Toughie 2651 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2651

Toughie No 2651 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

It always puts a damper on my solving enjoyment if I have to spend more time looking up things than in actually sorting out the wordplay. I’m afraid that the ‘toughness’ here came almost entirely from the obscurity of some of the answers.

Thanks to Giovanni.

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

Across Clues

5a It’s frightening crossing lake — cover needed (7)
COWLING: frightening or browbeating contains the abbreviation for lake.

7a Nothing right about politician’s blast (5)
TROMP: reverse the letter resembling zero and an abbreviation for right then add our usual elected politician. The answer, the BRB informs me, is ‘an apparatus for producing a blast of air in a furnace by means of falling water’ – this seems to imply that it’s the apparatus rather than the blast itself?

9a Boundary made by iron-clad circle (6)
FRINGE: a circle contained in the chemical symbol for iron.

10a Enjoyed something of historic interest — small building for Caesar originally (8)
RELISHED: start with an object of historical interest and replace the first letter of Caesar with a small building.

11a Son imprisoned in city saying sorry — how to end confinement? (10)
ESCAPOLOGY: the abbreviation for son goes inside the postal area of the City of London. Now add a word meaning ‘saying sorry’.

13a Food that a racehorse needs (4)
TACK: double definition, the second being riding equipment.

14a Drama about charge included in bill presented by any big firm? (6,7)
PARENT COMPANY: a Russian doll type construction – a charge for hiring goes inside an abbreviation for a bill or invoice which then is inserted in a term for drama or ceremony. Finally append ANY.

16a The female’s modelling initially for statue (4)
HERM: stick together a feminine pronoun and the initial letter of modelling.

17a Results in onset of sweat possibly? (10)
SULTRINESS: an all-in-one clue. It’s an anagram (possibly) of RESULTS IN S[weat].

19a Noble fellow hurt and sombre (8)
MARGRAVE: a charade of a verb to hurt or impair and a synonym of sombre produces a European nobleman.

20a Case about to be dismissed in fulfilment of solemn promise (6)
VOTIVE: do you remember the six grammatical cases that we learnt about in Latin? What we need here is the one used in addressing someone as in “O Caesar”. Just remove the 2-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately and we’re left with a word meaning ‘undertaken in fulfilment of a vow’ (thanks once more to the overworked BRB).

22a Yarn about Conservative making comeback brings applause (5)
ECLAT: a yarn or story contains the abbreviation for Conservative. Reverse it all.

23a One helps others learn and be free (7)
ENABLER: an anagram (free) of LEARN BE.

Down Clues

1d Bird bites when upset — not good (4)
SWAN: reverse a verb meaning bites or chomps without the abbreviation for good.

2d Wrap up piece of plumbing emerging from bathroom? (4,4)
PIPE DOWN: this could describe a piece of plumbing leading out from a bathroom.

3d Kipling’s soldier, say, making a speech? (6)
STALKY: start with ‘say’ and replace the ‘a’ with a synonym for speech. You can read about Kipling’s soldier here.

4d Routine has to be organised for discipline in the home (5-5)
HOUSE-TRAIN: an anagram (to be organised) of ROUTINE HAS gives us a verb to teach a young pet where not to go.

5d Gosh — you can hear that army unit! (5)
CORPS: a homophone of an exclamation like gosh or blimey.

6d Naughty girl once got to tour the French educational establishment (6,7)
GIRTON COLLEGE: an anagram (naughty) of GIRL ONCE GOT containing one of the French definite articles.

8d Victim outside a church inclined to be moralistic (7)
PREACHY: a word meaning victim or target contains A and an abbreviation for church.

12d Physical problem? Somehow get calmer with yoga (10)
ACROMEGALY: an anagram (somehow) of CALMER YOGA. This is a medical term for abnormal growth of the hands, feet and facial features (but you knew that didn’t you?).

14d Endless crush preceding time signal (7)
PRESAGE: a verb to crush (grapes, say) precedes a period of time.

15d Protestant version of Bible, one got hold of by converted Roman (8)
MORAVIAN: an abbreviation for the King James version of the Bible and the Roman numeral for one are contained in an anagram (converted) of ROMAN. If you’re interested you can read all about this person’s sect here.

17d Won’t you primarily sing this at sea? (6)
SHANTY: an alternative to “Won’t!” (as a young child might say when refusing an order) and the first letter of ‘you’.

18d Cut flower deprived of root (5)
SEVER: a UK river without its last letter.

21d Ultimately reject bad work (4)
TILL: the ultimate letter of reject and another word for bad or sick.

My favourite clue was 17a. Which one(s) floated your boat?


22 comments on “Toughie 2651

  1. I was almost grateful for the ‘obscurity’ of some of the answers because, otherwise I would have completed the crossword in double-quick time. It was refreshing to have to revise my opinion and saved me from being pilloried for posting a dismissive comment!
    Altogether I found this a delightful crossword – the mix of clue types and erudite answers kept one on one’s toes. I also believe that those who struggle with Toughies will benefit rathr than be put off.
    My one gripe is 3d I loved this book and associate it in my memory with schooldays rather than military service (yes, I know it concludes with that).

  2. I needed electronic help but I got on better with this Toughie by Giovanni than I did with Ray T, who thoroughly beat me today. I thought there were some great clues such as 11a and 18d (because it’s our local river). My COTD has to be 5a for obvious reasons. I got my name in the Daily Telegraph!

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

  3. I didn’t know two of the ‘obscurities’, 7a being obvious for the clue and I’d agree with Gazza and the BRB that it isn’t really the blast itself. I used an anagram solver for 12d and then looked up the solution. However, I certainly didn’t complete it in double quick time and probably wouldn’t have said so if I had

    Thanks to Giovanni for a proper Toughie (even if some of it was for the wrong reasons) and to Gazza

  4. Well, I did finish this–in the sense that I filled the grid–using all of my gift of 5 online letters, double-checking a number of answers with Google before keying them in, and just getting lucky with some bung-ins. I can’t say that anything really floated my boat, to use Gazza’s metaphor, though I worked late into the night determined not to give up when I came across such wonders as 12d, on which I gave in and used an ‘anagram solver’. A puzzle like this Giovanni today helps to take my mind off myself, especially since I’ve had undergone considerable medical analysis this week. Thanks to Gazza for his essential ‘Being There’ and to Giovanni for the workout.

    1. I should have read the previous comments first (except that they weren’t there when I posted), and I’m relieved to know that CS has used an anagram solver.

      1. A last desperate measure as even with the checking letters, I’m not sure I’d have worked out what else went where for quite some time and I was running out of time to get ready for a beautiful sunny walk along part of the coast followed by a very nice lunch.

        1. I didn’t actually get to the stage of having to use an anagram solver. With all the checkers in place I assumed that the Y came at the end, then the only sensible place for the C was at position 2. After that it was a question of rotating the remaining vowels until I hit on an actual word. It’s not a very satisfying way of solving a clue though.

          1. It is a little seaside place called Minnis Bay on the North Kent coast – we’ve been going there for years as it has a perfect beach for small children. We walked down the coastal path from Reculver (which is well worth a Google) – my friend and I hadn’t done that walk for some years so it was nice to enjoy the sunshine again. My husband came down, joined us for lunch, and then drove us back home

  5. I’m always of two minds in embarking on solving a Giovanni puzzle – especially a toughie – because there is invariably the pleasure of a beautifully crafted puzzle, but almost the inevitability of disappointment in being denied the pleasure of finishing because of something that lies outside of my (admittedly limited) experience. Today’s example is Kipling’s soldier in 3d – and without the knowledge of it, (and unusually), I really don’t think it was accessible from the word play alone. Pity – but thanks anyway to Giovanni and Gazza.

  6. Well todays toughie was a reality check after the last two, out of my league I’m afraid, back page here I come!

  7. I shan’t bother to repeat myself (you all know what I think), so I’ll just say thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for the review

  8. Best I can think of to say about this one is that it obviously made Bertie happy!
    Unlike Steve C, I could have solved several of Mr T’s puzzles in the time it took to solve this – I suppose it’s as well we all differ in the grey matter department.
    9a plus 17&18d were quite satisfying but I did miss having any sense of humour or joie-de-vivre.

    Thanks to Giovanni for his efforts and to Gazza for toiling through to bring us the review.

  9. A few were beyond me today. Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the much needed hints.

  10. Agree with Gazza about what seems unnecessary obscurities detracting from the pleasure.
    I had no problem with 12d but 7&16ac and 15d all required checking in BRB.
    Whilst admiring the genius of anyone who can put together such a well constructed puzzle, I think the setters should have some feedback from us!
    Thanks Giovanni.

  11. I had to resort to the hints, mainly in the SE and use an anagram solver for 12d. Coupled with the never heard of’s, too many to list, put this beyond me solving it unaided. Favourite was 17d as it was my first and only entry on first pass. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  12. This was so much easier than RayT’s back page offering! OK, like CS I needed an anagram solver for 12 d but we live and learn. The sad thing is I won’t remember it!
    3d took a while with Tommy etc but I got there. I was left with an ear worm “When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains …..” At least Harry, in his responsible days, would have got there before the women? We can but hope!

  13. I live with an expert on military history who produced the Kipling answer but we were somewhat challenged by obscurities, as is sometimes the case with Giovanni’s puzzles. However, this was, as usual, enjoyable. We use anagram solving devices (three used round the perimeter of today’s back-pager for example) with no hesitation or qualms – playfair solving devices too – and happily walk in the sun during the saved time.

  14. Had a bit of trouble with 5d and 7a too.
    Also used an anagram solver for 12d.
    14a was the hardest to parse and learned the expression full of drama or full of pomp.
    Tried to justify Dative in 20a until a bit of research helped with the protestant in 15d.
    Nice to see Steve in 5a.
    Thanks to the Don and to Gazza for the review.

  15. When we see that Giovanni is the setter we always make sure that our reference books are close to hand. They were certainly needed with this one.
    Did get to the finishing line eventually with a sigh of relief.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  16. Strewth! That was quite an effort, and I’m sorry to say that completing the puzzle did not result in the usual feelings of satisfaction, pleasure or enjoyment, but largely only relief.

    The clues were fair and well written for a challenging Thursday Toughie, but with obscure GK required (eg 16a, 12d, 15d), distinct ‘Hummmms’ over 7a and 13a (it’s not limited to racehorses), and a couple of other words dredged from the depths of ancient memory, I was relieved that only three bunged-in answers defeated my efforts at parsing them!


    Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

Comments are closed.