Toughie 2196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2196

Toughie No 2196 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

There’s nothing to scare the nags here and I thought that most of the clues could have appeared in one of Giovanni’s Friday back-pagers. There are two words I didn’t know (the 5d plant and the 6d rebound) but both can be got easily enough from the wordplay and the checkers. I don’t like 18a which I think could swing either way. Overall I enjoyed it – thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

1a Stupor by battle site after soldiers protest (12)
REMONSTRANCE: a synonym for stupor or hypnotic state goes after a WWI battle site and that’s all preceded by the abbreviation for an army corps.

8a Journalists in shed, first to last (5)
HACKS: start with a shed or rough hut and move its first letter to the end.

9a Bank document with particular colour and with particular design (9)
CHEQUERED: charade of a bank document (one that’s being used increasingly rarely these days) and a specific colour.

11a Swap parts one’s wrongly positioned (9)
TRANSPOSE: an anagram (wrongly positioned) of PARTS ONE’S.

12a Maiden squeezed by thin old lover (5)
LEMAN: insert the abbreviation for a maiden over into a synonym of thin.

13a Conservative perhaps wanting a strategy immediately (5,4)
RIGHT AWAY: concatenate an adjective meaning Conservative (with a capital C), A and a strategy or method.

16a Animal with gross exterior gets one staring (5)
GAPER: a type of animal is surrounded by the abbreviation for a gross.

18a Hear a sound sound (5)
CREAK: this is a homophone of a sound or inlet. It seems to me that this clue could work either way round and that the solver has only a 50-50 chance of getting the required answer – indeed, I got it wrong when I submitted the puzzle on-line.


19a Phone everyone, be involved to stir a distant memory? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL: phone everyone (4,3) contains BE.

20a Girls heading off, not the most sensible types (5)
ASSES: remove the first letter from a word for young girls.

22a This writer’s suffering setback, crazy and getting on (9)
EMBARKING: reverse how Giovanni would refer to himself objectively and add an informal adjective meaning crazy. I hope the clue is not meant to be autobiographical!

25a One helping senior copper outside Dover? (9)
SUPPORTER: an informal word for a senior police officer contains what Dover is an example of.

26a Iron Lady exuding energy repeatedly (5)
PRESS: a lady (one who might sit in the House of Lords) without the two adjacent abbreviations for energy.

27a Like worker returning home from night shift years ago? (4,2,3,3)
BACK IN THE DAY: a night shift worker might leave for work in the evening but would come __________.

Down Clues

1d Shape of abandoned ship reportedly on seaweed (9)
RECTANGLE: what sounds like an abandoned or badly damaged ship is followed by a word for coarse seaweed.

2d Insects would get this holy man outside South American capital (5)
MOSES: to get these nasty insects put your answer around the capital of Ecuador.

3d Food in tin served up, spicy but lacking first hint of taste (5)
NACHO: reverse a metal container and add an adjective meaning spicy without the first letter of ‘taste’.

4d Historian has time to celebrate American getting rid of king (9)
TREVELYAN: this is an English historian, very famous in his day and a major authority on the Stuarts when I was doing A-level history, but more recently “amongst the great unread” and ” a pontificating old windbag” according to Roy Jenkins. String together the abbreviation for time, a verb to celebrate or carouse and an informal term for an American without the chess abbreviation for king.

5d Plant, say, found on island? Eagle circles round it (9)
AQUILEGIA: abbreviations for ‘say’ and island are contained inside a word, from Latin, for an eagle.

6d A gypsy man that’s caught on the rebound (5)
CAROM: A and a gypsy man have the crickety abbreviation for caught on (top of) them. This a mainly North American word (new to me) for a rebound or a cannon in billiards.

7d Skilled speakers that may give heroic rants, I fancy (12)
RHETORICIANS: an anagram (fancy) of HEROIC RANTS I.

10d Good tendrils could excite this type of plant expert (12)
DENDROLOGIST: an anagram (could excite) of GOOD TENDRILS.

14d How to start preparing soup? Assess the situation (4,5)
TAKE STOCK: this could be the first instruction in a recipe for soup.

15d Shabby message from a happy early bird? (4-5)
WORM-EATEN: as 4,5 (i.e. with a space rather than a hyphen) this could be a confirmatory tweet from an early bird which has had its breakfast.

17d Following summary, see without a doubt (9)
PRECISELY: stick together a synonym for a summary and the name of an ecclesiastical see in Cambridgeshire.

21d Brown water in which Greek character is immersed (5)
SEPIA: immerse the sixteenth letter of the Greek alphabet into salty water.

23d Hospital food served up in Scottish town once (5)
BURGH: weld together the mapping abbreviation for hospital and an informal word for food and reverse it all.

24d Express identity with introductory chat (5)
RAPID: the abbreviation for identity or identification is preceded by an informal word for a chat.

My clue of the day is 15d which made me laugh. Do let us know which one(s) had you ticking.

13 comments on “Toughie 2196

  1. The only problems I had was with working out how the insects fitted into the holy man – obvious when you see how. I have many many 5ds in my garden – it is one my favourite flowers. 15d was my favourite clue

    Thanks to Giovanni for a crossword that wouldn’t have been out of place on the (inside) back page on a Friday and to Gazza for the illustrated explanations

  2. I enjoyed this very much, but I did not find it that straightforward. The bottom went in easily enough, but the top was a bit of a struggle. My heart always sinks when the definition is a plant because there are so many, and I am so ignorant of them. In 5d, (and with apologies to crypticsue), I had not heard of the plant, and nor did I know the Latin for eagle. Thus, 5d was my last in and after much electronic searching. Neither have I met the plant expert in 10d, and I ‘invented’ 12a on the basis of the wordplay, and was astonished not only to find that it existed but that it was a term for old lover. However, I got it all sorted in the end, and many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  3. Just 2* for enjoyment, we’re afraid. We struggled with the 7d anagram mainly because we couldn’t bring ourselves to consider the correct first letter given the H from hacks.

    We thought 14d was the pick of the crop. We too had the wrong choice of homophone for 18a. Difficult to see how one can be sure to choose the correct one.

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  4. We also had the incorrect answer for 18a. We pondered about which way round worked best and opted for the wrong one.
    2d gave us trouble. We saw the correct answer but as it was in the middle of the clue decided against it.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  5. Needless to say, I came across rather more unknowns than Gazza did! The lover, rebound, seaweed and the gypsy minus his expected last letter all had to be checked with the BRB.

    My top two were 27a & 15d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the well illustrated blog.

    PS Forgot to say, I did get 18a the wrong way round!

  6. Pleased to get this finished, despite not knowing the words in 12a or 6d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. Thanks for the hints, Gazza: I needed quite a few, and I also didn’t know the various words that others have mentioned.

    Favourite was 8a.

    After the “brown liquid” in yesterday (4d), today we have “brown water” (21d). Presumably unintentional, rather than ‘The Telegraph’ thinking that would make a nice theme.

  8. 2*? Not heard of 1a,12a,4d,6d or 7d. However I’m always willing to learn. I had to go out with only two to get otherwise I would have commented earlier.

  9. Very late to this, but I’m surprised the ambiguity of 18ac has been so readily accepted. Surely a big no-no.

    • Agreed, but we can’t do a great deal about it apart from pointing it out. It would have caused problems if it had been a Prize Crossword.

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