Toughie 2749 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2749

Toughie No 2749 by Dada

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M Rating – Difficulty ** or ***Enjoyment ****

Good morning from Barrel where a mild mist is hovering over the fields. We have a full grid containing thirty two answers today. Although I feel that Dada has been kind there are a couple of definitions and synonyms that stretched my solving skills. As usual it was checkers to the rescue for the last couple in.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Colourless liquid, while in palm, spilt (6)
PLASMA:  A regular synonym of the word while sits inside an anagram (split) of the word PALM

5a        Sweep past back of hulking manor (6)
GRANGE:  A large area of open land used for grazing or hunting follows the last letter of the word bulking. Also the name of a pub in Coventry

10a      Chinese native characters on outskirts of Philadelphia, for example (5)
PANDA: How one might say what  the outer letters of the word Philadelphia are

11a      Domestic device cut apple? (3,6)
GAS HEATER:  A deep cut or wound is followed by one of two types of apple

12a      Remedy to do with bandage (7)
REDRESS:  A short word meaning to do with or concerning is followed by a word meaning to bandage a wound

13a      Shops show work by the setter retrospectively (7)
EMPORIA: A tune, an abbreviation of an opus and the personal pronoun your setter might use to describe himself are joined and reversed

14a      Sailor not trained for hairdressing (9)
TONSORIAL: Anagram (trained) of SAILOR NOT

17a      Complete: that’s gross money (5)
DOUGH: A short word meaning to complete a task or undertaking is followed by an expression of disgust

18a      Just   one hand? (5)
RIGHT:  A double definition. Both rather obvious

19a      Large vessel: fish nets I say on one (5,4)
CARGO SHIP:  A three part charade. 1 An oily freshwater fish (4). 2 An exclamation of surprise (not golly bongs) (4). The letter that looks like the number one. Arrange as suggested by the clue

21a      Celebrity incompetent? (7)
NOTABLE: A synonym of the word celebrity when Split 3,5 suits the second word of the clue

23a      As a siren going off, head for cover (7)
ARSENIC: An anagram (going off) of A SIREN followed by the initial letter of the word cover. The underlined definition is the chemical symbol of the element that makes up your answer

25a      Altitude? Cut it (7,2)
MEASURE UP:  A double definition. The first being to ascertain the height of something. The second being a phrase meaning to come up to scratch or to be able to complete a task

26a      Speak in old clip (5)
ORATE: The abbreviation for old is followed by a synonym of the word clip when used to describe speed

27a      Fashionable   as chilli? (3-3)
RED HOT: A double definition. The colour of chillies followed by their heat is the second

28a      See cycles by revolutionary wheel (6)
CHEESE: An anagram (cycles) of SEE follows crosswordlands busiest revolutionary


2d        Song inspiring devotion ultimately ruled (5)
LINED:  A type of German song, especially of the romantic period, typically for solo voice with piano accompaniment needs the final letter of the word devotion to be inserted

3d        Stupefied, two metres apart perhaps? (6,3)
SPACED OUT:  A synonym of the term spaced out might also describe the positioning of two items separated by two metres

4d        Out of bounds, large American giant (5)
ARGUS: Remove the outer letters from the word large. Add the abbreviation for the United States

5d        Preacher, part wizard possibly? (9)
GOSPELLER: A synonym of the word part as in part company or leave is followed by a word describing a wizard using the words the words or incantations he might say

6d        Firstly, all those extra unwanted parcels put away (3,2)
ATE UP: The initial letters of five consecutive words in the clue as indicated by the word firstly

7d        Cross  examine (2,7)
GO THROUGH: A clever double definition. Need I say more. The checking letters helped me here

8d        Energy drink (6)
SPIRIT:  Double definition. The second sometimes being served as doubles

9d        Mention fastener by one’s ear? (6)
BROACH:  A decorative pin or clasp sounds like (by ones ear) a verb meaning to bring a subject up. Or incidentally to open a barrel of beer. I don’t open barrels of beer anymore. I just live there

15d      Monstrous thing, beastly female — horror! (9)
NIGHTMARE:  An anagram (monstrous) of THING is followed by the female of a type of animal. Which animal? The only one that follows the anagram of THING and makes a word

16d      Rough luck initially filling in binder (9)
INCLEMENT:  A three part charade. 1 The initial letter of the word luck. 2 The word in from the clue. 3 A binder. In geology one that joins particles together in sedimentary rock. In dentistry one that joins teeth to bone and in bricklaying……

17d      Cake falls onto ice cream (4,5)
DROP SCONE: A synonym of the word falls is followed by the name of an ice cream based upon the wafer container that it comes in

18d      Frenchman clothes a gentleman in French label again (6)
RENAME: A Frenchman’s name surrounds the letter A from the clue and the abbreviation for Monsieur A French gentleman

20d      Mint in wrapper? (6)
PACKET:  A double definition the first describing a large sum of money

22d      Reportedly, front limb (5)
BOUGH: The front of a boat sounds like a limb or branch of a tree

23d      Setter featuring in grandma’s picture (5)
ASPIC: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words featuring in

24d      Pole sensing couple is approaching (5)

NEARS:  One of the two geographical poles is followed by two organs used to facilitate one of the five senses


24 comments on “Toughie 2749

  1. An enjoyable crossword with the sort of difficulty one hopes for but very rarely gets in a Tuesday Toughie – friendly but just that smidgeon trickier than a Friday backpager

    I particularly liked the ‘sensing couple’ in 24d

    thanks to Dada and MP

  2. Most enjoyable. Worthy of toughie status.
    Slow to start but once MP’s checkers began to appear it all fell into place.
    4d took ages to parse as I didn’t know of him and 23ac was a clever misdirection.
    Thanks to both.
    ** or ***/****

  3. Totally agree with Sue – just the right level of difficulty to start the week. Very enjoyable, as Dada always is. Last one in was 11a, though it’s obvious enough when you see it. ‘As’, as in 23a, always makes me smile, and this one was especially nicely done. Many thanks to Dada and to Miffypops for the lovely review.

  4. I concur with the opening paragraph of Cryptic Sue’s comment, perfectly pitched for a Tuesday Toughie and a lot of fun.
    A nice steady solve with the last ones home taking a bit of head scratching.
    As usual with this setter, it’s hard to narrow down clues to tick but I’ve gone for 13&19a plus 16&24d. My favourite however was the very clever 25a.
    Many thanks to Dada and MP, my eyes enjoyed the first music clip, my ears the second.

  5. Excellent puzzle. Quite cross with myself for losing patience in the NW & revealing the 1a/4d which instantly allowed me to solve them both plus 2d&7a which were the 4 clues that gave me trouble. With 4d I finally twigged the wordplay though can’t say that I knew it was a giant but it’s a great album by Wishbone Ash & felt sure our reviewer would have referenced it. Too many good ‘uns to nominate a favourite – all quality clues.
    Thanks to Dada & Miffs – remember drinking in The Grange pub in 79. Just been reading about it & see it’s now a Co-Op store. Love NY’s Unplugged album & particularly the version of Look Out for my Love

    1. I saw Wishbone Ash supporting Mott The Hoople at the Locarno. Never bought anything by them though. Neil Young I have seen more and have quite a lot of his albums and many bootleg CDs. The Grange was a regular haunt as I lived quite close to it. It sells more beer now as a Co-op than it did in its last days as a pub.

  6. I get very frustrated with myself when I give up–so near the end I was on this excellent Toughie–and settle for the too-easy-to-access online gift of 5 letters. Well, that’s what happened to me with 17d (which I’d never heard of), 20d, and 23a. I gave up too soon because I was too tired. Maybe I shouldn’t try doing the Toughies late at night? Anyway, I did enjoy the challenge and thought that the ‘I say’ in 19a rendered it the COTD, and like CS and others, I also liked the ‘sensing couple’ in 24d. Thanks to MP for the review and Dada for the entertainment.

    1. There is no shame in leaving the puzzle while you sleep. It’s surprising how what was a struggle last night becomes a doddle in the morning. I solve early in the morning when the ink in the paper is still wet inside my iPad. Hopefully before the Sainted one starts asking ridiculously difficult questions such as what would I like for dinner

    2. I decided to rewatch a gritty drama series called Happy Valley (title very ironic) after reading that the BBC have recommissioned a third series 7 years after the first & 5 years after the second. I remember how much you enjoyed Mare of Easttown. Definite similarities & I’d rate this the better of the two so am sure you’d love it if you can access it.

  7. After last weeks candyfloss, a much more enjoyably chewy toughie (sorry I’ve stretched the homophone). To paraphrase a track from the album mentioned earlier, “The sword has been thrown down” to the rest of this weeks setters. Thanks to Dada and MP.

      1. Not to mention Blowin’ Free and The King Will Come as other highlights of a great album. They were the pioneers of twin lead guitars.

        1. I think Duane Allman & Dicky Betts were probably doing much the same in terms of twin leads but they certainly influenced many. I saw the original line up a couple of times & thought they were excellent. Have been listening to Argus ‘Then Again’ Live this evening.

  8. Gave up with 5 to go but some of them were good guesses like arsenic – seemed to be the only answer to fit. Anyway thanks to Dada and Miffypops. Bit naughty as I was doing it during a rather boring Art Society Zoom.

  9. Really enjoyed this. I have now completed my 5th Toughie. Feeling very pleased with myself.

    Last one in was 23A which was also my favourite in a strong field.

    Many thanks to Dada and to MP for the hints. I needed the help parsing 19A

  10. Pretty straightforward. I finished it but really do not class 17d as a cake and when will I remember AS stands for aresenic? Don’t answer that!

  11. We pondered about the last letter for 20d as thought we could justify either a T or a D and did think that a straight double definition would have been better without the ‘in’ in the clue. However we did plump for the right option.
    Good fun as ever from this setter.
    Thanks Dada and MP.

  12. I got there unaided in ** time, just right for a Tuesday. I missed the naval aspect of 22d, though. I wasn’t sure that 17d is a cake, but the BRB gives two definitions. It doesn’t have to be sweet and baked, it can just be flat and round.

    Thanks to Dada and MP.

  13. The covid booster fog that has been addling my brain appears to be lifting as I only needed a few hints from MP to put me on the right lines.
    Thanks to Dada and MP
    I vaguely recall seeing Wishbone Ash at Leeds University Refectory, but it was probably the post-1985 reunion when Ted Turner rejoined. ( I would have been too young to see them before.)
    It obviously didn’t make a lasting impression but I have seen Ted Turnersince at Cropredy and what a great guitarist he is.

  14. Obviously 5a is, unfortunately, not still there. I just don’t get 23a and 20d. Cheers anyway Miff!

    1. The Grange is as pictured in the bottom photo Chris. A Co-op. Cynthia Gilbert cursed the place when she left and it never did any good from that day on

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