Toughie 2212 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2212

Toughie No 2212 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

I found this to be something of a slog requiring lots of checking – Google had to put in an extra shift. Thanks Giovanni but, as I may have mentioned once or twice before, I do prefer Toughies which rely on clever wordplay rather than obscure vocabulary.

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

Across Clues

4a Is fellow by end of short story a bringer of luck? (8)
TALISMAN: IS and a male person follow a story without its last letter.

8a Rogue depositing one vehicle in river (6)
PICARO: insert the Roman numeral for one and a road vehicle into our favourite Italian river. The answer is a Spanish word for a rogue or knave and it’s not in Chambers (neither is pivano, my first attempt) though it is there with –on appended to it.

9a Returned as Wimbledon champion, glowing outwardly? (8)
REVERTED: put the surname of an American female Wimbledon champion inside the colour that can mean glowing.

10a Bringing out temptation son should avoid (8)
EDUCTION: start with a word for temptation or enticement and remove the abbreviation for son from its start.

11a Smooth stars appearing outside entrance briefly (6)
LEGATO: a constellation (and sign of the zodiac) contains a hinged entrance without its last letter.

12a Soldier given no identity suffering mental disorder (8)
PARANOID: stick together an airborne soldier, NO and the abbreviation for identity.

13a Action by angler brings fish after very short time (8)
TICKLING: a cod-like fish follows an informal word for a very short time or moment.

16a Those troubled about getting first in English may be what’s found in Oxford? (8)
SHOETREE: assemble an anagram (troubled) of THOSE, a preposition meaning ‘about’ and the first letter of English. Oxford here is something you wear, not somewhere you live.

19a Jumping around, being concerned to make space for exercise (8)
CAPERING: an adjective meaning ‘being concerned or considerate’ contains an abbreviation for exercise or gymnastics.

21a Female is very admirable in party attire? (6)
FROCKS: the abbreviation for female and an informal verb meaning ‘is very admirable or enjoyable’.

23a What Queen embodies is good in truth (8)
REGALITY: insert the abbreviation for good into a synonym of truth or fact.

24a Name of unimportant person in organisation with sexist message? (8)
COGNOMEN: this is a name or nickname (originally one given to an ancient Roman citizen). Concatenate a word for an unimportant person in a large organisation and, for example, a sign that might be displayed at a hen party (2,3).

25a Search taking road back to border (6)
DREDGE: reverse the abbreviation for road and add a border.

26a One with plan to be kind, not out to be first (8)
INTENDER: this is one of those ugly nouns (formed by sticking –er on the end of a verb) which nobody would ever use. An adjective meaning kind or gentle is preceded by the opposite of out.

Down Clues

1d Discarded wit of Spooner, one with lots to say (7)
WINDBAG: Spooner might convert this into discarded or threw away (6) and a wit or joker (3).

2d Female priest can chat and be funny (9)
BACCHANTE: an anagram (funny) of CAN CHAT and BE gives us a priestess of Bacchus in Roman mythology.

3d Magic when vermouth is put in cocktail (6)
MOJITO: insert the abbreviation for Italian vermouth into a word for magic power or influence.

4d Abused page started to recover (6,3,6)
TURNED THE CORNER: this could mean ‘marked how far you’ve got in a book by mistreating the relevant page’ (something that you can’t do with a Kindle!).

5d Poet to be very fond of Anglo-Catholic finery? (8)
LOVELACE: this is Richard, a 17th century English poet. Weld together a verb to be very fond of and what, I presume, Anglo-Catholics like to dress up in. I’m sorry I can’t give chapter and verse for the Anglo-Catholic bit but I was losing the will to live by the time I reached this clue.

6d Child accommodated by school’s programme (5)
SPROG: hidden.

7d A top article in ancient language (7)
AVESTAN: stick together A, an upper-body garment and an indefinite article. This is a very old language from Persia.

14d Given honour and praise, it’s right she from France should be embraced (9)
LAURELLED: a verb meaning to praise contains an abbreviation for right and the French word for ‘she’.

15d Expected to be quiet, tot dumped in grass (8)
PRESUMED: start with the musical abbreviation for quiet then insert a verb to tot or add into a type of grass.

17d One’s cast out at sea — gets to talk endlessly about nothing (7)
HARPOON: an informal phrasal verb meaning to talk tediously and at length (4,2) contains the letter that resembles zero.

18d Like some performances for men only — I will stay outside (2-5)
ON-STAGE: an adjective meaning ‘for men only’ with what ‘I’ meant in Roman sums outside it.

20d Each year idol is placed atop a temple (6)
PAGODA: charade of the abbreviation for each year, an idol or something worshipped and A.

22d Story of a former Chelsea manager (5)
CONTE: double definition, the first (which I only knew as a French word) meaning a short story. The second (which I didn’t know at all) is the name of a Chelsea FC manager who only lasted two years in the job – from the look of this picture he isn’t a model of calmness under pressure!

My favourite clue was 17d. Do let us know which one(s) engaged your interest.

19 comments on “Toughie 2212

  1. Too many ‘do I remember correctly that the meaning of the word in the solution is the definition’ for this to be a lot of fun. 4/5* difficulty/2* enjoyment

    The Crossword Editor will know why I smiled at 13a

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. I do hope I’m not jumping onto anything, especially Giovanni’s toes, if I say I found this very difficult due to my lack of knowledge of historical, particularly religious, references.

    Many thanks to both Giovanni and Gazza.

    PS – I think the illustration @22d is actually Conte celebrating, Gazza! He so rarely had anything to celebrate at Chelsea…

  3. Well 19a, 23a, 26a and 14d were pushing it for me as regards strangeness, whilst 8a, 10a, 2d, 5d, 7d and 22d were off the scale: those would have been more at home in your Mephisto, and unfortunately I feel that most of the difficulty in this Toughie arises from the arcane vocab.

    Thus it wasn’t 13a my fancy much, but it did make at least one 3d seem like a good idea.

  4. Where do I start? I’ve never heard of 8a, 24a, 2d, 3d, 5d, 7d or 24d except as a former Chelsea manager! I got there in the end but only with excessive electronic help. Surely 13a is not the action of an angler. My biggest pleasure was in actually doing it. Favourite? 10a. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for hosting the blog.

  5. Not so much a crossword, more an exercise in how well one is able to utilise the power of Google. Sorry, but this wasn’t for me.
    4d raised a smile but that’s the best I can think to say today.

    Apologies, Giovanni, and many thanks to Gazza for persevering to bring us the review.

  6. 22d summed this up for me – a double definition in which I had not heard of either definition. I did get there in the end, but like many others, overloaded Google in the process. Please forgive me, but this was not right up there on the fun-meter. Thanks anyway to Giovanni, and Gazza, whose comment in 5d made the whole thing worthwhile!

  7. Didn’t enjoy this one bit and retired hurt about 2/3 of the way through. Agree with all the above comments ****/* :(

  8. North-west corner defeated me. Too many obscure words there..The rest of it was enjoyable and went in slowly but steadily.

  9. Amazing how differently people can read the same thing. Our reaction was that difficulty and enjoyment were the wrong way round! This was one of the easiest we’ve seen for a while.
    Odd!

  10. A Toughie that was most definitely tough. The RHS went in OK, but I seriously ran out of steam with the rest. 22d came up elsewhere recently so I did know it, 24ac I didn’t and needed the hint. I always expect to learn a couple of new words when the Don’s setting. :-)

  11. Well, I’ve trudged through three-quarters of this and decided to leave the remainder until tomorrow. I’m a huge fan of Giovanni’s puzzles, but this one leaves me totally unimpressed. Not wishing to join a band wagon, but I have to agree with all but one of the above comments. Sorry Mr M. Thanks for the Toughie and thanks also to Gazza as well.

  12. I know this is very late but hoping Giovanni at least sees it, a positive comment among the somewhat negative ones. I really enjoyed this, only one word (picaro) was new to me, and that was clearly clued, as were all the others. I like the straightforward style of this setter, knowing that if I spend long enough I will be able to finish. So thanks to Mr M!

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