Toughie 2763 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2763

Toughie No 2763 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Many thanks to Hudson for a puzzle that’s great fun but not too tricky. I try to place the difficulty rating for a Toughie somewhere on the scale of the Toughies that we get, where Elgar would always be 5* and the puzzles we used to get from the likes of Busman in the distant past and Warbler more recently would be 1* – this one is very much towards the easier end on that scale.

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

Across Clues

1a Coventry rider keen to get back after game (6)
GODIVA: reverse an adjective meaning keen after a Japanese game.

5a Back in Llandudno, bag a vintage Rover (8)
VAGABOND: hidden in reverse.

9a New Orleans? Pal, it can get pretty hot! (5,5)
SOLAR PANEL: an anagram (new) of ORLEANS PAL.

10a French 4 town by opening to enormous chasm (4)
GAPE: a French town in the 4d region (often visited by the Tour de France) followed by the opening letter of enormous. That reminds me – we haven’t heard from Jean-Luc for some time, I hope he’s ok.

11a Biscuit 23 unveils every now and again (8)
CRACKNEL: a synonym for 23a and the even letters of unveils.

12a Daughter rejected Yale, beginning to stack shelves (6)
DELAYS: string together the genealogical abbreviation for daughter, the reversal of Yale and the first letter of stack.

13a Cut willows back (4)
STAB: reverse the implements that willows are a word for in the sporting world. Not something we want to dwell on at the moment in the northern hemisphere.

15a A large bird — cuckoo — reflected in Nile landmark (5,3)
ASWAN DAM: string together A, a large bird and the reversal of an adjective meaning cuckoo or nuts.

18a Retiring QC: ‘Is Nero finally admitting this evidence in court?’ (8)
FORENSIC: hidden in reverse.

19a Unwrapping small pouch is a pain (4)
ACHE: remove the outer letters from a small sealed pouch.

21a Loan shark more confident United will come first (6)
USURER: a comparative meaning more confident is preceded by the abbreviation for United.

23a Conservative majority vote in 2016 involving a grand split (8)
CLEAVAGE: an abbreviation for Conservative and the side that won the majority in the 2016 vote in the UK containing A and the abbreviation for grand ($1,000).

25a Swedish actress slipping off Oscar outfit (4)
GARB: an old Swedish actress losing the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

26a Son left holding revolting pet snake … it could get mum going up the wall! (10)
STEPLADDER: abbreviations for son and left contain the reversal of pet. That’s followed by a type of snake.

27a Online forum charm ‘too manufactured’ (4,4)
CHAT ROOM: an anagram (manufactured) of CHARM TOO.

28a In which it is reported Nureyev finally appears in designer label? (6)
PRAVDA: the final letter of Nureyev goes inside an Italian fashion brand to make a Russian newspaper.

Down Clues

2d German river’s pronounced smell (5)
ODOUR: this sounds like the name of a major German river.

3d Tetchy Gershwin’s upsetting the Spanish writer (9)
IRASCIBLE: start with the forename of one of the Gershwins together with the ‘S then join together a Spanish definite article and a make of ballpoint pen and reverse it.

4d Highland beer (about 426ml) (6)
ALPINE: a type of beer contains part of a pint. A full pint is approximately 568 millilitres so 426ml would be …

5d Very fresh nice calamari, line caught, European imported, popular dish (7,3,5)
VANILLA ICE CREAM: start with the abbreviation for very and add an anagram (fresh) of LINE CALAMARI containing abbreviations for line and European.

6d Swallow feathers seen after shoot heads north (4,4)
GULP DOWN: another word for feathers follows the reversal of a slang verb to shoot (and hit) with a firearm. I always thought the verb to shoot was a North American usage but neither Chambers nor Collins agree with me.

7d Bread roll using the French gas up (5)
BAGEL: paste together a French definite article and an informal verb to gas or chatter and reverse it all.

8d Discomfort one gets before going completely potty? (5,4)
NAPPY RASH: ‘one’ here is a toddler and the discomfort comes during the time before he/she is fully trained.

14d Prime minister getting Speaker’s cuppa (and what it soothes) (9)
TAOISEACH: this is the title of a European Prime Minister (a word I can never spell) and it sounds like homophones of a) a cuppa and b) the trauma that said liquid is said to be good for.

16d Buffet and tea OK, about five. Something stronger? (4,5)
NEAT VODKA: an anagram (buffet) of AND TEA OK containing the Roman numeral for five.

17d Leads in English Sunday papers: Old Italian Shot (8)
ESPRESSO: assemble the leading letters of English and Sunday, a general term for newspapers and the abbreviation for old.

20d Mate got married, keeled over creating a bit of a flap (6)
DEWLAP: glue together a synonym for mate and a verb meaning ‘got married’ then reverse it.

22d Mount ski lift touring American city (5)
RABAT: reverse a type of ski lift (1-3) containing an abbreviation for American.

24d Being of one mind to ignore adult vice (5)
GREED: an adjective meaning being of one mind or ‘seeing eye to eye’ without the film classification letter meaning adult.

There are lots of ticks on my printout including 8d, 14d (it’s very unusual for me to praise homophones but I liked this), 17d and 20d but my favourite was 23a. Which one(s) did it for you?

36 comments on “Toughie 2763

  1. I love a Hudson. Not too taxing but always enjoyable. Lots of smiles. My favourite is 14d. Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  2. I didn’t find this remotely tough, but it was a lot of fun.

    It’s come up before but it took me a while to remember the ski lift in 22d. My only failure was being unable to unravel the parsing for 14d, which I have no idea how to pronounce – although I assume from the clue the first syllable is a homophone of “tea”. Having read Gazza’s review, I am none the wiser on the second syllable. Even listening to various pronunciations on YouTube hasn’t helped. I suppose tea might be said to soothe the nerves or possibly the thirst, but neither of these seem likely to fit the bill. I surrender!

    I felt sure that Gazza wouldn’t resist the photo opportunity afforded by 23a.

    17d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

      1. Thanks, Gazza. None of the pronunciations I found on line sounded anything like that. The closest was more like TEA-SHICK. Of course, as you mention in your review, none of that helps in any case with the spelling.

    1. A tough word to spell and perhaps even tougher to pronounce. Homophones are often controversial and I’m sure that this will be no exception. My source has the pronunciation as “tea shock”.
      I don’t often tackle the Toughie, but this was great fun.

  3. Terrific stuff from Hudson again. He and I seem to hit it off together as I’ve finished several of his Toughies before, but this one just fell beautifully together. I think I’ll plump for 15a as my COTD as one of my greatest thrills as a traveller was flying over the 15a on my way to Abu Simbel, in its reconstruction. (Coincidentally, it was thanks to ‘Swans’ Cruises that I did so!) Thanks to Gazza (especially for the 14d pronunciation!) and the talented Mr Hudson.

    1. I agree with you Robert about Abu Simbel. Its reconstruction was an incredible and wondrous thing, standing as it does overlooking the lake that was formed by the dam.

  4. A very enjoyable puzzle … but dare I say, not exactly ‘Toughie’?

    A couple of minor quibbles: definition of 26a (perhaps would be less of a stretch without the first 4 letters? I may well be missing something!), and it’s not just the spelling of 14d that’s tricky, also the pronunciation – inevitably raiing questions in a homophone clue (I thought it would be more like – though still not quite – something you’d do with an oyster, rather than a trauma … though accept I may be way off!)

    But didn’t detract from the fun, with lots of entertaining clues – of which my favourite (by some distance) was 8d

    Many thanks to Hudson & Gazza

  5. 8 and 14d were my co-favourites from this very accessible and entertaining puzzle. We have certainly seen 14d before, as recently as a two or three months ago if memory serves me correctly.
    Thanks to Hudson for the fun, and to Gazza.

  6. Good puzzle with lots of chuckles. 8 down cotd for me. 28a very neat too. Was helped with 10a as I’ve been there several times.
    Thanks Gazza for pronunciation if 14d, and to Hudson.

  7. Well that was great fun as ever from Hudson, completed in about the same time as the Ray T back pager.
    Outstanding clues throughout, 15&23a along with 14&17d with top spot shaded by 8d.
    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza for a top puzzle and review.

  8. All over too quickly.
    Thanks to Gazza for blog and pictures. Perhaps 1ac could have been more daring?
    Thanks to Hudson as usual for the enjoyment.

    1. We don’t want a return to the bad old days Chris M. The blog is a better place without the smut

      1. Point taken.
        Having followed this site over ten years, not long after its inception, the smut passed me by.
        I do appreciate all efforts by our bloggers.

    2. Unfortunately, Chris, anything more daring would elicit bleatings from the Mary Whitehouse faction.

      1. G. That young chap in the 23a photo. He’s an oceanographer, you know – loves gawping into the Bristol Channel! :-)

  9. What fun. Thank you Hudson. Thank you too Gazza. I’m not sure what Pru Poretta would think of the illustration for 1 across though

  10. Well, that was a lot better than yesterday. I really enjoyed it. My favourite was 4 down because it so reminded me of my mother.She would never accept 568 ml for a pint so “pin” for 426ml made me laugh.

  11. As an aside, does anyone else remember that a on-time advert for a bar of Cadbury’s milk chocolate used to say “contains the equivalent of 426 ml of milk”? I spent too long trying to force this piece of arcane knowledge to yield an answer. Eventually the penny dropped. Anyway finished and much enjoyed it!

  12. A wee bit easier, for me anyway, than Ray T but great fun & very enjoyable. Left the spelling of 14d until last & got my A&I the wrong way round initially & not for the first time. The Alpine town & the ski lift were new to me but otherwise all pretty straightforward.
    Thanks Hudson & Gazza

    1. Yes Huntsman, Hudson was for me a lot more user friendly than RayT hence I enjoyed this offering more.

  13. Yep, great fun and not too tricky. I smiled a lot at the beautifully crafted surfaces and laughed when I twigged 8d.
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  14. Thoroughly enjoyable, I had confirm the French town using a search engine and needed the hint to parse 14d but both had to be what they were. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  15. Really enjoyed this.

    Had no problem with 14D, but it took ages to spot 18A, it must be the best lurker I have ever encountered.

    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

    1. Your comment went into moderation because you had a surplus “j” at the end of your email address. I edited it out for you.

  16. Loved it! Took me a while but finished. Took forever to spell 14d correctly. Thanks to all for the fun.

  17. Really enjoyed this but was defeated by 14d. But I have to admit, a very fine clue. Surprised at the lack of remarks about 10a. I got the answer but in my funny little World, gape is a verb and chasm is definitely not. Any comments?

  18. 14d was a challenge for us. We had vaguely come across the word previously but had no idea how it was pronounced so the homophone was not much help. Apart from that it all went together smoothly with plenty of smiles.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  19. Apologies to Hudson but I didn’t have time to tackle this today – spent a lovely time socialising alcoholically with a couple of good friends. Promise to save it for tomorrow when the ‘feeling of euphoria’ wears off!

    1. Solved it this morning but wouldn’t agree with those who claimed it was easier than Mr T’s back-pager!
      Things I had to look up included the French town, the spelling and pronunciation of 14d and the 11a biscuit, although I do now remember quite enjoying the mint biscuit.
      Topping the pile were 15a plus 8&20d.

      Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for the review – very restrained on the illustration front!

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