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Toughie 2491

Toughie No 2491 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Giovanni has cut down on the religious obscurities today and given us an entertaining puzzle with a pair of excellent anagrams, though there were still a couple of unknowns for me. Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

7a Optimist in trouble, I beam and crow — nothing to lose (8)
MICAWBER: an anagram (in trouble) of I BEAM and CR[o]W without the letter that resembles zero.

9a Bob maybe has house across two roads (6)
HAIRDO: the abbreviation for house contains what looks like a specific UK North-South road and the abbreviation for road.

10a Nasty headache puts Margaret on edge (6)
MEGRIM: what the BRB describes as an obsolete word for a migraine comes from a charade of a diminutive form of Margaret and a synonym of edge.

11a/27a Maybe Mark‘s sorting out secs and typing pool (8,6)
SYNOPTIC GOSPEL: an anagram (sorting out) of SECS TYPING POOL. I had heard of this term without knowing what it meant – the BRB reveals that it identifies one of the three gospels written from ‘a common point of view’.

12a Not the quality of a ‘Dexter-type’ writer! (4-10)
LEFT-HANDEDNESS: dexter is a Latin word meaning ‘right’. The Dexter in the surface reading presumably is Colin, the Morse creator and crossword enthusiast.

15a I really dislike that book — it’s an embarrassment (4)
BOOB: what you might say to show your disapproval or dislike of something is followed by the abbreviation of book. I shall resist the temptation for an illustration.

17a Number deserting beach, coming back for indoor game (5)
DARTS: start with a poetic word for a beach (also the German word for beach), remove the abbreviation for number and reverse what remains.

19a Old-fashioned trust finally went with quarrel (4)
TROW: the final letter of ‘went’ and a synonym of quarrel come together to provide an archaic verb meaning to trust or believe.

20a Is it Bacon’s art form ultimately? It’s somewhat different (14)
ABSTRACTIONISM: an anagram (somewhat different) of IS IT BACON’S ART and the ultimate letter of forM. See here for an expert view of his art form.

23a Material on northern island’s buried (8)
CRETONNE: a Yoda-type clue – ON and the abbreviation for Northern are contained in a Mediterranean island. Not a word I knew but the wordplay is clear.

25a Watch determined person losing head and heart (6)
TICKER: two definitions bracketing some wordplay. Remove the initial S from a determined and persistent person.

27a See 11a

28a It may be mis-served to a diner with love for what’s English (8)
TANDOORI: an anagram (mis-served) of TO A DIN[e>O]R after the abbreviation for English is replaced with the letter resembling love or zero. Clever clue.

Down Clues

1d Report of anything but feebleness in small child (4)
MITE: the answer sounds like the opposite of feebleness.

2d Bird quietly gets something on allotment, nipping head off (6)
PARROT: the musical abbreviation for quietly followed by a vegetable that might be grown on an allotment without its top letter.

3d God of war hurries, leader going out (4)
ARES: remove the leading letter from a verb meaning hurries or runs quickly.

4d Complained, being given drink that’s hard to swallow (6)
WHINED: a past participle meaning ‘given alcoholic drink’ contains the abbreviation for hard.

5d Italian painter is in Paris, being bolder than anyone else (8)
LIPPIEST: stick together the surname of an Italian Renaissance artist and a French verb meaning ‘is’.

6d Notice embassies making entrance charges (10)
ADMISSIONS: paste together an abbreviated notice and another word for embassies.

8d Attack dull lot of people going in the wrong direction (7)
BOMBARD: assemble an adjective meaning dull or dreary and a large group of (possibly disorderly) people then reverse it all.

13d Finally the bully arrives to restrict disorder briefly produced by aggressive Green? (10)
ECOWARRIOR: knit together the final letter of [th]E, a verb to bully or intimidate and the abbreviation (on transport timetables) for ‘arrives’ containing a word meaning disorder or melee without its last letter.

14d Eccentric character turning up to entertain one, a famous physicist (5)
DIRAC: reverse an eccentric character and insert the Roman numeral for one. I’d never heard of the Nobel Prize-winning physicist (having now read a bit about him I probably ought to have).

16d Dances around American street where folk may be waiting (3,5)
BUS STOPS: an informal verb meaning ‘dances to pop music’ contains abbreviations for American and street.

18d Yorkshire town rubbish collector taking a certain weight (7)
SKIPTON: a large container for rubbish and an imperial unit of weight.

21d Boy that’s amiss edges away, bad lad (6)
RONALD: an adjective meaning amiss or not right without its outer letters is followed by an anagram (bad) of LAD.

22d Disciple turned up outside a church offering chips (6)
NACHOS: reverse a word that can mean disciple or follower and insert A and an abbreviation for church.

24d Native of northern land in modest home (4)
ESTH: hidden in the clue is a word for a native of a specific Baltic state.

26d Make something for the traditional tea lady, we hear (4)
EARN: this sounds like something a traditional tea lady would have on her trolley.

My ticks today went to are 12a, 20a and 4d with the gold medal going to 28a. Which one(s) appealed to you?


26 comments on “Toughie 2491

  1. A very enjoyable, pitched just right for the start of the week, Toughie – my favourites were 7a, 28a and 26d

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. When I worked out 7a , I thought “Oh, I didn’t realise that Micawber used weird words” , but Gazza tells it was Giovanni after all.
    I enjoyed the challenge.
    I had to google Esth and also megrim , both new to me.
    I also never heard of Sohn as a disciple .
    I liked 4d and 25a .
    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  3. This took me a while to get on wavelength. Thankfully the weather is awful so I had no reason to stop trying to complete it. A real challenge, but very fair, with the excellent 20a as my COTD. Like A Evans at #1, 24d was also new to me.

    Many thanks to The Don for the workout and to Gazza.

  4. A lot easier than yesterday but still pretty tough for the likes of me. Pleased to say I finished it before the review & without any letter reveals but Mr G was employed on frequent occasions to confirm obscurities. 10a was a coin toss between P&M for the first letter – correctly took a punt on the latter (vaguely recalling it was also a fish). 11a, 14d, 19a, 23a & 24d were also all unfamiliar but got there via the wordplay. Last two in were 9a & finally 5d. Once I’d twigged the right sort of Bob I was then reduced to mentally working through the alphabet for the initial, third & fifth letters – needless to say had never heard of the renaissance brushman only the former Juve & national team coach of that name.
    Many thanks to Giovanni & to Gazza – agree with your selection of favourites & required your explanation to fully parse 21d, 28a & 13d.

  5. Really enjoyed that. It seems ages since I did a DG crossword. Just about 3/4* for me. Didn’t know 10a, 23a or 24d, but solvable when googled. Favourite 25a (just ahead of 17a and 28a) for the construction and the amusing image of a frustrated obstinate loser.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza, especially for the Victor Meldrew snippet. That alone brightened up my wet Wednesday – which, by the way CS, I don’t think is ordinarily regarded as the start of the week😉

  6. A ***/*** today, last in was 24d which only came when 23a was solved-like others never heard of them.
    Liked 5d and remembered Fra Lippo in my English ‘O’ level 60 years ago! as was 7a, what a coincidence.
    11/27 was somewhere in the recesses and fell out when the checking letters arrived.
    Anyway something to do in this August Monsoon.
    Thanks all.

  7. All the expected ‘not much fun at the fair’ for me although I did appreciate the nod to one of my preferred setters at 7a and gave ticks to 12a plus 4&26d.

    Thanks to Giovanni whom I doubt will ever win me over and also to Gazza, particularly for the One Foot in the Grave sketch. I did follow the link to 14d but I’m afraid most of the gentleman’s work defies my reasoning, rather like proponents of 20a!

    1. I’m rather a dinosaur when it comes to art. My view is that it peaked in the 17th century with, amongst others, the Dutch masters and went rapidly downhill once the camera was invented.

      1. Same here although I’d include Renoir’s portraits amongst my favourites. Having said that, I’ve never thought much of the Mona Lisa and got somewhat fed up with Monet’s endless water lilies so perhaps my taste is best described as being very personal!

    2. Which setter in 7a — the one in the clue or the one in the answer?

      After seeing those two I was wondering if there was going to be a theme (but obviously not).

  8. I put ‘tip’ instead of ‘kip’ for the Yorkshire town and thus spoiled my perfect day! Stipton, Skipton–how was I to know, except that I think I have been to the latter and the former appears not to exist. Otherwise, what a great Giovanni! I did need a bit of electronic help (some individual letters) to finish, with my favourites being 7a, 11/27a (hadn’t heard of ‘synoptic’ since my early Baptist Sword Drill training, age 8, ca 1946–with reference to the Gospels, anyway), 1a, 20a, 13d, and 5d (thanks to Browning’s Fra Lippo Lippi!). Wonderful puzzle. Thanks to Gazza for helping me parse 13d, as well as the overall review, and to Giovanni. **** / *****

  9. I came to grief in the NE corner. I hadn’t heard of the required Italian painter, but came up (after some searching) with Campi (a late Italian renaissance painter) and therefore entered CAMPIEST for 5d. I did not (though should have) thought of the right Bob in 9a, and even though I was on the right track with the roads it wasn’t enough to dislodge my 5d entry. I didn’t know the northern native in 24d, and my Google search only uncovered references to Esther. So – I was disappointed not to finish, but there some fun moments on the way. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. I enjoyed trying to complete this but needed the hints for the last 5. I wrong-footed myself in 13d by using only “a” for arrives but managed to land on what was the correct answer without being able to explain why. For 20a I made an anagram of “is it Bacon’s art” using “form” as the indicator, and applied ultimately to “it”, giving a noun to describe the man himself. Close, but not close enough! I must confess I can’t see the definition for 28a. I didn’t really like 15a and thought all the other clues were fair ones. I have chosen 25a and 7a as my favourites. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for his review.

    1. The definition of 28a is the whole clue which is saying that it would be a mistake to serve the answer to a diner who only liked English food.

  11. This was so much better and, dare I say, easier than the back page which I still haven’t managed to complete.
    I have a couple of quibbles. I thought 21d was too vague and I wasn’t sure who would have heard of the obscure physicist in 14 a.
    I had heard of 23a but 11a/27a was new to me as was 24d.
    I was delighted with 12a, so clever, and that’s my COTD.

    1. The “obscure physicist” was a Nobel prizewinner, FRS, Order of Merit and [Wikipedia] “one of the most significant physicists of the 20th C”

  12. his was completed with electronic help as I always struggle with Toughies (that is why they are named toughies I imagine), but as always an enjoyable experience or time well spent, my COTD was 20 across. Thank you to Giovanni and Gazza for what they do

  13. We of course had to use wordplay and Mr Google for the Yorkshire metropolis of some 14,000 souls. A couple of other bits of new knowledge too but all able to be deduced from the wordplay and then checked. Enjoyable solve with lots of ticks on our pages.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  14. Someone on the back page blog suggested this was an easier Toughie. Not for me I’m afraid. Only 4 clues solved. Clever stuff though but beyond this gardener.

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