Toughie 2379 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2379

Toughie No 2379 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I found this one surprisingly gentle for a Hudson puzzle but very enjoyable. I thought at one stage that we were getting a mini-theme on types of verse but I don’t suppose that two is sufficient even for the most minuscule theme.

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

Across Clues

1a Dusty well cracked, life hard in the extreme (11)
SPRINGFIELD: string together a synonym for a well, an anagram (cracked) of LIFE and the last letter of hard.

10a Composer has temperature following short vacation (5)
HOLST: the abbreviation for temperature follows a short informal word for vacation.

11a Dandy, 50, taking refuge in wicked Southern city (9)
NASHVILLE: start with the surname of a celebrated 18th century dandy then insert the Roman numeral for 50 into a synonym for wicked or loathsome. “Southern” presumably because this city was once the capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War.

12a In retirement, Mrs Thatcher having to admit ‘time is a four-letter word‘ (9)
TETRAGRAM: reverse Mrs Thatcher’s forename and insert the abbreviation for time.

13a Freud really missing regular letters from the country (5)
RURAL: miss out regular letters from the first two words of the clue.

14a Fur claimed with some hesitation? (6)
ERMINE: a possessive pronoun indicating the setter’s claim to ownership follows a short word of hesitation.

16a Present awfully posh feature of museum? (4,4)
GIFT SHOP: bring together another word for a present and an anagram (awfully) of POSH.

18a Chill wind has Daisy sheltering in the city (8)
EASTERLY: a type of flower that includes the daisy is contained in Crosswordland’s favourite Cambridgeshire city.

20a Band originally white hot, no longer ‘with it’ (3,3)
THE WHO: an anagram (originally) of WH[it]E HOT after we’ve taken out the ‘it’. The whole clue possibly suggests that the band, who are still performing, are no longer the force they once were.

23a Rebellion at the top reported in verse? (5)
HAIKU: this sounds like a rebellion or putsch at the top (4,4).

24a Sitting inside drinking old chai naked? It could have its charms! (4,5)
GOLD CHAIN: hidden in the clue.

26a Evil location of 28’s remote debts? (9)
NEFARIOUS: glue together the area of England where 28a is to be found, a synonym for remote or distant and our usual debts.

27a Surf is finally up around Maine (5)
SPUME: assemble the final letter of ‘is’, the reversal of ‘up’ and the standard abbreviation for the state of Maine.

28a Riverside communities want year-end reforms (4,3,4)
TYNE AND WEAR: this is an English county the name of which comes from its two major rivers. It’s an anagram (reforms) of WANT YEAR-END.

Down Clues

2d Lead sanctimonious bunch (5)
PILOT: charade of a short adjective meaning sanctimonious or ‘holier than thou’ and another word for a bunch or large number.

3d Where a Yorkshireman needs his umbrella when under way? (2,5)
IN TRAIN: where an umbrella is needed in Yorkshire dialect.

4d Derrick’s supporter mounting horse, on the go! (6)
GANTRY: reverse an old horse and follow that with a go or attempt.

5d Condition preventing one being out after dark? (8)
INSOMNIA: cryptic definition where ‘out’ means unconscious.

6d Youngster left on high peak — son’s escaped (7)
LEVERET: the abbreviation for left followed by a high (indeed the highest) peak without the abbreviation for son.

7d Bank holiday, Spain — the plane’s heaving; it’s difficult to move (5,8)
WHITE ELEPHANT: weld together a religious bank holiday, the IVR code for Spain and an anagram (heaving) of THE PLANE.

8d Champ getting to grips with algebraic characters oddly omitted four lines (8)
CLERIHEW: a verb to champ or masticate containing the even letters of ‘algebraic’. I hope that Smylers has a go at this puzzle.

9d Fit American President: upfront, sharp, expensively kitted out (4-9)
WELL-APPOINTED: knit together an adjective meaning fit or healthy, an abbreviation for American, the front letter of President and an adjective meaning sharp or barbed.

15d Dogs, mum’s pets (8)
MASTIFFS: concatenate an affectionate term for one’s mum, the ‘S and another word for pets or spats.

17d Staff get tired hearing of election (8)
FLAGPOLE: a verb meaning to get tired or slow down is followed by a homophone of a synonym of election.

19d Drug problem involving king’s personal servant? (7)
EQUERRY: the abbreviation for Ecstasy and a problem or uncertainty containing one of the abbreviations for king.

21d Journalist witnessed item smuggled into prison? (7)
HACKSAW: bind together a word for a less than sparkling journalist and a verb meaning witnessed.

22d A person of exceptional courage saving small girl (6)
ALISON: A and a metaphor for a very courageous person contain the abbreviation for small.

25d Adult massage area in Caribbean location (5)
ARUBA: cement together the abbreviation for adult (in film classifications), a verb to massage and the abbreviation for area.

There are lots of clues to like. I’ll mention 1a, 12a and 20a with my favourite being 3d. Which one(s) had you in stitches?

 

25 comments on “Toughie 2379

  1. Completed at a Toughie gallop, this took me about the same time to complete as the Jay back pager – **/****.
    Interesting that Hudson used 8d given the recent ‘popularity’ of it in comments on the blog.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a (new to me, I think), 5d, and 6d – and the winner is 6d.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  2. Gazza is spot on as usual. Surprisingly gentle but very enjoyable.

    My only hold up was putting “on track” for 3d as my second answer in after 2d which then caused a bit of a hold up with 1a until the dusty penny dropped.

    Always good to see 8d again!

    20d were one of my favourite bands, and half of them are still going strong. Much to Mrs RD’s chagrin (and probably that of the neighbours too), it prompted me to plug in my ageing Fender Stratocaster and belt out Pinball Wizard.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza – great choice of video for 20a!

      1. I agree the intro is much better on an acoustic, but I like the main song amplified and I can’t switch once I’ve started!

        There are so many versions of Hallelujah which are all very different. It is one of those songs which sounds good whoever is doing it (except for my rendering!)

            1. Look here you youngsters, whilst “Won’t get fooled again” is undoubtedly a stellar Oo track I suggest you might spend more time with either or both of Live at Leeds [esp Summertime Blues – I was there so I know] or the grotesquely underrated Quadrophenia [esp 5.15 -which I respectfully suggest is the one]

              BTW nice gentle crossword. Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

              1. I don’t think quadrophenia is underrated.
                I was lucky enough to see The Who, supported by the Sensational Alex Harvey Band in about 1974. Wonderful memories.

                1. OK fair enough – it’s rep has grown over the years – but it was panned on release [sounds much better on later re-masters]. I never saw the SAHB but have vague memories of his Big Soul Band at the Mojo in Sheffield.
                  Sorry BD, well off topic here.

  3. Thought I was finally getting to grips with Hudson but now discover that he was just employing the soft pedal – bet Mrs RD would give a lot to have one of those right now!
    I did have to look up 12a and have been to a lot of museums that happily don’t have a 16a but all else flowed smoothly.
    Favourite has to be the leader of the sanctimonious bunch.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the musical review.

  4. I enjoyed this very much, but I found this a good deal harder than others. It went in slowly from the bottom up. I would be embarrassed to confess how long it took for Dusty to come to me – in my defense I had originally started 3d (I think quite reasonably) with ‘on’ instead of ‘in’. I agree with Jane and the sanctimonious bunch as being my favourite as well (once the penny had dropped). Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  5. I agree that this was at the easier end of the spectrum but nonetheless enjoyable for that. There was still a fair bit of head scratching required, from me at any rate. Lots of favourites but 26a just shades it over 20a. Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  6. Just back from lunch with friends. I finished this crossword early this morning and then ground to a halt on the back page. Finally finished it but this was much more enjoyable. Last one in was 1a as I was not thinking of a person.
    Isn’t 16a a sign of the times? There was even one after the German underground hospital on Guernsey, a place that reeked of evil. So insensitive.

    1. I visited the German underground hospital on Jersey which, at the time, thankfully had no 16a. Some forty years later, the very thought of the place still makes me shudder.

  7. What a lovely and enjoyable puzzle this was!

    I think there was something for everyone in there and not too much reliance on obscure GK.

    COTD was 1a, took me a while to get on the track of the correct “Dusty” but when the penny dropped it was wonderful blast from the past. Along with 20a maybe gives some hints to the age of the Setter?

    8d seems to be having regular outings at the moment so for once fell quite easily.

    Needed a bit of help with 23a but saying it over and over again it started to make sense.

    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza, I feel I am making some progress with Toughies at long last!

  8. 1a was my very last one to get sorted but it did fall into place with a thud once all the checkers were there.
    Good fun.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  9. Had the same experience as JB.
    Except Lunch which I spent happily alone in glorious sunshine.
    I visited the Vatican Museum in 1978. There already was a shop you were obliged to go through to get out.
    Still have that Pieta shaped bottle opener somewhere.
    20a favourite.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

  10. I approached this one with caution, but things soon went well, starting with 28a and working upwards.

    Unlike others I’d never heard of 8d which was last in.

    Favourites were 1a and 3d.

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  11. Thanks for the mention, Gazza. I haven’t tried this crossword yet, but now I might have to give it a go!

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable & while probably not completed at quite the gallop of others at least I didn’t require the hints, unlike the back pager. Like others 1a was my last in & it was a while before the penny dropped.

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