and return home.

      1. Sorry to hear that Dave, my best wishes to Pam on a quick recovery. I hope you are both well soon.

      2. I am so sorry to hear that. It’s never a good time to be in hospital but especially difficult at the moment. Best wishes to you both

      3. I’m very late having only just finished this one! A great crossword.

        Sorry to hear about Pam BD. Hope all turns out well. Wish her the best from Me and Margherita.

  2. I was happy to turn to the Toughie and see it was set by Chalicea. Quite gentle but very enjoyable. Thanks to she and BD.

  3. Not entirely Floughie for me. As usual, solved without knowing who the setter is and when, after completion, I saw that it was by Chalicea I was pleasantly surprised – 2*/3.5*.

    10a got a Hmm and I would suggest that 18ds are not always pleasing.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 2d, and 17d – and the winner is 17d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  4. Chalicea seems to specialise in pleasantly straightforward Toughies that are nonetheless enjoyable and great fun to complete. 2d was my runner-up favourite, but top spot went to the compound anagram at 14d, especially since the removed word was in the right order in the fodder.

    Thanks to both Chalicea and BD.

  5. I echo YS’s comments and I don’t need to point out that the “last” in 13a is unnecessary as BD has already done that for me :wink:

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD.

    1. My take is that it improves the surface; if you start by putting one country after the other it is then indeed the last one that leaves.

        1. Yes, indeed, thanks, Jonners. The intention in the clue was to have one African country keeping its ‘one’ and the second African country losing its ‘one’ so that only the ‘last’ of the two ‘ones’ had to disappear. I’m delighted to see that there hasn’t been a huge moan yet about this being far too floughie – of course there is still time :)

  6. Thanks for the hint that this was a lighter Toughie. I have shocked myself by getting all but two without assistance from the hints.
    We will have to see how it goes in the days to come!

  7. All over too quickly but enjoyable.
    9ac an amusing double entendre.
    14d took ages to see but was worth the wait.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to BD though for once I needed no parsing help.

  8. Nice & gentle & finished in good time. Feared a rerun of today’s final fence back page refusal this time with 14d but the penny dropped pretty quickly. No real difficulty though must admit the 4a term wasn’t something I’ve come across before (rather like it) & I did have to remind myself what type of instrument 9a was. Always enjoy this setter’s puzzles & today was no exception. Ticks for me were 4,10,12&13a plus best of all 14d.
    Thanks Chalicea & BD.

  9. I think I made harder work of this than I should have. I had to look up the instrument in 9a, the second definition in 22a and the archaic spelling in 14d but they had to be what they were. I needed all the checkers to get 10a. Favourite was 2d. Thanks to Chalicea and BD.

  10. I would have enjoyed reviewing this puzzle as much as I enjoyed solving it. Chalicea puzzles are always good fun. I particularly enjoyed the African countries. Thanks to BD and to Chalicea

  11. I’m not yet at the level where I’m going to complain about Toughies being too easy so thoroughly enjoyed this.
    Standout clues for me were 4,10,13&19a plus 2&14d.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD for the top notch entertainment.

  12. 4a really amused – well spotted Chalicea! I also liked 17d albeit a possible contender for the title of ‘chestnut’.
    A very pleasant and enjoyable solve for which many thanks to our setter and to BD for assembling the ‘words and music’.

    1. Jane, re 4a: Remember Erskine Caldwell’s shocker? (Put an epithet between the two words in 4a.) My parents suggested that I shouldn’t read it at age 13.

      1. I’m surprised that your parents only ‘suggested’ that you shouldn’t read it!

  13. Speedy, light, and enjoyable. Horses unruffled, and agree with BD’s assessment – 1* / 3*

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to BD for the review.

  14. Finished this lovely Chalicea in record time, for me, and received some online bonus points! Floughie / Schmoufie, I loved it all. 23a made me laugh so it gets my top nod. Thanks to BD and to my favourite setter over there in Switzerland. How’s the weather, Chalicea?

    1. Hot and rather sticky. We are just back from 10 days in Germany where we arrived after the dreadful flooding. The Rhine was filling fields all around it as far south as Strasbourg but where we were (with son and his family near Hannover) they have near drought conditions – the climate changes are particularly troubling.

      1. Hamelin Town’s in Brunswick,
        By famous Hanover city;
        The river Weser, deep and wide,
        Washes its wall on the southern side;
        A pleasanter spot you never spied

        One less letter N than your Hannover Chalicea

  15. Can someone please explain to me how tissue relates to network in 4d and I don’t want a tissue of lies as the answer!

    1. I think that you have answered your own question Buzza. Try putting Tissue definition into Google and reading what it offers. Then put Network definition into Google and read what it offers. That should provide your answer. You can do the above by looking through dictionaries in the old fashioned way if you can be bothered with the rigmarole.

  16. Over the moon to finish this without help. Only attempted it because it was my favourite setter.
    Sorry to hear about Pam. All love and best wishes for a swift recovery.
    Thanks to BD and Chalicea.

  17. A really delightful puzzle to get us back into our crossword solving mode.
    So sorry to hear about Pam being unwell. Love and best wishes to both of you BD.
    Thanks Chalicea and BD.

  18. Thanks to Chalicea and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very enjoyable solve, and not tricky at all. Just needed the hints to check 3d was what it had to be. Not heard of the first definition before. Favourite was 10a.

  19. I was amazed to sit down in the middle of the night with a cup of hot chocolate and virtually write in the answers!! Lots of scribbles round the page but that is how I work. Then I read that Chalicea is being kind today – so that explains it! I loved the anagram at 14a, a beauty. And 2d and 13a. Maybe if I go back to bed now I can sleep with a slightly smug sense of achievement. Many thanks Chalicea and thanks to BD although I didn’t read your notes! Cocky! Best wishes to you and your wife.

  20. I’m so glad I had a go at this toughie as I was able to complete most of the clues unaided and the rest I got with BD’s extra hints. All except 12a and I needed to reveal the answer. Many thanks to Chalicea . Two years ago I went to the French alps in the summer and it was beautiful. I’ve never been in the winter and how anyone can ski down those runs I’ll never know. Many thanks to BD and hoping that your wife feels better soon.

  21. Not often that the toughie is easier than the back page. Only looked up notes as I was confused by the inclusion of Last in 13a but obviously not just me. And not too pedantic in this case!

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