Toughie 2705 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2705

Toughie No 2705 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by Miffypops

Happy Birthday


Sir Van Morrison

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A more straightforward offering from Chalicea today which makes reviewing the puzzle a lot easier than some. Thanks for that

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Take note, former currency depressed (4,4)
MARK DOWN:  The former currency of a European country is followed by an adjective meaning sorrowful or blue

5a        Quits, accepting last of test results (6)
EVENTS:  A term meaning quits or equal contains the final letter of the word test

9a        Carnage in service area? (8)
MASSACRE:  A religious service is followed by an area of land

10a      Showers following golf seeds (6)
GRAINS: The letter suggested by golf in the phonetic alphabet is followed by an example of precipitations

12a      Praise a Latin duo cavorting (9)
ADULATION: An anagram (cavorting) of A LATIN DUO

13a      Come to ace funeral party (5)
AWAKE:  The letter A from the clue is followed by the term used by some for a funeral gathering

14a      Fur mask (4)
HIDE:   Double definition

16a      Costs maintaining essentially expensive royal offspring (7)
PRINCES: The essential or central letter of the word expensive sits inside the regular synonym of the word costs

19a      Withdraw from society kayoed after drink (4,3)
DROP OUT: A word meaning kayoed or unconscious follows a small amount of liquid

21a      Bucks perhaps highly valued, it’s said (4)
DEER: Bucks here are four legged. The answer is a homophone (it’s said) of a word meaning highly valued

24a      Malaria treatment for friend (5)
CHINA:  China or Quina or Quinine is a treatment for malaria. China is also rhyming slang for ones mate CHINA PLATE

25a      Songwriter contrived to lose wife’s further arrangement? (9)
RESORTING:  Anagram (contrived) of the word SONGWRITER minus the abbreviation for wife

27a      Sad time with such as Hamlet making a comeback (6)
TRAGIC:  An example of what a Hamlet is to a smoker is reversed and placed after the abbreviation for time

28a      Practicable involving annual return capable of change (8)
VARIABLE: A word meaning practicable or capable of working successfully contains the abbreviations for annual and return

29a      Draft of French notice (6)
DESIGN: The French word meaning of is followed by a notice, on a post maybe

30a      Discouraged sleuth blundered (8)
DETERRED: A shortened form of the word detective is followed by a word meaning blundered or made a mistake


1d        Man, say, left supporting mother (6)
MAMMAL: A five-letter word for your mother is followed by the abbreviation for left

2d        In Paris, queue-jumping liable to shock (6)
RISQUÉ: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

3d        Maiden in RADA performing emotional episode (5)
DRAMA:  An anagram (performing) of the initial letters of The Royal Academy of Doing Acting contains the abbreviation used by the scorers at a cricket match for a maiden over

4d        Throw out crude revolutionary period of conflict (7)
WARTIME: A word meaning crude or unprocessed is reversed and followed by a period of the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole

6d        All-round eccentric relatives (9)
VERSATILE:  Anagram (eccentric) of RELATIVES

7d        Bother sister over savings scheme before church (8)
NUISANCE: A charade which contains three parts. These are 1 A sister such as one might find in a convent 2 A form UK investment that is exempt from tax upon its returns 3 The abbreviation for the Church of England. Arrange as per the wording of the clue

8d        Uncertainty of opinion about US policies principally (8)
SUSPENSE: An opinion sits around the abbreviation US from the clue and the initial letter of the word policies

11d      Upset bowls crack (4)
SNAP: The reverse (upset) of some bowls or cooking pots

15d      Cold-shouldering crooked oil giants (9)
ISOLATING: Anagram (crooked) of OIL GIANTS

17d      Enlightened pair of journalists embracing posh moggie (8)
EDUCATED: Two identical senior journalists sit around the letter suggesting poshness and a regular moggie

18d      Hot, so daily agitates for time off (8)
HOLIDAYS: The abbreviation for hot is followed by an anagram (agitates) of SO DAILY.  The answer is a concept I had forgotten about

20d      Exhaust what’s needed for spare change in Vegas? (4)
TIRE: The word used in English to mean exhaust is also the word used in American English to describe an item that might need a spare to change to following a puncture. The Americans have a lot to thank Noah Webster for

21d      Germany is supported by moderate complaint (7)
DISEASE: The IVR code letter for Germany is followed by the word is from the clue. Together these are followed by a synonym of moderate as a verb

22d      Shout when trunks fall down! (6)
TIMBER:  These trunks are the trunks of trees. What does one shout as the tree begins to fall?

23d      Harmonised metal instrument (6)
AGREED: The chemical symbol for silver (I hope. I got this mixed up with tin recently) is followed by a type of musical instrument using thin blades of cane to supply their sound

26d      Some opera is expected to elate (5)
RAISE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word some


45 comments on “Toughie 2705

  1. My first unaided finish on a Toughie! I always knew it would be a puzzle by Chalicea and so it proved. I struggled with a few because of getting wrong ideas I could not shake off. For example, I could not get travelling cases out of my mind for 22d. It was a great PDM when my brain crossed the points to the right track.

    My favourite clue is 7d.

    Thank you, Chalicea – you have made an old man very happy! Grateful thanks to Miffypops for the hints, which I will now read.

    1. When you say unaided do you mean no electronic help or just that you did not use the hints?
      I also finished it before the hints came up but definitely used electronic help.
      I only tried it thanks to you saying it was Chalicea. I am definitely on her wave length. I’ve given up on them otherwise, especially when they are given one star for difficulty and I can get about 2!

      1. No electronic help and no hints, Toni. Had I used them I would not have claimed an unaided finish.

  2. Quite straightforward although the Malaria treatment was unknown to me. 22d was my favourite. Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  3. Very enjoyable, a satisyfing and welcome gentle start to the Toughie week. Many chuckles and smiles, so thank you Chalicea, and thank you MP for the review.

  4. Also a first for me. I finished the Toughie in a shorter time than the back pager.
    Enjoyed them both!

  5. Well, I didn’t finish – because there is another anagram at 12a that works perfectly well, thus throwing 1d out.

    COTD is, most definitely, 20d; spare change in Vegas, brilliant.

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  6. 24a. My online dictionary has china. quina and hence quinine. Surely better for malaria than kaolin which I think is a clay?

    COTD is the amusing 22d

  7. Thoroughly enjoyable but over far too quickly. Chalicea’s puzzles are always very accessible and this was certainly one more from the production line. I liked the charade at 7d but my favourite was 27a.

    My thanks to Chalicea for the fun and to MP.

  8. Well right on our setters wavelength and all over before my second cup of tea!
    lots of fun and light hearted ,nothing obscure, liked the wordplay of 27a and 6d.
    Thanks setter and MP for the pics.

  9. As always with Chalicea great fun although I needed the hint to parse 24a. Favourite was 22d. Many thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  10. Another great puzzle.
    Completed in full without looking at the hints but had look up ‘Kayoed’ to verify 19a and had to check 24a – answer was obvious but I wasn’t aware the treatment could be spelled that way.
    20d and 22d are great clues

  11. Even if this had been on the back page I would have thought it quite gentle. My only problem was justifying 24a but it had to be. Not short on fun though, my joint favourites were 20&22d.
    Thanks to Chalicea and MP for a great puzzle and blog.

  12. Great fun and finished quite quickly and unaided. Lots of anagrams which helped a lot. Thanks to all.

  13. Thanks to Miffypops and to all of you appreciative solvers. I am glad that, as yet, no-one has really grumbled that it was ‘far too easy’ (though a couple of familiar regulars surely will). I am delighted to be able to provide a first unaided solve for some. My own favourite clue was 22d too. I do try to stick to the ‘maximum six anagrams’ rule, though occasionally editorial tweaking adds another or a partial one.

    1. Chalicea,
      Thank you for the fun and giving me the satisfaction of a rare complete solve of a Toughie.
      And for popping in to see us.

    2. Thank you for popping in, Chalicea. Would you be kind enough to explain to us what your thinking was behind 24a – many thanks.

      1. Jane, exactly as Miffypops explains it. There are two definitions (headwords) in Chambers for that word – one is Cockney rhyming slang (rhymes with plate) and the other is a surprising word for a malaria treatment (another name for quinine). When Chambers provides a double definition, it is great for a setter, though I feel that we have seen a few too many lately – rather a lot in today’s back-pager, for instance.

        1. Hello Chalicea, thanks for the puzzle
          It seems to me that some setters use obscure words or rare alternative meanings to add difficulty, some are more into wordplay surfaces for simple words – would you agree?
          I prefer the latter

          1. Yes, LetterboxRoy. Some of the very able setters I sometimes co-set with prefer to use the last and most obscure of the definitions in Chambers and I have a reputation of using the first or most obvious. We sometimes bicker a bit about it before agreeing on a half-way measure.

    3. Thanks from me too Chalicea. I do not usually even try the Toughies but I gave this one a go as I saw it was by you….and solved it without the hints but using a little electronic help (mainly checking my answers were correct on the Telegraph app.)

      So pleased with myself.


    4. I am certainly not complaining as I loved this puzzle. What puzzles m is how they are selected for one page or the other. I usually do not do the Toughie but did this very quickly without help (not even checking spelling or meaning of a word). I only attempted for two reasons – as it was yours and because I did the backpager yesterday rather than in bed this morning. Sometimes I can struggle with a backpager for hours, coming back to it after a rest but this one I would place at the easy end of the back page scale. I suppose it boils down to wavelength?

  14. Fun solve within the ability of moderates like me so a “floughie” I suppose.
    Thank you Chalicea and MP for the usual witty review. I thought it unlikely you would pass up a visual for risque!

  15. I, too, thought this easier than the back-pager. LOI 30a. I can see the confusion with another possible anagram for 12a, but not a word I’ve heard used before. I liked 27a, which is my COTD.
    Thanks chalicea, and MP, although I got to the end unaided.
    Re SC’s reply at comment 1, finishing a crossword unaided means no dictionaries, Google help nor hints for me. I think I remember only getting half an hour each for 6 puzzles when I once qualified for the Times crossword championship. 30 years ago now, so could be wrong. Didn’t get any further than regional round though…!

      1. I used to say not to read the clues – now that would be an unaided solve. I once sat down without a pen one Christmas Eve and being both stubborn and lazy could not be bothered to fetch one. After about half an hour a customer at the table opposite commented that I must be struggling as I hadn’t written a single answer in. I was one short which revealed itself as we spoke. Not as difficult as it sounds actually. I also remember one commenter who assembled his own grid daily from the clues and enumeration provided by this site.

  16. This is my first toughie, I give them a wide berth but I couldn’t resist a Chalicea offering. I did finish bar one, not bad at all! I’m not going to make them a habit, I’m no Einstein and I can’t solve as quickly as others, I’d do nothing all day but crosswords.
    My fave was 22d, huge smile when I got it.
    Thanks Chalicea and M’pops for the hints and pics (particularly the pic at 2d).

  17. Started this late, so just finished while I’ve been on a training programme.

    Interesting, fun puzzle: lots of anagrams which helps. Despite having worked in the malaria field (with insecticides) I was unaware of the alternative name for quinine in 24a…..I got it from the rhyming slang.

    Favourite is 20d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and MP.

  18. Saved this one from yesterday, when I saw that it was by Chalicea, and glad I did as it did not disappoint. All very doable, except I didn’t know that 24a was also a malaria treatment, only knew of quinine. Very much enjoyed so thank you Chalicea, and thanks to Miffypops as I did need a few hints to finish. Nevertheless, this was the best I have ever done on a Toughie, so very chuffed.

  19. Thank you all! Those lovely comments really make setting feel worth the time it takes (rather a lot for a Toughie even if it is sometimes floughie for some). It’s great to know some have managed to solve a Toughie for the first time. Tuesdays’ are often quite do-able, especially with Miffypops to help.

  20. Well-deserved Chalicea.

    So pleased to read (elsewhere) about your Bombinas……beautiful creatures!!

    1. GeoffH, they are relatively unknown and appear as a kind of afterthought in textbooks on amphibians but they are absolutely delightful. I reared one (using fruit flies) when he had failed to develop enough to survive our harsh winter and he knew me when he was back in the pond in the spring – he would come and sit on my hand. They all (I have about 40 now) rush towards me when I go to their ponds and they sit in little groups with the same ‘mates’. They are slightly like chameleons and change colour slightly depending on their surroundings. Their delicate song towards dusk is beautiful.

        1. Chalicea……Thanks for your reply.

          I once kept a B. bombina (someone gave it to me when they no longer wanted it!) as a kind of pet, as well as a B. variegata. Believe it or not, the B. v. was found in a jamjar in a shed by a friend of my brother-in-law.

          Great little critters and so much better for them to be in their natural habitat.

          1. Jules, we live in the French Jura mountains at about 700m. The interesting thing is that the Bombina Bombina and Bombina Variegata have different coloured bellies – ours are vivid yellow and the others are bright orange – they live in northern Germany (I have seen them in a Hannover museum in a tank) and the two are approaching as they spread south and north.The natterjack is the only similar British species.

            1. We get a lot of natterjackas here (under the South downs); they often turn up under the washing machine and the kitchen sink. Lucky you living in the Jura!

              1. Jules……lucky you seeing wild natterjacks: very rare, almost endangered in UK. I also had one of these when a young teenager, but it was from the Wirral. Never seen one in the wild.

                1. Many years ago we were lucky to see them in the wild in wet ground on the side of the road just short of Acharacle in Ardnamurchan.

  21. Glad I managed to print and solve this lovely crossword.
    Thanks to Chalicea and to MP for the fun.

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