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Toughie 2683

Toughie No 2683 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Firefly has given us a themed puzzle based on 10a where all the themed entries (except 9a) have something extra in common, as explained in 28/17a.

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

Across Clues

7a How to conserve and raise exotic 10? (8)
CANARIES: a verb to conserve followed by an anagram (exotic) of RAISE.

9a 10‘s warm and dry hands (6)
AIRMEN: charade of a verb to warm/dry and hands or workers.

10a Absconders are still in France, approaching south (6)
FLIERS: insert a verb meaning ‘are still’ or remain into the internet suffix for France and append the abbreviation for south.

11a Brownie in crowd returning to base as before (8)
SELFSAME: insert what a brownie is in folklore into the reversal of a crowd or large group. Append the letter used for the base in logarithms.

12a Second assailant sets about shop worker (5,9)
SALES ASSISTANT: the abbreviation for second followed by an anagram (about) of ASSAILANT SETS.

15a Trailing about somewhat to find bones (4)
ILIA: hidden in reverse.

17a See 28a

19a Party time on tick? (4)
SECT: the abbreviation for time follows another abbreviation for a tick or short period of time.

20a Naive girl, enmeshed by the setter’s importuning, bolted from time to time (14)
IMPRESSIONABLE: a girl’s name (derived presumably from a Scottish island) is contained in how the setter would say that he is, a synonym of importuning or coercion and regular letters from ‘bolted’.

23a Loop back within Cork with son to see 10 (8)
SEAGULLS: reverse a word for a loop or handle inside a verb to cork then add the abbreviation of son.

25a Head’s rested on this rugby ball perhaps — that hurt! (6)
PILLOW: paste together a facetious term for the ball in rugby or other sports and a mild exclamation that you might use when you’ve hit your finger with a hammer.

27a 10 dismissed at the Oval, say, by Lock’s return (6)
ROBINS: the abbreviation for one method of dismissal in cricket followed by the reversal of a Scottish verb to fasten with a small bolt. A clever surface harking back to the heyday of Surrey Cricket Club when they had the deadly spin bowlers Laker and Lock.

28a/17a Bolts meat loaf — originally for 7, 23, 27, 4, 14, 26 (8,5)
FOOTBALL TEAMS: a clue to what all the 10s (except 9a) have in common. It’s an anagram (originally) of BOLTS MEAT LOAF. The clues listed are the nicknames (in order) of Norwich City, Brighton, Bristol City, Crystal Palace, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday.
Down Clues

1d Guy auditioned in armour (4)
MAIL: this sounds like a guy.

2d Asleep uncomfortably in wood (6)
SAPELE: an anagram (uncomfortably) of ASLEEP.

3d Touch screens regularly finding applications (4)
USES: regular letters from the first two words.

4d 10 low scores by clubs? (6)
EAGLES: low scores achieved using golf clubs.

5d Poach trout to begin with, adding last of asparagus spears chopped up (8)
TRESPASS: T[rout] followed by an anagram (chopped up) of [asparagu]S SPEARS.

6d Sealed item Charles almost smashed (10)
HERMETICAL: an anagram (smashed) of ITEM CHARLE[s].

8d Mo preserves bronze with fallen head (7)
INSTANT: a charade of verbs meaning preserves and bronze with the top letter moved to the bottom.

13d Rock bottom? Well, I’m a lot different (3-4,3)
ALL-TIME LOW: an anagram (different) of WELL I’M A LOT.

14d 10 faint on board (5)
SWANS: a adjective meaning faint or pale sits inside our usual ship.

16d Margaret breaking scholar Giovanni’s heart? It strikes a chord (8)
ARPEGGIO: one of the many short forms of Margaret goes inside the central letters of “scholar Giovanni”.

18d Sign from second corporation to land on moon? (7)
SCORPIO: string together the abbreviation for second and corporation and one of the moons of Jupiter.

21d Secure both ends of excavation on slope (6)
ENLIST: letters at either end of excavation and a verb to slope.

22d Impromptus, primarily from Alexander Scriabin, including early pieces from Debussy, Liszt, Ibert and Bartok (2-4)
AD-LIBS: the primary letters of Alexander and Scriabin contain the initial letters of the composers listed.

24d P‘s out of training? (4)
SOFT: double definition, the first related to music.

26d 10 headless chickens (4)
OWLS: behead some chicken.

I liked 11a and 8d but my favourite, for the neat surface, was 27a. Which clue(s) appealed to you?


32 comments on “Toughie 2683

  1. Once I’d got the hang of the 10s and realised what 28a was all about, I really enjoyed solving this crossword – I’m by no means a football fan but I do seem to know the relevant nicknames.. My dad used to go to the Oval in the 1950s and early 60s so I did get the whole crickety reference in 27a

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza

  2. Pottered along quite happily, although slowly, until the 28/17 combo brought me up short – I’d really thought we were speaking exclusively about our feathered friends!
    Invariably struggle with this setter’s puzzles but I’m sure the theme will have appealed to many solvers.

    Thanks, Firefly, and thanks to Gazza whose explanation of 27a switched on the light-bulb!

  3. Excellent puzzle which was most enjoyable. 5D was my favourite and it went a lot better than only five on the first pass would suggest!! 3*/4* for me and thanks to the setter.

  4. Boy, did I get lucky with this one! Found all of our avian allies but had no idea that they were 28/17 so I just bunged that one in. Over here, we have Orioles, Blue Jays, & Cardinals, but they herald our baseball teams. I did need a bit of electronic help along the way, scattering some letters hither and yon. Lots of fun. Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  5. Filled in almost all the non-themed answers first, being intensely riled that quite so many clues were dependent on 10a – a feature I really dislike in a puzzle. Having done so, the 28a/17a combo suddenly made sense, allowing most of the themed clues to be solved quite swiftly. The NW was the final stronghold to fall: ironically I could make no sense whatever of 10a and needed Gazza’s hint!

    While the bird-related theme did not extend to 9a, it’s still connected in a lateral sort of fashion, and I do note that there is a team nicknamed “The 9a” – Aberporth Football Club, so it too could have been included in the list for 28a.

    27a was a bung-in, having identified the theme: on reading the rationale I felt relieved that knowing of a cricket player from 60-70 years ago was incidental and a red herring. Not that snib means anything to me either!

    CsOTD were 3d and 16d (I enjoyed the departure from the usual alternating letter and ‘heart’ of a word patterns), followed closely by 24d.

    Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza

  6. Really enjoyed this, and pleased to get there unassisted. The dead tree version has 27a as ‘ 110 dismissed…..etc ‘. I assume the first 1 shouldn’t be there, unless I’m missing something!

    1. It looks as though there’s a misprint in the paper. The Puzzles online site definitely has the clue starting “10 dismissed …”.

      1. Thank you, Gazza. I spent so long thinking of the correct Roman numerals and trying to delete them from another word – no wonder it got me nowhere!

        1. Yes, this was my last in, as soon as I realised it was a typo, it all made sense.

  7. In general I am not a fan of interrelated clues and I made pretty heavy weather of this one. At the outset it was of my own making by trying to make ‘FLEERS’ work for 10a, and with obvious consequences. I eventually got that sorted out only to be met with the 28a/17a combination the references of which to other clues I didn’t know. In the end I got very close to full completion but it seemed like a slog at the time. Looking back I think I should have enjoyed it more than I did. Many thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  8. I have an issue with 5d how can poach be used as a synonym of trespass! You can illegally cross someone’s private land, doesn’t mean you’re going to nick their wildlife!!!!

    1. In the BRB the various other usages of poach include “to encroach upon another’s rights, profits, area of influence etc”, so I think it’s a reasonable synonym for trespass, even if, as you say, it’s not quite the same as hoofing it away with a surreptitiously taken pheasant in one’s pocket!

    2. Several different meanings, Buzza. You may also poach someone’s territory, clients, business etc.

      1. Not having it, if you poach someone’s territory, clients etc you’re stealing them not trespassing on them.

        1. The BRB states that to poach is to ‘encroach on another’s rights, profits, area of influence etc’ so the clue works fine for me.

          1. Sorry, the rest of my comment didn’t appear. The BRB also states that to trespass is to interfere with another’s person or property.

            1. No problem with trespass being interfering with or encroaching on, I do have a problem with poach meaning that, the BRB can do one!
              Poach in that sense means steal, lift, nick, purloin, thieve, pilfer, rob, filch, swipe and many more!
              Rant over, going for a lie down

              1. Poaching in the sense of shooting game on someone else’s property without permission can only take place at night otherwise the offence is armed trespass. If its done without weapons it’s trespass, day or night. I’m sure that’s not that helpful.

                1. TG and B. I don’t see the poach to mean physical trespass to steal game or fish. Trout in the clue is a misdirection word to assist the triggering of its initial T. Here, as Jane implies, I reckon poach means the intangible trespass via encroachment/intrusion on someones rights or duties, etc. Such as “infringement of rights”. I don’t know if that helps either and I may be wrong also.

    3. The first definition for ‘poach’ in my 1972 BRB is ‘to intrude on another’s preserves in order to pursue or kill game, or upon another’s fishing to catch fish’. ‘Trespass’ covers that, I think.

  9. And just in case anybody wants to know, 7a are Norwich, 23a are Brighton & Hove, 27a are the mighty Altrincham (and Bristol City as well), 4d are Crystal Palace, 14d are Swansea and 26d are Sheffield Wednesday.

    1. And as I noted above, 9a are the (even more mighty??) Aberporth Football Club … apparently!

  10. Enjoyed this, quite accessible for Thursday, especially after yesterday’s DNF. Needed the explanation for the parsing 27a, but managed everything else.
    Favourite was the amusing 25a.
    Many thanks to Firefly and to Gazza for the fun.

  11. I liked the theme even though I’m not a huge fan of the sport but 27a was a bung in and I had to rely on good ol’ Google to help me with both parts of the clue. I also wasn’t aware of all the nicknames so thank you MalcolmR and Mustafa G for the education. It just goes to show you’re never too old to learn something new! 25a was my COTD.
    Thanks to Firefly for the challenge and Gazza for the clarification.

  12. I usually dislike crosswords that predicate around knowing the answer to one particular clue. However, this one gave me a fun solve which didn’t take much longer than usual.

  13. For once I agree with Bertie, hurrah! Once I had cracked the code it was reasonably plain sailing although I did need the hints to parse 20a, 27a (I guessed it was a typo), 16d. Favourite has to be 28a/17a. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  14. This was an absolute cracker which kept me going through most of Sunday afternoon through Monday morning. I was pleased to figure out the two themes of “fliers” (10 across) and “football teams” (28 & 17 across) and this finally helped me complete the nicknames of Norwich City, Crystal Palace, Bristol City, Brighton, Swansea and Sheffield Wednesday. Fortunately I am a football fan ! I am still puzzled by 27 across and the reference to Surrey Spinners, though old enough to be well aware of Tony Lock and Jim Laker. Where do they appear in the answer ? The misprint of “110” didn’t help as I struggled to place a “C” for hundred.
    I was most pleased to solve 16 Down on my own, thank you, not least because my wife’s name is Margaret and I had an Auntie Peggy once upon-a-time.
    I also learnt a new word “sapele” and was delighted through google to discover a native name is “aboudikro” which I will work into a conversation soon.
    The only clue that stumped me was 3 Down (every third letter, not, as usual, every other letter)
    Am I alone in thinking the IO endings of 16 & 18 Down could be a deliberate echo of the theme of 10 (ten) ? Just asking.
    Thank you Firefly.
    PS I find I can usually now solve most of Tuesday through Thursday but Friday remains mostly impossible.
    Mini Dave

    1. Welcome to the blog, David.
      Now that you’ve broken cover I hope you’ll comment on a regular basis.
      Good spot on the double ‘io’ but I doubt whether it relates to 10a.
      27a only refers to (Tony) Lock. I added the Laker bit as the two tended to operate in tandem.

  15. Coming in again after a week. Managed to complete all of this once I changed FLEERS to FLIERS in 10a and realised the theme. 27a was a guess though as I don’t know cricket terms!

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