Toughie 2287 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2287

Toughie No 2287 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Silvanus has, for me at least, upped the difficulty level while maintaining the enjoyment. There were several clues that caused me to dig deeper than usual, especially the deceptive 8d which was my last one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Nice lover, possibly of help in car trips (11)
FRANCOPHILE: once you have realised that the necessary capitalisation of Nice has been disguised by placing it as the first word of the clue and that possibly is an indication that the first two words are a definition-by-example, this one falls into place as an anagram (trips) of OF HELP IN CAR

9a    John describes Northern joke from many years back (4-3)
LONG-AGO: unlike in the previous clue, the capitalisation of john, as the first word in the clue, makes it look like a forename whereas it refers to a toilet, so put a colloquial word for a toilet around N(orthern) and a joke

10a    Start to attack suddenly, something that’s exciting (4-2)
TURN-ON: two three definitions – two of them verbs when without the hyphen and a noun when with the hyphen

12a    Nationality of European tucking into Cornish pasty, perhaps? (7)
SWEDISH: E(uropean) inside (tucking into) the region in which Cornwall is situated and the type of fare of which a pasty is an example (perhaps)

13a    Bestselling record several would find offensive (7)
NOISOME: a bestselling record (2,1) and a word meaning several

14a    Expletives coming from yob, aitches dropped regularly (5)
OATHS: drop the odd letters from two words in the clue

15a    Swiss city defends rotten meat in tin, for instance (4,5)
BASE METAL: a Swiss city around (defends) an anagram (rotten) of MEAT

17a    Character inclined to support strike involving cuts (9)
BACKSLASH: an inclined character is derived by combining a verbs meaning to support and to cut by striking with a sharp implement

20a    Furniture cover worth getting repaired (5)
THROW: an anagram (getting repaired) of WORTH

22a    Some disagree lecturer’s to return a second time (2-5)
RE-ELECT: hidden (some) inside the clue

24a    Instrument in old vehicle isn’t as every other one (7)
OCARINA: O(ld) followed by a three-letter vehicle and the odd letters (every other one) of two words in the clue

25a    Artist has ultimate of respect for small individual engraving (6)
ETCHER: start with an artist famous for his use of visual illusion and paradoxical perspective and replace the S(mall) with the final letter (ultimate) of [respect]T to get an individual who does engraving

26a    Hairstyle that creates quite a buzz? (7)
BEEHIVE: a home for buzzing insects

27a    Rejected disadvantage in answer about what is causing misbehaviour (11)
SHENANIGANS: the reversal (rejected) of all the following – a four-letter disadvantage, IN from the clue, ANS(wer) around an interjection meaning “what?”


2d    Money from regeneration of Wearside beginning to disappear (7)
READIES: an anagram (regeneration) of [W]EARSIDE without its initial letter (beginning to disappear)

3d    Fear concerning the new style open cooking surface I advanced (9)
NEOPHOBIA: an anagram (style) of OPEN followed by a cooking surface, I and A(dvanced)

4d    Frequently son loses temper? On the contrary (5)
OFTEN: the contrary of “son loses temper” is “temper loses son”, so start with a verb meaning to temper and drop (loses) the S(on)

5d    Discovered where one’s to wear award for gallantry (7)
HEROISM: the inner letters (dis-covered) of [w]HER[e] followed by I (one) and the S from ‘S inside (to wear) an award – note that this is not an “award for gallantry”

6d    Appearance in public produces concern (7)
LOOKOUT: a word meaning appearance followed by an adjective meaning in public

7d    Essentially Springfield cover secures final act in music festival (11)
GLASTONBURY: the middle letter (essentially) of eleven in [Sprin]G[field] and a verb meaning to cover a body in the ground around (secures) a phrase (4,2) meaning the final act

8d    Spend time delayed during seeking treatment for pet? (6)
INVEST: start with a phrase (2,4) describing where someone might be if they were seeking treatment for a pet and move the T(ime) to the end (delayed)

11d    Where to find numbers of sensational hotel staff? (6,5)
YELLOW PAGES: an informal adjective meaning sensational (yes – it is in the BRB!) followed by some boys employed as hotel staff

16d    Satchel of American visiting Great Britain, going around by train (9)
SCHOOLBAG: A(merican) inside (visiting) the reversal (going around) of the abbreviation for Great Britain, going around by train preceded by a verb meaning to train

18d    Fast runner, one taking banned substance reportedly? (7)
CHEETAH: sounds like (reportedly) someone who acts dishonestly

19d    Fry, say, chicken after favourite starter of salmon’s revolting (7)
STEPHEN: the first name of, for example (say), national treasure Fry is found by putting a female chicken after the reversal (revolting) of a favourite and the initial letter (starter) of S[almon]

20d    Take advantage of customers about (5,2)
TRADE ON: some customers or clientele followed by a two-letter word meaning about

21d    Mostly growing grape unsuitable for wine? (6)
RAISIN: most of a verb meaning growing or cultivating

23d    Tense United encountering resistance at home, home to Juventus (5)
TURIN: T(ense) followed by U(nited), R(esistance) and a word meaning at home

Most enjoyable – Tuesday Toughies are not as fluffy as they used to be!


26 comments on “Toughie 2287

  1. Well, I’m not sure if I have ever completed a Toughie previously, without any help. 

I guess that must mean this can only rate a single *. Still, I really enjoyed it, and will be strutting around all afternoon with a smug grin on my face,

    I can’t really pick one COTD, 15a and 27a will have to share the honours.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and BD

    1. Hi Malcolm,
      It could also mean that our setter has provided us with a Toughie challenge but gracefully allowed us to win at the end of the day!
      If only all our Toughie setters abided by that premise………..

  2. For me, this was quite simply crossword heaven – nicely challenging with a varied mix of clue types, super-smooth surfaces, accurate cluing and lots of clever disguises, plus lots of smiles along the way.
    The SW corner held out the longest with the parsing of 27a proving particularly testing. I was dubious that that the first word of 11d could be synonymous with “sensational”, but I found it listed as an informal meaning in the BRB.
    It is impossible to try to pick a favourite from such an outstanding selection.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to BD.

    1. I remember discussing the (11d) ‘sensational’ press with the much missed Strummer on a Toughie blog some time ago. You can find its derivation here.

      1. Thought I’d completely forgotten that exchange, Gazza, but that must explain why I was happy to accept the first word of 11d as I don’t know it from anywhere else.
        Haven’t forgotten Tstrummer though – what a delightful man he was and a much missed contributor to the site.

      2. Thanks for that link, Gazza. Does that make it an unindicated Americanism? :wink:

        P.S. Yes, Tstrummer was a wonderful character – sadly missed.

          1. Yes, I know. I was only teasing Silvanus. We can’t have him thinking he has produced a perfect puzzle!

  3. Very enjoyable indeed – thanks to Silvanus for the (as usual) polished clues and to BD for the review. I agree that the difficulty level has gone up somewhat over the last two Tuesdays but the jury’s probably still out on whether that’s a new policy or an accident of scheduling.

    I liked 13a, 4d, 5d and 11d but my favourite was 12a (not least because swede is a ‘must have’ ingredient of the delicacy so that, with a bit of cryptic licence, a Cornish pasty could be said to be swede-ish :D ).

  4. I think there are 3 defs in 10a. Start/to attack suddenly/ etc.
    Thanks for explaining 27a BD -its parsing defeated me.

  5. I will never be able to produce a cryptic crossword but, if I could, I would wish for it to be of the calibre shown so consistently by today’s compiler.
    Like BD, it was 8d that held out on me for the longest time – and caused the biggest laugh when I finally registered the ‘staring you in the face’ parsing.

    The podium here has collapsed under the weight of potential medal winners but I’d particularly mention 1,9,13 & 27a plus 21d. 27a brought back memories of my Irish granny who, when mention of my ‘latest flame’ came up in conversation, would always say ‘ I hope there’s no 27a going on’!

    Many thanks, Sylvanus, for the pleasure your puzzle brought and thanks to BD for a very comprehensive review.

  6. Definitely more challenging than recent Silvanus’ Toughies; I had to sleep on this one and finish it this morning – ****/*****.
    Favourite, of several candidates, 13a.
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  7. Top quality puzzle to start off the Toughie week. Some relatively easy clues to get you started and keep you interested, then the devilish little beauties to kick the old grey matter out of first gear. Lots of ‘aha’ moments which brought a smile to the face and some very tricksy word play and devices. Like BD, my last one in was 8d – sneaky :cool:

    Thanks to Silvanus for the fun and BD for the review.

    Too many favourites to pick just one – wonderful

  8. Excellent puzzle Silvanus, well done and thank you; it was 25a that held me up
    This is knocking on the door of five star enjoyment
    Thanks also to BD

  9. An enjoyable puzzle I was able to finish with out aids. I found it to be about 1 star for difficulty as far as completing the grid went but three star when I tried to understand all of the parsing. Like BD 8d was my last one. I am also a fan of 12a despite it being one of the easier clues

    Many thanks to the setter and to BD for the blog

    1. 12a was one that fooled me for a while. I had the initial checker and tried very hard to make ‘Spanish’ work – the letters are all there hidden in ‘Cornish pasty’ but I (obviously, in retrospect) couldn’t find anything in the clue to suggest the modus operandi!

  10. 27a the last one in for me and then only by a process of elimination had to look at the hints for the parsing. like some others i got 12a from the ingredients in a cornish pasty not Big Dave’s more elegant solution.

  11. I too enjoyed this though it was definately not fluffy.
    Considering my nickname it is embarrassing to confess that 26a was amongst the last in. CREWCUT/BUZZCUT being pencilled in for too long. Never realised that yellow = sensational but BRB confirmed and informed me again.
    Too many faves to pick some.
    Is NEOPHOBIA what keeps lurkers from commenting?
    Would a well constructed Cornish pasty be SWEDE(ish)? memo to self read other comments before posting GMTA?
    Thanks for the namecheck in 9a and 26a did Mr Lord and Mr Cowling notice theirs?
    Thanks to Silvanus and BD.

  12. Many thanks to BD for his review and to everyone else who tackled the puzzle, especially those kind enough to leave comments.

    I have to admit that I intended 10a to be a Double Definition, but I’m more than happy to have it interpreted as a Triple, thank you Halcyon! Although he was too gracious to mention it, I’m sure that Gazza winced at the homophone in 18d, so I hope he’ll accept my apologies. Nice to see SL drop in too.

    Last, but certainly not least, can I offer my belated congratulations to BD for the new look of the site, which has managed to maintain the essential appearance of the old site, but with a fresh feel. I think it looks great!

  13. Excellent fun which was much appreciated and enjoyed. We started looking for a clue to pick as favourite but there were so many candidates that we gave up.
    Many thanks Silvanus and BD.

  14. I found this properly tough, but hugely enjoyable. It went in from the bottom up for me, with the top half being held up significantly by my being very slow to spot the anagram ingredients in 1a. I think 11d gets my nod for favourite. Many thanks to Silvanus and Big Dave.

  15. For me, accurate clueing and humour are essential ingredients of a good cryptic, so this puzzle was right up my street. Ticked clues included 9a, 13a, 20a, 26a, 2d, 5d, 18d, and 21d. Impossible to pick a winner from that crop. My last one in was the devious 8d. Thanks to Silvanus for the entertainment and to BD for the hints and tips.

  16. Managed to fill the grid with letters,.. several bung-ins with no sense of parsing. ended up with two wrong – trade in instead of trade on (!) and yellow paper, instead of pages, Duh.
    Thanks to all for the challenge

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