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Toughie 2745

Toughie No 2745 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Good morning from Barrel. A place of beautiful sunrises. Chalicea has set an easy Tuesday Toughie challenge today.  Just right for those stepping up from back page puzzles into the darker world of Toughie territory

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a        Those who stay with French priest for peaceful break (4,4)
REST CURE:  Begin  with a noun defined in my online dictionary as ‘the remaining people or things; the others’ Add  a French priest

8a        Deprive of food returning vermin with heartless violence (6)
STARVE: Reverse the usual vermin that setters find so irresistible and add the outer letters of the word violence

9a        Ancient kings of Atlantic islands, it’s said (8)
PHARAOHS: A self-governing archipelago, part of the Kingdom of Denmark. Comprised of 18 rocky, volcanic islands between Iceland and Norway in the North Atlantic Ocean sounds (it’s said) just like the name given to the ancient kings of Egypt

10a      Knock back drink and linger for piece of cake (8)
PUSHOVER:  A verb meaning to drink is reversed and followed by a synonym of the word linger. As Sir Christopher Cockerill may have lingered at times

11a      Lust of French ancestor (6)
DESIRE: The French word for of is followed by a very recent male ancestor

12a      Celestial events are trickily specialised not requiring potential aid (8)
ECLIPSES:  An anagram (trickily) of the word SPECIALISED minus the letters from the word AID

13a      Some studies say I stressed writer (8)
ESSAYIST: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some

16a      Wrongly set down what is curiously simplest (8)
MISSPELT: Anagram (what is curiously) SIMPLEST

19a      Aircraft industry‘s mishandled privatisation; exotic trips excluded (8)
AVIATION: Anagram (mishandled) of PRIVATISATION minus the letters from the word TRIPS

21a      Pierces first of season’s fruits (6)
SPEARS:  Begin with the initial letter of the word season. Add some fruits now ripe in our orchards

23a      I shout aloud for sweet (3,5)
ICE CREAM: The word I followed by a piercing shout sounds like a dessert or sweet often placed in a wafer cone

24a      Paint box set? (6,2)
COLOUR TV: A synonym of the verb paint is followed by the initials of the small expensive box that used to sit in the corner of your living room but has now been superseded by a huge flat black easily affordable item

25a      Make aware of article about vigil (6)
AWAKEN: A two lettered article surrounds a vigil over the body of a deceased person

26a      Depression is principally the subject for medical specialists (8)
DENTISTS: Begin with a depression or hollow. Add the word is from the clue. Add the initial or principal letters of the words the and subject


1d        Watertight   floodgate (7)
STAUNCH:  A double definition. One an adjective relating to ships that can be described as a 2 down

2d        Old-fashioned words treated as a smirch (9)
ARCHAISMS:  Anagram (treated) of AS A SMIRCH

3d        Pulls out  pages (6)
LEAVES:  A double definition. Both rather obvious

4d        Delegates of a vet’s enterprise at sixes and sevens (15)
REPRESENTATIVES:  Anagram (at sixes and sevens) of A VET’S ENTERPRISE

5d        Dubious distaste for the most stiff and starchy (8)
STAIDEST: Anagram (dubious) of DISTASTE

6d        Overfeeds essentially voracious male sheep (5)
CRAMS: Begin with the central letter (essentially) of the word voracious. Add some male sheep. The word sheep in the clue is plural

7d        Takes on again that woman’s upset and anger with son (7)
REHIRES:  Begin with the reverse of a pronoun meaning that woman. Add a three letter word meaning anger and the abbreviation for the word son

14d      Beatles favourite  not long ago (9)
YESTERDAY:  A word meaning in the very recent past Is also the title of one of The Beatles most turgid and boring songs. This one is much better

15d      Bars lakes around a southern university (8)
MEASURES: The letter A from the clue together with the abbreviations for southern and university sit inside a synonym for lakes. Small lakes perhaps

17d      To make progress I instigate circling press release (7)
IMPROVE: A three part charade. 1 The letter I from the clue.  2  A word meaning to instigate as one might a motion or item on an agenda. 3 The abbreviation for a press release. Arrange as suggested by the wording of the clue

18d      Behold moggie journalist found (7)
LOCATED: A two letter exclamation meaning behold is followed by a feline queen and our usual senior journalist

20d      Current Conservative step up for polar area (3,3)
ICE CAP:  The electrical abbreviation for current is followed by the abbreviation for conservative. This is followed by the reverse of a word meaning a step taken whilst walking

22d      Concerning a contest (5)

ABOUT: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a word synonymous with a contest. A boxing match for example


37 comments on “Toughie 2745

  1. I needed eHelp for a couple but, otherwise, a most satisfactory solve. Not surprising really because Chalicea is my favourite setter. It has been a long time since I got anywhere with a Toughie so this was the icing on the cake of today’s great back pager. If I had to pick a COTD it would be 24a although I suspect it might be a chestnut.

    Thank you, Chalicea for the entertainment and grateful thanks to Miffypops for the hints.

  2. Thanks for a quick work out, Chalicea, but I don’t even think that rates a difficult as a Friday backpager. I suppose the unusual synonyms at 1d and 15d might push the grading a little higher.

COTD has to be 24a, a two letter word ending in V certainly had me checking my workings!

    Thanks to MP for the hints.

  3. A hugely enjoyable if not particularly over-taxing puzzle to kick off the Toughie week. Some lovely clueing throughout, with 24a on top of the pile alongside 26a.

    Thanks to Chalicea for a most entertaining and rewarding grid, and to MP.

  4. Probably my quickest toughie-solve ever so only half a star for difficulty, but enjoyable nonetheless. The only clue I took time over was 10a because I thought the definition was at the front and was trying to think of words for slices of cake!
    Thanks to Chalicea and to MP [and I agree about the tune at 14d]

  5. Echo your comments above MP.
    Very quick solve today but as always some elegant clueing.
    Thanks to Chalicea .

  6. The easiest crossword I have tackled for some time but I enjoyed the exercise. Thank you to setter and hinter.

  7. My favourite setter do. The only toughie I attempt.
    Feeling a bit rough today after my booster on Sunday so glad to have 2 enjoyable puzzles today.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP

  8. The SW corner held out until I solved 24a. A word ending in v was quite a challenge until the penny dropped.
    My COTD is 9a An elegant clue. I like it.

  9. 24a and 9a lead this star-studded parade of wonderful clues by my favourite setter. So nice to have her setting the pace for this week’s run of Toughies. I did rather break my own record, I think, in reaching the finish line but that’s because the clues are so smartly and smoothly set. Thanks to MP and to Chalicea.

  10. The first Toughie that I have filled almost straight off, with hardly a hesitation. Therefore hugely enjoyable!

  11. I always enjoy Chalicea’s puzzles, and this was no exception. I must respectfully disagree with Miffypops, though – for me, this was a step down in difficulty from a backpager. Today’s backpage took almost 50% longer than today’s Toughie for me, and I got the former done well within my usual target time. Not that I’m complaining, or trying to dishearten those stepping up. Maybe it was just me…

      1. I know, I’m really sorry… I’ll try not to do it again. I don’t think I’ve ever disagreed with such an adorably-named person before. Though now I think about it, is it even your real name? This internet thing is so tricksy.

  12. I can only echo what others have said, very enjoyable, and for me the best Chalicea puzzle for a while, the grid sprinkled with little delights.
    10&24a were my favourites
    Many thanks to Chalicea and MP for the fun.

  13. Thank you Miffypops and all of you for those so welcoming comments. Setting is a rather lonely activity, though we do get together at Zoom gatherings and sometimes in reality, so it is lovely to come here and find that on-line friends are satisfied with the puzzle, albeit relatively easy for a toughie.

    1. Don’t you worry about those who found this Toughie too easy. There are many more like me, I am sure, who found it to be just our cup of tea.

  14. Oh dear, I’ve done it again – that comment should have come from Chalicea and not in our Numpty disguise (the one we use for giving hints on the EV).

  15. Even with a beery brain & heavy eyelids managed this typically delightful Tuesday floughie in pretty quick time.
    Thanks Chalicea & Miffs

  16. One of these days we might remember how to spell 9a without having to check it in BRB. That day has not arrived yet.
    Thoroughly enjoyable romp as ever from this setter.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

    1. ha ha That is exactly my view of today’s puzzle. Even with the checkers I always have too many A’s and R’s (or too few) for 9a and it is often 16a. 10a was no 10a either but the rest was a treat.
      Thanks to Chalicea and MP. I was tempted to include a better DS song for 24a but as MP didn’t inflict the Beatles dirge on us I will not bore those of you who are not Mark Knopfler fans with alternatives.

  17. Like Steve Cowling, Chalicea is my favourite setter and I was so happy to be able to complete this Toughie with only two hints. Jumping up and down happy. Has a good chuckle at 23a. Thanks to Chalicea and Miffypops.

  18. I came here after suggestions from the regular cryptic blog and was pleased to do so. Actually did this crossword quicker. Most enjoyable! Thanks Chalicea – at least you have introduced me to the Toughies which, I am sure, are normally outside my range. **/****

    1. I thought the same, Hereward but after being on this blog for a few years now they are starting to make some sense. My first unaided finish of a Toughie was one of Chalicea’s.

  19. Thanks to Chalicea and to Miffypops for the review and hints. A very enjoyable toughie, but it must’ve been on the gentle side, as I managed to complete it quite quickly! Very enjoyable, nice of Chalicea to pop in. It’s always great to hear from the setters. I liked 28a, but my favourite was 24a, a real penny drop moment. Was 1*/4* for me.

  20. Like Hereward I came here as a result of comments on the regular cryptic blog.

    My first Toughie and I loved it.

  21. I enjoyed this but it was certainly not a Toughie. I am not sure what tge criteria are or how they are selected. All I know is that there are some back pavers I pire over for hours whereas with this “Toughie” most went in without hesitation. I single out 1 d as one that took up some time as I was not sure of the synonym for either word in the clue. The Long 4d helped a lot although it did cause me to query the V. Favourites 4 and 10a. Thanks Chalicea and MP. Always read the hunts although not needed today.

    1. If it wasn’t a Toughie, that is only fair, as sometimes the back pager is a really a Toughie masquerading as a regular cryptic.

  22. Great to have an easier toughie but just spent 10 minutes trying to find out what EV means in Numpty comment. Got to Electronic Vehicles, but now aware it’s a puzzle in the Sunday Telegraph!

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