Toughie 2443 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2443

Toughie No 2443 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

As I may have mentioned once or twice before I do prefer Toughies which are based on complex wordplay rather than obscure GK. Giovanni seems to delight in finding the most obscure words to populate his grids but, having said that, there were only two bits of GK (11a and 7d) in this one that I didn’t know.

Thanks to Giovanni for the challenge.

Do leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Sort of belt to employ for holding woman together (8)
CAROUSEL: a verb meaning to employ links two parts of a woman’s name.

6a Very bad cold minimised with spirit — gosh! (6)
CRUMMY: string together the abbreviation for cold, an alcoholic spirit and an exclamation like gosh.

9a It may be difficult to make out Schubert’s original slow movement (6)
SCRAWL: the first letter of Schubert followed by a slow movement along the ground.

10a Pirates in my ship wanting ventilation (8)
CORSAIRS: an exclamation meaning ‘my’ (as used in 6a) and our usual abbreviation for ship getting ventilated (i.e. with *** going through it).

11a A university type keeping promises is right (8)
ADVOWSON: this is a right in ecclesiastical law to recommend a member of the Anglican clergy for a vacant benefice (but I’m sure you all knew that!). A and a university lecturer contain a synonym for promises or pledges.

12a Quivering sound curtailed by singer in novel (6)
TRILBY: weld together a quivering or vibratory sound without its last letter and BY to get the heroine of a novel by George du Maurier.

13a Energy unit developed in UK worth a lot, I fancy (8,4)
KILOWATT HOUR: an anagram (fancy) of UK WORTH A LOT I.

16a Nasty President with aim to be ungenerous (4-8)
MEAN-SPIRITED: an anagram (nasty) of PRESIDENT AIM. Nasty President? Who can that be, I wonder?

19a Pet given front position? That’s amazing! (6)
BOWWOW: charade of the front bit of a ship and an exclamation meaning “that’s amazing”. I was surprised to find that the BRB agrees with this enumeration (which looks wrong to me) whereas both Collins and the ODE have it as the more conventional 3-3.

21a Bit of a walk — Michael’s got his Dizzy maybe following around (8)
FOOTSTEP: I remembered that Dizzy was the name of the terrier owned by a Labour Party leader of the 1980s. Start with the politician’s name with the ‘S then reverse what Dizzy was to him (coincidentally the definition of the previous clue).

23a Revolutionary period with good end but not beginning (8)
GERMINAL: this was one of the months in the calendar of the French Revolutionary government. Rivet together the abbreviation for good and a synonym for end without its first letter.

24a Lover is aged, ancient (6)
ISOLDE: combine IS and the ancient spelling of a word meaning aged to give us the lover of Tristan in a medieval legend.

25a Like something written in prison? (6)
PENNED: double definition, the second meaning cooped up.

26a Investigator longed to be even-handed (8)
DETACHED: concatenate an abbreviation for a criminal investigator and a verb meaning longed.

Down Clues

2d Rogue enters region, not a place for amusement? (6)
ARCADE: insert a rogue into another word for region without its final A.

3d Smallest thing I missed on journey in region down under (5)
OTAGO: start with a word for a very small amount without its leading I and add a verb to journey.

4d Trading document giving news of decline in high street? (5,4)
SALES SLIP: this is how a reduction in high street trading might be headlined.

5d Indian city in good fortune at the present time (7)
LUCKNOW: glue together a synonym for good fortune and an adverb meaning ‘at the present time’.

6d No room for litres of red wine? Mark suggests something could be squeezed in (5)
CARET: a type of a red wine has its abbreviation for litres squeezed out.

7d Hindu asap working out his sacred text (9)
UPANISHAD: an anagram (working out) of HINDU ASAP produces a Hindu sacred text.

8d Holy man in ruin nearby (8)
MARABOUT: join a verb to ruin or spoil and an adverb meaning nearby (as in “there’s a lot of the virus *****”).

13d Ma is known to be construed as such — but not pa (9)
KINSWOMAN: an anagram (to be construed) of MA IS KNOWN.

14d Artist first providing support for military show (9)
TATTOOIST: a way of writing ‘first’ follows a military display.

15d Italian city’s birds — number with their usual formation coming in (8)
GENOVESE: the ‘S here forms part of the definition. Some tasty birds contain an abbreviation for number and a letter describing their flying formation.

17d Somehow disposed of, one part of armed forces disappeared (7)
RAFFLED: assemble one of our armed forces and a verb meaning disappeared or skedaddled. It’s lucky that the wordplay is straightforward because the definition seems very woolly.

18d Reward for honoured folk is said to be fiddle (6)
MEDDLE: a homophone of a reward for people being honoured.

20d Ecstasy seen in something magical is diminished (5)
WANED: the abbreviation for Ecstasy goes inside a magician’s instrument.

22d Philosopher thus keeps almost closed (5)
STOIC: an adverb, from Latin, meaning thus contains a second adverb meaning closed or nearly closed. My initial though here was Locke(d) – fortunately I didn’t write it in.

My top clue today was 13d. Which one(s) earned your ticks?

16 comments on “Toughie 2443
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  1. Another occasion where most of Giovanni’s obscure words were all lurking away somewhere in my head, although I will admit to checking that the word I’d made from the wordplay in 11a was a real ‘right’

    My favourite was 24a – I liked the ‘olde’ worde – although I did have to have a bit of a lie down after reading the 14 words in 6d

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. It’s him again – get the BRB out!
    I was lucky to have most of the required GK for this but spent a while trying to crowbar “Veronese” into 15d before the penny dropped. However, may I suggest that 11a is obscure even by Don’s usual standards? The wordplay is straightforward enough but the actual solution looked so unlikely that I didn’t even think it worth checking in Chambers: more fool me. Oh, and I dislike Christian name clues [1a].

    Thanks to Gazza and blessings to Giovanni.

  3. We found this rather tricky and were not impressed by the GK requirements and obscure words. The “regular” clues were fine.
    ****/**. 6A raised a small smile.

  4. Pretty much as expected but surprised to see cor, my and wow in 6/10/19
    Mr Foot’s dog of 40 years ago is hardly a good basis for a cryptic clue, surely?
    I confess I didn’t bother to finish my last few as I knew they would be Don specials
    Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for the blog **** / **

    1. Got the answer but couldn’t parse the second part. Not everyone is old enough to remember Michael Foot, and who the heck would know the name of his dog? ( Except our venerable blogger) Awful clue. Liked 19a though

  5. There weren’t any words in here that I hadn’t met before but I really wasn’t expecting the juvenile 19a or 6a.

    21a was obscure. Of all the Michaels I’d forgotten this one but it had to be what it was

    I really liked 1a as I was expecting some form of corsetry. My COTD

  6. I managed to get over the finish line successfully, but it was quite the struggle. I found the generous number of anagrams helpful in providing checkers when it came to some of the more off the beaten track entries. I also found that the more obscure words had sufficiently precise word play that made them accessible, which again was helpful. 21a was (a correct) shot in the dark (I wasn’t aware of the politician, let alone his pet). 24a gets my vote for favourite. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. Rather more things for me to check on than others have found – 11a & 7d as Gazza mentioned but also the 12a singer, Michael’s dog, the revolutionary period and the holy man. Not to worry, the research filled in the time whilst I waited for my turn to come round in Mr Waitrose’s busy delivery schedule. However, seemingly unlike CS, I can virtually guarantee that I won’t remember any of these new facts by tomorrow!

    Thanks to Giovanni for the albeit short term enlightenment and thanks to Gazza for the light-hearted review. I do hope that the client shown in 14d got some money back from the ‘artist’!

  8. I worked very earnestly, diligently, and hopelessly. Giovanni defeated me today. I do think, though, that 21a is simply beyond the pale of even Toughie Crossword expectations (spoken by am American who does remember the Labour leader and admired him…but his DOG?!). On the whole, however, a marvelous display of fierce erudition and wicked cleverness, and Giovanni remains the archdeacon of delightful obscurities and occult caches. I also agree with Gazza’s 13d as the star of stars today. ***** / ***** Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni

  9. I got there at a decent lick but needed to check several definitions to be sure. A few more obscure words which are hopefully now in the memory bank. 13d was my favourite, 21a made me smile. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. A tad too arcane for me. Had to use Gazza’s excellent aid for 12, and had to check online to make sure I was correctly answering 11, 7 & 8. 21 a successful stab in the dark. 4*/1.5* for me, thanks G & G.

  11. I rather enjoyed this offering from the Don.
    Had to check a couple of things but the wordplay was fair.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  12. I had to work hard to find a paper paper today and was very disappointed to then open it to find it was a Giovanni gk based toughie with the usual religious obscure words.
    I think compilers do a wonderful job (and I remain as a novice solver in awe), but surely it is a weakness on their part to include words that most people will have to resort to help to find? Takes away the fun in my humble opinion!
    Thanks to Gazza for the explanations and to Giovanni for the lesson.
    Maybe one day there’ll be one that requires an intimate knowledge of the United reserve team (rather than religious obscurities) and I’ll be happy😉

  13. We had vaguely heard of Michael Foot, but the name of his pet dog ……
    Also needed help with a couple of others mentioned above.
    3d was of course much easier for us than for most solvers but still it took some thinking about before the penny dropped.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

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