Toughie 2787 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2787

Toughie No 2787 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I do look forward to blogging a Silvanus Toughie. Thanks to him for a very enjoyable (and not too tricky) puzzle with his usual super-smooth surfaces.

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

Across Clues

1a Mark is foolish having change of heart (7)
WITNESS: start with an adjective meaning foolish and change its central L to a different letter. Mark here is a verb.

5a Lost sense occasionally in pursuit of shy creatures (7)
COYOTES: regular letters from the first two words follow an adjective meaning shy or bashful.

9a Regressive Exeter University squeezes come into effect (5)
INURE: hidden in reverse.

10a In unhappy times relative will bring out piano (4,5)
BABY GRAND: an adjective meaning unhappy or poor contains a synonym for ‘times’ in maths and a female relative.

11a Iris used filler getting made up (5-2-3)
FLEUR-DE-LIS: an anagram (getting made up) of USED FILLER.

12a Singer runs out of money (4)
BASS: remove the cricket abbreviation for runs from an informal word for money.

14a Sees the place prepared for athletics event (12)
STEEPLECHASE: an anagram (prepared) of SEES THE PLACE.

18a Start telling son to avoid catching colds regularly (12)
INTRODUCTION: start with a word meaning telling or teaching, remove the genealogical abbreviation for son and insert the even letters of colds.

21a Showing caution to promote article is wrong (4)
AWRY: an adjective meaning ‘showing caution’ has its indefinite article promoted to the front.

22a Moment violent action erupts following strike period (10)
FLASHPOINT: string together the abbreviation for following, a verb to strike and a word meaning period or stage.

25a Some heard Asian offensive twice about American in conversation (4-1-4)
TÊTE-À-TÊTE: what sounds like an offensive during the Vietnam war is repeated around an abbreviation for American. Even though this homophone works fine for me I do applaud the ‘some’ as recognition that a lot of ‘homophones’ don’t work for many English speakers.

26a Edition of paper with no end of sport (5)
ISSUE: a type of thin paper without the final letter of sport.

27a Particular concerning origin of people infiltrating group (7)
RESPECT: a preposition meaning concerning precedes a group or faction with the first letter of people inserted.

28a Father is facing second letter withdrawing licence (7)
FREEDOM: the abbreviation for a religious father followed by the reversal of a second or short time and the spelled-out version of a letter from our alphabet.

Down Clues

1d Smells greeting females visiting empty wilderness (6)
WHIFFS: a greeting and an abbreviation for female repeated go inside the outer letters of wilderness.

2d Articulate couple settle bill for syrup (6)
TOUPEE: what sounds like couple settle bill (3,3). Syrup is Cockney rhyming slang (in full Syrup of Figs).

3d Curse CEO, say, over budget (10)
EXECRATION: join an abbreviated word for a senior manager (CEO for example) and a budget or allowance.

4d Strike head from working in dark (5)
SABLE: remove the top letter from an adjective meaning working or functioning.

5d Crossing city, guy approaches train’s front carriage (9)
CABRIOLET: a word for a guy or rope and the front letter of train contain a South American city.

6d Bear  someone sitting cross-legged on floor habitually? (4)
YOGI: double definition, the first a smarter than average bear.

7d Impetuous Dean, discovered nude entering Scottish river (8)
TEARAWAY: a Scottish river contains the inner letters of Dean and a synonym of nude (often seen in the phrase ‘in the ***’).

8d Duck and perhaps fifteen domestic animals reared (8)
SIDESTEP: what could be made up of fifteen people followed by the reversal of domestic animals.

13d Partner is back wanting some large diamonds (10)
ACCOMPLICE: a verb to back (as a pianist might do for a singer) without a synonym of some is followed by the clothing abbreviation for large and an informal word for diamonds.

15d Ultimately aggressive male pigeon, it’s periodically becoming excited (9)
EBULLIENT: chain together the ultimate letter of aggressive, a male creature and regular letters from “pigeon it’s”.

16d Journalist Morgan shortly to pen final column? (8)
PILASTER: the forename of Mr Morgan the tabloid journalist (and a TV presenter whom I would go to some lengths to avoid) without its last letter contains a synonym of final.

17d Monarch consumed food; seconds after it repeats (8)
ITERATES: append the regnal cipher of our monarch, a verb meaning consumed food and the abbreviation for seconds to IT.

19d One-sided book spreading ideas (6)
BIASED: the abbreviation for book and an anagram (spreading) of IDEAS.

20d Master arranged school class according to ability (6)
STREAM: an anagram (arranged) of MASTER. School here is a verb.

23d Terrace is quiet before German eleven appears (5)
SHELF: a request for quiet precedes the German word for eleven.

24d Taking no risks when lifting iron (4)
SAFE: reverse a synonym of when and add the chemical symbol of iron.

My ticks today went to 1a, 12a, 2d and 24d. Which one(s) earned your 27a?

35 comments on “Toughie 2787

  1. Thankfully, as the second puzzle of my Wednesday evening and as I was probably a little over generous with the Mother’s Ruin in my evening cocktail, a little less of a head scratcher than the Ray T back pager but just as enjoyable – 2.5*/4*.

    Standout favourite – 2d, although I have a suspicion that we have seen it before.

    thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  2. I agree with Senf both on his choice of top clue and it’s relatively recent showing in a puzzle. Brilliant as always from one of our favourite setters on this site, with so much care and thought going into the creation of the grid.

    Many thanks to Silvanus, and to Gazza.

  3. One of my favourite setters too & as usual a splendid puzzle packed with great surface reads. Solved from the bottom up & finishing in the NW which contained some real corkers. I didn’t remember 2d appearing recently so it’s my pick for the PDM value. Ticks also for countless others too numerous to mention. Not a dud to be found.
    Thanks to Silvanus & to Gazza.
    Ps A shout out for Dada’s Graun puzzle yesterday – excellent I thought.

  4. Great stuff as usual from Silvanus, many thanks also to Gazza. If only 16d were true. My podium is 12a and 13d, with top spot for 10a. Thanks again!

  5. As usual with this setter, I did have to exercise the old grey cells but my goodness I enjoyed the solve.
    11a looked slightly odd with the unfamiliar ending and I’m not a fan of ‘spelled out’ letters but neither detracted from my appreciation of the smooth surface reads and excellent clue construction.
    No surprise that I needed to add an extra podium to accommodate all my choices – big ticks went to 1,10&22a plus 1,2,3&24d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the pleasure of the solve and also to Gazza for the review – I thought you’d smile about the use of ‘some heard’ in 25a!

  6. I absolutely loved this. I don’t know whether it was getting rid of the migraine that I woke up with this morning or not but I found it slightly more straightforward than the Ray T back pager, where the diamond synonym in 13d also appeared.
    The cracking 1a set the tone and the standard never dropped, with 10a plus 2,6,7,15 (great word) &16d also standing out. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza, who I needed to fully understand 25a, for the top notch entertainment.

        1. I had a different parsing for
          10a. I thought that the “unhappy times” were “BABY D” i.e. “Baby died”. However, I agree that MP’s version is the correct one.

  7. Simply wonderful – everything a Toughie should be and it was so much fun that I’ll even overlook my dislike of using words as letters as in 28a.

    The 25a homophone doesn’t work at all for me, but the inclusion of “some” was a smooth move from the master of smooth surfaces.

    My page is littered with ticks and of those 1a, 2d, 16d & 24d climbed onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  8. As usual I found this a lot harder than the previous contributors and needed the hints to parse 18a, 25a, 5d and 13d which I shoved in as they were the only words that fitted. I got there in the end somehow. Favourite was 22a. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  9. Super fun. Took a while to parse 28a and don’t know the Asian offensives in 25a. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  10. It’s all been said. A perfect Thursday Toughie. Thank you Silvanus. Thanks also to Gazza for explaining the parts I couldn’t reach

  11. I’m surprised that some people pronounce tête-à-tête wrongly differently … Jean-Luc may agree with me?

    1. Good to hear from you Franco.
      It’s been such a long time.
      Wishing you all the best.

  12. Got a bit held up in 13d, 15d and 22a.
    The latter becoming my favourite as I love charades and long definitions.
    Liked the construction and surface of 18a a lot.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Good of you to make time to call in, Silvanus, and thank you again for a most enjoyable puzzle.

    2. Thanks, Silvanus! You win this week’s Clarkie: my award for the week’s best. Thanks for joining us.

  13. This was just as difficult as the back pager for me.
    Favourites include 5a, 22a, 6d, 13d & 23d

    Thanks to Silvanus and Garza for the much needed hints to complete

  14. I entered 1d with a giggle and then managed 5d and 11a and that was that, Definitely not one of my better efforts!

  15. Luckily we remembered the 2d syrup this time so not a hold-up there. A real delight to solve. Impossible to pick a favourite from so many contenders.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  16. Best puzzle for days upon days, which is saying something since we’ve been blessed with an unusually splendid array of backpagers and Toughies for quite a spell now. I didn’t know the Cockney phrase but 2d was so beautifully clued that it had to be what it was. As I said about today’s Ray T, and to paraphrase Huntsman, not a dud in this grid either. Just perfect. Thanks to Gazza and to Silvanus.

  17. Much harder than the backpager for me and I was close but no cigar.
    Having been through Gazza’s excellent hints, I think it was just end of day brain freeze, there was nothing more difficult than Ray-T ‘s back-pager.
    Thanks both.

  18. Surely I’ll offend no one by saying that this took me well over 3 hours on and off to complete. Sylvanus’s Toughies usually take me to the limit of my cryptic crossword expertise and this one was no exception. I’m pleased and quite satisfied that I stuck with it to completion, but needed several checks with Gazza’s hints to see why some answers that I just could not parse were so. A super tussle and mental workout – thanks to both Sylvanus and Gazza.

  19. I’m having a senior moment trying to parse 7D: To get ‘EA’ I can use the indication ‘discovered nude’ to strip the edges off ‘Dean’ but that leaves me unable to use ‘nude’ to obtain ‘RAW’ and vice versa. I’m going around in circles.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Joe.

      Nude is RAW, as in “in the raw” for “in the nude”, so it’s TAY (Scottish river) containing [d]EA[n] and RAW.

  20. Re 7d – I just realized ‘discovered’ should be read as ‘dis-covered’. As Rosanna Rosannadanna used to say: ‘Nevermind”.

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