Toughie 2264 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2264

Toughie No 2264 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I made hard work of this one but I did enjoy the exercise (and only the sheaves of wheat were a totally new word for me). Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

7a Jewish expert and actors enthralling island (8)
CABALIST: this is someone well versed in a mystical Jewish school of thought. Put all the actors in a production around an Indonesian island.

9a Town‘s food beyond sell-by-date? (6)
OLDHAM: when split 3,3 this town in North-West England could be meat past its best.

10a/24a Group of our competitors getting a few minutes of broadcast? (4,4)
TIME SLOT: when split 5,3 this could be a bunch of the Telegraph’s competitors.

11a Almost stop royal mistress entertained by monarch being cooped up like a pet (10)
KENNELLING: a synonym of stop without its last letter and the name of a 17a royal mistress go inside a monarch.

12a Musical giant of the stage, the second one to go (6)
OLIVER: remove the second occurrence of the Roman one from a famous old English actor.

14a What sounds like pleasant shelter for a cuppa (5,3)
ROSIE LEE: join together a homophone of an adjective meaning pleasant or promising and a word meaning shelter.

15a Laugh at some of the dire drivel going round (6)
DERIDE: hidden in reverse.

17a Words of rebuke around about a king — beheaded one, maybe? (6)
STUART: reverse some exclamations of disapproval and insert A and an abbreviation for king.

20a Show great respect, meeting sweetheart — wow! (4,4)
BOWL OVER: wow here is a verb. Knit together a gesture of respect (3) when meeting someone and a sweetheart.

22a Happy exclamation concealing caution for the most part (6)
CHEERY: an exclamation contains a word meaning caution without its final D.

23a Mad manager, terribly muddled (10)
ANAGRAMMED: an anagram (terribly) of MAD MANAGER.

24a See 10a

25a Toast experts having a drink (6)
PROSIT: charade of another word for experts and the abbreviation for a type of vermouth.

26a Writer as one who gives a toss when penning article (8)
SALINGER: someone who tosses or throws contains an indefinite article.

Down Clues

1d Went underground, keeping unwell, and moaned (8)
CAVILLED: a verb meaning went underground (to explore a pothole, perhaps) contains a synonym of unwell.

2d See 24d

3d Bishop not good person, one not giving up quarrel (6)
BICKER: start with the chess abbreviation for bishop and add someone who perseveres or doesn’t give up without the usual abbreviation for a good person.

4d West Country location prepared to collect sheaves of corn (8)
SOMERSET: an adjective meaning prepared or ready contains a word for sheaves of corn used in a Jewish religious ceremony (not a word that I’d ever heard of so it was a case of assuming the answer from the definition and checkers and then looking up the middle bit).

5d Spoil no child — scold, first off (10)
ADULTERATE: weld together the opposite of a child and a verb to scold without its initial B.

6d Fish — Cornish town gets rid of tons somehow (6)
LAUNCE: start with the name of a Cornish town which has the misfortune to lie just the wrong side of the river Tamar and remove the anagram (somehow) of TONS from the end of its name.

8d Brown paintings maybe turning up in religious literature (6)
TANTRA: concatenate a verb, or noun, meaning brown and the reversal of what might be paintings.

13d Disease expert is special visitor keeping record (10)
VIROLOGIST: an anagram (special) of VISITOR contains a chronological record.

16d Unacceptable types, endlessly wicked, among five hundred workers (8)
DEVIANTS: chop the end off an adjective meaning wicked and put what’s left between the Roman numeral for five hundred and some working insects.

18d Apple may make a contribution to this financial statistic (8)
TURNOVER: this could be a small pie containing apple.

19d American mogul’s clubs perhaps (6)
TRUMPS: the name of a mogul in the USA together with the ‘S. Mogul’s one of the more polite names applied to him.

21d They’ve got things woefully wrong, see, ignoring good English (6)
OWNERS: an anagram (woefully) of WRON[g] S[e]E.

22d Cook fish portion, having mislaid egg (6)
CODDLE: bring together the name of a popular food-fish and a word for a small portion without the letter that resembles an egg.

24d/2d Regular undulation in audible signal? Ignore (4,4)
SINE WAVE: homophones of a) a signal or gesture and b) a verb to ignore or disregard.

I liked 10/24a, 17a and 18d but my favourite clue was 20a. Do let us know which one(s) made your list of highlights.


16 comments on “Toughie 2264

  1. An actual 4.5* Toughie on a Wednesday, whatever next! I did have to ask ‘is it me or him’ and was relieved both to learn that it wasn’t me and that Gnome’s Law kicked in so that I could start to fill in the RH side of the grid. Amazing what words are tucked away in the back of the brain, as I actually did eventually remember the ears of wheat.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the brain exercise and Gazza for the illustrated explanations

    1. My sentiments exactly, Thanks to Gazza for parsing one that I am too ashamed to admit I could not, and it is so blindingly obvious in retrospect. Cheers to Giovanni too

  2. As usual, I liked some of the wordplay but don’t care a jot for religious/history/ancient character references.
    An unrewarding slog for me so my favourite bit was filing it, sorry. Tough for all the wrong reasons in my book. ****/*

    With respect and thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  3. I cannot agree with Rosie Lee, for a Gypsy fortune teller maybe but for the drink it is Lea.

    1. Welcome to the blog, R A Towle.
      Chambers gives Rosie Lee or Rosy Lee (but not Lea). My dictionary of slang allows either Lee or Lea.

      1. There maybe a term for this in Cruciverbial circles but where there is ambiguity along with a letter that has no bearing on the rest of the puzzle, I tend to feel a little bit cheated.

  4. As expected my ipad saw a lot of action using an online dictionary and google. The count of totally new words to me was merely 6 with another 3 needing dredging from the back of the mind. The NE corner caused most difficult due particularly two unknowns in one clue (the fish and the Cornish village) which made it unsolvable unaided.

    Thanks to setter and blogger

  5. A long, hard and not particularly enjoyable slog. Thanks for the help with 4D & 6D otherwise I would still be looking at it come Christmas. ****/* but rather enjoyed 9A.

  6. The first time I have tried a Toughie of this difficulty. Thanks for the help with 4d,6d and 9a and for help with parsing a few of the other clues. Good mental exercise on the whole.

  7. I am always disappointed when I am beaten by a single entry when it turns out I have never heard of it. Today it was the cuppa in 14a. Generally I find, in a Giovanni puzzle, the word play is, possibly deliberately, very helpful in those clues in which the definition is off the beaten track, but on this occasion I found the word play too vague to be helpful (or helpful enough for me). Like Patch, I didn’t know either the fish or the Cornish village in 6d, but Googlemaps, and knowing that an anagram of ‘tons’ was likely involved eventually led me firstly to the village and then looking up in the dictionary to find the fish in question. Certainly hard work, but thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Late in today although I did solve this one before going out gallivanting at lunchtime.
    As usual with DG, I had need of my BRB – in this case to check on the existence of 7a and the fish in 6d (although I did know the town which was a great help). I was also at sea when it came to the sheaves of corn and thought perhaps the solver should have been given rather more help to arrive at the answer.

    Were you happy with the ending of 11a, Gazza? I rather thought that ‘kennelled’ fitted the bill rather better.

    Top three for me comprised 14,15 & 20a.

    Thanks to DG and to Gazza for an excellent blog. I do appreciate the fact that you always specify which letter is to be omitted in clues such as 22a – if I had a pound for every time I’ve looked at a hint and thought ‘I know darned well that I need to delete the first/last letter, but can’t for the life of me think of the root word’ ……………

    1. Hi Jane, I did think about 11a for some time because, like you, the tense didn’t seem right to me initially. However, I think it works in a sentence such as “Kennelling/’Being cooped up like a pet’ doesn’t suit my dog”.

      1. As always, you’ve come up with the perfect example, Gazza, where would I be without you in crosswordland?!!
        PS I can think of one young lady who would probably agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment expressed in your example.

  9. We enjoyed this and finished it only to find that our “side show” for 10&24 was wrong, even though it fitted and made a little sense, to us at least.

    Thanks to the two G’s.

  10. Yep, that was a proper Toughie. I needed to check a couple in the dictionary, but got there if extremely slowly, and felt inordinately pleased with myself on doing so.

  11. Big trouble on the right hand side. Plaiceston sounded nice for a cornish town…oh well… never mind.
    would never have got the county either.
    Thanks to the don for the workout and to Gazza for the help.

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