Toughie 2574 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2574

Toughie No 2574 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Wednesday seems to have become the day for gentle Toughies. This one was enjoyable – thanks to Hudson.

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

Across Clues

7a Local visitor‘s smartest togs, as observed by Spooner (5,4)
GUEST BEER: this is a liquid visitor to a pub. Spooner might mangle it to BEST GEAR.

8a Clumsy Soviet writer speaking (5)
GAWKY: this sounds (to some people) like the name of a Soviet writer and activist (after whom a major park in Moscow is named).
Maxim Gorky

10a Second shoemaker working the night shift that is shot (6)
SELFIE: link together the abbreviation for second, one of the little night-time shoemakers in a Grimm fairy tale and the abbreviation for ‘that is’.

11a Following each Morse novel is awe-inspiring (8)
FEARSOME: abbreviations for ‘following’ and ‘each’ precede an anagram (novel) of MORSE.

12a Family doctor screening Run Lola Run (6)
GALLOP: the abbreviation for a family doctor contains an anagram (run) of LOLA to make the type of run that Senf often indulges in.

14a A feature of Uncle Richard’s canon? (6)
CLERIC: hidden in the clue.

16a Berliner regularly pared cheese (4)
BRIE: pare away regular letters from the first word.

17a Ms Fonteyn shunning Monsieur’s vulgar tongue (5)
ARGOT: start with the forename of Ms Fonteyn the ballerina and remove the abbreviation for Monsieur.
Dame Margot Fonteyn

18a Special copper put forward point (4)
CUSP: an abbreviation for special with the chemical symbol for copper put in front of it.

19a Discover panto theme song (6)
ANTHEM: remove the covers from two words in the clue.

21a Foreign Secretary half-heartedly nibbled game (6)
RABBIT: the surname of our current Foreign Secretary with one of the repeated letters at its heart removed is followed by a verb meaning nibbled. Is it just me or do others struggle to remember who the Foreign Secretary is?
Dominic Raab

24a Cautiously trap German lady on vacation (8)
GINGERLY: assemble a banned animal trap, an abbreviation for German and the outer letters of lady.

26a Character of pen pal: popular, upfront (6)
INMATE: a synonym of pal with an adjective meaning popular or trendy preceding it. Pen here is an informal North American word.

27a One biting the head of Cleopatra injecting iodine jelly (5)
ASPIC: a creature that bites and the first letter of Cleopatra with the chemical symbol for iodine inserted.

28a Angler brewed tea to be guzzled in Russian port (9)
ARCHANGEL: an anagram (brewed) of ANGLER containing an informal word for tea.

Down Clues

1d Poet, American, modelled nude (5)
AUDEN: stick together an abbreviation for American and an anagram (modelled) of NUDE to get a poet, about whom David Hockney asked “If that’s his face, what must his scrotum look like?”.
W H Auden

2d Just recently, beset by inertia; so flat, enervated (2,2,4)
AS OF LATE: hidden in the clue.

3d Get that sinking feeling as tummy muscles contracted? Flipping pork pie! (6)
ABSEIL: charade of a contracted informal word for the tummy muscles and the reversal of a Cockney pork pie.

4d Perrins’s partner beginning to fold sheet (4)
LEAF: the co-founder (along with Mr Perrins) of a company famous for its sauce is followed by the first letter of fold.

5d Sons participating in healthy argument (6)
HASSLE: insert a double helping of the abbreviation for son into a synonym of healthy.

6d Most revealing sketch featuring 1,000 birds (black and white) (9)
SKIMPIEST: a sketch contains the Roman numeral for 1,000 and birds with black and white feathers.

9d Lucky charm mum’s put over bed of little ‘un (6)
MASCOT: an affectionate term for mum plus the ‘S goes on top of a little ‘un’s bed.

13d With which to contact spin doctor (about time!) (5)
PAGER: the abbreviation for spin doctor (?) contains a period of time. The abbreviation stands for ‘spinning’ but I can’t find any confirmation that it also means the person carrying it out.

15d Pompous matriarch composed odes when touring India (9)
GRANDIOSE: concatenate a matriarch and an anagram (composed) of ODES containing the letter for which India is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

17d Like a desperate male incarcerated (6)
ADMIRE: A and an adjective meaning desperate or urgent containing the abbreviation for male.

18d Animal portion to eat around lunchtime? (8)
CHIPMUNK: a solid piece of food contains what may be lunchtime (1,2).

20d Crones pinching Joe Burns’s grub (6)
HAGGIS: Joe is a slang term for a US soldier. Put some crones around another term for such a soldier.

22d Merry band’s leader ignited high explosive (6)
BLITHE: concatenate the first letter of band, a verb meaning ignited and the abbreviation for high explosive.

23d Dear Meryl; resistance is melting away! (5)
STEEP: I know of only one person called Meryl. Remove the abbreviation for electrical resistance from her surname.
Meryl Streep

25d Cart over three feet (4)
YARD: reverse the type of cart used to transport 7a.

My top clues were 7a, 19a and 17d. Which ones earned your approval?


38 comments on “Toughie 2574

  1. Hudson produces such enjoyable crosswords that one could almost forgive him for not making them tricky enough to make it onto the easy end of the Toughie spectrum. My favourites out of a very long long list were 7a and 4d

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

    1. 7a is driving me potty. I’ve spent longer trying to think of 3 letters than the rest of crossword.

  2. 7a was my downfall. Never heard of the expression and hate Dr Spooner. I do wish he would go away!
    The rest was pretty straightforward. My COTD has to be 28a just because I’ve been there,

    1. In an attempt to limit the commercial dominance of the big brewers, who used to have complete monopoly of the beers sold in tied houses, a law was passed (I can’t remember which government) permitting tenants to offer one beer from another supplier. The big brewers hated it, because they were terrified that customers might actually like beer that tasted of something, and some bullied publicans into not taking advantage of the change. The guest beer legislation helped to encourage the growth of new breweries, and the choice and quality of real ale now available in pubs has greatly improved. This is one of about three useful things that a British government has done in the last 40 years. Sadly, in my local, despite a range of excellent beers from the local Goachers brewery, 80% of the customers drink the tasteless yellow alcopop that is draught lager. Ah well, you can lead a horse to water….

      PS I spend to long thinking about Reginald Perrin bore the penny dropped.

      1. Big breweries don’t like competitors in my part of the world either.
        Some friends of mine started to produce a beer in Toulon called La Girèle but forgot to register the name.
        Heineken registered it the next day and tried to sue them for its use.
        It is now called La Censurée and sells like hotcakes.

        1. Ha, that’s brilliant. Bravo to your friends.

          Personally I’m fine with cakes being room temperature. The icing doesn’t run off then …

  3. A very straightforward but elegantly clued Toughie today that was a delight to solve. Although not a great fan of Spoonerisms, 7a was a very good one and my COTD.

    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  4. Very enjoyable. Spooner’s appearance and a missed lurker held me up a little in the NW but otherwise I found this quite gentle. Thanks to Husdson and Gazza.

  5. Oh dear. So obvious but, after a good recent run with Spooner, for some reason the penny refused to drop until eventually it did with an almighty clank & it’s my COTD – bet it was MP’s first in. Hardly a Toughie but a real pleasure throughout & quite nice not to have a furrowed brow permanently etched on one’s features.
    Thanks Hudson & Gazza

  6. Much more straightforward than and could probably have could have swapped places with yesterday’s Donnybrook, completed at a Toughie fast gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 19a, 4d, 18d, and 23d – and the winner is 4d for the sauce.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza – as an expat of 28 years, I surprised myself by somehow knowing who the present FS is.

  7. A most enjoyable puzzle. I needed the hints for about half a dozen. I did not get on with Spooner but then, I never do. Obvious when the answer is known but I cannot get my mind to work that way. There were some great clues such as 19a and 23d but my COTD is 18d.

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  8. Another not very tough Toughie which was good fun.

    I was perplexed by 28a as I’ve always spelt that port with SK added to the end. I was going to query the use of PR in 13d to mean a spin doctor, and I see that Gazza has raised the same point.

    Podium places go to 7a, 21a (despite my nervousness at it being considered as game) & 17d.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

    1. In the late sixties a ship from Archangel(sk) docked in Shoreham and the crew were invited to look round our school (Lancing College), guided by those of us learning Russian. I still have the lapel badge of Archangelsk we were all given. I wondered if Gorky spent time there but can’t find any connection

  9. I still hate Spoonerisms in a crossword but for once this one made me smile (if only through gritted teeth). The rest was very enjoyable ** / ****, COTD 18D.

  10. I took a long time to get going on this Toughie today, but managed most of it without help. 18a was my last in. I don’t think I have come across that abbreviation for special before.

    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  11. Gazza, you do make me smile. Your comment at 1 down is a gem. As for Meryl, a quick google search only turned up nine contenders that might be considered famous. The puzzle was solved at 6.30 am with a smile throughout. So far a good start to the Toughie week. Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza

  12. Not complaining as today there were 3 crosswords from some excellent setters. Jay in the back page, Philistine in the Graun and Hudson here.
    Really enjoyed the solve.
    Favourite is a toss between 17 and 18d.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

    1. Wasn’t Phil in the Graun fun & such a pleasant change to be free of any ridiculous obscurity & Latin.

  13. Lots to like here, including the best Spoonerism for quite a while – it works and it’s amusing. Others of note [amongst rather a lot of fine clues] are 26a, 3d,17d and 20d.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the blog.

  14. Puzzle of the week for me, excellent throughout.
    I was really quick out of the blocks, had nearly half in on the first sweep through, and eventually solved it in about the same time as the back pager but enjoyed it more.
    I’ve highlighted 10, 21&24a plus22&23d but no doubt whatsoever as to COTD, the brilliant Spoonerism at 7a, of which the first two words alone would have passed muster as a clue, the Reverend providing the icing on the cake. Great stuff.
    Thanks to Gazza and Hudson for the entertainment.

  15. With the aid of four electronic gifts (4 letters in 2 words–7 and 8a, the Spooner and the Russian, which I’m embarrassed I didn’t solve immediately since I once actually taught that grim plunge into the Lower Depths), I managed to finish this thoroughly enjoyable Hudson. Of course. I’d never heard of the ‘local visitor’, but I chuckled when it materialised; the British pub has such a storied history! 6d was my favourite, and I did like the FS and the Perrin partner, both of which I was able to ‘work out’. Thanks to Gazza and to Hudson.

    1. I bet Maxim was a bundle of laughs. Am reminded of a great line in one of my favourite films Withnail & I (about 2 unemployed actors) – The bastard asked me to understudy Konstantin in The Seagull. I’m not going to understudy anyone. Anyway, I loathe those Russian plays. Always full of women staring out of windows & whining about ducks going to Moscow.

  16. An excellent way to spend a cold, wet afternoon: thanks to Hudson for the puzzle and Gazza for the blog.

    Again the SE corner held me up a little with 28a the last one in. Blindingly obvious once I finally realised the anagram was angler and not tea.

    Favourite for me was 7a.

  17. Late in today but I got through most of this in fine style until I came up against the ‘pen pal’ and Joe Burns – the latter apparently being a cricketer for those who didn’t know! Felt like a complete numpty when the required pennies dropped.
    Didn’t think I’d ever say this but the dear old reverend was my favourite.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the review. For some reason, the name of our present Foreign Secretary does stick in my mind – can’t think why as I probably couldn’t name any of the previous ones.

  18. ha, not sure Raab remembers that he is Foreign Secretary.

    And scrotum-face made me laugh, google images of “michael gove spitting image” if you haven’t seen it yet

    took me a while to think of the local visitor and i thought 2d was very well hidden – i was trying to turn it into a quadruple definition (which is probably why it was my last one in!)

    All great stuff, many thanks Hudson and Gazza

  19. A very enjoyable puzzle with plenty of smiles along the way.
    I am seemingly one of the very few fans of Spoonerisms and this one was particularly good.
    7a and 19a were my favourites in an excellent puzzle.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza. Still giggling about the comment for 1d!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Mike D.
      Yes, but public relations is a job or activity and ‘spin doctor’ is a person so I don’t think the two are the same thing.

        1. You can say “Fred does my public relations” but does it make sense to say “Fred is my public relations”?
          In any case if PR can mean spin doctor I would expect it to be in one of the major dictionaries.

  20. dear Gazza, many thanks for your review and thanks to those who have left a comment. You’re absolutely right that Chambers & Collins have PR= public relations (so spin, I guess) and PRO= public relations officer (so spinner). I must admit that I’ve heard someone refer to “my PR” as a person so many times that I had assumed that the two things had merged into one. Loved your comment about Auden by the way. Greetings to everyone from the Black Forest, stay well! Rob/Hudson

    1. Thanks for that, Hudson, and thanks for the enjoyable puzzle. I’m particularly appreciative of the fact that your puzzles are obscurity-free.

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