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Toughie 2841

Toughie No 2841 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

I’m not here to be perfect. I’m here to be me
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A slightly tougher offering from the lovely Chalicea today using a smattering of slightly obscure synonyms which might cause some solvers a bit of trouble. As usual checking letters are your friends so treat them kindly and try not to give up until you really can’t see any hope of dragging your last answers out

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


9a Gather together great number in a religious service (5)
AMASS: Begin with the letter A straight from the clue and add a religious service, a celebration of the holy Eucharist

10a Man and a daughter combine to book band for show (9)
HEADPIECE: A personal male pronoun, the letter A from the clue, the abbreviation for daughter and a book or artistic creation

11a Warriors‘ one American drink when heading west (7)
SAMURAI: A four part charade reversed. 1 The letter that looks like the number one. 2 The abbreviation for American 3 A drink. 4 A two-letter synonym of the word when. Reverse what you have. The drink? Well it has three letters. Is is a spirit. It’s not gin

12a Provide too many ways of gaining advantage in bowling technique (7)
OVERARM: A double definition. The bowling technique is possibly the most accessible

13a Somewhat jollies along social gathering (5)
SALON: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word somewhat

14a Lot to do as, running wild, this can be poisonous (9)
TOADSTOOL: Anagram (running wild) of LOT TO DO AS

16a Mischievously nod at my comic gal in an obliging way (15)

ACCOMMODATINGLY: Anagram (mischievously) of NOD AT MY COMIC GAL

19a Curiously reflect on musical character (5,4)
TENOR CLEF: Anagram (curiously) of REFLECT ON

21a Underground worker of lesser status, we hear (5)
MINER: The answer is an underground worker. He or she sounds like (we hear) a lesser person

23a Refuse to honour plant containing returned DNA material (7)
RENEGUE: The material that makes up our DNA is reversed and placed inside a plant. Which plant I hear you ask. To which I answer An attractive blue-green herb. I hope that helps

25a Lucid US soldier enters one’s nearest pub (7)
LOGICAL: A common abbreviation for a lowly American soldier sits inside a word used to describe a nearby pub which one uses regularly

27a Awkwardly PTA denies minimal changes in the main (4,5)
NEAP TIDES: Anagram (awkwardly) of PTA DENIES

28a “Adjust church communion table,” we’re told (5)
ALTER: A homophone based upon a ceremonial table used by a priest sounding like a verb meaning to adjust something


1d Eavesdrops on last campfire song (4)
TAPS: A double definition. The eavesdropping devices used by the authorities to listen in to private conversations are also a closing song sung at an evening camp fire. The Girl Guides amongst us might be familiar with the second meaning here. The dodgy amongst us may have experienced the second

2d Man, say, left supporting mother (6)
MAMMAL: The abbreviation for left follows a five-letter word for mother

3d Like system of weights and Hebrew dry measure for stargazer (10)
ASTRONOMER: A three part charade. 1 A two-letter synonym of the word like 2 A System of weights popular once in Scotland I believe 3 A Hebrew measure for dry goods. Yes I needed a good dose of Google for this one

4d Sea pink in most of the fissure (6)
THRIFT: The first two letters (most of) of the word the are followed by a word meaning a fissure, crack or split in a rock face

5d Prospect of girl getting between parents (8)
PANORAMA: A random girl sits between endearing names for your father and mother

6d Arm found in unwrapped tents (4)
EPEE: This arm is a weapon of old. Remove the outer letters from the tents used by Native Americans

7d Cope with medal and other things involved (3,5)
GET ALONG: A word used in academia meaning and others is followed by a two-letter word meaning involved. Together they sit inside a slang term for an award or a medal

8d Afternoon drink and minutes with actor, one who cooperates (4,6)
TEAM PLAYER: A drink supposedly taken at four o clock in the afternoon is followed by the abbreviation for minutes and a word describing an actor

13d Carelessly straighten, breaking to small shards (10)
SHATTERING: Anagram (carelessly) of STRAIGHTEN

15d Graphical record of one small cat amid upset horses (10)
SEISMOGRAM: A name given to female horses is reversed (upset) and contains the letter that looks like the number one, the abbreviation for small and a slang term for a cat

17d Prison supported by city with set of religious rules (5,3)
CANON LAW: A four part charade in correct order. 1 A term for a prison. 2 A word meaning supporting. 3 The initial letters of a random city which could be anywhere in the world  4 The abbreviation for with

18d Soy beans, for example, in operating system including preparation of diesel (8)
OILSEEDS: The abbreviation for operating system contains an anagram (preparation of) of DIESEL

20d Traditional in style, Afros like Sly’s regularly picked (6)
FOLKSY: The alternate letters (regularly picked) of several words in the clue

22d Critical subtlety in Germanic etymology (6)
NICETY: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

24d Learned hot style of music (4)
GOTH: A word meaning learned or understood is followed by the abbreviation for hot

26d When cycling, trust old instrument (4)
LYRE: A word meaning to trust or bank on something or someone has its first two letters moving from the beginning of the word to the end



29 comments on “Toughie 2841

  1. Well 1d and 4d apart it was all over very quickly. From my scouting days (60+ years ago) I cannot remember 1d and girl guides used to have to be girls. As for 4d …just being thick today.
    Fascinating to learn two new words in one answer and thanks to MP for the blog picture at 3d with yet more obscurities to fail to remember.
    Chalicea always delights.

    1. 1d and 4d were the ones that stumped me.
      I attended many camp fires with the boy scouts back in the day, but dont recall the answer to 1d.

  2. A typically Chalicean Toughie that was, as always, a delight to solve. I used the word elegant to describe the clues in today’s backpager; the same word can be used here, with some superb surfaces. My favourite of many was 6d.

    Thanks to Chalicea for a most enjoyable challenge and to MP.

  3. Like Young Salopian I find Chalicea always to be delightful, and this was no exception. And, like Chris M, I blazed through almost all of it, almost too quickly to really relish it, but then came to a standstill with 1d and 4d. The latter, however, yielded quickly once I realised what I needed to Google, and I needed both checkers (50% of the letters, albeit hardly rare ones) and some inspiration to get 1d. And I only just figured out how 10a works when I had a final look before coming to read Miffypops’s blog (for which, as always, many thanks) – a very cleverly hidden surface. Bravo!

      1. I agree it’s not really satisfactory.
        Does “band for show” = headpiece?
        That “book” iin the clue is confusing.
        Maybe someone else can explain it.

        Defined in Google…headpiece
        a device worn on the head as an ornament or to serve a function.
        an illustration or ornamental motif printed at the head of a chapter in a book.

        And in Chambers..
        headˈpiece noun
        A helmet
        A hat
        Head, skull (archaic; Spenser headˈpeace)
        A brain
        A man of intelligence
        A top part
        A decorative engraving at the beginning of a book, chapter, etc (printing)

        1. I read “book band for show” as the definition, with “combine” on its own giving the last five letters of the solution (as in “xxxxx together”. The intervening “to” doesn’t seem quite right as a link word, but I suppose you take the wordplay “to” the answer?

          1. I’m with you Fez. The def is “book band for show”, as per Chambers. Last 5 letters synonymous with combine, as in “combine together”. “To” is a link word that helps the surface.

  4. I struggled on more clues than most. I needed the hint to fully parse 10a, 23a, 1d and 3d, I was unaware that 13a was a gathering but it had to be that, I had to look up 19a but then again I can’t read music and I’d have expected 24d to have ‘ic’ after it but what do I know? I put it in anyway. Favourite was 17d. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  5. I’m afraid this didn’t do a huge amount for me.
    I was held up by the 4d and 10a for as long as the rest of the puzzle put together, but finally realised why the “the” seemed to stand out in the surface read of the former which gave the necessary checking letter for the latter, the wordplay of which I’m still struggling to fully justify.
    7d was my favourite.
    Many thanks to Chalicea and to MP for the review.

  6. Thanks Chalicea and MP, good fun with some floughie parts but overall quite a challenge – especially in the NW. As with others, struggled with 1d and 4d but pleased to learn a couple of new definitions. Favourite 2d. Thanks again!

  7. Like the other posters my delay was in the NW, with 1d my LOI. I would never have associated the second part of the answer with girl guides, only with the US military. Usually spelling the first part of 2d with only 2 Ms didn’t help me much until I recalled Abba! Otherwise it was a typically gentle and enjoyable Chalicea Toughie, with plenty of smooth and clever surfaces.

    15d my COTD

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to MP

  8. Just about right for the Tuesday introduction to the toughie week. A **/*** for me
    Last in was 24 across which was spelt differently in my Chambers-no UE, this compromised 18d
    Not keen on 10a.The last campfire song was new to me in 1a
    Thanks to MP for the parsing of 26d which eluded me

  9. Me too with regard to 1d, and 24d as well.
    Otherwise a very pleasant solve.
    22d gave a smile as an oxymoron. I also liked 4d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and Miffypops.

  10. I am delighted that this has pleased. Many thanks to Miffypops for a first rate set of hints.

  11. While it took two separate sittings, I did manage to finish this terrific Chalicea Toughie on my own but not without struggling with the parsing of several. For 10a, I concluded that ‘band for show’ was the definition but still can’t make much sense of ‘book’. Perhaps our lovely lady setter might step in and enlighten us? 1d was my LOI although the spelling of 23a held me up for a while since we spell it without the ‘u’ on this side of the Pond. Thanks to MP and Chalicea. Great start to the Toughie week!

  12. A good start to the week, with not much to worry about. I learnt 4d at my Father’s knee. We had them growing in the garden.

    Thanks to MP for the blog and Chalicea.

  13. I found that several of the four letter answers, especially 1d, deserved the label ‘pesky’ once again. Did get them all eventually though.
    Lots of fun as usual from this setter.
    Thanks Chalicea and MP.

  14. Slightly tougher ? Bit of understatement in my book Miff as I’m struggling to recall when I spent so much time with Mr G – 19,23&27a along with 1,3&4d. Did eventually finish with the help of 1 letter reveal ( 4d/10a checker) but I found it all a bit of a grind if I’m honest. You expect the odd obscurity with Chalicea but they weren’t in short supply here.
    Thanks anyway to Chalicea & to MP – interesting choice of music for 20d. Remember buying the album & initially being disappointed but it soon grew on me – rarely listen to them now.

  15. So pleased. I’ve only just started trying the toughies, as success rate on backpager about 60-70%. This one i just lacked 1d. I’ll call that a win!

  16. In my younger days I used to sleep at 5am – now I save the Toughie to fill these unsocial hours. Stumped by 1d today. But regarding 10a – do not see the problem. A book is a piece, as in ‘have you read her latest piece’; and a headpiece is ‘a device worn on the head as an ornament’ from earlier comment – the device worn is a band and the ornament is for show.

  17. Just reporting in. Beaten by 1d, Difficult to decide whether 28a was the noun or the verb. COTD was 4d

  18. There is a typo in the link. It reads 2481, it should be 2841, which might affect people searching for it in the future.

    1. I didn’t mention the military connection because the clue makes no reference to it.
      A bugle call for lights to be put out in army quarters.
      Also a bugle call sounded at a military funeral.

    2. I would imagine quite a lot of things in the Scout/Guide/Brownie movement had their origins in the military.

  19. As a 21-year old veteran Camp America counsellor from 1978 working for 11p per hour (under 21’s got 3p per hour) I remember the term ‘Taps’ appeared as the last item on the daily timetable, but we never sang a campfire song. In the Boys Brigade we just had a bugle call to mark Lights Out, and sang a vesper such as ‘The day thou gavest Lord is over’ whilst drinking Bovril and eating cheese and savoury biscuits. This was much more atmospheric. I’ve never heard ‘taps’ mentioned before or since; thanks to Chalices for including it in this enjoyable but not over-challenging Toughie.

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