Toughie 2320 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2320

Toughie No 2320 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Those who accessed the puzzle online early today (as I did) may be surprised to find that five of the clues have been changed (I don’t know why – the original ones seemed just as good). The setter himself notified BD that there were some differences between the online and paper versions (for which many thanks) and the online version was later updated to match the printed version which meant that I had to re-hash some of my hints.

Thanks to Firefly for an enjoyable puzzle with a mini-theme relating to a type of hoofed animal.

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

Across Clues

1a Creature taking tumble: ‘That’s unfortunate,’ one might say (6,4)
FALLOW DEER: start with a synonym for tumble as Jack and Jill did and add a homophone of how someone (Kath, for example) might express dismay (2,4).

9a 1 Across could be flatter (4)
FAWN: double definition, the first a young example of 1a.

10a GP’s instrument? (5,5)
GRAND PIANO: treat G and P as separate abbreviations and expand them.

11a Exercise caution initially in Haiti when touring (3,3)
T’AI CHI: insert the initial letter of caution into an anagram (when touring) of HAITI.

12a Section of thesis (emended) returned as punishment (7)
NEMESIS: hidden in reverse.

15a/19a/26d In flamenco, her nth go ruined 28’s picture (7,2,3,4)
MONARCH OF THE GLEN: an anagram (ruined) of FLAMENCO HER NTH GO gives us Sir Edwin Landseer’s famous painting.

16a Barber‘s quiet attentiveness (5)
SHEAR: stick together an instruction to be quiet and a synonym for attentiveness. Barber here is a verb.

17a Spike‘s appearing in Dynasty (4)
TANG: double definition, the first being a spike or prong and the second a Chinese dynasty.

18a Make do with holding surgery in church (4)
COPE: insert the abbreviated form of a surgical procedure into one of our usual abbreviations for church.

19a See 15a

21a Shining belt crooked (7)
LAMBENT: knit together a verb to belt or batter and an informal adjective meaning crooked or dishonest.

22a Nothing following buffet? That’s weird (7)
OFFBEAT: assemble the letter that resembles nothing or zero, the abbreviation used in books to reference another page and those pages following it and a verb to buffet or thump.

24a Reminder — note not included in present (6)
RENDER: remove one of the notes from tonic sol-fa from the first word of the clue.

27a Reversed gracefully? It’s too much! (10)
OVERSUPPLY: charade of an adverb meaning reversed or turned round and another adverb meaning gracefully or lithely.

28a Droop around time for party (4)
STAG: a verb to droop contains the abbreviation for time. In the UK the answer is used as a modifier to describe a type of party but in the USA it can be a noun to mean the party itself (according to Chambers).

29a An extra moment in pole dances — fantastic! (4,6)
LEAP SECOND: an anagram (fantastic) of POLE DANCES.

Down Clues

2d Vibes emanating from topless girl (4)
AURA: remove the initial L from a girl’s name.

3d Woolly article sent in recently (6)
LANATE: one of our indefinite articles goes inside an adverb meaning recently or after the expected time. Not a word I knew.

4d Linger around quietly on Iceland to see elks (7)
WAPITIS: a verb to linger or hang about contains the musical abbreviation for quietly. Finally append the IVR code for Iceland.

5d Freelance exhibits panache (4)
ELAN: hidden.

6d Offer support out loud: ‘Way to go, rowers!’ (4,3)
ROOT FOR: bolt together homophones (out loud) of a) a way or course and b) a rowing crew with a specific number of oarsmen or oarswomen.

7d Mum’s only eating fish and cheese (10)
MASCARPONE: an affectionate term for mother plus the ‘S is followed by an adjective meaning only or single. Now insert the type of fish you may have in your pond.

8d Henry’s content with German I encountered admitting indefinite number for advancement (10)
ENRICHMENT: cement together the inner letters of Henry, the German pronoun for I and a verb meaning encountered containing the letter used in maths for an indefinite number.

12d Skin problem subverted her talents (6,4)
NETTLE RASH: an anagram (subverted) of HER TALENTS.

13d Maureen, with new uniform in mind, is impressive (10)
MONUMENTAL: concatenate a diminutive form of the name Maureen, the abbreviation for new, the letter that uniform stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and an adjective meaning ‘in mind’.

14d Probe about husband’s displacement (5)
SHIFT: a verb to probe or examine thoroughly contains the genealogical abbreviation for husband.

15d Virile sort of coachman can set off (5)
MACHO: an anagram (sort) of [c]OACHM[an] without the word ‘can’.

19d Where 7 might be spread in a time of good fortune? (2,1,4)
ON A ROLL: where 7d might be spread to make a snack.

20d Sheds where two females will gain employment wearing earmuffs inside out (7)
EFFUSES: two abbreviations for female and a synonym for employment go into the outer letters only of E[armuff]S.

23d Briton oddly up-tight about the story of one’s life (6)
BIOPIC: the odd letters of Briton followed by an abbreviated adjective meaning uptight or narrow-minded and the single-letter abbreviation for about or approximately.

25d The sixth and last letter? (4)
ZETA: the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet which is transliterated as the last letter of our alphabet.

26d See 15a

My podium today was occupied by 1a, 10a and 25d. Which one(s) did you like?


13 comments on “Toughie 2320

  1. On the cusp between a hard back pager and what I’d expect for an easy Toughie – I was only really held up by wondering whether a 17a could be a spike

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza

  2. No problems with the ‘original’ clues, but a little head scratching required for completion at a fast canter – ***/****.
    Favourite – 8d – even if the clue is approaching War and Peace proportions.
    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  3. Thanks Gazza, especially for explaining 17a (which I’ve never heard of as a spike) and parsing 27a, which I just couldn’t work out this morning because of failing to immediately spot the different pronunciation. Also needed google to check my answer to 4d. Must remember that one.

    Overall, ***/*** with 10a as favourite just ahead of 7d, which of course was helped by 19d. Thanks to Firefly.

  4. I will freely admit to being biased but I didn’t enjoy this one anything like as much as yesterday’s offering in the Toughie slot.
    1a and 8d came as close as any to getting a ‘tick’ but I much preferred this setter’s original style, which we haven’t seen for a while.

    Thanks and apologies to Firefly and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  5. Gazza… The early online version was one example of “work in progress” between me and our editor. As such it should never have reached publication. Whether it was better or worse than the final version can remain moot!
    With thanks for your always precise and perceptive commentary.

    Kind regards to all.

  6. Thanks Gazza, I got half way which is about normal.
    The unfinished mainly consisted of words or constructs I was not familiar with.
    Thanks also to the setter.

  7. I wish I had believed my answer for 1a but I just couldn’t parse it. 9a, which depended on it, was very clever.

    I had to look up the spike in 17a as I was stuck on the tv show as Firefly hoped I’d be.

    The long anagram was very ingenious. Luckily the obvious 19a gave it to me.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  8. 1d was our last one in and took a lot of effort. Wonder if we would have got it sooner with the amended clue. At least it removes the possible ambiguity between definition and wordplay that existed in the clue we printed out. We enjoyed spotting the themed answers. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  9. A great test , very enjoyable as I dip my toes into the world of the toughie.
    4*/4* favs 10ac & 18d
    Many thanks to Firefly & Gazza for the review & direction

  10. Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, which I found just about at the limits of my meagre solving ability! I actually thought initially that I’d fallen at the last, to use horse racing parlance, but in actual fact I was unseated much earlier. In reverse order I had 24a,25d,and 2d all wrong. Needed the hints to correct. Having said all this, I really enjoyed the challenge, my favourite was the 15,9,26 combination.

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