Toughie 2372 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2372

Toughie No 2372 by Firefly

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Solved in a time which placed this puzzle on the cusp between a hard back-pager and an easy middle-of-the-paper crossword.   We are a Q and an X short of a pangram.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Prize ram generates new business (5-2)
START-UP The sort of prize you’d be given for good work at school and a male sheep (ram)

10a    Deleting act from Magna Carta involved reordering … (7)
ANAGRAM One of those clues where you delete the letters ACT from MAGNA CARTA and rearrange (involved) the rest to get a word for reordering letters to obtain a/this solution – you’ll also need to use the solution when solving no fewer than nine other clues in this Toughie!

11a    … secreting file within intricate inner base (9)
ENDOCRINE To get an adjective meaning secreting internally, insert an abbreviated file into an anagram (intricate) of INNER and then add the letter associated with ‘base’

12a    Shoe uppers a botcher’s ‘helping’ to make (5)
SABOT Lurking in (helping to make) upperS A BOTcher

13a    Resigned from Saint Osyth’s — originally in charge (5)
STOIC The abbreviation for Saint, the ‘original’ letter of Osyth’s and the abbreviated way of saying in charge

14a    Include Aussie oaf in one’s farce (7)
MOCKERY Insert an uncultured Australian oaf into the possessive adjective meaning belonging to me (one’s)

17a    Invention about left Wooster short; big bet coming unstuck — fool! (15)
FLIBBERTIGIBBET An informal invention or lie goes about the abbreviation for Left. Then add almost all (short) of Mr Wooster’s Christian name and an anagram (coming unstuck) of BIG BET. The award of a third star for enjoyment today rests purely on my pleasure at seeing one of my favourite words.

19a    Figure tea shops empty — the setter beginning to salivate (7)
CHASSIS Another word for tea, the outside letters (empty) of ShopS, the way Firefly (the setter) might refer to himself and the ‘beginning’ to Salivate – checking the synonym, I discovered that the solution can be a jocular informal term for a woman’s figure – although I would imagine the BRB will soon need to add the word ‘archaic’ to this definition!

21a    Not so many sheep in France (5)
FEWER A female sheep inserted into the abbreviation for France

24a    Believe in cure ultimately following surgery (5)
OPINE IN (from the clue) and the ultimate letter of curE follow some abbreviated surgery

26a    Prominent feature of Norman hose, not hard to fashion (5,4)
ROMAN NOSE An anagram (to fashion) of NORMAN hOSE – ‘not hard’ indicating that you need to omit the H

27a    Throw a Parisian laid by rocky shore (7)
UNHORSE The French indefinite article (as used in Paris) laid next to an anagram (rocky) of SHORE

28a    Acute observation from Kelvin hereunder, regularly associated with you (4,3)
KEEN EYE The abbreviation for the SI Unit the Kelvin, the regular letters of hErEuNdEr and an archaic word meaning you


1d    Conductors head off social climbers? (6)
USHERS Remove the first letter (head off) from some social climbers

2d    Cuisine from Ontario failing to engage daughter (8)
TANDOORI An anagram (failing) of ONTARIO into which is inserted (to engage) the abbreviation for Daughter

3d    Customary solids offering flavoursome ingredients (5,5)
STOCK CUBES A synonym for customary and some solid bodies

4d    Old cart traps mater uncomfortably in conduit (5,4)
WATER MAIN An old cart used for carrying hay ‘traps’ an anagram (uncomfortably) of MATER

5d    16 predicaments (4)
JAMS Some 16ds or some difficult situations (predicaments)

6d    Bet from elder, say, bringing in ‘barrel’ (6)
TREBLE Insert an abbreviation for barrel into a large woody plant such as (say) an elder

7d    Stay frenziedly ingesting drug, getting purple (8)
AMETHYST An anagram (frenziedly) of STAY into which is inserted (ingesting) an informal short term for a particular drug

9d    One middle-sized character’s after leads in ‘Pickwick’ and ‘Hamilton’ — mug! (4)
PHIZ Mug and the solution are slang terms for the face – the ‘leads’ of Pickwick and Hamilton, the letter that looks like a one and the middle letter of sized.  The solution is also the pseudonym for an artist who illustrated Dickens’ works but apparently the only illustrations he provided for Pickwick Papers were of Sam Weller.  

15d    Reshuffle for chief in cabinet (10)
CHIFFONIER An anagram (reshuffle) of FOR CHIEF IN

16d    Penny’s absorbing book: ‘Seasons‘ (9)
PRESERVES The abbreviation for Penny plus the S (Penny’S) ‘absorbing’ an noun meaning to book – I checked the link between the definition and solution and apparently Shakespeare used seasons to mean to keep from decaying

17d    Handyman exposes truth over corporation (8)
FACTOTUM Another word for the truth goes over an informal term for that part of the body also known as a corporation – I was very tempted to include a picture of Mr CS who, as I type this upstairs in the ‘office’, is currently using a very noisy drill putting up new shelves in the utility room directly underneath me

18d    Perhaps spin for a bit, and impress greatly? (4,4)
BOWL OVER This solution appeared in Tuesday’s Toughie but here we have an alternative definition to the one used there – If you were a cricketer who might spin for a bit then you might xxxx an xxxx

20d    Shining land (6)
ALIGHT An adjective meaning lit up (shining) or a verb meaning to land

22d    Unknown leaves from freezer spiced up joint (6)
REEFER Remove the letter that is a mathematical unknown from FREEzER and an anagram (spiced up) of the remaining letters will produce a slang term for a cigarette containing marijuana

23d    Out of control before twelve — given fine (4)
AMOK The abbreviated way of referring to the period before 12 noon and an informal adjective meaning fine

25d    Acquire said crock? (4)
EARN A homophone (said) of a pot or jar (crock)

23 comments on “Toughie 2372

  1. I’m not sure about this anagram-fest as I seemed to spend quite a bit of time checking synonyms and looking things up.

    Saint Osyth’s is a very obscure place to have included in the clue for 13a, and, despite her comprehensive knowledge of Aussie soaps, Mrs RD, like me, has never heard of “ocker” in 14a. The specific meaning of the answer to 19a seems like something you might come across in a Raymond Chandler novel. I was surprised by Seasons in 16d but it is in the BRB.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS.

    1. Ocker seems to have been a term used for these ‘oafs’ long before soap operas were ‘invented’

    2. St Osyth’s is a well known enough name in our family with both my wife and her sister having studied at the college of the same name in Clacton on Sea some fifty years or more ago – both went on to be very successful teachers after their studies there. I seem to remember that the students used to refer to the college as ‘Toosies’.
      Btw, I enjoyed the puzzle – one of the few Firefly offerings that I’ve managed to complete.

  2. I started off at a reasonable pace, but ground to a halt with 3 remaining in the top left which took me a while to unravel.

    Thanks to Firefly, and to CS.

  3. A fairly straightforward but enjoyable Toughie, I was delayed for a while by the spelling of 17a (which for me has a y in it) and the realisation that 9d was a contraction of the word for face that has zog at the end.

  4. Nice to see a flash of the humorous Firefly of old in 8a and well done to him for fitting 17a into a puzzle albeit with a surface read that didn’t bear close inspection. As is the case for CS, it’s one of my favourite words – last time I can recall hearing it used was when the nuns were singing about Maria in The Sound of Music.
    I came up with all manner of conductors and social climbers before the right ones dawned and I don’t think I previously knew of the abb in 6d or the word at 9d. I presume that the latter is derived from a much longer word?

    Aside from my favourite 8a, I also rather liked 21a & 18d.

    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the extra duties.

      1. Thanks, CS, I thought that was probably where it came from – I suppose the shortening of it was somewhat understandable!

    1. I got 9d because of remembering what my mother used to call a flannel, or face cloth – a phiz-faz, but God knows where that came from.

      First chance to have time to do a puzzle since Monday and what a good one, overall, to do. Ta to all.

  5. I got there in the end but spent a good while with just 4d to go. Favourites were 17a and 3 down which both went in early. Hadn’t heard of 11a so learnt something along the way. **/*** difficulty for me today.

  6. Crypticsue
    Is a marvel with a clue.
    If one’s causing you frustration,
    She’ll offer a friendly explanation.

    I think this might be all the regular bloggers now clerihewed!

  7. In France, we still see a lot of Physiognomists working in casinos or at the gates of football matches. They are supposed to recognise a cheat or a hooligan. A well paid job apparently.
    The crossword was solved before I left for work, which is unusual.
    So probably two stars for me by Sue’s standards.
    Gosh!,That sentence is very assonant.
    Got the answer to 17a from the parsing and must say that the little anagram at the end is a bit of give away.
    Favourite 22d. Actually slow roasting a whole leg of lamb which I previously covered with a mix of spices and herbs, some of which really came from my freezer.
    Thanks to Firefly and to CS for the review.

  8. Just got back in from visiting a friend so am late posting. Just loved this puzzle so was appalled to grind to a stop this morning and be completely beaten by the back pager which, even with the hints, I didn’t like at all.
    Friday tomorrow, what headaches will that bring?

  9. 19ac. I remember someone calling Shirley Bassey the lassie with the classy chassis. I don’t think it’s used much in today’s Tinder society. Nice puzzle mostly solved bittily between solving an impossible kitchen conundrum involving pipe work stop cocks water meters and electric cables which are all in the way. Thanks to the setter and to Sue.

  10. Well, after a burst of excitement as I was able to make a good start on my own I soon ground to a halt. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed using crtpticsue’s explanations (read answers) and pleased that I had a go. Many thanks, I’m totally in awe of how you manage to work out the answers and give such good explanations. Thanks also to Firefly.

  11. Had a bash at this one late last night and having glanced first at CS’s opening summary had high expectations of an unaided finish. Sadly not. Despite a good number of gimmies I ground to a halt 6 short & 1 short (9d) even with the help of the hints.
    Doesn’t bode well for Friday…..

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