Toughie No 3037 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3037

Toughie No 3037 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a beautifully sunny and warm South Devon coast. Spring has finally sprung it seems.

Chalicea sets the ball rolling for the Toughie week with a puzzle I found slightly trickier than her normal offerings.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Encounter soldiers essentially recapturing this military structure (10)
BATTLEMENT. Append some soldiers and the essential letter of recapTuring to an encounter or conflict.

6a Seriously harm leader of mob on purpose (4)
MAIM: The first letter of Mob and a purpose or objective.

10a Put an end to enjoyment coming back in science fiction (5)
SNUFF: Insert a reversal of some enjoyment or pleasure into the abbreviation for Science Fiction.

11a Never arranged costumier’s first order for string of fibres (5,4)
NERVE CORD: Start with an anagram (arranged) of NEVER. Add the first letter of Costumiers and an abbreviation for ORDer.

12a Motor probably no longer on drive shaft (7)
SUNBEAM: A double/cryptic definition, the first one referring to the fact that Sunbeam cars haven’t been made for a long time.

13a Small openings partly useless to matadors (7)
STOMATA: Hidden in the clue (partly)

14a Begins and principally wolfs one Chinese snack (4,8)
OPEN SANDWICH: A charade of a synonym of begins, AND from the clue the first letter of Wolf’s, the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one and the abbreviation for CHinese.

18a Project using this flier to go after group of wise men? (5,7)
MAGIC LANTERN:  If we split the solution 4,4, to start with we have what could whimsically be a group of wise biblical men. Add one of crosswordland’s favourite fliers.

21a Instruments mostly shape surrounding bituminous mixture (7)
GUITARS: All but the last letter of a synonym of shape or form surrounds a 3-letter bituminous mixture used to surface roads

23a Overpass by the Tube (7)
VIADUCT: Synonyms of by or by means of and a tube or channel.

24a Sadly clear to me, he’s a tardy person (9)
LATECOMER: Anagram (sadly) of the following three words.

25a Old railwaymen accommodated by inn, just outside Bury (5)
INURN: The abbreviation for the (former) National Union of Railwaymen sits inside the outside letters of InN. Ignore the false capitalisation of Bury. I rather like this one.

26a Uncommon river measurement unit (4)
RARE: The abbreviation for River plus an (uncommon!) unit of measurement equal to 100 square metres.

27a Press association, modern and wise about entering US city (4,6)
NEWS AGENCY: Start with a synonym of modern or fresh, add a synonym of wise or learned, and the abbreviation for a US city into which is inserted a Latin abbreviation for about.


1d When getting into the most excellent becomes most worthless (6)
BASEST: Insert a 2-letter synonym of when into an adjective meaning best or finest.

2d Not completely loyal worker missing from school (6)
TRUANT: A synonym of loyal or sincere loses its last letter and is followed by a “working” insect.

3d Incorrectly fix neap tide cycle I’d abandoned for time we’re likely to be here (4,10)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Anagram (incorrectly) of the following four words once I’d is removed (abandoned)

4d Moan perversely about Gulf inhabitant’s obsessive single-mindedness (9)
MONOMANIA: Place an anagram (perversely) of MOAN around a resident of Oman.

5d Rules on board, most regularly ignored (5)
NORMS: Alternate (regularly ignored) letters of oN bOaRd MoSt.

7d A person displaying feelings of love conceding north is pleasantly balmy (8)
AROMATIC: A from the clue and someone who is particularly loving and generous to a partner without (conceding) the abbreviation for North

8d They could help ease stress after university ultimately declared “second-class” in core subject (8)
MUDBATHS: Start with the abbreviation for University. Add the ultimate letter of declareD and a letter that indicates second class and place the lot in one of the three Rs. I think the enumeration here should be 3,5.

9d Concerned with bungled back-ordering surpassing usual limits (6-8)
RECORD BREAKING: An anagram (bungled) of BACK-ORDERING follows the usual 2-letter preposition meaning concerned with or regarding.

15d Sloppy vulgarisation with no organised goal for program (9)
ANTIVIRUS: Remove the letters that make up the word GOAL (no organised) from an anagram (sloppy) of VULGARISATION.

16d Complacent German catching large contrabandist (8)
SMUGGLER: A synonym of complacent or self-satisfied plus the first three letters of GERman, into which is inserted the abbreviation for Large.

17d Sparkling silver objects strewn around (8)
AGLITTER: Follow the chemical symbol of Silver with some debris (objects strewn around)

19d Small stream carrying gold of dark reddish-brown colour (6)
AUBURN: Place a (typically Scottish) small stream below (carrying in a down clue) the chemical symbol for gold this time!

20d Mean street in outskirts of Guernsey (6)
STINGY: A charade of the abbreviation for STreet, IN from the clue and the outer letters of GuernseY.

22d Scene of conflict — considerable mire, with fury expressed at its heart (5)
SOMME: An insertion of what is left from the word M(ire) once a synonym of fury has been removed into a synonym of considerable as in “a gentleman of considerable repute”

Thanks Chalicea, 18&25a plus 22d were the clues I liked best. Which floated your boat?





15 comments on “Toughie No 3037

  1. Top entertainment as usual from this setter with plenty to keep the interest going throughout the solve. From many fine clues, I liked 15d the best.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  2. I thought this was tougher than normal for Chalicea with several clues taking quite a bit of teasing out. Although I got the answer to 25a easily enough, I couldn’t parse it all. 25a was a new word for me. 18a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to SL.

    1. Very enjoyable. Started well, a bit slow to finish. Top spot to 15d with 18a a close second

  3. I too thought this was on the “firm” side for Chalicea and spent a while trying to parse12a before the penny dropped – nice clue. I also liked 25a [just outside] and 22d [fury expressed].
    Thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  4. Very enjoyable, not as floughie as we have come to expect. 12a gets my vote. Thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  5. Not one of my favourite puzzles from this setter but I did quite enjoy some of the shorter entries such as 6a plus 19&20d.
    Thanks for the puzzle, Chalicea, and thanks also to Stephen for the review.

  6. I agree: not as floughie as she can be, but thoroughly enjoyable for me, with 8d, 15d, and 9d topping the lists for me. I didn’t know about the NUR in 25a, but I reasoned that the definition had to be what it was, so thanks to Stephen for parsing that one for me. Thanks to him and to Chalicea.

  7. Chalicea is always fun, even when we do need to work a little harder. 15d caused longest head-scratching and gets our vote.
    Thanks Chalicea and SL.

  8. Many thanks to StephenL. With regard to 8d, I agree that 3,5, ‘feels’ better but I get into a bit of trouble with editors for splitting words that are one in Chambers, or omitting or adding hyphens. It has to be what the Big Red Book dictates. However, I loved your illustration. Thanks for all the appreciation and apologies to those for whom it isn’t ‘Chalicea Floughie’ enough but mine tend to be the start of the Toughie week and have to be rather tougher than the back pager (we struggled over 25a in that today!) and editorial tweaks tend to stiffen clues like my 15d.

    1. Hi Chalicea…. thanks for popping in and a fun puzzle.
      Re 8d I did look in Chambers and at first glance it looked like two words but you and the editor have obviously checked it. Pleased you liked the illustration though.

  9. I remained defeated by the SE corner but thoroughly enjoyed the rest. I set off at a gallop and was looking forward to my second unaided Toughie but it was not to be. One reason was I could not get “second” as the first word in 9d out of my head.

    Thank you, Chalicea for the challenge. I am convinced my next unaided Toughie will be one of yours. Thank you, SL for the hints and sorting the final few out for me. A pity you posted only a picture of ZZ Top – I think their sound is terrific.

      1. Fabulous! Thanks, StephenL. What a sound from just two guitars and a set of drums. The drummer is Frank Beard and he doesn’t have a beard. That’s why Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons decided to grow theirs.

  10. I had a go at this late in the day and was pleased to get through with just 5 hints, mainly because I was too tired to think any more! I enjoyed the challenge and learnt a new word in 25a. The 2 long anagrams really helped me get started.

    Many thanks to StephenL for the needed hints and to Chalicea

  11. Not the floughie pre lights out stroll I was expecting. Still have the 2nd word of 18a to figure out but the eyelids are heavy having been out to the cinema to watch Todd Field’s Tar so completion & the review on hold until morning. 15d my clear fav in a typically enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Chalicea & Stephen

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