Toughie 2216 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2216

Toughie No 2216 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Just like a travelling French rugby team one’s never quite sure which Musaeus will turn up. Today he (or is it she?) has got a gentle hat on and I didn’t have many problems here, although 21d did make me stop and think when I realised that ‘upset’ didn’t work as a reversal indicator.
Some of the surfaces (e.g. 26a) are not that great.

Thanks to Musaeus – it would be great if you popped in to introduce yourself.

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

Across Clues

5a Rough clubs with a beery whiff? (6)
CHOPPY: the abbreviation for the card suit clubs and an adjective describing the smell of beer.

8a Courtesy in conflict when church replaces leader (8)
CHIVALRY: start with a word meaning conflict or contention and replace its leading letter with an abbreviation for church.

9a Who’ll crack you up or, around noon, blow you away? (7)
GAGSTER: if you insert the abbreviation for noon into the answer you’ll get a thug who might blow you away.

10a Little hooter is what gets one going, feeble learner admitted (5)
OWLET: assemble the starting letter of ‘one’ and an adjective meaning feeble (in a political sense) with the abbreviation for a learner inserted.

11a Bored clerk shut up dealer (3-6)
PEN-PUSHER: charade of a verb to shut up or corral and an informal term for a drug dealer.

13a Watch broadcast with Nile flowing (8)
SENTINEL: concatenate a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted and an anagram (flowing) of NILE.

14a Person in service I have to bring round (6)
REVIVE: the abbreviated title of someone officiating at a service and the contracted form of ‘I have’.

17a Member from the east to stiffen (3)
GEL: reverse a bodily member.

19a Union making part of accusation (3)
USA: this union with fifty members is hidden in the clue.

20a Party law in Rome is twofold (6)
DUPLEX: stitch together a political party from Northern Ireland (much in the news recently) and the Latin word for law.

23a Betraying utter legend (8)
TELLTALE: the answer here is an adjective. Join a verb to utter and another word for a legend or story.

26a Summit mostly delightful about old thick fog (3-6)
PEA-SOUPER: stick together a synonym for summit without its last letter and an adjective meaning delightful or great containing the abbreviation for old.

28a Label daughter put on healthy stuff? (5)
BRAND: append the abbreviation for daughter to healthy food which is supposed to keep you going.

29a Frank popping in energy sweet (7)
CANDIED: pop the abbreviation for energy into an adjective meaning frank or plain-spoken.

30a Just like the Commons — beyond compare (8)
PEERLESS: an old chestnut. The Commons is full of ‘honourable members’ but has no lords or ladies.

31a Sneer upset English still (6)
SERENE: an anagram (upset) of SNEER followed by an abbreviation for English.

Down Clues

1d A peevish over (6)
ACROSS: A is followed by an adjective meaning peevish or annoyed.

2d BA, say, would be fine if husband were at the top (7)
AIRLINE: when preceded by the abbreviation for husband the answer would mean fine or very thin.

3d Carry saddle round (9)
CARTRIDGE: cement together a verb to carry on a vehicle and a saddle or low point between two peaks.

4d Chilled French fruit left ignored (6)
FRAPPÉ: stick together an abbreviation for French and a fruit without the abbreviation for left.

5d Cold sliced meat and a last drop of this drink (8)
CHAMPERS: weld together the abbreviation (sliced) for cold, a type of meat, “a” as in ’50p a kilo’ and the last letter of this. I thought at first that the ‘sliced’ related to the meat but that doesn’t make sense so I’ve opted for it being an indicator that we need to cut down ‘cold’ to its abbreviation.

6d On active service, one’s watering hole (5)
OASIS: draw together the abbreviation for ‘on active service’ and the Roman numeral for one with its accompanying ‘S.

7d Quietly order kipper? (8)
PRESERVE: the musical abbreviation for quietly precedes a verb to order or book. The definition here is a verb.

12d What’s seen in parks in Chelmsford? (3)
ELM: hidden. Hmm.

15d Like a noble flier, one with time to spare? (5,4)
EARLY BIRD: we start with an adjective which, cryptically, could mean ‘like a noble ranking between a marquess and a viscount’ then we add something that flies.

16d Blend drink mostly for body (8)
FUSELAGE: glue together a verb to blend or amalgamate and an alcoholic drink without its last letter.

18d Come again! Plea made vacuously (6,2)
EXCUSE ME: a plea or alibi is followed by the outer (vacuously) letters of ‘made’.

21d ‘ostility upset Greek goddess (3)
ATE: triple definition, the second being an informal verb meaning upset or irritated.

22d Outrageous act going about in the raw here (7)
CABARET: this is a semi-all-in-one. Put an anagram (outrageous) of ACT around an adjective meaning ‘in the raw’.

24d What a poor artist needs is ages with Queen (6)
ERASER: ‘poor’ here presumably means ‘not very good’ rather than strapped for cash. Stick together a word for ages or long periods of time and the Queen’s regnal cipher.

25d Such as Cain, say, led astray then set free (6)
ELDEST: two anagrams, firstly one (astray) of LED then another (free) of SET.

27d Marsh-dweller with small advantage (5)
SEDGE: the abbreviation for small and a synonym for advantage or ‘upper hand’ give us a plant found in boggy ground.

My favourite clue was 15d which made me chortle. Do let us know which one(s) had you exercising your laughing muscles.

15 comments on “Toughie 2216

  1. He’s a he and I’d definitely agree about the gentle hat. I did enjoy myself on the whole

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza

  2. I agree with Gazza and Sue: this was a gentle Toughie but very enjoyable. I though we we on for a pangram – wrong! I’ll give joint top spot to 16d and 23a.

  3. I parsed 21d slightly differently. As Ate is the goddess of mischief and rash actions and their consequences, I took it that ‘upset’ applied to her as the goddess of upset, in the same way as Ares is the war god or god of war.

  4. I did enjoy this, although I found it not quite as straightforward as others. I did appreciate not being defeated by anything that I had not heard of. I would have expected a comparative rather than a superlative adjective in 25d? – and I am always a little surprised when the enumeration in 19a is as it was today rather than (1,1,1) – I must have got out of the pedantic side of the bed today. I think my favourite was 4d. Many thanks to Museaus and Gazza.

    1. Like you I’d only heard of Cain and his unfortunate brother as children of the first couple so I had to consult Google and apparently they were blessed with another son, Seth. So the superlative does work.
      Incidentally, where did Cain’s wife come from?

      1. According to the book of Jubilees Cain married Awan, a daughter of Adam and Eve. Per Genesis 5:4 Adam had “ other sons and daughters “

  5. We cantered through most of this but struggled a bit in the endgame. After getting all answers, we couldn’t see why we’d struggled. Our only excuse is that a lot of checkers were very common letters and therefore unhelpful (urrrm).

    We chuckled at 15d and liked 5a.

    Thanks to Gazza and Musaeus.

  6. Very late getting to this one and really struggled to get onto the setter’s wavelength although, with hindsight, I’m not sure why.
    Favourite was 5a with the chestnut at 30a claiming second place.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza for the blog – loved the pic of the 10a!

  7. For no reason that makes any sense now, our last one in and only after a lot of head-scratching was 16d. Perhaps we’ll blame the fact that all the checkers were vowels.
    We had to wait for a checking letter to know which way round to enter 17a.
    Pleasant enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

  8. I didn’t find this one any way near as easy to solve as some seem to have done. I’m still struggling to get on to this setter’s wavelength, but I stuck at it manfully and after several goes as it, I finally filled all the lights in. Thanks for the challenge Musaeus, a bit time consuming, but a most enjoyable mental tussle. Thanks Gazza also.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Roland.
      I’m not sure what point you’re making. The word gagster is listed in Chambers Dictionary.

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