Toughie 2081 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2081

Toughie No 2081 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We couldn’t really get much more of a contrast with yesterday’s Toughie. This one is mercifully free of obscurities but the wordplay is pretty straightforward and I felt that it would not have been out of place on the back page towards the end of the week. Thanks to Kcit.

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

Across Clues

1a Coppers arresting a second group of politicians (6)
CAUCUS: two instances of the chemical symbol for copper contain A with the abbreviation for second bringing up the rear. The answer is a word used far more in North America than here.

5a ‘Single maiden should go around clubs’ is the wrong thing to say (8)
SOLECISM: an adjective meaning single and the crickety abbreviation for maiden contain the abbreviation for the card suit clubs and IS.

9a Good wishes given by every expert? (3,3,4)
ALL THE BEST: this could mean everyone who’s most proficient.

10a Top copy having indication of mistake (4)
APEX: a verb to copy followed by the mark used to indicate a wrong answer. I’ve shown this picture before but it always makes me laugh:

11a Snake in study died, covered by three articles (8)
ANACONDA: a verb to study and the abbreviation for died are surrounded by three indefinite articles.

12a Protest, being on strike with regular appearances from Corbyn (6)
OUTCRY: stick together an adverb meaning ‘on strike’ and regular letters from Corbyn.

13a Remain lost, losing heart (4)
STAY: start with an adjective meaning lost (often applied to a homeless animal) and take away its middle letter.

15a Sudden return of detectives, apprehending scoundrel imprisoning mother (8)
DRAMATIC: a Russian doll type of a clue – reverse the detective branch of a police force and insert a scoundrel or scumbag who, in turn, contains an affectionate term for one’s mother.

18a Flower border captured in writing (8)
PRIMROSE: insert a border or edge into a term for non-poetic writing (or speech). Molière’s Monsieur Jourdain is surprised to find out that he has been speaking this for over forty years without knowing it – ‘Par ma foi ! il y a plus de quarante ans que je dis de la ***** sans que j’en susse rien, et je vous suis le plus obligé du monde de m’avoir appris cela.’.

19a Group avoiding cold dip (4)
BATH: remove the abbreviation for cold from a word meaning group or cluster.

21a One bad deed leading to a lot of fun (6)
SINGLE: fuse together a bad deed or immoral act and all but the last letter of a word meaning fun or merriment.

23a Put figure on new source of trade if investing in wharf (8)
QUANTIFY: insert the abbreviation for new, the first letter of trade and IF into a synonym for wharf.

25a Helping of ragout — a colourful exotic food (4)
TACO: our only lurker.

26a Reasonable justification for entertainment centre (10)
FAIRGROUND: charade of an adjective meaning reasonable or equitable and a word (more usually seen in the plural) meaning justification or reason.

27a Final gathering in support of would-be union member (3,5)
HEN PARTY: cryptic definition of a prenuptial get-together.

28a Take stock, with stone being thrown into convention (6)
RUSTLE: insert the abbreviation for a stone (14lb) into another word for a convention or guideline.

Down Clues

2d Exhausted from diving without limits (3,2)
ALL IN: a present participle meaning diving or tumbling without its outer letters.

3d Disaster unknown amongst various calm acts (9)
CATACLYSM: insert a mathematical unknown into an anagram (various) of CALM ACTS.

4d Pigment that is kept in tin and almost overturned (6)
SIENNA: insert the abbreviation for ‘that is’ into the chemical symbol for tin and append the reversal of ‘and’ without its last letter.

5d It answers query with third of riders misbehaving (8,7)
STEWARDS’ ENQUIRY: an all-in-one horseracing-related clue. It’s an anagram (misbehaving) of IT ANSWERS QUERY and the third letter of ‘riDers’.

6d Radio report mentioning actual coastline (8)
LITTORAL: homophone of an adjective meaning actual or accurate.

7d Court accepting airmen will display skill (5)
CRAFT: the abbreviation for court contains our fighting airmen.

8d Special redesign of raiment for a fresh taste … (9)
SPEARMINT: a 2-letter abbreviation for special followed by an anagram (redesign) of RAIMENT.

14d … note redesign of raiment and stop (9)
TERMINATE: a note from tonic sol-fa followed by an anagram (redesign) of RAIMENT.

16d A failure to retain speed — right? — implied encumbrance (9)
ALBATROSS: A and a failure or defeat contain a slang word for speed (as in ‘they went at a fair ***’) and the single-letter abbreviation for right. The answer is a metaphor for a psychological burden derived from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:

Ah! Well a-day! What evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the *********
About my neck was hung.

17d Be understudy to lead in Caesar — done with a lot of class (5,3)
COVER FOR: drag together the leading letter of Caesar, an adverb meaning done or complete and a synonym for a school class without its last letter.

20d Food container from Berlin perhaps with two bits swapped (6)
MANGER: swap the order of the two syllables in an adjective meaning ‘from Berlin perhaps’ to get a beastly food container.

22d Rise, having adopted Republican party (5)
GROUP: a phrasal verb meaning to rise contains an abbreviation for Republican.

24d The French provided upset surrounding northern match (5)
FINAL: reverse a French definite article and a conjunction meaning provided then insert the abbreviation for northern.

I liked the groundhog day juxtapositioning of 8d and 14d and the cleverly constructed 5d but my favourite is 27a. Do let us know which one(s) had you ticking.

12 comments on “Toughie 2081

  1. A nice easy Toughie to start my Toughie week. (Probably the only one I will have time for this week) Putting ACME at 9ac and mixing up the two similar clues caused my only problems. I even wrote things in the margins of the paper. Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and thanks to Gazza for the review, especially the Ancient Mariner verse. Any poem which contains the lines ‘Hold off! unhand me, grey-beard loon!’
    Eftsoons his hand dropt he.
    will have me clamouring for more.

  2. A nice steady solve. My only mistake was 20d when, thinking of JFK’s faux pas in Berlin, I thought of sausages and put in *banger*!

  3. I enjoyed this, although I do agree that it was gentler ride than yesterday. My last in, and I think favourite, was the food container in 20d. I hesitated over 27a because my understating of the definition is not necessarily associated with anything prenuptial. Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

    1. For 27a Chambers has “a party for women only, especially one held for a woman about to be married”.

  4. 1a is a word in common use in NZ (perhaps that explains why Kcit used it) and we were surprised to see in the hint that it is not so well known in the UK.
    Everything went together smoothly for us and we agree with Gazza’s picks of best clues.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  5. A fluffy toughie but very enjoyable .
    I needed the hints for the parsing of 5a .
    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit .

  6. Well this took me about the Wednesday norm, or not a lot less (but I did give up at one point and use an external brain to unscramble 5d). I enjoyed it.

    My favourite is 21a for the fun surface which raised a big grin here.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza – I thought you were remarkably restrained in your choice of pic for 27a. :)

  7. Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and hints. I found this impossible. Managed to get 10 answers, then hit a brick wall. Started looking at the hints, managed another 5 from the checkers. Needed 12 hints altogether, just couldn’t get on the setter’s wavelength.

Comments are closed.