Toughie 2455 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2455

Toughie No 2455 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Maybe I’m feeling grouchy after months of lockdown but I found this puzzle a bit lacklustre. Please do feel free to disagree. Thanks to Musaeus.

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

Across Clues

1a What’s written after fantastic pit stops with little credit added (10)
POSTSCRIPT: an anagram (fantastic) of PIT STOPS with the abbreviation for credit inserted.

6a Plough-jogger capriciously holds back a good day’s work? (4)
ACRE: hidden in reverse in the clue is what was traditionally defined as the amount of land a man could plough in one day with a yoke of oxen.

10a New term for dispensing with borders in transport system (5)
METRO: an anagram (new) of TERM followed by ‘for’ without its outer letters.

11a Southern headland attack — one’s sure to get blamed (9)
SCAPEGOAT: string together the abbreviation for southern, a synonym for headland and a phrasal verb (2,2) to attack.

12a Cope with assignment being penny-a-line stuff (8)
HACKWORK: charade of an informal verb to cope or manage and an assignment or commission. The answer means poor quality writing paid by the amount produced with little regard to quality.

13a Page on this mammal would make you a children’s writer (5)
OTTER: if you precede said mammal by the abbreviation for page you get the creator of Jemima Puddle-Duck.

15a Jenny’s often like this — Anne is possibly embracing one (7)
ASININE: an anagram (possibly) of ANNE IS containing the Roman numeral for one.

17a Balding husband disappearing into a state of invisibility? (4,3)
THIN AIR: start with a phrase for a less than a full barnet and remove the genealogical abbreviation for husband. I don’t think this quite works grammatically – the original phrase only matches ‘balding’ if it’s preceded by ‘having’ or similar.

19a Nearly all of team drink around Spain and become tight (5,2)
TENSE UP: bring together almost a full football or cricket team and a verb to drink containing the IVR code for Spain.

21a With regard to two travel documents, the last is incomplete (3-1-3)
VIS-À-VIS: join two occurrences of the same travel document, the second being incomplete.

22a Surprising success surrounding sailor’s customary dress (5)
HABIT: put a surprising success around one of the abbreviations for sailor. I’m not sure that the success is necessarily surprising but the BRB is.

24a Succeeded along with count in bar (8)
SANDBANK: cement together the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded, a conjunction meaning ‘along with’ and a verb to count or rely.

27a Shy holding acid, causing alarm (9)
STARTLING: a verb to shy or toss contains an adjective meaning acid or sharp.

28a Incline to follow Conservative stiffness (5)
CRAMP: an incline follows an abbreviation for Conservative.

29a Jerk, Virginia’s son? (4)
YANK: possibly a native of Virginia.

30a A rigorous preparation for toning the skin (10)
ASTRINGENT: A followed by an adjective meaning rigorous or exacting.

Down Clues

1d Vanity shown by narrow-minded politician (4)
POMP: the shortened form of an adjective meaning narrow-minded or humourless is followed by our usual elected politician.

2d Relocate to Tunisia for employment (9)
SITUATION: an anagram (relocate) of TO TUNISIA.

3d Small wine jar (5)
SHOCK: the clothing-size abbreviation for small and a white wine.

4d Do up residence with rent (7)
RESTORE: the abbreviation for residence and a verb meaning rent or ripped.

5d Feature of shirt left in wrapper (7)
PLACKET: insert the abbreviation for left into a wrapper or paper container. I didn’t know this word which, when applied to a shirt, apparently means the double layer of fabric holding the buttons and buttonholes.

7d Cold oik garners influence (5)
CLOUT: join together the abbreviation for cold and a synonym for oik or uncouth person.

8d Begin quietly then grow readiness for undertaking (10)
ENTERPRISE: assemble a verb to begin or move into, the musical abbreviation for quietly and a verb to grow or climb.

9d Tossing caber, so I will find a way to keep fit? (8)
AEROBICS: an anagram (tossing) of CABER SO I.

14d Talk whimsy about superior drink? (4,6)
MALT WHISKY: an anagram (about) of TALK WHIMSY.

16d Independent daughter being in character (8)
IDENTITY: abbreviations for independent and daughter followed by a word meaning being or existence.

18d Trailer on truck with electronic ID first to benefit (9)
ADVANTAGE: weld together a short word for a trailer or promotion, a load-carrying truck and the abbreviation for electronic which is preceded by a form of ID.

20d Not quite the most unhealthy-looking snacks (7)
PASTIES: a superlative meaning most unhealthy-looking loses its final T.

21d Vigor (sic) in volume in vogue upset (7)
VINEGAR: knit together the abbreviation for volume, IN and the reversal of a word meaning vogue or craze. The ‘sic’ indicates that vigor is not a typo but the spelling of the word in North America where the answer is an informal term meaning energy or vitality.

23d Reason I’ll get stuck into health food (5)
BRAIN: insert I into a health food.

25d Company in grip of embargo is what one often wants to save (5)
BACON: the abbreviation for company goes inside a synonym of embargo.

26d Bath time barney (4)
SPAT: a type of bath and the abbreviation for time.

My top clue was 6a. Which one(s) made you smile?

I was cheered up by the latest Private Eye crossword which arrived this morning. I particularly liked:
6d Jiggle nuts, like a lockdown sufferer? (4-5)      Answer: STIR-CRAZY

29 comments on “Toughie 2455

  1. Toughie? Really? All over too soon for my liking, but will be pleased to read others’ thoughts. Thanks Gazza & Musaeus. 1*/1*.

  2. I did need electronic help for half a dozen clues but, on the whole, I found this most enjoyable. Favourite clues are 11a, 24a and 18d with the latter being my COTD.

    Grateful thanks to Musaeus for a most enjoyable Toughie and to Gazza for the hints, which, unusually for me, I did not need. I always read them though.

  3. Very nice . I never heard of 5d either.
    Lots of lovely clues .25d gave me a smile.
    Thanks to Gazza and Musaeus.

  4. Very enjoyable. Was stuck on my shirt parts and penny-a-liners for a while but eventually managed to construct. Am grateful to Gazza for explaining the defintion in 21d and to Musaeus for a good workout. 2.5*/3* for me with 17a being my favourite.

  5. Certainly tending towards the ho-hum, slightly less challenging than yesterday’s Dada, completed at a Toughie gallop – 2*/2.5*.
    12a turned out to be a bit of a headscratcher; I suppose I will have to try and remember it just in case it turns up again.
    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 24a, and 5d – and the winner is 24a.
    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

  6. Nothing here either to frighten or to excite the horses.

    Favourite – 21a.
    Eyebrows raised for 17a, 29a & 21d.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza.

  7. Took exactly the same time to solve as yesterday’s Dada – so that’s two toughies so far this week which makes a change, even if they were fairly average for enjoyment.

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza

  8. Not too hard this morning. Heard of 5d but not 12a although we had enough checkers to work it out. Last in, 21d. Luckily we use (US) app for thesaurus so ‘vigor’ didn’t throw us.
    Thanks to all.

  9. Yes – rather floughie – though I did slow down at the end a bit trying to justify the wording of 21d so thanks for that Gazza. I also had doubts about 13a, thinking it might be a load of old Hogwarts so thanks again G.
    And thanks to Musaeus for the puzzle.

  10. Being picky but I don’t think a resident of Virginia, a Southern state, would appreciate being called a Yank.

    1. That did occur to me but we tend to lump all Americans together as Yanks (and that’s confirmed by the BRB).

  11. Finished this without any help but my old cobwebby brain and enjoyed it for the most part, though I didn’t know 5d exactly. I did remember my mother, quite a fine seamstress, referring to a p*****t when sewing on the old electric Singer. Thought 14d was a brilliant anagram and very much liked 1a and 21a. Last ones in, simultaneously it seems, were 12a and 5d. Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza. ** / ***

  12. All fairly straightforward though 21d didn’t make much sense to me at first, so thanks for that Gazza
    No particular faves, so I’ll pick 6d :grin:
    Thanks also to Musaeus

  13. I really enjoyed this. I have only just started on the toughies and found this challenging but doable. I was really pleased to complete it without any help. Thanks to the setter and Gazza.

  14. This was a nice solve but I had never heard of 5 down, 18 down was my COTD and when i had read the paring it all made sense, thank you to Mauseas and Gazza.


  15. I got more enjoyment from this than our reviewer did and make no apology for laughing at 17a regardless of its grammatical incorrectness.
    Hadn’t heard of 12a and finished up with ‘taskwork’ which seems to be an alternative for ‘piecework’ and almost fitted the bill.
    Very familiar with 5d – takes me back to Home Ec. classes at grammar school and the ensuing frustration at my sewing inabilities!
    Along with 17a, I’m awarding a podium spot to 30a if only for recollections of the torture induced by same………

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza who still brings us a humorous review even when he’s feeling grouchy!

  16. Like Jane I wrote taskwork for 12a. Also failed 5d since I had never heard of the word. Otherwise I was quite pleased to get somewhere near to completion.

  17. I really enjoyed this, probably more so than the back pager, I thought it was a fun and not too difficult solve, much easier than Dada yesterday. Couple of obscurities in the North were easily gettable from the wordplay and checkers so didn’t have any problems bar the parsing of 21d (which appeared in yesterday’s back pager, must be a surfeit of the stuff at the moment).
    Podium places go to 17a & 21a plus 26d….with 1a running them close.

    Many thanks to Musaeus and Gazza for the entertainment

  18. It all went together smoothly for us with the biggest bit of head-scratching being with 21d.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

  19. After much head-scratching … I’ll pick the “Balding …” one as my favourite. (17a)

    1. … but can you come up with a sentence in which ‘balding’ is interchangeable with ‘thin hair’?

  20. Can see why you were a little underwhelmed Gazza but for the less accomplished solvers like me it was pleasingly ‘floughie’
    Plain sailing apart from 5d & 12a & rather lost patience & revealed the K checker – both words were new to me but then gettable from the wordplay. As I’m fond of the Cornish variety 20d was my favourite along with the excellent 14d – come to think of it I remember tucking into a piping hot pasty followed by a slug from the hip flask just before teeing off at the superb St Enodoc – the county’s finest links.
    Thanks to setter & for your review – which most unusually I didn’t require to parse the answers – maybe a Toughie first

  21. Not too tough as I managed the solve without really concentrating on it.
    Liked 17a too even with its flaws.
    Placket was a new word for me but easily checked.
    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza.
    Is the answer to your riddle a Hospital?

  22. Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza for the review and hints. I quite enjoyed this, but ran out of steam in the end. I had “makework” for 12a & “chill” for 28a, which made a lot of the other clues ungettable. Favourite was 21a. Wouldn’t have thought of brain=reason in 23d. Also can someone please explain what Jenny has to do with being asinine in 15a? Was 4*/3* for me.

      1. Thanks for the explanation Gazza, that’s a new one on me. It’s amazing that there are so many things that one doesn’t come across.

  23. Enjoyed this. Much better clues than some more elevated Toughies recently, even if it wasn’t too hard, apart from the slightly ambiguous 12a, where, for me, the required “it” for “cope” has gone AWOL. Still, that’s a minor grumble. 5d gets my prize.

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