Toughie 2723 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2723

Toughie No 2723 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I do find Giovanni’s puzzles more enjoyable when, as is the case today, he eschews his religious obscurities. Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Inspirited to be free — is out to be this? (8)
INTREPID: an anagram (to be free) of INSPIRITED after removing IS.

6a Rotter that was played down by cartoon curate? (3,3)
BAD EGG: the rotten breakfast item which was downplayed by the humble curate in the famous Punch cartoon.

9a Grumpy person, resident doubling up at the outset (6)
CODGER: start with a paying resident and double the first letter in the style of a Roman mathematician.

10a Macaroni ruined material (8)
MAROCAIN: an anagram (ruined) of MACARONI.

11a Bishop and Lord having good time spanning many years in club (8)
BLUDGEON: string together the chess abbreviation for bishop, the form of ‘lord’ used in court, the abbreviation for good and a long period of time.

12a Greeting provided by Christian group with musical accompaniment (6)
SALUTE: fuse together the abbreviation for a quasi-military Christian group and an old musical instrument.

13a Nurse Grey is involved with our hospital procedure (12)
NEUROSURGERY: an anagram (is involved) of NURSE GREY and OUR.

16a Advice to help beat Covid could make one feel annoyed (3,3,6)
GET THE NEEDLE: what the Government’s medical advisers are constantly urging us to do.

19a Attic’s in a mess — it’s shocking! (6)
STATIC: an anagram (in a mess) of ATTICS.

21a At home hesitation about a member of the family may be sensible (2,6)
IN REASON: assemble an adverb meaning ‘at home’, the reversal of an expression of hesitation, A and a family member.

23a Perhaps make driverless car with China’s backing (8)
AUTOMATE: another word for a car precedes what china is rhyming slang for.

24a Periods of records covering old church (6)
EPOCHS: types of vinyl record containing abbreviations for old and church.

25a Monster that could make you weak at first and possibly nervy (6)
WYVERN: the first letter of weak and an anagram (possibly) of NERVY.

26a Monarch fled, joining endeavour that would involve silly journeys? (8)
ERRANTRY: splice together our current monarch’s regnal cipher, a synonym of fled and an endeavour or attempt.

Down Clues

2d See fool strip in the restaurant (6)
NOODLE: double definition, the second a strip of food.

3d Writer of leader in tabloid was furious (5)
RAGED: split 3,2 this could be the person responsible for writing the leading article in a tabloid.

4d Sort of blue when meeting delightful bully (9)
PERSECUTE: charade of a dark-blue colour and an adjective meaning delightful or sweet.

5d Singer performing with love, entertaining millions (7)
DOMINGO: a present participle meaning performing and the zero-resembling letter contain the abbreviation for millions.

6d Tidal floods? They are tedious (5)
BORES: double definition, the first being tidal floods of the type experienced in the Severn area for example.

7d Gee, a cloud swirls round — as this is received on mountain! (9)
DECALOGUE: an anagram (swirls around) of GEE A CLOUD.

8d They are out on cold nights showing courage, rest having been disturbed (8)
GRITTERS: a word meaning courage followed by an anagram (having been disturbed) of REST.

13d Uncomfortable, being unable to receive visitors? (3,2,4)
NOT AT HOME: double definition, the first being the opposite of ‘at ease’.

14d What being abandoned could make for rawer nude? (9)
UNDERWEAR: if you abandon your answer (an anagram (could make) of RAWER NUDE) you could be chilly down below. No pictures available I fear.

15d Plant in area captured by company of Roman soldiers (8)
CENTAURY: the abbreviation of area inserted in a company of 100 Roman soldiers.

17d Someone ultimately wicked you may give a bad look (4,3)
EVIL EYE: stitch together the ultimate letter of someone, an adjective meaning wicked and an old form of ‘you’.

18d Limited parking leads to additional fuss (6)
POTHER: the abbreviation (limited) of parking precedes another word for additional.

20d Most of Asian country penetrated by a train (5)
CHAIN: a large Asian country without its last letter has A inserted.

22d Dress to admire when given new hem (5)
ADORN: a verb to admire or hold dear with its bottom (hem) replaced by N(ew).

My podium consists of 3d, 8d and 14d. Which one(s) made the grade for you?


16 comments on “Toughie 2723
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  1. An enjoyable crossword and about the right difficulty for a Thursday. I don’t often notice surface readings of clues but I did like those of 6a, 8d, and 14d

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. I could not disagree with our blogger’s choice of podium places, as they were all three on my list of potential favourites. Overall I thought this was Giovanni in a fairly friendly mood, with nothing terribly tricky, just solid clueing. A perfect Toughie for a miserable day.

    My thanks to the Don and to Gazza.

  3. Good puzzle, a great challenge and satisfying to complete even if a few of the answers were bung-ins. The shade of blue was new to me, as was the material and fuss, but everything was very fairly (if sometimes mischievously) clued, and I really enjoyed most of the surface readings – many smiles as the pennies dropped.

    23a my COTD, but close runners-up would include 6a, 10a and 8d.

    3* / 3*

    Thanks both to Giovanni and to Gazza – the post hoc parsing of my bung-ins is always an education!

    1. Correction of a type – 11a as a close runner-up, because it was clever and made me smile. 10 a was a bung-in and check the BRB to make sure it was right!

  4. Got there in the end & plenty tough enough for me. Last in was 10a (took a couple of stabs) where I was playing the right notes but not necessarily in the right order having never heard of the material. 15&18d were also new to me & required confirmation. 3d was the other major head scratch as I struggled to spot the synonym for both the definition & the latter part of the wordplay for quite a while & then checked the shade of blue, which I didn’t know. Top 3 for me were 9a plus 8&14d in what was a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks to Giovanni & Gazza.

  5. Well, this was kinder than yesterday wasn’t it? I learnt a new word, perse, for blue and a new plant, centaury.
    COTD, like others before me, 8d

  6. I always want to cry foul when a word is inserted into a clue solely to make the surface decent and 2d would appear to be such a clue. I spent quite a while trying to reconcile “See” with the rest of it. Otherwise more of the same from Giovanni. I thought 5d was particularly neat.
    Thanks to the Don and to Gazza.

  7. I found this difficult due to the amount words I had to Google to find out if they existed and what they meant. Every day’s a school day I suppose. I wouldn’t have parsed 9a in a month of Sundays. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. Top-notch Toughie, with a new word for me at 10a, but it had to be what it was. Clue of the week for me with 26a, with 13 and 14d close rivals. Finished all on my own but did Google for confirmation in a couple places. Much enjoyed. Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

    1. 7d reminded me of Dekalog, the wonderful series of ten 1hr films made for television & directed by Kieslowski. A Short Film About Killing, an expanded version of one & a later film is in my all time top 20 & his Three Colours trilogy is absolutely superb. Highly recommended on the off chance that you’re not familiar with the works of the great Polish auteur.

      1. Many thanks, Huntsman. I only know about Dekalog and Kieslowski. Haven’t seen any of those films but hope to. There are still too many gaps in my love of the cinema.

  9. Giovanni set us an entertaining challenge as usual. Toughie often helps to extend my vocabulary viz today 10a, 26a, 4d, 7d and 8d Particularly liked 16a, 23a and 2d. Many thanks indeed DG and Gazza.

  10. I’m never going to be a fan of this setter’s puzzles but did find a handful to enjoy today in the shape of 9a plus 3&8d

    Thanks to Giovanni and to Gazza for the review.

  11. A plethora of anograms today which gave a quick start to the solve, mostly straight forward wth a hold up in the NW corner , in 4d the blue was new to me but i found it secreted in my Chambers, finally the penny dropped in 3d and last to parse was 9a I could not find any reference to the old person being grumpy and eventually the D’oh moment came with the clever numerical doubling up of the ‘outset’-my favourite.
    Enjoyed the solve, thanks to setter and Gazza

  12. We spent time trying to work out how to substitute a W for a U at the start of 9a until we twigged what the doubling up was actually about.
    A couple of things that we needed to check in our references but in each case it was to confirm what we had deduced from the wordplay.
    An enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

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