Toughie No 2993 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 2993

Toughie No 2993 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a crisp and clear South Devon coast.

Chalicea is in the Tuesday spot today and she’s given us a fun puzzle, that as usual with this setter is on the gentle side for a Toughie.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Ground in some places for florist possibly (5,5)
FIRST FLOOR: Anagram (possibly) of the preceding two words. The “in some places” refers to the fact that the solution applies in America for one but not here.

6a Change hands over (4)
SWAP: Reversal (over) of an informal name for one’s hands or those of a pet

10a Silly little flower (5)
DAFFY: This rather quaint adjective meaning mildly eccentric is also a shortened name for my favourite flower

11a Melodious line absorbing hearts in variety entertainment (5,4)
MUSIC HALL: Insert the abbreviation for Hearts into a synonym of melodious then append the abbreviation for Line

12a Hunt circling before essentially galloping to this point (8)
HEREUNTO: Place HUNT from the clue around (circling) a 3-letter preposition meaning before  then append the essential letter of gallOping

13a Way of communicating publicity in city (5)

RADIO: Place an abbreviated synonym of publicity into the informal name of a Brazilian city

15a Certain loser, an absence of flair ultimately limiting hard work and energy (2-5)
NO-HOPER: Bit of a Lego clue. Start with a 2-letter word that could mean “an absence of” for the first part. We then need to piece together the abbreviation for Hard, some abbreviated work, the abbreviation for Energy and the ultimate letter of flaiR.

17a Term expressing quality of article found in English mine (7)
EPITHET: The abbreviation for English is followed by an insertion of the definite article into a mine or colliery.

19a Not completely understand every cry of disapproval (7)
CATCALL: A verb meaning to understand or hear loses its last letter (not completely) and is followed by a simple synonym of every.

21a On the low side, open to bribery welcoming tenners and roubles for starters (7)
VENTRAL: A word meaning open to bribery or corrupt goes around (welcoming) the initial letters of Tenners and Roubles

22a Eliminate donkeys regularly eccentric!
KOOKY: The abbreviation for a 2-letter synonym of eliminate (think boxing match) is followed by alternate letters of dOnKeYs

24a Whale of an ace etc going amok (8)
CETACEAN: ANAGRAM (going amok) of the preceding three words. Dolphins and porpoises also fall into this group.

27a Plug new gold layer to a sickening extent (2,7)
AD NAUSEAM: A charade of an abbreviation for plug in the sense of publicise (it appeared earlier!), the abbreviation for New, the chemical symbol of gold and a layer or tier.

28a Charge to visit American island (5)
ATOLL: Follow an abbreviation for American with a charge in the sense of payment, often to go across a bridge.

29a Bard’s cool part of ship (4)
KEEL: Double definition, the less obvious one being a Shakespearean term (it’s in the BRB) meaning to cool.

30a Clearly expresses fanciful ancient use (10)
ENUNCIATES: Anagram (fanciful) of the following two words. Nice word.


1d Die away finally like short-lived craze seen earlier (4)
FADE: The final letter of likE follows a short-lived vogue or hobby (seen earlier)

2d Disarrays powerful blast from weapon (5,4)

RIFLE SHOT: A synonym of disarrays or ransacks is followed by a synonym of powerful in the sense of intense.

3d Suitable moment, it’s said, for seasoning (5)
THYME: A homophone (it’s said) of a word that could describe a suitable moment as in “it’s a good **** for coffee.

4d River creature upset concerning fluid flow (7)
LAMINAR: The abbreviation for River and a general word for a creature are reversed (upset)

5d Old and new afflicted surrounding hospital towards the coast (7)
ONSHORE: Start with abbreviations for Old and New. Add a synonym of afflicted or painful into which the abbreviation for Hospital is inserted.

7d Reportedly exert power, perhaps, over wooded country (5)
WEALD: A homophone (reportedly) of a word that could mean exert power over or command. A new word for me, described as archaic.

8d Intimate discussions of papa with difficulty to walk dodderingly (6,4)
PILLOW TALK: The phonetic abbreviation for Papa, a synonym of difficulty in the sense of affliction I guess, and an anagram (dodderingly) of TO WALK.

9d Person of virulent hatred’s extreme contempt about poison occasionally ignored (8)
SCORPION: A synonym of contempt or derision goes around the alternate letters (occasionally ignored) letters of PoIsOn. I hadn’t come across this meaning before but again, it’s in the BRB.

14d With luck at last carve out talent for ornament (5-5)
KNICK-KNACK: The final letter of lucK, a verb meaning to carve (a notch perhaps) and a talent or gift.

16d Play’s put off for native of Australia (8)
PLATYPUS: ANAGRAM (off) of the preceding two words.

18d Listen to a boxing match on the radio near this place (9)
HEREABOUT: A charade of a homophone (on the radio) of a synonym of listen to followed by A from the clue and another word for a boxing match.

20d The French beginning to construct and shape on lathe, we hear, reading desk (7)
LECTURN: A charade of a French definite article, the first letter of Construct and another homophone (we hear) of the action of creating something on a lathe.

21d I’m in a TV production, necessary for good life (7)
VITAMIN: Anagram (production) of the previous four words

23d Snow leopard’s small weight (5)
OUNCE: Double definition.

25d Fur covering one carnivorous mammal (5)
COATI: The fur of an animal goes above the letter that looks like the number one.

26d Charity is oddly all amiss (4)
ALMS: Another alternate letters clue (is oddly) of the following two words.

Nothing really jumped out at me as favourite but I thought 1a and 1d were very neat, thanks Chalicea

28 comments on “Toughie No 2993
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  1. Very enjoyable which I found a little tougher than some of our setter’s offerings – 2.5*/4*.

    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 4d, and 18d – and the winner is 27a.

    Thanks to Chalicea, I do miss your SPPs, and thanks to Stephen L.

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed this and got on with it far better than today’s backpager. I did need help with 14d because I could not see it at all. Personally, I have never associated the answer with an ornament but I suppose it could be. I thought the wild animal at 25d was an omnivore but it could be argued that it includes carnivore.

    Thank you, Chalicea for restoring my faith in my abilities to solve by providing a fun puzzle. Thank you, StephenL for the hints.

  3. I found this really hard to start with but the lower half made up for the upper so it came out in 2* time in the end. A fun puzzle; favourite was 1a.
    Thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  4. Like SC I found this a tad easier than today’s backpager. As always with this setter, the quality of the clues and the sense of fun always trump any relative lack of difficulty. 18d was a worthy favourite for me.

    Thank you Chalicea for the entertainment, and thanks SL for the blog.

  5. This not-too-tough Toughie was great fun despite a handful of slightly strained surfaces: 11a, 24a, 27a & 2d.

    My top picks were: 6a, 13a, 17a, 22a & 1d.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to SL.

  6. When I saw that Chalicea was today’s setter I knew I stood a chance with a Toughie. I seem to be on her wavelength – missing her on the Saturday backpager. I really enjoyed completing this unaided. It certainly boosts the confidence. I liked the variety of clues, no real stand out ones but did enjoy 8d and 9d. Thanks to Chalicea and StephenL.

  7. I did find it necessary to check on a couple of definitions but I don’t know why – if this setter has used them she’ll be backed up by the BRB!
    I rather liked 7d so that gets my gold star.

    Thanks to Chalicea and to Stephen for the review.

  8. Great fun, thoroughly enjoyed this. Loved 18d, very clever!
    Last one for me was 4d, earlier I’d reckoned something to do with a Lamprey (only had the L and M at the time)
    Kicked myself when the penny finally dropped, thanks to our setter for this one today.

  9. Did this first thing this morning before tackling the back pager. How glad I am. It meant I was not an idiot…I only managed 4 back page clues before handing in the towel. I gather I was not alone.
    Lots to like but I’ll settle for 8d as my COTD.

  10. As usual with this setter accessible and great fun. 21a and the first part of 29a were new to me but fairly clued. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  11. An absolute delight to solve as ever from this setter. Took us much longer than it should have to locate the river creature in 4d but the one in 23a leapt straight out at us.
    Thanks Chalicea and SL.

  12. Thank goodness for this delightful gift by Chalicea, especially after the bizarre backpager I had to deal with afterwards. So much to like, with 12a & 18d particularly clever, but I enjoyed the entire picnic. Thanks to Chalicea and Stephen.

  13. Thank you to StephenL. I loved your illustration of the Silly little flower. Where on earth do they appear in such quantity? I have seen them in Wordsworth country and in the gardens of Peterhouse at Cambridge but never as far as the eye can see. Your illustration of intimate discussions raised a smile too,

    1. Hi Chalicea
      I wanted to illustrate that clue with a picture of the said flower taken from my garden but couldn’t find one (I’ve hundreds in my gallery!). I get lots of them around February and even more wild bluebells a bit later.
      The cartoon also made me chuckle, I saw a couple more that were funny but perhaps not suitable for this platform!
      Thanks for both popping in and a fun puzzle.

    2. For daffodils as far as the eye can see, come down to central and west Cornwall over the next couple of months, Chalicea – many acres of fields covered in them. At least one flower farm is already picking!

  14. I’m another who misses Chalicea’s SSPs & pleased to hear that we can expect some soon. Enjoyed this one today. Perhaps a tad easier than the back-pager though I did think some of the parsing more of a challenge than the grid fill. Top 3 for me – 1&7d plus 22a.
    Thanks to Chalicea & Stephen.

  15. Lovely crossword after abandoning the back pager. Life’s too short!
    Thanks to Chalicea and Stephen
    I needed 2 hints because my brain was addled by attempting the other one.
    I never really abandon one so I will have a go over the next few days. I’ve done about half but it was giving me no happiness
    Which this one did. Chaicea’s are the only Toughie I do.
    Look forward to her next one.

  16. Great puzzle, enjoyed from beginning to end. Personally I found this a bit trickier than the back-pager but altogether smoother. Shout-outs must go to 8d, 14d and 11a but the winner was 4d – I got all the top down clues on my first pass except this one, and kept looking back at it all puzzle long until it finally fell as my last one in with a huge facepalm – d’oh!

    Ty to Chalicea and SL

  17. Well I’m glad that I had a go at this lovely toughie many thanks to Chalicea and SL. Obviously I didn’t manage it totally on my own! With a toehold on the down clues and help from a few hints I romped home smiling as I completed. Regarding 10a I was lucky enough to visit the Isles of Scilly many years ago where they are grown for selling and it’s something I’ll always remember. I also order them regularly for friends and myself. Certainly gives me hope of spring and warmer weather to come.

  18. 2*/3* …..
    liked 8D “Intimate discussions of papa with difficulty to walk dodderingly (6,4)” … & the cartoon in the hint !

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