Toughie 2125 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2125

Toughie No 2125 by Donnybrook

It’s All Greek to Me

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

We have rather a lot of GK references (mainly relating to classical times) today which reduced the enjoyment somewhat for me and had me upping the difficulty level. Thanks to Donnybrook.

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

Across Clues

7a Compensated when vibrator holds charge (8)
REWARDED: not that sort of vibrator (ooh, Missus!), this is one used in wind instruments. It contains a charge or dependant.

9a Threaten mischievous child with death (6)
IMPEND: charade of a mischievous child and a synonym for death.

10a See ecstasy reflected in an American god (6)
AEOLUS: this is the Greek god of the winds (who gave his name to a type of harp). Reverse our usual exclamation for see or behold and the abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy and insert that into an indefinite article and one of the abbreviations for American. Shouldn’t Ecstasy, in the sense used here, be capitalised?

11a He celebrated wine, later drinking port (8)
ANACREON: another old Greek, this one a real person rather than a mythological being. He was a poet who celebrated love and wine. An archaic word for later contains the name of a port in Israel.

12a Hard lines? (8,6)
CONCRETE POETRY: cryptic definition of a type of verse where the meaning is conveyed wholly or partly by visual means. The third clue in a row where I needed assistance from the BRB and Google.

15a Wilder for one catlike mammal losing tail (4)
GENE: remove the final T from a catlike nocturnal mammal.

17a Greek disciple‘s account dismissed by Roman historian (5)
TITUS: this Greek disciple was on the receiving end of one of St. Paul’s epistles. Remove the abbreviation for account from the name of a Roman historian. I remember our Latin master telling us, with some relish I thought, that the historian’s language was too racy for young minds like ours.

19a Road in Bow repaired for good (4)
FROG: this is Cockney rhyming slang for road. It’s an anagram (repaired) of FOR followed by the abbreviation for good.

20a Excited state is not so new in crashing these bars (14)
BREATHLESSNESS: insert a word meaning ‘not so’ or ‘not as much’ and the abbreviation for new into an anagram (crashing) of THESE BARS.

23a Perhaps unencumbered by chain, consider this tenure (8)
FREEHOLD: join together an adjective meaning not in captivity and a verb to consider or maintain.

25a Entering a depression, see what’s coming (6)
ADVENT: insert the single-letter abbreviation for see into A and a depression or hollow.

27a Mark out empty Dundee ground (6)
DEFINE: the outer letters of Dundee and an adjective meaning ground or reduced to small particles.

28a Worker caught by deceit in transport to Hell? (8)
HANDCART: string together a manual worker, the cricket abbreviation for caught and a word for deceit or slyness. The definition is a reference to the saying “going to Hell in a ********” to mean getting worse and worse.

Down Clues

1d Goddess wants case dropped in Boeotian city (4)
HEBE: we’re back in Greece again – Boeotia is a region in Greece. Start with a large city there and remove its outer letters to leave the daughter of Zeus and Hera who was the cup-bearer of the gods.

2d Green part in smoke that rolls over tongue (6)
GAELIC: insert a green area of grass into an informal word for something you smoke then reverse the lot.

3d Books of past and unremembered days (4)
EDDA: the name of two 13th century Icelandic works which are the main sources of Norse mythology is hidden in the clue.

4d Soldier in airborne force upset old barber (6)
FIGARO: this is the name of a fictional barber in a play by Beaumarchais (which we studied for A-level French) and later made more famous in a Mozart opera. Insert the abbreviation for a US ordinary soldier into the abbreviation for old and the UK airborne force then reverse it all.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d Uncontrollable pirate provided opening shot (8)
APERITIF: stick together an anagram (uncontrollable) of PIRATE and a conjunction meaning ‘provided’.

6d As War and Peace, unsigned, without Tolstoy’s initial (10)
ANTONYMOUS: an adjective meaning unsigned or unattributed containing the initial letter of Tolstoy.

8d Leader of society in moral decline (7)
DESCENT: insert the leading letter of society into an adjective meaning moral or upright.

13d Word put in for us — study to demand too much work (10)
OVERBURDEN: insert a part of speech into a possessive adjective meaning ‘for us’ and finish with a study or cubbyhole. ‘Word’ seems very vague.

14d Acclaim former Time Lord, retired in Doctor’s absence (5)
EXTOL: assemble a prefix meaning former, the abbreviation for time and the reversal of ‘lord’ with the abbreviation for doctor removed.

16d Previous example with points is explanation (8)
EXEGESIS: bring together the prefix for previous (the same as ‘former’ in the preceding clue), an abbreviation meaning example, two cardinal points and IS.

18d Brown all over it’s a knitted bear (7)
SUSTAIN: a verb to brown or tan contains an anagram (knitted) of IT’S A. I’m not keen on the use of ‘over’ as a containment indicator in a down clue.

21d One spreads cloth over recliner’s top (6)
TROWEL: a type of absorbent cloth contains the top letter of recliner. See my comment on the previous clue.

22d What one might aspire to as religious probationer? (6)
NOVICE: this religious probationer might aspire to the answer when it’s split 2,4.

24d Writer shows Bloom discounting void idea (4)
DAHL: start with a flower of the daisy family and remove the outer letters of idea.

26d One obsessed in new way renouncing whiskey (4)
NERD: fuse together NEW and the abbreviation for a type of way or thoroughfare then remove the letter that whiskey is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

I liked 19a and 14d but my favourite clue (for its well-disguised definition) was 5d. Do let us know which one(s) earned your approbation.

23 comments on “Toughie 2125

  1. A real proper Toughie – and on a Wednesday too!

    I enjoyed the testing of the cryptic grey matter very much – perhaps it helped that I had the required knowledge – my favourite was the d’oh moment produced by 19a

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

  2. Way too much research required which was no fun. 19a raised a smile, but that may have been a smile of relief!

    I generally got the wordplay, but I’m not at all surprised I couldn’t finish it, and will remember little of it.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  3. I couldn’t find the “click here” button in Gazza’s notes (though it does appear in the 2 Kiwis notes on the back pager. So I’m still in the dark over 2d, 5d 11a and 12a!

    1. I just applied the spoiler fix over here. They should work once you refresh the page to get the new version.

    2. It all looks fine here – have you tried refreshing the page?
      Can you follow the hyperlink in 11a and let your cursor hover over the illustration for 12a?

  4. I think this was more suited to the GK/Cryptic crossword we get at the weekend. I’d never heard of the frog and toad or 12a. Inspired guessing and a bit of electronic help meant I finished it all but 2d and 10a. After yesterday’s snide comments on how easy the back page was, I shall be interested to see what others make of this offering, Easy it was not!

  5. I’m afraid this was no fun for me at all. I had two or three attempts at it, got a scant handful, and then gave up. Looking at the blog I’m not surprised. Quite apart from all of the Greek references, I did not know the hard lines, the rhyming slang, the transport to hell, the books of the past, and so it goes on. Thanks to all anyway, but I should have given up sooner.

  6. The problem seems to be fixed! I had tried refreshing the page several times, including reopening the site, before my last post.
    Confession: I had marked 12a as 7,7 not 8,6 which made it even harder! Still never heard of “concrete poetry”. Quite a tough one in my view. Thanks to all

  7. Well – Mr Google has gone off for a well-earned rest after that one! Not a solve that gave me much enjoyment but I do hope that, after his complaints yesterday, Hector P is in his element and has his faith in the DT restored.

    I can’t see that 19a works without its ‘and toad’ but all my other problems centred around lack of the required ‘not so general’ knowledge. It did cheer me a little that I remembered the saying at 28a!

    I particularly liked 9a along with 5&6d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook – are you by any chance a classics scholar? – and to Gazza for all the hard work.

    1. Jane re 19a – the whole point of rhyming slang is to drop the rhyming bit – e.g. “who’s the geezer in the syrup?” or “you’ll ave to speak up, I’m a bit mutton”.

      1. Thanks, Halcyon, I should have realised that. Can’t recall having heard 19a used as a stand-alone during my time in London but the other examples you mentioned were very familiar.

        1. 19a – me neither Jane. I spent 27 years working in Whitechapel & Mile End and never heard it – altho I can imagine something like “there e was, totally Brahms in the middle of the [19a]” Perhaps it’s a bit music hall like apples & pears rather than proper spoken RS, which I think is now more common in the pubs of south London than in the East.
          Agree the puzzle was a bit of a slog, not helped by having “refunded” [which fits well enough] for 7a.

  8. As a fairly new toughie solver, don’t understand why in 25 across – v is an abbreviation for see? Would greatly appreciate ny explanation. I guessed it, but no satisfaction there.

      1. MAny thanks for that I googled to find out where this came from but to no avail I will store that one away for future reference. Appreciate your kindness.

  9. I know a proper Toughie when I see one!
    I was beaten at the end by 11a – a final bit of GK too far once shoving Rio into it didn’t work. I do vaguely know Acre but it’s not the first port that springs to mind…
    I don’t mind a bit of the more esoteric stuff but I did think this was very top heavy with it. The clue that I thought borderline unfair (even though I solved it) was 1d. To get the answer you need to know that:
    a) Boeotia is a region in Greece
    b) Thebes is a city in Boetia
    c) Thebes minus its first and last letters leaves Hebe – the required Greek goddess
    To help you get there the checking letters are the really helpful: -E-E
    I think the editorial blue pencil should have come out for that one.

  10. We agree that this one was a bit of a tussle. We actually were working on this while we were struggling with our technical problems with our own blog and it was a welcome distraction. Eventually got it all sorted and increased our general knowledge in several areas.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza as well as Google and BRB.

  11. Failed on 11a and as Rick, I was trying to justify that the port was Rio. But the main problem was with 3d as I wasn’t sure of my answers as I saw no indication of a lurker.
    Looked for some concrete policy in 12a at first.
    I did like the tussle though.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza.

    1. The lurker in 3d must be ‘of’ which is doing double duty, i.e. we have to read the clue as:
      Books of past and of unremembered days (4)

  12. To be honest l’d rather have enjoyed me self, I feel quite damaged after this test of GK, although we only failed on two clues. It’ll probably take several G&Ts to get over this 😊

  13. Aargh! This was definitely all Greek to me. Struggled to do about half of it and then gave up. Not helped by putting “refunded” in 1a, nor by never having heard of concrete poetry.

    Pleased to have got 28a which was my favourite.

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