Toughie 2690 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2690

Toughie No 2690 by Hudson

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Hudson once again proving why he is one of my favourite setters. The crossword has a bit of a holiday feel to it with places to visit and things to eat while you are away.  One of those splendid crosswords which leaves you with a smile on your face when you’ve finished solving and an even bigger one if you are the lucky blogger.

If you were to draw a diagonal line across the grid from the NE corner to the SW corner, the clues on the LH side of that imaginary line were easier to solve (well I thought so) than the ones on the RH side of the line. Oh, and just in case the birthday girl is squirming again at my difficulty rating, this took me the same time as a 5* backpager to solve, which in the (paraphrased) words of the ‘esteemed editor’ makes it a 1* Toughie.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    My iron forge melting contents of large Dorset fortification (5,6)
CORFE CASTLE An interjection meaning my, the chemical symbol for iron and the letters left after you’ve ‘melted’ the contents of LargE   One of the few places we missed on our recent short trip to Dorset 

10a    Tricked husband (a lecturer) (3,2)
HAD ON The abbreviation for Husband, A (from the clue) and a university lecturer

11a    In Paris, I have left holiday escape at the Bastille? (9)
JAILBREAK How the French (in Paris or elsewhere) would say I HAVE, the abbreviation for Left and a holiday

12a    Somewhere on the Med, buried in west-facing chapel lies Rameau (9)
MARSEILLE Buried in reverse (west-facing) in chapEL LIES RAMeau

13a    Element of attack happening by air (5)
RADON A homophone (by air) of an attack and a synonym for happening

14a    Giuseppe’s first story about old ice cream (6)
GELATO The first letter of Giuseppe and a reversal (about) of a tale followed by the abbreviation for old

16a    Football team‘s filthy lucre corrupted ex-ref (4,4)
HULL CITY An anagram (corrupted) of fLITHY LUCre without (ex) the letters REF

18a    I’m so aroused in fancy lace underwear (8)
CAMISOLE An anagram (aroused) of IM SO inserted into another (fancy) of LACE

20a    Wild boy, married, that hurts wild girl without resistance (6)
MOWGLI The abbreviation for Married, an interjection expressive of pain (that hurts) and an anagram (wild) of GIrL without the R for Resistance

23a    Stand-in student copper discovered bomb outside (5)
LOCUM The abbreviation for student or learner and the chemical symbol for copper, the latter having the inside (dis covered) letters of bOMb outside

24a    Underhand dealer‘s vehicle key? (4-5)
CARD-SHARP A vehicle and a musical key (1, 4)

26a    Business scaling fry up? (5,4)
TROUT FARM A cryptic definition of a business growing (scaling up) small fish (fry) into bigger ones

27a    The Spanish spirit, a character unloved by Greeks (5)
ELGIN The Spanish definite article and an alcoholic spirit – another great definition

28a    He presses all the right buttons (having a mind like a sewer!) (11)
HABERDASHER And a third great definition – this one for a person who understands the needs of a sewer and so encourages (presses) the sale of the right buttons (and other items)



2d    Senior bowled Henry out regularly (5)
OLDER The regular letters of bOwLeD hEnRy

3d    Supporter hit part of car’s cooling system (3,4)
FAN BELT A supporter and a verb meaning to hit

4d    Tempt California actress Angelina out of Italy (6)
CAJOLE The abbreviation for the State of California and the surname of the actress Angelina without the IVR code for Italy

5d    Horrid and nasty, terribly up itself (8)
SPITEFUL An anagram (terribly) of UP ITSELF

6d    Politician runs article featured in defamation (7)
LIBERAL The cricket abbreviation for runs and an indefinite article ‘featured’ in some malicious defamation

7d    Salad of fig, ham and lettuce that’s popular in Covent Garden? (3,5,5)
THE MAGIC FLUTE An anagram (salad) of FIG HAM and LETTUCE produces something you might see (and hear) here:

8d    Plant small flower over heather (8)
SEEDLING The abbreviation for Small, a reversal (over) of one of crosswordland’s favourite rivers (flower) goes over one of the names for the heather plant

9d    Son having a nap outside pub yard in birthday suit, soaking wet (6-7)
SKINNY-DIPPING The abbreviation for Son and an informal way of saying having a nap go outside a pub and the abbreviation for Yard

15d    Exercising aplomb when eating starter of crispy hot cutlet (4,4)
LAMB CHOP An anagram (exercising) of APLOMB ‘eating’ the starter of Crispy and the abbreviation for Hot

17d    Military operation ordered second row in (8)
BLOCKADE One of two players in the second row of a rugby scrum inserted into a poetic word meaning ordered

19d    Model star Ms Thurman’s visiting home of tigers (7)
SUMATRA The Christian name of Ms Thurman inserted into an anagram (model) of STAR

21d    Aphrodisiac sets Roy off (7)
OYSTERS An anagram (off) of SETS ROY

22d    Fitted up celebrated Republican on board (6)
FRAMED The abbreviation for Republican goes ‘on board’ a synonym for celebrated

25d    Spoiled skinned fish (5)
ANGLE Remove the outside letters (skinned) of another word for spoiled

28 comments on “Toughie 2690

  1. This was very light for a Toughie but good fun. My top clues were 11a, 16a, 4d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to CS.

  2. For me, very Floughie and very enjoyable – 0*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 27a, 8d, and 9d – and the winner is 9d.

    Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  3. 18a was a clue of lovely innuendo, worthy of Ray T. My favourites, however, from this hugely enjoyable puzzle, were 16a and 9d. A real dream team today: Jay and Hudson.

    My thanks to the latter and of course CS.

  4. All over too quickly. Hudson you really should make em tougher so they last longer.
    Top clues – 12a [even tho he’s buried in Paris] 18a [snigger] and the cryptic def duo of 26 and 28a.
    Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  5. Very entertaining – thanks to Hudson and CS.

    I liked 18a (great surface), 9d and 21d (does our setter know LetterboxRoy?) but my favourite was the superb 28a.

  6. All pretty straightforward and enjoyable. I needed the hints to parse 16a and 28a but that’s about par for the course for me. Favourite was 20a but 18a made me laugh as well. Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  7. Even I finished this without help so it must be fairly easy. SE corner held me up the longest, but all in all good fun. Thanks to Hudson and CS.

  8. Took me less long than the backpager, but just as enjoyable. Thanks to all concerned.

  9. Tell me, did anyone else spend ages believing 1a had to be an anagram of “My iron forge”? Well, there were 11 letters and they were said to be melting!
    This was a lovely puzzle with some brilliant clues. I especially liked 9d and 29a but the runaway favourite has to be the unloved 27a

      1. I thought so but had the answer in my head and couldn’t see it in the anagram. Then the iron bit explained it all

  10. My first toughie – and a very good one to start with. Good clueing – why haven’t I tried this before? Thanks Hudson and Sue.

  11. Most enjoyable and quite gentle Toughie, a few odd surfaces but generally very good cluing; delayed by 28a (still don’t like the first half of that clue) and 17d. Chuckled at several, including 9d. HMs could have been aplenty but will limit myself to 12a, 24a and COTD11a.

    Many thanks indeed to Hudson and to CS for the review.

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable – too many favourites (sorry, Kath) to pick out one
    Many thanks Hudson & CS, excellent

  13. I didn’t find it that easy, in that I’ve certainly done easier Toughies but I did find it very enjoyable.
    Although anagrams I thought the surfaces of 18a&5d were very clever but the gold medal is shared between 9d and the bamusing 28a with the bronze going to 11a as it’s a great clue and it reminds me of the epic Thin Lizzy album.
    Many thanks to Hudson and CS.

  14. A fastest ever Toughie solve for me & hugely enjoyable. I thought it was a belter full of great clues. The 4 long ‘uns round the perimeter were all excellent, loved the surface read at 18a & the reverse lurker at 12a but pick of great bunch for me is a toss up between 11&20a.
    Thanks to Hudson & CS.

  15. Thanks, dear crypticsue for your blog and to those who have commented. Sorry to everyone who needed a stiffer challenge – I might move away from the 4x long perimeter grids which always seem to be solver-friendly.
    @StephenL…I still have the cassette tape of Jailbreak which I bought in 1977

    1. Hudson…I saw Lizzy in Manchester many moons ago and still to date I’d say it was the best concert I’ve ever been to (and I’ve seen a lot of great bands over the years).
      Oh, and the long perimeter clues are super fun!

  16. What a lot of fun as always from Hudson. Sorry that I mixed you up with Django earlier but we have his puzzle to look forward to in the morning. A really enjoyable solve first thing this morning. Thanks to CrypticSue (is it work if you enjoy it) and thanks to Hudson.

  17. We spent time searching for an anagram for 1a but when the penny dropped it was something we vaguely remember having heard of.
    Can’t decide between 9d and 18a for favourite in this good fun puzzle.
    Thanks Hudson and CS.

  18. Most enjoyable Hudson. Finished it last night needing only one electronic letter to do so, for 1a. Solved all the others quite happily. Favourite is 11a followed by 9d. Thanks to CS and to Hudson.

  19. Found this a nice puzzle to tackle on a Wednesday in the garden again today. **/**** for me. Held up in the NE for a while but all came out eventually with a few hints required. Favourites include 1a, 11a, 16a, 28a & 9d.
    Winner is 1a as it is a winner.
    I have been to 1a and a very worthwhile trip it was too. That was on a trip back to visit my grandmother and other people I knew in Oct 1988 and the weather was fabulous. Managed to have a couple of pints at the Greyhound Inn too after we had taken the chain ferry.

    Thanks to setter and crypticsue

  20. Thanks to Hudson and to crypticSue for the review and hints. What a fantastic puzzle, not too tricky, but such great clueing. Really enjoyed it. Favourite was 24a. LOI was 16a, thought I was going to fail, then I realised the fodder subtraction, and in it went. Was 1* /4* for me.

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