Toughie 2276 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2276

Toughie No 2276 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Either Messinae has cranked up his difficulty level or my little grey cells are disappearing faster than I thought. This was a proper Toughie and I enjoyed my joust with it – thanks to Messinae.

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

Across Clues

1a Service area with major retail chain strikes out (12)
COUNTERMANDS: stick together the place in a shop or pub where you get served and a high street retail chain (1,3,1).

8a Having hand in decadent fancy dish (7)
ROULADE: decadent is usually an adjective but can also, so Chambers says, be a noun. Place a hand (e.g. a worker in a racing stable) inside one of its synonyms. I spent some time trying to parse this using L(eft) for hand.

9a See 10d

11a Iconic organisation for the better means to pick up what’s said (7)
TOTEMIC: charade of an organisation that accepts sporting bets and a short word for an instrument that picks up sound.

12a Tango with scaffolder friend of ‘Dave’ (7)
TRIGGER: the letter that Tango represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet followed by another word for a scaffolder gives us the nickname of the character in ‘Only Fools and Horses’ who always called Rodney Trotter ‘Dave’.

13a Wounded, become bloody (5)
GORED: split the answer 2,3 to ‘become bloody’.

14a Smart sports car model (9)
ARCHETYPE: weld together an adjective meaning smart or cunning and a classic sports car (1-4).

16a Bill’s written about short dance in work of fiction (9)
NOVELETTE: another word for the sort of bill you might have in your wallet or purse contains a ballroom dance without its final A.

19a Do be quiet at the back (5)
SHAFT: do here means to cheat or treat unfairly. Combine an exhortation to be quiet and an adverb meaning at the back (of a ship, say).

21a In brief, US politician gets lift leaving party (4-3)
SEND-OFF: the abbreviation for a politician in the upper house of the US Congress is followed by a verb to lift one’s hat.

23a Keenly working to restrict newspaper’s graphic edge (7)
KEYLINE: an anagram (working) of KEENLY contains the name of a UK daily newspaper. The answer apparently is a term used in printing.

24a Taxing heavily as a ruler (7)
SOAKING: an informal word for taxing heavily (often followed by ‘the rich’) comes from stringing together an adverb meaning as or likewise, A and a ruler.

25a One enthralled by old organ player of distinction (7)
OLIVIER: the Roman numeral for one is inserted into the abbreviation for old and a bodily organ.

26a Sound source of entertainment worth both its successors put together (7-5)
SEVENTY-EIGHT: this is about successive standards for vinyl records based on their speed of rotation. What we need here is the rpm of the oldest one which happens to be the sum of the speeds of two successors.

Down Clues

1d Sort of bomb left in possession of US general (7)
CLUSTER: insert the abbreviation for left into the name of a US general whose main claim to fame came from an ignominious defeat.

2d Woman, jolly journalist, incapable of giving offence (7)
UNARMED: concatenate a woman’s name and abbreviations for a jolly (member of our armed forces) and a senior journalist.

3d Cutting earthwork to shelter soldier? (9)
TRENCHANT: stick together an earthwork below the surface used as a shelter for fighters in WWI and our usual soldier insect.

4d Laughing Cavalier in art (5)
RIANT: an anagram (cavalier) of IN ART. Knowing the French verb to laugh is useful here.

5d Gather a quantity of leaves round about (7)
ACQUIRE: A and a quantity of 25 leaves or sheets contain the single-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately.

6d Dull, collecting yokel’s top and bottom separately at the end (7)
DYINGLY: an adjective meaning dull or poorly lit contains the first and last letters of yokel.

7d Sports ground masks label on international competitors (12)
PROTAGONISTS: an anagram (ground) of SPORTS containing a label, ON and the abbreviation for international.

10d/9a Maybe Hoover vacuum cleaner left dust around politician once (7,5,7)
HERBERT HENRY ASQUITH: this is a UK Liberal Prime Minister of the early twentieth century. He’s made up from a) the forename of US President Hoover, b) the proprietary name of a vacuum cleaner with a distinctive smiling face and c) a verb meaning left or resigned with another word for dust or powdery residue around it. I got the answer mainly from the enumeration.

15d One holds up chap with chutzpah, British ace (9)
CHEEKBONE: chap here means the lower jaw (better known to me as a bit of a pig). Assemble a synonym for chutzpah or audacity, B(ritish) and the playing card with a single spot.

17d Collection of Graves? Poet finally given a bust (7)
VINTAGE: an anagram (bust) of the last letter of (poe)T and GIVEN A.

18d Long time wrapped in string like a cat (7)
LEONINE: a division of geological time is contained in a synonym for string or cord.

19d Release from prison holding unknown number of traitors (3,4)
SPY RING: a verb meaning to help a prisoner to escape contains one of the algebraic unknowns.

20d I’m saint converted from primitive religion (7)
ANIMIST: an anagram (converted) of I’M SAINT. It seems to me that the answer here has to be an adjective and some dictionaries do define it thus but Chambers only has it as a noun.

22d Scrap something insignificant that odd characters rejected (5)
FIGHT: a word for an insignificant amount (usually seen in a statement such as “I don’t give a ***”) followed by just the even letters of ‘that’.

I liked lots of clues including 1a, 21a, 4d and 17d but my favourite was 26a. Do spill the beans on which one(s) gave you pleasure.


15 comments on “Toughie 2276

  1. A proper Toughie on a Wednesday – a very nice surprise. Although I realise that it is probably unfair on a lot of people, I thought 12a was wonderful

    Thanks to Messinae – more like this please – and to Gazza

  2. This was far too impenetrable for me and I threw the towel in with only a few answers completed.
    Sorry, Messinae, I didn’t get any enjoyment from this, but I glad to see that your efforts have been appreciated by Gazza (to whom thanks for the review) and CS.

    1. You’re not alone RD, except I did persevere and found little reward
      Oops, nearly forgot – thanks Messinae and Gazza

  3. By and large a lovely solve – took ages over 10d/9a, favourites 14a and 12a – least favourite by a mile 6d . I’m sure it’s in the dictionary, but it shouldn’t be .
    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  4. I really loved this puzzle with many penny-dropping moments. I got of to a slow start until getting the long 7d on the left hand side which opened up the puzzle well. I made hard work of it because for some silly reason I was expecting “oval” to be part of the answer since we had oval appear in another puzzle recently. Very silly given “ground” is a common anagram indicator. The NE corner proved the hardest since for me as I did not know the Christian names of the politicians. For some daft reason I spent too long on 12a thinking of “call me Dave” Cameron’s friends before the Fools & Horses angle came to mind.
    I particularly enjoyed 1a, 11a, 12a, 14a,19a,24a,25a,26a,5d,6d,19d&17d with 26a being the stand out one.

    Thanks to Messinae and Gazza

  5. Loved it. 12a I got straight away and was very pleased with myself – until I had gone through the whole grid without solving anything else. After an inordinate amount of time I had solved about four more until the penny dropped for 13a. Then things began to flow – but almost every clue was still a challenge to the end. More of a workout than I was expecting on a Wednesday.

    10d, 14a and 26a were some of my favourites.


  6. A Tough Toughie … worthy of a place in the Friday slot. Thanks, Messinae.

    Took me ages to start but I’m very pleased that I perservered with such a brilliant puzzle. Lots of nicely hidden definitions.

    Thought the “Dave” one might be unfair to some … but I loved it.

    Never knew the significance of 33 + 45 = 78 – brilliant clue!

    Thanks to Gazza for explaining all the bits I didn’t understand (quite a few).

  7. Almost needed to go and lie down after conquering the 10/9 combo but getting the rest of the perimeter answers spurred me on. I did have to consult with Mr Google over 23a plus 4&20d and – like DaveL – I loathed 6d.
    I do hope that RD gave up before reaching 2d!

    Not really my cup of tea but I did rather enjoy 14,19 & 21a.

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza for the review – funny how so many members of the cat family sleep with their tongue slightly protruding!

  8. Very difficult. Spent far too long on it and so gave up and looked at the hints. after solving less than half. I got 12a so obviously didn’t think it unfair but I thought 6d a dreadful word. Is it really in the BRB?

    1. It is (I did check) – I agree that it’s a horrible word but if the setter was stuck for a word with the pattern d?i?g?y he didn’t have many options.

  9. A proper Toughie and with two answers after my first full sweep, I feared the worst. Somehow, after some head scratching, I finished it apart from three clues which needed the blog. I thought 26a was very clever and, although I got 10d/9a, I needed the blog to explain. 12a, as for others, was favourite. 4*/4* for me and many thanks to the setter.

  10. Some of the GK was challenging. We needed to InvestGoogle the 10a/9d PM (only knew his surname) and the wordplay was all things we did not know. We had never heard of Dave’s friend for 12a but we did get that one from the wordplay. The one that finally stumped us was 24a although in retrospect we should have got it from the wordplay too. Our favourite for the huge penny-drop moment was 26a.
    Certainly a significant challenge for us.
    Thanks Messinae and Gazza.

  11. Certainly a tough solve which took me a long time to start (and finish) and I too nearly threw the towel in but, having nothing else to do today, stuck at it and managed to fill the grid albeit with three hints from Gazza – thanks to him and Messinae

Comments are closed.