Toughie 2340 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2340

Toughie No 2340 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

There’s nothing too exciting in this puzzle and Giovanni has provided, as usual, a couple of words that I didn’t know. I did notice, when writing the hints, that we have to do quite a lot of deleting single letters.

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

Across Clues

5a Military officer, post-war planner seen as inadequate (7)
MARSHAL: the name of the Secretary of State who gave his name to the USA’s economic recovery plan for Europe after WWII without his final L.

7a Tongue as starter for meal in train (5)
TAMIL: the starting letter of meal goes inside another word for train or back section (of a bride’s dress for example).

9a Line of planks in slope at end of street (6)
STRAKE: this is a continuous line of planking or plates forming the side of a ship (not a word I knew). A verb to slope or incline follows the abbreviation for street.

10a French city trip curtailed by unpleasant person (8)
TOULOUSE: a trip or excursion without its final R and another word for an unpleasant person or cad.

11a A sneer — this destroyed enthusiasm (10)
HEARTINESS: an anagram (destroyed) of A SNEER THIS.

13a Wild animala particular continent’s rhino (4)
EURO: double definition. The wild animal is Australian and rhino is an old slang term for money.

14a Country’s beginning to mushroom — so Scotsman introduced population theory (13)
MALTHUSIANISM: a 4-letter African country together with the ‘S and the first letter of mushroom contain a synonym for ‘so’ and a Scottish male forename. If you’re interested you can read about the population theory here.

16a Quiet trick from one who feels no guilt? (4)
PRIG: paste together the musical abbreviation for quiet and a verb to trick or manipulate.

17a Bird’s first need having flown north — possible site for nest? (10)
BLACKTHORN: bring together the first letter of bird, a verb to need or be without and an anagram (having flown) of NORTH.

19a Something sweet, additive mostly included in medicine? (8)
DEXTROSE: a word meaning additive or supplement without its last letter goes inside a measure of medicine.

20a Variation in game needing cue (6)
NIMROD: this is one of Elgar’s Variations. It’s a charade of a children’s game and another word for a cue (in Snooker, say).

22a Sweep of eras looking back, hard to avoid (5)
SCOPE: reverse a synonym of eras and remove the abbreviation for hard.

23a Rugby success — one’s getting on in this sort of play (7)
TRAGEDY: what rugby players attempt to score contains an adjective meaning ‘getting on’ or ‘over the hill’.

Down Clues

1d Whale in two locations near Ibiza (4)
ORCA: the word for whale can be found in the names of two islands in the same group as Ibiza.

2d Embarrassed Dickensian character is keeping quiet? The opposite (8)
SHEEPISH: an order to be quiet contains the surname of an obsequious Dickens character and IS.

3d Drunks turned up holding up vessels in church (6)
STOUPS: the reversal of a word for habitual drunks contains UP. These, apparently, are small basins containing water in a Roman Catholic church for visitors to wash their fingers. It doesn’t look terribly hygienic.

4d What’s naughty about maiden, maybe being put in reduced circumstances (10)
IMPOVERISH: an adjective meaning naughty or mischievous (normally used of a child) contains what might be a maiden in cricket.

5d Dull thing to discuss — no conclusion reached (5)
MATTE: something under consideration without its final letter.

6d Characters not flustering when losing one legal document (7,6)
LETTERS PATENT: another word for written or printed characters followed by an adjective meaning unflustered or imperturbable without the Roman numeral for one.

8d Spirit being overcome by sin — it extends over a few years (7)
LUSTRUM: an alcoholic spirit preceded by a deadly sin. The answer means a period of five years – who knew? Not I.

12d Say in course of story-telling what befalls poor team? (10)
RELEGATION: insert the abbreviation for ‘say’ or ‘for example’ into a word for story-telling.

14d Detective starts to learn some snippets (7)
MORSELS: the name of a TV detective and the starting letters of ‘learn’ and ‘some’.

15d Special vessel NASA’s newly developed in Land of Opportunity (8)
ARKANSAS: the nickname of this US state is ‘the land of opportunity’. Splice together an old Testament vessel and an anagram (newly developed) of NASA’S.

17d Rail against educationist that’s made a mistake (6)
BOOBED: a verb to rail against or voice disapproval followed by someone with a degree in education.

18d Bottomless foundation? Gosh, it’s very big! (5)
ROOMY: paste together a word meaning foundation (of a tooth, perhaps) without its last letter and an exclamation meaning ‘gosh!’.

21d Suitable food, for non-vegetarian, we hear (4)
MEET: this sounds like what a non-vegetarian might eat with his or her two veg.

The clues which I liked best were 23a and 1d. Which one(s) did the job for you?


14 comments on “Toughie 2340

  1. I found this pretty tricky , 3d was new to me ,as was 6d and 8d . I also wasn’t helped by entering the slang term for dollar at 13a.
    All in all , not my finest hour .
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. Not sure if this was a Toughie or an escapee from the Saturday GK puzzle. Quite a few new words, 9a,14a and 20a. I did know 8d. 13a had to be what it was but I didn’t know the Aussie roo. I don’t know the age of the setter but one surely has to be of a certain age to know about 1a?
    Anyway, after failing miserably yesterday, I feel a lot happier today!

  3. I really struggled to get going and it was only after I’d sent my “me or him” email question (it was Mr M and not me apparently) that Gnome’s Law kicked in and I battled to the end in a very long time for a Toughie.

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni

  4. It was a good thing I had my references handy as they were needed several times during this solve, but in each case I had worked out from the wordplay what was a possibility and then checked for confirmation. I enjoy that process.
    Favourite is the same one I am sure Kath would pick 14d.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  5. I got precisely two answers on my first read through. I’m not going to waste more time on it.

    Thanks anyway.

  6. It’s been a while since I’ve struggled this badly. Not helped by incorrectly filling in 20a as enigma. Struggled with 5a, 17a, 19a and whole bottom right except 22a given my mistake. It’s kind of nice to fail badly (once in a while) to keep the sense of success when things go better.

  7. Managed 8 before deciding that there were far better ways to spend the day!
    Popped back in later to read Gazza’s review, fully expecting to be kicking myself over those that I’d missed. In the event, I would probably only have got another handful however long I’d spent on it.
    Many thanks to Gazza for all his hard work.

  8. Understood the parsing in most of the clues but couldn’t find the right words to fit.
    A total failure.
    Thanks to the Don for the head scratching and to Gazza for giving me all the answers.
    The thing in 3d is not really for washing one’s fingers. It’s supposed to contain holy water and you dip your finger and do the cross sign. Forehead, belly, left shoulder and right shoulder and pronounce: In the name of the father, the son, the can’t remember and the holy spirit.

    1. Thanks for clarifying what the 3d little basin is for, J-L. It’s all a closed book to this heathen.

  9. Tough going but perseverated and got there in the end. Loads of bung-ins and new words like others above. I’m a believer but hadn’t heard of 3d …

  10. Well, 4 stars for enjoyment for me. I like learning, or being prompted to remember, obscure words, and the clueing was so tight that I ended up all correct (rather unusually for a Don puzzle) even though I had five question marks.

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