Toughie 2256 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

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Toughie 2256 ~ Posted on

Toughie No 2256 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It took me a little while to get going on this one but once I’d established a base camp in the SW corner it all proceeded in a serene fashion with no great problems. It’s very enjoyable with smooth clues throughout as we’ve come to expect from this setter. Thanks Silvanus.

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

Across Clues

1a Medieval weapon, one prominent on breakfast TV? (7,4)
MORNING STAR: double definition, the first (new to me) being a vicious-looking weapon with spiked ball(s) on a stick which could give you a nasty headache. My first thought, from the second definition and the enumeration, was Susanna Reid but I couldn’t see her as a weapon so I moved on and waited for some checking letters.

7a Actor, upset on Sunday, occasionally lost temper (7)
SNAPPED: reverse the surname of a male Hollywood actor after the odd letters of Sunday.

8a City attracts English talent up front, that’s firmly established (4-3)
WELL-SET: start with a city in Somerset (there are only two and it’s not Bath) and append the front letters of English and talent.

10a Outcry developing about opponents and good manners (8)
COURTESY: an anagram (developing) of OUTCRY contains opponents at bridge.

11a Slim Scandinavian, typically, almost reaching officer grade at last (6)
SVELTE: string together a typical Scandinavian male forename without its last letter, the abbreviation for a military officer and the last letter of grade.

13a Excuse source of gratification when half-cut (4)
PLEA: the first half only of a word meaning sensual gratification. I wondered initially why ‘source’ was there but ‘source of gratification’ is a meaning taken straight from Chambers.

14a Verbal attacks coming from verge of motorway maybe between discontented bikers (10)
BROADSIDES: a word for the verge of a motorway (or other thoroughfare) goes between the outer letters of bikers.

16a A cup, please, for mixing something to complement roast meat (5,5)
APPLE SAUCE: an anagram (for mixing) of A CUP PLEASE.

18a Drop rent (4)
TEAR: double definition, the drop being a liquid secretion.

21a Nutrition expert refuses to stop working as artist (6)
TITIAN: start with a nutrition expert who’ll advise you on what (or more usually in my case on what not) to eat and remove from the front a verb to stop working or conk out.

22a Showing imagination, island invested in reforming vet care (8)
CREATIVE: insert one of the abbreviations for island into an anagram (reforming) of VET CARE.

24a Crack case of cybercrime, catching cleric in charge (7)
CREVICE: the outer letters of cybercrime contain the abbreviated title of a member of the clergy and the abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

25a Drink needed after service failure bringing disappointment (3-4)
LET-DOWN: an informal verb to drink follows the sort of service failure that we’ll hear a lot about over the next couple of weeks from London SW19.

26a Fabulous flier considered important to read out in Bedfordshire town (11)
BIGGLESWADE: bring together the name of W E Johns’s fictional flying ace and a homophone of a past participle meaning ‘considered important’ or ‘having a significant influence’.

Down Clues

1d Size of each square oddly checked by the setter (7)
MEASURE: the definition here is a verb, not a noun. The abbreviation for each and the odd letters of square are contained inside what the setter would call himself objectively.

2d Backed well-informed European visiting Irish broadcaster to find fame (6)
REPUTE: reverse an adverb meaning well-informed or ‘au courant’ and an abbreviation for European inside the abbreviation for the Irish state broadcaster.

3d Type of action from Democrat to interrupt current American hearing (10)
INDUSTRIAL: the abbreviation for Democrat gets inserted into an adjective meaning current or fashionable, a 2-letter abbreviation meaning American and a hearing or court case.

4d Stare when wife takes male’s place with umbrella (4)
GAWP: start with a dated term for a large umbrella and replace the abbreviation for male with that of wife.

5d Points I’ve allowed to be raised in broadcast (8)
TELEVISE: knit together two cardinal points, I’VE and a synonym of allowed then reverse the lot.

6d Van leaving area bears sign of corrosion, it’s whispered (7)
RUSTLED: a word for van or first place loses the abbreviation for area and that’s preceded by a reddish sign of corrosion.

7d Obsequious City chap son sacked (11)
SYCOPHANTIC: an anagram (sacked) of CITY CHAP SON.

9d One treating date, perhaps awfully generous supporting starlet regularly (4,7)
TREE SURGEON: an anagram (awfully) of GENEROUS follows the even letters of starlet.

12d Venetian songs Fletcher and Arkwright possibly heard (10)
BARCAROLES: homophone of the characters (6,5) played by a much-missed English comic actor (which included Norman Stanley Fletcher and Albert E Arkwright).

15d Intimidating, big-serving male tennis players? (8)
MENACING: split the answer 3,5 and we could have male tennis players delivering unplayable balls at the start of a point. Incidentally, does anyone understand why tennis players are given two goes at getting the ball into play? It’s a bit like a football referee saying “You’ve made a complete Horlicks of that penalty kick. Never mind – have another go!”.

17d Vegetable adding flavour if cooking mostly pea broth (3,4)
POT HERB: an anagram (cooking) of PE[a] BROTH.

19d Ground that is enthralled following record for event (7)
EPISODE: the abbreviation for ‘that is’ contains a word for a piece of ground and that all follows an old record format.

20d Several words repeated frequently in German translation (6)
MANTRA: our only hidden answer of the day.

23d Female swimmer makes impression (4)
FEEL: solder together the abbreviation for female and a thin swimmer.

I ticked 11a, 21a and 15d but my favourite clue was 12d. Do let us know which one(s) impressed you.

17 responses to “Toughie 2256

  1. A perfect partner to the Jay back pager, completed at a Toughie gallop – **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 24a, 3d, and 6d – and the winner is 24a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza (especially for explaining 12d, which I solved with the across checkers in place, so a sort of bung in).

  2. The “Morning Star” (1a) was also known as a “Bonjour”.I can just imagine a knight in battle bashing his opponent whilst greeting him with “Good Morning, bet that woke you up!”.

    Thanks to all.

  3. Very enjoyable and not too tough. My last one in was 21a – I thought I knew the answer but it took me too long to parse it. I think I will give top mark to 26a because it reminded me of my favourite books when I was a lad.

  4. Most enjoyable – as always – from this setter. GK let me down a bit and I had to seek confirmation of the medieval weapon, Venetian songs and Bedfordshire town but all quite achievable from the wordplay. Tried all manner of ‘fabulous fliers’ of the feathered variety before lighting upon the required one for 26a – not really preferred reading for girls back in the day!

    Thought 19d was a slight slip in surface read from Silvanus but perhaps I’m missing something – can ‘ground’ refer to the folk sitting upon same?

    My favourite has to be the macho tennis players – brilliant clue.

    Many thanks to Silvanus who should appear more often in the DT and also to Gazza for the blog. Extra thanks to him for another chance to gaze upon Mr Depp in his pirate make-up – OK, I worry about myself sometimes…………

  5. What a day for great partnerships: Bairstow & Roy, Jay & the 2Ks, and now Silvanus & Gazza!

    This puzzle was all that we have come to expect from Silvanus – great fun, accurate cluing, neat disguises and smooth surfaces with perhaps one exception. I can’t make much sense out of the reading of 19d which is so unusual for Silvanus that I wonder if I am am missing something.

    My favourite was 12d, with 15d and the wonderfully alliterative 24a also on my podium.

    Many thanks to S & G.

    P.S. Gazza’s review reminded me of the best book title that W.E.Johns never wrote: Biggles Flies Undone.

    • I think that ‘ground’ can be used informally to mean all the spectators, e.g. “The ground rose to its feet to pay tribute to the retiring captain”.

      • Thanks Gazza. That was the only thing I could think of, but I couldn’t find anything in the BRB or other reference books which would support that.

  6. Happy to have completed the grid early enough to be able to comment for once. Very enjoyable, and I did get 12D from the checkers though I had no idea how to begin to parse it. 26A was new to me but not hard to unravel since even I had hear of the books. Favorite is 15D. Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  7. A nice not too demanding puzzle that I managed without Google or dictionary. That said I had not heard of the medieval weapon or the actor. 26a was fortunate as I live within 10 miles of the town – I doubt I would have got a town of such size if it were in Scotland. Like Gazza I was a little slow getting going but after cracking the anagram in 7d the puzzle opened up quite nicely. Favourite clues were 12d, 9d, 14a and 1d

    I have often wondered what tennis would be like without the second serve. At times playing golf I sometimes wondered if I didn’t deserve a second drive if the first had gone out of bounds.

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza

  8. Many thanks to Gazza for his “Hints and Tips” and to everyone else who took the trouble to comment, much appreciated.

    Gazza’s response to the query of Jane and RD regarding 19d is precisely how I saw it when drafting the clue.

  9. A couple of bits of parochial knowledge 2d and 26a made this a little more difficult for us than for most solvers but did not detract from the enjoyment. Nicely put together clues and much appreciated.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  10. On the whole I enjoyed this very much, but it took me for ever to track down the Bedfordshire town (not knowing the fabulous flier didn’t help either), and there were a couple of other things that I was not familiar with (the medieval weapon for example). My stand out favourite was 15d with the male tennis players. Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  11. Couldn’t access the site yesterday. Problems?

    Started this puzzle at a good pace and then fought the last couple of clues. An enjoyable exercise.

    What fun to be taken back to my youth with 26a. How I loved those books. I wonder if my teenage self would have been shocked by Rabbit Dave’s amusing contribution?

    Wasn’t 12d a gem? I searched arrows and spinning jennies before the penny dropped. Superb!

    Thanks to setter and blogger. After yesterday’s problems, I hope this reaches them.

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