Toughie 2479 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2479

Toughie No 2479 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I didn’t find it too tricky to get the answers here but had to do some investigoogling to understand all the references. Thanks to Musaeus for the challenge.

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

Across Clues

1a Oblique poetry on coaches one’s forgotten (10)
TRANSVERSE: a word for poetry follows a verb meaning coaches without the Roman number one.

6a Junk clocks coming from the east (4)
SPAM: both clocks and the answer when reversed are slang words for human faces. I recently came across this version of a Ewan MacColl classic by a music legend towards the end of his life. It’s markedly different from the Roberta Flack version but it gives me goosebumps. Tell me what you think.

10a Second story is insipid (5)
STALE: the abbreviation for second and a synonym of story.

11a China in place or out of place (9)
PORCELAIN: an anagram (out of place) of IN PLACE OR.

12a There’s trouble when this is left on travel (8)
PASSPORT: the mariner’s left follows a verb to travel or proceed.

13a Five shots of Absolut on ice with (5)
TONIC: hidden in the clue.

15a E.g. a claret I decanted (7)
ARTICLE: an anagram (decanted) of CLARET I.

17a The cutting edge of food processing (7)
INCISOR: a gentle cryptic definition.

19a Snowy step perhaps is small and cold, children step on it first (7)
SCRUNCH: start with abbreviations for small and cold then add the abbreviation for children preceded by a verb meaning ‘step on it’ or ‘go quickly’.

21a Thus see in action monster-slaying hero (7)
THESEUS: an anagram (in action) of THUS SEE gives us the mythological Greek hero who slew the Minotaur.

22a Hackney and a Liberal council causing intrigue (5)
CABAL: string together what hackney is a type of, A and the abbreviation for Liberal to get a small group of intriguers. The word was, coincidentally, used as an acronym for five secretive advisers of Charles II because the initial letters of their surnames formed the word.

24a Back having more grass when housing northern animal (8)
REINDEER: reverse a comparative meaning ‘having more grass’ containing the abbreviation for northern.

27a Adore more travelling? Get away from here (9)
AERODROME: a very apt anagram (travelling) of ADORE MORE.

28a Private bar (5)
CLOSE: double definition, the first an adjective and the second a verb.

29a Classic drama repeats showing an impossibility (2-2)
NO-NO: repeat a form of classic Japanese drama.

30a Commandeer a good egg, a publicity-seeker (5,5)
PRESS AGENT: assemble a verb to commandeer or requisition, A and the short form of a word for a ‘good egg’ or honourable person.

Down Clues

1d First from Telegraph with question for Labour (4)
TASK: the first letter of Telegraph and a verb to question.

2d Sculptor uses this American clobber disguising minute on Queen (9)
ALABASTER: knit together the single-letter abbreviation for American, a verb to clobber or criticise without the abbreviation for minute and the Queen’s regnal cipher.

3d Features of many gardens: ditches (5)
SHEDS: double definition, the second a verb meaning ditches or discards.

4d Scout learning under former leader of pack (7)
EXPLORE: a word for traditional learning follows a prefix meaning former and the leading letter of pack.

5d Compose tritest forms of Italian fugues (7)
STRETTI: an anagram (compose) of TRITEST. Not a word I knew.

7d You might enjoy this fresh in outskirts of Paignton? (5)
PRAWN: insert an adjective meaning fresh or inexperienced into the outer letters of Paignton.

8d Absurdly busy judge initially dismissed law student for digital pro? (10)
MANICURIST: weld together an adjective meaning absurdly busy or hectic and a student of law without the initial abbreviation for judge.

9d Camp champion consuming large bit of snail, say (8)
TENTACLE: bring together a verb to camp and a synonym for champion containing the clothing abbreviation for large.

14d Plant to restrain group of self-supporting dealers (5,5)
DAISY CHAIN: a flowering plant and a verb to restrain or tether make a term for a group of dealers who fraudulently conspire to rig the price of stocks and shares. I only knew the answer as a method of connecting electronic devices but Googling it revealed other meanings (probably best to avoid if you’re of a nervous disposition!).

16d Close trick tip involving old penny (8)
CONCLUDE: start with a trick or hoax and add a tip or hint containing the pre-1971 abbreviation for a penny.

18d He’s in the dock to wear down old soldiers preposterously (9)
STEVEDORE: cement together a verb to wear down or wear away and a North American word for retired soldiers. Now reverse what you have – one of the meanings of preposterous (rare, according to the BRB) is inverting or putting the last first.

20d Lodging in hot wooded retreat (7)
HARBOUR: this lodging or place of shelter comes from the plumbing abbreviation for hot followed by a wooded retreat.

21d Brawn from church in the course of outings (7)
TRICEPS: insert one of the abbreviations for church into a synonym for outings or excursions.

23d Bank in contact with peer (5)
BARON: charade of a bank (at the mouth of a river) and a preposition meaning ‘in contact with’.

25d Putin’s pad? Yes for him with ace central heating installed (5)
DACHA: the Russian word for yes and the abbreviation in card games for ace contain the abbreviation for central heating.

26d Handy pottery, fifty on the shelf (4)
DEFT: a type of pottery with the Roman numeral for fifty no longer required.

My podium selections today are 27a, 7d and 25d. Which one(s) did you favour?


24 comments on “Toughie 2479

  1. I can’t believe I got this done before the hints were posted! Thoroughly enjoyable despite needing Mr. G. for about five, which I just could not parse. This is a first for me. Two Toughies completed, almost unaided, in one week.

    Thanks to Musaeus for a most enjoyable challenge. Thanks, also to Gazza for the hints that, for once, I did not need.

  2. Most enjoyable with lovely clear clues – the only thing I needed to check was the solution to 14d which was clearly explained in the BRB

    Thanks to Musaeus for the crossword and Gazza for the hints

  3. There were a few that I filled in that I could not explain adequately. I had not heard of the slang term for the face in 6a, and I was thrown by the word ‘preposterously’ in 18d.

    Thanks to Musaeus for the puzzle, and to Gazza for the elucidation.

  4. A very friendly puzzle. Just beaten by 26d one of those pesky 4 letter words. It was very clever and must be my COTD.

  5. Finished alone and unaided last night, even though I had no idea about the arcane meaning to ‘preposterous’, which now helps me to parse 18d. A thoroughly enjoyable Toughie, with masterful clueing throughout, my favourites being 8d, 2d, 19a, and 24a. I did happen to know the Italian term, thanks to all of those years of classical music training (piano and organ, yes, but all of those Italian operas!). Thanks to Gazza for the research and explanations, and to Musaeus for a superb Toughie. Erudite and very savvy too.

    1. I think I’ve probably mentioned it on the blog in the past but my boss from years ago had an involvement with a nearby theatre and regularly received tickets for various operas. Those which she either couldn’t attend – or simply didn’t fancy – were handed out to us minions who dutifully went along. Quite the worst were the Italian operas where the hero/heroine was mortally wounded but made a long, drawn out ‘song and dance’ about dying. I can remember muttering ‘oh for goodness sake just die’ on several occasions!

      1. Well Jane, Dad and I went to the opera in Leningrad in the mid 80’s. Very embarrassingly the stewards booted out two people in the front row so that we ‘honoured foreigners’ could sit there despite our protestations. The soprano (a rather large lady) sang her final aria and dropped dead about 3 feet from our seats. To my horror Dad said in a very penetrating whisper ‘she’s not dead, her bosoms are still heaving’! I was mortified and hoped no-one spoke English.

      2. Jane, I just watched another live-streamed Tosca (“shabby little shocker”, opined one reviewer back then), in which the hero is shot dead and the heroine leaps to her death, Tiberwards. (It is still my favourite Puccini.)

  6. Four answers that I needed to check in the BRB but certainly an enjoyable solve. The 22a acronym was new to me although I’m sure I should have known it – knew the answer but had never questioned the derivation.
    21 & 23d amused and my favourite was 19a, such a wonderfully descriptive word.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza for the review and the music clip – an excellent version from a legendary artist.

  7. There must be something about today’s puzzle because this is the first time I have ever finished the Toughie although ! had to google 14d to see if it was right. What a feeling of total satisfaction so thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

  8. A curate’s egg for me with a broad spectrum of both difficulty and enjoyment. There were some decidedly strange surface readings to be found and if anyone can offer an explanation of the surface of 2d I would be very grateful.

    Thanks to Musaeus and also to Gazza. Some of Johnny Cash’s best recordings were made during the twilight of his career – chock full of emotion.

  9. It’s so satisfying and encouraging to be able to complete a Toughie, even if needing hints to parse a few.
    9d threw me as I don’t think of snails being thus equipped.
    8d made my day.
    Thanks to Musaeus for the challenge and to Gazza for the enlightenment.

  10. I really enjoyed this toughie, I always feel when you learn something new you have a penny in your pocket, I had to look in Bradford’s to finally find 5 across and 19, across I have not heard in many years but was easy to get from the clue and parsing. My like were 11, 13, and 17 across and on the downs 2, and 18 but I am still trying to understand 23 down and that is down to me.

    Thank you to Musaeus and Gazza

  11. Came up short on 18d. Found this quite a mixed bag in terms of difficulty and elegance of clues. Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

  12. Tossing up between 15a and 27a for favourite.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

  13. Coming to that time of year when nights are almost as hot as days but glad it didn’t affect my solving abilities.
    Very enjoyable crossword.
    Loved 13a and 7d.
    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza.

  14. Really enjoyable toughie. I liked 15a as it shows the need to consider every part of a clue. I had to look up the terms for Japanese dramas and Italian fugues, but otherwise straightforward.

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