Toughie 2715 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2715

Toughie No 2715 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

There’s a theme in this Toughie with a number of synonyms of the answer to 8d. Thanks to Firefly.

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

Across Clues

1a 8 with trip, I flaunt dreadfully … (11)
HIGHFALUTIN: start with another word for a trip or hallucinatory experience and add an anagram (dreadfully) of I FLAUNT. [Thanks to Jonners for pointing out my mistake]

9a … silly poems with mostly tired, vacuous kookiness about Morecambe (9)
LIMERICKS: a word for tired or weak without its last letter and the outer letters of kookiness contain Mr Morecambe.

I once bathed with a lady from Dudley
But just as we were getting cuddly
The moment went wrong
When I emitted a pong
Making the water go bubbly.

10a 8 left from outskirts of Torquay (5)
LOFTY: assemble the abbreviation for left, a synonym of ‘from’ and the outer letters of Torquay.

11a Console female attached to Isaac, having broken up (6)
FASCIA: the abbreviation for female and an anagram (having broken up) of ISAAC.

12a Graduate, falling short and beginning to stagnate, grumbles (8)
MAUNDERS: glue together an arts degree, a preposition meaning ‘falling short’ and the first letter of stagnate.

13a 8 young man married to Gilbert’s royal daughter (2-2-2)
LA-DI-DA: a young man and the name of the princess in a G&S opera.

15a Almost worn-out aboard negligently used junk (8)
DETRITUS: an adjective meaning worn-out or clichéd without its final letter goes inside an anagram (negligently) of USED.

18a Change from modest shilling (5,3)
PLAIN BOB: modest or unostentatious and the informal word for a shilling. You can find out about these changes here.

19a Space vehicle, coming from star, disappears (6)
TARDIS: hidden in the clue.

21a Interference having scope to proliferate (8)
MUSHROOM: rivet together a word for interference or background noise and a synonym for scope.

23a Desirable type of 8 voice … (6)
PLUMMY: double definition, the first an informal adjective meaning desirable or choice.

26a … in performance by Lyric Theatre (5)
ODEON: an adverb meaning ‘in performance’ follows a type of lyric.

27a Member marching in order of age, Norman? Not exactly! (9)
ORANGEMAN: an anagram (not exactly) of AGE NORMAN.

28a Papa keeping final letter under wraps (before the Telegraph becomes 8?) (11)
PRETENTIOUS: string together the letter for which papa is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, a word meaning keeping without its final N and how the compiler might refer to the Telegraph.

Down Clues

1d Instrumental recording, set in regular three-four, on Light originally (7)
HELPFUL: put a vinyl recording inside regular letters from ‘three-four’ and finish with the first letter of Light.

2d Sports periodical turns up on Wednesdays — central points being significant (5)
GAMES: reverse an abbreviated periodical before the central two letters of Wednesdays.

3d Barred door at front opening on behalf of US President (9)
FORBIDDEN: the first letter of door is inserted in ‘on behalf of’ and a US president making his second appearance of the day.

4/25d Put bar on attendance? That’ll control the flow (4,4)
LOCK GATE: a verb to put a bar on or close securely precedes the number of attendees coming through the turnstiles.

5d They left bequests of property, within limits of ‘thriftiness’ (8)
TESTATES: a word for property or lands goes between the outer letters of thriftiness.

6d Material from river reportedly turning up negative (5)
NYLON: what sounds like an African river and the reversal of a negative.

7d Obscure novel found in various syllabuses — first half of work’s dashed off (7)
ULYSSES: an anagram (various) of SYL[lab]USES once we’ve removed the first half of a synonym for work. The novel is actually very well-known so I suppose ‘obscure’ is being used in the sense of impenetrable (I certainly never managed to get very far into it).

8d Disturbed very loudly, elephant’s head moved about (8)
AFFECTED: the musical abbreviation for very loudly and the first letter of elephant go inside a verb meaning moved or took steps.

14d No longer working after cutback, climbing with kids inside racing car (8)
DRAGSTER: reverse the abbreviated form of an adjective meaning ‘no longer part of the workforce’ and insert a verb meaning kids or teases.

16d Back Red in production of larger hit (4,5)
REAR LIGHT: an anagram (production) of LARGER HIT.

17d Unchanged pitch is minute and impossible, given Yorkshire’s tail (8)
MONOTONE: string together an informal word for a minute or short period of time, a phrase (3,2) meaning impossible and the tail letter of Yorkshire.

18d 8 old politician’s in soup, unfortunately (7)
POMPOUS: the abbreviation for old and our usual elected politician go inside an anagram (unfortunately) of SOUP.

20d Saws sharpened accurately to begin with by Yankee in outskirts of Gallipolis (7)
SAYINGS: collate the starting letters of ‘sharpened accurately’, the letter for which Yankee is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, IN and the outer letters of Gallipolis.

22d Hoist in preparation for delivery (3-2)
RUN-UP: with a space rather than a hyphen this would be a phrasal verb meaning to hoist (a flag, say).

24d Dance with Mike on platform in church (5)
MAMBO: the letter that Mike stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet precedes an old form of pulpit with steps at either end.

25d See 4d

My favourite clue was 18a. Which one(s) appealed to you?


16 comments on “Toughie 2715

  1. When you are someone who solves by working down the Across clues and then down the Downs, there is nothing more annoying that finding out, right from the start, that so many clues relate to 8d. However, I managed to solve some of them which then helped me get 8d, which is probably not what Firefly wanted at all. I’d agree with Gazza about 18a being favourite, not least because given the number of such changes I’ve rung, the bell should have clanged a lot sooner than it did

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza

  2. I’m not a big fan of puzzles that cross reference a sungle clue. Nothing too tricky here but nothing that made me smile either. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

      1. Thanks Jonners. I did parse it correctly when I solved it but by the time I wrote the hint that must have gone out of my head.

  3. This took a bit longer than it should have done, and, having finished it, I am not sure why. 8d was solved as a result of checkers rather than cross-referencing, but it all worked out in the end. I agree about 18a; an excellent clue.

    My thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  4. Never heard of 18a or the platform in 24d but I have now. Needed the hints to parse 26a, 28a and 14d so about par for the course for me. Favourite was 7d mainly because I managed to parse it correctly. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    1. Thanks to NYT puzzles, 24d’s platform is a regular entrant, so I jumped onto that one; it was 18a that kept me from finishing on my own.

  5. I was so far off Firefly’s wavelength today that it was positively embarrassing but I still enjoyed looking through Gazza’s review (and cartoons) and piecing it all together.

    Sorry, Firefly, not a snowball’s chance for me today! Many thanks to Gazza for his enlightenment.

  6. Amazingly (for me), I solved 8d early on and so proceeded with its synonyms quite regularly. I am used to cross-referenced crosswords because it’s a standard practice with the NYT, and I do enjoy them. My main problem here was with an unrelated clue, 18a. I know nothing about bell-ringing even though I am a musician; it’s a musical world unto itself and the vocabulary is too, so I had to use my electronic gift of some letters to solve that one I really enjoyed the interactive wordplay, with 1a, 13a, and 23a my podium choices. I needed Gazza’s help parsing 28a. On the whole, the puzzle of the week for me, certainly the most enjoyable one. Thanks to Gazza and to Firefly.

  7. A couple of things we did not know, 18a for example, but all eventually sorted.
    An enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  8. Needed a bit of help to cross the finishing line in 18a and 23a.
    As usual I got 8d after solving all the other references.
    Thought it was a Micawber crossword at first, then Django came to mind.
    Biggest leap of faith was 17d which becomes my favourite.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.
    Off to comment on MP’s Tuesday toughie as it is the only other crossword I managed this week.
    Good night all.

  9. I find it difficult to overstate how much I really dislike puzzles with so many clues cross-referencing and linked to a single other clue. It’s bad enough that a certain fortnightly Friday Toughie setter is so enamoured of the habit without other setters joining them.

    However a challenge is a challenge and completed it was (not wanting to waste my Puzzle subscription!), though there was precious little enjoyment and merely grim satisfaction at crossing off the last clue of what was not an overly difficult Thursday Toughie in the end. I felt the surface readings largely suffered from the clueing being so forced and contrived, and found I had ticked no clues either as COTD or as contenders for the laurels.

    Mush as interference was new to me; the Telegraph element of 28a meaning ‘us’ made no sense whatever (I take The Times, not the Telegraph, and access these puzzles via the Puzzles subscription, so “us”?); Ulysses being obscure irritated me no end, even if the clueing turns out to be fair; testate as a noun is to say the least unusual, though included in the latest BRB; and neither plain bob nor bob plain were in my old BRB – which I was using as I went through the grid – though I afterwards noted it’s in the latest BRB under bob.

    Thanks to Gazza for the review and the couple of parsings I required, and thanks also to Firefly despite this very definitely not being my sort of crossword.

  10. Also not a fan of cross referencing clues. I rather wish I hadn’t started this in the wee small hours but stuck with it out of sheer bloody mindedness. A sort of unaided finish – well I hit the check if all correct a couple of times after bung ins at 18a & 24d & got 12a from the wordplay but fail to see how it’s synonymous with the definition.
    There was a sense of satisfaction at completion as I thought it jolly tough but can’t say it was a great deal of fun.
    Thanks anyway Firefly. Will read your your review tomorrow to see how many I parsed correctly

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