Toughie 2717 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2717

Toughie No 2717 by Robyn

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

 Good morning from the bottom of the Barrel where the Cornish sun which has followed us home is shining brightly and calling us out into the garden. Today’s puzzle has been set by Robyn who also sets in The Gaurdian as Picaroon. I found it quite difficult and a bit off the wall in places but a lot of fun nonetheless

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Spotting little upper-class man hugging another one (11)
UNOBSERVANT:  A charade in this order. 1 The single letter that represents upper class. 2  A three-letter informal noun describing a person of wealth or high social position (man) 3 A personal attendant or valet (another man)

Faithless the watch that I kept: now I have none to keep.

I was slain because I slept: now I am slain I sleep.

Let no man reproach me again; whatever watch is unkept-

I sleep because I am slain. They slew me because I slept

Rudyard Kipling

10a      One who has dispiriting experience, wasting day (5)

OWNER: Remove the letter D from a dispiriting experience, one that might dampen the mood

11a      Reagan is irritated about Democrat presenting the Bushes (9)
GARDENIAS: An anagram (irritated) of REAGAN IS which includes the abbreviation for democrat

12a      Light scuffle — kick out in the middle of it (3,4,2)
SET FIRE TO:  A scuffle 3,2 has a word meaning to sack or get rid of someone placed in between

13a      Island with a gripping entertainment industry — this one? (5)
IBIZA:  This Balearic island consiststs of the abbreviation for island plus the letter A from the clue separated by the word show(BIZ)

14a      Naval officer once in the hold for fighting (6)
NELSON: A wrestling hold is also the name of an old naval officer and columnist

16a      Stiff stone having curves (8)
STARCHED: The abbreviation for a stone in weight is followed by a synonym of the word curved

18a      A flight attendant moving ecstasy to Asia, perhaps (8)
EASTWARD: The letter a plus the name given to flight attendants or trolley dollies can be placed together. Then move the letter E to the beginning

20a      Only 75 per cent inclined to work in workspace (6)
STUDIO: Begin with an adjective meaning inclined to work or spending a lot of time reading and learning. Remove a quarter of its letters

23a      In Cervantes, the end is charming and delicate (5)
ELFIN: The words 2,3 that the Spaniard Cervantes might use for the end

24a      Prominent means to deter a career in transport? (5,4)
SPEED BUMP: A cryptic definition of a device used to slow the progress of motorists

26a      Sailor from the East spies skinny partygoer (9)
SOCIALITE: An ordinary seaman, (reversed) the American Central Intelligence Agecy and a word used to denote skinny or low calorie food or drinks

27a      Master‘s large pocket (5)
LEARN: The abbreviation for large is followed by a verb mean to pocket or gain from employment

28a      Channel in same broadcast feature (5,6)
MENAI STRAIT: An anagram (broadcast) of IN SAME is followed by a distinguishing quality or characteristic


2d        Muses, say, why tennis can’t be played? (5)
NONET:  Split 2,3 this nine line poem might cause a problem for tennis players

3d        Director finally cutting our bit out — it’s a wrap! (7)
BURRITO:An anagram (out) of OUR BIT also includes the final letter of the word director

4d        Trainee flier‘s sub-par performance time (6)
EAGLET: A young bird found by adding the abbreviation for time to a golf score that is two strokes below par

5d        It is in estuary, outside of Rhode Island (8)
VERMOUTH: Defined by The word IT, the answer is an aromatic fortified wine. The last five letters are a synonym of the word estuary and the R comes from the abbreviation for Rhode. I am at a loss to explain this clue. Any help will be gratefully appreciated

6d        Out to lunch, diner content to leave entree with less bread (7)
NEEDIER: An anagram (out to lunch) of DINER which also includes the outer letters of the word entrée (content to leave)

7d        Bad son’s even seen entertaining King Lear production? (8,5)
NONSENSE VERSE: Anagram (Bad) of SONS EVEN SEEN which also includes the Latin abbreviation for King. Lear here is not a king but a commoner. A great artist and poet from ages ago

8d        Forgetting half of news, European journo is doomed (8)
FINISHED: Remove one letter N (half of news where NN = New new) from a Northern European and add our favourite crosswordland journalist

9d        Touring Italy, purchases inspiring bag (6-7)
ISLAND HOPPING: A three part charade with instructions. 1 The abbreviation for Italy. 2 Ones purchases or goods bought from stores. 3  A synonym of the word bag, to succeed in obtaining perhaps. Arrange as suggested by the clue

15d      Turned up in disreputable cafe, so likely to be shamed (4,4)
LOSE FACE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in. It is reversed as indicated by the words turned up

17d      Intimate garments thus put on a Swede, say (8)
BRASSICA: Items of ladies underwear followed by an adverb (usually bracketed) which means thus or it is so followed by the letter A from the clue

19d      Hopeful cop in decline (7)
WANNABE: A word meaning to cop or arrest someone sits inside a verb meaning to decrease in vigour or extent. What a lovely word the answer is

21d      Wanting one more pickled shrimp (7)
TIDDLER: A word meaning more drunk needs to lose the letter I (wanting one)

22d      Items on French loaves about to fill Yankees? (6)
BERETS: The two-letter word meaning about sits inside what Yankees are when gambling

25d      Uniform holy man spun showing taste (5)
UMAMI: The letter suggested by the word uniform in the phonetic alphabet is followed by the reverse of a religious leader




28 comments on “Toughie 2717

  1. This would have fitted perfectly in the Thursday or Friday Toughie spot – given that all this setter’s aliases produce quite tricky crosswords, this one being no exception, I’m not entirely sure what it is doing in the middle of the paper on a Tuesday.

    I did enjoy the brain stretching very much so thanks to Robyn and MP

  2. My first comment – how exciting!
    I, like Sue, thought this was tough for a Tuesday. Four stars at least, after a deceptively quick start. I have just realised re 5d that an estuary is the mouth of a river, and ‘outside of’ means ‘taking away the letters that abbreviate’… Hope this helps sufficiently.

  3. Millypops- I think that 5d is RIVERMOUTH without the abbreviation for Rhode Island. Certainly a real toughie for a Tuesday. Thanks to you and Robyn.

  4. I’m giving up having struggled all morning. The last straw was 17d. Having been terribly clever and got “scanties”, (thinking of a Scandivian Swede). to find the answer was a cabbage was just too much!
    Seriously, I found this way beyond me. I shall be interested to read how others found it.

  5. Tricky but fair and somewhat harder than usual Tuesday fare.
    Having put in “trap” as second word in 24ac I failed to get 25d.
    The rest all made sense though some parsing took time.
    Particularly liked 5d though it’s a long time since I remember anyone ordering a Gin & It!
    Perhaps it’s still fashionable in the Metropolis.
    Thanks to MP and Robyn.

  6. There were so many excellent clues in this grid that picking out a favourite is virtually impossible. It was certainly a tough Toughie, not what we have come to expect on a Tuesday, but a quality puzzle in every respect. Despite all the ticks, I will select 7d as my COTD.

    My thanks and congratulations to Robyn for a superb crossword, and to MP for his review.

  7. Very much a 4+ of 5 on my personal Toughie scale, and not what I thought to see on a Tuesday, more a Thursday or even a Friday jobbie to me.

    I had the same issue as MP re the “ve” in 5d, so thank you to those above who have parsed it. Not sure why “hugging” appears in 1a – surely that suggests going around / enveloping, rather than standing alongside?

    Enjoyable, with plenty of groans as pennie dropped: my thanks to Robyn for the challenge and to MP for the review.

  8. Got six clues all on my own! The rest were beyond me. 8d is a type of clue I have never seen before, you could say it was news to me.

  9. So much ‘local’ (i.e., UK-related) GK I simply didn’t know (“It” = Vermouth? “brassica” = swede? “tiddler” = shrimp?). So I fared poorly in places but I did enjoy the challenge, especially the perimeter clues, though I flubbed the bottom one (sorry, Jane!). Seemed like an end-of-week rascal for me. Thanks to MP and Robyn.

  10. Heaven help us on Friday but this was terrific stuff even if it was at least 4 on the Moh’s scale. A very quirky style with cleverly disguised definitions and some unusual phrasing e.g. 5d, which I too failed to parse, thinking “estuary” referred just to “mouth”.
    Favourite clue was the cute little 5a.
    Many thanks to Robyn and to MP for the blog.

  11. Very enjoyable puzzle, although tough for a Tuesday. I believe there are two answers for 24a with the variable letter being unchecked.

  12. 23a – In Cervant(esthe)end. I looked up ‘esthe’ – one having or affecting sensitivity to the beautiful especially in art. It seemed to fit but not quite I guess.

  13. Very difficult but I managed to stumble over the line with a bit of electronic help and needed the hints and explanation to parse 20a, 26a and 5d. Never heard of 25d but I have now. Favourite was 22d. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  14. Tricky cluing and lots of head scratching today, agree with CS that it was thu/fri standard-25d was new to me.
    Liked 23a and 9d, last in was 28a, a nice mix of part anagram and ‘feature’
    Thanks setter and MP foor the enjoyment.

  15. I agree with Jereboam that there appears to be nothing in the clue for 24A which rules out SPEED HUMP as a possible answer. That and SPEED BUMP both appear in Chambers.

  16. This took from Liverpool Street to Slough after a rare day in the office. Many entertaining clues but I think 22d was my favourite. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  17. Much tougher than we expect to encounter on a Tuesday but we did eventually get it all sorted with 5d the last one to fall.
    See that we weren’t the only ones trying to make SCANTIES fit for 17d.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Robyn and MP.

  18. Thanks to Robyn and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Absolutely agree with Cryptic Sue, should have been at the end of the week. Needed 17 hints to finish. So difficult, I couldn’t see the wordplay or the definitions of the 17. Was 6*/2* for me. Completely unfathomable.

  19. Agree with the ‘tough Toughie’ assessment. Managed to finish it but with more electronic help than I’ve ever needed before for one grid. Started to think I’d nodded off and been propelled to Friday!

  20. Just completed my first ever Toughie. Needed loads of electronic help and put feast in 7d, instead of verse. Still don’t understand it though.

    1. Hello, and congratulations!

      The answer is an anagram (the word ‘bad’ indicates that the following words need their letters mixing up) of ‘sons even seen’ plus ‘r’. This ‘r’ is the ‘king’ that is ‘entertained’ by the other letters, i.e. you put an ‘r’ in the mix to form the anagram. A ‘Lear production’ is something that (Edward) Lear produced – e.g. The Owl and the Pussycat.

      I hope this helps.

    2. Well done. The underlined definition for 7 down is Lear production. A production by Edward Lear, well known for his nonsense verse. The setter has been very clever in placing the word King next to Lear as a form of misdirection

Comments are closed.