Toughie 2739 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2739

Toughie No 2739 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

You’ll like this puzzle if you enjoy anagrams because my anagram counter reached double figures. Whatever happened to the Telegraph rule of no more than six anagrams per puzzle?

Thanks to Firefly.

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

Across Clues

1/3/6a ‘Go slow’ crew below receive a sound beating (4,5,4)
LOSE HANDS DOWN: assemble a verb to go slow (a clock, for example), members of a ship’s crew and a synonym of below.

3a See 1a

6a See 1a

8a Dreamy Gloria hasn’t a map, unfortunately (15)
PHANTASMAGORIAL: an anagram (unfortunately) of GLORIA HASN’T A MAP. I’m more used to seeing this word containing a C.

9a Dad’s second jumper, for instance, shows full value (6)
AMOUNT: the second letter of dad and what a beastly jumper is an example of.

10a Song’s composed about flimsy trifles (8)
NOTHINGS: an anagram (composed) of SONG containing an adjective meaning flimsy.

11a Well-integrated chap comprehends kernel of thesis (8)
COHESIVE: a dated informal word for a chap contains the middle letters of thesis.

13a ‘Sovereign Bakeries’ failing, remain closed down (6)
KAISER: an anagram (failing) of BAKERIES after we’ve removed the verb to remain.

15a More tatty room pricey, oddly next to river (6)
ROPIER: odd letters of ‘room pricey’ and the abbreviation for river.

17a Miss note during recording — thus shut up! (8)
CLOSETED: a verb to miss or mislay and a note from tonic sol-fa go inside a recording medium.

19a Melting following English female’s gush (8)
EFFUSION: a word meaning melting follows abbreviations for English and female.

21a Cosmetic treatment of soilpipe so ‘off’ (6)
LIPPIE: an anagram (treatment) of [so]ILPIPE.

22a Portray the scatterbrained Nubian, maybe, and muck about? (3,3,5,4)
ACT THE GIDDY GOAT: string together a verb to portray or perform, THE, a synonym of scatterbrained and what a Nubian is an example of in the animal world.

23/24/25a Frank calling with dinner for students in former auditorium (4,5,4)
FREE TRADE HALL: rivet together an adjective meaning frank or open, a calling or vocation and a word for dinner in a college dining room. This auditorium, for a long time home to the Hallé orchestra, was in Manchester.

24a See 22a

25a See 22a

Down Clues

1d Calendar spoilt with lid of paint stripper (3,6)
LAP DANCER: an anagram (spoilt) of CALENDAR and the top letter (lid) of P[aint].

2d Seen in fjord, marine creature gets surprised expression from Jock (3,4)
SEA LOCH: concatenate a marine creature and a Scottish expression of surprise. The first two words of the clue seem to be there just to improve the surface.

3d Fitter needs wherewithal when struggling to remove both weights (9)
HEALTHIER: an anagram (when struggling) of [w]HERE[w]ITHAL without the two abbreviations for weight.

4d The setter’s people start to exult following negative vote for candidate (7)
NOMINEE: how the setter might describe his people and the starting letter of exult follow a negative vote.

5d Area, they say, is eyesore (5)
SIGHT: a homophone of a word meaning area or locality.

6d Editor with vim not exactly soporific (9)
DORMITIVE: an anagram (not exactly) of EDITOR and VIM.

7d Barney‘s wife called — article from Paris … (7)
WRANGLE: paste together the abbreviation for wife, a verb meaning called by phone and a French article.

12d … quite badly wetted, content-wise, in customs (9)
ETIQUETTE: an anagram (badly) of QUITE followed by the inner letters of wetted.

13d Kelvin currently on the shelf, it’s learned (9)
KNOWLEDGE: the abbreviation for Kelvin, an adverb meaning currently and another word for a shelf.

14d ‘Bean‘ brightened senior up around noon (3,6)
RED LENTIL: join together a verb meaning brightened or illuminated and an adjective meaning senior. Now reverse what you have and insert the abbreviation for noon.

16d Rice, perhaps, for constable? (7)
OFFICER: split your answer 3,4 to understand this reverse anagram.

17d Was she Shaw’s parasite? (7)
CANDIDA: the heroine of a GBS comedy is also a yeast-like parasitic fungus.

18d Starch thrown at a cop — one’s in for it! (7)
TAPIOCA: (yet another!) anagram (thrown) of AT A COP containing the Roman numeral for one.

20d Alpine ptarmigans a bit silly (5)
INEPT: hidden in the clue.

None of the clues stood out for me. Which one(s) did you like?

17 comments on “Toughie 2739

  1. A long way away from the difficulty of even a 1* Toughie (just about a 3* backpager) and without much enjoyment either. Sorry Firefly, but that’s how I found this crossword

    Thanks to Gazza for the blog

  2. You’re right, Gazza – lots of anagrams, of which 8a was my favourite. I confess I’d never heard of the GBS play, but it was easily guessable. 6d was also a new word for me, but again very guessable. Otherwise, pretty straightforward, and as you say no especially stand-out clues.

  3. The high anagram count did spoil my enjoyment of this puzzle, although as JB says, 8a is as impressive an example as you could wish to see.

    My thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  4. Unfamiliar the phrase in 22a, the dinner in 25a and the soporific in 6d but the had to be what they were. I had the wrong last letter for 19a which held me up getting 17d for a while and struggled to parse 14d until the blindingly obvious hit me. So apart from that fairly plain sailing. Favourite was the aforementioned 14d. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  5. As Toughies go I thought this at the more gentle end of the spectrum, however I found it curiously unsatisfying – a “curate’s egg” of a puzzle but using the modern rather than original meaning of the phrase: there were both good and ‘off’ parts.

    8a was indeed quite an anagram, but there were too many anagrams, and the necessity for added or removed letters became repetitive. The construction of 23a/24a/25a was fair, but the answer I thought dated and parochial – indeed “dated” describes several clues/answers. Surface readings were too often rather odd/strained, and on a personal note I really dislike the slang 21a. Having said that, I did enjoy parts of the puzzle, with 8a, 22a, 6d standing out and the 20a mental picture of ptarmigans mucking about in the snow made me smile.

    2* / 1.5*

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  6. We know that Firefly is fond of anagrams, particularly complex ones, but there are rather a lot here and whilst that speeds up the solving it does make the process a bit mechanical. I also thought that 13a was a bit iffy, being partially indirect, but anything goes these days and I did like 16d!
    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  7. I must admit that I had fun with this one late last night, though I bunged in too many for my liking. I knew the GBS play quite well but not the fungus (that surprised me!); over here, we spell 8a with a ‘C’ in the third-from-last position, though I easily acceded to what it had to be; the ‘muck about’ phrase was new to me, though I discovered it has an early ancestry in America. And the old auditorium in Manchester brought back memories of Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy and England in 1819. The abundance of anagrams didn’t faze me because I was having such a good time with bigger issues. Thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  8. Must be relatively easy for a toughie as I finished it ( but without a full understanding of the clues)

    1. I used to say that the difference between a back pager and a toughie was understanding. I understood the answers in my completed back pager but didn’t understand the answers in my completed toughie

  9. Nearly got there, but was beaten by the GK in the SE. I don’t see how 14d can be a bean, never heard of the character or parasite in 17d, which I thought was actually a sweetener. I thought the phrase in 22a used “Billy Goat”, and didn’t know the dinner at 25a. Such a shame because the rest of it was quite a joy to solve.

    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  10. A solve is a solve. I liked being reminded of The Free Trade Hall in Manchester where the famous Judas shout to Bob Dylan actually took place despite being wrongly attributed to The Royal Albert Hall for years. I liked go slow to mean lose. I used to earn well adjusting the retard/advance device on clockwork watches back in the 70’s for engineers who should have been able to do it themselves. Thanks to Firefly for letting us in with so many anagrams. (It’s not wavelength, it’s checkers) and thanks to Gazza the riveter, paster, stringer and joiner. Great fun all round. Thanks to all

  11. Saved for the train home and hardly made it to first stop. Very gentle but after a day long meeting probably what my brain required. Thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

    1. No meeting should ever last more than one hour.
      Daily meetings should be made weekly
      Weekly meetings should be made monthly
      Monthly meetings should be made quarterly
      Quarterly meetings should be made annually
      Anybody speaking in a meeting should be shot
      That would sort it

  12. Guess that 23/24/25 was much more of a challenge for us than for most UK solvers but we did eventually get it sorted and checked.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  13. Had I got 17a before 17d I wouldn’t have needed to cheat & look up GBS plays. I did know it but like Robert wouldn’t have got the parasite relevance. Completed the grid without too much problem but parsing a few of the answers another matter entirely. The soporific was new to me & I would have assumed 8a (super anagram) ended ICAL on this side of the pond too. 7d was my favourite – my mind wandered trying to remember her name in the Flintstones.
    Thanks Firefly & Gazza.

    1. Betty Rubble.

      I was surprised to see this as a 3-* difficulty, although I couldn’t finish it being stumped by 13a (was he really a sovereign?) and 17d (I was trying to find a way to fit in “Eliza”!).

      Like others, I admired 8a.

      Thanks to Gazza for the blog and Firefly.

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