Toughie 2693 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2693

Toughie No 2693 by Robyn

Hints and tips by Miffypops (help required please)

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A second offering from Robyn who’s first Toughie puzzle 2669 appeared on June 29th and was very well received. Today’s puzzle took me longer than usual and needed teasing out slowly clue by clue. I’m not sure how two of the clues relate to the answers but hope to unravel their secrets as I write the hints. If not any help with 11 and 13 down will be well received. That is just how I think a proper Toughie should be

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a        Conserving energy, got old motor a metal fan (10)
HEADBANGER: The past tense of the word have (got) contains the abbreviation for energy. This is followed by a rather nice term for an old worn out car. Together they make an apt description of  an aficionado of heavy metal music

6a        Onion, or what people do when cutting one back (4)
BULB: An informal verb meaning to cry noisily is the reverse of what an onion is. A round underground storage system present in some plants according to my online dictionary

9a        Hot drink coming in future retail outlet (5,5)
CHAIN STORE: An informal Chinese word for the hot drink that gets most of us going every morning is followed by two words split 2,5  meaning what is to come in the future

10a      Some hiker tramps around in this (4)
TREK: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some. It is reversed as indicated by the word around

12a      Most of his arm hurt with vaccine number two (4-8)
VICE CHAIRMAN: The first two letters (most of) of the word his combined with the words arm and vaccine form an anagram (hurt) of HI ARM VACCINE

15a      Park employee‘s 4×4 car over leaves (6)
RANGER: A well known 4 x 4 vehicle much loved by the farming community but adopted by city dwellers and known as a Chelsea Tractor needs the word over to be removed from its name (over leaves)

16a      Silly me, admitting grand acts of theft (8)
MUGGINGS: An informal noun used humorously to refer to oneself as a foolish and gullible person needs the abbreviation for grand inserting to find particularly nasty crimes

18a      Person who exploits freak 1-1 result (8)
UTILISER: An anagram (freak) of RESULT 1 1 where the numbers are replaced by the letters that they resemble

19a      Cook coq au vin or duck, say, to go in cooler (2,4)
DO BIRD: A synonym of the word cook is followed by an example of what a Coq or a Duck is. The answer to the clue is a phrase meaning to serve a prison sentence that I have not heard in a long time

21a      Beer guts? (5,7)
DUTCH COURAGE: A cryptic definition of a  sense of strength or confidence gained (or imagined) from consuming alcohol

24a      Game, but not golf, in deep shade (4)
RUBY: The worlds finest team sport needs to lose the letter suggested by the word Golf in many versions of the phonetic alphabet. I have my season ticket and am primed for the off

25a      Attack boys in blue suit (3,3,4)
FIT THE BILL: The attack here is a sudden short convulsion. It is followed by an endearing term used by many to describe the police (boys in blue)

26a      No tough guy, one’s undesirable in bed (4)
WEED: A nerdy type is also what a gardener does not want in his or her flower bed

27a      Figure entertaining both ladies and gents for free (2,3,5)
ON THE LOOSE: A term we might use to describe both the ladies and the gents conveniences is surrounded by a numeric figure


1d        Cut   in crime affecting a PC (4)
HACK: A word meaning to cut is also a term describing the illegal entry into a computers software

2d        Agassi’s first return of service is some way off (4)
AFAR:  The service here is one of the armed forces. It is reversed and follows the initial letter of the name Agassi

3d        Brighton going wild with fine time guys come out (7,5)
BONFIRE NIGHT: An anagram (going wild) of BRIGHTON and FINE

4d        Indefinite number above number that’s lower (6)
NETHER: A mathematical unknown is followed by an anaesthetic or number (a substance that renders one insensitive to pain)

5d        Some corn, though wanting filling loaf for a snack (5-3)
EARTH NUT:  The upper part of a single stem of corn is followed by the outer letters of the word though. A synonym of ones loaf (head) completes this unheard of snack, the underground part of a plant such as a truffle or peanut

7d        Prosaic fellow interrupting criminal in court (10)
UNROMANTIC: A chap geezer or fellow sits comfortably inside an anagram (criminal) of IN COURT

8d        Ruler therefore in poor area is the cause of rising (6,4)
BAKING SODA: A male ruler sits on his throne before a word meaning therefore and in between a word meaning poor (not good)  and the abbreviation for area. Just as the clue suggests

11d      Scrap Bronte’s puerile work about mistreated cat (4,4,4)
DING DONG BELL: You can’t win them all so here is what I can surmise from the clue and the answer. Any help will be gratefully received and acknowledged

The answer is the first three words of a nursery rhyme about a poor cat put in a well.

The first two words of the answer are also a scrap.

The last word of the answer was the second part of the pseudonym used by Anne Bronte

Over to you

13d      Not the high-fliers among Ronald Reagan or JFK’s staff? (6,4)
GROUND CREW: The support staff that do not take to the air. Again I have no idea where Ronald Reagan or Kennedy come into the equation. Again I throw out a request for help – – – which has been answered at comment No 1 by Senf. 

14d      Like, perhaps, Bengali food for which you may be charged (10)
INDICTABLE: Begin with a word meaning of (a language) relating to the subcontinent of India. Finish off with a synonym of the word food which also means what most of us sit at to eat

17d      Daughter feeling it’s a step down (8)
DEMOTION: The abbreviation for the word Daughter is followed by a strong feeling or sentiment

20d      Gag outspoken rascal (6)
WRETCH: A rascal or despicable or contemptible person sounds like (outspoken) a word meaning to gag or make the sound and movement of vomiting without actually doing so

22d      Lush yellow in orchard hedges (4)
WINO: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word hedges

23d      Different university that’s gone online? (4)
ELSE: The abbreviation for Electronic  as in Email is followed by the abbreviation for the London School of Economics


42 comments on “Toughie 2693

  1. 13d Some specialist American(?) knowledge required. Ronald Reagan is Washington National airport and JFK is one of NY’s. So, the answer is airport staff who do not fly.

    1. Thank you Senf. I might have worked out JFK but not Ronnie Raygun. I’m okay with John Lennon and George Best airports. But they are ours, not yours. Thanks again

      1. Perfectly all right, MP. I know both airports very well, but still missed the clue’s reference, and yet I got the answer right! (DC’s former Washington National Airport has been, unfortunately, renamed RRA, but we veteran fliers still call it WNA.)

            1. And the great 2nd album (Idlewild South) of the Allman Brothers Band – featuring Midnight Rider & the brilliant In Memory of Elizabeth Reed

  2. 11d The first two words of the solution are a scrap or fight. The third word is the alias the Bronte sisters used for their younger childish (puerile) work when they didn’t want anyone to know that there were female as that would mean their work wouldn’t be published, as apparently only men could write books

    1. Ah, I didn’t realise that all three sisters used the surname Bell. I did know that the first letter of their real name was also the first letter of their pseudonyms which almost makes up for my lack of knowledge about the worlds airports. What on earth is wrong with naming an airport after the place that it serves. Surely less confusing

  3. I thought this was perfectly pitched for a Tuesday Toughie crossword. I did know the two Presidents in 13d had given their names to airports. One quite often gets an ear worm from solving a crossword but I don’t think I’ve ever been left with one from a nursery rhyme before

    Thanks to Robyn for the crossword and MP for the hints and tips

  4. Lovely stuff. Very enjoyable and thought-provoking with some excellent clues and nicely tricky in places.

    Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  5. I didn’t understand 11d & 13d … but all is now clear! Thanks!

    A really enjoyable puzzle from Robyn.

    Thanks to the Executive Producer & Director of today’s Blog.

  6. Wonderful Toughie. Got everything but the ‘cooler’ clue (though the right answer did occur to me briefly) and the Bengali reference, which I really should have solved with no problem. (There were several bung-ins scattered.) The fairy tale / Bronte clue is my COTD and, so far, of the week too. Made me laugh. A lot. As YS says, ‘Lovely stuff’. Thanks to MP and to Robyn.

  7. I’m still not happy with how “puerile” fits in in 11d. What the Brontes had published under the surname Bell cannot be called puerile, so maybe the nursery rhyme could be called a puerile work. But then the clue does not read well.

    1. I agree puerile is part of the definition – it means childish, which describes the rhyme. The Bell pseudonym was used when the Brontës were adults, I think.

  8. Needed help with the parsing of 13 and 14 down and the hint to get 23d. Other than that I struggled through this at a very pedestrian pace, even for me that is. I had to Google the Bronte sisters and the last word of 11d and amazingly it came up. Favourite was 3d. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  9. Very enjoyable, it came together quite slowly at first until the checkers helped. I was similarly struggling to get the relevance of the presidents in 13d and needed google to clear up the Bronte and Bengali references.

    Thanks to MP and to Robyn for another very entertaining puzzle.

  10. I enjoyed this. Nice Tuesday level. One or two had me scratching my head. I made a meal of 23d. Understood 11d. Several smiles. Thanks to Robyn and MP. First time I have seen the video. Lovely to put a face to the many Nom de Plumes.

  11. I thought that this Tuesday puzzle was on the difficult side for the start of the week, took a while to get into but lots of D’oh moments when eventually I did, enjoyed Robyn’s misleading clues.
    Favourite was 11a followed by 1a for its surface-thanks to MP for the blog.

  12. Thanks to MP for the excellent blog. As a newbie here, I just thought I’d drop in to say hi. I think everything has been explained now: in 11 down, it is indeed just a simple charade, with “puerile work about a mistreated cat” the longish definition. @Robert Clark, like you, I found this image of the seemingly serious Brontes knocking out a bit of animal-based juvenilia quite amusing. Apologies if it caused any undue head-scratching.
    (@Young Salopian – nice moniker! I’m in Salop now, as it happens.)

      1. Flying visit this time, but I have lived in Shropshire for over two decades in total, in fact more than half my lifetime!

        1. I forgot my manners. I should have welcomed you to the site and congratulated you on an excellent puzzle. Incidentally, there are five or six regular or semi-regular visitors to this blog from Shropshire plus a couple of lurkers that I know of.

          1. Many thanks indeed – I’m delighted to be here, and to hear that the Salopians are keeping the cruciverbal flag flying!

    1. Thank you for popping in Robyn. I did enjoy this but I found it several times harder than your debut puzzle. Was that your intention?

      I’m pleased to see that I got the parsing of 11d right, and this one was my favourite.

      1. No, I thought it was about the same. The first one was rather easier than I thought, this one rather harder. Shows what we setters know! Still, if it’s a Toughie, throwing a few curveballs seems fair enough!

    2. Thanks for joining us, Robyn, and for giving us such an enjoyable puzzle. Come back often.

  13. I really enjoyed this. It was trickier than usual for a Tuesday but none the worse for that. I hadn’t appreciated the airport references at 13d either but the clue was still solvable. Maybe if it had just been JFK we might all have twigged it! I loved 25a and the neat little 23d.
    Thanks to Robyn and to MP for the blog.

    1. Peanuts are just one of quite a wide variety of edible earth-nuts – admittedly few of which are grown in the UK!

    2. I had to Google it and it is also the name of a fast food chain which I’d not heard of.

  14. Initially I found this a more challenging puzzle for a Tuesday than is usually the case, but at about the half-way stage it all started to flow. 11d & 14d were bung-ins, and while it was fairly clued I don’t think I’ve ever heard of 5d. A couple of odd surface reads (esp 5d) but I did enjoy this, with particular smiles after 1a, 19a, 21a and 13d.

    Many thanks to Robyn for the fun, and to MP for the review.

  15. Thanks to Robyn and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very interesting toughie, a good mixture of clues, some straightforward, some difficult. Really enjoyed trying to solve it. Needed the hints for 19&27a and 5,14,23d. I managed to get the airport connection in 13d, and got 11d from the checkers, but couldn’t parse it. Favourite was 6a. Was 3* / 4* for me.

  16. Late to this but great evening entertainment. Stalled with 6 to go then found it pretty tough going. After a deal of head scratching I got to within 1 of a finish before reading the hint to 19a – very annoying as ought to have got it really. 5d was a complete bung in – couldn’t fit anything else in & looked it up but didn’t bother to try & parse it. Got 11d from the wordplay without knowing the nursery rhyme & hadn’t a clue what Ronnie had to do with 13d. Last in was 23d where the penny took far longer to drop than it ought to have given it’s where I got my degree from.
    Plenty of excellent clues – 16,25&27a plus 3&8d were the standouts for me.
    Thanks to Robyn both for the puzzle & popping in (welcome anytime) & Miffs.

  17. Thanks again for tips! 14d ding dong is a fight or scrap. Early Bronte sisters poems written under pseudonym of Bell. Obviously chucking cat in a well counts as mistreatment.

  18. Very late comment but I enjoyed this puzzle. Slow start, but got them all apart from 5d which I had earth BUN for! Liked 9a.

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