Toughie 2228 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2228

Toughie No 2228 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

There’s a theme to this enjoyable puzzle from Messinae (with the actual theme words appearing twice in the grid). Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Bats echoing high note to trap food supply (8)
CRACKPOT: reverse a high note (3,1) and insert a large chunk of meat (including some ribs).

6a Low boat beginning to sink lower and lower leaving lake (4)
SCOW: the setter’s given us two separate lots of wordplay here for the price of one – a) the first letter of sink followed by a lower (i.e. animal that lows) and b) a verb to lower or look angry without the abbreviation for lake.

9a/17d Stooge getting defective ‘mechanical’ part fails (4,2,3,4)
GOES TO THE WALL: join together an anagram (getting defective) of STOOGE and the inanimate part (3,4) played by one of the ‘rude mechanicals’ in the ‘play within a play’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

10a Arrest record for accessory to grooming (4,4)
NAIL FILE: knit together an informal verb to arrest and a record or dossier.

11a Showing lack of vision enraged this revolutionary (4-7)
NEAR-SIGHTED: an anagram (revolutionary) of ENRAGED THIS. Not exactly ‘lack of vision’, more ‘poor vision’?


14a Soldiers from city on Pearl River served time in military camp (10)
CANTONMENT: soldiers from a city on the Pearl River in China followed by the abbreviation for time give us a word (new to me) for a temporary garrison in British India.

15a Grove celebrated conductor (4)
WOOD: double definition, the second being Sir Henry who began the Proms.

16a Fit not very precise? Not very (4)
AGUE: an adjective meaning imprecise without the abbreviation for very.

17a Nerd hiding in the lab breaking cover (10)
TABLECLOTH: a nerd or fool is contained within an anagram (breaking) of THE LAB.

19a Trendy during present era, cryptic reading of 5 Down is without meaning (11)
INADVERTENT: string together an adjective mean trendy or popular, our current era (2) and how 5d might be clued cryptically (i.e. with the second word of 5d containing the first word).

22a Share index decline around November brings ruin (8)
DOWNFALL: the short name of a New York share index and a synonym of decline contain what November represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

23a/17d Support two with lethal wound desperately defending (4,2,3,4)
BACK TO THE WALL: concatenate a verb to support or endorse and an anagram (wound) of TWO and LETHAL.

24a Checked components of 17 Down that’s obsession of Donald Duck (4)
TEAL: just used the checked letters of the answer to 17d (which is one of the obsessions of Donald T).

25a Breaking Frasier’s heart with depravity he had a woman like Lilith (3-5)
SHE-DEVIL: according to Jewish mythology Lilith was a dangerous demon of the night who was sexually wanton (also the name of Frasier Crane’s rather chilling wife). The contracted form of ‘he had’ is inserted (breaking) between the middle letter of Frasier and a synonym of depravity. This is Lilith’s first appearance in Cheers:

Down Clues

2d Do bird (4)
ROOK: double definition. ‘Do’ as in swindle.

3d Provided players protection from injury (4)
CAST: another double definition, the first meaning ‘signed up the actors for a production’.

4d Essential ingredient of food favouring energy stored in can (7)
PROTEIN: a preposition meaning favouring followed by the abbreviation for energy inside a metal can.

5d Song beer tent let loose? (3,5,7)
TEN GREEN BOTTLES: a lovely all-in-one. An anagram (loose) of SONG BEER TENT LET.

6d It can help you get up at Aviemore if kilt’s laid out (3,4)
SKI-LIFT: Aviemore is a winter sports’ venue in Scotland. We need an anagram (laid out) of IF KILT’S.

7d Left field in bad condition after running a lot (3,3,4)
OFF THE WALL: glue together a synonym of bad or rotten and the condition hit by runners after about 20 miles of a marathon, say.

8d Pipe down? The opposite facing hard Viking leader (9)
BLUETOOTH: assemble an informal adjective meaning down or sad, to make a sharp sound (i.e. the opposite of ‘pipe down’) and the pencilly abbreviation for hard. The Viking leader was a tenth century king, the son of King Gorm the Old (this is beginning to sound more and more like ‘Noggin the Nog’!).

12d/17d ‘Tapestry’ remaining one of the greatest albums ever (7,2,3,4)
HANGING ON THE WALL: a synonym for remaining or lingering (7,2) precedes the name of a famous album released by an English rock band in 1979.

13d Service two hours before Cinderella left ball (10)
ATTENDANCE: weld together ‘two hours before Cinderella left’ (2,3) and another word for a ball.

17d See 9 Across, 23 Across, 12 Down

18d Create new aristocrat line in coat of ermine (7)
ENNOBLE: a semi-all-in-one. Insert the abbreviation for new, an informal word for an aristocrat or toff and the abbreviation for line into the outside letters (coat) of ermine.

20d Long facial hair needs top trimming (4)
ACHE: an informal word for some facial hair without its first letter.

21d Brought up one versatile vehicle accessory for Button’s fixer (4)
ETUI: button is falsely capitalised here. Stick together the Roman numeral for one and the Antipodean word for a utility vehicle and reverse it all.

My ticks this week went to 6a, 19a, 24a and 5d. Do let us know which clue(s) were right up your street.

11 comments on “Toughie 2228
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  1. A different Messinae today – well it wasn’t what I was expecting. This was a very enjoyable themed crossword – my particular favourite was 24a but there were lots of others marked for potential stardom. I particularly liked the reference to the Carole King LP in 12/17

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  2. Couldn’t finish the NW corner as I was sure the bird was “gull”.
    The rest was straightforward though I do wonder how many people remember the Sir Henry of 15a.
    Thanks to Messinae, Gaza and of course, Pink Floyd.

  3. Couldn’t finish this without help – too much I didn’t know (25,14 etc) and like JB had ‘gull’ for the bird so overall made a bit of a mess of it. 17d just confused me (not a cross-reference fan).

    Good fun nevertheless. 6a is very clever and my pick of the bunch.

    The eyesight test is freaky, didn’t know what it was on about – until I took my glasses off! Thanks Messinae and Gazza

    • Interestingly on a small tablet screen it looks like Marilyn and on a (much larger) computer screen it looks like Albert

  4. Immensely enjoyable puzzle. For me 19 was the standout – once I saw what our setter was up to.

    Many thanks to Messinae and Gazza.

  5. I wasn’t able to finish because I entered ‘writing’ for the first word in 12d, and I hadn’t heard of the military camp in 14a to help me see my error. I did enjoy this otherwise. Fortunately I did recall Sir Henry in 15a (it’s the all too frequent rock bands that never fail to trip me up!). Many thanks to the Messinae and Gazza.

  6. We’re spending a little time in the Low Countries and today it’s Luxembourg. By chance, we spotted a DT on sale so bought it for the Toughie. And, what a treat it was, perhaps helped by drinks in the sun at a pavement cafe. We’ve rarely enjoyed a crossword so much. If we could give it 6* for enjoyment we would.

    The Donald Duck clue was the very best of an excellent bunch. A joy from start to finish.

    Thanks to Gazza and Messinaea.

  7. Never really got going with this one but I’m blaming it on an afternoon spent imbibing with my neighbours and a lack of knowledge when it comes to Pink Floyd!

    Still enjoyed reading through the blog and piecing it all together so many thanks to Gazza and apologies to Messinaea.

  8. It took us some time to work out what was going on with 17d but once that was sorted it all flowed much more smoothly.
    The cleverness of 19a appealed to us and we laughed out loud at 24a.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

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