Toughie 2543 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2543

Toughie No 2543 by Samuel

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We have a fairly gentle puzzle from Samuel today which produced several smiles (e.g. the privy with no walls and the Lords spouting nonsense). I didn’t have any significant problems although I was very slow to utilise the ‘if all else fails look for a lurker’ rule in parsing 1d.

Thanks to Samuel.

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

Across Clues

1a Enthusiastic head touring second small Scottish island (10)
PASSIONATE: an old word for a person’s head contains abbreviations for second and small and an island in the Inner Hebrides.

6a Piece of music inspired by Jolson grates (4)
SONG: hidden in the clue.

9a Row headcase reported (5)
SCULL: headcase cryptically might be something that encases the head. We need to find a homophone of such a thing.

10a Strangely, Mike had to work on stage (3,6)
THE MIKADO: an anagram (strangely) of MIKE HAD TO.

12a Clash with prisoner caught during convention (13)
CONTRADICTION: stick together an informal word for prisoner and a synonym of convention or custom. Finally insert the cricket abbreviation for caught.

14a Moderate unusually strict over backing North-East (8)
CENTRIST: an anagram (unusually) of STRICT contains the reversal of the abbreviation for North-East.

15a At one point almost everyone is available if required (2,4)
ON CALL: knit together an adverb meaning ‘at one point’ without its last letter and a synonym for everyone.

17a Do well from article covering privy with no walls (6)
THRIVE: a definite article contains ‘privy’ without its outer letters.

19a Talk about men with sick animals (8)
GORILLAS: an informal verb to talk contains the abbreviation for men in the forces and an adjective meaning sick.
Mountain gorilla

21a One inside messaging officials — not initially, they might put a dampener on things (13)
EXTINGUISHERS: glue together a term for messaging and officials (those employed in a law court perhaps). Then insert the Roman numeral for one and delete your first letter.

24a Crikey, it wasn’t me! (1,5,3)
I NEVER DID: double definition, the first a phrase (often preceded by ‘Well’) expressing surprise.

25a Page leaving previous Queen’s bloomers? Just one (5)
ASTER: remove the abbreviation for page from an adjective meaning previous or preceding and append our Queen’s regnal cipher.

26a With this entrance, our dancing could result in outrage (4)
GATE: this is a compound anagram – an anagram (dancing) of OUR plus the answer will produce ‘outrage’.

27a Interfering in demos, led astray by this writer (10)
MEDDLESOME: an anagram (astray) of DEMOS LED followed by a pronoun the writer would use to identify himself.

Down Clues

1d Bouquet from Percy’s opponent turned up (4)
POSY: although the answer was pretty obvious from the definition and checking letters this was the last one I wrote in because I wondered who Percy was. I considered various individuals from the Dukes of Northumberland in Tudor times to the Scarlet Pimpernel. Finally the penny dropped with a loud clang – the answer is a ‘reversed hidden’!

2d Little study in support of first course? (7)
SOUPÇON: a verb to study or pore over follows a liquidy first course.

3d Old collectors from both sides parting in eastern location (6,7)
INLAND REVENUE: both sides (1,3,1) go inside IN, the abbreviation for eastern and a location for events.

4d One showing barefaced cheek? (8)
NATURIST: cryptic definition where cheek could mean both nerve and buttock.

5d Flower material (5)
TWEED: double definition, the first being one which flows into the North Sea at Berwick.

7d Something blown in old vehicle auntie regularly turned over (7)
OCARINA: assemble the abbreviation for old, a road vehicle and regular letters from auntie when it’s reversed.

8d Not so fine, maybe, without foundation? (10)
GROUNDLESS: split the answer 6,4 and it could mean ‘not so fine’.

11d Drunken son overcome by home brew scoffed, being selfish (13)
INCONSIDERATE: an anagram (drunken) of SON gets inserted into a) our usual ‘home’, b) a brewed alcoholic drink and c) a verb meaning scoffed.

13d Few peers on occasion will stop chorusing nonsense? (10)
SCATTERING: insert regular letters from peers into a present particle meaning singing nonsense.

16d Jurgen maybe unveiled team with Alexander-Arnold ultimately lacking balance (8)
LOPSIDED: Jurgen is the manager of Liverpool FC (Jurgen Klopp) – assemble his surname without the outer letters, a synonym of team and the ultimate letter of Alexander-Arnold (who does indeed play for Liverpool).
Jurgen Klopp

18d Negotiate again somewhere quiet? (7)
RETREAT: double definition. The BRB confirms that no hyphen is necessary for the verb to mean negotiate again or seek another deal (as our government seems to have been doing for ages since the promised ‘oven-ready’ one failed to materialise).

20d Hotels rebuilt round country (7)
LESOTHO: an anagram (rebuilt) of HOTELS followed by the round letter.

22d Inappropriate fun a drug user has in prime positions (5)
UNDUE: select the letters corresponding to the first five prime numbers from ‘fun a drug user’.

23d Genuine end to hostilities when Conservative leaves (4)
TRUE: a word for an end to hostilities with the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative removed.

My podium nominations are 3d, 8d and 13d. Which clue(s) cut the mustard for you?


24 comments on “Toughie 2543

  1. A gentle, ‘start of the Toughie week’ crossword with no particular favourites – I did enjoy the solve and was pleased to remember the footballer (I did know the manager!)

    Thanks to Gazza and Samuel

  2. I would agree that Samuel was being somewhat benign today. I didn’t know the ‘chorusing’ in 13d, and had a couple of possibles for 25a.

    COTD was 3d.

    Many thanks to Samuel and Gazza.

  3. Quite benign for the second Toughie of the week, it could even qualify as a Thursday or Friday back pager, completed at a Toughie gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 24a, 2d, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.
    Thanks to Samuel and Gazza.

  4. A very comfortable Toughie today completed without any real problems. Many fine and enjoyable clues, but 16d was my favourite alongside 17a. The whole puzzle was a delight and a pleasure to solve, so thank you Samual for the fun, and thanks too, to Gazza.

  5. This was not too tough and it was great fun.

    21a seemed a bit convoluted but it all works if you don’t panic and follow the instructions! I didn’t know that “treat” in 18d could mean negotiate nor was I aware of the “chorusing nonsense” in 13d. Also I can’t quite equate “few” with the answer to 13d. Doesn’t it need to be followed by “of”, e.g.: a few people = a 13d of people?

    3d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Gazza.

  6. I had a similar problem to Gazza with 1d [Henry Percy anyone?] but otherwise a simple and fun puzzle. I liked 25a [bloomers are always good for a chuckle] and 16d [if a tad Anglocentric] but the star goes to 3d because I was focussed on “island” and needed every one of the checkers to see it.

    Many thanks to Samuel and to Gazza for the blog.

  7. What a delightful combo – the Lesser-spotted Samuel alongside our own Devonian Warbler!
    I invariably have trouble with the prime numbers ‘thing’ but 22d had to be what it was so didn’t cause any real problems.
    Managed to whittle down my podium places to four – 15&24a plus 2&9d but could easily be persuaded to include several others.

    Thanks to Mr Ed and to the knight in shining armour – really enjoyed the updated 10a and the feeling at 3d!

  8. This American Googled ‘Jurgen’ just to see what might appear, but Mr Klopp’s name never did emerge (I think ‘Jurgen uk’ would have done it), so I did resort to an electronic assist (one letter) for 16d. Otherwise, it was fairly smooth sailing throughout. I did know the so-called nonsense chorusing (though Ella Fitzgerald would have been appalled to hear it termed as such, I’ll bet). (Jazz buffs, unite!) Loved the puzzle. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Samuel for the pleasure.

  9. Agree that it was a fairly gentle solve (still tougher than a back pager mind you) but struggled & failed to parse a few which took the shine off a fairly brisk completion. Couldn’t for the life of me figure out the wordplay for 3d, missed the lurker at 1d but couldn’t be anything else & didn’t twig prime positions in 22d or the occasional peers in 13d. Really liked 16d but now that it’s been explained to me 3d has to be the clear pick.
    Many thanks to both Samuel & to Gazza for the review.

  10. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who is slow to invoke Gazza’s ‘if all else fails . . . . . . . .’ protocol, although in this case the entry came to me relatively early on. I always struggle with references to sports people, and it was fortunate that the definition and checkers pointed in an obvious direction in this instance. Otherwise a most enjoyable puzzle and many thanks to Samuel and Gazza.

  11. I thought it was impossible at the beginning but it slowly revealed it self.
    I liked 9a, 14a and 21a.
    Thanks to Gazza and Samuel.

  12. Usually, these pesky four letter words are a real problem but I started by filling them in, then the other peripheral answers apart from 13d, which came last.
    The rest fell in without too many holdups.
    Solving 19a made me think about MP and wondered if he still was studying the subject.
    Thanks to Samuel and to Gazza.

    1. That was about six or seven years ago Jean Luc. I may sign up to do a masters degree next year. Who knows?

  13. Thank you for the blog, and I’m pleased you enjoyed the puzzle. It was initially intended to be a Saturday prize puzzle, but ended up being too hard for that and felt like an early-in-the-week Toughie.

    Regarding 13d, I recommend the following clip from The Blues Brothers (from around 1:45 onwards, although listening to/watching the whole thing is better!)

  14. Well I completed it with Gaza’s help.
    I always thought it was lobsided!
    You live and learn. I’m doing a 30 day Spanish challenge at the moment so sometimes Spanish words pop into my head.
    Thanks to Samuel amd Gazza
    Couldn’t do yesterday’s

  15. A rare excursion into Toughie land for me, having been tipped off by Jane who the compiler was.
    A really enjoyable puzzle, which needed full concentration, but well worth the effort.
    I wasted far too long trying to get Al into 6a and also took ages to see the reverse lurker in 1d.
    Thanks to Gazza and our esteemed editor.

  16. Solved at a steady pace and enjoyed ride
    Gazza’s comment on 1d made me smile, as my family has Percy heritage on my father’s side
    Very entertaining, thanks to CL and Gazza

  17. Got there but needed the hints to parse 3d and 22d. Annoyed about the latter as the reference to prime caught me out last time I came across it as well. Very enjoyable puzzle. Thanks to CL and Gazza.

  18. Well, goodness me, I’m amazed to dare to comment on a toughie crossword but I’m so pleased that I’ve been able to not only do it but really enjoy it! I’ve had such a dreadful run trying to complete the back pager of late I’d almost thought of giving up. Obviously I couldn’t have done this crossword without some help from Gaza – many thanks and also to Samuel. It’s such a wonderful feeling to enjoy the word play and laugh out loud. Brilliant

  19. I’m really chuffed to have finished this, particularly as I spotted the reverse anagram at 26a and the prime numbers at 22d! A first for me!
    Thank you Gazza for help parsing 1d as I totally missed reverse lurker and 25a which had me stumped. And a big thank you to Samuel for a fun solve.

  20. Long time after the event, but apart from parsing 13d and 22d, no problems at all. Given some if the back-pagers recently, this would not have been out of place there. Really enjoyed it anyway. Thanks Samuel and Gazza

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