Toughie 2862 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2862

Toughie No 2862 by Shamus

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Welcome back to Shamus – I knew it had been a very long time since we’d last solved one of his Toughies but was really surprised to find that it is just short of four years since we solved Toughie 2037 on 13th June 2018. A quick look at the introductions to other reviews of his Toughies reveals variations on the theme of ‘fairly gentle’ and that was certainly the case today too

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Humble residence falling short in resort (4)
HOVE A south coast resort is found by omitting (falling short) the final letter of a very humble residence

3a    Check German export close to Stuttgart (5)
AUDIT A German vehicular export and the ‘close’ to StuttgarT

6a    Dotty character fronting Mass in the morning is religious official (4)
IMAM The letter of the alphabet which, in lower case, has a dot on the top goes in front of the abbreviation for Mass and the abbreviation for morning

8a    Explosive object gives comical look to TV broadcast (7,8)

9a    Refuge admitting European is delightful place (6)
HEAVEN A refuge ‘admitting’ the abbreviation for European

10a    Place to go in New Orleans? (4,4)
REST ROOM A North American (as used in New Orleans for example) room for a toilet (place to go) in a public building

11a    What a persistent fraudster might get far in the future? (4-4)
LONG-TERM The type of sentence a persistent fraudster might get, or a term meaning far in the future

13a    Sweet number introducing refined piece (6)
NOUGAT – The abbreviation for number, the letter used to indicate that something is refined, and a piece

15a    Rant about Queen’s descendant (6)
SPROUT A verb meaning to rant goes ‘about’ the Latin abbreviation for Queen

17a    Something cheeky, maybe, shown in genuine counter-argument (8)
REBUTTAL An informal North American term for the buttocks (something cheeky) inserted (shown) in a synonym of genuine

19a    Mostly obscene names sadly for source of melancholy music (8)
BLUESMAN Most of a colour used in indicate, informally, something obscene and an anagram (sadly) of NAMES

21a    Stop without aspiration to publicise star (6)
ALTAIR A word meaning to stop without the aspirated first letter and a verb meaning to publicise

22a    Fantastic envoy rated when touring Norway occasionally (5,3,3,4)
EVERY NOW AND THEN An anagram (fantastic) of ENVOY RATED WHEN ‘touring’ the IVR Code for Norway

23a    Some stop rationalising for fool (4)
PRAT Hidden in some of stoP RATionalising

24d    Maths expert‘s the person in charge when Head of English stands in for absent cover (5)
EULER The ‘head’ of English takes the place of the first letter (absent cover) of a person in charge of a country

25a    Bar diner regularly ignored French grub (4)
BRIE The odd (regularly ignored) letters of BaR dInEr


1d    Domestic assistants frantically shop acquiring uninspiring Spanish article (4,5)
HOME HELPS An anagram (frantically) of SHOP ‘acquiring’ an adjective meaning uninspiring and the Spanish definite article

2d    Shady type showing arrogance about problem (7)
VILLAIN An adjective meaning showing arrogance goes ‘about’ a problem

3d    Bother with sailors, say, getting on first of this frill (9)
ADORNMENT Some bother or fuss with a way one might refer to sailors in our country’s naval force, getting on (top of in a Down solution) the first letter of This

4d    Improvised code with strange etiquette (7)
DECORUM An anagram (improvised) of CODE with a slang word for strange

5d    Heard the government’s taking courses of action (5)
TACKS A homophone (heard) of a levy taken by the government

6d    Break favoured putter when playing? About right (9)
INTERRUPT The ‘usual’ favoured or popular and an anagram (when playing) of PUTTER, the result going ‘about’ the abbreviation for Right

7d    A US state limited district with a different one (7)
ARIZONA A (from the clue), an abbreviated East Coast US State, a district without its final letter (limited) and A (from the clue)

12d    Circle beginning to tackle corruption getting to travel widely? (5-4)
GLOBE-TROT A round body (circle), the ‘beginning’ to Tackle and some corruption

13d    Tipsy loner in bar draining litre? It requires little thought (2-7)
NO-BRAINER An anagram (tipsy) of lONER IN BAR without the L (draining Litre)

14d    Part of a liberal mindset upset group over time with Northern church (9)
TOLERANCE A reversal (upset) of a group goes over a period of time and the abbreviations for Northern and the Church of England

16d    Fuss shown by old man over former tennis star (7)
PALAVER An informal word for father (old man) goes over the surname of an Australian tennis star who did very well in the 1960s!

17d    Beginning once more, we learn to be different (7)
RENEWAL An anagram (to be different) of WE LEARN

18d    Note a US singer, one addressing students? (7)
TEACHER A musical note, A (from the clue) and a US singer who probably spends as much time in crosswords as she does singing these days

20d    Staff appear 50 per cent reduced in Scottish minister’s home (5)
MANSE Another word for staff and the first half (50% reduced) of a synonym for appear

I do hope we don’t have to wait another four years for a Toughie from Shamus

24 comments on “Toughie 2862

  1. Even after a four year hiatus, Shamus is definitely continuing the ‘fairly gentle’ trend; this could easily be considered as being ‘a day late’ – 1.5*/3.5*.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 17a, 7d, and 16d – and the winner is the ‘cheeky’ 17a.

    Thanks to Shamus, please don’t stay away for another four years, and to CS.

  2. Not really a Toughie but great fun throughout with a few chestnuts thrown in to boot.
    Not sure theory and practice align very often these days in 14d, there seems to be a general lack of it, but that’s not a reflection on the clue. Took a bit of staring at to see how 13a works but did get it in the end.
    Top four for me were 15,21&27a plus 13d.
    Many thanks to Shamus (come back soon) and Cryptic Sue for a top puzzle and review.

  3. Straightforward and enjoyable, certainly on the easier side for Toughies.
    10ac made me smirk, and thanks to CS for parsing 13ac.
    24ac was new to a non-mathematician.
    Thanks Shamus.

  4. How delightful to find Shamus back in the DT Toughie slot. Let’s hope this is the first of regular contributions from him from now on.

    I didn’t find this particularly tough but it was great fun all the way with 10a my favourite. I enjoyed it so much that I won’t mention the “chiefly US slang” (ack. BRB) which crept into 13a. :wink:

    Many thanks to Shamus and to CS.

  5. Light and enjoyable, some lovely surfaces and plenty of wit / humour. Did wonder whether RD would comment on 13a! Podium contenders: 2a, 11a, 13a; 2d, 7d, 16d; COTD 24a – once I had ruled out anything to do with Euclid (tempted by his ‘cover’) the parsing of the clue dawned and I dragged up the name of the required mathematician from my deepest mental chasms. Concur entirely with both CS’s ratings.

    Many thanks to Shamus for the lunchtime exercise, and to CS for the review.

  6. My first Shamus and quite a delight. Four years ago, I was still timorously lurking and now I enjoy such rare congeniality and conviviality among all of my cruciverbal cronies. How I wish I could meet all of you, especially today’s setter! (And oh yes: Moeraki of yesterday’s glory.) I really enjoyed this one last night, especially the entire SW, but my COTD has to be 14d because, well, it just has to be. I also enjoyed 16d and 21a. Thanks to CS and to Shamus, to whom I’d like to say, “So good to meet you!”

  7. How time flies – I didn’t realise it was four years since Shamus last gave us a Toughie. A warm welcome back to him and thanks to CS for the review.
    Top of the pile for me were 10a, 17a and 5d.

  8. I liked it , just my cup of tea.
    3a and 12d are among my top pics !
    Thanks to all concerned.

  9. Thank you to Shamus — I managed to work out much of that, and ended up with a full grid — and to CrypticSue for explaining the bits I’d missed. My favourite was the government’s take in 5D. I also particularly enjoyed 24A (maths expert), 3A (German export), and 1D (uninspiring).

    I’m being particularly ignorant at understanding 13A, how “piece” becomes the final 3 letters. I’ve looked those 3 letters up in various dictionaries, and don’t see anything related to a piece.

    While waiting for these hints to appear, I did throw 13A to Crossword Genius’s robot (I find that sometimes it does come up with the correct explanation, and sometimes I manage to work it out while explaining the clue to it — which is even better). It suggested ‘Norman’: ‘no’ ➕ R (“introducing r[efined]”) ➕ ‘man’ (chess piece), which fits the wordplay splendidly, just not the definition. Unless you know anybody called Norman whom you find sweet, of course. So a special Hello to any Normans reading.

    PS: Sorry those pluses ➕ are so big. I tried a normal-sized plus first, but something was stripping them out.

      1. Thanks. I’d found Gatling gun in dictionaries, but didn’t know ‘piece’ could refer to a gun.

  10. My schoolboyish sense of humour allows me to select 10 and 17a as co-favourites from this fairly untaxing but immensely entertaining puzzle. I did not realise this setter has been absent for so long; more please.

    Thanks Shamus and CS.

  11. A warm welcome back to the twinkly-eyed one who’s been absent from the DT pages for far too long.
    The only thing I didn’t like in this one was that dreadful expression in 1d, can’t think how it ever came into being.
    Tops for me were 3,13&17a.

    Many thanks and a big hug to Shamus – please come back again soon. Thanks also to CS for the review.

    1. The only exercise some folks get is rushing around dusting and hoovering before the home help arrives

  12. Good to see you back again Shamus. A good enough puzzle for a Wednesday. Thanks to the setter and Cryptic Sue

  13. A welcome return, by one of the original Toughie setters, with a simple but fun puzzle. I chuckled at the “government’s taking” in 5a and the sailors in 3d so they are my podium picks for the day.
    Thanks Shamus, don’t leave it so long next time. And thanks to CS for the blog.

  14. At least the 13 across was chewy. An incredibly easy one for me today, and very nice too. I think I concur with halcyon as to the podium. */***.

  15. Great to have a puzzle from Shamus again. We do appreciate his witty way of putting clues together and have really missed him.
    Thanks Shamus and CS.

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