Toughie 2590 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2590

Toughie No 2590 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Thanks to Hudson for a very enjoyable puzzle which wasn’t too tricky but contains some great clues and produced a number of chuckles. There are a couple of references which may be more difficult for non-UK solvers.

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

Across Clues

1a Witness former PM dropping a couple of Es somewhere in Washington (7)
SEATTLE: stick together a verb to witness and an old Labour Prime Minister then remove two Es.

9a Behold threesome featuring husband (Aylesbury’s number one womaniser) (8)
LOTHARIO: an exclamation meaning behold and another word for a threesome containing the genealogical abbreviation for husband and the first letter of Aylesbury.

10a Move clumsily, having a lump hampering bandages (7)
GALUMPH: a splendid verb is hiding in the clue.

11a Female adult, 21, left English sea area (4,4)
FAIR ISLE: one of the 31 sea areas which feature in the UK shipping forecast is constructed from abbreviations for female and adult, the answer to 21a and abbreviations for left and English.

12a Blunder as royal gardens beauty pageant winner announced? (6)
MISCUE: homophone of a possible beauty contest winner (4,3) in the royal gardens in south-west London.

13a Joey crushed fag end outside Queen’s penthouse terrace (4,6)
ROOF GARDEN: another word for a joey in Australia is followed by an anagram (crushed) of FAG END containing an abbreviation for queen.

15a Yarn recalled Battle of Britain pilots from Yorkshire (4)
WEFT: start with a description of Battle of Britain pilots (3,3) (derived from Churchill’s speech “Never, in the field of human conflict, was so much owed by so many to so few”). Now change that to how it might be said in Yorkshire. Finally, reverse it.

16a Writer Harry in Vienna to retire, laze about having collected Oscar (5,4)
EMILE ZOLA: reverse the surname of Harry in Vienna (i.e. the character played by Orson Welles in the 1949 film “The Third Man“) and append an anagram (about) of LAZE containing the letter for which Oscar is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

21a Woman taking shelter regularly during air raids (4)
IRIS: regular letters from the final two words of the clue.

22a Idiot sheep milling around terminus in Reading — it holds things up on the line (7,3)
CLOTHES PEG: glue together another word for idiot, an anagram (milling around) of SHEEP and the terminating letter of Reading.

24a Decorate Caruso’s unfinished hotel (6)
ENRICH: chop off the last letter of Caruso’s forename and add the letter for which hotel is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

25a Neck brace fitted after surgery — that’s miserable (8)
DOWNCAST: stick together a verb to neck or drink and a brace used to protect a broken limb after surgery.

27a Benefit time went very quickly in recession (7)
WELFARE: concatenate a specific period of time and a verb meaning ‘went very quickly’ then reverse the lot.

28a Emma’s to do nowt to obstruct huge beast (8)
MASTODON: our second hidden answer.

29a Tragedy returning to celebrity magazine (7)
OTHELLO: reverse ‘to’ and add the name of a celebrity magazine.

Down Clues

2d French bloke outside fancy cinema knocked over inspector (8)
EXAMINER: a French male forename contains the proprietary name of a chain of upmarket cinemas with very large screens. Now reverse it all.

3d Curtail reporting of case eight (8)
TRUNCATE: this sounds like a large solid case and eight.

4d Pericles revised, six boxed; it’s rather casually paid (3,7)
LIP SERVICE: an anagram (revised) of PERICLES containing the Roman numeral for six.

5d Pop about to be fitted with oxygen line (4)
COLA: a two-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately contains the chemical symbol for oxygen and the abbreviation of line.

6d One who works their way to the top? (6)
SHERPA: cryptic definition of a very popular chap this week. The ‘top’ is a mountain peak.

7d Be chairperson, in the days before spin? (7)
PRESIDE: as 3-4 this could mean at an earlier time than a synonym of the sort of spin used on a snooker table, say.

8d Drug firm, one from Germany, located in the outskirts of Dundee (7)
CODEINE: start with the abbreviation for a firm then insert the German number one between the outer letters of Dundee.

11d Twerp, fool, horrid little weed lived by here (9)
FLOWERPOT: an anagram (horrid) of TWERP FOOL.

14d Autopilot set to fly around British airport (6,4)
GEORGE BEST: a slang term for an autopilot and an anagram (to fly) of SET contain an abbreviation for British.

17d One’s triggered to show anger with pent-up force (3,5)
AIR RIFLE: a verb to show or broadcast and a verb to anger or annoy with the abbreviation for force contained inside it.

18d To do with organs/claviers being out of tune? (8)
VISCERAL: an anagram (being out of tune) of CLAVIERS.

19d Uplift of Village People hit entertaining a Delaware school (7)
ACADEMY: reverse the name of The Village People’s biggest hit and insert A and the standard abbreviation for Delaware.

20d First part of Pygmalion broadcast — rambling Shaw twaddle! (7)
HOGWASH: start with a synonym for what the first syllable of Pygmalion sounds like and add an anagram (rambling) of SHAW.

23d Browbeat hospital over shocking treatment placed on heads of older residents (6)
HECTOR: abbreviations for hospital and medical treatment involving electric shocks are followed by the first letters of the last two words.

26d Son with excessively twisted smutty material (4)
SOOT: the abbreviation for son and the reversal of an adverb meaning excessively.

There are many clues I could have picked out but I’ll restrict myself to 12a, 15a, 11d and 20d. Which ones put a smile on your lips?


32 comments on “Toughie 2590

  1. What a great crossword to brighten up another day in snowy freezing lockdown. This one was on the Toughie spectrum too

    My favourites were the same as Gazza’s, although just like him, there are many others that could be mentioned. I’d better mention that I did notice that some of the clues were long, but they told such wonderful stories, its OK by me.

    Thanks to Hudson for the fun and to Gazza for the blog

  2. Found this very enjoyable and largely straighforward. I did need to check my answer to 16a as not having heard of either the writer or Harry made this a more challenging achievement. Spent a while trying to make sense of soda for 5d until the penny dropped. 15a made me smile.

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  3. Wasn’t sure about the inclusion of 2 GK clues (16a and 14d).
    Was really held up by 15a as I read yarn as yam. I was further confused because there is a yam called a fufu…..our Battle of Britain “few” twice over. Not surprisingly the NW corner was the last to fall.
    My COTD is 10a. A lovely word.

  4. We are indeed blessed today. A cracking puzzle from Jay plus this very accessible and enjoyable puzzle from Hudson. 12 and 15a were my favourites of many. Great entertainment for a cold Shropshire day.

    My thanks to Hudson for the fun and to Gazza.

    1. If you haven’t had your fill of crosswords for the day, YS, I can recommend Eccles in the Indy as a third corker.

  5. Great fun thank you Hudson. */****
    15ac last one in.
    Thanks Gazza for blog, didn’t need hints (unusually) but as always the pictures are appreciated.

  6. Having got hung up in NW corner for too long on the back page, this toughie fell in near record time for me. 27a LOI, and 11d COTD.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  7. A blip on my horizon when I opted for a different airport without checking the parsing, plus, like Jonners, I tried to get ‘soda’ to work for 5d.
    That mountain guide is certainly putting in some overtime recently and the clumsy move was on display in another crossword yesterday.
    My picks were the same as Gazza’s but I added 22a into the mix.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the review. 16a looks like a cheerful soul!

  8. An excellent Wednesday with both cryptics hitting the spot for me. Especially liked 9a 22a and 29a. Needed Gazza’s hints to resolve 15a and 26d. Got 16a but unable to parse as the Vienna reference went over my head. Many thanks Gazza and Hudson for a very enjoyable challenge.

  9. What a treat to wake up to. A proper Toughie which needed teasing out bit by bit. Plenty of laughs along the way and a couple I am glad I wasn’t writing the hints for. Thanks to Hudson. I always enjoy your puzzles. Thanks to Gazza

  10. I didn’t know 16a, 19th Century French writers were not on my curriculum at school.

    Isn’t 6d the third repetition of an answer this week?

    Did anyone else think the Yorkshire pilots were “T’ RAF”, which meant the yarn would be . . ? Perhaps not.

    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  11. What a delightful, not too tough Toughie. Is there a collective noun for 6ds?

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

  12. Again Ifound this pitched at the right level, learnt something new at 14d as I did not know it was called that, still do not understand 15A , but 11d brought back memories and is my COTD.

    Thank you to Hudson & Gazza

    1. 15a The Battle of Britain Pilots are “The Few”. In Yorkshire the definite article becomes T’ so change that to TFEW – finally reverse it.

  13. Hudson is my favourite compiler. Not as testing as he usually is today except the NW corner had me thinking. Most of his clues contain a smile moment and in this weather and Covid times that is very welcome.
    I am also hoping to be able to post this as try as I may I couldn’t get my comments to post last Friday.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  14. What a total joy! 19a made me laugh out loud–how ‘knowing’ is that? I knew the author and Harry (love ‘The Third Man’), as well as the great tenor’s first name, and everything else BUT the ‘pop’ (couldn’t get ‘soda’ out of my mind). I thought that 15a was about as smartly UKish as one can get, and I was so chuffed when I worked it out. Likewise for so many other ones. What a great gift this one, coupled with Jay’s masterpiece, today, so thanks to Gazza for the review and to Hudson.

    1. Therese Raquin is the only Zola I’ve ever read Robert. There was a great BBC adaptation of it in 1980 (super cast – Kate Nelligan, Mona Washbourne, Brian Cox, Alan Rickman & Kenneth Cranham) that’s available to watch on You Tube that I’m sure you’d enjoy if you’ve not seen it.
      Carol Reed’s The Third Man is one of my all time favourites (even though the book isn’t among Greene’s best in my view) – must have watched it at least 20 times over the years.

      1. Even though it’s about 2 am your time, maybe you can read this tomorrow. Thanks for the scoop on Therese Raquin, which not only can I not remember ever reading but the adaptation of which I also can’t remember ever seeing. Memory. I too have seen The Third Man so many times that I’ve lost count. It’s my favourite Joseph Cotten movie (that and Shadow of a Doubt), though I’m also partial to those romantic interludes with Jennifer Jones. You’re right: the film is an improvement on the Greene novel. (The Heart of the Matter remains my favourite GG, though Brighton Rock keeps insisting on its importance.)

  15. Great fun! Hudson seems to be developing his own witty style and his surfaces are almost always excellent. There’s lots here to like but my favourites are 12a, 11d [ah – childhood memories] and 23d. Isn’t 15a the second Yorkshire glottal stop in a week?
    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the blog.

  16. After months of trying I nearly got a second toughie in a row.
    Beaten by 15a – the wordplay was beyond me – and 16a – I have no knowledge of this writer
    But some great clues in 1a, 11a, 11d & 14d and 12a would be my favourite today

  17. MalcolmR couldn’t be more right as I did have The RAF backwards in 15a until I solved 2d (been a while since we last saw that Frenchman).
    Unfortunately I never got the answer to that one.
    Couldn’t parse 7d either.
    Didn’t understand the Harry in Vienna although the writer who lays at the Pantheon was very obvious.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

  18. It seems to me that Hudson is The Toughie version of Campbell on the back page on Mondays.
    It took me ages to get going on this but once I did it went in surprisingly easily, albeit with a couple of visits to Mr Google, and was great fun. I was particularly pleased to have remembered the autopilot from a Jay puzzle a couple of months ago which helped identify the airport and to have worked out the yarn from the wordplay. In a strong field my favourite was the clever and amusing 11a
    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the entertainment.

  19. Very enjoyable Toughie, which I found manageable throughout except that I too couldn’t get away from Soda in 5d.

    Podium places for me were the wonderful 12a and 10a because it’s not a word often heard these days and plan to try and change that.

    Thanks to Gazza for the blog and to Hudson.

  20. What an absolute joy of a crossword. Other than 3 clues in the NW (2d,10&15a) I actually found this easier than Jay’s back pager though I will admit to needing to go back & look at trying to parse a couple. Too many excellent clues to pick a winner & certainly wouldn’t disagree with Gazza’s picks. 1a did make me smile however at the thought of strait-laced Clement dropping a couple of Es before Cabinet.
    Thanks Hudson & to Gazza.

  21. Loved this.
    Chuckled all the way through. Just wish we had thought of the alternative suggestion for 15a too.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

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