Toughie 2725 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2725

Toughie No 2575 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the outskirts of Barrel where the weather has been decidedly changeable over the last few days. Dontcha just love the English weather? Today sees Chalicea in the fluffiest of her Toughiest guises. All very enjoyable as usual. I hope you enjoy the solve

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


9a        Self-justification in fib I laughed about (5)
ALIBI:   The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in. It is reversed as indicated by the about

10a      Coffee brewed — nice aroma (9)
AMERICANO:  Anagram (brewed) of NICE AROMA

11a      Sit around and essentially respect this play place (7)
SANDPIT:  A three part charade with instructions. All seven of the letters in the answer  are given in the clue. 1 The word sit. Lifted from the clue. 2 The word and. Lifted from the clue. 3 The essential or central letter of the word respect. Follow the simple instructions within the clue

12a      Female police officer and personnel (7)
DISTAFF: Begin with the abbreviation of a senior police officer. Add a word synonymous with personnel

13a      Leafy shelter for violinist? (5)
BOWER:  One who wields the item used to scrape the strings of a violin might be described thus

14a      With care regularly correcting text acknowledging person’s role (9)
CREDITING: The alternate letters of the word care are followed by a term meaning correcting text

16a      This small hound surprisingly re-entered a brier (8,7)
ABERDEEN TERRIER: Anagram (surprisingly) of RE ENTERED A BRIAR

19a      Stops consuming pastry dish to provide an impetus (4-5)
KICK START: Split 5,4 we have a word meaning stops doing something that has become a habit and an open pastry item

21a      Believe visitors will be short of time (5)
GUESS:  One visitors need to lose the abbreviation for time

23a      Overwhelm journalists after work (7)
OPPRESS: A collective term for the fourth estate sits after the abbreviation used for a piece of work know as an opus

25a      Survive like the tenth batsman? (7)
OUTLAST: Split 3,4 The tenth batsman is still classed as in and could therefore be described thus

27a      Dwelling‘s dreadfully dire scene (9)
RESIDENCE: Anagram (dreadfully) of DIRE SCENE

28a      Italian runner making comeback with period theatre (5)
OPERA: A two-letter Italian river is reversed and followed by a period of time


1d        Crazy  rackets (4)
BATS: These rackets are used in sport to hit a ball

2d        Swimmer takes little time these days (6)
MINNOW:  a shortened form of sixty seconds is followed a term meaning at this point in time

3d        H aspirated incorrectly in lists of popular songs (3,7)
HIT PARADES:  Anagram (incorrectly) of H ASPIRATED

4d        In first act, I clapped skilful manoeuvre (6)
TACTIC: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

5d        Most insecure ones media tests unrestrainedly (8)
NEEDIEST: Remove the outer letters (unrestrainedly) of several consecutive words in the clue

6d        Pegs cut up (4)
PINS: A word meaning to cut as a hairdresser might do to ones hair is reversed to suit the first definition in the clue

7d        Virtuoso violinist, one with no religion in Italy (8)
PAGANINI: A person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main religions is followed by the word In from the clue and the IVR code for Italy

8d        Potentially refocusing, sets up for particular purpose (10)
CONFIGURES:  Anagram (potentially) of REFOCUSING

13d      Support management acquiring large classroom item (10)
BLACKBOARD: A four-letter word meaning to support is followed by a senior management team. Somewhere along the line they need to acquire the abbreviation for large

15d      Supplying water to crop or airing it somehow (10)
IRRIGATION:  Anagram (somehow) of OR AIRING IT

17d      Avoidance of unpleasant reality, Houdini’s profession? (8)
ESCAPISM: A double definition. Both rather simple

18d      Light rising piece of music gliding away (8)
ELAPSING: Light here refers to a shade or a colour. It is reversed (rising) and followed by a piece of music as vocalised. Am I missing something here?

20d      Elevated recreation involving English figures of speech (6)
TROPES:  A recreation, pastime or competitive game is reversed and surrounds the abbreviation for English

22d      Jubilant journalist backs upcoming story (6)
ELATED:  Our regular journo comes after the reverse of a story or yarn

24d      Whirling motion of Merckx maybe (4)
EDDY:  The first name of a Belgian chap famed for riding a bike

26d      Overturned trading place’s means of transport (4)
TRAM:  The reverse of a place of trading is also a form of transport that runs delightfully along the promenade in Blackpool and frighteningly through the centre of Birmingham and Nottingham How much more appreciated is the traffic free city centre of Coventry


60 comments on “Toughie 2725

  1. Easier than yesterday’s back pager, only one stumble in that I put the answer for 24d in 26d, that threw me! I’m sure that somewhere 21 across is a synonym for believe but I’ve never heard of it.

    1. I guess you haven’t!

      Where the second and third stars came from for this one beats me!

      1. Shortly after the Big Bang the first star would have been formed. I suppose the second and third stars followed. As a poorly schooled orphan boy I’m not really qualified to say.

        1. There are between 100 billion and 400 billion stars in our galaxy, the Milky Way. And about 125 billion galaxies in the universe. One fine night the other week I started counting them. I got up to 47, then a big dark cloud came over and buggered it up for me! :-(

  2. Most enjoyable, but if I thought the backpager was swift, this was on rocket fuel – I was on to Chalicea’s wavelength from the start and fair rattled through it.

    Disagree with her about 7d, though – a ***** is not “one with no religion”.

    Loved the surface and solution to 5d, my COTD – very timely and so true.

    1* / 3*

    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

    1. Whatever we think about 7d it’s good to remember Inspector Endeavour Morse who’s nickname was Pagan.

  3. Very straightforward, but enjoyable nonetheless.
    I still don’t understand the reference to the tenth batsman in 25a.

      1. Which could be any batsman from one to eleven. The tenth batsman might be the not out batsman. But hey, let’s not sweat the small stuff

  4. A thoroughly enjoyable if rather rapid solve for the first Toughie of the week. 20d was close to being my favourite, but that position is taken by 16a.

    My thanks to Chalicea for the fun and to MP.

  5. I had this completed in ** time. I really liked 19a. The answer was obvious but the exact parsing took me quite a while. Some of the synonyms are a little stretched in my opinion. A pagan can certainly have a religion, just not mine, and I’m not sure about the music in 18d. I suppose you could say “The Hallelujah Chorus, that’s a good sing”.

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  6. A ‘light’ start to the toughie week as per usual, evenly clued throughout with no obscurities.
    Originally thought from the checking letters that 11a was sunspot until the penny dropped. I thought that MPs difficulty rating was a star too many- thanks for the pics.
    No stand out favouriteLiked 25a and 7d.
    In 19a ,I would have expected the consuming ‘pastry dish’ to be contained within the ‘stops’ not following it ! maybe somewhat pedantic on my part.
    Anyway a pleasant puzzle on a rainy day.

  7. Very nicely clued as always & a lovely confidence booster to 19a the new Toughie week. In what was possibly a Toughie first for me I solved them in clue order. With a disbelieving eye on the clock I started to get a bit slapdash initially bunging in the wrong terrier breed at 16a which fitted the A&D checker but soon corrected for a record time solve.
    Dread to think what Bertie would have had to say but I enjoyed it. 21a my favourite.
    Thanks Chalicea & Miffs
    Ps I wonder what % of solvers actually cotton on to themes early enough for it to assist in the solve. I’ve just done today’s Indy puzzle which was great fun & contained the most blindingly obvious theme that I remained completely oblivious to until I read the comments on 225. It almost makes one feel that you didn’t finish it fully…

      1. They come and go. Some join and make the blog a happier place while they last and some winge and moan until they decide we are not for them. I just hope whoever visits the site can learn something to help their solving abilities and enjoy what the site has to offer.

      2. He’s moved on to pester someone else with his superior knowledge and self-importance.

  8. Like Huntsman’s, my fastest-ever Toughie finish but that does not mean there was an kind of lessening of its quality or enjoyment for me. I always find Chalicea a joy to solve. 8d and 11a are my co-favourites. Thanks to MP and to Chalicea.

  9. I am really happy to be giving pleasure to solvers – be careful what you wish for, there’s an Elgar coming on Friday!
    As regards 7d, Mustafa G, of course you are right but Chambers gives the exact words of my definition as one of its definitions (claiming it is a recent usage) and we opt for the definitions that are short, accepting that Chambers is not always the ideal source but accepting it as our ‘Bible’.
    We have a ‘new’ editor for the Toughies, as of today’s; the retired crossword editor is relieving Chris Lancaster (who, I suspect, wrote today’s back-pager) of some of the massive overload of work. He proposed 18d. I had a rather obscure name for a snake (doing the gliding away) – the first five letters of the solution – and he told me it wouldn’t be fair – too obscure for a Toughie solver (probably right?).
    Many thanks to Miffypops – as always.

    1. I enjoyed this very much, having had little time for crosswords on the Isle of Man. For me a much quicker solve than the also good back-pager. I still don’t understand how the Ed selects them. Rather like when tossing things randomly in the urgent and non-urgent trays and mixing them up.

      1. Nothing has ever that urgent that it needed it’s own tray in my life Wanda. If it or anybody threatened urgency then it went straight to the bottom of the pile

    2. Thank you for commenting, Chalicea — it’s always interesting to get a little insight into the process like this.

  10. Light and relatively enjoyable. I thought some of the anagrams clever but nothing leapt off the page at me. Like MP I’m wondering if I’m missing something at 18d, my LOI as I can’t justify the wordplay.
    Many thanks to Chalicea for a fun puzzle and to MP for the hints.

    1. Unlikely Stephen. You don’t miss much. I parsed it the same as Miffs & you no doubt. Not the best clue on the grid so interesting that it was the new editor’s input. Heaven knows what the original obscurity was.

  11. Thank you Chalicea for letting me complete a toughie, even though the eggheads are calling it a floughie and I didn’t fully understand the crickety one. I love the idea of nice aroma being a coffee – it is one of those serendipitous anagrams like Dormitory being Dirty Room. I don’t often tackle the toughie in the daytime, it is a bath time frustration normally, but today has not been a normal day. Thanks to Miffypops as well.

  12. Very gentle and enjoyable as always. I agree with some earlier observations on 25a and 18d. Thanks to MP and Chalicea.

  13. I was so pleased to see 13d. So many race aware people think it’s derogatory and prefer whiteboard. Isn’t life daft!

    1. Whiteboard pens hurt a lot less than Blackboard rubbers when thrown by bullying teachers who should never have been allowed near children

  14. I also want to thank Chalicea for making me feel really happy today, having almost solved a Toughie with no help. It was just the cricket clue at 25a and 18d that sent me off to Miffypops’ hints, thanks. Her puzzles always prove that they don’t over to be OTT with headscratchers to be enjoyable. Two puzzles done and a morning spent organizing the patio pots etc. what more could I wish for?

  15. I completed the Toughie thinking it was the cryptic. I did guess it was my favourite setter!
    Always love Chalicea’s puzzles.
    Thanks to her and MP

  16. After reading here how easy it was I had a crack and sure enough it took no longer than the regular. I can only surmise that our reviewer’s coffee machine is broken. New word for me at 12a. Thank you to reviewers and commenters for this blog, which I enjoy.

    1. Wish i could agree with the reviewers rating – it would make me feel good. I don’t usually do the toughie but gave it a go today and was only a little harder than the backpage. Very enjoyable though

      1. The blog template comes with the standard *** ratings as shown at the top of the blog and the reviewer changes them to suit how they found the crossword. Miffypops doesn’t change them – however, you can see how difficult he found the crossword from his remark in the prologue “Chalicea in the fluffiest of her Toughiest guises”

  17. I did this late tonight having seen it was from Chalicea, to whom thanks.

    Didn’t get 28a because I was watching “Silent Witness” alongside and so put “irrigating” in error in 15d.

    Favourite cotd was 19a.

    Thanks also to MP.

  18. Don’t often do the Toughie, but had some time to try it today. Was a good puzzle and not too hard it seemed. 2.5*/***.
    Top half faster than the bottom and 20d last in as I did not know the word.
    Clues I liked include 12a, 16a, 19a, 1d & 3d with winner 16a

    Thanks to Chalicea & MP

  19. I would just like to say a huge thank you to MP and all the other hinters. I would be totally incapable of solving without your explanations. What a lot of time you must all take helping people like me. I’ve been doing these crosswords for years and truth be told I mainly buy the paper for this reason. It’s so good to either read an explanation when I don’t understand or to check how and why I occasionally get the right answers. Many thanks to Chalicea. I thoroughly enjoyed this crossword. Also many thanks to all the other bloggers. Today the sun is shining and no prospect of rain! A walk around Wisley will be a delight.

  20. Thanks to Chalicea and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I’m amazed how straightforward it was, as compared with the Thursday Giovanni. No real holdups, LOI was 18d. Favourite was 19a, which made me laugh. Was 2* /4* for me.

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