Toughie 2547 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2547

Toughie No 2547 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a pangram today which even I couldn’t miss after solving 28a.

Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Plastic lute is great instrument (5,6)
STEEL GUITAR: an anagram (plastic) of LUTE IS GREAT.

9a Contrary Greek ephebe is housing dog (4)
PEKE: hidden in reverse. An ephebe, I learn, is a young man undergoing military training in ancient Greece.

10a True determination can cut off offering resistance internally (11)
CALIBRATION: start with ‘can’ without its last letter and add an offering (in the form of a drink poured in honour of a god) with the abbreviation for electrical resistance inside it.

11a Half of arbiters initially opposed means of defence (4)
JUDO: half of a synonym for arbiters and the initial letter of opposed.

14a On the radio, kick a gentle Cockney fan (7)
ACOLYTE: this (just about) sounds like how a Cockney might pronounce a phrase meaning ‘kick a gentle’ (4,1,5).

16a Immortal wise man cycles around the French (7)
AGELESS: cycle the first letter of a wise man round to the back and insert one of the French definite articles.

17a Witty screenplay’s outline adopts high tone (5)
SALTY: the outer letters of screenplay contain a word for high tone. I always thought the answer meant racy or risqué but the BRB confirms that it can mean witty.

18a Bess’s partner loses head in drunken revel (4)
ORGY: the partner of Bess in the Gershwin opera without his initial letter.

19a Fatherless outcast goes west in musical (4)
HAIR: start with an outcast or ‘persona non grata’, remove the affectionate term for father and reverse (goes west) what you have left.

20a Retreat after female shows talent (5)
FLAIR: place an animal’s retreat after the abbreviation for female.

22a Daydream about lake inspires verse (7)
REVERIE: join together a preposition meaning ‘about’ and one of the Great Lakes and insert the abbreviation for verse.

23a Swell car mostly occupied by agents (7)
AUGMENT: another word for car without its last letter contains an informal term for Federal agents in the USA (1-3).

24a Petunia, lacking ingredients of pie, provides fish (4)
TUNA: remove the letters of ‘pie’ from petunia and use what’s left as your answer.

28a Mockingly interrogate partner about unknown vice discovered (11)
QUIZZICALLY: bring together a verb to interrogate and a partner or supporter and insert one of the mathematical unknowns and the inner letters of ‘vice’.

29a Baldrick perhaps found among Mensa’s highbrows (4)
SASH: hidden in the clue. A baldrick or baldric is a warrior’s belt for supporting a sword.

30a Girls cheat terribly to acquire hot source of illumination (11)
SEARCHLIGHT: an anagram (terribly) of GIRLS CHEAT contains the tap abbreviation for hot.

Down Clues

2d Opening of tropical fruit in warm (4)
THAW: the opening letter of tropical and a red fruit.

3d Settle up badly (4)
EVIL: reverse a verb to settle or make one’s home.

4d Stones Doctor Strange (7)
GARNETS: an anagram (doctor) of STRANGE. Doctor Strange is apparently an American superhero.
Dr. Strange

5d Aristotle’s ninth letter comes from returning nine of ours? (4)
IOTA: reverse a range of nine letters from our alphabet (1,2,1).

6d A game chap lacks heart for defence (7)
APOLOGY: glue together A, a posh sport and a word for chap without its central letter.

7d Queen heading north on vessel English considered improved (11)
RECUPERATED: reverse our Queen’s regnal cipher and follow that with a drinking vessel, the single-letter abbreviation for English and a verb meaning considered.

8d Complain over my French vacation price (11)
REMONSTRATE: around the French word for ‘my’ put a word for vacation or time off and a synonym of price or cost.

12d Fine tiramisu cooked around five o’clock, timeless preference (11)
FAVOURITISM: start with (the pencil) abbreviation for fine and add an anagram (cooked) of TIRAMISU containing the Roman numeral for five and “o’clock” after you’ve removed the verb to time.

13d Pardon head succeeding on account of surrender (11)
FORGIVENESS: a head or cape follows a preposition meaning ‘on account of’ and a verb to surrender or hand over.

15d Bird showing lineage, possibly? (5)
EAGLE: the letters required all appear in the word lineage but I think that’s a red herring and the clue relates to heraldry where the bird in question on a family crest indicates that an ancestor was a person of great power and noble stature. Split the word lineage 1,2,4 and do what it says – thanks to Jezza for the explanation.

16d Cavities swallowed by Bermuda Triangle (5)
ATRIA: hidden in the clue.

20d Team on the rise ejecting United in forthcoming tie (7)
FIXTURE: start with an adjective meaning forthcoming and replace (the first) abbreviation for united with the reversal of the members of a football or cricket team.

21d Two-thirds of bridge section is supported by hard debris (7)
RUBBISH: assemble the first two-thirds of a section of bridge (the game, not the structure), IS and the pencil abbreviation for hard.

25d Breakdown service rejected enrolling Zulu despot (4)
CZAR: reverse one of our breakdown services and insert the letter for which Zulu is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

26d Demand one run along the ground (4)
TAXI: a verb to demand or weigh down and the Roman numeral for one.

27d 21, born before Henry’s overthrown (4)
BLAH: the genealogical abbreviation for ‘born’ precedes the reversal of a diminutive form of the name Henry.

My favourite clue today was 19a. Which clue(s) did you like?


16 comments on “Toughie 2547

  1. The only one I wasn’t sure of was 15d, where I thought it might be L in EAGE, (ie eagLe), but I bow to Gazza’s superior expertise.

    Thanks to Stick Insect, and to Gazza for the review.

    1. You’re right, Jezza – thanks. I wasn’t at all sure about that one. It’s actually quite neat now you’ve explained it. I’ll update the hint.

  2. A pangram assisted solve. Most of this went in fairly steadily, but then I had a brain freeze on 10ac and 2d. Working out the missing letter finally defrosted my brain and 2d, which caused 10ac to jump into place. I think 15d requires you to split lineage ( l in eage) and then do what it tells you.

    1. 2d&10a (+14a) are the ones I’m stuck on but will resist the temptation to look at the hint. Assumed it was a pangram so unless I’ve something incorrect elsewhere a W needs to come into play. Irritating as the rest of it went in pretty smoothly & a wee bit quicker than the back pager

  3. This pangram fell into place slowly but steadily. Apart from a little hmm for 14a, I did enjoy it with the very clever 15d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  4. A very comfortable solve with the outstanding 15d my favourite clue. 14a definitely had the eyebrows twitching as it did not really work for me. That aside a very pleasant pangram.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  5. A bit of a head scratcher but still enjoyable completed at a Toughie gallop – ***/***.
    Of course, even with the biggest hint going in 28a, I missed the pangram, perhaps I was distracted by the double unches.
    I share Gazza’s “just about” on the 14a homophone.
    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 7d, and 20d – and the winner is 7d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  6. All OK and solved at a decent lick. Pangram helped me on 26d which was last in. I thought 5d and 15d were great, not so 14a which gets a hmmm from me. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  7. A few giveaways [eg 24 & 29a] but a few real toughies [for me anyway] such as 14a [groan] 15d [had to be that but the parsing took a while] and 26d [the “run along the ground” bit was inexplicably elusive]. Overall a fun puzzle despite another awful DT grid.

    Thanks to SI and to Gazza for the blog.

  8. Lots of great clues in 5,15 and 20d to cite a few.
    Really enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  9. The final 3 took nearly as long as the remainder but finished without the hints. A fair bit easier than yesterday but very enjoyable indeed. Unable to parse 15d beyond seeing the required letters in lineage but it couldn’t be anything else (not sure I still fully understand it)& didn’t know the meaning of Blackadder’s servant but otherwise all parsed correctly. 5d the clear pick for me – brilliant.
    Thanks Stick Insect & Gazza.

  10. Had a few grumbles along the way – 14a in particular – but then I often fail to appreciate this setter’s wavelength.
    No particular favourite although 2d quite appealed.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review. Think I’ll pass on the self-defence lesson thank you!

  11. Loved this one…but only after wrestling with 2d and 10a, like Huntsman early on. I’m not familiar with the ‘haw’ as a fruit (though I should be, I know), but once I got that one, I was able to finish the puzzle–thanks to two electronic assists (two letters). 5 and 15d both tie for the Gold. 14a was just a bung-in for me. Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect for the pleasure.

  12. I thought there were rather too many incomplete words. In 19a this was really clever but in ones like 11a just tedious. Agree that 14a was stretched but then homophones usually are. Even 18a was headless but, in the current climate, it does begin to sound like an inviting idea!

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