Toughie 2117 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2117

Toughie No 2117 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This is a pretty gentle but enjoyable puzzle which shouldn’t take solvers too long, giving them plenty of time to carve their pumpkins. Thanks to Messinae.

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

Across Clues

1a Brushing up on foreign language, improving appearance in table? (6,9)
FRENCH POLISHING: a present participle meaning brushing up or honing follows a European language.

9a Performance dropping tango for string instrument (9)
ACCORDION: start with a synonym of performance, remove the letter that tango identifies in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and replace it with another word for string.

10a Playwright with digestive condition needing nurse (5)
IBSEN: join together the abbreviation for an digestive disorder (3) and the abbreviation for a qualified nurse (no longer used in the UK, but used elsewhere in the world).

11a Sounds like what you need to drive off in military style (5)
KHAKI: this sounds (to some people) like what you need to get your vehicle going (3,3).

12a Dark Blues set off in racing boat (9)
OUTRIGGER: the abbreviation for the British university whose sporting teams wear dark blue and a verb to set off or activate.

13a Does perhaps cut across vehicle going over repeated route (8)
RETRACED: put what ‘does’ are in the animal world round a towed vehicle and reverse it all.

14a Lethal weapon finally changes hands (6)
MORTAL: start with a weapon used for firing shells and change the final letter from one hand to the other.

16a Lots of pipes providing note backing crooner (6)
TUBING: reverse an old term for what is generally called doh in tonic sol-fa and follow that with the forename of an old American crooner.

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18a Spies dog out of control — was rabbiting (8)
GOSSIPED: an anagram (out of control) of SPIES DOG.

22a Showy insect flying round university — one makes a lot of noise (9)
LOUDMOUTH: stick together an adjective meaning showy or garish and a nocturnal insect containing an abbreviation for university.

23a Tongue and groove primarily used in flooring (5)
LINGO: insert the first letter of groove into the short form of a type of floor covering.

24a An Olympic medallist going round in small boat (5)
CANOE: this Yoda-like construction requires us to place the surname of a British middle-distance runner around ‘an’.

25a Fattening food’s given relative inflammation (9)
CARBUNCLE: bring together the short form of a food type and a male relative.

26a Trite manifesto’s concocted by member of government (8,2,5)
MINISTER OF STATE: an anagram (concocted) of TRITE MANIFESTO’S produces the title of a politician who has started climbing the greasy pole but not yet reached the top.

Down Clues

1d France needs taller rugby player (7)
FLANKER: the IVR code for France and a comparative meaning longer or taller give one of two back-row forwards in a rugby union team.

2d Model can then charm (7)
ENCHANT: an anagram (model) of CAN THEN.

3d One or two perhaps count in conclave (8,7)
CARDINAL NUMBERS: cryptically this could be the total of men (it’s always men) gathered to elect a new pope.

4d One’s detained someone snooping around boy (8)
PRISONER: a snooper surrounds a male offspring.

5d Lots let off at first when one’s accepted clemency (6)
LENITY: start with a word meaning lots or ‘more than enough’, drop the first letter and insert the Roman numeral for one.

6d First US pilot is somehow crossing over in this (6,2,2,5)
SPIRIT OF ST LOUIS: this is a very neat semi-all-in-one identifying the vehicle used in a famous ocean crossing. It’s an anagram (somehow) of FIRST US PILOT IS containing the cricket abbreviation for ‘over’.

7d Things I worked out? (7)
INSIGHT: an anagram (worked out) of THINGS I. It’s meant to be an all-in-one but I’m not convinced by the definition – what do you think?

8d Wide-ranging groups of organisms by lake (7)
GENERAL: a word for groups of organisms (ranking above species and below families) followed by the abbreviation for lake.

15d Loose woman cycling I love, being ladies’ man (8)
LOTHARIO: start with a loose woman and cycle the last three letters round to the front then append the Roman numeral for one and the letter resembling a score of love.

16d Broadcasting to millions consuming little electricity (7)
TELECOM: TO and the abbreviation for millions contain an abbreviation for electricity.

17d Brand of wine to get sister down? The reverse (4,3)
BLUE NUN: so what we need is a charade of a synonym for down or depressed and a religious sister.

19d Criticise expert over a wonder cure (7)
PANACEA: weld together a verb to criticise, an adjective (or noun) meaning expert and A.

20d Takes risks besieging old eastern bishop’s territory (7)
DIOCESE: a verb meaning ‘takes great risks’ contains the abbreviation for old. Finally append the abbreviation for eastern.

21d Hippopotamus clearly shows strength (6)
MUSCLE: our one and only lurker brings up the rear.

The clues which stood out for me were 3d and two very good anagrams (26a and 6d). Do let us know which one(s) were a treat for you.

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14 comments on “Toughie 2117

  1. I thought this was very gentle but very enjoyable indeed. Smooth surfaces abounded and the wordplay was excellent throughout.

    I always forget that particular note in 16a, and 5d was a new word for me.

    All four long clues came into consideration as my favourite and 6d gets the nod.

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

  2. This is my favourite type of Toughie … not too tough.

    Loved the two very clever apposite anagrams (26a & 6d)

    Not at all surprised that Gazza wasn’t convinced by the homophone!

  3. First time I have ever finished the Toughie! Got 9a but couldn’t work out why til I read the hints. . 14a last to go in. The 15 letter ones my favourite as they were quite easy and provided lots of ‘openings’. Thanks to all.

  4. I had to check on the ‘racing’ capability of the 12a boat, the unknown 5d and the musical note in 16a but otherwise enjoyed a relatively easy ride through Toughieland today.

    Places on the podium handed out to both of the long anagrams plus 10,11 (sorry, Gazza) & 23a.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the blog. Loved the 15d cartoon, put me in mind of the one where two daleks are standing at the bottom of a long flight of stairs and one is saying to the other ‘I guess that’s b******d up our chances of conquering the world’.

  5. Nice stuff, but we haven’t encountered 5d previously. RD has it right – gentle but enjoyable.

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  6. In 7d, I wondered if the word-count ought to have been 2,5. Then ‘worked’ could have been the anagram indicator and ‘out’ the definition.

  7. Closer to an average, or a whisker below, difficulty for me as something – no idea what now – held me up in the north.

    If I were the editor, I’d have been tempted to mark the date by putting a you-know-who puzzle in this slot. Scary!

    As it was, not much to scare the horses, as they say. Less trick and more treat.

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  8. I nearly finished this without help, but didn’t know 5d.

    I had the rest of the grid filled, but couldn’t see a cycling loose woman in 15d, and didn’t know the note in 16a. I don’t really see why the answer to 16d is a synonym of ‘Broadcasting’.

    I just about get 7d. If something is “out” of it’s box/house/hiding place, it should be “in sight”.

    Many thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

    PS There is nothing wrong with the homophone in 11a!

    1. 16d Telecom is short for telecommunication which Chambers defines as “communication of information, in verbal, written, coded or pictorial form, by telephone, radio, television, fax, radar, etc.”.
      Even if ‘out’ can mean ‘in sight’ (which I think is a real stretch) the clue specifies an enumeration of 7, not 2,5.

  9. I loved the long anagrams which got me off to a good start but stupidly put in(or tried to put in) Dressing for 1a which threw me a bit. Thank you Gazza for explaining 5d which I don’t think I have come across before. 11a made me smile.

  10. An OK puzzle and not too difficult – although I did struggle with the parsing of 15d (my last one in) . So thanks to Gazza for enlightening me on that clue. I think I’ll go for 24a as my favourite, but not sure that I am happy with the answer for 18a. I think it’s the wrong tense.

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

  11. Enjoyable;
    liked the military style (11A), the out of control dog (18A), the trite manifesto (26A),
    the number in conclave (3D) and the depressed nun (17D).

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