Toughie 2691 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2691

Toughie No 2691 by Django

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Thanks to Django for a Thursday pangram which didn’t cause too many problems.

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

Across Clues

1a Ruin unloved folk instrument with interminable rock guitar (6)
BANJAX: stick together a stringed instrument used in folk music without the love-resembling letter and a rock guitar without its final letter.

5a Discover pencil pusher giving away American code (8)
ENCIPHER: knit together the central four letters of ‘pencil’ and p[us]her without an abbreviation for American.

9a Hide point of heroin needle — it can support one’s habit (10)
COATHANGER: assemble a hide or skin, the first letter of heroin and a verb to needle or annoy.

10a Merseyside’s first safari park starting to change focus rapidly (4)
ZOOM: the first letter of Merseyside is preceded by what a safari park could be called.

11a Seabird circling key tropical plant (4,4)
TREE FERN: a seabird contains a key or low island.

12a Initially old puzzles appear quite unusual, even cryptic (6)
OPAQUE: initial letters of six words in the clue.

13a Book on cycling was clean (4)
SWAB: the abbreviation for book follows the word ‘was’ after its last letter has been cycled to the front.

15a Don’t change this without set-back during work — hurry (4,2,2)
STEP ON IT: an instruction to leave some text unchanged contains the reversal of ‘during work’ (2,2).

18a Kylie originally sang all but the opening — a flipping gold disc follows for this iconic Australian (8)
KANGAROO: concatenate the first letter of Kylie, ‘sang’ without its first letter, A, the reversal of a tincture of gold and the letter that looks like a disc.

19a Bad European function (4)
SINE: a synonym of bad (as a noun) and an abbreviation for European.

21a You and I take no time with new exhaust (6)
WEAKEN: paste together ‘you and I’, ‘take’ without the abbreviation for time and the abbreviation for new.

23a One man cuts film out — losing all extreme characters — and finally appreciates Finding Nemo’s craft (8)
NAUTILUS: delete all the outer letters of the first five words and append the final letter of ‘appreciates’.

25a Seat getting lower at one end according to the notes (4)
SOFA: two consecutive notes from tonic sol-fa but with the lower one bringing up the rear.

26a Crook runs away — suspect Den has to agree a deal (5,5)
SHAKE HANDS: a swindler or extortionate lender without the cricket abbreviation for runs is followed by an anagram (suspect) of DEN HAS.

27a Confrontation both sides of divorce intended (8)
DEFIANCE: charade of the outer letters of divorce and an intended person of the male sex.

28a Dig entertaining love film — it’s lyrical (6)
POETRY: a verb to dig in a nosy way contains the letter that resembles love and the film that’s such a boon to setters.

Down Clues

2d An ancient more primitive love affair (5)
AMOUR: join together an indefinite article, an archaic word meaning ‘more’ and a prefix, from German, meaning primitive or original.

3d Scaremonger to skip eating refined butter (9)
JITTERBUG: a verb to skip or dance contains an anagram (refined) of BUTTER. The answer means a type of dance and the BRB suggests that the meaning of scaremonger may be only British and a result of a misunderstanding.

4d Looked into beginning to date after kiss on new year (1-5)
X-RAYED: the first letter of date follows the letter standing for a kiss and an anagram (new) of YEAR.

5d Competition adapted garden gnome’s cap, making end of pompom round (3-3-5,4)
EGG-AND-SPOON-RACE: an anagram (adapted) of GARDEN GNOME’S CAP after we’ve changed the last letter of pompom to the round letter.

6d Rope lassoing display of cowboy skill, mostly getting rusty (8)
CORRODED: a type of rope contains a display of cowboy skill without its last letter.

7d Detective essentially quizzing a Hawaiian, perhaps (5)
PIZZA: glue together an abbreviation for a private detective, the central letters of quizzing and A.

8d Exciting novel out about international development (9)
EVOLUTION: an anagram (exciting) of NOVEL OUT containing the abbreviation for international.

14d Horny material in W. H. Auden’s introduction upset Nobel committee ultimately (9)
WHALEBONE: start with WH and the first letter of Auden and add the reversal of ‘Nobel’ and the ultimate letter of committee.

16d Firm returning some gadget a nit’s bought (9)
OBSTINATE: hidden in reverse.

17d George V and Edward VIII and maybe, Prince Michael of Kent (8)
GRANDSON: how we might say George V (using his regnal cipher) and how Edward VIII was related to him (2,3,3). The answer is the relationship of Prince Michael of Kent (as an example) to George V.

20d In retirement, occasionally, spouse insults garage job (4-2)
TUNE-UP: regular letters from the reversal of ‘spouse insults’.

22d Perhaps automatic starter sounded buff (5)
KHAKI: this sounds to some people (not to me) like something (3,3) of which an automatic or remote starter is an example.

24d Higher direct debit for very quiet milk supplier (5)
UDDER: start with a synonym for higher and change the abbreviation for very quiet to that of direct debit.

My favourite clue was 23a. Which clue(s) diverted you?


34 comments on “Toughie 2691

  1. Fairly straightforward although I struggled to parse 2d. I liked 9a. Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  2. A particularly friendly crossword from Django, solved in about the right time for a mid week back page cryptic.

    I particularly liked 18a, 23a and 17d – I expect there’ll be muttering about the length of 18a but I do like a long clue that tells a story, rather than one where the setter starts off, realises they need to add x and then they need to add y and z and ends up with something so confusing the poor solver needs a lie down after reading the clue before going back and trying to solve it

    Many thanks to Django and Gazza

    1. Thanks CS. I love that description of the, um, wrong sort of long clue. And yes, as is evident – I enjoy them when there’s a coherent story to it!

  3. Wordy crosswords, which seem to be this setter’s Toughie style, are not generally to my taste and my heart sank when I saw both columns of clues almost full. However, I warmed to this pangram as I worked through it and was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the long surfaces made some sense. I even made 18a my favourite.

    I couldn’t parse 2d, and, although I see what’s going on with it, I am not sure that 17d quite works even though it’s a interesting idea.

    Thanks to Django and to Gazza, especially for the parsing of 2d.

  4. Apart from never parsing 2d in a million years, I fairly sailed through this one. Like RD, I don’t much like wordy clues, and not unnaturally compared this with the Ray T from the back page; two very different styles. 14d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Django for the pangram and to Gazza.

  5. I looked forward to solving this puzzle and was not disappointed. A steady solve aided by checking letters as usual. I like Django’s approach which has fresh ideas and is not stuffy. Challenging the conventions will always get my vote. Thanks to Gazza and to Django.

  6. I too couldn’t parse 2d for the life of me. Apart from that the pangram certainly helped. I did have Google the relationships of the royals in 17d but every day’s a school day. Good fun. I’m also going with 18a as favourite. Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  7. Although I’d never heard of 1a and wondered how our dance craze of the 40s became a scaremonger, I enjoyed this Toughie very much, especially 14d and 17d. 18a tickled me. I did need a wee bit of electronic help to finish. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Django.

  8. Pretty much as MP said, there’s something refreshing about this setter’s style, like Zandio on steroids.
    I liked 18 and 27a but runaway winner for me, 9a, a quite brilliant clue.
    Many thanks to Django and Gazza for the fun.

  9. Sometimes, very rarely indeed, I’m a little sad on completing a crossword. Today was one of those days, so wonderfully enjoyable was this superb puzzle.

    Other than not parsing 2d I had a smile of satisfaction as each clue fell, some outright laughs, and with almost each one a sense of delight at the Setter’s wit, style, humour and consummate skill. It really was quite difficult to single out clues for special mention, as so many could have qualified, so to name but a few: 18a, 23a, 25a, 5d , 6d, 22d and 24d.

    My COTD went to 1a (with “interminable rock guitar” in mind I tried to get “Prog Rock” to fit into only 6 letters, or Rush to expand to 6: no could do) which I thought quite superb, from surface read to eventual answer.

    2* / 5* : a jewel in the cruciverbalist’s crown. And taken with today’s backpager, a red letter day for DT crosswords.

    Many thanks indeed to Django, and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Prog Rock at close to its most wonderfully self-indulgent with, from Rush’s 2112, the Overture, Temples of Syrinx etc etc etc:

      Apologies, I just can’t get this to appear as the direct YouTube clip, only as a link – I’m clearly doing something wrong with the code, sorry.

    2. I too thought this was a brilliant crossword and hugely good fun. On first pass I only got 1 clue but then gradually got onto the setter’s wavelength. As others have commented, it was a refreshing change of style. I also agree that 1a was a fantastic clue.

      Many thanks to Django and to Gazza for unravelling some of my bung-ins.

  10. I’m with MP & Stephen L here – I like the slightly different approach from Django
    Many thanks for the entertainment Django and Gazza

  11. Sorry everyone I simply hated this. From knowing the film has to be ET to identifying Prince Michael as a grandson was, frankly, ludicrous.
    I did get the right craft for 23a but since when has khaki been buff? Our soldiers would die in the desert!
    Thank goodness it is time to open the bar!

    1. You obviously have not done any military service.
      And just because you are not aware simple facts about the royal family does not make the clue ‘ludicrous’. There were, after all, two indications to the heritage.

      1. There’s no need to be rude. You really must not think, just because we don’t like anything, we’re ignorant.
        I hesitate to post this , least said soonest mended and all that jazz, but …….!

  12. Like a few, I dread verbose clues, and Django is a serial culprit. However, this was most enjoyable. The clues all read well, and were all fairly straightforward. In fact, only 2d (who knew that?) and 3d (ditto) had me scratching my head – and they easily meet the Beam conciseness standard! Thanks Django for an enjoyable solve, and Gazza for attempting to explain 2d! Oh, and great to see Geddy and the boys turning up in the comments, less than 24 hrs after having to explain “Rush o’clock” to my better half…

  13. Realising that a pangram was coming up was a help for us. Struggled with the parsing of 2d but everything else slotted in nicely.
    An enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Django and Gazza.

  14. There seems to be a lot of whinges about the ‘wordiness’ of the clueing in the comments. The reasons for this elude me.
    I thought that this was a proper crossword with just enough difficulty to qualify as a Toughie. None of the answers required specialist knowledge or involved opaque words. If you prefer that style I think that Elgar is tomorrow’s setter. Good luck with that

  15. Solving this belter this morning was way more fun than getting drenched on the golf course this afternoon. A marvellous contrast in clueing style to Ray T’s cryptic & a joy from start to finish. Started in the NE for no other reason than 5a was the first in & was soon on pangram alert which was handy for 1a. Needless to say 2d was a bung in but happy to have parsed the others ok though I’m not certain I fully understand 17d. Fully agree with CS’s comment about a wordy clue telling a story & those praising the fresh and unstuffy setting style. Reckon there’s easily enough ticks for at least a couple of podiums – 1,9,18,23&27a plus 3,4,7&22d all stood out for me.
    Thanks Django & Gazza

  16. I didn’t get anywhere with this Toughie but I solved one clue, whichI thought was a belter. 23 across ticked a load of boxes for me.

  17. House guests all day so late to the party. Loved this – I really don’t care about clue length so long as the clue is good and Django’s clues are almost all really good, both surface and wordplay. Favourites here were 5a [a bit of a gimme but really rather clever] and 14d which conjured up a rather intriguing image!
    Many thanks Django and Gazza for the blog.

  18. The minute I started, I realised Django was at the helm.
    Such a different and refreshing style.
    Ticked so many clues it’s hard to choose a favourite.
    Admit to bunging in 2d though.
    7d made me cringe. Not the clue itself but the fact that one would actually add pineapple to a pizza.
    Thanks to Django for the trumendous fun and to Gazza for the review.

  19. Came to this a day late and (eventually) solved it unaided so feeling quite chuffed. I do like this setter. Thought 9a was a wonderful clue.

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