Toughie 2272 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2272

Toughie No 2272 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I thought that this was rather a strange puzzle – we have four 5-letter words at the centre, each with only one unchecked letter and we have no less than twelve of those 4-letter words usually referred to as ‘pesky’. There are a number of ‘gimmes’ here (e.g. 4d, 6d and 21d) to get one started but in spite of that I still ended up taking some time to finish the left-hand side. All-in-all I didn’t find many laughs.
Thanks to Musaeus for the puzzle.

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

Across Clues

1a Delicate matters inflamed idlers (3,8)
HOT POTATOES: stick together an adjective meaning inflamed and a slang term for indolent people (the sort for whom the invention of the TV remote was a godsend).

9a Do avoid peripheral parts of seafront (4)
AFRO: chop off the four outer letters of seafront.

10a School with church by East Street (11)
WESTMINSTER: start with the abbreviation for ‘with’ and add abbreviations for east and street and a type of church of which there’s a famous example in York.

11a Item of dress half of clergy discarded (4)
MINI: drop off the last half of a word for clergy or ‘holy orders’.

14a Reorganise a horse pound (7)
ANAGRAM: assemble A, an old horse and a verb to pound or thrust.

16a Give the green light to rendezvous with bloke (7)
MANDATE: split the answer 3,4 for a romantic rendezvous with a bloke.

17a Left to make new opening for said watering hole (5)
LOCAL: start with an adjective meaning said or spoken and change its first letter to L(eft).

18a Stop turning round to avoid a trip hazard? (4)
KERB: reverse a word for a stop or rest and remove the A.

19a Mediterranean dough — stop if nothing goes right (4)
FILO: this dough really is dough and not money. We need a verb to stop or thwart with the letter resembling zero moved right to the end.

20a Foundation is after graduates (5)
BASIS: append IS to some arts graduates.

22a Major unit of currency — bar won’t accept one (7)
CENTRAL: charade of a small coin in many currencies and another word for a bar or fence without the Roman numeral for one.

23a Break a saucer in pieces (7)
CAESURA: an anagram (in pieces) of A SAUCER.

24a Sports stadium back where one goes over? (4)
OVAL: bring together an informal word for a place where one goes or relieves oneself and the crickety abbreviation for over then reverse it all.

28a EU admitting faults for disaster of this sort? (11)
UNMITIGATED: an anagram (faults) of EU ADMITTING.

29a So many Muses over the moon being on this cloud (4)
NINE: double definition, the first identifying the number of Muses in Greek and Roman mythology.

30a Rise with dawn? Have an epiphany (3,3,5)
SEE THE LIGHT: I suppose this could mean to watch the sun coming up at dawn but it seems a bit weak. EDIT: Having thought a bit more I think there’s some wordplay here – a verb meaning to rise or surge is followed by a synonym for dawn or daybreak.

Down Clues

2d Old pound is unfolded (4)
OPEN: the abbreviation for old and a pound or enclosure.

3d Papa got stuck into rich spread of fish, say (4)
PATE: the letter that Papa represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by a verb meaning ‘got stuck into’ or devoured.

4d Insignificant six in case (7)
TRIVIAL: insert the Roman numeral for six into a legal case.

5d First of these canvass for Labour (4)
TASK: knit together the first letter of ‘these’ and a verb to canvass or solicit an opinion.

6d English learnt haphazardly is never-ending (7)
ETERNAL: the single-letter abbreviation for English followed by an anagram (haphazardly) of LEARNT.

7d New CIA offices accommodating upper-class operative (11)
EFFICACIOUS: an anagram (new) of CIA OFFICES contains the letter used to mean upper-class.

8d Force person in control to meet graduate — had success about that (11)
POLICEWOMAN: concatenate a verb to control or enforce and a verb meaning ‘had success’ containing an arts graduate. There seems to be a fair amount of overlap between the first part of the wordplay and the first part of the answer.

12d Rely on a constant number to access this? (4,7)
BANK ACCOUNT: a semi-all-in-one. String together a verb to rely on, A, a constant for the speed of light and a verb to number or tally.

13d Spot on! Queen recast nation’s figurehead (6,5)
PATRON SAINT: weld together an adverb meaning ‘spot on’ or exactly (as in ‘know it off ***’), the single letter abbreviation for queen and an anagram (recast) of NATION’S.

15d ‘Right,’ Mike said, … (5)
MORAL: the letter that Mike represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by an adjective meaning said (as opposed to written).

16d ‘… being in charge is ludicrously busy‘ (5)
MANIC: join a being or person and an abbreviation meaning ‘in charge’.

20d Steady airline about to enter prescribed course (7)
BALANCE: an airline (2) followed by the single-letter abbreviation for ‘about’ inserted into a prescribed course (e.g. for motorway traffic). Steady here is a verb.

21d Sarnie on the hoof packed with last of tinned fish (7)
SARDINE: an anagram (on the hoof) of SARNIE containing the last letter of tinned. The anagram is pretty pathetic with only one letter needing to be moved.

25d Manifest slope (4)
LIST: double definition, the first a document containing the names of passengers on a ship for instance.

26d Who managed India? (4)
RANI: a semi-all-in-one. A synonym for managed and the letter that India represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

27d Connect with this writer beginning to study hard (4)
MESH: solder together the pronoun by which ‘this writer’ would refer to himself, the first letter of study and the abbreviation for hard (in pencils).

None of the clues stood out for me today. Do let us know which one(s) appealed to you.


25 comments on “Toughie 2272

  1. On the Toughie spectrum – there seemed to be a lot of words filling up the allocated space in the newspaper – I agree with Gazza’s thoughts

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza

  2. I’m pretty much on the same page as Gazza on today’s Toughie, which I found moderately tough but somewhat lacking in sparkle.
    I spent too long trying to work out how “canvass” could mean “oil” in order to justify “toil” as the answer for 5d until I realised the error of my ways.
    I know I am a linguistic dinosaur but I really find it hard to stomach the use of 14a as a verb.
    15d was probably my favourite.
    Many thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza.

    1. If you don’t like 14a as a verb how do you like ‘anagrammatize’ (which is how Chambers defines it)?

      1. I did notice that, Gazza. My thoughts are unprintable. :negative:
        I think I prefer my 10+ year old BRB which I threw out earlier this year.
        In any event, isn’t that definition analogous to a circularity in a mathematical formula?

        1. I’ve just had a look at my old (1992 vintage) 7th edition and anagram was already there as a verb meaning anagrammatiSe (or -iZe). It’s interesting that the -ISE ending has disappeared from the modern edition.

    2. I went down the ‘toil’ route as well, RD. Seems like we both need a visit to Specsavers!

  3. I’m with Gazza on this one and I’m afraid I couldn’t help but view it unfavourably when set alongside the joy that was yesterday’s Toughie.

    Apologies to Musaeus and thanks to Gazza for the review – thought your illustration for 11a was very restrained!

  4. Did three quarters of this and gave up as it became a slog. Too many ones I didn’t agree with. For instance, 11a is a dress not an item of dress and surely 19a is a type of pastry not dough? I won’t go on.

    15d was probably the best clue.

    Thank you Gazza. A Herculean effort!

    Better luck tomorrow.

  5. I put it down to a bit of licence JB. 11a is a skirt, not a dress, so item of dress as in item of clothing seems accurate to me, though the point at which dough becomes pastry is less clear. It is the preparation of the dough that distinguishes the pastry. While an egg is not a chicken, you can’t get a chicken but from an egg so chicken egg, **** dough

    Either way, yes, I agree it’s a bit of an odd puzzle but part of me likes the occasional quirk. Thanks Musaeus and Gazza

    1. I have no wish to be argumentative but, when I wore the dress in the ‘70’s it was known as a “mini”. It was too. Just about kept me decent. Luckily in those days I had legs worth revealing. I hasten to add that I did not go on to wear a “micro”. That would have been a step too far. Oh, those were the days!

      1. Don’t worry – I simply don’t do arguments!
        I have only ever heard of a ‘mini skirt’, and am quite happy to bow to your contemporaneous knowledge
        Those were the days indeed – enjoy a moment or two of reminiscence :smile:

        1. I still remember the day in late 1973 when I first spied my current and then future wife sporting a green mini-dress.

        2. LBR, 11a. This is very interesting! The girl in the picture is clearly wearing a mini-dress. A mini-dress is a very short dress, a mini-skirt is a very short skirt – they’re two different things. And since they’re both an “item of dress” the clue seems fine to me.

          1. I would agree. A skirt or dress is an item of dress. A dress item? Would that be different? Say a ceremonial sword or buttonhole.

  6. Sorry Musaeus, One look at the grid and the puzzle was binned. The DT have an infamous amount of horrendous grids, but this is right up there as one of the worst. Could have been one from the Metro newspaper (sic) where triple unches are rife. Shocking just Shocking

    1. Sorry Andy, but writing as one who couldn’t care less what form a grid takes, personally this one gave me no great headaches. Maybe and quite naively I treat each crossword puzzle, Toughie or back page cryptic, whatever the grid pattern is on its own merit and I attempt to solve each clue in a similar manner. Apart from my making one or two downright stupid errors this Toughie was no more difficult to solve than today’s back page puzzle was, in fact much of it was far more straightforward. Okay, so one or two clues gave my aging brain something a tad extra to consider, but it wasn’t that hard to solve. Perhaps it is a wavelength thing, maybe not – it certainly appears to be the case that one man’s poison is another man’s meat. To bin a puzzle for dislike of a grid in my view is downright childish. At the end of the day it is only a crossword puzzle, a wee bit of fun to while away an hour or so. There’s more important stuff going on in the world around us than a crossword puzzle’s shape or wording. Folk up north have been flooded out of their homes and bridges have been breached . . . . . now there’s a reason to get hot under the collar, Andy. Loved your Toughie offering today Musaeus, and belated as it is I would like to say that I think the new blog layout is bl**dy wonderful – thanks BD. You’ve done us proud.

  7. We thought this a particularly unfriendly grid with all those four letter answers and eight double unches too. Our last one in was 19a which took a lot of teasing out. On the other side of the grid 22a was slow as we tried to justify CAPITAL which did not help with 13d. Eventually got everything sorted but it did take more than 3 star time,
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

    1. If you’re feeling somewhat short-changed, there’s an interesting puzzle on Alberich’s puzzle website, just saying… :smile:

  8. Right there on the difference between pastry and dough. Try making apple strudel with dough and see what you get.

  9. I usually do the cryptic and then the number puzzles if I have time but thought I would attempt the Toughie for a change. It was a mistake. I managed to struggle through most of it but was surprised that I found it such a slog, with so few clues that raised a smile, and many were just built up bit by bit, though maybe it’s just that I prefer short smooth snappy clues. Also, I don’t know if it is normal for the Toughie but I found some of the synonyms used were really tenuous. Is everyone else happy with 1a, 13d, etc? I’m sorry to be so negative; When I comment it is usually to say how much I have enjoyed one of the cryptics. Perhaps the Toughie is just not for me.

  10. Found this a bit of a slog without any smiles along the way. I thought that some of the surfaces were weak, bordering on odd. But I was sufficiently enagaged by it to perservere until the grid was filled. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the great blog, including the parsing of 8d where I’d been looking for something more devious.

  11. Gosh, a lot of grumpiness over 2272. I struggle with the Toughie but managed to complete this with just a bit of help so thanks Musaeus. It was a pleasure to “30 across” on a number of clues, including 1 and 10 across and 8 down. The scales have fallen from my eyes.

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