Toughie 2113 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2113

Toughie No 2113 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This is the first time I’ve had a Musaeus puzzle to blog. His/her first Toughie (2078) was labelled gentle by Bufo and the second (2094) considerably tougher though, in the words of 2Kiwis, “a bit of a grind” – so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Actually today the setter has reverted to gentle mode. Thanks to Musaeus.

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

Across Clues

1a Upsetting this trade-off finds you negative — dark but right (4-3-4)
GIVE-AND-TAKE: if you make an anagram (upsetting) of the answer you get NEGATIVE DA[r]K. Chambers has the answer as 4,3,4 rather than hyphenated.

8a Change to the better storm lamp (3,3,5)
SEE THE LIGHT: charade of a verb to storm or rage and a synonym for lamp.

11a Bishop excused extra duty (4)
ONUS: remove the chess abbreviation for bishop from an adjective meaning extra.

12a Bulgarian accepts what traveller holds back (4)
LEVA: hidden in reverse are what a Bulgarian shopkeeper, say, would accept.

13a Such as could be lost in operations finally (7)
TONSILS: an anagram (could be) of LOST IN followed by the final letter of operations. A good semi-all-in-one.

15a Censures stand shown by judges (7)
BERATES: stick together a verb to stand or remain and a verb meaning judges or assesses.

16a West in confusion about eastern kind (5)
SWEET: an anagram (in confusion) of WEST contains the abbreviation for eastern.

17a Flood from river near tree (4)
RASH: the abbreviation for river and a type of tree.

18a Black badger finds crow (4)
BRAG: join together the abbreviation for black and a verb to badger or pester.

19a Fourth estate stuff (5)
PRESS: double definition, the second a verb meaning to stuff or thrust.

21a Provided with object then due (7)
ENDOWED: a synonym for object or goal followed by an adjective meaning due or outstanding.

22a Bar a pair involved in academic retiring (7)
TAPROOM: insert A and the abbreviation for pair into the reverse of an adjective meaning academic or debatable.

23a To shed last of pounds added at the front (4)
SHUT: another word for a shed preceded by the last letter of pounds.

26a This predator bowled over divers (4)
SKUA: reverse some feathered divers.

27a They might deliver what gets stuff going? (5,6)
POWER PLANTS: cryptic definition of producers of electricity.

28a Hide unit which supplies mineral into the bargain (11)
FURTHERMORE: concatenate a hide or skin, a unit of heat and a solid material from which mineral can be extracted.

Down Clues

2d What’s at the heart of most pleasant summer treats? (4)
ICES: the middle letters of a six-letter superlative meaning most pleasant.

3d Leads to standard for measuring shadows (7)
ENTAILS: cement together a unit of measurement in printing and a verb meaning shadows or dogs.

4d Want to do what you’d think doughboys do, as they say (4)
NEED: doughboys is a slang term for American infantrymen but you might think, from the name, that they work in a bakery and therefore do what sounds like the answer. This is certainly a novel way of clueing a very old homophone chestnut.

5d Check up about secure co-ordinating gear (7)
TWINSET: reverse a verb to check or evaluate and insert a verb to secure or obtain.

6d Former leader to lay flat House of Lords (4)
KOHL: the abbreviation meaning to lay an opponent flat is followed by the abbreviation for the House of Lords.

7d Spirit — reps let it go, being rum (11)
POLTERGEIST: an anagram (being rum) of REPS LET IT GO gives us a spirit (though not an alcoholic one).

8d A fried option? Laddo moaned, we hear, being out of bed (5,4,2)
SUNNY SIDE UP: this is a way you might ask for your fried food to be presented in a North American breakfast bar. It sounds like words for laddo and moaned followed by an adverb meaning ‘out of bed’. Laddo (often preceded by m’) hasn’t made it into the BRB.

9d Time to list clips — nervous Nerys is on these? (11)
TENTERHOOKS: string together the abbreviation for time, a verb to list or register and another word for clips or fasteners. The only Nervous Nerys I’m aware of is the barmaid from Only Fools & Horses who was taken for a hair-raising ride by Rodney in the company car – unfortunately the only video of this that I could find has been blocked.

10d Gold herb, pinch of marjoram, seen in stall — it’ll make bangers (7,4)
SAUSAGE MEAT: assemble the chemical symbol for gold, a herb and the first letter of marjoram and insert it all in another word for a stall in church.

14d Grass pulls up (5)
SWARD: reverse a verb meaning pulls or hauls.

15d Punt about like a devil (5)
BEAST: a punt or wager contains a preposition meaning like.

19d Monitor Republican stepping down — just the job (7)
PERFECT: start with a monitor or senior pupil at school and drop the abbreviation for Republican down a bit.

20d Possibly a crass term for cynicism? (7)
SARCASM: an all-in-one clue. An anagram (possibly) of A CRASS followed by the terminating letter of cynicism.

24d Eastern dish starting to track mysterious craft from the south (4)
TOFU: the starting letter of track followed by the reversal of a mysterious flying craft.

25d A passage added on end of one part of church (4)
APSE: A and the abbreviation for a bit added to a letter are followed by the end letter of ‘one’.

26d Whisk porridge (4)
STIR: double definition. Porridge is being used in its informal sense.

The clues I liked best today were 23a and 20d. Do let us know which one(s) made the cut for you.

15 comments on “Toughie 2113

  1. He’s a he

    I found this a lot gentler than the earlier one (s?) as is evidenced by the particularly neat handwriting throughout

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza – I’d agree with your favourites

  2. A nice puzzle – we’re beginning to like Musaeus.

    One negative comment, though. We thought that 1d stretches the concept of a reverse anagram clue (or whatever the proper term for them is) to breaking point. It’s almost impossible to see how the solver could get there any other way than getting the answer from the trade-off part of the clue and then unpicking it. We thought cryptic clues were supposed to be solvable from two direction and 1d fails in that respect. Any comments out there?

    Thanks Gazza, especially for the picture accompanying 10d, and Musaeus.

    • Solving 1a is possible without getting the answer first once you’ve identified that there’s an anagram and worked out the fodder.

  3. Although I entered it, I was not able to parse 9d. Does anyone know the Nervous Nerys? I went for “Hughes” but it didn’t help. I’d also at first thought “nervous” was an anagram pointer and it wasn’t. Will Musaeus please elucidate.

    • I thought that this might just be a nickname for a nervous person. One could also say ‘Nervous Nellie’.

  4. Oh good – I’m pleased to see that on-one else knows who Nerys may be! All I turned up on Google was a Martian Wars series.

    I don’t get the impression that surface reads are of huge importance to this new Toughie setter but I did like 20d and – of course – the birdie clue at 26a.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza for the blog. Liked the suggestion for teaching children about tax!

  5. Thanks Musaeus; I didn’t much like the grid with the unches and overlaps, but I guess that’s just personal taste.

    Thanks Gazza; I was somewhat puzzled by the flood in 17 but I see from the BRB that the fifth description is of an obsolete word. I’ve only just seen the definition in 23 – good clue! I also liked 13 and 20.

    • I don’t think that we need to go to the obsolete definition. Both flood and rash can mean a large number of things happening in short succession, e.g. a rash/flood of articles on climate change.

  6. I thoroughly enjoyed this puzzle by Musaeus .My best liked included 1a,8a and d , 28a and 27a . Thanks to all concerned .

  7. I enjoyed this very much, but for me it was a good deal harder than Gazza’s ** rating. I think the relative absence of anagrams in the eight longer clues around the outside made it trickier for me. I have been stung before in not more quickly recognizing ‘to’ to be ‘closed’ (23a). No stand out favourites for me – just the pleasure and satisfaction of having been able to complete it. Many thanks to all.

  8. Standout favourite today is the brilliant illustration at 10d – thanks Gazza.

    With thanks to Musaeus too.

  9. I see I’m 4+ hours behind… As always start late! QED!
    Anyway went steadily through it and all done without help but in ***.
    So all good and pleasant solve but….
    TO in 23a! Duh!
    Also, Nerys??
    Thanks M & G

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