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Toughie 2610

Toughie No 2610 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

When I first accessed this from the Puzzles site early this morning clue 27a was repeated as 27d which caused a problem with the grid. That was soon corrected however.

As Outnumbered commented on a Giovanni back-pager recently “On the plus side, at least there were no 14th Century religious assemblies to deal with”. That is indeed a plus although there are still a couple of obscurities, not least a very small village which I can’t believe that anyone outside its neighbourhood has heard of.

Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle.

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

Across Clues

1a Two females, old and unintelligent, wandering around somewhere on sports ground (3-3)
MID-OFF: assemble two abbreviations for female, one abbreviation for old and an adjective meaning unintelligent. Now reverse the lot to get a fielding position at cricket.

5a Idiot yesterday in Paris, one with lots of duds (8)
CLOTHIER: join together an idiot and the French word for ‘yesterday’.

9a What Liesel famously shows, being independent (4-9)
SELF-CONTAINED: an adjective meaning independent may be obtained from a cryptic reading of ‘LieSEL Famously’.

10a Note ‘dumpy’ character embraced by short groom (8)
PRESTIGE: a fictional character who lives in a rubbish-dump goes inside a verb to groom or smarten oneself without its last letter.

11a Travel round Thames-side location (6)
GORING: combine a verb to travel and something that’s round. Should the name of this small village (population just over 3,000) be appearing in a national crossword?

12a US President, not totally honest fellow (6)
TRUMAN: a synonym for honest without its last letter and another word for fellow.

14a Order? I dissent, being awkward (8)
TIDINESS: an anagram (being awkward) of I DISSENT.

16a Son at entrance to playground was first to get animated (8)
SPARKLED: the abbreviation for son appears prior to a playground and that’s followed by a verb meaning ‘was first’.

19a European chum I’d abandoned by church (6)
FRENCH: a chum without the letters I and D is followed by an abbreviation for church.

21a Greek reminder about bathing beach being shortened (6)
EUCLID: reverse a reminder (to a forgetful actor perhaps) and append a bathing beach without its final O.

23a Ruthlessness of central element returning to bolster number losing heart (8)
FEROCITY: a word for the central part of something gets reversed inside a cardinal number without its central F.

25a Making new film, an actress in French region (6,7)
MASSIF CENTRAL: an anagram (making new) of FILM AN ACTRESS.

26a Multilayered account full of energy, written by editor (8)
STOREYED: an account or tale contains the abbreviation for energy with our usual short editor bringing up the rear.

27a Old lover with blemish, not one still with us (6)
EXTANT: glue together the word for an old lover and a synonym for blemish without the Roman numeral for one.

Down Clues

2d One providing cover at home? Certainly right! (7)
INSURER: weld together an adverb meaning ‘at home’, a response meaning ‘certainly’ and the abbreviation for right.

3d Soldiers on the 19 borders (5)
ORLES: an abbreviation for non-commissioned soldiers precedes one of the words for ‘the’ in 19a. The answer (new to me) is a word used in heraldry for borders on shields.

4d Group’s operation in decline seen as deficient (9)
FACTIONAL: insert a military operation into a word meaning decline which is deficient with regard to its last letter.

5d Discharge on street to heap up (7)
CONGEST: a word, from French, for a discharge or dismissal precedes the abbreviation for street.

6d Animal with body part that’s little good drooping (5)
ORANG: start with a body part and let the abbreviation for good droop to the bottom.

7d Obstacle at the back — run with any number getting in the way (9)
HINDRANCE: knit together an adjective meaning ‘at the rear’ and a verb meaning run with the abbreviation for ‘any number’ getting inserted.

8d In broadcasting the leader becomes the last to make resolutions (7)
ENDINGS: start with a synonym for broadcasting or transmitting and move the leading letter to the end.

13d Preacher as mean person getting spoken about? The opposite (9)
MORALISER: a adjective meaning spoken with a mean person around it.

15d Submission of rebuttal about to be squashed (9)
DEFERENCE: a word for rebuttal or counter-argument contains a preposition meaning about or concerning.

17d Travel as Newton’s apple, fruit encountered going down (7)
PLUMMET: a type of fruit and a verb meaning encountered.

18d ‘Brilliant’ star daughter somehow spoilt (7)
DEFACED: concatenate an informal adjective meaning brilliant or excellent, a star or expert and the abbreviation for daughter.

20d Language of cold classical virgin without final word of gratitude (7)
CATALAN: the tap abbreviation for cold and the name of the huntress from Greek mythology who was reluctant to marry without the short word of thanks at the end.

22d Cleaner rag? (5)
DAILY: double definition, the second being The Sun perhaps.

24d Mark on script what could be picked up as incentive (5)

CARET: this sounds like an incentive (rather than a stick).

My top clues today were 27a and 24d. Which one(s) did you enjoy?


31 comments on “Toughie 2610

  1. I usually don’t mind too much that Giovanni includes things most people have never heard of but for some reason I ended up a bit on the grumpy side at the end of this proper Toughie crossword.

    thanks anyway to him and Gazza

  2. Well, my grid was never corrected over here (Charleston, SC), so when I started at midnight (0400 over there), my first across clue was 27d, and remained that way hours later. And so I persevered, but never finished. Funny how that sort of thing insinuates itself into one’s psyche. Still missing three. Now I’ll let Gazza finish for me. Thanks to all.

    1. Giovanni: 11a, really? I think that is just totally unfair. No wonder I couldn’t get it. ‘Grumpy’ is the word, CS. (So I was delighted at getting 25a but couldn’t begin to get 11a. There’s some kind of irony there. But I have spent time in the 25a; never even heard of 11a.)

        1. G missed a double obscurity with 11a. It could have been: “Elasticated panel located in Oxfordshire? (6)”

  3. I had central massif for 25a , which didn’t help at all.
    Thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  4. I hope a few George Michael fans will know that he died at Goring one Christmas Day. Or maybe some oldies will ask ‘Who is George Michael?’

    1. Some youngies may ask, “Who is George Michael?”
      Enjoyable crossword. Thanks!
      PS – I like rare words. Keep them coming.

      1. I can only say that I hope I have helped you should you ever choose George as your Mastermind specialist subject !

    2. I see from Wikipedia that Goring was also the birthplace of Sir Arthur Harris, head of Bomber Command during the war and, for me anyway, a rather more important character than George Michael.

    3. I read the intro to the blog before starting the puzzle so was ready to get grumpy about the obscure village but even without crossers the clues were straight out of the crossword conventions manual so I thought it perfectly fair. Didn’t know that’s where George Michael died though.

  5. Apart from French language, geography, Greek mythology, ‘Greek’ as a definition, heraldry, US presidents, an obscure village (esp when there is a perfectly good dictionary definition of the word), a literary reference and cricket – a perfectly straightforward cryptic crossword
    Thanks Giovanni & Gazza

  6. Brilliant!
    Thanks to Giovanni for excellent toughie.
    Didn’t parse 5d or 20d (thanks Gazza) but the rest was readily accessible.
    I guess it’s a wavelength thing.

  7. Well it’s had nearly *** of my time & I’ve got 10 answers in which I’m fairly confident are correct & my head hurts. Think I’ll go for a walk as the sun is shining & return (maybe) to it later though the comments thus far suggest it’ll be a futile exercise.
    In case I don’t thanks anyway.

    1. Return I did & glad that I made the effort though fell 2 short before resorting to revealing the G checker to 11a which gave me 6d (all I could think of until then was okapi & wasn’t familiar with the beast without it’s utan). It still took a while to twig the travel round & needless to had never heard of the place. My other cheat was looking up the French for yesterday. Obviously there were bung ins aplenty – got 3d from the wordplay then looked it up & 9a from the definition synonym but you could give me until Christmas & wouldn’t guarantee I’d have parsed it – very clever & sod all to do with The Sound of Music.
      Lot of super head scratchers – 9a has to be COTD for me now Gazza has explained it but also really liked 10&23a plus 20&24d.
      Thanks to both Gs

  8. The usual Giovanni slog for me although I did know the 11a village. I have it in my mind that it used to be called Goring-by-Streatley but Mr Google doesn’t seem to remember that!
    Quite a while since we’ve seen the dumpy character and I rather liked both him and the idiot with lots of duds.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza, particularly for putting a name to the classical virgin for me.

  9. Re 11a There is a Goring by Sea near Hastings. Had forgotten the dumpy Stig( no, not the one on Top Gear)which I read to my children. I had pristine for 10a, the nearest I could get to being groomed. So wrong. I thought 9a was very clever and I enjoyed the Georgette Heyer in 5 d. The term was used when boy friends were dismissed. Fun when teenage reading becomes suddenly useful.

    1. Goring-by-Sea is a mile west of Worthing. I was born in Worthing and have in the area all my life, so the name jumped out at me. I seemed to remember another one on the .Thames

  10. We found this a real struggle and totally agree with Robert Clark’s comment about 11a.
    Started off with COMPOST for 5d which caused quite a delay and eventually needed electronic assistance to finish.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  11. I’m in the “hard but fair camp” this afternoon. I needed the hints to parse 21a, 23a and 18d, but hey ho! I understand them now. Favourite was 9a. Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  12. Ah yes, Giovanni again. I knew the little village at 11a but agree it’s a questionable clue. I eventually deduced the Greek at 21a from the clear wordplay but wonder why a better definition wasn’t chosen but can anyone tell me what “wandering” is doing in 1a apart from making the clue deliberately obscure; it certainly isn’t indicating reversal. I did like 27a.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. Started off well in the NW corner then slowed to a crawl ,not really on my wavelength today, thankfully I remembered my french for yesterday and the which gave me a fighting chance.
    To my mind 11a is a tad obscure as queried by Gazza, a difficult toughie for me, certainly some excellent clueing and going for a ****/***.
    Favourite was 1a which brought memories of a M R James ghost story-The Tractate Middoth -always thought Middoth was a great name for a Heavy Metal Band -sounds good and nobody knows what it means!
    Thanks Gazza for the picks, always promised myself a reference book on heraldry as it keeps popping up.

  14. Tough but fairly clued, so no complaints from me. The obscurities could be worked out from the wordplay, and I did learn a couple of new words. 9a was also my favourite.

    My thanks to The Don for an enjoyable challenge, and to Gazza.

  15. I was defeated by three entries all of which contained things I had never heard of (the dumpy character, the French discharge, and the Thames-side location (or George Michael for that matter)) which never adds to my enjoyment. When I downloaded this, all of the clues were present, but something strange had happened to the grid in the NW corner. It was easy enough to sort out, but it did add a little something to the challenge. I thought this was, as is Giovanni’s custom, a very well constructed puzzle. Thanks to him and Gazza.

  16. Did you realise Giovanni is an anagram of GO IN VAIN? Sums up quite a lot of the comments above :-) I solved 11a from the clue and googled to confirm – seems reasonable to me. I was disappointed with 5d as I consider conge as an obscure, not to say foreign obscure word. I never read Georgette Heyer books. I usually quite like Giovanni crosswords as they’re always fairly clued, if tough, but I didn’t get much joy out of this one. *****/** for me. Thanks to all.

  17. With just a few in NW left, I thought I was on course for a reasonable solving time. But it took another hour to untangle them. 9a and 4d my clues of the day. ****/**** for me. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza

  18. Had to put this down last night and pick up again this morning. Got there but needed the hints to parse 6d. Off for my jab this morning.

    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

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