Toughie 2535 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2535

Toughie No 2535 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Giovanni has given us what I found to be a fairly tricky puzzle, though that may be because I was up half the night following the US shenanigans – doesn’t the way our elections are run seem a model of efficiency by comparison? He’s included his usual quota of fairly unusual words though for the time being he seems to have given up on religious obscurities.

Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

1a/24a Report of drunken sailor somewhere on the green (4-4)
JACK-HIGH: this is a term used in bowls meaning that a delivered ball has ended up level with the little white ball. It sounds as though a sailor is drunk.

3a Silver — one’s not first, standing by winner offering lots of fizz (10)
CHAMPAGNES: the chemical symbol for silver and [o]NE’S (without its first letter) follow an informal word for winner.

9a Like many a film showing action, oddly lacking energy (4)
CINE: the word ‘action’ without its odd letters and the abbreviation for energy.

10a Officer left drink and pipe, conking out (10)
COLLAPSING: string together the abbreviations for commanding officer and left and verbs to drink and pipe.

11a See about cold drink that’s imbibed in Somerset (7)
SCRUMPY: a verb to see contains the abbreviation for cold and an alcoholic drink.

13a Number of repeated elements in narrower basis for curriculum (5,2)
THREE RS: what’s the only repeated character in ‘narrower’ and how many of them are there?

14a Someone great with gadgets — tho’ he may be awkward with pencil! (11)
TECHNOPHILE: an anagram (may be awkward) of THO’ HE and PENCIL.

18a Lad who’s this fruit makes drink request (6,5)
EATING APPLE: if you prefix LAD to your answer and then obey what you have as a container-type clue you should end up with verbs to drink (the same one we had in 10a) and request.

21a Gloria, say, as final vocal offering inadequate (7)
SWANSON: a final appearance without its last letter.

Gloria Swanson
22a Girl with monkey spotted in meadow (7)
LETITIA: a small South American monkey (TITI) goes inside our usual meadow.

23a Scientific measurement procedure? Doctor may order it (10)
RADIOMETRY: an anagram (doctor) of MAY ORDER IT.

24 See 1a

25a Manila seen possibly as belonging to a Pacific group (10)
MELANESIAN: an anagram (possibly) of MANILA SEEN.

26a Expanse of water has run dry (4)
SEAR: a large expanse of water and the cricket abbreviation for run.

Down Clues

1d Merriment of little woman meeting seaman in Liverpool, say (8)
JOCOSITY: start with the name of one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and then insert one of the abbreviations for a seaman into what Liverpool is an example of.

2d Act as land surveyor? It needs to be agreed (8)
CONTRACT: split your answer 3,5 and you have a verb to survey or pore over and a large area of land.

4d Nonsense from ‘darling’ having love for any number (5)
HOOEY: an endearment with the letter resembling the score of love replacing the letter used to mean ‘any number’.

5d Fellow carrying Indian stick, old means for getting rid of pests (9)
MALATHION: a synonym for fellow contains a large Indian stick (LATHI) used as a weapon and the abbreviation for old. I’d never heard of the insecticide although I knew the Indian stick.

6d Belonging in a very quiet old city, one occupying someone else’s property (11)
APPURTENANT: paste together A, the abbreviation for ‘very quiet’, our usual old Biblical city and someone living in a property that they don’t own.

7d Fixed in Aegean location to the north (6)
NAILED: reverse an adjective relating to a small Greek island of historical importance near Mykonos.

8d Most learned maybe with coaches taking time to finish (6)
SAGEST: start with a word for old passenger coaches and move the abbreviation for time to the end. The ‘maybe’ is there because we wouldn’t usually use this form of the superlative for this word.

12d Geneticist’s lad said to be a composer (11)
MENDELSSOHN: this sounds like the offspring of the monk who did pioneering work on genetics by breeding peas.
Gregor Mendel

15d Inventors getting shallow container with flower (9)
PATENTEES: charade of a type of plate and a river in North-East England.

16d Something going up in the air? Suitable feature for church, says Spooner (8)
SPITFIRE: Spooner might turn this into (3,5) ‘suitable’ and a feature of a church building.

17d Came across a figure of speech — this one? (8)
METAPHOR: rivet together a verb meaning ‘came across’, A and what sounds like a single-digit number.

19d A sheep keeping quiet in retreat (6)
ASHRAM: A and a sheep contain the instruction to be quiet.

20d What’s wooden shoe? (6)
SANDAL: double definition, the first a fragrant type of wood.

22d Abandoned, a female in West Country novel (5)
LORNA: an archaic adjective meaning abandoned followed by A give us the heroine of a 19th century novel set in my neck of the woods.

I ticked 13a, 14a, 2d and 17d. Which clue(s) did the business for you?


21 comments on “Toughie 2535

  1. I’m always amazed at the number of words I know which remain hiding away at the back of my brain until Giovanni sets a crossword. I did know all of them today although I did go into 4* time rescuing things from my memory banks. My late mother-in-law who wasn’t the best at remembering how to pronounce words, was a great user of 5d even if she never called it by the correct name.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

    1. Never knew the long word, but as a child in India called it either FLIT or just plain DDT.

      1. I don’t believe that Malathion is the same thing as DDT though (just in case it comes up in a crossword!)

  2. This was hard going and thought the pesticide overly obscure for those, like us, who’ve never come across it. However, it’s always enjoyable to finish a Giovanni.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  3. I knew my familiarity with prohibited organophosphorus insecticides would come in handy for a Giovanni crossword one day. This could not have been set by anyone else and was entertaining and infuriating by turns. 14a is excellent [could the whole clue be the definition Gazza?] as are 13a and 21a but 17d seems like a missed opportunity for a better clue, 18a is convoluted in the extreme and I hate clues like 22a, even if it is the only word that will fit the grid. I’ll leave the issues of vocabulary and general knowledge to others.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the blog.

  4. I started off enjoying this but ended by being rather irritated. I hate Spooner clues and, although I’d heard of it, why give us an obscure girls name, except, of course if one was in a corner and this was the only word that fitted? I still don’t understand 18a and never really thought of pluralising 3a. Oh well, at least I got the poison and the composer. It’s not all bad!

    1. For 18a LAD is EATING APPLE (this fruit, i.e. the answer). You have to make LAD “eat” APPLE (i.e. treat it as a container-type clue) giving LAP PLEAD (drink/request). It’s quite difficult to give a hint for, I’m afraid.

  5. Having just had an unopened 2ltr container of milk slip through my fingers and split open on the kitchen floor, I was in no mood to tackle Giovanni and his obscurities so I regret to say that I only completed about half of this before coming here for Gazza’s help.
    Some real tooth-suckers – 18a being an excellent example!

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for all his helpful instructions.

    1. I couldn’t agree more Jane. 18a offers an appaling surface and the device for arriving at the answer is ridiculous.

      Quite enjoyed the rest but mainly because I managed to finish it unaided

  6. I have spent more time trying to parse 18 across than completing the rest of the puzzle. I still don’t get it.

  7. Our last one in was 15d where we thought the ending was ERS which, together with having forgotten the communion dish, meant that we could not make the parsing work. Eventually got it sorted.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Needed the hints for 5d and 13a.
    Didn’t understand 18a until I read the blog.
    Quite a few leaps of faith drove me to the correct answer in quite a few clues.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  9. The parsing of 18a was beyond me and I needed some assistance with 5d. Found this quite hard going today. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. I found this more straightforward than many of the Giovanni back pagers from Fridays past! 5d was helped by wading through A Suitable Boy 20-odd years ago. Plenty of odd words, but all clearly clued (maybe 5d less so). However, 18a is pretty dodgy, and I hate Spooners (unless we are talking sandpipers) so 16d was last in. Thanks to Gazza for fully explaining 18a (even then it took several goes around comprehending) and to Giovanni for the obscurity-fest.

  11. My OH and I have just finished this in bed this morning after abandoning it twice! I found this website as we couldn’t work out the logic behind 18a although we guessed at the answer correctly. We don’t often buy the DT but have a stack of DT crossword books that we work through every morning, one a day. These DT toughies are a great challenge for our brains now and then but individually we would have taken far longer to solve this one, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to on my own! Shared knowledge is great…hubby had never heard of malathion, not being a gardener!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Vannnie.
      Now that you’ve found us I hope that you’ll continue to comment.

  12. Tackled 2 days late & 2 short of a finish (5&15d) even with a liberal use of Gazza’s excellent hints. Very tough indeed. Thought 13a was a corker. Thanks all.

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