Toughie No 3169 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie No 3169

Toughie No 3169 by Chalicea

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from, at the time of writing, a mild and sunny South Devon coast. The prolific Chalicea gets us in the groove this week with a puzzle that despite a couple dated references and clunky surface reads I enjoyed solving.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Potentially ban peace cult? It’s not on (12)
UNACCEPTABLE: Anagram (potentially) of the following three words

9a Some men voicing author’s final words (5)
ENVOI: Hidden (some)

10a Artisan, writer of legal documents with copyright for first of deeds (9)
CRAFTSMAN: Start with someone who writes legal documents and replace the first letter of deeds with the single-letter abbreviation for Copyright.

11a Spoil alcohol at start of event to provide with a boundary (9)
MARGINATE: A charade of a synonym of spoil or ruin, a spirit, AT from the clue and the initial letter of Event. I can’t really make a lot of sense of the surface read here.

12a Reckless and somewhat super-duper (5)
PERDU: I can see this is hidden (somewhat) but I’ve only ever come across this as the past tense of the French verb “to lose” The BRB confirms the meaning however.

13a Antiquated fuddy-duddy IT one even essentially follows (9)
PRIMITIVE: Another charade of an adjective meaning very proper, IT from the clue, the letter that looks like the number one and the essential letters of eVEn.

16a Belts and footwear (5)
SOCKS: Double definition, the first a verb (lol)

18a Severe gear I’d put together (5)
RIGID: A synonym of gear or equipment with (put together) I’d from the clue.

19a Haphazardly rip up root miscellany (9)
POTPOURRI: Anagram (haphazardly) of the following three words.

20a Performing hound circling pub endlessly (5)
DOING: A canine around (circling) a pub or bar minus its last letter.

22a Curiously subtler and almost of lower status (9)
SUBALTERN: Anagram (curiously) of SUBTLER plus AN(d)

25a Witnessing exam, a tripos regularly taken at the end (9)
TESTATION: A charade of an exam plus A from the clue plus regular letters of TrIpOs plus the final letter (at the end) of takeN. Collins has this as obsolete.

26a Condescend when initially falling for daughter’s act (5)
FEIGN: A verb meaning to condescend with the abbreviation for Daughter replaced by the first letter of Falling. Very smart.

Here’s a great act with a song of supreme beauty.

27a Middle player gets onto boat — with these adjustable keels? (12)
CENTREBOARDS: Follow a position in a team of players that could indicate they play in the middle with a straightforward verb meaning “gets on to a boat”


1d Airgun Navy shot that’s not advanced, it’s regular (9)
UNVARYING: Anagram (shot) of the preceding two words less the abbreviation for Advanced.

2d Journal I binned contains excuse for failure (5)
ALIBI: Hidden (contains)

3d Give Chanel a drink (5)
COCOA: Chanel here is a French fashion designer who gave her name to a chic sporty look for women. We need to add A to her given name.

4d Detailed proposal on way to reinforce temporary post (9)
PLACEMENT: A proposal or intent minus its last letter (detailed) plus something that could literally and metaphorically reinforce.

5d Opposed to foregone old appetizer (9)
ANTIPASTO: A preposition meaning opposed to or against, a word meaning foregone or no more plus the abbreviation for Old.

6d Ancient ghost? Napoleon’s the spirit rising (5)
LEMUR: A French (Napoleon’s the) definite article plus a reversal (rising) of a spirit one drinks.

7d Male and female Olympians eliminating opponents (13)
HERMAPHRODITE: Useful to know your Greek gods for this one. Put together two Olympians then remove two bridge opponents. Very smart.

8d Without doubt one French pursuit decreasing right away (13)
UNQUESTIONING: The French word for one, a pursuit or goal and crosswordland’s favourite “de-creasing” with the abbreviation for Right removed. Nice clue but pity to have two French indicators so close together.

14d Feeling justifiable anger, with upset company gone, mixed gin and tonic (9)
INDIGNANT: Anagram of a synonym of with plus GIN AND TONIC with the abbreviation for COmpany removed (gone) The setter has correctly used two anagram indicators here (upset and mixed). Very smart.

15d I have to chase rascal and fool showing no emotion (9)
IMPASSIVE: Place a contracted form of I have from the clue after synonyms of a rascal and a fool.

17d Acts respectfully protecting English widowers’ rights (9)
CURTESIES: The formal acts performed by females when being presented to royalty perhaps around (protecting) the abbreviation for English. The BRB has this as “now rare”.

21d Point in dispute remains to prosecute at law (5)
ISSUE: A simple synonym of remains or continues to exist plus a legal action.

23d House brandy (5)
BINGO: I think this is a double definition, the first an exclamation in a (goodness knows why) popular game, the other a cartoon character?

24d Sentence one penned at length (5)
LIFER: A clever play on the word “penned” which in this sense means incarcerated. I like this.

Thanks Chalicea. I liked 26a plus 7,14&24d. Which ones did you particularly enjoy?





26 comments on “Toughie No 3169

  1. What a lovely start to the Toughie week – relatively gentle and great fun.

    There were several unfamiliar words/meanings which I needed to look up in my BRB. I needn’t have bothered and should have trusted Chalicea. In every single case the BRB definition was written almost verbatim in the clue.

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to SL.

  2. Chalicea confirming that her former soubriquet no longer applies in a very enjoyable start to this week’s Toughies – 2.5*/4*

    Some new words for me, 11a and 17d, I am not sure if I will need to make space in my memory for them.

    Candidates for favourite – 13a, 26a, 5d, 7d, and 15d – and the winner is 7d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and Stephen.

  3. A nice solid start to the Toughie week that was not overly taxing but a pleasure to solve. Any obscurities were perfectly and fairly clued, and the excellent 7d quickly became my favourite.

    My thanks to Chalicea and SL.

  4. Needed my BRB at hand for this one – quite often the case with our lady setter’s Toughies. Plenty of things to make me smile and I handed out rosettes to 26a plus 4&7d.

    Thanks to Chalicea and also to Stephen for the review.

    1. You should try more Toni because as Senf says she’s nowhere near as floughie as she used to be & there are plenty that crop up just as straightforward as this one & probably more so. Back yourself

  5. Lovely start to the inside-pager week, one of those where even when the answers were unfamiliar the clueing was so absolutely fair and spot on that one knew the solution would be correct: clueing the obscure fairly is an admirable trait of Chalicea’s which some other setters would do well to follow! Many lovely surface reads and wonderful clues, though I thought 22a let the side down with the first three letters of word play and answer being repeated.

    7d was a work of genius, joined on my podium by 12a (great surface) and 8d – which left me wondering just which French pursuit Chalicea had in mind!

    Many thanks to Chalicea and to Stephen

  6. Where did all the floughieness go ? 8a was my favourite. 23d still has me confused, can someone explain the brandy ?

    Thanks to Chalicea and Stephen.

    1. Per the BRB, second definition: “a familiar name for brandy. [Prob B, for brandy, and stingo]”.

      Define familiar … ;)

      I have recollections of encountering the term stingo (if not the drink) here in the far SW – defined by the BRB as “strong malt liquor”.

  7. Nicely, evenly paced
    And unaided to
    But still trying to complete
    Saturday’s Prize puzzle
    With 9a and 2d to go.
    I never give up.
    This one compact and pleasantly satisfying.
    Thanks Chalicea and Stephen.

  8. 3 bung ins. 6d (ancient ghost?), 17d (didn’t know it meant widowers’ rights) and 23d (not heard of the cartoon character). The rest were a step up in difficulty from her normal toughies and didn’t find it as easy as most. This does not bode well for the rest of the week. Favourite was 26a. Thanks to Chalicea for the mental drubbing and SL.

  9. Mr G working overtime confirming a good few unfamiliarities post solve but as MG correctly highlights they’re so precisely clued you’ve a fair chance of getting there if you follow the wordplay. 7d the hands down winner with podium spots for 24d&26a in what was a very enjoyable solve – slightly easier than her NTSPP for me but I may have been more with it today.
    Thanks to Chalicea & to Stephen.

  10. Thanks to StephenL and to all of you. I say again that I am always delighted when solvers are happy.

    1. Thanks for another very entertaining puzzle Chalicea even if it did give my biceps a workout picking up and putting down the BRB!

      1. No- that was supposed to refer to the brandy. It is obviously far too late for this bear of little brain, but thanks to both Chalicea and Stephen – I’ll come back to this tomorrow! Never give in, never surrender!

    2. Given the choice of a Friday back pager or a Chalicea toughie from earlier in the week, the Chalicea toughie wins every time! Great puzzle, thank you. It’s everything I look for in a puzzle, clever clues, solvable with a bit of logic and nothing tricksy.

  11. We had our BRB to hand so it was not a problem to confirm the words that were new to us. It actually added to our enjoyment of this delightful puzzle.
    Thanks Chalicea and SL.

  12. 2*/3* ….
    liked 14D “Feeling justifiable anger, with upset company gone, mixed gin and tonic (9)”

      1. The “official” favourite seemed to be 7D “Male and female Olympians eliminating opponents (13)” … took me a quite a while researching Greek gods …finally chose the somewhat lighter surface reading of 14D “Feeling justifiable anger, with upset company gone, mixed gin and tonic (9)”

  13. A rather tasty Toughie, but it took all this time for me to finally [split inf.] finish it. 17d was the showstopper. ***/****/ Thx to all.

Comments are closed.