Toughie 2101 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2101

Toughie No 2101 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Messinae has given us a fairly gentle but pleasant puzzle today – thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a By Eurythmics originally, inferior song’s covered (6)
BESIDE: we start with a bit of Yoda-speak. The first letter of Eurythmics is contained in a song (1-4) judged to be the less promising one of two packaged together.

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4a Talked about the woman’s teeth (8)
GNASHERS: reverse a verb meaning talked or snitched and append a feminine possessive pronoun.

9a Provides with jokes from the internet? (6)
EQUIPS: as 1-5 the answer could mean online jokes. A well roasted chestnut.

10a Rough servant one charged after row (8)
SCULLION: something with a positive electric charge follows a verb to row.

11a Decorative feature of vehicle I’ve hit! (9)
CARTOUCHE: stitch together a road vehicle and what a fencer says to claim a hit.

13a Official dressing king (5)
MAYOR: the short form of a creamy dressing and the single-letter abbreviation for king.

14a Posh mini crashed in men’s competition (13)
CHAMPIONSHIPS: insert an anagram (crashed) of POSH MINI into an informal word for men.

17a Avant-garde Bohemian taste facing common problem (2,3,4,4)
IN THE SAME BOAT: an anagram (avant-garde?) of BOHEMIAN TASTE.

21a Colour coach-horse regularly displayed (5)
OCHRE: regular letters from coach-horse.

23a Disappointing spectacles opening in Roman days (3-6)
NON-EVENTS: insert an opening or outlet into days from the old Roman calendar (not ‘ides’, the other one).

24a Dull colour’s kept in proportion the last time? (8)
DURATION: the question mark is definitely needed for the definition with ‘the last time’ here meaning the time that something lasts. A dull greyish-brown colour contains a synonym for proportion or relationship.

25a Stew makes British grow (6)
BRAISE: weld together a single-letter abbreviation for British and a verb to grow or rear.

26a Rifles National Security Agency kept in shelves (8)
RANSACKS: the abbreviation for the National Security Agency (one of the many US intelligence services) goes inside another word for shelves.

27a Seed Greek character planted in compost material (6)
PEANUT: insert the thirteenth letter of the Greek alphabet into a type of compost material found in boggy ground.

Down Clues

1d Turn white left in place where you’d usually do the opposite (6)
BLEACH: insert the abbreviation for left into a place where you might hope to turn brown.

2d Cricket shot from Boycott after cluster of wickets (6,3)
SQUARE CUT: a verb to boycott or snub follows the central area of a cricket ground where the groundsman has prepared a number of wickets.

3d Envoy’s reduced qualification (7)
DIPLOMA: drop the last letter of an envoy or country’s representative abroad.

5d With pound to put in, need coin OK to work jukebox (11)
NICKELODEON: this is an old informal US term for a jukebox based on the value of the coin needed to make it work. Insert the abbreviation for a pound sterling into an anagram (to work) of NEED COIN OK.

6d Ancient battle for sausages (7)
SALAMIS: double definition, the first the name of a battle (new to me) in 480 BC between the Greeks and the Persians.

7d Girl climbing tree by yard (5)
EMILY: reverse a type of citrus fruit tree and append the abbreviation for a yard.

8d Small strip as summer clothing (8)
SUNDRESS: the abbreviation for small in clothing sizes and a verb to strip or disrobe.

12d Pirate not well armed (7,4)
CAPTAIN HOOK: cryptic definition of a fictional pirate deficient in the arm area.

15d Camping on island on purpose (9)
INTENTION: string together a phrase meaning camping (2,4), an abbreviation for island and ON.

16d Son in fashion house upset wine — chaos (8)
DISORDER: insert the abbreviation for son into a French fashion house and add the reversal of a generic type of wine.

18d Choose artist, complex character (7)
ELECTRA: a verb to choose or vote for is followed by our usual abbreviated artist to get the name of a mythological figure from Greek mythology who has given her name to a complex in psychology.

19d Head presents alumnus with some poetry (7)
OBVERSE: stick together the abbreviation for an alumnus or former male student and a passage of poetry.

20d Going up a trail (6)
ASCENT: A followed by another word for a trail or spoor.

22d One brave knight, one in siege (5)
HERON: siege here is a collective noun. Someone very brave is followed by the chess abbreviation for knight.

For me the cream of the crop today were 4a, 2d and 22d. Do let us know which one(s) took your fancy.

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22 comments on “Toughie 2101

  1. Short lived but quite enjoyable – thank you Messinae and Gazza – I marked the same clues as you and also 1d and 12d

  2. Inside of my comfort zone and much enjoyed.
    Podium places awarded to 4&13a along with 1,12&22d.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the blog. Thought you might include Teresa Brewer in the hint for 5d – only reason why I’ve heard of the word!

  3. I nearly gave up on this after staring at a virtually blank grid for quite a time but, having seen the comments made in today’s “back-page” blog recommending it, I persisted. Hey presto, I suddenly dropped onto the right wavelength and really enjoyed it.

    I needed Gazza’s help to parse 1a and to explain 22d. I have a long running battle with a single 22d who has his beady eye on my koi. As I have never seen more than one at a time, I’m quite surprised that they require a collective noun.

    My favourite of course was 2d, with special mentions also for 4a, 13a, 17a, 1d & 12d.

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

    1. I’d net that pond RD. I kept losing my fish until I bit that bullet. Black plastic netting isn’t as visible as you might fear.

      1. I seem to have solved it with something called Net Float which is rectangular pieces of black plastic mesh which I’ve linked together round the edge so that the heron can’t wade in but leaving the fish still fully visible in the centre of the pond.

  4. Am I being overly pedantic to say that the pirate in 12d had a full complement of arms but was just deficit in the hand area?
    Otherwise enjoyed the crossword. Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  5. I very much enjoyed this. I found it tricky but accessible. My progress was not exactly fast, but slowed almost to a dead stop in the NE corner, but looking back, I am not quite sure why it gave me so much trouble. I did need all of the checkers for the ancient battle, the cricket shot, and the siege, and some reasonably intense Google time in order to come up with (this time) the correct answers. Many thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  6. 😁 My sort of Toughie for sure and like Terry I too have learnt a new collective noun. Thanks Messinae – nice one. Thanks to Gazza also.

  7. Many thanks Messinae, plenty to like

    I liked the long ones 14a and 17a, also 27a &5d. My favourite is 4a.

    Thanks also Gazza

    ps our old friend silvanus has an Indy puzzle today!

  8. I see Dennis the Menace has made an appearance in the pics of both the toughie and the antipenultimate back page blog.

  9. Took a little time to sort out how the wordplay for 1a worked and did need to check that siege was the apposite collective noun in 22d. Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  10. Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, but I ran out of steam at the end. Needed the hints for 10, 11 23a & 6,7d, and to parse 4a&22d. I liked 2&8d, but my favourite was 1d. Was 3*/4* for me.

  11. A pleasant solve with a bit of learning (sausage battle and bird group) thrown in for good measure.

    Our favourites were 10a and 11a. 13a made us smile.

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  12. A nice easyish crossword- I liked 13a and 12d tho’ you are right, he was somewhat lacking in the hand rather than arm department. I had to guess at 2d as I don’t do cricket and thanks to Messina and Gazza I know another collect noun. Rather pleased with myself for dragging the old battle from the depths of the filing cabinet.

  13. Good fun and a lot more enjoyable than watching our PM ‘dancing’ (?) onto the stage in Birmingham :unsure: Loved the
    modern anagram indicator for 17a but the answer for 11a reminded me more of a pendant than a decorative feature. Nevertheless, all very enjoyable, Like Gazza – never heard of the 6d battle – but hopefully stored in the grey matter for future use,

    Thanks to Messinae for the puzzle and to Gazza for his splendid review.

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