Toughie 2057 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2057

Toughie No 2057 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I didn’t have any significant problems with this one which gave me plenty of time to enjoy it. Thanks to Micawber for the customary high quality puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Judge, a right attack dog? (7)
ARBITER: string together A, R(ight) and what an attack dog may be.

5a Hold me back, facing two of them! (7)
EMBRACE: reverse ‘me’ and add a word meaning a couple. I presume the surface is referring to the previous clue’s attack dog.

9a Former monarch and family entering Nordic parliament in creative approach to problem (7,8)
LATERAL THINKING: start with an adjective meaning former or deceased and the single-letter abbreviation for monarch then insert a word meaning family into the anglicised name of the Icelandic parliament (which we had as recently as 3 weeks ago in Toughie 2045).

10a Film star informally getting share of meagre takings (5)
GRETA: hidden in the clue. Micawber could be referring to Ms. Scacchi but it’s more likely to be the Swedish actress who desired solitude.

11a Substitute gets wicket after county’s last pair out for duck (9)
SURROGATE: another word for a wicket (not the stumpy one but a means of ingress or egress) follows one of the Home Counties with its last two letters replaced by the duck-resembling character.

12a One-piece swimming gear in seaside surroundings (9)
DUNGAREES: an anagram (swimming) of GEAR goes into seaside mounds.

14a Expressed satisfaction with 0-0, held after goal finally ruled out (5)
OOHED: start with two zero-like letters and add ‘held’ after removing the final letter of goal.

15a Grub used to catch small perch (5)
ROOST: a verb to grub (like a pig searching for truffles) contains the abbreviation for small.

16a Like rocket lacking oil and not in gear (9)
UNDRESSED: double definition – this rocket might be part of your lunch (if you’re unlucky).

18a Paradise has crumbled, with wrath endlessly intruding (7-2)
SHANGRI-LA: an anagram (crumbled) of HAS contains an adverb meaning ‘with wrath’ without its last letter.

21a Genet, Cocteau etc put these on (5)
JEANS: what have Messieurs Genet and Cocteau in common? Our very own Monsieur Cheval could be another distinguished member of this group.

22a Three times a critical time for action turned into meaningless chatter (5,5,5)
YADDA YADDA YADDA: put together A and a critical time for action (in June 1944) then reverse that and repeat it twice.

23a Most of team having ace time stuck in lift (7)
ELEVATE: another word for a football or cricket team without its last letter contains abbreviations for ace and time.

24a Got new shades again, conserving energy, showing the effects of a bad night? (3-4)
RED-EYED: a verb meaning changed shades or colours once more contains the abbreviation for energy.

Down Clues

1d Bad deal limiting support, it’s claimed (7)
ALLEGED: an anagram (bad) of DEAL containing a support.

2d Don’t tell anyone — like most of the characters in Youth Training Scheme (7,3,3,2)
BETWEEN YOU AND ME: where do the fourteen inside letters of ‘Youth Training Scheme’ appear?

3d Rent to collect on paintings? (4,5)
TORE APART: rent here is the past tense of the verb to rend. Cement together TO, a verb to collect or gather in and another word for paintings.

4d Means of transport requiring some bread (5)
ROLLS: double definition – the means of transport is a posh one.

5d Out there playing with struggling side (9)
ETHERISED: an anagram (playing) of THERE followed by a second anagram (struggling) of SIDE.

6d Jack propping up bar with old instrument (5)
BANJO: the abbreviation for Jack in card games follows a verb to bar. We finish with the abbreviation for old.

7d Unknown supporting partner seeding man with rail rolling stock business (6,9)
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY: a mathematical unknown follows a male partner who is inside (seeding) an anagram (rolling) of MAN and RAIL.

8d Intellectual dispute raged as to whether this was big or little end (7)
EGGHEAD: In Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels the disputes between the peoples of Lilliput and Blefuscu concerning which end of the breakfast food item should be uppermost were a satire on the petty ideological differences on religion between Britain and France. If Swift were alive today I wonder what his take would be on the President of the USA or whether he’d consider him to be beyond satire.

13d Poor clue the setter’ll need time to clear up (9)
ELUCIDATE: weld together an anagram (poor) of CLUE, the subjective pronoun used by the setter and a period of time.

14d Finished with little woman you’d once made ecstatic (9)
OVERJOYED: assemble an adverb meaning finished, one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, and an old form of “you’d”.

15d Make over balance diocese raised (7)
RESTYLE: start with a word for balance or remainder and append the reversal of a diocese in Cambridgeshire.

17d Split up police officers’ union (7)
DISBAND: charade of an abbreviation for senior detectives and a word for a union or group.

19d Mounted a horse, when astride beginning to hack in the country (5)
GHANA: reverse A and an old horse and insert the first letter of hack.

20d Serpentine sunbather in summer? (5)
ADDER: this sinuous creature likes to lie in the sun. Cryptically it might be good at doing sums.

I have ticks all over my printout including next to 11a, 22a, 8d, 14d and 20d but pride of place goes to 2d. Do let us know which clue(s) received your plaudits?

24 comments on “Toughie 2057

  1. After a very enjoyable back pager, what more could one ask for than an equally enjoyable (and not too tough) Micawber Toughie, completed at gallop- **/*****.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 9a (I thought that we had that parliament recently) and 11a.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  2. Gotta love Micawber – such a lovely man who produces consistently enjoyable puzzles.

    Have to admit to checking that the unlikely 5d is a ‘real’ word and was very grateful for the appearance of Monsieur Cocteau as I’d have struggled with just the name of the playwright.

    So many ticks on the page but I’ll award the podium places to 11&16a plus 2&14d.

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the blog. My word, I’d forgotten all about that tragic girl with her leader of the pack!

  3. Wish my pecs still look like this. A bit more saggy nowadays.
    A lot of 9a made this crossword fly by.
    Thanks to Micawber for the fun while it lasted and to Gazza for the review.

  4. 2d was an inspired guess which I couldn’t parse. I think it is brilliant clue.

    Thank you setter and blogger

  5. Terrific puzzle .
    It’s very difficult to pick just one , I agree with Jane’s choices and I add 21a and 22a .
    I certainly didn’t gallop through it but I enjoyed the tussle .
    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber .

  6. One of those ‘just me then days’ I took a long time reading through what I thought for Micawber were in many places quite wordy clues before I wrote my first solution in half way through the downs. When I finished, in a reasonable Wednesday time, I wasn’t sure what held me up really.

    Thanks to Micawber for the fun – my special favourite was 4d – and to Gazza for the explanations

  7. They were quite wordy, the clues, so I’m chiming in with crypticsue to an extent. But there is a lacing of humour, a levity, which I enjoyed. For some reason I was attracted to the Sinuous Sunbather. Others rather nice too, so a good, if somewhat prolix, solve in the end.

    Thank you to Micawber and Gazza (nice photo captions).

  8. After the first read through and no inspiration forthcoming I thought – oops, this maybe a tad difficult. However, with a strong cup of coffee bolstering the old grey matter things started to fall into place. I also have lots of clues ticked – but my favourite of the day is 2d. Excellent stuff.

    Thanks to Micawber for the fun and Gazza for his review.j

  9. I enjoyed this very much. I was fortunate in getting a foothold relatively early on in the NW corner (where I always start), and it all fell into place nicely and without major holdup. I agree that 2d is a wonderful clue. I also appreciated another puzzle in which I did not have to search on Google endlessly for strange and wonderful things. Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  10. Really liked this except 4d. Weak.
    Nice steady solve in bit above ** as distracted by 22a in park. Thanks to M + G.

  11. Had good fun with this. Nice mix of clues.

    1a made us laugh which is always a good sign with our favourite being 12a.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  12. All completed, the only help I needed was to find the anagram at 5d, which I would not have got otherwise, and I had to refer to the blog to parse 8d. A very satisfying afternoon’s work.

    My COTD was 16a, without a shadow of a doubt.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  13. There is an old* setter called Mick
    Whose Toughies are Kitty’s top pick
    Acrosses umpteen**
    Downs 2 and 13
    All of these and more got a tick

    Yes, I very much enjoyed this. About normal Wednesday strength for me, but I’m facing the second half of the Toughie week with some trepidation …

    Many thanks Micawber and Gazza

    *Not old actually, but his rule when writing limericks is: older than the writer = old, younger than the writer = young. So I’m just following that lead!

    **11, 14, 15, 16, 22

    1. There is a young blogger called Kitty
      Whose hints are insightful and witty
      She’s always about
      And now, it turns out
      She can even turn out a neat ditty

  14. Enjoyable puzzle and excellent blog and comments as always. Last in was 17d because I’d mistakenly ended 24a with an “s” rather than a “d” until I saw the light.

    Favourite was 2d…..although regrettably I needed the blog to parse.

    1. WOW!!!!!!!!!!! ME TOOO! Shows I’m not the only one who makes a mistake. I then spent a lot of time trying to find a word to fit the wrong letters.
      Only difference is I did not notice the mistake, wrong tense as a d is a past tense and an s is a present. Of course the answer with an s on the end still makes sense. Worse luck! but a union that is ?a?s No chance!
      At least I got the rest of it without recourse to books or the internet.

      I could not believe 22a until I saw what was meant by “critical time for action”, and I just “saw” 7d as I couldn’t parse it for love nor money. I also had trouble believing 14a as I never thought that was a word either!

      Altogether, fair enough and a lesson in REALLY reading the clues properly!

  15. Thoroughly enjoyable as ever from Micawber. Very much on the easy side – a definite * for difficulty here, and only just slower than the back pager. Mind you, I suspect I got lucky spotting a load of the definitions pretty sharpish, so… First in 1ac, last in 17d.

  16. Thanks to Micawber and to Kitty for the review and hints. I enjoyed this one very much, a lot of head scratching, but got there in the end. Needed the hints to parse 12&18a and 3&8d. Last in was 8d, favourite was 15d. Was 3*/3* for me.

  17. Not difficult, but entertaining nonetheless.

    I reckon if Swift were around today, he’d probably be kept too busy by Hillary Rodham to bother much with the Donald yet.

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