Toughie 2248 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2248

Toughie No 2248 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

For the most part getting the answers is pretty straightforward here but in a few cases the synonyms required in the wordplay needed a bit of thought and in two clues (9a and 19d) I can’t come up with examples of how the synonyms work in practice so I’ll be grateful for suggestions. Thanks to Musaeus.

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

Across Clues

1a Detective in the presence of monarch put off (5)
DETER: an abbreviation for detective and our monarch’s regnal cipher.

4a Go with a kitty — one of twins on the table? (9)
PEPPERPOT: string together a synonym for go or fizz, another word for ‘a’ as in ‘£2 a kilo’ and a kitty or pool. Chambers has the answer as two words (6,3).

9a Court player provided with rightful gold (9)
SOLICITOR: assemble a short conjunction which can mean provided according to Chambers (although I can’t think of an example of such a usage – can you?), an adjective meaning rightful or lawful and our usual tincture of gold.

10a Charlie fell for the latest thing (5)
CRAZE: the letter that Charlie represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by a verb to fell or bring down.

11a Stir too fancy a dish (7)
RISOTTO: an anagram (fancy) of STIR TOO.

12a Bread is thrown for gull or some such (7)
SEABIRD: an anagram (thrown) of BREAD IS.

13a Perennial is unknown beforehand (6)
YEARLY: one of the algebraic unknowns precedes an adverb meaning beforehand or ‘in advance’.

15a Move to prompt returning items which support cavalry (8)
STIRRUPS: bring together a verb to move or change position and the reversal of a verb to prompt or urge.

18a Piffle a Conservative is spinning (8)
ROTATORY: another informal word for piffle of nonsense is followed by A and a Conservative. It sounds as though the setter watched the leadership ‘debate’ last night!

20a Brownie, for example, drew near artist (6)
CAMERA: knit together a verb meaning drew near and the usual abbreviation for a recognised artist.

23a Put out description of retired reporter? (7)
EXPRESS: split 2,5 this could describe a retired reporter.

24a Rushing around quietly doing what cartoon angels do (7)
HARPING: a present participle meaning rushing or moving swiftly contains the musical abbreviation for quietly.

26a Go over motor, the focus of auction (5)
AUDIT: a German motor and the central letter of auction.

27a Who would tear into fool and trouble social worker? (9)
ASSAILANT: concatenate another word for fool, a verb to trouble and our usual working insect.

28a I would back English poet, one to give out (9)
DISPENSER: reverse the contracted form of ‘I would’ and append the surname of Edmund, the Tudor poet.

29a Some would say his (or her) term for next successor (5)
THEIR: the last letter (term) of next and a successor.

Down Clues

1d Ravager — I’ll skip shattered desire about old defeated city (9)
DESTROYER: an anagram (shattered) of DES[i]RE without the I contains the name of the historic city which was defeated, so legend has it, with the help of a large horse.

2d Unseating leader stems negotiations (5)
TALKS: remove the first letter from another word for plant stems.

3d Chapter on sex in pukka reading (7)
RECITAL: a single-letter abbreviation for chapter followed by an informal word for sex are contained in an adjective meaning pukka or genuine.

4d Pressure rising in choice brew of Getafix? (6)
POTION: start with a synonym for choice or selection and move the abbreviation for pressure up a bit. I had to Google Getafix who is apparently a Druid known for his medicinal elixirs in the Asterix comics.

5d Mean a lot being one who thrives on (or off) another (8)
PARASITE: weld together a word meaning mean or average, A and a lot (as used for parking or filming).

6d Fancy soaking up last bit of sun? It’s easy to get (2,5)
EN CLAIR: a type of fancy or small cake contains the last letter of sun. ‘Get’ here means to understand.

7d Bromide allowance covered by platoon’s leader (9)
PLATITUDE: a synonym for allowance or indulgence follows the leading letter of platoon.

8d Translator dying to be all over Twitter, Instagram, etc (5)
TREND: solder together the abbreviation for translator and a word meaning dying or curtains.

14d Down under article rewards gripping lyric (9)
ANTIPODES: join one of our indefinite articles and monetary rewards given for good service containing a lyric poem.

16d Son chuckling is best (9)
SLAUGHTER: the abbreviation for son and a synonym for chuckling. Best, here, is a verb.

17d For Parisians very change is a sin in the eyes of the church (8)
TRESPASS: bolt together the French word for very and a verb to change or be transferred.

19d Audience engaged in that place (7)
THEATRE: a semi-all-in-one. Insert a preposition meaning ‘engaged’ (?) into a word meaning ‘that place’. I can’t come up with a sentence where the required preposition is interchangeable with ‘engaged’ – ‘engaged in’ would be no problem but that would mean ‘in’ doing double duty. So, once again, any suggestions would be welcome.

21d What’s on some ‘eads? Stop emergency procedure (7)
AIRLIFT: what’s on some ‘eads in Cockneyland precedes a verb to stop (a prohibition, for example).

22d Hunter clubs bears — hang on a minute! (6)
CHASER: cement together the abbreviation for the card suit clubs, a verb meaning bears (children, for example) and an exclamation used to gain time for you to think of something more meaningful to say.

23d Ecstasy with district’s antelope (5)
ELAND: the abbreviation used for the drug Ecstasy and a synonym for district or area. Here’s one of these antelopes at a zebra crossing:

25d Furious as appropriate page is ripped out (5)
IRATE: remove the abbreviation for page from a verb to appropriate or copy illegally.

My ticks today went to 4a, 24a and 6d. Do let us know which one(s) made you smile.

17 comments on “Toughie 2248

    1. Thanks, Smylers. That name does ring a bell because I remember thinking of the hypnotist when I was told it – but, having a sieve-like memory, I had forgotten it.

  1. I believe this is the first Musaeus puzzle I have tried. It was a pretty gentle solve and only the NE corner caused any deep thought. I found 4d impossible to solve confidently from the cryptic as I had never heard of Getafix. This made 4a harder and I needed all the crossing letters to get 6d (never come across it, but it was easy to guess). I think 4d would be a good clue if Getafix was replaced with “a witch” as witches are a bit better known. I had suspected Getafix was something to do with drug addiction.

    For 19d I had assumed that “engaged in” = “at” and “that place” = “there” with “in” being used just once. “Where is my watch?” – “That Place” or “There” with a bit of pointing.

    I did not understand fully 29a and I am grateful for Gazza’s explanation. I have not seen “term” used to indicate the terminal letter before.
    Thanks to the setter and Gazza

    1. For 19d if the ‘in’ is used as part of ‘engaged in’ to get the ‘at’ what tells us to put the ‘at’ inside the ‘there’?

    2. Hi, Patch. Obviously replacing ‘Getafix’ with ‘a witch’ would’ve made the clue simpler for those who didn’t get the reference, but this is labelled as a ‘toughie’, and I find that most days it requires some general knowledge — well, specific knowledge, really — that I didn’t have. (Sometimes I even manage to remember my new knowledge afterwards!) The Asterix books have been well-known for decades, so I don’t see why this is more obscure than the various names of wine, rivers, poets, actors and so on that crop up.

      Obviously liking clues is subjective, but I think it’s s more fun with Getafix in it rather than a generic witch. And for those of us who are familiar with the druid, it makes the clue easier: 4d was my first in, and the specificity of Getafix gave me confidence it was right.

      Anyway — and much more importantly — to all those baffled by Getfix, go and borrow an Asterix book from your library: you’re in for a treat! Yes, they’re in the children’s section, but so much would go right over the heads of younger readers: they’re crammed with clever wordplay (English, Latin, and more) and incidental references (literary, historical, and other), all fitting into the tight constraints of the format.

      Anthea Bell, who wrote the English translations, was a genius. Where the original French had a pun, a literal translation would usually lose the joke. So somehow she manages to come up with different puns that still progress the plot, match the existing artwork, and fit into the speech bubbles. The talk I linked to above included the claim the only works improved by translation are The King James Bible and the Asterix books. That may not be strictly true, but I think most fans of cryptic crosswords would find much to enjoy in them.

      (Actually, I’ve just realized you can watch the talk. It costs £10, but that also gets you dozens of other Hay Festival author talks from the past few years.)

      Oh, and having now finished the crossword … the cartoon angels in 24a are my favourite. Thank you to both setter and tipster.

  2. 19d – Perhaps the intention is ‘audience engaged’ ie ‘in attendance’ = at?

    1. That’s thinking outside the box but I can’t come up with a sentence in which ‘audience engaged’ can be replaced by at.
      Any ideas for 9a? Can you dream up a sentence in which ‘provided’ or ‘provided with’ is a synonym for ‘so’?

      1. Taken literally, ‘audience engaged’ could be ‘at’, but no they are not directly interchangeable. Not sure they need to be do they?

        9a – Collins gives provided = so that (archaic) is in ‘in order to’

        I carry tools so I can fix things
        I carry tools provided I can fix things

        I think we have to forget the normal meaning of provided (if, supplied etc) which is rather uncomfortable.

        Sorry that’s all the made-up logic I can think of – should it turn out to be a typo or something, I am going to look very silly indeed!

        1. Thanks for your attempts, LbR. I always like to check the validity of synonyms by working out a sentence where the two are interchangeable without significantly changing the meaning or mangling the grammar. I’m still not convinced that either 9a or 19d work properly.

  3. Like Patch this is the first Musaeus puzzle I have tried, found it to be relatively benign except for the Getafix reference. Looked this up on the internet and found an Asterix film “The secret of the magic p*****”, which fitted but I still don’t really understand the clue. Apart from that clue I rate it **/***.

    1. For 4d we start with option (choice) then we have to move the P (abbreviation for pressure) up (rising, in a down clue).

  4. Well, I don’t know which crossword you were all solving, because at my first pass I had precisely five answers and one possible.

    Way above my pay grade.

    Thanks to all.

  5. We needed a quick Google check to understand Getafix but otherwise it all went together smoothly with some reservations about 9a and 19d.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

  6. In 19d, perhaps ‘engaged’ is an active intransitive verb meaning ‘joined’ or ‘in close proximity’. I am not sure that a straightforward substitution, one for the other, is possible but two sentences of equivalent meaning might be, ‘The two wrestlers engaged’ and ‘The two wrestlers were at each other’.

  7. I made very heavy weather of this, and in the end came to grief in the SE corner by entering AIRDROP for 21d and not being able to sort it all out. Well over ** in difficulty for me. Thanks anyway to Musaeus and Gazza.

  8. Relatively gentle for a Toughie, though with a little careful thought needed here and there, so not a pushover either. Engaging and enjoyable throughout.

  9. Relatively gentle – I thought it must be Tuesday. Had to google Getafix to find out who or what that was. Enjoyable solve.

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