Toughie 2675 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2675

Toughie No 2675 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

As usual with Giovanni the ‘toughness’ in this pangram comes neither from the wordplay (which is all pretty clear) nor from deceptive definitions but from the obscurities. I’d never heard of the 15a clams, the 29a wax or the 14d fabric – luckily for me the brilliant Mrs Bradford had heard of them all.

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

Across Clues

1a My French wine, cold according to order? (8)
MONASTIC: string together the French word for my, one of our usual sparkling wines and the abbreviation for cold as seen on taps.

5a Recorded as being cut down and processed? (6)
LOGGED: double definition, the second relating to timber.

9a Rushed, being worried — always getting blocked in (8)
CAREERED: a verb meaning worried contains a poetic form of a word meaning always.

10a Conservative is entertained by group of stars showing prejudice (6)
RACISM: an abbreviation for Conservative and IS are contained in one of the zodiacal signs.

12a Gather for voting — with it gaining external victory (4,2)
WHIP IN: a dated informal word meaning ‘with it’ or trendy goes inside a victory. The answer is a phrasal verb, derived from hunting, describing how party enforcers dictate to MPs how to vote.

13a Dessert left out May’s neighbour’s tucked into in naive fashion (8)
JEJUNELY: a type of dessert often served at a children’s party loses one of its abbreviations for left and has what follows May inserted.

15a In the manner in which greedy types will get clams to eat (7)
QUAHOGS: charade of a conjunction, from Latin, meaning ‘in the manner in which’ and some animals who epitomise greed. These are apparently edible clams from the Atlantic coast of North America.

16a List of players joining United (4)
MENU: male sportsmen followed by the abbreviation for united.

20a Philosopher said ‘Shut up!’ (4)
LOCK: a homophone of the surname of this English philosopher.

21a Servant chucked, no good with security device (7)
FLUNKEY: staple together a verb meaning chucked without the abbreviation for good and a security device.

25a Philanthropist seen heading off fiddling with cigar (8)
CARNEGIE: an anagram (fiddling) of [s]EEN and CIGAR produces this philanthropist.

26a Cluster of flowers in spring, ten in Versailles (6)
SPADIX: combine a mineral spring and the French word for ten.

28a March at the match may be this — control, we hear, is needed (6)
BRIDAL: this sounds like equipment used to control a horse.

29a Wax from a can manipulated with a rub (8)
CARNAUBA: this type of wax from a Brazilian palm tree is an anagram (manipulated) of A CAN A RUB.

30a Any promotion reported to be needed for group of nine? (6)
ENNEAD: what sounds like ‘any’ and an abbreviated promotion or plug.

31a Extremely useful source of water, all right? (4,4)
VERY WELL: bring together a synonym for extremely and a useful source of drinking water.

Down Clues

1d Birds in the morning rising with bird noises (6)
MACAWS: reverse ‘in the morning’ and append the sounds made by a crow or rook, say.

2d Geordie Socialist, say, embracing one nymph (6)
NEREID: an informal way of writing Geordie Socialist (2,3) contains the Roman numeral for one.

3d False son cherished — father ultimately coming out (8)
SPECIOUS: the genealogical abbreviation for son and an adjective meaning cherished or valuable without the ultimate letter of father.

4d French island has unknown shrub with prickles (4)
ILEX: the French word for island and one of the algebraic unknowns.

6d Obscure work — a search with street cleared (6)
OPAQUE: knit together an abbreviated artistic work, A and a search or mission without the abbreviation for street.

7d Having a spat? Agreed to differ about the thing looked for (8)
GAITERED: an anagram (to differ) of AGREED contains an informal word for exactly what one is looking for.

8d Spooner’s card game ruined, proving to be a trial (5,3)
DUMMY RUN: Spooner might have turned this into a card game involving the collection of sets or sequences and a past particle (usually followed by ‘for’) meaning ruined.

11d Guarding hard border (7)
HEDGING: the pencil abbreviation for hard and a border.

14d Fabric in room is about to be put on ceiling (7)
CHALLIS: a room (possibly one used for meetings or events) and IS are preceded by the single-letter abbreviation meaning about or approximately.

17d Mountain climbing on rope that can be eased (8)
PLACABLE: reverse a high mountain and add a type of rope. We’re more used to seeing the answer preceded by im- to mean relentless.

18d Arachnid ruined crop in heavenly place (8)
SCORPION: an anagram (ruined) goes inside a name for Jerusalem.

19d Any power may come from guns etc (8)
WEAPONRY: the answer is an anagram (may come from) of ANY POWER.

22d Buddhist school has an area providing female accommodation (6)
ZENANA: glue together a school of Buddhism (probably the only one most of us have heard of), AN and the abbreviation for area.

23d Cite a Fascist leader stammering (6)
ADDUCE: A followed by the title that Mussolini would have given himself if he’d stammered.

24d Nothing wrong with the last thing that is used for a soup? (6)
OXTAIL: assemble the letter that resembles zero, the letter used by teacher to mark your answer wrong and the last thing or back end.

27d Friend‘s call making further play impossible (4)
MATE: double definition, the second what calls a halt to a board game.

I’ve got 7d, 23d and 24d on my podium. Which clue(s) did the business for you?


21 comments on “Toughie 2675

  1. Took a while but I learnt a few new words along the way. 7d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  2. There were 6 words that I’ve never heard of before. Giovanni and Elgar’s erudition turn some of their clues into being more suitable for a GK crossword.
    Managed to struggle through with some assistance. I must review Gazza’s Tips. I’m sure they would have helped!

  3. Awful grid! I’d vaguely heard of the clams and the wax [and the harem] but not the fabric. As often with Giovanni however it’s not the obscurities that are the problem and I had most difficulty in the SW corner – 17d, 25a and 28a holding out longest. With the top half done I thought he might be going for a double pangram but perhaps such a thing would be infra dig for the Don. Loved the definition in 7d.
    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza for the blog.

  4. Well that was a Toughie that lived up to the name. I found this one of the hardest for some time, and it took a fair bit of perseverance to get through it. 25a was my top clue, although 7d came close.

    My thanks to The Don for the considerable challenge and to Gazza.

  5. I agree entirely with Halcyon: the “four-leaf clover” style is my least favourite grid by a considerable margin. The naive, waxy, clams were all dredged from the depths of my memory (and I think the first and last have appeared in puzzles in the last few months); the flower clusters, fabric, and Persian female accommodation (my LOI, for which with the fabric I needed two of Gazza’s hints, thank you) were new to me and I suspect I may find it difficult to incorporate either in my daily conversation …

    Nonetheless a very fair and satisfying, if somewhat tortuous, challenge, and very much a Toughie worthy of the name. 12a and 16a my favourites today (the latter made me laugh, imagining HM filling in her pools coupon) though there were many that could have taken the laurels.

    Many thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza.

  6. Well my never heard of list was 8 and that doesn’t include 13a which I vaguely remember coming across before. Lots of electronic help required although 4d and 22d only required checking that they were real words. The pangram helped. Favourite was 5a because I got it straight away. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. Well, that was the usual barrel load of laughs from the Don :sad: At least it gave me the opportunity to further my relationship with Mr Google although I doubt that I’ll remember much of the information he gave me.
    I did rather like 7d and 17d raised a smile.

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for lightening the load with his illustrations.

  8. It was a very ‘cornery’ grid but I did realise it was going to be a pangram fairly early on which helped.

    I didn’t know the fabric but I did know the female accommodation, the flower cluster, the clam and the wax – the latter used to be put on Smarties to make them shiny back in the days before the ‘health’ brigade took over and the once delicious treat became a shadow of its former self.

    Thanks to Giovanni for a nice mid week Toughie and to Gazza for the blog

    1. Me too re the Smarties and the wax ~ entire tube all in one go, loved ’em

  9. Knew the clam but not the fabric, women’s room, or the wax (which I got via anagram solver), nor did I dissect three other clues, and so I managed about 75% of Giovanni’s grid today. Fun to work at but not altogether satisfying. Liked 7d, 13a, and 24d. Thanks to Gazza for all the assists and to Giovanni for the challenge.

  10. The middle three 14,15 and21 all eluded me so thanks to Gazza for the assistance .
    The rest needed BRB references for so many new words.
    However, the overall experience was pleasurable so thanks to Giovanni.

  11. I don’t think ‘mate’ quite works for chess as you continue play after mate, but not after checkmate. It does work for cards. If one player leads a card that the other player can’t follow in suit or rank, they have given “mate” to their opponent and the game ends. ( I found this out by googling ‘ mate’ in card games, I can’t claim it was my own knowledge.

    1. Mate in chess is shorthand for checkmate. When your king is under immediate attack it’s said to be ‘in check’ and your opponent is meant to announce ‘check’ when putting your king under such an attack.

      1. Yes, you are right of course, I don’t know what made me mix up mate and check, apart from the 50 years since I last tried to play chess. Interesting to discover it’s a thing in cards as well.

        1. I played last Saturday. Against my seven (and a half) year old grandson. He won both games!

    2. In chess a “check” or checking move can be negated/countered so the game continues after it. The final move is “mate”, short for “checkmate”, and immediately ends the game. There is no more play after “mate”.

  12. We too had to make liberal use of references to cross the finishing line but the parsing did all make sense eventually.
    We’ll go for 7d as our favourite.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. Late to the party – probably shouldn’t have turned up. With so many words the average person will have never heard of it becomes boring very quickly.
    Maybe the DT should introduce a new crossword category – the obscure word cryptic and keep the toughness slot for words likely to be used even by the most intellectual of us even on a very sporadic basis.
    Surely the need to use totally obscure words is a weakness in setting rather than a strength.
    I admire the cleverness and no doubt some peoples’ ‘cup of tea’, but judging from the paucity of comments and their tone, not many enjoy this type of brew😉

    1. You have put into words what I think about Giovanni Toughie puzzles. However Giovanni has spoken out on this blog to defend and justify his use of obscure words. Therefore I’m happy to sit on the fence and take a pass on Giovanni Toughies. I do admire his ability to create a clue for any word and I admire Gaza’s ability to explain such clues. Each to their own

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