Toughie 2559 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2559

Toughie No 2559 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Even though Giovanni has given us a couple of terms from his book of obscurities they are very fairly clued and there’s not an Old Testament character in sight. The puzzle provided a few chuckles along the way.

Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

4a Withdrawal of support given to Bangor locality (8)
BACKDOWN: a verb to support then the county where Bangor is to be found (not the one in Wales).

8a First person brought in to promote female author (6)
SEWELL: ‘first person’ grammatically can be singular or (as here) plural – put its subjective form inside a verb to promote or tout to get the author of ‘Black Beauty’.

9a Water creature beginning to plod, getting stuck in ground (8)
TERRAPIN: stick the first letter of plod into some ground.

10a Front of stronghold occupied by soldiers each year (8)
FOREPART: a stronghold or keep contains abbreviations for soldiers and ‘each year’.

11a At end of journey posh fellow escaped (3,3)
GOT OFF: a posh fellow comes after a verb to journey.

12a Old platter of fish King’s tucked into — and Queen (8)
TRENCHER: a freshwater fish has a single-letter abbreviation for king within it. Append our Queen’s regnal cipher.

13a Made fish crumble, being very hungry (8)
FAMISHED: an anagram (crumble) of MADE FISH.

16a Poverty as blemish on Cambridge? (8)
SCARCITY: a blemish or disfigurement and what Cambridge is an example of.

19a Swoon and weep endlessly when meeting sweetheart (4,4)
KEEL OVER: a verb to weep or wail in mourning without its final N is followed by a synonym for sweetheart.

21a In Paris we turned back with two thousand in rally (6)
SUMMON: reverse the French word for ‘we’ and insert the Roman numeral for two thousand.

23a Long-distance travellers in camp seen misbehaving (8)
SPACEMEN: an anagram (misbehaving) of CAMP SEEN.

24a Academic boss, 26 (8)
STUDIOUS: splice together a boss or knob and what 26a can be.

25a What’s evident in fifty bactrian camels and asses (6)
CHUMPS: start with what Bactrian camels have (3,5) then multiply the first word by fifty and convert your answer to a Roman numeral.

26a Guarantees for young lady with inner energy (8)
PROMISES: knit together a preposition meaning ‘for’ and the title of a young lady containing the abbreviation for energy.

Down Clues

1d Group of slaves given heartless greeting before endeavour (7)
HELOTRY: paste together a 5-letter greeting without its middle letter and a synonym for endeavour to get a class of slaves in ancient Sparta.

2d Behaviour of enamoured drunk (9)
DEMEANOUR: an anagram (drunk) of ENAMOURED.

3d Pollutant from blaze enveloping yard (3,3)
FLY ASH: a blaze or burst of light contains the abbreviation for yard.

4d When in trouble, first subtly seek gestures of affection (9,6)
BUTTERFLY KISSES: an anagram (when in trouble) of FIRST SUBTLY SEEK. These gestures of affection involve fluttering one’s eyelashes against a partner’s skin – who knew?

5d Happy families maybe worry about daughter going to school (4,4)
CARD GAME: a synonym for worry or concern contains the abbreviation for daughter and a school of whales.

6d Expression of annoyance with France’s leader spiking plan (5)
DRAFT: a mild expression of annoyance has the leading letter of France impaled in it.

7d Vacillate when having to entertain two females (7)
WHIFFLE: a conjunction meaning ‘when’ contains two occurrences of the abbreviation for female. This sounds like the sort of verb our Prime Minister would use.

14d Pose with mouth snarled in violent movie (5-2-2)
SHOOT-‘EM-UP: an anagram (snarled) of POSE MOUTH.

15d Like some wood or like some rock found at bottom of lake (8)
LIGNEOUS: an adjective describing a type of rock follows the abbreviation for lake.

17d Grumble about horse chasing fox (7)
CHUNTER: a single-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately and a horse that carries the unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable.

18d Put in a new chair perhaps in auditorium or reception (7)
RECEIPT: this sounds like (in auditorium) a verb to put (someone) in a different chair.

20d Bishop of Exeter not half cunning (6)
EXARCH: string together the first half of a Latin term meaning ‘of Exeter’ and an adjective meaning cunning or sly. The answer is the title of a bishop in a number of Eastern Orthodox churches.

22d Two mothers and demanding girl? (5)
MADAM: stitch together two mothers (the second from the animal world) to get a demanding little girl.

My ticks today were awarded to 25a, 5d and 22d. Which clue(s) did the business for you?


16 comments on “Toughie 2559

  1. A nice early week Toughie from Giovanni – my favourites were 25a and 22d

    Thanks to both the Gs

  2. After a DNF with Donnybrook yesterday, I tackled this Giovanni with some trepidation. However, with a little bit of head scratching even 1d was fathomable before BRB confirmation – completed at a Toughie gallop – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 25a, and 15d – and the winner by a smile is 25a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  3. To add to my comment on the Cryptic blog, “Shucks, if I’d known the first person in 8a was pluralised…”, well, I would have completed this terrific Giovanni Toughie. Most enjoyable, though. Favourites: 24/26a, 14d, 10a. 8a’s most famous work is among the first I can remember reading as a child, back in the early post-WW2 days. Thanks to Gazza (especially for parsing 25a; I just bunged-in the C, shaking my head), and to Giovanni for the pleasure.

  4. When I read Robert’s comment on the cryptic blog I had a small wager that 8a was the sticker – it was my last in too & along with a further 4 in the NW it turned what had been a problem free solve into an almighty struggle to complete. Thought this a lovely crossword & thankfully much easier than Donnybrook yesterday. 20a was certainly new to me & I’m fairly certain I’ve come across 1d in European history but have long since forgotten. Annoyingly I’d twigged the wordplay & got the evacuation of hello but was taking the lot out until the light bulb switched on. 3d & 12a also needed confirmation. As for 8a well I got there by sheer fluke. Figured ewe was the female & then thought of an author & only then realised the correct parsing.
    Liked 21a & also 24/26a combo but my favourite was 7d because it’s such a lovely word.
    Many thanks to Giovanni for the entertainment & to Gazza – will now read the review to see which others I got with dodgy reasoning.

  5. Like others, 8a my final entry and 25a my clear favourite in this inspired and rewarding puzzle from The Don. I thought it was pleasantly convoluted in places to make it a decent challenge.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  6. 7d Peter Wimsey, in Murder Must Advertise, introduced whiffling as a way to collect desirables. I believe they were cigarette cards? I haven’t got my copy of the book with me.

  7. Another one at my level!
    Also found 8ac tricky, but overall most enjoyable.
    Thanks to the two Gs.

  8. As usual with DG’s puzzles, there were too many things I didn’t know – 1,3&14d on this occasion – and I also failed to register the ‘royal’ singular in 6a. Interesting to see the 2d anagram getting another outing after it’s recent appearance.
    Top three for me were 19&25a plus 22d. Also, a nod to 7d for being such a delightful word.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for an excellent review – I certainly remember laughing at that Clarks advert when it appeared on our TV screens!

  9. I loved the little clip about the proper little madam.
    It brought to mind an aunt of mine who had 7 boys and two girls. One year a shoe manufacturor , Tufts Town Shoes , I believe , advertised that they guaranteed their shoes for 6 months wear.
    So she marched the boys in and bought 7 new pairs of shoes.And she marched them in again 5 months later and got 7 new pairs of shoes.
    22d was my favourite.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  10. Spent ages trying to decide between I and ME as the pronoun for 8a until the penny finally dropped and a laugh out loud moment when we twigged how the camels in 25a worked.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  11. An excellent puzzle which flowed reasonably well once I’d twigged that 4d was an anagram (!).

    Didn’t get 20d….so thanks for the blog, Gazza.

    I liked 5d (hoping to play it at Christmas) but the runaway winner for top-spot has to be 25a.

  12. Found this both more accessible (NW excepted, where I needed a hint or two) and more enjoyable than yesterday’s Donnybrook, with quite a few smile inducing moments.
    I particularly liked 11&25a plus 6&17d.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for the entertainment and explanations.

  13. I managed to finish, but with a little electronic help for four new words, 1d, 4d, 7d and 20d.

    They were my last in, but 24a gets my vote for COTD.

    With regards to camels, did you know (care of QI) the way to remember which camel is which? The B in Bachtrian has two humps whereas the D in Dromedary only has one.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  14. The real fun for me is inventing new-to-me words from the clues, as in 1 and 20. Felt a bit of a 25 myself though not seeing the homophone in 18 until I’d used the Thesaurus. Thank you, Giovanni and Gazza.

  15. Only got the last two in 20d and 25a after reading the review.
    Quite liked to have 4 mini puzzles as I didn’t have much time to spend on the crosswords.
    Got all the staff of the restaurant round for an end of year get together to thank them for working very hard during the summer season which terminated so abruptly yet again.
    Thanks to Giovanni for a pleasant distraction and to Gazza for the help.

  16. I really enjoyed this. I save the Toughies for my bouts of insomnia and this filled the time very nicely. I can’t remember ever enjoying a Giovanni as much. I solved all but 8a before sleep claimed me. Checked in with the hints this morning. Thank you Gazza for explaining the one or two that I couldn’t parse and the several that I parsed but didn’t know the word! Thank you again to the 2 Gs

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