Toughie 2075 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2075

Toughie No 2075 by Artix

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from an overcast and gloomy Warrington (what’s new, you may say!).

I’m standing in for the usual Friday blogger and have been given an Artix puzzle to tackle. This is the first time I’ve tackled one of his puzzles and it’s up there at the top end of the Toughie scale with the Elgar’s and Sparks of this world. Quite a challenge. The first few answers I entered gave me a J, X and Z which set the pangram alarm off, and I’m happy to confirm that it is one. Some very nice clues to make you smile. A couple made me think twice; I hadn’t heard of the word at 10ac and 6dn needed a bit of help from a certain person on high (but shouldn’t have!), but overall it was a fine puzzle and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Heading to Norway, relative crosses ocean – does this make her sick? (8)
NAUSEANT:    Take the first letter of Norway and add the name of a female relative. This ‘crosses’, i.e. goes round a word for an ocean.

9a    Adele’s last exploit with male rapper (6)
EMINEM:    The name of one of the leading rap artists is revealed by taking the last letter of Adele and adding a word for to exploit and finishing with the abbreviation for male.

10a    High priest out of opera used as setter’s name? (4)
FIDO:    If you take the title of a famous opera (Beethoven’s only one!) and remove a standard crossword name associated with the definition ‘priest’ you will get the name for a four-legged rather than two-legged setter. And here’s a picture of one of mine, she’s called Lexie and has 666 tattooed on the back of her neck….

11a    Needing change, Scrooge regularly tapped another old miser (10)
SCRAPEGOOD:    Clever clue. Another name for a tightwad is revealed by making an anagram of SCROOGE and the alternate letters (regularly) of TAPPED.

12a    House dismisses frauds (6)
HOAXES:    A word meaning frauds is shown by taking the abbreviation for house and adding a word meaning cuts or dismisses.

14a    All for end in blood-feud in island capital (8)
VALLETTA:    Take a word meaning feud (as in a Mafia one) and swap END in it for ALL to give the name of the capital of an island in the Med.

15a    What’s needed to convert Tory into Green? (6)
YELLOW:    A nice amusing clue. What you add to the colour of someone who supports the Tories to get the colour Green.

17a    With it, rhubarb’s dry and unusable (2,4)
IN DOCK:    If you are with it you are this, and add the family name for rhubarb and you get something that is unusable and dry.

20a    Cool dude with question for hard gag man (8)
QUIPSTER:    Take the name for someone who is trendy (or what he may wear below the waist!) and swap the abbreviation for hard with the two-letter one for question.

22a    Announced prize: the setter is second to Harry Potter’s duck! (6)
JEMIMA:    Very clever! A homophone for something that’s a prize or valuable takes the first person of the verb to be (1’1), or how a setter announces themselves, and add the second letter of Harry to get the name of a famous quacker created by a different Potter.

23a    Look of gloom amongst company fleet not running (10)
COLOURFAST: Inside a short word for company and one meaning fleet or speedy goes the name for a dark look. This gives the term for a fabric that doesn’t run in the wash.

24a    File that’s fit for Fife’s fools? (4)
RASP:    A double definition that’s alliterative! The name for a type of file is also the Scots’ name for fruit that goes into dishes such as cranachan.

25a    — is under-sized fool in nonspeaking role? (4-2)
MINI-ME:    This is a sort of ‘ & lit’ clue, a sort of all in one. The hyphen at the front is important. Basically it’s saying that the answer is the name for someone who is foolish, minus its last-letter (under-sized) and is inside the name for someone who doesn’t speak in acting. This whole definition could then apply to a famous example of this in film.

26a    How liberated woman, after taking winter off, might reappear again and again? (2,1,5)
DO A MELBA:    This was a new expression to me. This is what’s known as a subtractive anagram to give it its posh name. Take the phrase LIBERATED WOMAN, remove WINTER and juggle it to get a phrase meaning to make comeback after comeback on stage. These clues have to have two anagram indicators one to remove the letters of WINTER as they are not in order. It also needs another one (here it’s done by using the question ‘How…might reappear’. Clever but it needs to be and is a rather nice way of doing it as the whole clue appears to sort of define it as well. This relates to the late Dame Nellie Melba who had more comebacks than a boomerang.


1d    When separating what’s due, car (new) might be part of this? (8)
PALIMONY;    The question mark here is important as it suggests something is a bit out of the ordinary. Here ‘what’s due’ does double duty. Inside what is due (when you work) does an American word for a car and the abbreviation for new. This gives you what is due after two people separate.

2d    Sanction America’s border fences (4)
ASBO:    A hidden answer. Inside the phrase America’s border (indicated by fences) is the name for a legal sanction.

3d    Slip gets by two people at least (6)
LAPSUS: Split as (4,2) this could mean gets by at least two people

4d    ‘Cigar’ Marx brother cut banker up (8)
ZEPPELIN:    I felt this was one of the weaker definitions. The name for something that is said to resemble a cigar (hence the quote marks) is found by taking the name of one of the Marx Brothers, removing the last letter (cut) and adding the reverse (up, as it’s a Down clue) of the name of a famous river (see The Vault – it’s a way of describing a river (i.e. having banks)

5d    Dr. Spooner’s to manoeuvre uterus with this scope (6,4)
WIGGLE ROOM: You’re looking for an expression that means the scope of something. It’s a Spoonerism (often in puzzles, he’s described as Rev Spooner – but he was a doctor as well, so it works here!) of a phrase that sounds like a phrase to manoeuvre a uterus.

6d    Dodge weekly costs of theatre production (3-3)
GET-OUT:    This needed a bit of help. An expression meaning to dodge is also an obscure (it is in the Big Red Book!) definition for a theatrical expression meaning production costs. I did have Set out for a while but settled for GET as it was nearer to the meaning of dodge.

8d    Final one-two from Roy’s team was successful (6)
THROVE:    An old way of saying something flourished or was successful is found by taking the name of a famous cartoon footballer named Roy’s team and removing the last letter of the first word and last two of the second word (final one-two).

13d    Co-ordinates playing of Chopin to hide look of instrument (10)
XYLOPHONIC:    Take the letters associated with a graph co-ordinates and make an anagram (playing) of CHOPIN. Insert a short work meaning ‘look!’ and you will then get something that means pertaining to a musical instrument.

16d    Canadian needing cop to replace Scot shooting well (2,6)
ON TARGET:    An expression for having shot well is found by taking the name for an inhabitant of a Canadian city and replacing an archetypal name for a Scotsman with a word meaning to cop something.

18d    Trusty scout makes off with OBE (4,4)
KEMO SABE:    The name for a famous fictional trusted scout (or how he was addressed by his sidekick, notably played by Jay Silverheels!) is an anagram (off) of MAKES and OBE.

19d    Norman’s best friend’s classes tucked into Shakespeare (6)
BRIARD:    The name for a French dog (cleverly defined here!) is found by taking the abbreviation for a school subject and putting it inside a word that describes Shakespeare.

21d    You said redesigned patio could be perfect location (6)
UTOPIA:    A homophone of you’ plus an anagram (redesigned) of PATIO gives the name for the perfect spot.

22d    Traveller’s ill feeling let out in car (3,3)
JET LAG:    Inside a short word for a type of car (think Inspector Morse!) goes an anagram (out) of let to give what a traveller suffers after a long journey. Incidentally, those of you who recall my horrendous journey to Jena recently may be interested to know the journey home was even worse! But that’s another story (for a week tomorrow’s blog!)

24d    Attic possibly has roof blown off, creating stink (4)
REEK:    The word Attic can also mean someone from part of a European country. Identify this country and remove the first letter to get a word for a bad smell.

So was it a stroll in the park or the journey from hell? Leave your thoughts below and let our setter know! They do appreciate your constructive feedback and often sneak in here to take a peek.

See you all again soon!


10 comments on “Toughie 2075

  1. This is a proper Friday Toughie and no mistake. I found the right-hand side really tricky and ended up revealing a couple of letters in the SE corner to finish (I had no idea that Dame Nellie didn’t know when she’d had enough!). The old miser, the theatre costs, the Scottish fruit and the hairy dog were all new to me. I couldn’t decide between get-out and let-out for 6d but luckily the BRB could. I did, with the help of Mr Google, find that 4d is actually the brand name of a cigar.
    Top clues for me were 22a and 1d.
    Thanks to Artix and to Tilsit for the blog.

  2. A very tricky crossword indeed – quite a few clues requiring you to know ‘stuff’ – some of which I did and quite a lot where I didn’t – and others where it would have helped to have a BRB by my side (which I didn’t :( ) I also see from the helpful blog that I actually had two wrong solutions

    It isn’t ‘tough for all the wrong reasons’ and it isn’t ‘trying too hard to be cryptic’ but I can’t decide how I’d describe the way I ended up quite grumpy. About a 7*/3* from me – although I will say I did really like 22a

    Thanks to Artix and to Tilsit

  3. I could only manage a handful of these. I suppose I could do more using BRB and Mr G. but that takes all the fun out of it.

    In 10a, wasn’t the opera written by Handel? Or is that another one?

  4. Impossible to get into this without the need to “know stuff”. For me, so hard there was no enjoyment which is a shame. Like a tussle but this was a step too far.

  5. I know I said I wouldn’t but, being at a loose end, I gave Artix another try. I filled the grid in typical Friday time (with one wrong the unknown 3d) and thought it more accessible than previous offerings, with some nice clues such as 15 and 22. A lot of the GK was pretty arcane though and I was just lucky most fell my way.
    Did I like it? Close but no Zeppelin!

  6. Quite impossible! I only managed a couple and then resorted to the hints which rapidly convinced me this was way, way above my pay grade. So many words I’d never heard of like 11a. No fun at all. Sorry!

  7. After a long struggle and significant use or references we finally got most of it sorted. The two that defeated us were 6d where we had the right answer from DODGE but had no idea on the wordplay. The other one was 17a where we had unusable as IN HOCK (because it had been pawned) and then DRY gave us the wine but could not account for rhubarb. Noting the pangram was not much help here with our problem clues.
    Some real LOL penny-drop moments, 22a for example, but overall just a bit too hard for us to really enjoy it.
    Thanks Artix and Tilsit.

  8. A very clever crossword. I needed help for more than half of the clues. Thx to setter for the strenuous workout and to Tilsit for coming to the rescue.

  9. Did about half of it scattered all over the grid. Haven’t heard of many answers, but take my hat off to the mind-boggling clueing by artix.
    Pretty well googlied.
    Thanks to setter and hinter

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