Toughie 2815 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2815

Toughie No 2815 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

It wouldn’t be a Giovanni Toughie without a number of obscurities which, as usual, had me burrowing in my reference books. It’s not my preferred way of solving but Giovanni is unlikely to change his ways so we have to put up with it. Thanks to him.

I noticed two related fliers in corresponding positions in the grid but I can’t spot any other pairs – can you?

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

Across Clues

1a A school with a learner resembling a snake (6)
APODAL: join together A, a school (of fish perhaps), A again and our usual abbreviated learner to make an adjective meaning footless.

5a OU officials using security devices to capture lines going to party (8)
BULLDOGS: concealed security devices containing two abbreviations of line and a festive party. These officials at Oxford University were a sort of private police force, now abolished.

9a Seductive types — snatchers seen on the loose (13)
ENCHANTRESSES: an anagram (on the loose) of SNATCHERS SEEN.

10a Problem for patient with brain lesion — nurse keeps diagram with data (8)
AGRAPHIA: an alternative spelling of a nursemaid in India contains a diagram with data.

11a Place, one out of the way, by lake with aged stones (6)
STELAE: assemble a place or location without its Roman one and abbreviations for lake and aged.

12a Something steamy bloke reported (6)
GEYSER: a homophone of a bloke often preceded by ‘old’.

14a Murky ale is off — it may go to someone’s head (8)
YARMULKE: an anagram (is off) of MURKY ALE.

16a Like a rope  cut off (8)
STRANDED: double definition, the first meaning plaited.

19a Bad feeling of indigenous Canadians keeping quiet (6)
CREEPS: members of a North American tribe containing the musical abbreviation for quiet.

21a Man of principle wanting little son to be safe, safe, … (6)
PETERS: the ***** principle states that “in a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence” (how true that is in our politics – arise Sir Gavin Williamson). Add the genealogical abbreviation for son to the name to get more than one safe.

23a Fossil of an arachnid one day found lying hidden (8)
AMMONITE: A and a small arachnid contain an abbreviated day of the week.

25a Sue’s romancing upset members of the family (7-6)
COUSINS-GERMAN: an anagram (upset) of SUES ROMANCING. Not a term I’ve ever come across.

26a Christian possibly felt awkward with praise losing core element (8)
FLETCHER: this is a mutinous Christian. Follow an anagram (awkward) of FELT with a verb to praise without its central letter.

27a Worry not about language (6)
TONGAN: glue together a verb to worry or pester and NOT, then reverse it all.

Down Clues

2d Paula, initially on the shelf, finally became fiancee? (7)
PLEDGEE: assemble the initial letter of Paula, a synonym of shelf and the final letter of became.

3d Bill baddie turned up in foreign city years ago (5)
DACCA: an abbreviated bill or invoice and a baddie or rotter all reversed provide the old spelling of the capital of Bangladesh.

4d Adult stuck in underground river embarrassed to be beaten (9)
LEATHERED: insert the film classification ‘adult’ into the name of a river in Hades and append the colour associated with embarrassment.

5d Little woman lands on an unknown place near Jerusalem (7)
BETHANY: assemble the name of one of the March sisters in ‘Little women’, AN and an algebraic unknown to give a town in the occupied West Bank.

6d Vegetables, glossy, beginning to droop (5)
LEEKS: an adjective meaning glossy with its first letter drooping to the bottom. Good luck to Wales in the game against France tomorrow evening!

7d Lack of activity from guy eating last of the fatty food (9)
DESUETUDE: an informal, mainly American, name for a guy contains the last letter of ‘the’ and some fatty food. Another word I didn’t know.

8d Predator using open-mouthed stare to protect duck (not a sound!) (7)
GOSHAWK: a verb meaning to stare open-mouthed contains a crickety duck and an order to be silent.

13d Outfit that could be out of this world (9)
SPACESUIT: a weakish cryptic definition.

15d Lying about copper and maiden getting corrupt (9)
RECUMBENT: fuse together a preposition meaning about, the chemical symbol for copper, the cricket abbreviation for maiden and an informal adjective meaning corrupt or crooked.

17d Bird is a layer — 100 eggs laid for starters (7)
TIERCEL: start with a layer or bank and add the Roman number 100 and the starting letters of ‘eggs laid’.

18d Fund-raiser with no merriment contrived formal introduction (4,3)
DEAR SIR: remove the merriment from fund-raiser and make an anagram (contrived) of what remains.

20d Favourite place for students with a particular garden plant (7)
PETUNIA: knit together a synonym of favourite, an abbreviated institution where students go and A. I’m not sure whether particular here has any particular significance.

22d Smart coastal holiday region? Sort of! (5)
SWISH: the 2-letter regional location for England’s favourite holiday destination and a suffix meaning ‘sort of’.

24d Spirit of a Parisian revolutionary leading soldiers (5)
NUMEN: reverse one of the words Parisians use for ‘a’ and add some soldiers. Another word I didn’t know – Collins says it’s a deity or spirit presiding over a thing or place in ancient Roman religion.

The clues I liked best were 21a and 22d. Which one(s) made you chuffed?


14 comments on “Toughie 2815
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  1. If the back page was someone pretending to be Giovanni, then this was the real deal – you never realise how many words and ‘stuff’ you know until you solve a Giovanni crossword and there they are! 7d was the only new one to me.

    My particular favourite was 21a – I thought ‘safe, safe’ was a cleverly sneaky definition

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza

  2. Rather too many obscurities which meant too much electronic aid was required.
    This did mar the enjoyment for me.
    Thanks to Gazza for confirming some parsing.***/*

  3. Well, I have never felt so ignorant! So many words I didn’t know. Thanks to Dorothy L Sayers, I knew about the OU 5 across but could not for the life of me parse it.

  4. Even though I’d never heard of those relations at 25a, and I had to ‘go electronic’ elsewhere, I did enjoy this Giovanni much more than I did the backpager last night. I knew 7d from actually having used it in my blackboard life, a word nicely cognate with ‘disuse’ as I used to tell my lovely little scholars. We backwoodsy Americans pronounce that steamer with a long ‘i’ and not a long ‘e’, so 12a took a leap of the imagination. But I very much enjoyed this one, with my favourites 19a, 18d, & 7d. Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  5. I think 25a was the only one that was new to me – I enjoyed this one very much, and found it the right level of challenge for a Thursday. Didn’t spot the parsing of 23a, so thank you especially to Gazza for solving that problem, and to Giovanni for setting all of them.

  6. Having a bad day – two DNFs for me, needed to reveal a couple in both this and the cryptic. At least I finished the quickie in good time! So x+1 stars for difficulty but I’m afraid only a couple for enjoyment – my fault. Thanks Giovanni (oh dear, Elgar tomorrow) and thanks Gazza for explaining 22d.

  7. We saw who the setter was so had our reference books beside us and they proved to be useful. All safely put together in a bit less time than it took to solve the back-pager.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  8. I learned three new words: 1a, 10a, 24d. Also that “ae” is an abbreviation for aged, as used in 11a. It was a worthy crossword but not exciting enough for me.

  9. Got there but with quite a bit of looking up and a fair few learning points. I did enjoy 5a. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. Most unnecessary use of unnecessary and little used words ever , nothing clever about obscure answers
    Not interesting or enjoyable .

  11. A bit too tough for me but I enjoyed the battle and working through the hints to find a lot of new to me words. Of the ones I did on my ownsome 15d appealed as I have always fancied having a go on a 15d bike.
    I actually had a stopover in 3d once ( about 1990 I think) but it had the new name then. Not a place I want to go to again as I picked up a nasty stomach bug. Thankfully it was on the return leg of a trip to Nepal and not on the way out.
    Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  12. The only thing this had going for it was it was marginally less obscure than the cryptic, my second dnf unaided of the day, in fact of the year. Too obscure to have a favourite thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. Sorry, not for me at all. Too many obscurities which leave you looking at every clue for one. Cleverly put together but lacking any enjoyment for me with eleven left unsolved of which six were new words to me :(

  14. DNF after 9 words totally new to us. 21a floored us. Actually, make that 10! Nevertheless enjoyable and most of the new words were constructable. Tvm to all.

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