Toughie 2578 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2578

Toughie No 2578 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The run of gentle Wednesday Toughies has been brought to an end by this one requiring quite a lot of looking up – my copy of the BRB, already tatty, is now in danger of falling to pieces.

Thanks to Giovanni.

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

A Happy Inauguration Day (accompanied by a sigh of relief) to our friends across the pond.

Across Clues

1a Salt I love to put on fruit (6)
IODATE: string together I, the letter resembling love at tennis and a type of fruit.

5a Hang about after accident — not good sort of road (8)
AUTOBAHN: an anagram (after accident) of HAN[g] ABOUT after the abbreviation for good has been removed.

9a Surprising additional charge for coat? (13)
EXTRAORDINARY: charade of an adjective meaning additional and a charge or device found on a coat of arms.
Ordinary examples

10a Class being terminated early after month, making one browned off (2,6)
AU GRATIN: a class or grade without its last letter follows the abbreviation for one of our months.

11a Cake with lemon is somehow nothing to be missed (6)
SIMNEL: an anagram (somehow) of LEM[o]N IS without the letter resembling zero.
Simnel cake

12a French department store’s customer? (6)
VENDÉE: a French department on the Atlantic coast could also (if you ignore the acute accent) be someone being sold to.

14a Classics teacher maybe has to turn around one idiot coming in bottom of the class? (8)
LATINIST: the Roman numeral for one and an idiot are reversed inside a word for bottom of the class.

16a Provision for boater after journey home? (8)
HATSTAND: I looked in vain for some wordplay here – I think it’s a cryptic definition of where someone returning home might place his boater after entering the house.

19a Intertwine branches of fruit tree across short line (6)
PLEACH: a type of fruit tree contains the abbreviation for line.

21a Fortification brought to light by archaeologist? (6)
DUGOUT: as 3,3 this could be brought to light by an archaeologist.

23a Confess, having received unfriendly rebuke (8)
SCOLDING: a verb to confess contains an adjective meaning unfriendly or aloof.

25a Villainy of Russian seen all over the place (13)
NEFARIOUSNESS: an anagram (all over the place) of OF RUSSIAN SEEN.

26a Conscious of emotion when maiden has departed (8)
SENTIENT: an emotion or feeling without the cricket abbreviation for maiden.

27a See deer dance by river (6)
SAMBAR: paste together a Brazilian dance and the abbreviation for river. ‘See’ just seems to be padding.

Down Clues

2d Like our boss, wanting slave ultimately for excessive exploitation (7)
OVERUSE: where our boss might be in the hierarchy (4,2) followed by the ultimate letter of slave.

3d Former lady in Parliament? Bright star, but no leader (5)
ASTOR: remove the leading letter from a bright star in the constellation Gemini. This is a lady who was an MP for Plymouth and the first woman to take her seat in the House of Commons. There is a, probably apocryphal, story that she once said to Churchill “Winston, if you were my husband I’d put poison in your tea”. He replied “Madam, if I were your husband I’d drink it”.
Nancy, Lady Astor

4d Rash guy from Austin maybe heading off with the old woman (9)
EXANTHEMA: assemble the description of a man possibly living in Austin, USA without its first letter, THE and an affectionate word for one’s old woman.

5d A doctor on revolutionary course about certain glands (7)
ADRENAL: A and an abbreviation for doctor are followed by the reversal of a course or road.

6d Travels made by band beginning to end (5)
TRIPS: a band or ribbon with its first letter moved to the end.

7d Fashionable society? Spooner’s cut connection (4,5)
BEAU MONDE: Spooner might turn this into MOW BOND.

8d Spirited lasses left out of religious retreats (7)
HOYDENS: remove abbreviation for left from religious or saintly retreats (4,4).

13d Male meeting female — it comes after party, bringing distress (9)
DISCOMFIT: abbreviations for male and female and IT all follow a sort of party involving dancing.

15d Various teashops around university? They offer something stronger than tea (9)
TAPHOUSES: an anagram (various) of TEASHOPS containing an abbreviation for university.

17d New manual on etiquette originally provided for former students (7)
ALUMNAE: an anagram (new) of MANUAL precedes the first letter of etiquette.

18d Daughter is left to play about (7)
DISPORT: knit together the abbreviation for daughter, IS and the maritime word for left.

20d Fellow losing head interrupting players before start of Ashes game (7)
CANASTA: a male person without his leading letter goes inside a group of actors. Finish with the first letter of Ashes.

22d Group in fiery furnace, say, featuring in article about religious lessons (5)
THREE: our definite article contains the abbreviation for religious lessons. The definition relates to an Old Testament story.

24d Fantasy of fear doubled at the end (5)
DREAM: a word for great fear has its final letter doubled (as a maths student in ancient Rome would have done).

My top clues were 5a, 10a and 2d. Which ones did the business for you?


33 comments on “Toughie 2578

  1. 27a and 4d were new to me. I thought the Spoonerism in 7d was rubbish and my COTD was 8d because it’s such a lovely old fashioned word.

  2. I needed help for a few but this was thoroughly enjoyable. Lots of really good clues. I haven’t played 20d for years. In fact, I have forgotten how. I learned a new word at 19a and my COTD is 8d.

    Many thanks to Giovanni for the challenge and to Gazza for the hints.

  3. Really enjoyed this. Lots of new words for me like 4d, 8d and 27a. My favourite today was 24d. A smile moment. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  4. Definitely a tough Toughie completed at a Toughie fast canter – ***/****.
    While I was able to ‘bung in’ 7d with the checkers, the Spoonerism did not make any sense at all.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 4d, and 24d – and the winner is 24d for the Roman arithmetic.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  5. A proper Toughie today from Giovanni, but even the odd obscurity was well clued with tight wordplay so no complaints. 8d was a good runner up, but my favourite was 5a. Thoroughly enjoyable.

    My thanks to both The Don and Gazza.

  6. More fun than usual, but a typical Giovanni puzzle with scrupulously fair clues. I too looked in vain for wordplay in 16a and wondered what “see” was for in 27a. Favourites were 2d and 4d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the blog.

  7. A real Toughie. Probably down to the five words I’d never heard of. The spooner clue was ignored until last as is my wont. I liked the construct at 24 down. I’d never seen the doubling of Roman Numerals used before and it took a while to work out what was going on. Thanks to The Don for the puzzle and to Gazza for the blog.

  8. Thank you for your feedback. I have just been attending and speaking at ( via video-link) Richard Palmer’s funeral in a woodland chapel near Bristol. Richard (Messinae) was a friend and fellow-crossworder for nearly fifty years, He will be hugely missed.

  9. Nearly got there. 7 & 8 dn eluded me. I thought 17 was spelt with an i at the end. Missed the heraldic part of 9a but there could only be one answer. My COTD was 12a.
    Thanks to Giovanni for a good struggle, and to Gazza for needed explanations

      1. Did he now? I solved by putting what fit where with the checkers from the obvious anagram. One of the five words I’d never heard of

        1. Amo – amas – amat, All of Gaul is divided into three parts . . . , and Masculine and Feminine variants is about all I can remember from my Latin O-level (failed.

  10. I enjoyed, and unusually managed to complete!, most of this well clued toughie. More accessible than most of the setter’s toughies imho apart from the usual frustrating obscurities (at least they weren’t predominantly religious) and 7d (which I can’t understand).
    Thanks to the setter for the challenge and Gazza for the help.

  11. I managed to finish this, and parse it, but I had to refer to the BRB six times. Five new words and one new usage (the heraldic one), made this tough going but satisfying.
    The fact that “fiery furnace” took me straight to the answer is depressing. Despite having been a committed atheist since the age of twelve, the religious indoctrination forced upon me in primary school was obviously so powerful that I could not only remember the names of the three fire walkers, but also the king (champagne helped no doubt), and even the relevant book. After 51 years I would have hoped to have cleared my mind of such unwanted jumble, but I guess it comes in handy for quizzes and crosswords.

    1. I was a church chorister and lector for over 40 years. I had no idea what this was about.

      I have precisely half the answers, having used electrons for many of them.

      Think I will just go for a walk in the rain.

      Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

    2. I’m with you on the ‘fiery furnace’. I too was subjected to religious indoctrination at primary school – the local vicar, dressed from head to foot in black, would come in and frighten us pupils (and our our young female teacher) with tales of hell and damnation. That turned me off religion for life. But, as you say, some of the fairy tales must have lodged in my brain.

      1. How can we ever forget Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego? Like Daniel in the lion’s den, once heard never forgotten!

        1. All I remember from RE is arguing that the stories were nonsense, logically
          I was eventually barred from lessons and had ‘Library time’ instead – hardly a punishment; I could look up what ‘begat’ meant and discovered ‘pantopragmatism’, which is how I regard the subject to this day

  12. Well & truly beaten today. Drawn to the hints with 6 remaining – 12,16&27a plus 3,7&8d. Even after reading those the Spoonerism was still beyond me. Although I didn’t know the words I’m a bit disappointed that the wordplay didn’t get me to at least 3 of them (4&8d + 27a) & was on the right lines with 16a in terms of where to put your hat but with the checkers I had was thinking head. Never mind as this level of difficulty would have been way out of my league not so long ago & it’s helped pass the time in a thoroughly enjoyable way.
    Thanks Giovanni & to Gazza for deciphering them.

  13. The puzzle was so precisely clued I don’t think anyone could complain about unusual words.

    Exanthema is the best example though I must confess to having a bit of an advantage speaking Greek and my mother having been a long term sufferer with exanthema.

    My only query is whether there should have been a question mark after religious retreats.

    I assume there is no such thing as holydens so we are looking at holy/ religious and dens/retreats

    Thank you Giovanni for the superb puzzle and dropping in especially after today’s events.
    Thanks also to Gazza and sorry you didn’t enjoy it as much.

  14. My BRB’s gone for a lie down and after that truly dreadful Spoonerism I’m tempted to go and join it!
    I did wonder why the guys in the fiery furnace sounded vaguely familiar – it’s doubtless down to the reasons given by devartly and Gazza.
    10&21a made me smile as did 2d so they take the top spots today.

    Thanks to DG and to Gazza for the review.

  15. Always enjoy a Giovanni as I have learned a bit more about chemistry, medicine, fauna and flora.
    As it was stated earlier, all fairly clued and easily obtained from the parsing.
    Being French, the Spooner works for me and was in fact one of the first to fall as I started the crossword from the NE.
    Thanks to the Don and to Gazza.

  16. Well I got there but with a large slice of ehelp, what else do you do with 9 words you’ve never heard of, also needed the hints to parse 2. Hey ho! It’s not that long ago I used to read the clues to see if I could do any. Favourite was 26a. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  17. I too dislike Spoonerisms like today’s, though I did manage to solve it, as I did most of the rest of this very tough Giovanni except for two: the French department and the Asian deer. Favourites: 2d, 8d, 13d. Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni. I enjoyed the challenge, as I always do Giovanni’s gems.

  18. 7d defeated me. Hadn’t heard of the high society definition, and the spoonerism was disappointing, though I guess fairly clued. Still, pleased to have completed the rest with the help of mucho gadgetry. Thanks to G & G.

  19. Louis Armstrong sang about Shadrach, M and A. I got everything but the French department but it was a bit of a struggle. Thanks to blogger and tormentor.

  20. I think 8d is just too obscure. If you don’t know the word, then holy dens isn’t exactly obvious as “religious retreats”, especially when it’s Giovanni and you’re expecting an equally unknown and obscure word for a religious retreat!

  21. Highly chuffed to have progressed with Toughies to the stage of finishing this one. Only help was a solver for the 2nd word of LOI 7d, which gave me the 1st. I’m late through catching up, and I hate to throw out an incomplete crossword. Thanks to The Don, Gazza, BD, and all the reviewers and bloggers for the coaching.

Comments are closed.