Toughie 2399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2399

Toughie No 2399 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Nothing too tricky today and a few amusing clues. Thanks to Hudson.

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

Across Clues

1a Foreman first to resign following blunder (6)
GAFFER: an old chestnut to start – append the first letter of ‘resign’ to a blunder.

5a Dangerous to include 1000 in US city in prayer (4,4)
HAIL MARY: a Russian doll clue. An informal adjective meaning dangerous or hazardous contains the abbreviation for a US city which in turn contains the Roman numeral for 1000.

9a How to make barnacle bare? (10)
DESALINATE: … you do so by removing the chemical formula for common salt.

10a A tough, tense, embrace (4)
THUG: the grammatical abbreviation for tense and a verb to embrace.

11a Underwear designer — his pants having poor taste (8)
BRACKISH: join together an item of women’s underwear, the logo (and initials) of a famous clothes designer and an anagram (pants) of HIS. An amusing surface.

12a Greek, wild-eyed when separated, and rapacious (6)
GREEDY: combine the abbreviation for Greek and an anagram (wild) of EYED. ‘when separated’ is just telling us to change the hyphen in wild-eyed to a space.

13a Belgium — the greatest holiday destination (4)
BALI: the IVR code for Belgium and the greatest boxer.

15a ‘Greenhouse gas discovered in NY. Roger. Out.’ (8)
ORANGERY: make an anagram (out) of NY ROGER with A contained inside it. ‘How does A mean a gas?” you ask – well the only explanation I can come up with is that the chemical symbol of Argon was A until 1957 when it was changed to Ar. Any better explanation would be welcome because mine doesn’t seem very good.  The A comes from the ‘discovered’ word [g]A[s] – thanks to Jonners and LetterboxRoy for pointing out what I should have seen.

18a Aboard pedalo, Eve rationed sunburn remedy (4,4)
ALOE VERA: hidden (aboard) in the clue.

19a One sleeping reportedly in sheepskin (4)
NAPA: the answer is one possible spelling of a type of leather made from sheepskin. For those people who can’t pronounce the letter R it sounds like someone having a short sleep.

21a Answer American soldier bagging forbidden source of bushmeat (6)
AGOUTI: cement together abbreviations for answer and our usual US soldier and insert an adverb meaning forbidden or excluded. This creature is a South American rodent so I needed a bit of investigoogling to find out that it is also the name of the greater cane rat in West Africa where it is prized as bushmeat.

23a The first few clues were hard — now you can relax (4,4)
REST EASY: the implication is that the remainder of the clues weren’t hard.

25a Brute went after this, murderously (2,2)
ET TU: the words preceding Brute in a Shakespearean tragedy.

26a Teen having trouble with the French perfume (10)
ADOLESCENT: stick together a synonym of trouble or fuss, a French article and another word for perfume.

27a Intricate patterns in part of church (8)
TRANSEPT: an anagram (intricate) of PATTERNS.

28a Detroit car test now having start postponed (6)
MOTOWN: the annual car test in the UK followed by the word ‘now’ with its starting letter postponed until the end.

Down Clues

2d A simple-sounding ruler? (5)
AMEER: A followed by what sounds like an adjective meaning simple or paltry.

3d Licensed business that chap’s established in country (9)
FRANCHISE: a possessive adjective meaning “that chap’s” goes inside a European country. How many more times are we going to get this word?

4d Limitlessly extolling the grape? (6)
RAISIN: start with a present participle meaning extolling and remove the outer letters.

5d Ground with a rather poor transport hub (8,7)
HEATHROW AIRPORT: an excellent anagram (ground) of WITH A RATHER POOR. I was looking forward to seeing Bojo lying down in front of the bulldozers here but a recent legal decision may mean that it won’t happen.

6d Oriental character perhaps in topless DVD recording? (8)
IDEOGRAM: remove the initial V from something pre-recorded, possibly on DVD.

7d The Queen and her son-in-law rolling a joint (5)
MITRE: stick together Her Majesty’s regnal cipher and the short forename of her daughter’s current husband (Vice Admiral Timothy Laurence) then reverse it all.

8d Return flight with Turin drop off? (5,4)
ROUND TRIP: an anagram (off) of TURIN DROP.

14d According to Spooner, ship’s kitchen consumed female reptile (9)
ALLIGATOR: I suppose that Spooner might have said “galley ate ‘er” but it seems really poor to me.

16d Moggy: ‘ERG acting strangely’ (6,3)
GINGER CAT: an anagram (strangely) of ERG ACTING. ERG is the European Research Group (a group of Brexit-supporting Conservatives having Jacob Rees-Mogg among their number).

17d Pure Charlie swallowed, about to bring up bile (8)
CELIBATE: the letter that Charlie stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and a verb meaning swallowed contain the reversal of the word ‘bile’.

20d Last member of Cottesmore Hunt’s turned up to pay respects (6)
ESTEEM: the last letter of Cottesmore is followed by the reversal of a ‘hunt’ (including the ‘S). The word needed is the assembly of the unspeakable prior to a hunt, not the hunt itself.

22d Volte-face of Universal Artists’ act (1-4)
U-TURN: the abbreviation for universal and a stage act.

24d Pig dropping weight, turning to muscle (5)
SINEW: another word for a pig with the abbreviation for weight dropped to the bottom.

The clues I liked best, all of which raised a smile, were 11a, 5d and 7d. Which one(s) were on your list?

 

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27 comments on “Toughie 2399
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  1. I’m afraid that I had three bare solutions in the NE today, (6d, 7d & 12a) and had to use some electronic help to get 9a & 17d as they both had my pet hate of all checkers being vowels. I didn’t know the underwear reference in 11a, and I am afraid to try Mr.G.

    That said, 9a is my COTD.

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  2. I enjoyed this today and agree with the 2** difficulty rating. 9a was last to go in and 11a was my favourite. I think 15a gas discovered is gas minus g and s (cover removed)

    1. Aargh! Of course it is – I knew I was missing something. Thanks, LbR. My only excuse is that the BRB does include Argon under A with a note in brackets saying ‘now Ar’.

  3. A nice puzzle with some smiley clues [the very thought of 7d !]

    But isn’t 16d, though witty enough, close to the sort of “blue pullover” answer that we are not supposed to approve of?

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  4. A nice puzzle that was made slightly harder by needing to dredge up a few things from long abandoned memory cells but I got there in the end without resorting to aids. I made the argon assumption in 15a and thought it was a bit of a poor clue – I now see what I missed and the clue is actually much better. 7d was fun but it took me ages to remember the name of the son-in-law
    With thanks to Hudson and Gazza / LetterboxRoy for the blog / clarification of 15a.

  5. All but two solved betwixt the pub and the house. Those solved between the house and the tip. I had problems delaminating a barnacle so thanks to Gazza for explaining that. Thanks also to Hudson

  6. Forgot to say, I thought this was highly entertaining with some natty surfaces which raised a smile
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza

  7. I found this an enormously enjoyable puzzle, with the bare barnacle in 9a as my favourite. Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  8. I thought this was very enjoyable and a lot of fun. I agree with Gazza for three quarters of the puzzle that there was nothing too tricky but I did find the NW corner rather challenging as I knew neither the answer to 11a nor that specific spelling of 2d.

    The parsing of 6d eluded me initially as I assumed a videogram would be a combined device for playing videos and records, analogous to a radiogram. If you Google “radiogram”, it says “Historical – British”, which rather shows my age. :oops:

    There are plenty of candidates for favourite, and 9a, 5d, 7d & 16d make it onto my short list.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

    1. Enjoyable puzzle which I didn’t quite finish.

      Among those I failed to get was 9a which now explained I find a very clever clue so gets my favourite vote.

      Thanks to Gazza for the blog and Hudson.

  9. A lovely solver-friendly smile-inducing crossword from one of my favourite setters – my top clue out of so many has to be the bare barnacle

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  10. Going to start with my favourites 25a and 9a, both raised a smile.
    Overall a **/****,
    Also liked 11a, I was uncertain if the first five letters were 5 or 3-2 -went for the latter .
    Looks like another **/*** week for difficulty- maybe I am testing fate a little , we shall see!.

  11. We thought that this crossword was great fun with some very clever clues, favourite being 9A. Needed a hint with 15A otherwise a straightforward solve. Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  12. Really enjoyed this one although there were a few things I needed to check with Mr G – the spelling of 19a, the bushmeat, the spelling of 2d and the oriental character. Fortunately, I had no problem with the discovered gas!
    Rather a full podium with 9,11,25,26 & 28a jockeying for position.

    Thanks to Hudson and also to Gazza for the review.

  13. Quite a lot of head scratching involved before the penny dropped for 9a.
    Plenty of smiles and chuckles meant a fun solve for us.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  14. Yes, a nice medium toughness and very enjoyable. I stared at 9ac for a long time and being a chemist by training could kick myself for not getting the parsing right away! I had strigilate for a long time – all about scraping the little fellows off a boat but that was not in the BRB!

  15. Hudson is one of the few Toughie setters that I always feel I have a chance with, and today I fell just two short, the brilliant 9a and 25a. For the first time in my life I solved and understood a Spoonerism too!
    I liked the aforementioned 9a plus 13 and 23a in particular.
    A thoroughly enjoyable exercise so thanks to Hudson for a great puzzle and to Gazza for the explanations.

  16. Recently learned from the blog that Hudson was our friend Bearchen.
    No wonder I like his puzzles so much.
    This was no exception.
    Liked the beautiful anagram in 5d and the great charade in 26a among others.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

      1. Thanks-and you likewise.
        I am located in Hastings-no one seems too bothered about the virus here-hope they are right !

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