Toughie 2359 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2359

Toughie No 2359 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Happy New Year to one and all.

It was with some trepidation that I offered to swap Toughies with Gazza, and I was right. This is yet another back-page puzzle ramped up to Toughie level by the inclusion of a scattering of obscurities.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Influence of European currency leading to English anger (8)
LEVERAGE: the standard monetary unit of Bulgaria is followed by E(nglish) and a word meaning anger

9a    Plant Cockney poet found outside hotel (6)
ORACHE: linguistically Cockneys are famous for two things, rhyming slang and dropping their aitches – drop the leading H from an ancient poet that hardly anyone has ever read and put what remains around H(otel) to get an obscure plant of the goosefoot family

10a    To carry on pulling (6)
TOWAGE: TO from the clue followed by a verb meaning to carry on or engage in, for example, war

11a    Spooner’s ruled out eternal punishment? That strikes a note (8)
HANDBELL: this has done nothing to change my dislike of so-called Spoonerisms – split as (4,4) and after exchanging initial letters this could mean ruled out eternal punishment

12a    Arrangements for those appearing as actors and as imitators possibly (14)
DRAMATISATIONS: an anagram (possibly) of AND AS IMITATORS

15a    Stone that’s egg-shaped, soft but not very (4)
OPAL: start with a word meaning egg-shaped, as long as you only consider two-dimensional eggs, and insert the musical notation for soft in place of V(ery)

17a    After setback high-level worker perhaps is fired up again (5)
RELIT: the reversal (after setback) of someone who often, but not always, works on roofs

19a    Robust address being heard (4)
HALE: sounds like (being heard) an address or greeting

20a    Like space mission with number spinning round in a trip nearly going wrong (14)
INTERPLANETARY: The reversal (spinning round) of a three-letter two-digit number inside an anagram (going wrong) of A TRIP NEARLY

23a    Scotland does this — it helps family with baby (8)
CARRYCOT: split as (5,3) the word [S]COT[land] could be considered to do this

25a    Trees, a mathematical number in lines (6)
ROWANS: the A from the clue and N(umber) inside some lines

27a    Century by cricket side after chaps rolled over without dissent (3,3)
NEM CON: C(entury) and one of the two sides to a cricket pitch, preceded by the reversal (rolled over) of some chaps

28a    Provider of gourd needs to check one with external slash (8)
CUCURBIT: time for another obscure plant – this one produces gourds – put a four-letter verb meaning to check and I (one) inside (external) a slash


1d    Way to get half of the characters to come forward and protest (4)
DEMO: start with a way or method and move the last two characters to the front

2d    There’s something fragrant about London’s city still (6)
BECALM: something fragrant goes around the postcode of the City of London

3d    Goat in alpine village (4)
LECH: two definitions – this goat is a dirty old man

4d    Cover bishop looking at website? (6)
BONNET: B(ishop) followed by a phrase (2,3) meaning looking at a website

5d    Robot has strange item of headgear (8)
TARBOOSH: an anagram (strange) of ROBOT HAS

6d    Trader in awful place, seaman reported (10)
WHOLESALER: split as (5,5) this sounds like (reported) an awful place and a seaman

8d    Individual person taking chance as criminal accomplice? (7)
ABETTER: A (individual) is followed by a person taking a chance

13d    Agent was untruthful about wicked act being done again (10)
REPLICATED: an agent is followed by a verb meaning was untruthful around an anagram (wicked) of ACT

14d    Shrub beginning to languish unfortunately when growing up (5)
SALAL: this NW American ericaceous shrub is derived from the reversal (when growing up) of the initial letter (beginning) of L[anguish] and a word meaning unfortunately

16d    Select group head ignored with exciting part of school curriculum (8)
LITERACY: a select group without (ignored) its initial letter (head) followed by an adjective meaning exciting

18d    Religious writing’s disseminated in tract (7)
TANTRIC: this adjective meaning related to some religious writing is an anagram (disseminated) of IN TRACT

21d    Take back hypocritical talk in lessons about religion (6)
RECANT: split as (2,4) this could be lessons about religion

22d    Gaudy temple set up with uninteresting foundation (6)
TAWDRY: the reversal (set up) of a Thai Buddhist temple is followed by an adjective meaning uninteresting

24d    Stuff right off lorry (4)
TUCK: drop (off) the R(ight) from another word for a lorry

26d    Man right to be elevated (4)
NEIL: a former Fifteensquared blogger used the alias Right Back because his first name was the reversal of a word meaning right!

Bufo is taking a Sabbatical, so crypticsue will be in this slot tomorrow and I’ll be back in the Tuesday slot next week.


14 comments on “Toughie 2359

  1. Too tough for me – I didn’t get a single one of the obscure plants. Horace by the way was a Latin and not a Greek poet!

    Thanks to Giovanni and Big Dave

        1. BD has edited the original hint, SB
          I didn’t bother to look it up at all as I wasn’t really interested to know either way

  2. The only real difficulty (for me anyway) was the obscure plants (none of which I’d heard of). At least we were spared any characters from the Old Testament (unless 26d is a little-known prophet?).
    The best clues for me 23a and 5d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and BD.

  3. Grey cells, inspired guesswork and Mr Google collaborated on this one and still finished somewhat shy of a full grid. To be honest, I didn’t find it worth all the effort but no doubt others will feel differently.

    Apologies to Giovanni and many thanks to BD for filling in the blanks – bet you’re wishing you hadn’t swapped with Gazza!

  4. Horace is known for the line: “Odi profanum vulgus et arceo”. ( “I despise the common masses and avoid them”.)
    Orache? Some of this threatened to give me an eadache, but Mr. Google helped me over the line. Thank you to BD and to Giovanni for the challenge.

  5. Nothing to add to Jane’s comment really – thanks to DG and BD
    Surprised Gazza’s not heard of Neil of Nazareth, the All-Seeing Eye

    Happy New Year to you all – the days are getting longer now :yahoo:

  6. My hold ups were also with the two of the plants. We grow lots of members of the 28a family so that one wasn’t a problem

    Thank you and Happy New Year to BD and Giovanni

  7. My last in by a long shot was 3d. It took me ages to chase down the alpine village and then associate it with the right kind of goat. I was pleased to finish, but for me the obscurities certainly detracted from the pleasure in doing so. Many thanks in any event to Giovanni and Big Dave.

  8. We were defeated by 3d. Did not know the alpine village and could not think of the relevant ‘goat’.
    Got all the obscure plants from the wordplay and checking in the BRB.
    Thanks Giovanni and BD.

  9. Couldn’t do this yesterday. Back pager? Far too many obscure clues to be worth the effort. Glad I didn’t persevere.

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