Toughie 2785 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2785

Toughie No 2785 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Chris M Rating – Difficulty * – Enjoyment ***

Good morning from the bottom of the barrel where we have a beautifully patterned sky and Sir Van Morrison singing sweetly to us from the album Hymns To The Silence. I had no idea as to the setter of this Toughie puzzle but it all fell together well with enough answers in after a couple of passes to allow the checkers to suggest the remaining answers. Nothing too onerous or obscure which means it should be a nice entry level puzzle to those stepping up from the back page puzzles

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a        Shakier and more confusing with nothing left out for pair of bishops (8)
WOBBLIER:  Begin with a word meaning shakier and more confusing that might describe an unshorn sheep perhaps. Replace one of the letters that looks like nothing with two abbreviations for bishop

8a        Schoolmate sadly abandoning scruffy sham fur (6)
OCELOT:  This is an anagram (sadly) of SCHOOLMATE once the letters of the word SHAM have been removed

9a        Stingy lass’s narrowly avoided collision (4,4)
NEAR MISS:  Two synonyms are required here. One meaning stingy and one meaning a lass or girl

10a      What convict doesn’t do for affectionate partner? (8)
LOVEBIRD:  Split 4,4 the answer consists of a word describing deep affection and a slang term for a place of incarceration

11a      Tea-party host‘s break cut originally (6)
HATTER:  The host of a mad tea party in Alice in Wonderland can be found by removing the first letter of a word meaning to break suddenly into many pieces

12a      A local shared tract of land rarely encountered (8)
UNCOMMON: Your answer here is an adjective meaning out of the ordinary or unusual. Split 2,6 we have an informal conjunction meaning one and a tract of land owned and used by the public

13a      Divides cliques taking in good people (8)
SEGMENTS:  The abbreviation for good and a group of males sit inside another group. This time a group of similar minded people

16a      Doctrinaire to provide with weapons meeting’s president (8)
ARMCHAIR:  A three letter word meaning to provide with weapons in readiness for war is followed by a person who might preside during a meeting

19a      Upset ram struggling against current (8)
UPSTREAM: Anagram (struggling) of UPSET RAM

21a      Race is uncivil it’s said (6)
COURSE:   A verb meaning to race sounds like (it’s said) a word meaning uncivil, rude or vulgar

23a      Testimony of European study in immorality (8)
EVIDENCE:  The abbreviation for European and a regular synonym of the word study sit together inside another regular synonym of the word immortality

24a      Unfortunately, son, I can’t approve (8)
SANCTION: Anagram (unfortunately) of SON I CAN’T

25a      Grapple with gear (6)
TACKLE: A double definition. The first meaning to take on a challenge. The second being the equipment one might use to do so

26a      Potentially successful projects of pre-eminent theorist now and then (8)
STARTERS:  Begin with a word meaning pre-eminent. The leading light in a film perhaps. Add the alternate letters of the word theorist


1d        Portrayal of a Conservative member of nobility (7)
ACCOUNT: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add the abbreviation for Conservative. Add a member of the nobility. Dracula maybe

2d        The whole, for instance, or current chapter symbolic (9)
ALLEGORIC:  A sequential five part charade. 1 A three letter word meaning the whole of something. 2 A Latin abbreviation of for instance or for example 3 the word OR straight from the clue 4 The electrical abbreviation for current 5 The abbreviation for chapter

3d        A victory twice curtailed in Rome’s central court (6)
ATRIUM: Begin with the letter A from the clue. Add a word meaning a great victory or achievement minus its last two letters

4d        Twist in fickle men’s trust for parts of orchestras (4,11)
WIND INSTRUMENTS: Begin with a verb meaning to twist. Add the word IN from the clue. Add an anagram (fickle) of MENS TRUST

5d        Gripping experiences,  takeover bids (4,4)
BEAR HUGS: Rough tight embraces are also offers from one company to buy shares from another company at a price higher than the market value in an attempt to wrest control of that company

6d        Maximum permitted amount drunk, describing one male (5)
LIMIT: A short word meaning drunk surrounds or contains the letter that looks like the number one and the abbreviation for male

7d        Most tranquil in Spain, taking a nap, finally dropping off (7)
EASIEST:  The IVR code for Spain and the letter A from the clue are followed by an afternoon nap taken in hot countries but losing its final letter

14d      Coming out of endless crisis with energy (9)
EMERGENCE: Find a word to describe a crisis or serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. Replace its last letter with the abbreviation for energy

15d      Curiously entailed text giving place and time (8)
DATELINE:  Anagram (curiously) of ENTAILED

17d      Less than complete oratorio — tactless thing to present in troubled times (4,3)

RIOT ACT: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words less than complete

18d      Upset, bicker about the French packages (7)
PARCELS:  Insert the French word for the into a word meaning to bicker or fight. Reverse what you have as indicated by the word upset

20d      Riddles involving western birds (6)
SWIFTS:  A word meaning  sieves or  contains the abbreviation for western

22d      Part of core curriculum to come up repeatedly (5)

RECUR: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words part of














35 comments on “Toughie 2785

  1. Accessible but still somewhat challenging puzzle today, imho. Solved 16a but had to consult the electrons to find the link, which of course resulted in a penny drop moment. All over quite swiftly but I think I was lucky to be on Chalicea’s wavelength, so 2* for difficulty and 4* smiley quotient. Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  2. Nice and gentle although I don’t quite see the parsing of 12a. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  3. A gentle yet thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding Toughie from one of my favourite setters, with 8 and 10a proving to be my top clues with 2d an honourable runner-up.

    My thanks to Chalicea for the fun and to MP.

  4. Setter was Chalicea according to the paper version.
    This was all over too quickly really and a very straightforward start to the toughie week.
    I was unfamiliar with the stingy meaning in 9ac but all the rest was accessible to most backpageronlies.
    Thanks to MP…(brass are also wind instruments)…and to Chalicea.

        1. Ah yes, but after 50 years of French horn playing, I can assure you that horns are woodwind…..

          1. That’s interesting! The BRB defines the French Horn as “the orchestral brass horn”. But that doesn’t, of course, mean that it is a “brass instrument”. Trumpets are sometimes called “horns” and they are “brass instruments”. And some woodwind instruments are made of brass. All very confusing…..

  5. Thanks Chalicea and Miffypops. Some straightforward, others rather less so, all enjoyable. I didn’t know the business term in 5d so that was a bung-in. Favourite 24a.

  6. As others, not sure of the first two letters of 12a-thought that it could be A (un)local in France-the nearest conntry-perhaps not.
    Anyway ,enjoyable start to the toughie week and a**/*** for me.
    Favourite was 10,elicited a smile when the penny dropped.
    Not heard of the synonym for16a, confirmed in my tattered Chambers.
    Thanks setter and MP.

  7. Regarding 12a, “un” according to Chambers is a dialect (local) form of “one”, though I cannot find it in any other dictionary. It is often used in cryptic crosswords. With respect to the explanation, it is a noun or a pronoun, but not a conjunction.

      1. Thanks, RD. I don’t know why there should be an apostrophe in front the u, though.
        Edit: I see now. It’s a form of “him” from Anglo-Saxon “hine”. So it’s the h that’s missing and the m has been delabialized to an n.

  8. I always enjoy Chalicea’s puzzles, and I found today’s a bit more challenging than her usual good stuff, especially the NW corner, which was my last area to solve. I especially liked 10a, 2d, and 8a, but it’s 16a that gets my top nod because of its most interesting take on that which is ‘doctrinaire’, like a lot of my own plans and projects. Thanks to MP and Chalicea.

  9. Remember seeing the un in previous crosswords but 5d was new to me.
    Liked 4d a lot.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to MP for the review.
    Harrison doesn’t seem very impressed by his new woolly hat. Shame, St Sharon is doing a great job.

  10. What a coincidence (though maybe not as we’re both avid fans) as I too was listening to Van’s Hymns To The Silence while motoring through this one, which I correctly assumed was a Chalicea production. I then came to an abrupt halt in the NW & for the life of me couldn’t see 8a (despite twigging the letters subtracted), 10a or 3d. Once the solve time had doubled with no PDM I got the hump & revealed the 8a/3d checker & the miracle of sight was immediately restored so can’t claim an unaided finish.
    Very enjoyable as per. 10a was my clear favourite with plenty of ticks elsewhere.
    Thanks to Chalicea & to Miff.
    Ps Good Matilda puzzle in the Graun today.

  11. Enjoyable puzzle, think Chalicea may have slightly upped the ante on the difficulty level.
    I’m puzzled by 26a, although the solution was clear from checkers and wordplay I’ve never seen this definition, startups yes but not starters. That aside no real problems,10a&11a being my favourites.
    Thanks to Chalicea and MP for the fun.

  12. I found this difficult in parts and straightforward in the rest but overall, enjoyable. Favourite was 2d. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  13. A delight to solve as ever from this setter. Pondered a little about 16a but the checkers and wordplay confirmed what it had to be.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP

  14. I am really happy that this is giving pleasure. Indeed, the ‘un’ or ‘apostrophe un’ is one that is convenient for setters needing to find wordplay for those two letters (like the ‘Ed’ = journalist). I come from North Yorkshire and it is frequently heard there. It is indeed a noun or a pronoun.

  15. I too had to ponder 16a for a moment and needed Miffs help with a couple of others. Lots of animals today 8a 10a 20d 5d and the mad 11a too.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Miffs.
    I notice that Harrison is sat next to a Telegraph open to the toughie. Have his skills come on or did Grandad snap a pic before he wrote the blog?

  16. I too found this difficult in parts and straightforward for the rest but a nice puzzle anyway. 2*/3*
    Favourites include 4a, 9a, 25a, 4d & 20d, with winner 4d

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP

  17. I see Ethan is going to be an expensive boy to keep. Already sitting on Riviera Lane reading a Rosevine menu! I don’t do the Toughie, but seeing that this was a Chalicea I saved it for when I was at a loose end. I have just done it, whilst awaiting the arrival of today’s. It all went in in less than my average back-page time and was very enjoyable. Like others I did have to think about the NW which was intact when the rest was finished. Once I got one in the rest followed, the last being 10a. 8a was probably top favourite once I twigged the wordplay. MP Did you see Peter Green and Angie on Rick Stein this week?

    1. Hi WW. No I didn’t see any Rick Stein. If you know the programme I might be able to watch on iPlayer. We are going to St Mawes for a week commencing May 14th

      1. Glad you saw it. I knew from Angie it was going to be on in January but forgot about it until I saw something on Facebook.

Comments are closed.