Toughie 2871 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2871

Toughie No 2871 by Silvanus

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We have a not-too-tricky Toughie from Silvanus today with his customary ultra-smooth surfaces and neat misdirections. Many thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Extremely angry about university heads creating stiff examination (7)
AUTOPSY: the outer letters of angry contain an abbreviation for university and a synonym for heads. A new take on an old favourite cryptic definition.

5a Characteristic of humour shown by fellow doctor (7)
COMEDIC: split the answer 2-5 to get the fellow doctor.

9a Encourage dog to come back, employing “heel” essentially (3,2)
GEE UP: reverse a breed of dog and insert the central letters of heel.

10a Crowd retreats, heading away from Mexican city plant (9)
MARIJUANA: reverse a verb to crowd and add a Mexican city close to the US border without its first letter.

11a Spirit exists to restrict punishment at school (10)
LIVELINESS: a verb meaning exists contains a school punishment.

12a Boss, he’s considered something of a Casanova (4)
STUD: double definition, the first a knob on the centre of a shield, say.

14a Colour of originally popular cat breed (8,4)
PRUSSIAN BLUE: the first letter of popular and a breed of cat.

18a Politician working to back NHS jobs or shaping current cuts? (5,7)
BORIS JOHNSON: it’s good to see a bit of political satire. An adverb meaning working follows an anagram (shaping) of NHS JOBS OR with the symbol for electric current being inserted. Apparently there’s no truth in the rumour that he’s invited Jeffrey Archer to be his latest Ethics Advisor.

21a State this writer shortened personal article (4)
IOWA: assemble a subjective pronoun identifying the writer, an adjective meaning personal without its last letter and one of our indefinite articles.

22a Put away bubbly I kept cold following son’s tip (10)
STOCKPILED: an anagram (bubbly) of I KEPT COLD follows the first letter of son.

25a Stories, ones acted out (9)
ANECDOTES: an anagram (out) of ONES ACTED.

26a Throw out revolutionary tactic seen occasionally versus Spain (5)
EVICT: string together the odd letters of ‘tactic’, the sporting abbreviation for versus and the IVR code for Spain then reverse the lot.

27a Sudden emergence of available supply (7)
OUTCROP: charade of an adverb meaning available (like a recently published book, say) and a supply or collection.

28a Visibly embarrassed to visit capsized registered vessel (7)
DREDGER: an adjective describing someone who’s visibly embarrassed goes inside the reversal of the abbreviation meaning registered.

Down Clues

1d London Tube station’s financial investors (6)
ANGELS: these are investors in theatrical enterprises. It’s also the name of a London tube station plus the ‘S.

2d Time of day ultimately that we fancy dropping over (6)
TWELVE: knit together the ultimate letter of ‘that’, WE and a verb to fancy or hold dear without the cricket abbreviation for over.

3d Make accessible work uniform, in place before spring (10)
POPULARISE: our usual short work and the letter that uniform stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet go inside the street map abbreviation for place. Append a verb to spring or stand up.

4d Unstable enemy country (5)
YEMEN: an anagram (unstable) of ENEMY.

5d Religious follower, convert, in this car (9)
CHRISTIAN: an anagram (convert) of IN THIS CAR.

6d Cocktail without vermouth, it’s magic! (4)
MOJO: remove the abbreviation for (Italian) vermouth from a rum-based cocktail.

7d Lengthening of syllable in English many favour overturning (8)
DIASTOLE: weld together an abbreviation for English, a synonym of many and a word for favour or patronage then reverse it all. I didn’t know this meaning of the answer though I knew it in a medical context.

8d Characters from Dornoch and Lerwick ringing Wick trader? (8)
CHANDLER: hidden in the clue. Although the surface seems to be about towns in the north of Scotland the falsely-capitalised wick actually refers to a strip of porous material contained in a wax cylinder.

13d Deficient partnership finally allowed to block wages (10)
INCOMPLETE: the final letter of partnership and a verb meaning allowed go inside a synonym of wages.

15d Two articles of clothing necessary for softball player (9)
SHORTSTOP: split the answer 6,3 to see the two articles.

16d Instrumental accompaniment requiring top billing was too regularly overlooked (8)
OBLIGATO: drop regular letters from ‘top billing was too’.

17d Argument over half-spilled beer carried by club bully (8)
BROWBEAT: insert an argument and half of the word beer into a club or implement used to hit.

19d Very brief affair involving Tory’s ending… (6)
FLYING: a short sexual relationship contains the last letter of Tory.

20d …with Tory repeatedly exposed following set-up from French journalist (6)
EDITOR: the inner letters of ‘with’ and ‘Tory’ follow the reversal of the French word for ‘from’.

23d Given protective covering, like some joints are? (5)
CASED: double definition, the second how some joints or places might be reconnoitred before being burgled.

24d Foreign flower having pronounced scent (4)
ODER: this European river sounds like a scent.

For my podium I’ve chosen 1a, 18a and 8d. Which clues were the cream of the crop for you?

22 comments on “Toughie 2871
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  1. This was great fun and actually took me less time than the back pager, though a couple of the solutions arrived on an earlier bus than the parsings.
    For sheer inventiveness I liked 10&18a along with 19d but my favourite was 1a. Good stuff indeed.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza

  2. Very nice, but like Stephen I found this easier and quicker than the back page. I’m about to go and look at that blog entry to see the parsing of the underwear clue.

    Many thanks to Gazza, and Silvanus for the entertainment.

  3. Easier than the back pager for me but the more enjoyable of two excellent puzzles. I had to confirm the moggy at 14a & I was only familiar with last in 7d (apologies Robert) in the cardiac context but otherwise pleasingly straightforward. As ever plenty of worthy podium candidates – 1,9,10&18a plus 8&17d can make up 2.
    Thanks to Silvanus & Gazza.
    Ps 11a brought back memories of writing loads of them usually for getting caught talking/mucking about in prep. The popular versions were – For a person of my age & intelligence the writing of these ***** ought not to be necessary or One ought not to be intoxicated by the exuberance of one’s verbosity. Somewhat severe for an 11yr old…..

    1. H, no apologies needed: I’ve never heard of that syllable-lengthening context either, or if I once knew it, I’ve certainly forgotten it.

  4. Another fun puzzle with plenty to admire. It took me an embarrassingly long time to twig the stiff exam in 1a then another smile at 18a. 17 and 20d are also lovely smooth clues.
    Thanks to Sylvanus and to Gazza for the blog.

  5. I absolutely loved this terrific Silvanus last night when I rather breezed through it, rejoicing at an unaided solve when 11d fell (like Huntsman, my only insight was cardiac-related). Best puzzle of the week: splendid surfaces, with 1,10,18a vying with 8,16,17d for all of the treasury. Thanks to Gazza and to the ever-resourceful Silvanus.
    A sunshiny day for puzzles!

  6. Absolutely first class! I loved this from start to finish with 1a, 12a & 18a taking the podium positions.

    Many thanks to the Toughie dream team of Silvanus and Gazza.

  7. Another bundle of joy from the master of surface reads that had me laughing from the outset.
    Any number of clues worthy of favouritism but I’ll stick with my first two smilers – 1&5a.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the fun and to Gazza for the review.

  8. A very enjoyable and benign grid from the master of the silk-smooth surface. Evidently I was not alone in finding this both more fun and not quite so challenging as the backpager today. Enjoyed very much the linked 19d and 20d, while I was briefly thrown by 18a until I remembered that it’s the Times, not Telegraph, that does not permit answers to be living people. Hon Mentions to the wonderful 6a and 8d, with COTD to 7d – a tremendous clue.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Silvanus and of course to Gazza.

  9. I will gladly add my voice to those who selected 1a as their favourite clue: brilliantly funny. Overall this was yet another off the Silvanus production line of top quality puzzles, seemingly so effortlessly elegant in construction.

    My thanks to him and to Gazza.

  10. Thanks to Friar Richard’s encouragement over on the back-pager blog, I dived into this Toughie and loved it. Of course, like the day 5 crowd induced to watch some test cricket for free, I may never get such pleasure again. My anatomy brain wanted the joints to be fused, which cause 23a problems. However, once I was pondering joints, LOI 10a fell into place. Many thanks Sylvania and Gazza.

  11. A fantastic puzzle. Ticks all over the place including:
    • 1a, 5a, 7a, 18a (COD), 25a, 26a
    • 1d, 4d, 8d, 16d, 19d, 23d
    18a must have been very difficult to clue but our esteemed compiler made a great job of it. Nobody can argue about the definition element of the clue, although I’m sure some will offer alternatives!!
    Great stuff. Please keep them coming.
    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  12. Agree with the concensus about the quality of this crossword.
    Having Bojo and Mojo in the same puzzle made me laugh.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  13. Well goodness me I’ve managed both crosswords (yesterday’s now). I really enjoyed the Toughie today as I was able to get a toe hold straight away with the cat, the PM and cocktail. Also the anagrams were brilliant. Thanks to Gaza for the explanations that I needed and to Silvanus for such an enjoyable crossword.

  14. Great puzzle, but got thrown out by missing 21a. Presume ow is s short for own. Put in Iran and got browbeaten out of 17d! Thanks to all involved.

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