Toughie 2387 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2387

Toughie No 2387 by Gila

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment **

I’m not sure what to make of this puzzle as a ‘Toughie’. 4-letter answers usually cause some problems and may even be labelled as ‘pesky’ but there are no less than twelve of them here and all twelve went in with no delays and could easily have appeared in a back-pager. There is a modicum of GK required for a few clues but on the whole I thought that the term ‘fluffy’ might have been invented for this puzzle.

Thanks to Gila.

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

Across Clues

1a Terribly unfair clue ultimately edited to give ‘British artist‘ (6,5)
LUCIAN FREUD: an anagram (terribly) of UNFAIR CLUE with the ultimate letter of edited appended to it.

8a MC is most excited about a cracking sample (11)
TOASTMASTER: an anagram (excited) of MOST containing A goes inside (cracking) a sample.

11a A hideout somewhere in Western Asia (4)
ADEN: stick together A and a hideout or lair.

12a Meat vendor does loin on odd occasions (4)
DELI: the odd letters from words in the clue.

13a Multi-part dramas on the radio? They can be corny! (7)
CEREALS: a chestnutty homophone – I’m sure I don’t need to say more.

15a Backing singer had moan (7)
ULULATE: the definition here is a verb. Reverse the stage name of a Scottish singer and add a verb meaning had or consumed.

16a Hot soup and some cask ales on the counter (5)
LAKSA: hidden in reverse.

17a Large stringed instrument making lots of noise (4)
LOUD: the abbreviation for large and a sort of lute of Arab origin. The word lute itself comes from the Arabic word for the instrument.

18a Fed starts to needle Andy Murray, goofing around (1-3)
G-MAN: reverse the initial letters of four words in the clue.

19a Load vehicle, then depart (5)
CARGO: charade of a road vehicle and a verb to depart.

21a Insect swatted at first with tent-door flap (7)
SANDFLY: weld together the first letter of swatted, a conjunction meaning ‘with’ and the word for a tent-door flap.

22a Posters produced for video games contests (7)
ESPORTS: an anagram (produced) of POSTERS gives us a fairly recent term for these contests. As far as I can see the term hasn’t yet made it into Chambers but it is now in some dictionaries (though they can’t agree on whether it should be hyphenated or not). Inclusion in the Olympic Games can’t be far off!

23a Student is given time to register (4)
LIST: knit together our usual student, IS and the abbreviation for time.

26a Left in charge, do a runner (4)
FLEE: insert the abbreviation for left into a monetary charge.

27a Private sign for government ministers (11)
SECRETARIES: charade of an adjective meaning private or confidential and a star sign.

28a Money’s needed after lacking biscuits (11)
SHORTBREADS: stick an informal word for money (plus the ‘S) after an adjective meaning lacking or in insufficient supply.

Down Clues

2d You don’t cut with certain type of noodle (4)
UDON: hidden. I take cut to mean section (as in a cut of beef) because I don’t think it works here as a verb.

3d Fit one new compartment (7)
INSTALL: glue together the Roman numeral for one, the abbreviation for new and a compartment or enclosure.

4d Celebrity family (4)
NAME: double definition, the second meaning family or clan.

5d Antipodean bird soared and lifted everyone (7)
ROSELLA: this is an Australian parakeet (new to me). Start with a verb meaning soared or ascended and add the reversal of a word for everyone.

6d Called on the services of American journalist? (4)
USED: abbreviations for American and journalist.

7d In unique fashion, the French entering contest with guile (11)
MATCHLESSLY: insert the plural form of the French definite article between a sporting contest and an adjective meaning ‘with guile’ or cunning.

8d Funeral sets off state of sadness (11)
TEARFULNESS: an anagram (off) of FUNERAL SETS.

9d They fly from Madrid, possibly in true style up front (3,8)
RED ADMIRALS: insert an anagram (possibly) of MADRID into an adjective meaning true or genuine and finish with the first letter of style.

10d A kid needs nearly all of her bats for game (4-3-4)
HIDE-AND-SEEK: an anagram (bats) of A KID NEEDS HE[r].

14d Guy perhaps scoffing a spicy dish (5)
SATAY: a type of support that could be a guy rope contains A.

15d Legendary horse throwing off rider up for treatment (5)
USAGE: start with a legendary horse from Greek mythology, remove the 2-letter rider or additional bit of information from its periphery and reverse what’s left.

19d Chapter on Shakespearean king and queen is more coherent (7)
CLEARER: bring together the abbreviation for chapter, a Shakespearean king and our Queen’s regnal cipher.

20d Playwright of Australian descent, it’s said (7)
OSBORNE: split 2,5 this English playwright (who wrote ‘Look Back in Anger’) sounds like he was of Australian descent.

24d Train lacking advanced computers and such? (4)
TECH: remove the abbreviation for advanced from a verb to train or educate.

25d Try small amount of LSD (4)
STAB: the abbreviation for small followed by an informal word for a pill containing LSD.

26d Conflict involving France, Spain and united Germany (4)
FEUD: the IVR codes for the three countries mentioned with the abbreviation for united in the specified position.

The top clue for me was 15d. Which one(s) earned your approbation?


26 comments on “Toughie 2387

  1. I completed this without hints (or revealing letters) — weeks can pass between my achieving that with any crossword, so it’s particularly unusual with a Toughie. Thanks, Gila — that was really good fun.

    Weirdly, it turns out to be exactly a year since I first solved a backpager unaided. I appear to be better at solving crosswords on February 19ths?

    There were several words new to me, but all workoutable from the wordplay: the 15a moan, the 16a soup, the 21a insect, and the 5d bird. Also the stringed instrument in 17a’s wordplay.

    Thanks, Gazza, for explaining the 15d horse; and continued thanks to all the daily tipsters — I wouldn’t’ve got this far without you.

    My favourite was probably the 9d fliers from Madrid. Unless it was the 10d game. Or the 20d Australian playwright …

  2. A very light Toughie with a couple of hmms. I dislike “you” = U without a homophone indicator; and 22a is in neither Chambers nor Collins, and in any event shouldn’t it be enumerated (1-6)?

    There were some inventive and interesting clues, with 27a, 15d & 20d making the podium. I learnt two new words: the answer to 16a; and the instrument in 17a.

    Many thanks to the 2Gs.

    1. Ah! I’ve just read Gazza’s review of 2d and I see that I had parsed it incorrectly as U + DON (“don’t” with the T cut off). Hmm duly withdrawn!

      1. I took it to be a lurker. With cut indicating a cut of of the fodder.

        A pleasant puzzle with thanks to Gila and Gazza

    2. Hi, Dave. “email” generally doesn’t have a hyphen these days, and The Telegraph write 22a as a single word, so it makes sense for the crossword to match.

      I think it’s fair enough to include any word (or phrase or abbreviation) which readers encounter in other sections of the paper. I much prefer terms like that which are actually used ‘in real life’ than the obscure naval abbreviations and the like which one just needs to learn for crosswords.

    3. RD, 22a. Didn’t email start off as “e-mail”? With this nascent neologism I think they’ve gone “hyphen-free” from day one.

  3. With two Malay words in the central square I thought we might be heading for a theme – but it seems not.
    As you say Gazza, rather [too?] easy for a Weds toughie but enjoyable enough. Only 22a slowed it down – I really must keep up.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Gila for the puzzle.

  4. I don’t think I found this fluffy or light as suggested by Gazza and RD but 17a was the only four letter clue that came close to being pesky and needing a BRB check of the instrument. Completed at a Toughie canter – ***/***.
    Candidates for favourite – 27a, 5d, and 14d – and the winner is 14d.
    Thanks to Gila and Gazza.

  5. A bit of a lightweight Toughie today: finished it unaided. I must take exception to 22a however. The solution is neither in the BRB nor Collins English Dictionary; hence it is a neologism. Additionally, I suggest it should have been clued as (1-6) rather than (7).

    1. Hi, Cactophile. The OED has 22a. It has the forms with either a hyphen or a capitalized second letter, but given crosswords don’t take case into account, that seems to permit the ‘(7)’.

    2. Cactophile, 22a might not be in the hallowed BRB but it is in common usage, and therefore completely fair.

  6. A perfectly nice crossword but what it was doing in the middle of the paper, I have no idea. No particular favourites

    Thanks to Gila and Gazza

  7. Why can’t cut mean (as a verb) removing more than one letter from each end – as distinct from, say, discovered for the outer letters or cut short for just one end? If a body was dismembered one could remove four bits!

    But I agree, however enjoyable I found it, the puzzle was more for the back page.

    Thanks to G and G.

  8. Well, I found the GK a bit annoying today – I have no idea who 1a is or was, never heard of 2d, 5d, 20d or 16a so thanks to the BRB and Google for those. I must admit I prefer crosswords where there is less GK and more enigmatic clues where it is more of a solve than a case of knowing a name.
    But completed anyway 2*/2* for me.

  9. Only a couple of the rather obscure bits of GK, which were easily obtained through the wordplay and Google, plus a couple of parsings presented any real problems for me. No complaints at all, I thoroughly enjoyed it, with some imaginary and innovative cluing, 15d being a prime example and my favourite.
    Many thanks to Gila, and to Gazza for the explanations.

  10. Maybe it’s my curmudgeonly frame of mind with all the dark wet and windy weather we are having but I failed to find inspiration in this puzzle today.

    Yes I agree, for a Toughie it was relatively easy going, but it all felt a bit of a plod and there were some clues like 17a that needed digital help. I work in a digital agency and have never come across 22a and the jury is certainly out on the hyphen.

    So I really appreciated all the helpful hints from Gazza and thanks Gila for setting a challenge!

  11. My list of never heard ofs are 1a, 15a, 16a, 22a, 2d, 5d, 14d and the instrument in 17a. That said I got them all from the clues and anyway I have now. A crossword containing 8 words I’ve never heard of makes it a toughie, for me at any rate. There were also some beautifully constructed clues 9d and my favourite 15d are a couple of examples. Many thanks to Gila and Gazza.

  12. Gentle fun.
    We questioned 21a as to us a fly is the piece of material that goes over a tent for extra protection and not (although by comparison with trousers it sounds like it should be) the flap opening. However when we checked in BRB we find it justifies the clue usage and uses only ‘flysheet’ for the extra cover. So once again we live and learn.
    Thanks Gila and Gazza.

  13. Easier than yesterday’s offering. Only just into Toughie territory. Thanks to Gazza and Gila

  14. For a GK rich puzzle I was pleased to finish correctly without the need of any aids. I often have problems with 4 letter clues but, like Gazza, I found today’s fairly straightforward. It makes a difference when the first letter is checked as is the case with 10 of the 12 here. There have been a number of Rufus puzzles where I have raced through all but one clue but the last one is a two-word-clue double definition of form ?A?E (or similar) – and then spend longer on the one clue than all the others.
    Thanks to blogger and setter

  15. Struggled a bit today but got there in the end. I think I just wasn’t on the setter’s wavelength and certainly wouldn’t class 14d as spicy. 27a was my COTD. Thanks to Gazza and Gila.

  16. Didn’t have time to look at this until late this evening but it didn’t cause much trouble, just the instrument that had to be checked and a ‘surely not’ for the contest at 22a – whatever will they dream up next!
    Favourite was 27a both for the surface read and the clip from one of my favourite TV shows.

    Thanks to Gila and to Gazza – both for the review and for setting me straight over the wordplay for 2d.

  17. I didn’t find this as easy as all that yesterday but a return to it in a fresh frame of mind after today’s Cryptic paid off and hey presto. I spell 3d differently. My Fav for its parsing was 20d. Belated thanks to Gila and Gazza.

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