Toughie 2614 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2614

Toughie No 2614 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

What a delight – a Silvanus puzzle on a Wednesday. As the resident Wednesday blogger I hope that this is a permanent move for our setter and not just a short-term arrangement.

This was a pleasure from start to finish, not too tricky but quality throughout – many thanks to Silvanus. There is a link between 17d and 14d – I’m not sure if there are any other cross-references I’ve missed.

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

Across Clues

1a MP, possibly a Brit, called more corrupt … (7,8)
LIBERAL DEMOCRAT: an anagram (corrupt) of A BRIT CALLED MORE.

9a … after capture of constituency for example causes dispute (7)
GAINSAY: charade of the term used for a constituency being won by a different party at an election and another way of expressing ‘for example’. Dispute here is a verb.

10a Anticipate primary school class perhaps being overheard (7)
FORESEE: this sounds like what a class for 8-9 year-old pupils might be called.

11a Complex diagrams covering start of route for carnival (5,4)
MARDI GRAS: an anagram (complex) of DIAGRAMS containing the first letter of ‘route’.

12a Worry sweet dog’s been stolen (4)
FRET: start with a liquorice sweet made in Yorkshire then remove the short name of a short dog.

13a Tears over article anticipating pound’s decrease in value (6)
SPIRAL: reverse a verb meaning tears and add an indefinite article and the abbreviation for a pound sterling.

15a Girls regularly hosted by party animals in residence (8)
DOMICILE: insert regular letters from ‘girls’ into a festive party and some small animals.

18a Dressing up in escape shows wisdom (8)
SAPIENCE: an anagram (dressing up) of IN ESCAPE.

19a Mature actor, the one presented with the Oscar? (6)
VICTOR: double definition. ‘Mature’ needs to be the first word to disguise the fact that it’s a proper name.

22a Set off, forgetting meeting in school (4)
ETON: start with a verb to set off or explode and remove the romantic meeting.

23a Blatant fraud is admitted by retiring faculty head and university (9)
UNASHAMED: a synonym for fraud or fake goes inside the reversal of a faculty head and the abbreviation for university.

26a This setter’s virtually undoubted to get better! (7)
IMPROVE: how Silvanus would say that ‘he is’ followed by an adjective meaning undoubted or verified without its last letter.

27a Strained muscle, ultimately, that stops tennis shot (7)
INTENSE: the ultimate letter of muscle goes inside an anagram (shot) of TENNIS.

28a Some like ones here, most deem them rude (4-6,5)
FOUR-LETTER WORDS: all the constituents of the clue are examples (like ones here) of the answer. Brilliant!

Down Clues

1d Outside rear of greenhouse, sticks to support the French beans, maybe (7)
LEGUMES: a verb meaning sticks or pastes goes around the last letter of greenhouse and that all follows a French definite article.

2d Prickly shrub old comedy actor cut back (5)
BRIER: an old British comedy actor without his last letter.

3d Brown shrew in Padua said to inhabit the countryside (9)
RUSTICATE: this sounds like an adjective meaning reddish-brown (5) and the name of Shakespeare’s shrew (4).

4d Egg producers, individuals in a company under no pressure (6)
LAYERS: start with individuals in a company (a repertory one perhaps) and remove the top letter (the Physics abbreviation for pressure).

5d Streaming out of revolutionary Hanoi, suffering to some extent (8)
EFFUSION: hidden in reverse.

6d Right into fine starter of aubergine or other vegetable (4)
OKRA: insert an abbreviation for right between an informal expression meaning fine and the starting letter of aubergine.

7d Curb others having shower ahead of time (9)
RESTRAINT: knit together a word meaning others, a shower from above and the abbreviation for time.

8d Entertainment venue, extremely ambivalent visiting that place (7)
THEATRE: the outer letters of ambivalent go inside ‘that place’.

14d Spontaneously films port of Maputo at intervals, adding Uganda’s capital (9)
IMPROMPTU: extract regular letters from words 2-5 and append the capital letter of Uganda.

16d Dish from Wiltshire’s left out to cook (5,4)
IRISH STEW: remove the abbreviation for left from WI[L]TSHIRE’S and make an anagram (to cook) of what remains.

17d Composer from Switzerland, exceptional type, good person to have around (8)
SCHUBERT: the IVR code for Switzerland and a prefix (originally from German) meaning an exceptional type are enclosed in the abbreviation for our usual good and holy person. The composer produced eight solo piano pieces called 14d – this is number 3 of those – it’s played by Khatia Buniatishvili:

18d Female erupts with anger about husband — that’s flipping official (7)
SHERIFF: rivet together the abbreviation for female and an intransitive verb meaning ‘erupts with anger’ containing the genealogical abbreviation for husband. Now flip it all upside down.

20d Shows embarrassment in places socialists frequent? (7)
REDDENS: split 3,4 this could be places or dives frequented by socialists.

21d New musical coming up that’s local (6)
NATIVE: the abbreviation for new and the reversal of a Lloyd-Webber musical.

24d Slight pessimism in orthopaedic nurses (5)
MINOR: hidden in the clue.

25d Cry of bird beginning to hover above (4)
HOWL: a bird of prey preceded by the first letter of ‘hover’.

I had lots of ticks including 12a, 19a, 1d and 3d but my favourite was 28a. Which ones worked best for you?


41 comments on “Toughie 2614

  1. Most enjoyable and I solved the majority but I admit to needing electronic help for a few but that’s not unusual for me and Toughies. I loved 10a because it is very neat and provided a great PDM.

    I am certainly getting further with Toughies than I used to. All down to this excellent blog.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  2. Very enjoyable. 28a made me smile. Needed a bit of google assistance to check the actor in 18a.

    Thanks to Gazza and Silvanus.

  3. At first, misled by 17d, Google produced 51 Swiss composers and I’d never heard of any of them! Relieved when the cross checkers gave me one I’d heard of and definitely not Swiss.
    COTD 28a

  4. Another great and well crafted puzzle.
    Enjoyable accessible and no obscurities.
    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza for explanation of 12ac.

  5. Two Wednesday dream teams this week: Jay and the 2Ks for the back-pager; and Silvanus and Gazza for the Toughie.

    For me, this was a perfect Toughie – nicely challenging and full of PDMs, all wrapped up with the setter’s trademark smooth surfaces.

    The clues are all so good, how can one possibly pick a favourite or even a podium selection?

    Many thanks to S&G (not Simon and Garfunkel!)

  6. Excellent puzzle Silvanus thank you – my pick is 28a too
    Thanks also to Gazza for blogging

  7. Very enjoyable and worth waiting an extra day for. Solving time was less than it took me for Jay’s back pager. 2.5*/4*.
    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 28a, and 17d – and the winner is 17d.
    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  8. The king of smooth does it again and with an extra helping of humour to brighten our day.
    Masses of ticks – 1a for the misleading punctuation,10,12,18,22&28a plus 20&25d. That’s all before I come to my top three of 1,3&17d. I’m never going to view Taming of the Shrew in quite the same light again!

    Many thanks to Silvanus for all the pleasure and to Gazza for the excellent review and delightful music. A Wednesday dream team indeed, it would be so nice to see the partnership become a regular feature.

  9. All finished and parsed, except 12a. I got the worry, and the sweet, but how does POM mean dog? Or have I missed something?

    Last in was 9a; one of those words which I know but just never use.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

    1. POM is the abbreviated name of a type of dog much favoured by Queen Victoria.

      Apologies, Senf, you beat me to it and were far more explicit!

  10. I agree with all the above, a very enjoyable puzzle which I managed to solve unaided but was held up for some time by 18a, so either the anagram was well hidden or I was being particularly dim. I’ll put 17d on top of the podium.

  11. Agree with all of the superlatives already expressed. By some margin the most enjoyable crossword I’ve come across for some time. No obscure words, clever & precise wordplay, the customary smooth as silk surfaces, witty & with a couple of head scratchers. My last in, ironically for a film buff, was 19a & was the best penny drop moment of the solve – he never won one incidentally. It was a fairly brisk solve (despite wasting time mentally trawling through heaven knows how many politicians whilst adhering to MP’s rule of not writing the anagram letters down) & think I have them all correctly parsed though yet to read the review so maybe not.
    28a probably wins COTD but you could make a case for any number. 3,14,16&17d were all belters & I thought the surface for the reverse lurker at 5d inspired.
    With many thanks to S&G.
    Ps I’ll enthusiastically endorse RD’s suggestion for a permanent Wednesday residency.

    1. I can still see 19a and Hedy Lamarr in Samson and Delilah (in my mind’s eye).

  12. Some excellent clues including 17d and 21d but like many loved 28a, so COTD. I found this quite tricky as needed a number of confirmations from Gazza as had the answer but not the knowledge to parse, including 12a and 3d. Another very enjoyable Wednesday all round with thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  13. Puzzle of the week for me, either on the back or middle pages, full of wit and with a minimal amount of obscure GK.
    It pained me to write it in but 1a was a great clue, as was the homophone at 10a and the excellent 1&16d but top spot for me goes to 28a. Could have mentioned several others.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza for the top notch entertainment.

  14. Wow, what a Wednesday. Jay then Silvanus. What’s not to like. This was a beautifully crafted puzzle full of brilliant clues and subtle misdirection. An absolute gem.

    My grateful thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  15. Silvanus setting the occasional Tuesday Toughie for me to blog is my reward for all of the Giovanni puzzles I have to sort out on alternate Thursdays. You all know how you feel about the Giovanni puzzles so hands off, play nicely and share the goodies. As ever a puzzle with lots to enjoy. Sharp amusing clues. PDMs. Smooth surfaces. Misdirection. Great stuff. Thanks to Silvanus for the workout. Thanks to Gazza for the blog which I will now read together with the puzzle that I solved before 7.00am.

  16. Many thanks to Gazza for his excellent Hints and Tips and to all of you for your exceptionally kind comments. I’m delighted that everyone seems to have derived as much fun from solving the puzzle as I had in creating it.

    The connection between 17d and 14d was entirely coincidental, my knowledge of the composer has now been suitably enhanced!

    1. Silvanus, I have set a few puzzles, one or two of which have gone down reasonably well
      Now I seem to be constantly doubting myself thinking ‘there must be something better’
      Is there a knack of somehow approaching each clue with a clear mind, or do I just need to get on with it and see what happens?

      1. Hi LbR,

        I think every setter probably feels certain of their clues can be improved, sometimes they can be, but quite often they can’t. I’d suggest agonizing about such clues isn’t that healthy, just go with your judgement (and/or that of your test solver(s)) and, if you remain uncomfortable about the final product, only then consider a re-think. Good luck!

    2. Good of you to pop in to see us, Silvanus. I think you can rest assured that this one was a big hit with everyone, not just your fan club members!

  17. A belated standing ovation from me as well. I would be embarrassed to confess how long I spent in 28a wondering how on earth I could find the ingredients for an anagram with all those four letter words! Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  18. I didn’t find this as easy as most but then again I never do. I hadn’t heard of 8a or 3d but I have now, electronic help required. Needed the hints to parse 12a, 22a and 3d. favourite was 28a, simply brilliant. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  19. Late today but I thought that this Silvanus, which I finished in fast time last night, was about as good as it gets, Toughie or otherwise. A model work of art. I especially liked 28a, 19a, and 17/14d, but my COTD has to be 3d, that ‘brown shrew in Padua’ (“I’ve come to wive it wealthily in Padua,” warbles Petruchio in ‘Kiss Me, Kate”, my all-time favorite musical.). Thanks to Gazza (especially for the Schubert) and Silvanus.

  20. Excellent fun once again from Silvanus.
    Hesitated a bit over 2d as only knew the plant with the A spelling but note that BRB lists the E version as first option. We only knew the sweet in 12a by having encountered it in reference to a fellow blogger. Turned out to be useful information.
    Liked 28a and especially the clever 3d.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  21. That was a lovely workout, with NW giving me most trouble. Had to check a couple of hints, 3d and 19a, so thanks for those Gazza. A great puzzle Silvanus

  22. I’m with RC above [19] – the groan and chuckle on sussing “brown shrew in Padua” just beats the cleverness of 28a. Lovely puzzle – thanks to Sylvanus and to Gazza for the blog, especially Khatya B’s piece at 17d.

  23. Had to resolve to some electronic help for a few, but finally finished in 5* + time. Some excellent clues. Didn’t work out the rusty shrew, so 28a favourite. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  24. First Toughie I have completed without help for ages. Needless to say I really enjoyed every aspect of this puzzle.
    Many thx to the setter.

  25. Really enjoyed this puzzle and finished it quickly in spite of pitching in here late as usual. Got a bit confused by Victor as I had ‘Winner’ in first which caused me more problems with restraint than others (7d)! I too thought 28a was inspired.

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