Toughie 3205 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3205

Toughie No 3205 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by ALP

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty * – Enjoyment ***

I hope you all braved Isha and are now safely braced for Jocelyn. I’ve sought refuge with my two latest finds – Brazilian coffee beans (a 1kg Waitrose special for £10, AKA two flat whites from Starbucks) and the new-ish, not-before-time orange Yorkie. Either or both would certainly make the perfect accompaniment for this Chalicean romp. As ever, she’s (sparingly) wheeled out her well-thumbed dictionary – which is always jolly – and it’s good, solid fun. All very fairly clued, too: nothing to scare the horses. In, fact, grappling with the Telegraph’s puzzle site took me longer. That’s as tricksy as an old Aga. This, happily, isn’t. If you like lurkers, you’ll love it.


 1a Old batteries regenerated in part of solar system (8,4)

9a Watery area, last two quitting line-up prior to mop-ups from time to time (7)
AQUEOUS: A(rea) + QUE(ue) + mOpUpS.

10a Diplomatic understanding dubiously entertained, with raid abandoned (7)
ENTENTE: ENTERTAINED, dubiously, minus RAID. No second indicator but the deleted letters are in order.

11a Language making a comeback in processional at a cathedral (7)
CATALAN: Reversed lurker.

12a Tinseltown activities in Wales. How bizarre! (7)
SHOWBIZ: Another lurker in quick succession. How bizarre!

13a Bred preposterous pony finally for horse race (5)
DERBY: BRED, preposterous (preposterous = reversed, but you could equally see it as an anagram, either works) + ponY.

14a Male aggressors concealing American hackers (9)
TOMAHAWKS: A male (cat) + aggressive types (birds) include A(merican).

16a Concerned with old harbours, sends imported goods elsewhere (2-7)
RE-EXPORTS: The customary “concerned with” + the two-letter “old” + the five-letter “harbours”.

19a Summer month mostly with record for drink (5)
JULEP: ¾ of a summer month + an extended (musical) record.

21a Mixing any salt, does one work out formula? (7)

23a Some char is salted, spicy item (7)
HARISSA: Yet another lurker.

24a Cover for organ of English king in a panic (7)
EARFLAP: The usual English + a fluster or panic enclose the usual king.

25a Condition for six in due course (7)
PROVISO: The three-letter “for” + Roman six + a two-letter “in due course” (the seventh definition in my BRB as it happens).

26a Those producing grouse or beef? (12)
COMPLAINANTS: Not the edible sort.


1d Goat perhaps will go after a neighbour (7)
ABUTTER: What a hostile goat might be, after A from the clue.

2d Patterned lace that’s seen round supermarket? (7)
TROLLEY: Double definition, the first being wholly new to me but it is, of course, in Chambers.

3d Rooster, an aberrant reverberating entity (9)

4d Obstruction exists about Romanian money (5)
ILEUS: IS from the clue circling the Romanian currency that I always forget = a most unpleasant sounding blockage.

5d Pledge puts meat not oddly into boiled soup (7)
BETROTH: mEaT (not oddly) inside a five-letter synonym for boiled soup.

6d Desire and bend low for weapon (7)
LONGBOW: The four-letter word for desire that’s not “itch” + bend low (in respect, etc).

7d Ban fish before a regularly dreary method of optically controlling stock, say (7,6)
BARCODE READER: Three-letter synonyms for ban, fish and before + A + DrEaRy.

8d People singing mass and operas soon jiggered, grabbing zeds (5-8)
MEZZOSOPRANOS: M(ass) + OPERAS SOON, jiggered, with two Zs inserted.

15d Renewed emphasis on chairman ultimately being crooked (9)
MISSHAPEN: EMPHASIS, renewed, plus chairmaN.

17d Fruit, all peeled, lets man get trim now (7)
ETAERIO: The middle letters of the last five words (all peeled). Chalicea’s got her magic dictionary out again. I’m so using this in Scrabble!

18d Indeed error after pressure in note giving detail of earnings (7)
PAYSLIP: A (think parliamentary) word for “indeed” or “yes” + a four-letter blunder (of the tongue?), after P(ressure).

19d Gibberish about ordinary pale zircon (7)
JARGOON: Gibberish (eg business speak) includes O(rdinary). If any of you has encountered pale zircon (does it come in dark too?) before, I can but doff my hat.

20d Fool with untruths about young women (7)
LASSIES: The usual fool inside the usual untruths.

22d Fabric of savoury snack papa consumed (5)
TAPPA: NATO’s papa is consumed by a Spanish savoury snack. Another word that was new to me but then I know about as much about fabric as about football, ie nothing.

Bang on the money for a Tuesday, I thought.  8d was my stand-out. Thanks to Chalicea. What did you reckon?

33 comments on “Toughie 3205
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  1. Tuesday Toughie fun from Chalicea – **/****

    The only blemish is that I am not sure about preposterous as a reversal indicator. It would certainly be a poor anagram if the other option was used.

    Candidates for favourite – 24a, 7d, and 20d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and ALP.

  2. This puzzle was somewhat strange for me today. I did not find it particularly hard to solve the clues and fill the grid and yet it took my GK to breaking point and beyond to confirm the constructed answers.
    I ended up with no less than 6 new words I had never heard of before and one new usage for me of a known word. In fact for 4d I had to look up the Romanian currency and even then the resultant word meant nothing to me and had to be checked in the dictionary.
    I did however have plenty of fun along the way with 7D and 9A being FOTD.
    I also noted something of a coincidence in the overlapping nature of the 1D clue with the 1D in today’s back pager – enough to give one pause to ponder the behind the scene processes by which these puzzles are compiled, collated and published…

    (For those interested in plumbing the depths of my general ignorance my new words were 19a, 4d, 17d, 19d & 22d, with 2d being the new usage for me. Oh dear, well they do say there is much yet to learn in the depths…)

    My thanks to Chalicea and to ALP

    1. Ditto to all your unknowns other than the drink which I knew from the Clovers song One Mint Julep also covered by Ray Charles & Booker T as well as by the James Taylor Quartet, an acid jazz band, that I used to see live regularly

  3. Educational on the fabric and textiles front. I took preposterous as an anagram indicator.

    Thanks to Chalicea and ALP.

  4. Looks like Chalicea was running out of options in the lower half of her grid, but never mind, I learned 3 new words and all were generously clued. I loved the all-in-one anagram at 21a and I can’t think of a more amusing way of constructing a lurker for 12a.
    A fun puzzle to start the Toughie week.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to ALP.

  5. This was a very enjoyable, gentle way to start our Toughie week. Several new words to me, but all fairly constructed clues. Many ticks with 28A and 7D being my favourites.
    Many thanks to ALP for the explanations and to Chalicea for the enjoyment she always gives us.

  6. An approachable Tuesday Toughie, one that was good fun and would not be out of place later in the week on the backpage. I hope it gets a wider audience. While there were a small number of new-to-me words they were all clued very fairly and were eminently solvable – no underarm cricket deliveries! Thought we were heading for a pangram, but was not to be.

    Many thanks indeed to Chalicea, and also to ALP – your choice of clips reminds me that I recorded Shawshank over Christmas and must re-watch it some time!

  7. This was light and fun, combined with a learning experience as you would expect with this setter. I came across five new words/meanings but all were very fairly clued so no problem to verify via a quick Google or BRB search.

    I thought it was a pangram, but I see that Mustafa G doesn’t think so. I’m not going to check again but, if I’m wrong, I’ll put it down to my illegible letters.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to ALP.

    1. My error, RD – I had over-looked the appearance of V & X when scanning the puzzle afterwards: *my* hurried hand-writing!

  8. Solved this with the BRB at the ready and I did need it to check five of my answers. I don’t think your letters are illegible, RD, I also had it down as a pangram. Top clues for me were the humorous 1a and 7d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and also to ALP for the review and the video clips – although I must admit that my knowledge of 19a comes from Bobby Goldsboro’s ‘Summer the first time’ – quite scandalous at the time!

  9. I always enjoy a Chalicea puzzle, and this didn’t disappoint. Probably took me less time than the backpager. Of ghe new eords to me, 4d sounds decidedly nasty and 17d and 19d took some teasing out and electronic confirmation. 7d is my cotd. Thanks to Chalicea and Alp.

  10. I weighed in with six new words/meanings but I agree all fairly clued. No complaints as it’s always good to learn new words. I too thought it was a pangram. Favourite was 7d as it took ages to fully parse, very clever. Thanks to Chalicea and ALP.

  11. It would have been handy if there had been a few letters left to complete the pangram found in the never heard of ones. Certainly not an unaided finish for me as I too looked up the Romanian readies & checked that there was a singular of tapas – it’s a bit up that creek with no paddle if both the wordplay & the definition are a mystery. Agree that most of it was a Toughie * star difficulty rating but it was at least *** for me with the obscurities. Bring back proper ‘floughiness’ I say. Mr G required to confirm a few more. It also took an embarrassingly long time to solve 26a. 7&8d + 14a would be my podium picks.
    Thanks to Chalicea & to ALP

  12. Certainly not the easiest Toughie I have done. More like a 2* at least for difficulty.
    Five words I had never hear of, either.

    Favourites include 1a, 19a, 26a & 8d

    Thanks to Chalicea & ALP

  13. Lots of fun with 7d being my favourite closely followed by a nice surface for 11a although I think the language concerned has been on its way back for a while.
    I couldn’t remember the Romanian currency (even though I have been there) and didn’t know the words which formed the answers to 4d and 19d. However, having been sent here from the DT cryptic blog, I am glad I nearly got to the end.

  14. As always we had our BRB and Mrs B close to hand and they certainly came in useful on several occasions. Thoroughly enjoyable solve as ever from this setter.
    Thanks Chalicea and ALP

  15. Many thanks to ALP. I loved the Shawshank clip and the parking ticket story. Apologies for introducing too many new words for some solvers but maybe that is what distinguishes a toughie from a floughie. ‘Preposterous’ is an interesting word. I used it once in a backpager and received an editorial ‘no-no’ – “That’s too obscure for a backpager – more Toughie talk’. Of course, the first Chambers definition of the word would allow it to be used as an anagram indicator but the third definition clearly defines it as an inversion indicator.
    We’re thinking of all of you with your storms – here we are desperate for more snow, as all the rain has melted what we were ski-ing on.

    1. Huge thanks for popping in Chalicea, and for your puzzle which was, as ever, an absolute pleasure to solve. As you say, preposterous can undoubtedly mean inverted or contrary, and works brilliantly as a reversal. I thought you were, in fact, very kind by giving us “bred” as opposed to, say, “raised” or some such. Glad you liked the ticket clip – it’s always tickled me!

  16. It has all been said, I concur on the learning experience aspect of many but as long as the BRB (or app) is on hand you are certain to find the word you have constructed
    Thanks ti Chalicea and ALP, Shawshank is one of my favourite films too

  17. I would never have solved 17d in million years and I doubt it will crop up in conversation anytime soon. Not with the “Naughty Boys” of Kinnerley Stores anyway. Before anyone gets the wrong idea that’s the name given by the shop staff to a group of us who gather every morning to get our papers and have a natter.

    Other than 17d, it was a wonderful guzzle. I’ve said it before and I don’t mind repeating it. Chalicea is my favourite setter. Too many great clues to single one out.

    Many thanks, Chalicea for the fun and letting me cut another notch into my Toughie solving post. Thank you, Alp for the hints, which I needed only for 17d.

    As I’ve mentioned them here is a picture of The Naughty Boys.

    1. And very “naughty” you look too
      Is that an antler dog whistle round your neck?
      (I know that you are in the middle as you have the same thing round your neck in the Moors Inn gallery)

      1. That’s me, SJB. So you’ve been checking out The Moors Inn?
        Yes, it is an antler dog whistle. It was made for me by a friend for my 60th birthday along with a handmade twisted stick with a horn handle.

        1. I am always on the lookout for places to take Mama Bee after a day out in the Dales or Whitby, I can’t decide between the Moors or the Abbey Inn at Byland

          1. Do try The Moors Inn. It was runner up in the Countryside Alliance pub of the year award. Mrs. C and I have stayed there no end of times since we discovered it in our 40th anniversary year.
            I recommend it so much, Sloop, I will treat you to a bottle of what you fancy when you and your good lady visit the pub.
            Just let me know and I will arrange it.
            Here is a friend we know enjoying our seat.

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