Toughie 2515 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2515

Toughie No 2515 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It was all going so well with very little in the way of obscurities until I reached the SE corner where 24d (for the meaning) and 28a (for the parsing) caused a bit of difficulty and made me increase the difficulty rating by half a star.

Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

7a A Roman road beguiles, they say? I’ll take a higher route! (8)
AVIATRIX: string together A, the Latin word for a road and what sounds like a verb meaning beguiles or bamboozles.
Aviatrix (Amelia Earhart)

9a Support one kind of prisoner — it’s bad being kept in (6)
PILLOW: a wartime prisoner containing a synonym of bad.

10a Give resources to a US lawyer — one needs to keep afloat (6)
ARMADA: charade of a verb to give resources to, A and the abbreviation for a US prosecuting lawyer.

11a Fellow resident concerned with psychological processes (8)
CONATIVE: when given a hyphen (as 2-6) this could possibly mean a fellow resident.

12a Rebuke insane oaf with a leer that’s nasty (1,4,2,4,3)
A FLEA IN ONE’S EAR: an anagram (that’s nasty) of INSANE OAF A LEER produces the sort of rebuke that you might be sent off with. The expression comes from a dog that’s jittery due to having such a problem.

15a Dig rock, needing energy (4)
GIBE: a large rock at the entrance to the Mediterranean and the abbreviation for energy.
Rock of Gibraltar

17a In report gloss over mutual-aid organisation (5)
GUILD: this sounds like a verb to gloss over or ‘adorn with lustre’ as the BRB describes it.

19a Do without someone to lead the team (4)
SKIP: double definition, the second being the captain of a sports team (especially at bowls or curling).

20a Useless as person volunteering for charity work? (4-3-7)
GOOD-FOR-NOTHING: cryptically this could describe someone who does charitable work without being paid.

23a Greek island dispenses with old Russian people (8)
COSSACKS: stick together a Greek island and a verb meaning dispenses with or gives someone their cards.

25a See in cup knocked over a soft mineral (6)
GYPSUM: insert a verb to see or spot into a type of cup then reverse it all.

27a At home, woman needs match for particular colour (6)
INDIGO: assemble an adverb meaning at home, a short woman’s name (it’s the name that’s short, not the woman) and a verb (usually followed by ‘with’) meaning to match.

28a Asian capital with Sikh symbol and spiritual essence of the French (8)
KATMANDU: I needed a fair bit of help from Messrs Chambers and Google for this one. Start with the single letter used to identify the five things that Sikhs are expected to wear or carry at all times, add a word meaning the essential self in Hinduism (ATMAN) and a French preposition meaning ‘of the’.

Down Clues

1d Port deprived of five hundred and six deliveries? (4)
OVER: an English port without the Roman number for 500.

2d The old man going to the forefront leading English dance (6)
PAVANE: an affectionate term for one’s ‘old man’ and a word meaning forefront precede the single-letter abbreviation for English.

3d Bosses once associated with City of London (4)
EXEC: bolt together a prefix meaning once and the postal area of the City of London to form the abbreviated form of a word for the group of people in charge of a company or organisation.

4d Architect to splash out endlessly on church (6)
SPENCE: a verb to splash out without its last letter precedes one of our usual abbreviations for church. The architect is most famous (in this country at least) for his design of Coventry Cathedral.
Coventry Cathedral, designed by Sir Basil Spence

5d They have schemes they map out on paper (8)
PLOTTERS: double definitions, the second being machines or computer peripherals which produce drawings.

6d Study AV for example to see what happened to Saul (10)
CONVERSION: knit together a verb to study and what AV is an example of (with its second letter giving the game away). The answer was what happened to Saul on the way to Damascus.

8d It could mean gathering great ‘oard into circle (7)
REAPING: drop the first letter of a large hoard or mass and insert it into a synonym of circle.

13d A fir, we may deduce, in recreational area (10)
FAIRGROUND: split your answer 4,6 and solve the reverse anagram to get ‘a fir’.

14d Tree healthier-looking after being pollarded? (5)
OSIER: start with a comparative meaning healthier-looking or ‘not so pale’ and cut off its top letter.

16d Travel into troubled cities, thinking little of others (8)
EGOISTIC: insert a verb to travel into an anagram (troubled) of CITIES.

18d Shortage of wind — oxygen needed for asthmatic initially (7)
DROUGHT: start with a bit of wind that you might get from a badly-fitting door and change the first letter of asthmatic to the chemical symbol for oxygen.

21d One going into a number as a loud performer (6)
FACTOR: the musical abbreviation for loud and a dramatic performer.

22d Group knowing a bit (6)
HEPTAD: paste together an adjective meaning knowing or well-informed and an informal word for a small amount.

24d What sounds like steep part of old England (4)
SOKE: this (new to me) is a historical word for a minor administrative district. It sounds like a verb to steep or marinate.

26d Language heard from Cockney Liverpudlian Bob? (4)
URDU: a bob (without capitalisation) is an example of what a woman might visit a salon for. Spell it the way a Scouser might pronounce it then drop its first letter like a Cockney. I guess that solvers will either love this one or hate it.
Bob - hairdo

I have 7a, 15a and 20a on my podium. Which clue(s) were best for you?


27 comments on “Toughie 2515

  1. Had trouble with 28a as the official version includes an “h” and couldn’t parse 27a. Both had to be what they were. Apart from that. I enjoyed this puzzle far more than the back page. COTD was the long 20a.

  2. A typical Giovanni Toughie – I did know 24d but did have to work to get the bits of 28a

    Thanks to the 2 Gs

    1. Funnily enough, I was reading a novel only a short while ago and the journalist in it wrote about a 24d. How glad I am that I remembered it!
      P,S How are the bruises?

      1. Lots better thank you but still a while to go with some of them, especially the sore rib and big toe.

  3. Thank you Gazza for the picture at 4 down. The worlds finest cathedral. What great vision to link the old and the new. As for the puzzle, well it’s a Giovanni so we know what we are letting ourselves in for. Ta to all

  4. Peterborough before gaining city status was known as a 24 down. My father having been born there always refered to it as The ???? of Peterborough.

    1. One branch of my family is from the area around Peterborough which has been in three counties as well as being a 24d. I never knew this until I was going deep, in genealogical terms, in the last year or two. Now I know that until the late C16 we were French………. Qui aurait cru?

  5. I really enjoyed this Giovanni offering despite having a few problems with the parsing as Gazza has already mentioned. My last entry and favourite was 15a with 20a a close runner-up.

    Thanks to The Don for the considerable challenge and to Gazza.

  6. I needed quite a number of hints but I did finish. Highly chuffed that I got the long ones unaided. In fact, I managed about three quarters unaided so, for me, a milestone with a Giovanni Toughie. My favourite is 20a, which I thought quite superb.

    Grateful thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the hints, some of which I needed.

  7. I found this a good bit harder than usual for Gio and had the same problems parsing 28a as Gazza. Using a single letter for the 5 requirements of Sikhism is pushing it a bit [and yes I know they’re referred to as the five ‘Single letter”s]. I liked 9a once the penny dropped, ditto 15a. I managed to account for the 1st 3 letters of 26d with “heard from Cockney” but couldn’t relate the scouse Bob to just U – so thanks for that Gazza – it’s actually a rather good clue if you like that sort of thing!

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the blog.

  8. We struggled with a couple of the four letter answers. Had 26d correct but could not parse it and with 15a tried to justify LIKE and MINE but could not make them work. Rejected the correct answer as thought the rock would need to have a capital as it does in BRB. Isn’t removing capitals in wordplay a no-no? Also struggled with 28a as the spelling was new to us.
    Lots of clues we did like though.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. I think 15a is just about ok, 2Ks. As you say “the Rock” is capitalised in the BRB but I think it’s just ‘a rock’ here.

  9. Managed with a minimum of Google assistance until that SE corner loomed whereupon it all fell apart and left me feeling somewhat grumpy by the time I’d looked up all the required elements.
    7,10&20a raised a smile but overall enjoyment was low here.

    Apologies to Giovanni and many thanks to Gazza for doing all the necessary homework.

  10. I did finish, by the grace of some electronic allowances (the 5-letter function online) and sheer serendipity, but stupidly spelled 15a with a ‘J’ (I do know better), nor could I parse 28a (it was the French that saved me there). Thought that this was Giovanni at both his wittiest and most abstruse. Special orchids go to 20, 7, and 12a. I enjoyed the workout immensely even though I felt a decade older when I’d finished. Thanks to Gazza, whose parsing I needed I needed for 28a, and to Giovanni for the great challenge.

  11. OK – buoyed up by Chalicea yesterday I tried – I’ve always had trouble with Giovanni but today, even given that it was a Toughie, I didn’t do too badly.
    I didn’t finish it by a very long way but it wasn’t a bad effort, I reckon, so feeling just a tiny little bit chuffed.
    It all went wrong in lots of places and there were several ‘bung-ins’ which I didn’t even attempt to parse but they were right.
    My favourite, mainly because I did it ‘all my own self’ was 12a but I also liked 7a (did that one all my own self too).
    Thanks to Giovanni and thanks and admiration, as usual, to Gazza too.

  12. Solved all but 4 in SE corner unaided, my best ever Wednesday Toughie effort. Thanks Gazza for help where needed. Would never have parsed 28a. Could I think Katmandu, couldn’t get Khartoum out of my head & yes I know where it is.
    Thanks to Giovanni & Gazza.

  13. Sorry, I’m new to all this. I got 13d by guessing. But I don’t understand the explanation. The Fair is clear. Where does Ground come from? What do you mean by a reverse anagram?

    1. A reverse anagram is where the anagram indicator and the fodder are in the answer and the solved anagram is in the clue. In this case the answer is an anagram (ground) of FAIR which gives us A FIR (in the clue).

  14. Can anybody out there help me? I am unable to get the telegraph puzzles on line. The last 3 days i have logged in as usual and received ” bad request” on my samsung tablet. The telegraph are not answering their phones. My subscription is up to date. Help!

  15. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed this puzzle. Just what you would expect from a Giovanni Toughie. Had never even seen the words in 20d, 22d & 12a. Needed the hints for 7,15,17a and 5,8,18,22,24d, and to parse 28a. Last in was 26a, which was my favourite. Was 3* /4* for me.

  16. I managed to get all but half a dozen yesterday, which I was thrilled by. Not quite my best Toughie (none done totally yet w.o. hints) but it was Giovanni, so.
    Returned this a.m. and got one more and then came to the hints. Thanks to the Gs.

    3d – I was convinced that this was a synonym of bosses…some sort of architectural feature…St Mary Axe? Having S at the end pretty much interfered with 11a and had ‘planners’ at 5d. You can overthink these things.
    I knew 28a had to be what it was because of the DU, but no clue about the parsing of the middle.
    The most shameful was 15a, which I didn’t get, despite my OH having lived there during childhood and having the 2 checking letters…..pathetic!

  17. Unable to access printable puzzle page—still 6 months of Puzzle subscription left
    “Bad Request” comes up
    What do I do next?

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