Toughie 2407 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2407

Toughie No 2407 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Giovanni seems to have forsworn (at least for the time being) his book of obscurities and has given us a very accessible puzzle. Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Patience shown by soldiers facing defeat, spending time in foreign country (11)
FORBEARANCE: the abbreviation for rank-and-file soldiers and a verb to defeat without the T (spending time) go inside a European country.

9a Keen on scripture, I love to absorb it (4)
INTO: I and what looks like a love score contain part of the Bible.

10a The old woman, one of the celebs who denies the spiritual? (11)
MATERIALIST: string together an informal posh term (from the Latin) for one’s mother, the Roman numeral for one and a way of identifying top celebrities (1-4).

11a Court female in bay (4)
WOOF: a verb to court or ‘seek the hand of’ and the abbreviation for female.

14a Gift of composer capturing the essence of music (7)
HANDSEL: I didn’t know this word for a small gift as a token of good luck, traditionally given at the start of the year in Scotland. Insert the central letter of music into the name of a composer famous for his Water Music.

16a A pretence by journalist feeling guilt (7)
ASHAMED: concatenate A, a pretence or fake and our usual abbreviated journalist.

17a Went by Underground the wrong way in the beginning (5)
DEBUT: reverse a verb meaning went by (the London) Underground. I was a little surprised to find the verb for ‘went by underground’ in the BRB but it’s there.

18a Take her off the highway — a dangerous driver (4)
TOAD: start with a simpler way of saying the highway (3,4) and remove ‘her’ to get the identity of a fictional road-hog. Poop-poop!

19a Weapon in rear with no end of power (4)
STEN: the rear of a seagoing vessel without the last letter of power.

20a Risky enterprise involving one unknown composer (5)
BIZET: a wager containing the Roman numeral for one and a mathematical variable.

22a More than one bird charges around church (7)
FINCHES: a word for charges or financial penalties contains an abbreviation for church.

23a Pull up in theatre before journey here and there (7)
REPROVE: a type of theatre putting on a stock of plays precedes a verb to wander hither and thither.

24a Individual avoiding head, not touching booze left over (4)
NETT: put together a word for an individual person without its first letter and an abbreviation meaning ‘not touching booze’ to get an adjective describing what’s left over, in your pay packet for example, after all deductions.

28a I’m a seducing rogue, aiming for this? (11)
MISGUIDANCE: an anagram (rogue) of I’M A SEDUCING.

29a Sell out seeds finally before spring (4)
SHOP: ‘sell out’ here means betray. The last letter of seeds precedes a verb to spring or bound.

30a Great ire about to be shown to man on pitch? Keep cool! (11)
REFRIGERATE: an anagram (about) of GREAT IRE follows the abbreviation for the man (or woman) on a sporting pitch normally with a whistle.

Down Clues

2d Old sailors hanging round a port (4)
ORAN: abbreviations for old and our naval service contain A to make a port in North Africa.

3d Language when ambassador’s hatched plot (4)
BREW: start with a Middle-Eastern language and remove the abbreviated title of an ambassador (hatched, in the sense of crossed out (I think)).

4d A requirement is being admitted — something baker wants? (7)
ANISEED: A followed by a requirement containing IS.

5d Ancient Scottish lord weighed down by gold (4)
AULD: the abbreviation for lord follows the chemical symbol for gold.

6d Officer wanting short afternoon nap is most comfortable (7)
COSIEST: the abbreviation for (commanding) officer followed by an afternoon nap without its last letter.

7d How some birds fly, showing intelligence? (11)
INFORMATION: split your answer 2,9 for a description of how some birds fly.

8d Girl friends? Don’t fancies run riot! (11)
CONFIDANTES: an anagram (run riot) of DON’T FANCIES.

12d Something requiring a snap decision (5,6)
PHOTO FINISH: cryptic definition of what helps a judge decide the winner in a close race.

13d Personification maybe driving country (11)
INCARNATION: stick together ‘maybe driving’ (2,3) and a synonym for country.

15d Matthew’s trousers (5)
LEVIS: double definition. I just about remembered the alternative name for the apostle (which I probably learnt from a previous Giovanni puzzle, though I’m not sure of that).

16d See one that may be boring argue wrongly (5)
AUGER: an anagram (wrongly) of ARGUE.

20d Aussie’s to mind his manners, we hear, in place of industry (7)
BEEHIVE: this might sound like how an Australian would pronounce a verb to mind his manners.

21d Terrible clique seen after meal (7)
TEARING: another word for a clique or group follows an afternoon meal.

25d Uplifting Indian music? It may be associated with a culture (4)
AGAR: reverse a traditional Indian type of music.

26d Royal survivor of short rebuff (4)
PARR: remove the final Y from a rebuff or ‘turning aside’ to get the final wife of a Tudor king who outlived him.

27d Be off with you! That’s scornful, not half (4)
SCAT: the first half of an adjective meaning scornful or withering.

I ticked 18a and 12d today. Which one(s) did you tick?

I went to the Pharmacist yesterday and asked the lady behind the counter “What’s best for keeping my work surfaces virus free?”. She replied, “Ammonia Cleaner.” I said, “Oh, I am sorry – I thought you worked here…”.

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16 comments on “Toughie 2407
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  1. Giovanni provides us with the sort of crossword he used to provide on a Friday when he was feeling slightly trickier but without using the ‘book of obscure words for setters’. So a 1*/3* Toughie rating from me.

    I liked the same clues as Gazza and parsed 3d in the same way he did. Thanks to him for the blog and Giovanni for the crossword.

  2. Delightfully doable. I liked the way the puzzle gradually unfolded, when i first looked at 3d for example i had no idea what to make of it.

    I didn’t know the gift but the wordplay was clear. In 23a i got sidetracked because i thought “here and there” might mean regular letters. I liked the snap decision.

    My favourite has to be the aussie in 20d

    Many thanks Giovanni and Gazza

  3. Fell at the final hurdle with 3&26d left blank. Kicking myself over the latter but I doubt I’d have sorted out the 3d language.
    Didn’t care for the definitions in 11a or 21d although I appreciate that the BRB seems to support both and the 14a present was a new word for me, which I’ll try to remember!
    Favourite by a mile was the dangerous driver in 18a but I also rather liked 7d.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review – nice shot of Matthew’s trousers!

  4. Just stuck on 3d as I was looking for a language. Settled on Boer though couldn’t justify it.

    I’m putting the extra puzzles printed in the DT in a folder for future use. Otherwise I’d never get anything else done. I’m tucking in the Matt cartoons too. He is brilliant.

    At last a bit of good news, off licences have been put on the list of essential stores. Someone has got their priorities right!

  5. Beaten by 3, 20 and 26d and 18a. Thanks for the explanations Gazza. The rest I really enjoyed. Note to self – learn more languages and practice Aussie accents. Thanks to the Don for a challenging and enjoyable puzzle.

  6. I love Giovanni’s puzzles, and I nearly finished this one in record time until the last of the plentiful 4-letter clues flummoxed me, 3d. I settled on ‘bred’ but don’t know why now. Ah, I see: His Excellency expunged! I felt so smug a bit earlier when it dawned on me what–or rather, who–26d was. But this is altogether an inspired Toughie, and my favourite today is the brilliant 20d. Thanks, Gazza, and our old Friend from the Crypts, Giovanni.

  7. I managed to finish without using aids but with a number of answers which I was not certain were correct. On looking at the blog it seems I got them all right, which is a surprise. Given something similar happened in his previous Toughie there is a little evidence he has refrained from the usual tour of small towns, exotic flora and fauna and biblical references. However I still found this difficult (for me a fair bit harder than yesterdays Toughie) with a fair bit of GK and lesser known words. When obscurities do not cross in the grid or arise in one clue then I have a chance to work out a solution. I find no pleasure in using electronic aids. I was surprised I managed to figure out 18a (dangerous driver”) as I don’t know the book or author but have a memory of a cartoon or book illustration of the driving, last seen over 50 years ago.
    Thanks to Giovanni & Gazza

  8. Did a bit of a groan when we printed out and spotted all the four letter answers, but as it turned out, they didn’t cause any particular problems.
    A most enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    Hope you don’t mind Gazza but we have posted your pharmacist joke on to our family Whatsapp page.

      1. Reminded me of the Swedish chemist asking a customer who wanted to buy a deodorant.
        Ball or arsole?
        Neither, it’s for my armpits.

  9. Well I started this on the strength of Gazza’s view that it was accessible. Very challenging & requiring numerous revisits but in the end I got to within 2 clues of a finish before succumbing to the hints. As per usual it was the pesky 4 letter ones. I thought 18a was a corker of a clue and I was nowhere near the answer despite playing Ratty in the play. Failed to spot Henry’s other half in 26d also.
    Still not too shabby for me all considering.
    Thanks to both Giovanni & to Gazza.

  10. Excellent stuff. A real battle, but good fun. Even the dodgy 20d was gettable. 18a was a gem. Thanks to Giovanni for the work out.

  11. A really entertaining start to my Saturday – yes, I really do mean Saturday, as its now April 4th. We’re stockpiling – not loo rolls, not food, but nigh on every darn crossword puzzle that has come through our letterbox in newspaper form. Not being one who objects to anything religious, I really did appreciate 15d – Levis. 12d gave me quite a chuckle as well. All in all this really was a very enjoyable puzzle which more than compensated for not having a Giovanni Friday back page puzzle. I doubt if he’ll read my comments, nor for that matter will anyone else this long after publication, but just in case, thanks Don (Giovanni) Manley and ta muchly Gazza. Be safe :-)

    1. Be assured that all comments, however late, will always be read by at least one person because bloggers get an email for each comment posted to their blogs.

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