Toughie 2718 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2718

Toughie No 2718 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Another finely crafted start-of-the-week Toughie from Silvanus

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Visiting female suspect I accuse, those people brave hostile reception (4,3,5)
FACE THE MUSIC Insert (visiting) the pronoun meaning those people between the abbreviation for Female and an anagram (suspect) of I ACCUSE

9a    Firm proposal to employ Mike brings excitement (9)
COMMOTION An abbreviated company (firm) and a proposal, into which is inserted (to employ) the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

10a    Love new finale to great slow orchestral movement (5)
LARGO Change the end letter of a synonym for great with the letter represented by love

11a    Barely embraces partner (6)
SPOUSE Remove the outside letters (barely) from a way of saying embraces [a cause]

12a    Instinctive pressure on old tennis star (entertaining male one) to make comeback (8)
PRIMEVAL The abbreviation for Pressure goes on a reversal (to make a comeback) of an old Australian tennis star ‘entertaining’ the abbreviation for Male and the letter used to mean one

13a    Close to tea, Australian state initially adding runs after English reply (6)
ANSWER The ‘close’ to teA, an abbreviated (initially) Australian state and the abbreviation for runs in cricket, the latter going after the abbreviation for English

15a    Greatly disturbed over husband showing sluggishness (8)
LETHARGY An anagram (disturbed) of GREATLY goes ‘over’ the abbreviation for Husband

18a    Carries out works sacrificing professional’s place for study (8)
CONDUCTS A synonym for works sacrificing the abbreviation for professional and replacing with a verb meaning to study carefully

19a    Reluctantly, perhaps, Victor tucks into processed bread (6)
ADVERB Reluctantly is an example (perhaps) of this part of speech obtained by inserting the letter represented by Victor in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet into an anagram (processed) of BREAD

21a    Dance that’s said to attract attention? (6-2)
EXCUSE-ME Without the hyphen, this dance, during which one may change partners, could be something said to attract attention

23a    Hard to follow African politicians or TV presenter (6)
ANCHOR The abbreviation for Hard follows the abbreviation for an African political party, OR (from the clue) being added at the end

26a    Buckingham Palace insider, my good source of information (5)
CORGI An interjection of surprise (my), the abbreviation for Good and the ‘source’ of Information

27a    Illinois sergeant retires, concealing departure (9)
EGRESSION Hidden in reverse (retires concealing) in illiNOIS SERGEant

28a    Indefinable quality journalist illustrated originally about Oasis and Queen performing (2,2,4,4)
JE NE SAIS QUOI The original letter of Journalist and an anagram (performing) of the original letter of Illustrated plus OASIS and QUEEN


1d    Tone of Dutch hospital occasionally found wanting (7)
FUCHSIA The even letters (occasionally found wanting) in oF dUtCh HoSpItAl

2d    Small part of revolutionary poem acclaimed (5)
CAMEO Hidden in reverse (revolutionary) in pOEM ACclaimed

3d    Picked up flat stitch in bride’s clothing (9)
TROUSSEAU Homophones (picked up) of a synonym for straight or flat and a verb meaning to stitch

4d    Issue of tennis umpire’s call that’s overturned (4)
EMIT A reversal (that’s overturned) of a call made by a tennis umpire to inform the players that they have to get back on court after a break

5d    Disconcerted athlete heading off, very embarrassed outwardly (8)
UNNERVED Remove the heading from an athlete and add the abbreviation for Very inserted into the colour one turns when embarrassed

6d    This writer’s describing southern student finding religion (5)
ISLAM A way our setter might say ‘this writer is’ describing or going round the abbreviation for Southern and the usual letter associated with a student

7d    Come across party animals filling Tenerife on vacation (8)
TRAVERSE Some party animals ‘filling’ the outside (on vacation) letters of TenerifE

8d    Jersey is foggy (6)
WOOLLY An informal term for a jumper (jersey) or an adjective meaning hazy or indistinct

14d    Anxious having succeeded getting promotion into cushy job (8)
SINECURE Take a synonym for anxious and ‘promote’ or move the abbreviation for Succeeded to the front of the word

16d    Wild dishonest types putting pleasure first (9)
HEDONISTS An anagram (wild) of DISHONEST

17d    Rush and impress newspaper boss with energy (8)
STAMPEDE A verb meaning to impress, a newspaper boss and the abbreviation for Energy

18d    Compel business to make 2,000 redundant (6)
COERCE Remove two lots of the Roman numeral for 1,000 (make 2,000 redundant) from a synonym for business

20d    Polish upset over extremists escaping authority in country (7)
BURUNDI A reversal (upset) of a verb meaning to polish goes over an authority without its outside letters (extremists escaping)

22d    Take measurement around middle of chest (5)
SEIZE A measurement goes ‘around’ the middle letter of chEst

24d    Reportedly excellent masterstroke to produce short verse form (5)
HAIKU Homophones (reportedly) of synonyms for excellent and a masterstroke

25d    Region Myanmar easily covers
AREA Covered by myanmAR EAsily

25 comments on “Toughie 2718

  1. A terrific Toughie this morning, full of elegant and clever clues. I liked 18d for a super-smooth surface but my favourite was the brilliant 28a.

    Thanks Silvanus for a great puzzle, and thanks too, to CS.

  2. After yesterday’s Toughie and today’s back pager, this was a breath of fresh air that restored my faith in my solving abilities – 1.5*/4.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 26a, and 18d – and the winner is 18d.

    Thanks to Silvanus and CS (who always seems to refer to Wednesday as the start of the Toughie week).

    1. I’m referring to the difficulty level being ‘start of the week’ – as opposed to yesterday’s which was ‘end of the week’

  3. Nice puzzle, and a good deal gentler than yesterday. I’d have been happy to finish a back-pager in the time this one took. 26a made me smile. Many thanks to Silvanus and CS.

  4. Excellent puzzle – many thanks to Silvanus and CS.
    My printout is littered with ticks including 10a, 26a, 28a and 14d.
    I very rarely pick an anagram as my favourite clue but I’m making an exception for 16d which I thought was great.

  5. Great work as usual from Silvanus. As soon as you see his name on a puzzle you know you are in for a treat. A tad easier than yesterday’s puzzle but still Toughie material. I thought the hidden word lurking in 27 across was a belter. Thanks to Silvanus for the treat and to CrypticSue for the review. Having mown our three lawns it is now beer o clock

    1. Having seen the blog published, made two separate lots of chutney and brought in the dry washing, I was thinking it was getting on for tea and cake o’clock

  6. I enjoyed this pangram. Not too difficult but some amusing clues. My favourite was 8d. Thanks to Silvanus and CS.

  7. Excellent Toughie, definitely a step up in difficulty from this setter’s Friday back pagers without being mind bendingly so.
    Helped by being on pangram alert with 24d, my last one in.
    Favourite has to be 28a but liked 11,19& 26a plus 18d where the solution is incorrect in the hints.
    Many thanks to the Silvanus and CS.

  8. I typed my comment and it has vanished. Here we go again …

    What a treat! This was a joy from start to finish, with immaculate surfaces all the way and a pangram to boot.

    My page is littered with ticks, and after some cogitation 13a, 28a, 16d & 18d make it onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to CS.

  9. Many thanks as ever to CS for her hints, tips and choice of illustrations and to all those who have taken the trouble to comment.

    I think pangrams do often help to make a puzzle more solver-friendly, but I still think it’s nice to include one now and again. Hope to see you all again soon!

  10. I loved everything about this splendid Toughie, especially now after struggling with the backpager. Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and to CS for the review. (I thought of Miss Haversham’s dress with the illustration for 3d!)

    1. Sounds like you’re a “Great Expectations” fan as I am. I have an audio version narrated by a Dutchman named Frank Muller which I borrowed from my local library, it is so riveting, long as it is I’ve listened twice! He was a magical narrator. When I could see, I used to drive a lot and audiobooks were such a treat.

      1. Hi Merusa! GE was the first Dickens novel I read as a teenager and one of the first I taught as an English professor. Over the years, it has cheered me and it remains one of the glories of the language. Pip and Joe are great friends of mine. I’m not at all surprised that your discerning nature has endeared it to you too.

  11. I saw the one * for difficulty and thought I’d give this a try, alas, I’m just not clever enough for a Toughie. My admiration for you clever clogs knows no bounds, I’m so envious. On the other hand, I can now get on with other stuff … green with envy! Well done.

  12. Surely it’s more than * for difficulty? I had problems but then I was not able to concentrate properly as I went out for lunch midway. Such a treat to be able to go out like this again! COTD has to be 26a.

  13. 18a kept us head-scratching for a time but came together eventually.
    Beautifully crafted clues as usual and a real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Silvanus and CS.

  14. Got within two unaided ( 18d & 26a) after lots of head scratching. Always try the Toughie when CS gives it * but this is the first time I have got so near I knew what was wanted for 18d but just couldn’t think of a word with two Ms..26a clue too clever for me.
    Really enjoyed the struggle and the help from the review so thank you Silvanus & CS.

  15. I’ve had the same experience as RD, my comment has disappeared into the ether!
    Goes without saying that I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation from our master of surface reads and it was very hard to pick out a favourite. The 21a dance made me smile as did the ‘Buckingham Palace insider’ and the ‘processed bread’ but eventually I put the clever 18d on the top of the pile.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure and to CS for the review.

  16. A pre lights out solve & glad I made the effort. A faster completion (despite a few libations) than Jay’s back pager & though gentle an utter joy from start to finish which I find the case with just about every Silvanus puzzle. 28a has to be the pick of a cracking selection but big ticks also for 1,12,18,26&27a plus 14,16,18&20d. Yet again not a dud one to be found.
    Thanks Silvanus & CS.

  17. Thanks to Silvanus and to crypticsue for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, no wonder I managed to complete it. Only one star difficulty 😁. Enjoyed it very much.

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