Toughie 2475 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2475

Toughie No 2475 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I’ve realised that some potential solvers check the difficulty stars on the Toughie blog before deciding whether or not to try the puzzle. I hope that my ‘two star’ grading will encourage some to give this one a go.

I thought that this was a pleasant but not too challenging puzzle. It looked as though it was going to be a pangram but the J has escaped. Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Like sis, off ill in medical procedure (4,2,4)
KISS OF LIFE: an anagram (ill) of LIKE SIS OFF.

6a Outlook that is embodied by car manufacturer (4)
VIEW: the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ goes inside a German car manufacturer.

9a Doctors, say, attending fight involving the same leader of aliens knocked back (10)
PARAMEDICS: a fight or brawl contains a Latin word used in writing to mean ‘the same as something previously cited’ and the first letter of aliens. Now reverse it all.

10a Blue material produced by corporations from the East (4)
SMUT: reverse what corporations mean when used humorously.

12a Metal zither inspired new composer’s intros (4)
ZINC: leading letters of four words in the clue.

13a Regular advance covers most of audition for old leading lady (9)
MATRIARCH: a steady military advance on foot contains an audition or test without its last letter.

15a Soldiers caper about new artillery (8)
ORDNANCE: the abbreviation for ordinary soldiers is followed by a verb to caper or skip containing the abbreviation for new.

16a Warning from Mad Hatter (6)
THREAT: an anagram (mad) of HATTER.

18a Definitely not nuts, initially supporting Wanderers (6)
NOMADS: assemble a response meaning ‘definitely not’, an adjective meaning nuts or crackers and the initial letter of ‘supporting’. You don’t need to look too far away to get the word for nuts.

20a Daisy confused over law — it can make cash from case? (8)
DYSLEXIA: an anagram (confused) of DAISY containing the Latin word for law produces a condition involving word confusion. There is, of course, a funnier anagram:

23a Plastic Bertrand takes on European drinks provider (9)
BARTENDER: an anagram (plastic) of BERTRAND containing the single-letter abbreviation for European. ‘Plastic’ seems an odd epithet to apply to a forename and I checked, in vain, to see if Bertrand had another meaning. [Thanks to RD and CS (I think) for making me aware that Plastic Bertrand was the stage name of an old Belgian singer – next time I’m asked to name ten famous Belgians I shall certainly include him.]

24a Deft Jayawardene attacks covers (4)
NEAT: a hidden word. Jayawardene was a prolific Sri Lankan batsman.

26a Fidelio’s finale, fluid composition (4)
OPUS: combine the final letter of Fidelio and an unpleasant bodily fluid.

27a Obscure study admitting note is badly handled (10)
MISTREATED: bring together a verb to obscure and a verb to study at university then insert a note from tonic sol-fa.

28a Dim zero’s about to go for seconds (4)
DUSK: start with what we call a score of zero in cricket and replace the abbreviation for ‘about’ with that for ‘seconds’ to get a verb to dim.

29a Parts of bed are in front of tables (10)
HEADBOARDS: split the answer 4,6 and it could mean ‘are in front of tables’.

Down Clues

1d Celebrated skater upset occasionally (4)
KEPT: pick out regular letters from ‘skater upset’. Does this work for you? OK, it’s a regular sequence once we get started but we get started at the second letter.

2d Rushed out thus, attempted to turn first pair (7)
SORTIED: stick together a synonym for thus and a verb meaning attempted with its first two letters reversed.

3d Novel with troops succeeds among faint-hearts (2,4,3,3)
OF MICE AND MEN: ‘with troops’ (3,3) follows ‘among faint-hearts or timid individuals’ (2,4) to get the title of a John Steinbeck novel.

4d Notice my upset in fortune produces one feeling superior (4,4)
LADY MUCK: an abbreviated notice and the reversal of ‘my’ go inside another word for fortune.

5d Club’s striker trying Shearer’s headers and angles (6)
FACETS: the striking surface of a golf club and the first letters of “trying Shearer’s”.

7d Jimmy discovered Irish duck (7)
IMMERSE: Jimmy without his covering letters is followed by the Irish Gaelic language.

8d Guard’s trick that may keep hunter in place (5,5)
WATCH STRAP: a word for a guard or vigil plus its ‘S is followed by a trick or ruse. This hunter is an instrument (see illustration).

11d Confounding logical men, he becomes Renaissance figure (12)
MICHELANGELO: an anagram (confounding) of LOGICAL MEN HE.

14d Solvers go astray with blond, getting new ideas (5,5)
YOUNG BLOOD: start with how the setter might address the solvers and add an anagram (astray) of GO and BLOND.

17d Disliked concealing dry bananas with added water (8)
HYDRATED: a synonym for disliked contains an anagram (bananas) of DRY.

19d Noble king penetrates resistance (7)
MARQUIS: an abbreviation for king is inserted into the name used for resistance fighters in France during the German occupation in WWII.

21d Vote in favour of adopting decree produces that certain something (1-6)
X-FACTOR: the letter used to mark one’s vote and a preposition meaning ‘in favour of’ contain a word for a decree or edict.

22d Bill has very cool opinion (6)
ADVICE: string together an abbreviated bill or poster, the abbreviation for very and a verb to cool.

25d Scraps bad bits in brandy? (4)
ODDS: which letters of ‘brandy’ give us the word ‘bad’?

My ticks today went to 10a, 5d and 25d. Which one(s) made your list?


30 comments on “Toughie 2475

  1. Enioyable and not too tricky although 28a held me up a while as did the parsing of 9a. I thought 1d was a bit clunky. Favourites were 20a and 25d. Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect.

  2. I enjoyed this a lot. Most of it came together reasonably smoothly but a few clues proved to be quite tough.

    One of those coincidences again to find 5d here as a plural of one of today’s back-page answers.

    25d was my favourite.

    Gazza, Plastic Bertrand is the stage name of a Belgian “singer”. :wacko:

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

    1. Thanks (also to CS) for alerting me to the Belgian singer. I’ve just listened to his song ‘Ça plane pour moi’ and it does ring a faint bell. Apparently it’s featured in the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ film and in a Kelloggs advert, though I can’t say I’ve seen either.

  3. I’m surprised Gazza hasn’t heard of Plastic Bertrand – a Belgian musician, songwriter, producer, editor and television presenter, best known for the 1978 international hit single “Ça plane pour moi” a song which, once remembered, stays as an earworm all day – well I’ve been stuck with it since I started the crossword at 8.30 this morning ;(

    I wasn’t keen on 1d either but apart from that all seemed to work well. The printed clues look quite ‘wordy’ but most of them seem to pass the Ray T test. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

    1. Thanks CS, there is clearly a large trou in my Belgian musical knowledge. I’d never heard of him but I recognised the tune immediately as Jet Boy Jet Girl by The Damned. You’re right about it’s capability as an ear worm.

  4. Another pleasant quickie. I liked the inventiveness of 20a [but laughed more at your pic Gazza] and the surface of 5d.
    Plastic Bertrand sounds like a 70s rock poet or something The Fall might have sung about.
    Re the parsing of 9a – is “attending” part of the definition perhaps? Otherwise it seems redundant.
    Re 8d do hunters have straps?

    Thanks to SI and Gazza.

    1. Thanks halcyon – ‘attending’ is indeed part of the definition of 9a. I’ll adjust the underlining.

  5. The only one that held me up was 1d; It seems fair though, I guess.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  6. Not one of my preferred setters as I often find his clues extremely tortuous – 9a for example.
    Hadn’t heard of Plastic Bertrand or his song – just listened to it and don’t think I’ve missed much!
    Favourite was 8d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza – particularly for the illustrations of 1&20a!

  7. Made steady progress apart from getting really stuck on 20a and had to rely on Gazza’s guidance for the wordplay. Even now I am not sure how the answer matches the clue.

    I do so enjoy these Toughies that enable ordinary solvers like me to have a go from time to time, normally I only get one or two clues!

    Thanks Stick Insect!

    1. I think what 20a is indicating is that someone with this problem could see the word ‘case’ on paper but read it as ‘cash’.

  8. I started off well enough but slowed down for the final ‘quarter’ so overall a***/****.and an enjoyable solve
    Agree with JB re hunters having chains-I was left such a watch made by Bensons of Bond Street London( with chain)-which will be passed on.
    9a was somewhat obscure, the Latin term eluded me.
    Failed to parse 25d, thanks to Gazza for this and the amusing pics
    Favourite was 19d for its originality.

  9. Not to much of a task today.this week seems to be softy week all round on the puzzles page. I was quite pleased to reacquaint myself with Plastic Bertrand. I liked the beat of his only hit record. Thanks to Stick Insect for the entertainment and to a Gazza for the blog. I used to say that I could only name three famous Belgians. Eddie Merckx, Tintin, and Hercules Poirrot.

  10. For those who struggle to do a toughie alone, my friends and I Skype a couple of times a week – and its a much more enjoyable – and educational – experience solving as a team – with varying degrees of success

  11. A friendly, enjoyable Toughie. Took a while for the penny to drop with 14d. COTD 7d.

  12. Remembered when Plastic Bertrand came to the Jardin. My cheeky chef wrote on his plate: So, is it still flying for you?
    Nice crossword. Not too demanding but very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  13. First of all to Gazza I thank you, your preamble was spot on as I use to avoid the toughie but now realize it is a learning process much to starting when we all tried to solve cryptic’s for the first time, on the crossword, having read 9 across again I understand it and what a clever clue, 10 across is still a mystery to me but is me not Gazza, my COTD is 25 down as when I parsed it , it was my PDM.

    Thank you to Stickinsect and Gazza

    1. 10a. An abbreviation of tummies backwards. Corporation in crosswords is often the belly.

  14. This took me twice as long as the back pager even with a nudge from Gazza in the SW and a couple of bung ins. Some of the surfaces weren’t exactly smooth but there were lots of clever clever clues, my favourite probably being the 23a
    Many thanks to SI and Gazza for the entertainment.

  15. Late to the blog so that I could watch Tannheuser live-streaming from the Met Opera and then get some sleep after working the Toughie and Cryptic last night, and what a treat this one is, about as enjoyable and enlightening and educational as one is lucky to find. I’m fast becoming a fan of Stick Insect. Lots of things I really didn’t know or remember very well (Plastic Bertrand; ‘hunter’; French Resistance) but all were answerable if not self-explanatory by the clue. Top honours for me: 1, 9, 20a; 4, 14, 17d. (Anyone else remember the actor Lon Chaney as Lennie in the first movie version of Of Mice and Men?) Thanks to Gazza, whose reviews are always stellar, and to Stick Insect. *** / *****

    1. No idea who played Lennie in the film when I first saw it aged about 15 but I cried buckets at the end. Years later I took my sister to The Belgrade Theatre to see it. When it finished she cried buckets. I don’t know how she missed the book or the film. It is a powerful ending.

  16. 28a certainly qualified for the adjective ‘pesky’ with us. It took ages to twig what was going on there. We’ll put that one along with 20a and 25d on podium.
    We also wondered what had happened to the missing J that would have completed the pangram.
    Good fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  17. I did as well with this as I did with the back pager- I needed the hint for one clue in each.

    For this crossword it was 28a.

  18. I found this a fairly slow solve, but I attribute that mainly to having previously waded through the morass that was Wednesday’s Times puzzle…

    I’m sure that if my cerebral network wasn’t as fried as it was before this undertaking, I’d probably agree with Gazza’s ratings.

    Covid seems to be on the increase here in Tennessee. Isolation remains the key as far as we’re concerned.

    Thanks Gazza and Stick Insect.

  19. Started this very late last night & ran out of inspiration 3 shy in the SW (26&28a plus 14d) along with 20a. Had another look over breakfast & still no joy so as the letter reveal function didn’t seem to be working I sneaked a look at Gazza’s hint for 14d which enabled me to twig the other two. Still required Gazza’s help for the one remaining – irritated not to have got 20a once I’d read the hint but the wordplay was pretty clever. Like 4ft putts 4 letter clues are beginning to be my nemesis. Aside from the iffy 1d thought this a great crossword – tougher than a back pager but still doable as Kezzy said.
    Thanks Stick Insect & Gazza (liked the illustrations)

  20. Enjoyed this one, especially 25d. Last ones in 14d and 28a as took a while to get the solvers reference and don’t follow cricket! Otherwise straightforward.

Comments are closed.