Toughie 2594 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2594

Toughie No 2594 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I thought that this was a proper midweek Toughie which I enjoyed. Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

1a Island fish — fuss to get caught (8)
BARBADOS: some small fish often found in an aquarium contain our usual word for fuss.

6a European holding party sent around lackey (6)
POODLE: a European citizen contains the reversal of a festive party.

9a Sunday — with such a break you should get sun! (3,3)
DAY OFF: if you apply the answer to Sunday you’re left with ‘sun’.

10a A learner into an Austen novel — one displays ‘sunny’ disposition (8)
ANALEMMA: insert A and the abbreviation for learner into AN and a Jane Austen novel. This (new to me) is a diagram plotting the position of the sun over a year.

11a City walked about with hillock — nothing standing out (8)
DORTMUND: reverse a verb meaning walked and add a hillock or knoll without the letter resembling zero.

12a Poetic comment when identifying a recreational tablet in drink? (6)
TISANE: split the answer ‘3,2,1 to get a literary way of identifying an Ecstasy tablet.

13a Helpful senior person who could bring pax for British Latinists? (6,6)
FATHER FIGURE: split pax 2,1 to get the two elements of the answer.

16a Enlightenment certainly doesn’t come easily from one finding subtractions tricky (12)
OBSCURANTIST: an anagram (tricky) of SUBTRACTIONS.

19a Biological tissue destroyed in a storm (6)
STROMA: an anagram (destroyed) of A STORM.

21a What’s emerged from referendum is — h’m! — a shambolic mess (8)
MISHMASH: hidden in the clue.

23a Joke I poured forth heckled by the audience? (8)
PUNISHED: string together a type of joke, I and a verb meaning poured forth or gave off.

24a Film director‘s arrogance shown when dismissing the lead (6)
AUTEUR: remove the leading H from a word meaning arrogance.

25a Military commander, wasting little time, fired weapon (6)
SHOGUN: start with a weapon that can be fired and remove the abbreviation for time.

26a Sang and cried about love and died (8)
YODELLED: a verb meaning cried or screamed contains the letter resembling love in tennis and the genealogical abbreviation for ‘died’.

Down Clues

2d Flower distributor (6)
AMAZON: double definition, the second a distributor which has prospered during the pandemic.

3d Encouragement to give good person a bad time? (5)
BOOST: split the answer 3,2 to understand the wordplay.

4d Fab change to catch upper-class cheat (9)
DEFAULTER: rivet together a slang word meaning fab or excellent and a verb to change containing the letter used to mean upper-class.

5d One on their feet somehow needs a rest ultimately (7)
STANDEE: an anagram (somehow) of NEEDS A [res]T. According to the BRB this horrible word is ‘especially US’.

6d Factory‘s undercover agent? (5)
PLANT: double definition, the second being someone embedded in an organisation as a spy.

7d Lapse during the hours of darkness — change of direction taking place inside (9)
OVERSIGHT: start with an adverb meaning ‘during the hours of darkness’ and change one of the directions within to its opposite.

8d Soho celebrity here is playing harmoniously (8)
LUMINARY: this is a compound anagram. An anagram (playing) of SOHO and the answer here produces HARMONIOUSLY.

13d Take account of good business involving debts (9)
FACTORING: a phrasal verb (6,2) meaning to take account of followed by the abbreviation for good.

14d Part of Netherlands gets very hot — come to the coast? (9)
FRIESLAND: glue together a verb meaning ‘gets very hot’ and a verb to reach the coast (from the sea).

15d Bait chum in trouble? It’s somewhat unreasonable (1,3,4)
A BIT MUCH: an anagram (in trouble) of BAIT CHUM.

17d Spooner’s comic panto figure, no reason to celebrate! (4,3)
NAME DAY: the answer could mean to fix the arrangements for a wedding (lockdown permitting). Spooner might mangle this into a standard comic figure in pantomime and an old response meaning ‘no’.

18d Reckon like tot finishing with toe (6)
ASSUME: assemble an adverb meaning like, a verb to tot up and the final letter of toe.

20d The female embraced by a knight is looking pallid (5)
ASHEN: a female pronoun goes between A and the abbreviation for a knight in chess.

22d Almost all book up, wanting the Spanish stopover? (5)
MOTEL: reverse a large book without its last letter and append a Spanish definite article.

My top clues were 21a, 2d and 13d. Which ones did you rate highly?


21 comments on “Toughie 2594

  1. I too thought it a proper midweek toughie – my favourites were 13a and 2d

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. I found the bottom half not too difficult but I struggled with the top half. So *** from me too.

  3. Thanks to Giovanni for enjoyable toughie at accessible level for me.
    Thanks to Gazza for blog. Help needed in parsing 15ac and 4d (def!) and as usual I missed the compound anagram at 8d which made little sense until explained.

  4. Just failed on the horrible 5 d.
    2 d was clever and topical but my COTD was 12a with its link to Hercule Poroit

  5. Very enjoyable, but I failed to spot the compound anagram in 8d. It had to be what it was, but I spent a long time trying to work out why it was a ‘Soho celebrity’. Does this clue not fail the ‘answer at one end’ test?

  6. Great fun although I had to bung a few in and hope for the best, such as the compound anagram which I freely admit I would not have understood without the hint. To say 5d is a horrible word is being kind; it is beyond ghastly. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the rest and found it a rewarding solve.

    My thanks to The Don and Gazza.

  7. I’m afraid I found this a bit of a slog and the clues rather wordy – but 12a was amusing. My interpretation of 17d is that the reason to celebrate is one’s Saint’s day.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for the blog.

    1. Thanks, halcyon – I’ve now looked up 17d in the BRB and I think you’re right (and I thought that Giovanni had forsworn religious clues!). I still think my interpretation just about works though.

  8. I now have a new way to record time taken on a crossword as I have purchased a static exercise bike and prop the paper up on the read-out screen to solve as I pedal. Suffice to say that after 5km I had precisely 6 answers to enter into the grid……..
    Might give this another whirl now that I can access the reference books.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review which I’ll read later.

  9. ”Standees” is used by P. G. Wodehouse in ”Right Ho, Jeeves”, a fairly cogent citation of the usage, I would suggest. Nice midweek challenge from The Don.

  10. That has us working hard but with help from several references we eventually got everything sorted. Thought 13a was clever.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  11. Found this a slog and gave up with 5 to go. Some very clumsy surfaces, in my view, with 11a taking the biscuit. Thanks Gazza for the explanations and Giovanni for a challenge that was too much for me.

  12. 13d gave me a bit of a hard time as I wanted the answer to end in owing.
    19a was new to me and found the anagram indicator a bit strange but I am sure that Gazza can provide an example.
    Def = Fab was also a new one.
    Liked the compound anagram in 8d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.
    Thanks to BD for posting 29606 which I am going to print.

  13. Too many “never heard of words” to mention and lots of bung ins 3 of which were wrong. Hey ho! At least I nearly got there. Favourite was 25a. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  14. Did about half then surrendered. Had all the checkers for 8d and it had to be what it was, but would never have figured a compound anagram in a month of Sundays. Had a chuckle with a different working of the anagram in 15d – A BUM ITCH – which I reckon would be quite unreasonable, in more ways than one. Thanks everyone.

  15. First look this afternoon & gave up after 7 answers but it’s kept me entertained this evening on & off and am pretty pleased to get to within 2 of a finish albeit with the aid of 2 letter reveals (5d/11a & 8d/12a checkers). Needed the hints for 12a & 14d. Didn’t know the Dutch province & a bit disappointed not to got there from the wordplay (as with 10&19a) but nowhere near with the other as I thought the definition was poetic comment. Favourite clue for me was 24a because I’m a movie buff but there were loads of worthy contenders.
    Many thanks to Giovanni & to Gazza – must check out this compound anagram malarkey as needless to say 8d was a bung in.

  16. Well this was pretty awful. Silly or appalling words (5, 10, 16, 17) with some tricky clueing. And 9a is I think is really poor. Day Out is a decent solution, which rather messes up the rest of the NW corner. Ambiguity is worse than obscurity. Not a happy bunny.

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