Toughie 2855 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2855

Toughie No 2855 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Giovanni for today’s pangram containing a generous 32 clues. There’s a pleasing shortage of obscurities here – although the 4d answer was new to me the wordplay was clear.

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

Across Clues

1a Capital brings little sign of growth — a nuisance (8)
BUDAPEST: string together a little sign of growth (in the garden, say), A and a synonym of nuisance.

5a Uncouth philosopher losing heart after game (6)
RUSTIC: a philosopher from a Greek school loses his central letter and what remains follows the abbreviation for a 15-a-side game.

9a Bird — one left turning for middle of hut in adverse weather condition (8)
BLIZZARD: start with a bird of prey and replace the middle letter of hut with the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for left in reverse order.

10a University sportsperson reported at Oxford maybe lost temper (4,2)
BLEW UP: what sounds like a sportsperson who has represented his/her university is followed by an adverb meaning ‘at university’.

12a See way out half blocked by collapsed tree (6)
EXETER: block out the second half of a way out and add an anagram (collapsed) of TREE.

13a Took possession of a record containing many pieces of paper (8)
ACQUIRED: A and the abbreviation for a record contain a word for 25 sheets of paper.

15a Female friend hanging around home at the end of the day (7)
FINALLY: the abbreviation for female and a friend or comrade contain an adjective meaning ‘at home’.

16a One of the toffs, idiot (4)
UNIT: a letter used to mean posh or ‘of the toffs’ is followed by an informal word for an idiot.

20a Old neighbour of Jay not suffering? (4)
OKAY: the abbreviation for old and one of Jay’s two neighbours in our alphabet.

21a Member of first family eats rubbish substance obtained from plants (7)
CAROTIN: the black sheep of the first Biblical family contains an expression of disagreement like ‘rubbish!’.

25a Former lover slated Cockney woman audibly — one taking things to new limits? (8)
EXPANDER: our usual former lover and what sounds like a verb meaning slated or criticized and a female pronoun in the Cockney fashion.

26a Inadequate child, lad falling short, reticent no end? Nonsense! (6)
KIBOSH: we need three 3-letter words all lacking their last letter.

28a Work with characters set apart in authentic company (6)
TROUPE: the letters of our usual abbreviated work have to be inserted separately in a synonym of authentic or genuine.

29a Awful liars engaged in bizarre countryside life (8)
RURALISM: an anagram (awful) of LIARS goes inside an adjective meaning bizarre.

30a With little yen inside, itinerant leader ambles (6)
MOSEYS: the abbreviation for yen goes inside an itinerant leader from the Old Testament.

31a Distinguished soldier before being captured in US city (8)
MONTEREY: the nickname of a distinguished British soldier in WWII has a poetic word meaning ‘before’ inserted.

Down Clues

1d Covering given to the French books in church? (6)
BIBLES: a covering for messy eaters and one of the French definite articles.

2d Award finally given to flower club (6)
DRIVER: the final letter of award and what flower often means in Crosswordland.

3d Anger rising in square that’s lost a restaurant (8)
PIZZERIA: reverse a word meaning anger inside an Italian square without one of its As.

4d Service brothers found uplifting (4)
SORB: reverse the abbreviation for brothers to get another name for the service tree.

6d What makes German character look dotty? (6)
UMLAUT: cryptic definition of a diacritical mark seen in German words such as Hände and Füsse. This gives German three additional vowels and makes the German version of Wordle a bit trickier than the English version.

7d Pre-eminent songwriter, not the first or last to be arranged (8)
TOWERING: an anagram (to be arranged) of [s]ONGWRITE[r] without its first and last letters.

8d Greed I had after spell of prosperity in business community (8)
CUPIDITY: the contracted form of ‘I had’ follows a short word for a spell of prosperity and that all sits inside the business centre of a large town.

11d You may eat this wet grub, stifling scream? (7)
SCALLOP: a word for bread dipped in liquid contains a verb to scream or shout.

14d Soldier atop favourite defensive wall (7)
PARAPET: the abbreviation for an airborne soldier sits above a synonym of favourite.

17d What mover has importance? Greek character on the up (8)
MOMENTUM: weld together a word meaning importance or significance and the reversal of the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet.

18d Pals moon around in burlesque shows (8)
LAMPOONS: an anagram (around) of PALS MOON.

19d On the ball, poet beginning to roll out a set of books (8)
VIGILANT: assemble a Roman poet without the first letter of roll, A and the abbreviation for a set of books containing the 21a first family and the 30a itinerant leader.

22d Irritable little son with something he needs changed? (6)
SNAPPY: the abbreviation for son and something he may fill on a regular basis.

23d Cooked food consumed by my ape (6)
COPIER: a baked dish goes inside an exclamation like ‘my!’.

24d Wife overacting, an evil influence (6)
WHAMMY: the genealogical abbreviation for wife and an adjective meaning overacting.

27d Bowled-over journalists love a goddess (4)
JUNO: reverse the abbreviation for the journalists’ trade union and append the letter resembling zero or love.

The clues I liked best were 28a and 17d. Where did you allocate your ticks?

19 comments on “Toughie 2855
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  1. 4d also new to me and I had to check the defintion in 26a. Plenty to like here, 6d was my favourite. Thanks to Gazza and Giovanni.

  2. An enjoyable, just right for a Thursday Toughie. 4d was new to me too. A sense of deja-vu with 14d which I expect was experienced by everyone who solved the backpager first

    Thanks to the 2 Gs

  3. As above, 4d new to me too, as was the definition of 26a – I understand it to have a somewhat different meaning. Thanks to Giovanni for the education, and Gazza for concurring with my parasings. Always a plus! 2*/3*

  4. Excellent stuff thanks Giovanni.
    SE corner was most difficult area and the rest went in without problem ( after learning about the Rowan tree).
    Thanks for the blog Gazza as 26 ac eluded me and it does read clumsily. It’s also not the meaning of the word which I knew….but then 24d isn’t either in spite of the BRB definition.
    **/***

  5. It took three sittings, and a bit of electronic help, to get there at the end, but I did. As with others, 4d was new to me but I had the right bung-in. From Budapest to Monterey–both of which I’ve enjoyed visiting–this was quite a joy to solve, with the entire packet of SE clues getting my votes for podium-crashing. Thanks to Gazza, whose review I’ll read now, and to Giovanni, still the master of indirection and guile.

  6. Managed to do most which was satisfying and enjoyable. But three issues 1. Sorb? 2. Does kibosh mean nonsense? 3. Does copier really mean ape?

    1. I’m ok with sorb, another name for the service tree but I agree that, to me, the other two aren’t as I’d describe them,
      COTD has to be that smelly 22d.

    2. According to the BRB:
      Ape (as a noun) can be a mimic or imitator,
      Kibosh (as a noun) means nonsense or rot.

  7. Defeated by the SE. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to Giovanni for the challenge albeit unequal and Gazza.

  8. 4d was new to us and needed a visit to BRB to confirm and several other head-scratchers too.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

    1. Got a bit held up in the SW as I thought 25a was Explorer. Not very good at cockney accent obviously.
      Had in mind that 17d ended with an S also which didn’t help either.
      Apart from that, a truly enjoyable Giovanni.
      Thanks to the Don and to Gazza for the review.

  9. Needed two hints and a bit of electronic help to complete this classy and largely enjoyable offering.
    12&26a plus 22d were my favourites.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  10. Surely ‘the abbreviation for a set of books containing the 21a first family and the 30a itinerant leader.’ is OT, not NT?
    I read Gazza’s hint and then really struggled to find the word…
    (not that I didn’t struggle with about half of it!)

  11. Late as usual on toughie duty, found this a tad friendlier than most Thursday puzzles and agree with Gazza’s rating. Usual quality clueing from the Don which required some assistance from Mr G for 4d, 8d and 21across, just the job before crossing swords with Mr Enigma and his impossible (to me and many others it seems) variations……. still, one can but try!

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