Toughie 2507 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2507

Toughie No 2507 by Musaeus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

For the most part I found this fairly straightforward but there are a couple of clues which required a bit more thought. I am conscious that some of the clues (e.g. 8d, 16d and 25d) may increase the difficulty level for overseas solvers because of their UK-specific content. Some of the surface readings (e.g. 10a and 14d) are not terribly smooth.

Thanks to Musaeus.

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

Across Clues

1a Brad’s filling room, displaying little speed (6,4)
SNAIL’S PACE: insert what a brad is a type of (plus the ‘S) into a synonym for room or expanse.

6a Excellent leader of people in workplace (4)
BOSS: double definition, the first (new to me) being an adjective meaning excellent.

9a A profit once more (5)
AGAIN: A and a synonym for profit.

10a I’m often caped and hope ruse runs and runs within (9)
SUPERHERO: an anagram (runs) of HOPE RUSE with the cricket abbreviation for runs inserted.

12a Put the mockers on hill exercises before finish (7)
TORPEDO: assemble a small rocky hill, the abbreviation for physical exercises and a verb to finish.

13a Stick around small container (5)
FLASK: another word for stick or criticism contains the clothing abbreviation for small.

15a Ineffective female missing state of dangerous plug? (7)
USELESS: start with an adjective which could describe an electrical plug with no safety mechanism and then take away the abbreviation for female.

17a South-eastern area with channel showing ‘Coast‘ (7)
SEASIDE: strap together abbreviations for south-eastern and area and a word once used to mean a TV channel. In the 1950s when there were only two channels in the UK the question would be asked “What’s on the other ****?” – answering this involved a major operation as someone had to get to their feet, approach the box and turn the knob.

19a Fruit is a necessity when going west (7)
SATSUMA: string together A, a synonym for necessity and a conjunction meaning when. Finally reverse it all.

21a Smart hiding among virile group facing Asterix? (7)
MANIPLE: a verb to smart or sting is contained in an adjective meaning virile to make a unit of foot soldiers in the Roman army.

22a Otherwise fair accepting noun in Latin below (5)
INFRA: an anagram (otherwise) of FAIR contains the abbreviation for noun.

24a Hostage-taking nymph in topical song (7)
CALYPSO: double definition, the first the name of a mythological nymph from Greek mythology who kept Odysseus hostage on her island for seven years.

27a The ultimate source of, say, port’s rumour? (9)
GRAPEVINE: the source of the fruit which goes into the making of port and other such drinks.

28a Drink suffused with very soft fruit (5)
APPLE: insert the musical abbreviation for very soft into an alcoholic drink.

29a Pity husband sticking to tedious course (4)
RUTH: append the genealogical abbreviation for husband to a tedious course or boring routine. These days we tend to see the answer only when it’s suffixed by –less.

30a Relief from unconscious thought? (10)
UNDERSTUDY: knit together an adverb meaning unconscious and a word meaning thought or analysis.

Down Clues

1d Cold spell beginning to settle down (4)
SNAP: the first letter of settle and a synonym for down (a soft covering of hair).

2d Painters, possibly, inside fitting gaff (9)
APARTMENT: insert what could be painters (3,3) into an adjective meaning fitting or appropriate.

3d Boat that’s a joke following one (5)
LINER: if you precede the answer with ‘one’ you have a joke.

4d Gang edges on success finding control (7)
POSSESS: a gang brought together to enforce the law and the outer letters of ‘success’ form a verb to control (as an evil spirit might).

5d Liberal bobby is entering Oxford University (7)
COPIOUS: bring together another informal word for a bobby and IS then insert the abbreviation for Oxford University.

7d Greek character that symbolises resistance (5)
OMEGA: the Greek letter that’s used as a symbol for the SI unit of electrical resistance.

8d Rat who often catches you out would be Arkwright, e.g. (10)
SHOPKEEPER: charade of a verb to rat and a sports player wearing pads who might dismiss you by catching your poor shot.

11d Judge shower song (7)
REFRAIN: assemble an abbreviated sporting judge and another word for a shower from above.

14d First three from Musaeus about died, stick around for one to hurl abuse (10)
MUDSLINGER: the first three letters of Musaeus contain the genealogical abbreviation meaning died. Add a verb meaning stick around.

16d Successfully rival Parky’s nemesis after time (7)
EMULATE: cement together the bird that attacked Michael Parkinson and an adjective meaning ‘after time’.

18d Unrehearsed concert put out, I am opening (9)
IMPROMPTU: one of the recently finished series of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and an anagram (out) of PUT are preceded by the contracted form of ‘I am’.

20d Care about being demoted? You’ll see lots here (7)
AUCTION: start with a word meaning care or alertness and move the abbreviation for ‘about’ down a couple of places.

21d False tale’s involving me? This falcon makes a film (7)
MALTESE: an anagram (false) of TALE’S and ME goes before ‘falcon’ to make the name of a 1940s film.

23d What winds one up in firm’s do? (5)
FEAST: the last letter (what winds up) of ‘one’ goes inside an adjective meaning firm or devoted.

25d — what Ernie wrote left in French country (5)
PLAYS: insert the abbreviation for left into the French word for country.
Glenda Jackson in one of the plays what Ernie Wise wrote

26d Absolutely what V could signify (4)
VERY: V is the abbreviation for the answer. I looked for something a bit more here but I think that’s all there is to it.

My podium is populated by 15a, 29a and 8d. Which clue(s) did it for you?


39 comments on “Toughie 2507

  1. A bit of a head-scratcher. I think it was the ‘age’ of the UK specific content of the clues cited by Gazza that caused me the most problems and made it a real memory test. They all precede my departure for Canada and that was 28 years ago! ***/***
    Favourite – a toss-up between 27a and 14d – and the winner is 27a.
    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

  2. Nice to have a crossword on the Toughie spectrum – I particularly liked 8d, 16d and 25a even though I did say to myself when solving that they weren’t really fair to overseas solvers

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza

  3. Couldn’t get 6a as I wrote Theta in 7d, thinking that it was the territorial army that symbolised resistance.
    Didn’t need to guess the setter as he checked in 14d.
    Thanks to him and to Gazza for the help and review.

  4. This all went in without any significant deliberation; my only pause for thought were the synonym for channel (13a) and 8d, which was probably my favourite once I twigged the significance of ‘who often catches you out’.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza.

  5. Dateline: Overseas. But with some googling and electronic assistance–and some fortuitous plug-ins–I managed to answer everything (parsing is another matter: “Who’s Parky? Who’s Ernie? Who’s Arkwright?”) but 6a. (Never heard of 6a to mean ‘excellent’ at all.) I also don’t know Asterix. Despite all that, I really enjoyed the challenge, though my overseas handicap was just too large to overcome. Favourites: 14d, 27a, 10a. Thanks to Gazza, whose hints I did need, though I still don’t know who Ernie is, and to Musaeus. ***** / ****

    1. Parky was Michael Parkinson sometime chat show host on British TV.
      Ernie was Ernie Wise, half of the Morecambe and Wise comedy duo.
      Arkwright was a fictional shopkeeper in a sitcom called ‘Open All Hours’ played by Ronnie Barker.

    2. If you let your cursor hover over the relevant pictures at least some of your queries should be answered.

        1. As a matter of interest, Robert, can you see the pictures but not the text or can you not see the pictures at all?

            1. Thanks – I’ve only ever seen the blog on a desktop PC or laptop and I didn’t realise that users with other devices couldn’t see the text associated with pictures. I may have to tweak my way of blogging because currently I quite often add a further hinty bit in the picture text (e.g. the name of Ernie Wise in today’s blog).

              1. Do you use the ‘title’ tag or the ‘alt’ tag? I can’t see from the source but ‘alt’ is usually recognised over ‘title’
                My first thought on Ernie was Hemingway – idiot!

                1. I use the Image Title Attribute, which I’ve been using for years. Today’s the first time I’ve found out that some users can’t see the text.

                  1. If the the image is not available for whatever reason, nor is the ‘title’ attribute, so maybe paste the title into the alt=”-” tag too?

            1. I’ve changed the mechanism on the picture at 25d on LbR’s advice. Can you now see the text on the 25d picture if you let your cursor hover over it?

    3. Robert if you’re not familiar with Morecambe & Wise I’d recommend a couple of their priceless routines that I’m sure are available on You Tube – the Singing in the Rain sketch & Eric playing Grieg’s piano concerto conducted by Andre Previn/Preview are two of my favourites.

      1. Apart from some gags perhaps being a little dated, some others (like making breakfast to the sound of The Stripper) might not be allowed in this pc age. Neither would Arkwright’s observations on Nurse Gladys I’d guess. Hey ho.

  6. I really enjoyed this. There were a few holdups, 2d was new to me as was. 21a. and 6a. I thought 8d, 16d and 25 d were perhaps a bit too specialist. Even I couldn’t see what a Premium Bond win had to do with writing plays and I had to look up Parky’s nemesis. Once there, I wondered how I could have forgotten that terrifying bird or the Ernie who wrote so appaLlingly badly.
    COTD is 24 a simply because it is such an attractive word.

  7. Very enjoyable and enough gentle clues to help along the way, but I agree that some of the surfaces are, say, a little odd.

    Last one in was 30a which I pondered for ages, even with all the checkers, and then the penny dropped. I had to check the Roman army division and remind myself of the nymph – which was strange as I first mis-read that clue as referring to a tRopical song.

    Favourite? Arkwright just ahead of the famous English playwright.

    Re your comments on “channel changing”, in our house (along with my three brothers all watching) it was always “Go on, you’re nearest” – then the arguments would start!

    Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

    Jean Luc – nice time see you back here.

    1. I did too, Wahoo. I thought the word was ‘tropical’. Besides, calypso is tropical music too, isn’t it?

  8. Thoroughly enjoyed this though found it a good deal harder than yesterday & pleased CS at least considered it on the Toughie spectrum. Ground to a halt 5 shy in the south & lost patience so tried to sneak a quick look at the underlined definition for 27a but unfortunately my eyes couldn’t avoid the pic which gave it away. 16&23d then fell with the additional checker. Needed a further hint for 21a (new to me but wordplay ought to have led me there) but perhaps wouldn’t have if I’d already got 21d – my last in, one of my favourite of Huston’s many great films & maybe the easiest of the clues. A toss up between 2&8d for my pick of the clues.
    Many thanks to Musaeus & to Gazza for the review which I’ll now read properly.

    1. Each time I watch ‘TMF’, I have to ‘recite’ the plot over and over in my mind so that I don’t also get tossed into SF Bay (metaphorically). As a young man, I fell in love with Mary Astor (not Grable, not Hayworth, but Astor!) because I thought she was so winsomely elegant. Huston’s ‘The Dead’ was quite a splendid swansong, wasn’t it?

      1. Indeed it was. It tends to be overlooked that he was a fine actor too – superb as Noah Cross in Chinatown.

        1. Yes, he was. “Mr GITTS”, he keeps calling Jake. “My sister, my daughter”: Noah’s double gift to Chinatown. One of the truly great films.

  9. Our setter certainly doesn’t let surface reads stand in the way of what he considers to be good clues! Nevertheless, plenty to amuse here with 27a & 25d heading my leader-board.

    Thanks to Musaeus and also to Gazza for the review, the reminders of old TV favourites and the one-liner!

  10. Running late today. Found this relatively simple but sympathise with overseas solvers for the excess of parochial telly content. Somebody needs to say a good word for 23d [“what winds one up” is excellent and had me beat for far too long] so I will.
    Thanks to Musaeus -no not muses you damn software – and Gazza. [Another good musical pick!]

  11. I did enjoy this my likes were 1 across & 14 down, 6 across brought back memories as the answer was a word to describe good and to me was slang(Hope I did not break any rules with that as it was not my intention), 8 down one of my favourite sitcoms, 16 down actually watched that very show as well as the Billy Connolly episode, 25 down I use to watch that show just for that reason still funny today. Thank you Musaeus & Gazza for to me a great crossword and great hints..

  12. A very enjoyable workout with 15a and 27a being the pick of the clues. An honourable mention, too, for 23d, my final entry. That will teach me to analyse each and every word in the clue properly.

    Many thanks to Musaeus for the challenge and to Gazza.

  13. Thanks Gazza for the explanations. I got mislead and bunged in tops for 6a, convinced that leader of people meant a p was involved and couldn’t for the life of me figure out how tos meant firm. (I have just read Ben Elton’s Identity Crisis and learned a new three letter word “cis”). But feel slightly justified as tops was more likely to mean excellent than boss. The other one that I had trouble justifying was 21d when I bunged in Moliere as had lie for false tale inside me and left wondering where the missing “or” was. If I had heard of the film I might have seen the anagram. My favourite was 27a and new word although well signposted was 21a. Thanks too Museaus and I am not going to be a 14d for the surfaces which I found fine.

  14. The bird that gets a mention in 16d we remembered from previous crosswords and the rest of the GK was from shows that had made it to this side of the world so no extra problems there for us.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Musaeus and Gazza.

  15. We (overseas) managed to complete and enjoy this but were initially puzzled about which ‘Ernie’ and thought ‘Arkwright’ was the Spinning Jenny man. Just about the same level of difficulty as yesterday, we thought. Thanks to Musaeus and Gazza.

  16. Thanks to Musaeus and to Gazza for the review and hints. A most enjoyable puzzle, but a bit baffling in places. Needed the hints for 27&30a and 23d. I should have got the first two, but would never have got the latter. Also needed the hints to parse 6, 21,24a and 8&26d. Favourite was 13a. Was 3* /3* for me.

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