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Toughie 2271

Toughie No 2271 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

There are several features you will always find in a Silvanus puzzle – immaculate cluing, a variety of different clue types and scrupulous attention to detail, to name but three. Together these go to make up a very enjoyable puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Stay undeterred by seeing Republican oust Democrat (7)
RESPITE: all you need to do is find a word meaning undeterred and replace (oust) the D(emocrat) with R(epublican) – which word? – well that’s the difficult part and I had to wait until most of the checking letters were in place

5a    Mockingly abusive, new act is enthralling Ireland (7)
SATIRIC: an anagram (new) of ACT IS around (enthralling) IR(eland)

9a    Smarten up to get stable job (5)
GROOM: two definitions – the second being a job in a stable

10a    Case of wine, fine mixture (9)
PORTFOLIO: a fortified wine followed by F(ine) and a word meaning a mixture in general or specifically a mixture of different sorts of meat and vegetables

11a    Show reticence, it starts outside not at home (10)
EXHIBITION: rather like 1 Across, find a word meaning reticence and replace (not) the two-letter word meaning at home with a word meaning outside

12a    Hurried back to Oxford after supper occasionally (4)
SPED: the final letter of (back to) [Oxfor]D preceded by the odd letters (occasionally) of SuPpEr

14a    Criticise features about vessel that’s vital for smelting (5,7)
BLAST FURNACE: a verb meaning to criticise severely followed by “features” around a three-letter vessel or container

18a    Treat with indifference what butcher removes from refrigerator? (4-8)
COLD-SHOULDER: a butcher might have this joint of meat in his refrigerator

21a    Repeatedly discovered park lido waterless (4)
ARID: drop the outer letters from (dis-covered) not one but two (repeatedly) words in the clue

22a    Narrow escape with wardrobe door fixing proving inadequate (5,5)
CLOSE THING: a six-letter word for a wardrobe followed by most of (proving inadequate) a door fixing (could be one on said wardrobe)

25a    Train traveller maybe pens rage, flustered describing delays ultimately (9)
PASSENGER: this traveller could be on a bus, boat etc which is why it is a definition by example (maybe) – an anagram (flustered) of PENS RAGE around (describing) the final letter (ultimately) of [delay]S

26a    Newspaper, say, that’s often found in a loft (5)
ORGAN: this word which can mean a newspaper can also refer to a musical instrument that is so large that it has a loft

27a    Admit sister regularly meets conservationists making protest (7)
DISSENT: the even letters (regularly) of the first two words in the clue followed by the abbreviation for an organisation that specialises in the conservation of our heritage

28a    Singer retired in the year daughter and American married (7)
MADONNA: in the abbreviation AD the A represents the Latin for “in the year” – follow this four-letter word with D(aughter), A(merican) and M(arried) then reverse it all (retired)


1d    Tough, like Sean Connery as James Bond possibly? (6)
RUGGED: this word meaning tough could also be applied to Sean Connery’s portrayal of James Bond (many have tried to play the part, but Sean is the original and the best!) – the reference to his hairpiece went right over my head, so to speak; thanks to those who pointed it out

2d    He’s too excited to become calm (6)
SOOTHE: an anagram (excited) of HE’S TOO

3d    The setter’s phone casing is put out of action (10)
: a two-letter phrase meaning “the setter is” followed by a word for a type of phone, the latter around (casing) the IS from the clue

4d    Strike by radiotherapists essentially upset one living abroad (5)
EXPAT: I found this easy to “bung in” and more difficult to parse – a strike or hit is followed by the symbol that represent “by” in arithmetic and the middle letter (essentially) of 15 in radiothErapists

5d    Sad person covers up right argument with female (9)
SORROWFUL: a word for a person goes around (covers up) R(ight), an argument and F(emale)

6d    Pet dog mother’s taken out (4)
TIFF: this usage of “pet” as a disagreement fools most people the first time they encounter it – start with a type of dog and drop (taken out) mother’s / ma’s

7d    Head off clear ploy to train acting in character? (4-4)
ROLE PLAY: an anagram (to train) of [C]LEAR PLOY without the initial letter of (head off) the first word

8d    Articulate German girl perhaps less bright? (8)
CLOUDIER: sounds like how a German might pronounce this girl’s name

13d    Ministry hopes riot gets dispersed before onset of damage (10)
PRIESTHOOD: an anagram (gets dispersed) of HOPES RIOT followed by the initial letter (onset) of D[amage]

15d    Draw attention to disregard in which trophy’s held (9)
SPOTLIGHT: a verb meaning to disregard around (in which … held) a three-letter trophy – not a cup as I first thought

16d    Abandoned fight leads to punters expressing disapproval (8)
SCRAPPED: a fight followed by the initial letters of (leads to) three words in the clue

17d    Mark evident from 20 drinks I spilled over trousers (8)
ELLIPSIS: This mark is to be found in 20 Down (and 23 Down) and is hidden (trousers) and reversed (spilled over) inside the clue

19d    Criminal using concealed unknown weapon (3-3)
SIX-GUN: an anagram (criminal) of USING around (concealed) a mathematical unknown

20d    Doug and Angela, somewhat in a state … (6)
UGANDA: hidden (somewhat) inside the clue

23d    … go away south, pursued by press (5)
SCRAM: S(outh) followed by a verb meaning to press or squeeze

24d    Measure substance, reportedly (4)
METE: this verb meaning to measure sounds like (reportedly) some substance

A great start to the Toughie week.


24 comments on “Toughie 2271

  1. The sort of Toughie I’d like to find at the start of every week – a difficulty level above that of a Friday back pager for a start plus all those other qualities BD lists in his prologue

    Thanks to SIlvanus and BD

  2. Very enjoyable and completed at a Toughie fast gallop with concurrence on the features identified by BD – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 3d, and 8d – and the winner is 8d.
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  3. I thought 1 down referred to the fact that Sean was ‘rugged’ i.e wearing a wig when playing Bond!

  4. Enjoyed this. Thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.
    My favourite and lol moment was 1d as my take on the clue was that Sean Connery when he played James Bond wore a hair piece (a rug) and was therefore rugged?

      1. How would you know such a bizarre fact? I’ve never seen a James Bond film and hopefully never will

  5. Re 1d – does SC’s hairpiece in the role [and in all his other JB roles] have anything to do with this!?

    Thanks BD for the blog [particularly the illustration for 8d] and to Sylvanus for an enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked 22a.

  6. Lovely stuff – thanks Silvanus. My favourite was 1d, partly because I started by looking for something connected with Mr Connery’s shlight lishp before the penny drop moment.
    Other ticks went to 22a, 15d and 16d.

  7. I’m with Charlie3110 and Halcyon. It’s well known that Sean Connery needed a ‘syrup’ to play Bond. That’s certainly how I parsed 1d finally, having guessed it from the checkers first.
    Thanks to both setter and blogger.

  8. Thank Silvanus, thoroughly enjoyed

    I missed the hairpiece reference. I had to remind myself of smelting infrastructure to get the first word. Took me too long to think of the substance in 24d. I thought 17d was clever. I liked 13d too

  9. My favourite: 1d

    Difficult to notice that “Shame Spawned” (Old Quickie Pun) wore a wig.

  10. This was a fine puzzle solved after the back pager whilst waiting for the Biffa wagon. I had no idea why 1d was right but it just had to be. The reversed hidden word related to 20d was very clever. Thanks to Silvanus and thanks to BD.

  11. Happy to finish a toughie again. Bunged a few in then parsed, but needed hints to understand 11,14, 28a and 4d. LOL moment when twigged 1d’s hairpiece reference. COTD for me. Should the explanation for 4d include ‘then reverse it all’?
    Thanks everyone.

  12. Excellent Silvanus, thank you. Very tidy clues indeed.
    Thanks also to BD – I wasn’t aware of the 1d reference either, but laughed when I twigged.

  13. This was nicely challenging and absolutely brilliant from start to finish! BD correctly identifies many of the qualities that epitomise every Silvanus puzzle and one can add humour and consistently smooth surfaces.
    Like Gazza, I tried very hard initially to build Sean Connery’s distinctive “s” pronunciation into my answer for 1d until the loud clang materialized; that then became one of two joint favourites.
    Silvanus has put me in a very difficult position with my other joint favourite 8d which includes a nebulous girl, but, as far as I can recall, it is the only time I have seen him use that device and the clue is so good that all is forgiven.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to BD.

  14. The awful weather in London afforded me a crack at the Toughie, and I was only defeated by 17d which is a Toughie clue too far for my small brain, the rest was tricky back-page level for me.
    1d was cheeky and very funny, I only remember his ‘Irish jig’ in the remake of Thunderball.
    Thanks BD, looking forward to checking the hints to clear up my parsing gaps.
    Thanks to Silvanus also, of course.

    1. Thanks for the explanation of 4d, I had no idea where the ‘x’ came from!

  15. Very late on report – thunderstorm late afternoon played havoc with the electricity connections through Snowdonia!
    Loved this one – of course and, like RD with the nebulous girl in 8d, I forgave Silvanus for poking fun at one of my idols in 1d because it was very funny. Actually, I twigged the answer early on in the solve and my initial thought was ‘No, he was suave and debonair definitely, but not ………..’ then the penny dropped.
    Must admit that I wasn’t familiar with 19d – always a six-shooter in my recollections.

    Plenty to choose from for a favourite but the wardrobe door fixing made me laugh so much it has to take top spot.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for an excellent puzzle and to BD for the blog.

  16. Many thanks to Big Dave for his Hints and Tips and very kind introduction, and to everyone else who tackled the puzzle, especially those who took the trouble to leave comments. Much appreciated.

  17. So pleased to have got back with a completed Toughie.

    Excellent and good fun: favourite of course the reference to the syrup in 1d.

    Thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

  18. So many excellent clues it feels like it would be a shame to select any one or two for special mention. We had not realised that Connery as Bond was adorned in this way but guessed that must have been the case.
    Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
    Thanks Silvanus and BD.

  19. Super puzzle, Silvanus! It’s very difficult to choose a favourite clue from such a high quality selection, but I think mine has to be 26a. (Very fitting, perhaps with the Proms now in full swing.)

    No, I didn’t realise what 1d was either. I always thought Connery was the best 007, but it’s ages since I last watched a Bond film. Many thanks for the enlightenment and the excellent review, Big Dave.

    And big thanks to Silvanus for a most enjoyable puzzle. Lovely way to spend an evening!

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