Toughie 2231 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2231

Toughie No 2231 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Kitty is taking a break from blogging (not too long we hope) so I’ve been drafted in for a one-off Tuesday matinee. That’s no hardship as we have a fairly gentle but very enjoyable puzzle from Silvanus with his usual smooth surfaces throughout. Having originally missed the Nina in his weekend NTSPP I did spend some time looking for one here, but if there is one it’s too well-hidden for me.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle and tell us how you think it compares with the Saturday NTSPP from the same setter.

I hope that all those attending the Sloggers and Betters meeting ‘up Lunnon’ (as we say in my part of the country) are having a good time.

Across Clues

1a Firm accepting Yen note, undoubtedly that attracts attention (8)
CYNOSURE: our usual abbreviation for a firm includes abbreviations for yen and note then we finish with a synonym for undoubtedly. This was my last answer because, although I vaguely knew the word, I didn’t know what it meant.

5a Pop group said to blaspheme immaturely? You can count on it (6)
ABACUS: stick together what sounds like a Swedish pop group and an informal verb to blaspheme without its last letter (immaturely, i.e. not fully grown).


9a US ex-serviceman welcomed by order of escort vessels (9)
CORVETTES: the short word for an ex-serviceman in the USA goes inside an anagram (order) of ESCORT.

11a Essentially beautiful parrot species making comeback in mountainous region (5)
TYROL: the central letter of beautiful is followed by the reversal of a small parrot from the southern hemisphere.

12a Adjustments made with cutting wood small (6)
TWEAKS: the abbreviation for ‘with’ gets inserted into a type of hard wood and the abbreviation for small.

13a Rejected certain players meeting at opposing team’s stadium (8)
CASTAWAY: the players employed for a theatrical production followed by how a match at an opposing team’s stadium would be described.

15a Honest, and disposed to err in public (13)
INCORRUPTIBLE: an anagram (disposed) of TO ERR IN PUBLIC.

18a Soldier approaches broken-down airplane carrying hospital equipment (13)
PARAPHERNALIA: join together an airborne soldier and an anagram (broken-down) of AIRPLANE containing the abbreviation for hospital.

22a Backed by India’s banks, multinational corporation supplies tobacco (8)
VIRGINIA: the outer letters (banks) of India follow the name of the business empire controlled by Beardie (as Private Eye calls him) aka Sir Richard Branson from his tax haven in the West Indies.

23a Type of capital I collect (6)
ITALIC: hidden in the clue.

26a Scamp cut ends off shoes (5)
ROGUE: cut off the outer letters from strong outdoor shoes.

27a Story recalled musical left unfinished on Scottish island (9)
NARRATIVE: string together the name of a Lloyd-Webber musical without its last letter and an island in the Firth of Clyde then reverse the lot.

28a Total disregard about individual (6)
ENTITY: start with a noun meaning total or ‘the whole lot’ and take away the preposition meaning about or concerning.

29a Outrageous acts, they’re sometimes included in insurance policies (8)
EXCESSES: double definition, the second being the amounts of a claim that you have to pay yourself before your insurance company will stump up anything.

Down Clues

1d Change tack into wind arriving at Manhattan, perhaps (8)
COCKTAIL: insert an anagram (change) of TACK into a verb to wind or twist.

2d Swear having new leadership is the making of hospital worker (5)
NURSE: start with the more formal form of the verb to swear or blaspheme that we met in 5a and change its initial letter.

3d American trainer, one tending to go unnoticed? (7)
SNEAKER: double definition – trainer is something worn, not a person.

4d Form of pen requiring no cap (4)
RITE: a verb to pen or note down without its top letter.

6d Where to come clean and boast what hubby occasionally sacrificed (7)
BATHTUB: throw away every other letter from ‘boast what hubby’.

7d Extremely cool outside weather ruined acrobatic movement (9)
CARTWHEEL: the outer letters of ‘cool’ go round an anagram (ruined) of WEATHER.

8d Bob, anticipating fun, heading to sort fans out (6)
SPLAYS: concatenate the abbreviation used for the pre-1971 UK coin known informally as a bob, a synonym for fun or recreation and the first letter of ‘sort’.

10d Creature hard to isolate from effect of global warming? (3,5)
SEA OTTER: an effect of global warming may be to make the *** ****** by one or two degrees. Take away the abbreviation for hard.

14d Face up quietly to embracing one Northern initiative (8)
GUMPTION: reverse an informal word for a face, add the musical abbreviation for quietly then insert the Roman numeral for one into TO. Finally append the abbreviation for northern.

16d Protection for writer provided by detective, maybe just joining Yard (9)
COPYRIGHT: weld together an informal word for a police detective, the abbreviation for yard and an adjective meaning just or equitable.

17d Organ with sort of pipes to entertain elite mostly (8)
PANCREAS: musical pipes named after the Greek god of the woods contain a noun meaning elite or best without its last letter.

19d Time ran out to find clothing (7)
RAIMENT: an anagram (out) of TIME RAN.

20d Fertiliser cost is lower than man heard (7)
NITRATE: a synonym for cost or charge follows (is lower than, in a down clue) what sounds like a man on a chessboard.

21d Disinclined to declare with Essex’s two openers returning (6)
AVERSE: a verb to declare or attest followed by the reversal of the two opening letters of Essex.

24d Queues reported in Birmingham for butcher’s most tender cuts (5)
LOINS: the most tender cuts of beef (especially when preceded by the word ‘tender’ itself) sound like how someone from the English midlands might pronounce a synonym of queues.

25d Core Conservative vote keeping united to support Right (4)
CRUX: the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative and how we in the UK mark our choice on a voting form contain the abbreviations for right and united.

I liked 13a, 28a and 6d but my favourite clue today was 10d. Do let us know what took your fancy.

I’ll see you again tomorrow.

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19 comments on “Toughie 2231

  1. What a delight to have two Silvanus puzzles within days of one another – and so good of the knight in shining armour to step up to the mark for overtime in the absence of our Girl Tuesday.

    Needless to say, I didn’t know 1a but managed the first part from the wordplay and then the totally unrelated ‘sinecure’ popped into my head and made me look more closely at the remainder of the clue. Just as well I nailed that one as I could otherwise have had a real problem on my hands with 4d.
    Fell into the trap of having a checker in place and guessing the rest where 11a was concerned – took me a while to stop trying to make Tibet answer the clue. Likewise, with the first A in place in 17d, I was convinced the organ was going to be an ear.
    Saved by the bell or rather by Janice Nicholls and her famous ‘Oi’ll give it foive’ line in Thank Your Lucky Stars which gave me the answer to 24d – not very familiar with the Brummie accent.

    So much to enjoy here but I’ll give the nod to 22&28a plus 19d for rosettes.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the enjoyment and to Gazza for a great blog. The sun is undoubtedly shining over the cobbled yard at The George so I have no doubt that the S&B revellers will be enjoying themselves.

  2. It’s pleasantly mild with some sunny periods and I’m playing cricket today at a delightful Kent (Kentish?) village ground. I am taking the opportunity of the tea break to post this comment.

    This Toughie is everything you might expect from a Silvanus puzzle – challenging and highly enjoyable. If he ever feels the need to change his soubriquet, may I suggest Mr Smooth as an alternative?

    In answer to Gazza’s question, I found this a degree or two tougher than Saturday’s NTSPP but still very accessible thanks to the precise cluing.

    1a was a new word for me, but simply following the instructions in the clue led to the right answer whose existence my BRB confirmed. My biggest hold up was of my own doing by stupidly transposing the E & R in 18a, thereby rendering 10d impossible until I realised my error.

    I thought it was a nice touch to indicate which accent was needed for the 24d homophone. So much better than using “some might say”. Unlike Jane, I used Ozzy Osborne as my pronunciation template. However, like Jane, I toyed with TIBET for 11a, even to the point of checking if TEBI might be a type of parrot.

    There were many clues jostling for podium positions, but finally 22a, 28a, 6d & 10d clambered up there.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

    1. Thank you for the suggested alternative pseudonym, RD, although “Mr Smooth” sounds more like an oleaginous double glazing salesman!

  3. I enjoyed this very much, and I thought it was a wonderfully constructed puzzle. 1a was new to me as well, but the word play was very generous in putting it together. I got on a good deal better with this than I did on Saturday, (where there were too many things in the NE corner that I had not heard of that prevented me from finishing). Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  4. Our last one in was 4d as it took a while to equate FORM with the answer and then find a word from which we could remove the first letter. Eventually the penny dropped. Really good fun to solve this well constructed puzzle.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  5. Many thanks to Gazza for the review and to those who have kindly taken the trouble to leave comments. Much appreciated.

    Just back from the S & B event in London where, as ever, it was great to meet a fair number of fellow setters, fellow solvers and (after today) fellow bloggers!

  6. A big thumbs up from me too – most enjoyable and completed in several sessions in between doing a few other things. 1 across is a fresh word for me, but accessed courtesy of my electronic (well, battery really) dictionary. 4 down puzzled me too. Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  7. Very enjoyable, solved on way back from the George. 1a “fingers crossed” was a word, and I didn’t know the parrot, but hey ho. Ta to Gazza and Silvanus

  8. 4d was my last one in too. Took me ages to equate “form” with the answer.

    Commenting late while waiting for today’s DT and Toughie2232. Really, these days the puzzle page is the only enjoyable part of the paper.

  9. I met up with the gang yesterday and was delighted to discover that this wasn’t one I had previously test solved so I had it all to enjoy. Definitely worthy of the title of “toughie” and some of the parsing escaped me, so thanks to Gaza’s. Favourite clues were in 15a , 10d and 24d.

    1. Lovely to hear from you, Beet. When are we going to get some more of your brilliant and much-missed puzzles?

    2. Many thanks, Beet – it was great to see you yesterday. I hope you’ll comment more regularly as you used to do.

      Gazza won’t be surprised to learn that his question was asked by several other people yesterday!

    3. How nice to see your name pop up on the blog again, Beet.
      Now then – about that next puzzle……………..!

  10. As others have said a very enjoyable puzzle. The butchers cut held me up for an age as the letter L that started it looked more like a letter C which also held up me finding out the lurker. Thanks to Silvanus for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review

  11. Super puzzle, Silvanus! It is difficult to select a fave, but perhaps 10d and 22a take top places for me. (And I love Gazza’s illustration for 10d! Perfick!)

    4d was my last in. I was unsure of my parsing and answer and thank Gazza for confirming it correct. 1a was my second last in. Then I remembered having come across the word but needed Chambers to recall the meaning.

    Many appreciative thanks to Silvanus for a very entertaining puzzle and to Gazza for the excellent review.

  12. just got around to this

    brilliant to see you silvanus and others yesterday

    thanks gazza for the parsing of 10d, which i forgive myself for not seeing

    I really liked 1d, 2d and 6d. also liked the anagrams in 7d and especially 15a, pity not more was done to polish those clues – such potential.

    didn’t like 17d. i can’t see “sort of pipes” as a plural

    some weird surfaces, e.g. 12a didn’t seem natural to me. blaspheme immaturely? etc.

    all in all a pleasant solve with some good tricky toughie clues, many thanks Silvanus

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