Toughie 2058 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2058

Toughie No 2058 by Artix

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *****Enjoyment ***/****

When I blogged Artix’s first Toughie I wrote that I had difficulty getting on the right wavelength. Today I just had difficulty full stop. It took me some time to get going but when I did the right-hand side went fairly quickly with the help of a lot of guesswork. I then got totally becalmed on the left-hand side and had to leave it and come back to it twice. Eventually I managed a complete grid with 22 across the last one in. For once the pangram helped because the letter I was missing helped me get 1 down (my penultimate answer). I know that I like a challenge but even I felt that this one was a bit OTT. Or maybe it’s just me still not on the right wavelength

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Across

7a    Training with Zulu for record? It might get one down (7)
ZIPLINE: Take a 10-letter word that Chambers defines as ‘training designed to engender self-control and an ordered way of life’ and replace the first four letters (a word for a gramophone record) by Z (Zulu). This gives a cable or rope stretched between two points of different heights, down which a person slides for amusement by means of a suspended harness, pulley or handle

8a    Busy music section initially gets singer cross (7)
SCHERZO: A lively busy musical movement = S (first letter of section) + a female American singer (once the wife of Sonny) + a kind of hybrid domestic cattle found in parts of the Himalayas

10a    Catching former tax fiddle, expert means to consult files (6,4)
ACCESS CODE: An expert (3) goes round a former tax (4) and ‘fiddle’ (3) to give an identification number and/or password used to get into a computer system. I’m not convinced by the ‘fiddle’ here

11a    Treed so densely and so darkly (except for the odd bits) (4)
OAKY: The even-positioned letters of SO DARKLY

12a    Why some blokes might hate Florence or Paris? (8)
MISOGYNY: Here Florence and Paris are girls’ names and the clue is a cryptic definition for a word meaning ‘hatred of women’

14a    Many British thrown out of club (6)
OODLES: Remove B (British) from the beginning of the name of a London gentlemen’s club (that I’ve never heard of)

15a    Bit in papers after a small dose of drug reportedly caused death (11)
ASPHYXIATED: A + S (small) + a homophone of a shot of a drug + ‘bit’ (as a past tense) inside identification papers = ’caused death by depriving of air’

19a    Roughly snubbed sci-fi author’s grot (6)
CAVERN: An abbreviation denoting ‘roughly’ or ‘approximately’ + the surname of a French sci-fi novelist with the last letter removed (snubbed) = grot (short for grotto)

20a    Adapt to new life on bench (8)
RESETTLE: ‘On'(2) + a long high-backed bench

22a    Female hacks missing English bar? (4)
MARS: Here the hacks are of the equine variety. Remove E (English) from female horses to give the name of a chocolate bar

23a    Plant unusual feature when leader’s gone after kid (6,4)
JOSHUA TREE: A small American yucca named after an OT character = ‘to kid’ + an anagram (unusual) of EATURE, i.e. FEATURE with the first letter removed

25a    Frenchman? With no map, he’s suffering hyperthermia (7)
THIERRY: A French male given name (e.g. that of Arsenal’s all-time leading goal scorer) is an anagram of YRTHERI, i.e HYPERTHERMIA minus the letters of MAP HE

26a    Okay to replace centre with forward? That’s pants! (1-6)
Y-FRONTS: Take a 3-letter word meaning ‘okay’ and replace the middle letter by a 5-letter word meaning ‘forward’ to give a style of men’s underpants

Down

1d    Virtually ready IT company that’s been trashed (7)
BITCOIN: A digital currency = IT and the abbreviation for ‘company’ inside a receptacle for rubbish

2d    St. Moritz sport with good climbing stick (4)
GLUE: Take a Winter Olympic sport that uses small sleds and move the letter G (good) to the front. This gives ‘to stick’

3d    Combo of Gangnam Style trios is disturbed (6)
ANGSTY: Three consecutive letters of GANGNAM + three consecutive letters of STYLE = filled with anxiety

4d    Hard stuff from raucous closet drama that’s tad off (8)
SCLEROMA: An area of abnormally hard tissue is an anagram (raucous) of CLOSERMA, i.e. CLOSET DRAMA minus the letters TAD

5d    Transfer male silver medallists on time (10)
SECONDMENT: A temporary transfer to another position = what could be ‘male silver medallists’ (6,3) + T (time)

6d    Book mobile operator to ring unknown German place (7)
EZEKIEL: A book of the Old Testament = a British mobile network operator (2) round a letter denoting an unknown quantity + a German city that gives its name to a canal

9d    £25, say, for post that came up? (4,7)
PONY EXPRESS: The slang term for £25 + ‘to say’ or ‘to put into words’ = a US mail service in 1860-1861. I don’t know why it’s the post that came up and I’m too exhausted to think about it further [The post that came up on horseback – thanks Gazza.]

13d    What’s ‘clammy’ when it’s served up by natives? (6,4)
OYSTER STEW: Natives (bivalve molluscs) + a reversal of ‘clammy’ or ‘damp’ = a dish which Mr Google tells me is popular in the US and The Gambia

16d    Deciding set stuck at 6-6? (4,4)
HUNG JURY: A cryptic definition for a group of people that cannot agree on a verdict

17d    Grief, I’m content to clear a cheque! (7)
EARACHE: Hidden in CLEAR A CHEQUE. I don’t know why it took me song to get this one

18d    Firm to make hole in beer bottles (2,5)
AL DENTE: ‘Firm to the bite’ = a hollow in a surface inside ‘beer’

21d    Oiled solitary lock below lid on safe (6)
SQUIFF: ‘Oiled’ or ‘tipsy’ = S (first letter of SAFE + a piece of hair brushed upwards and backwards from a man’s forehead (i.e a solitary lock)

24d    Give lift to wrong toddler (4)
TROT: A reversal of a legal wrong = an informal term for a toddling child (and I never knew that)

I think I deserve double money today

33 comments on “Toughie 2058

  1. This is definitely a Friday Toughie appearing 24 hours too early. It was a signifcant struggle to finish it but it’s full of cracking clues and I enjoyed it a great deal even if a number of wet towels were needed.
    My final problems came in the NW corner (due to not being able to spell 12a and being convinced at first that the “one down” in 7a related to the 1d answer). This was all eventually sorted but once again the pangram was of no assistance to me.
    Thanks to Artix for a proper Toughie and to Bufo for the expert review.
    I had ticks against a number of clues but I’ll just mention 22a and 9d with my favourite being the brilliant 16d.

    For 9d I think “came up” means “arrived on horseback”.

  2. Wow-I barely solve a dozen of the clues and even with Bufo’s help i was often still at a loss on most of the rest.

  3. Just six words in (for me) ***** time; almost totally beyond my capability so * for enjoyment, I’m afraid.

  4. I think it’s hard because there’s a fair bit of GK needed, and even then you have to molest said GK elements to get not the answers, but bits of answers! Took me a while to put together anyway, I can tell you. Not a Floughie at all.

    Thanks Artix and Bufo.

  5. Well, this was certainly tough, and contained all sorts of things that I hadn’t heard of (the mobile phone operator in 6d for example). I got three in total (four if you include 24d that I had right but discounted because I could not associate it with toddler). I’m so sorry, but this was no fun for me I’m afraid.

  6. Won’t say how long this took me but I really thought I was going to get there without recourse to the hints – until I hit the NW corner. Eventually I took Bufo’s hints for 7a & 1d which was enough to get me going again.

    Too difficult for me to really enjoy the challenge but I thought 16d was excellent.

    Thanks to Artix and to Bufo for being there with a helping hand. Yes, you definitely deserve double pay and a :rose:

  7. …hmmm too tough for me , even with Bufo’s excellent hints , I’ve not heard of grot for grotto, still can’t get the tax and fiddle ,too much obscure GK .
    Nevertheless , thanks to Artix and Bufo – btw I also gave up trying to parse 9d

      1. Cess is an old word for a tax or levy. Cod is a verb to play a trick on or hoax someone.

        1. Thank you. Never heard of “cess” and thought “cod” was more “pretend” or “false”.

    1. Cess was a tax in colonial India but the fiddle bit ???? Bufo says not convinced, I’ve no idea,,,,,

  8. Very hard, though very enjoyable. Lots of good clues to struggle with. We failed on just 22a although, having seen Bufo’s hint, it’s hard to see why. We had a few bung-ins , like 1a, and needed the blog to see why they were right. Finally, we too struggled with the last part of the clue for 9a.

    Overall we thought 5*/4.5*.

    Favourites were 8a and 15a.

    Thanks to Bufo and to Artix.

  9. Few blogs… All stumped?
    No surprise. Got 3/4 thar were toughly fair but the rest were v obscure… Frenchman, hybrid, gangham, toddler, the club, mobile, hard stuff etc.
    Enjoyment **

  10. Managed about half and needed electronic assistance for some of it. Had “wire” instead of “line’ in 7a; didn’t like 11a at all, and as for “grot” – I thought that was reserved for Reggie Perrin. I like a challenge but this was a slog. Whatever will tomorrow bring? I dread to think!

  11. Got there in the end , not helped by what Goblinski said but also the unfriendly grid with 18 / 26 clues unchecked starts. Fave was 16d. Thanks to Bufo and Artix

  12. The RHS went in on a bit of a wing and a prayer, based on half glimpsed definitions and bits of the wordplay, but the rest was a real struggle. The grid screamed Nina, but there wasn’t one, just an unfriendly grid as others have noted. :-) Last in was the SW corner where a dish that Chambers hasn’t heard of gave me no end of grief. A real challenge then, but this is supposed to be the Toughie…. Satisfying to finish.

  13. Got there in the end but only with a lot of perseverance which, unfortunately made it less fun than this setter’s previous puzzles. Maybe it’s beyond my pay grade, so I’ll just take it as a learning experience.

    Thanks to Artix for the challenge and to Bufo for his hard work in producing an excellent blog.

  14. I struggled with this one too, not nice. Did not like oaky- whoever says a wood is oaky? 18 down was a nice one.

  15. I had a grand total of two answers (14A and 26A) before I gave up and since my answer for 14A was ‘legion’ that didn’t help with anything. No pleasure at all in this for me so it’s hard to thank the setter. I do appreciate Bufo’s sterling effort to bring us the hints.

  16. Not sure I really enjoyed this. I do like a challenge, but somehow this didn’t engage or intrigue me – thus it remains unfinished.

    Thanks to Artix and a round of applause for Bufo.

  17. Took me a long time but, like Jane, thought I might just make it on my own. In the end it wasn’t to be. Had to make a couple of cheats and checks before the finish, like looking up grot to see if it had some strange alternative meaning – it did – and confirming 24d’s odd name for a toddler. Along with the trot and the grot, I didn’t know the London club en route to 14a.

    I feel better to learn that 22a was Bufo’s last in, because that was the one I ended up out-and-out cheating on, and was feeling a little sheepish about it.

    Still, it was satisfying when the clues fell, and there were some nice bits that I really enjoyed (if I can remember back that far).

    16d was brilliant. On the sporting surface theme, I also want to give 26a a mention, not least because the enumeration was a much-needed gift early on!

    Thanks Artix and Bufo – you’ve earned triple pay at least!

    P.S. I’m happy to have a variety of grids for, well, variety, but with clues this tough it might have been kind to use a friendlier grid or include a nina.

      1. No, Skeeter. No such thing as cheating when you’re doing crosswords for fun, only lying.

        I declare “cheats” when I haven’t solved unaided just because I wouldn’t want to give the impression I had. And when I have used more than a couple of aids, it would be tedious (for me and for readers!) to list them all, so I use cheating as a convenient catch-all term – but not one intended to be taken too seriously.

    1. Welcome to the blog JohnG

      Yes, every Artix Toughie so far has been a proper Toughie – there is also one of his puzzles in the NTSPP series.

  18. What happened to Ximenean principles? Just one example makes the point. A bitcoin is a virtual ready (amusing pun possibilities there) but “virtually” is not an adjective nor in any semantic sense is a bitcoin “virtually ready”. This is laziness. If you break the rules (changing parts of speech) to accommodate a desire to show off your ability with the Thesaurus or Google, how can I trust you to play the setter’s part which is, lest you forgot, to lose gracefully. Once you have broken that trust, the fun evaporates. I suggest to this novice setter that she has a good long think about the ethos of the toughie before having another go.

    1. Welcome to the blog Traditionalist

      1) I seen no problem with describing bitcoin as virtually ready (money).
      2) This setter is not a novice, having set Listener and EV puzzles as well as two previous Toughies and an NTSPP,
      3) She is very much a he, and is a personal friend


      On the left, with Bufo and Donk

      Your comment says more about you than it does about the setter, and I hope that you have a good long think about the ethos of commenting before having another go.

    1. Welcome to the blog Ray

      I suspect you are not alone. Next time remember that, like Elgar, a setter always gives you a way into his puzzles.

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