Toughie 2459 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2459

Toughie No 2459 by Messinae

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle with a number of chuckle-inducing clues (including one at 10a which I would have expected to find in Private Eye but probably not in the straitlaced Telegraph). Thanks to Messinae for the entertainment – it will be great if he can bring this level of fun to his future Toughies.

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

Across Clues

1a One particular fine place to accommodate me informally (7)
FUSSPOT: the abbreviation for fine (as a grade of pencil lead) and a synonym of place contain a 2-letter informal word for ‘me’.

5a Large crowd welcoming back returning group (7)
MADNESS: a large crowd contains another word for back or rear reversed.

9a I carry out business model (5)
IDEAL: I and a verb meaning ‘carry out business’.

10a Authorising chap after it? (9)
MANDATING: charade of a chap and what could be “in search of ‘it'” or “seeking carnal relations” (LOL).

11a ‘Silence of Lambs’ gets put on in Oxford theatre (10)
SHELDONIAN: a request for silence and an adjective meaning ‘like the work of Charles Lamb (based on his pen name)’ have inside them a verb to put on (clothes).

12a Band chat on radio (4)
TORC: this necklace or armband sounds (to some people, not to me) like a synonym of chat.

14a One’s altogether united in disguising dirty habits (8,4)
BIRTHDAY SUIT: insert the abbreviation for united into an anagram (disguising) of DIRTY HABITS.

18a Economical over, one delivered on stump possibly, in debut at Lords? (6,6)
MAIDEN SPEECH: join together an over conceding no runs at cricket and what a speaker (usually a politician) may deliver from a tree stump or raised platform. Lords here is not the cricket ground (which would have needed an apostrophe) but the House at Westminster with the red benches.

21a Primate securing small niche (4)
APSE: one of the primates contains the abbreviation for small.

22a Rail coach carrying the French turned over business (10)
BALUSTRADE: a passenger-carrying coach contains the reversal of a French definite article. Append a synonym of business.

25a Poor quality of voice is sneered about (9)
REEDINESS: an anagram (about) of IS SNEERED.

26a Some wretched gents act shiftily (5)
HEDGE: today’s only hidden answer.

27a Take away tons transported back (7)
DETRACT: assemble the abbreviation for tons and a verb meaning transported then reverse it all.

28a Radio bringing in leader of Yemen’s despotic regime (7)
TYRANNY: an old informal term for a radio set (dating from the time when valves were superseded) contains the leading letter of Yemen.

Down Clues

1d Very delicate insect wings I am studying primarily (6)
FLIMSY: an insect contains (wings) the contracted form of ‘I am’ and the primary letter of studying.

2d Horse drinking whiskey gets drunk (6)
STEWED: a literary word for a horse contains the letter that whiskey is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

3d Powerful shot built up runner (10)
PILEDRIVER: concatenate an adjective meaning built up or heaped and something inanimate that runs.

4d Skinflint provides money in an instant? The reverse all round (5)
TIMON: this is Shakespeare’s Athenian skinflint. ‘all round’ indicates two forms of reversal in that a) he doesn’t provide money and b) the wordplay involves putting an instant (2) into a slang word for money.

5d Give rough treatment to new worker he takes in (9)
MANHANDLE: put the abbreviation for new and a manual worker into the type of person for whom ‘he’ is used as a pronoun.

6d What smoker craves? Contrary habit! (4)
DRAG: double definition, the second meaning the habit or dress of a person of the opposite sex.

7d Final chapter Poe composed with guile (8)
EPILOGUE: an anagram (composed) of POE and GUILE.

8d Wisdom in place where everyone’s over fifty? (8)
SAGACITY: cryptically, when split (4,4), this could be the dwelling place of customers of a British firm serving the needs of the over-fifties.

13d Watch baseball player, one who’s striking (3-7)
EYE-CATCHER: knit together a verb to watch and a fielder positioned behind the batter at baseball.

15d Will reservists get involved in ordeal? (9)
TESTAMENT: insert the soldiers of our volunteer army (2,3) (which was actually renamed as the Army Reserve as long ago as 2014) into a word for an ordeal or trial.

16d Rogue broadcast not up to scratch (8)
IMPAIRED: glue together a small rogue and a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted.

17d What embarassment is making girl hide? (8)
MISSPELT: How many of us looked at the clue and thought ‘another mistake’? (D’oh). Put together an unmarried girl and an animal hide or skin. Very clever and innovative!

19d Guard nuclear bunker? (6)
WARDEN: cryptically, when divided (3,3), this could be a nuclear bunker.

20d Expression to introduce unknown belief not widely accepted (6)
HERESY: split your answer 4’1,1.

23d Surprising result riding on clot (5)
UPSET: an adverb meaning riding (a horse) and a verb to clot.

24d Terrorist group carrying pounds in old money (4)
LIRA: a terrorist group is preceded by the abbreviation for pounds. The answer is ‘old money’ in at least one country but in others, including Turkey, it’s very much current.

I have a long list of clues I liked including 10a, 14a, 18a, 6d and 17d. Which one(s) did you enjoy?

28 comments on “Toughie 2459

  1. Very enjoyable and a proper Toughie to boot – I agree with everything Gazza says, although I did select 17d to be the top of my very long list of clues destined for ‘favouritism’

    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza

  2. Tough and witty, just what we need. Plus a touch of fruitiness [there seems to bit a bit more of “it” around at the moment].
    My favourites were 6d, for a laugh when the penny dropped, 8d for a quicker laugh and the cunning 17d [own up, who else had to check the spelling?]

    Many thanks to Messinae and to Gazza

  3. A few head scratchers but I got there. Parsing 11a was beyond me despite having donned my sub fusc there on more than one occasion. Plenty of clues made me smile today. Thanks to Gazza and Messinae.

  4. I know this is strange in one addicted to crosswords, but my spelling is really quite poor. this comes from my awkward streak. I decided as a child that all spelling should be phonetic and all double letters should be ignored, and I have pretty much stuck to that view. If something has to be correct I use a dictionary (or spellcheck), but I have never made an effort to learn the difficult words. Because of this 17 d took me ages to see. I didn’t know Lamb’s pen name, but I did know the theatre. All in all a satisfying solve.

  5. Is 17d really an embarrassment?
    I don’t know if it is a chestnut but I really liked 8d with 14a following close behind.

    1. Not sure what you mean JB – the word embarassment is misspelt in the clue, making a definition by example indicated by the ?

      1. Clever! Print so small in the dead wood version that I just didn’t notice the error.

  6. I’m glad others enjoyed this, but I’m afraid this was not a puzzle for me. There were far too many things I did not know in order to make any meaningful progress. In the top half, I knew neither the literary reference nor the Oxford theatre in 11a, I hadn’t heard of the group in 5a, I did not know the Shakespearean reference (although I should have) in 4d, and I knew neither the band in 12a, nor the British firm referenced in 8d. I took a couple of runs at it, but I’m afraid it ended up in the electronic bin pretty quickly – without even looking at the bottom half. So sorry, but thanks to all.

  7. I found this heavy going but it was me as everything was fairly clued, I enjoyed 14 & 18 across and 13 down, this another learning experience for me, thank you Messinae & Gazza.


  8. Currently shy of 4d, 11a & 17d but am off for a good walk now that it’s cooled down slightly. Another super crossword to go along with Jay’s back pager. Much to my surprise I didn’t find this one a great deal more tricky than Jay until that is the brick wall of the 3 to go. Favourites so far are definitely 10a & 8d both of which made me chuckle.
    Thanks to Messinae & to Gazza (hints hopefully not going to be required but probably will)

  9. I thought this was quite wonderfully witty, erudite, and exhilarating, even though as a foreigner there were several things I simply did not know, like the firm in 8d, the band in 12a (though I should have), and the colloquialism in 28a. But with much perseverance, I did manage to finish (with electronic help: 3 letters) after returning for a third go. I pleased myself by working out the clever answers in 11 and 18a, and I did know the Oxford landmark and the skinflint. Thought that that the decrypting of ‘Silence of the Lambs’ just brilliant–I used to teach selections from Essays from Elia, remembering an old high school teacher who read the ‘Roast Pig’ howler to a class of 16-yr-olds. Well, this was a really perfect puzzle for an old English prof like me. Especially my favourite, the COTD, 17d. Beyond that, the list is just too long. Finally, a rare thing: I laughed out loud with 20d! Thanks to Gazza and to Messinae, who joins with Jay in producing an ideal cruciverbal day for me. ***** / *****

  10. Still hot so the good walk was a brief stroll. Mr G supplied the theatre, then correctly surmised that WS’s Athenian was stingy & the penny dropped for 17d which instantly gains promotion to COTD.
    Review required to sort out half a dozen parsings – thanks Gazza.

  11. Not managed to finish this yet but it is work in progress.
    However, I have just found out (from Cracking the Cryptic You Tube) that Saturdays Indy!202006

    Is a puzzle by a setter “Bluth”
    our friend Eccles/Snape has outed him as the comedian Dave Gorman. I found this puzzle very entertaining even though it is not as tough as this.
    It included the following clue;
    Inferior, firm rump (6)
    definitely not suitable for the straitlaced DT. but it made me laugh.

    1. Good Golly Miss Molly I am late to this party – a bit of investigoogling and I find Bluth all over the place. But good fun nevertheless.

  12. Managed to cobble together 11a despite not appreciating the Lamb reference but came unstuck with 22a where I hadn’t spotted the definition and 23d where I was convinced that the clot would be an ass!
    Don’t recall seeing ‘wings’ used in that way previously but it was a clever touch.
    Plenty of ‘ticks’ on my sheet from which I selected five for special mention – 10&14a plus 8,17&20d.

    Thanks to Messinae for the Friday level Toughie and to Gazza both for the review and for helping me over the 22a hurdle.

  13. We needed Mr Google’s help with the group in 5a and, although we have now learned a lot about a city in Japan, are still none the wiser about the over 50s place in 8d. The rest of the GK was all stuff that we manged to remember.
    Quite challenging for us and enjoyable to work through.

    1. Saga are a Kent-based company who run holidays and insurance services for people over the age of fifty

      1. There used to be a joke that Saga was an acronym for Send All Grannies Away

        As I get older their holidays seem more attractive

  14. I found this quite tricky but lots of fun. I only realised the misspelling once i had the answer, a lovely clue.

    I quite like the horse drinking whisky getting drunk as well.

    Thanks Messinae & Gazza

  15. Almost completed with some electronic assistance. Needed 5’s discussion to fully understand 17d.

    1. That was my thought after starting to read a synopsis of the play but I got fed up with trying to fathom the plot and turned to Mrs Bradford who lists Timon under ‘miser’.

  16. It’s very difficult to pick 3 clues for the podium from such an embarrassment of riches … but 10a, 18a and, of course, 17d get my vote.

    Great fun! Thanks, Messinae.

    Thanks also to Gazza for explaining Lambs and the Skinflint.

  17. Although I knew the theatre in Oxford, I couldn’t really parse the clue passed the silent bit.
    Found it harder than the following toughie by proximal.
    Should follow a pattern with my backlog but prefer to solve in a random manner.
    Thanks to Messinae and to Gazza.

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