Toughie 2474 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2474

Toughie No 2474 by Gila

Hints and tips by Xenathon of Athens

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Another Toughie that suits Tuesdays to a tee. Thanks to Gila for this light-hearted puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Son accompanying president around Brown and another US university (8)
STANFORD: The abbreviation for son is followed by a shade of light brown and a former president of the USA

5a    Something done one’s seen in part of London (6)
ACTION: The letter that looks like the number one sits comfortably inside an area of London, home to Gunnersbury Park

9a    Interpret negative things honestly (8)
CONSTRUE: A four-letter word for negatives ( the opposite to pros) is followed by a four-letter adjective meaning in accordance to fact or reality

10a    Reserve empty table with a drink (3,3)
ICE TEA: A three-letter synonym for reserve is a noun meaning a complete absence of friendliness or warmth in manner or expression. This is followed by the outer letters (empty) of the word table with the letter A from the clue. A clue of two halves. The first word very difficult to solve and the second word a piece of cake

12a    Gentle songs calm small kids, though not at first (9)
LULLABIES: A verb meaning to calm is followed by the smallest of small kids. Little cute things that we cannot help loving and gushing over but minus their first letter

13a    Series of mountains — get hot cycling (5)
RANGE: Move the last letter of a word meaning to get hot to the beginning (cycling)

14a    He’s a smashing sporting legend (4)
ASHE: Anagram (smashing) of HE’S A

16a    Snack and wine consumed by one on foot (7)
TOASTIE: A digit on your foot is filled with a sparkling wine to make this snack.

19a    Having taken drug, groups of people head for emergency detox (7)
CLEANSE: These groups of people may be Scottish. They may also have taken Ecstasy or at least its abbreviation. Together with their imbibed drug they are joined by the leading letter of the word emergency

21a    Hospital in very old district of New York (4)
SOHO: The abbreviation for Hospital sits between a word meaning very and the abbreviation for old.

24a    Popular source of documentaries that is not mainstream (5)
INDIE: A three-part charade. 1 A short word meaning popular 2 The Initial letter of documentaries 3 the Latin abbreviation for the words representing that is

25a    Ones with bones? (5,4)
SNAKE EYES: These ones are numbers on two cubes that might be fashioned from bones and used for a gambling game

27a    Opportunity, yes, to cut some meat (4-2)
LOOK-IN: A two-letter exclamation used to express agreement sits inside a cut of meat taken from the rear end of a beast

28a    American going to pieces behind closed doors (2,6)
IN CAMERA: Anagram (going to pieces) of AMERICAN

29a    Change colours, perhaps, to hide electronic flaw in photo (3-3)
RED EYE: This flaw in photography affects the optical organs of people. It can be found as the clue suggests by once again changing the colour (of cloth) by using various pigments and placing this procedure around the abbreviation for electronic. A difficult answer to explain

30a    How steak may be good for you (4,4)
WELL DONE: A double definition. The first how some people order a steak.


1d    Doctor likes gripping cold cutting implement (6)
SICKLE: Anagram (doctor) of LIKES which includes the single letter abbreviation for cold

2d    Records of former Indian currency oddly lost (6)
ANNALS: One sixteenth of a rupee is followed by the odd numbered letters of the word lost

3d    Substantial weight put on a religious ruling (5)
FATWA: A synonym of the word substantial (especially regarding a persons weight) is followed by the abbreviation for weight and the letter A from the clue

4d    Comedian’s act is run-of-the-mill (7)
ROUTINE: A double definition both rather obvious

6d    Bird, fish and insect (9)
COCKROACH: This unloved insect is made by joining a male bird to a freshwater fish

7d    A fan of any anthem from time to time, say (8)
INTONATE: A four-letter word meaning a fan of is followed by every other letter of the words any anthem

8d    A number want sandwiches trimmed (8)
NEATENED: A word meaning a want sits around (sandwiches) the letter A from the clue and a three-lettered number.

11d    Rider on way over here! (4)
PSST: A rider or afterthought placed at the end of a letter is followed by the abbreviation for street (way)

15d    Truthfulness occasionally heard in Vegas, for example (9)
SINCERITY: We have another name for Las Vegas (3,4) which alludes to its vice like nature. This is placed around every other letter of the word heard

17d    European playwright succeeded with horror story (8)
SCHILLER: The abbreviation for succeeded is followed by a word describing a horror story. This word is often preceded by the word spine

18d    Foremost clinical reason for a runny nose? (4,4)
HEAD COLD: A synonym of foremost or leading is followed by a synonym of the word clinical. Similar to the reserve at 10 across

20d    Language coming from overseas (4)
ERSE: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The words coming from tell us so

21d    Kerry’s good health entails exercising (7)
SLAINTE: A word of cheers in Ireland is an anagram (exercising) of ENTAILS

22d    Extremely zeitgeisty type of art and dance music (6)
ZYDECO: The outer letters of the word zeitgeisty are followed by a type of art that first appeared in France before World War One

23d    Car in ultimately unusable condition (6)
ESTATE: The ultimate letter of the word unusable is followed by a word meaning condition

26d    I am upset to be included in the Spanish messages online (5)
EMAIL: Reverse (upset) the words I AM and place them inside the Spanish word for the.

33 comments on “Toughie 2474

  1. Thanks to Gila and MP for their contributions at the start of another Toughie week

    Thanks also to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable for confirming that my parsing of 25a was something that had been filed away in the back of my brain thanks to some sort of American work of fiction

    PS: Am I the only person who thinks the drink in 10a should have a D added to the first word – the solution just doesn’t sound right to me?

  2. I felt this had a very North American flavour to at least 7 clues especially 25 a, where Marlon. Brando and Guys and Dolls comes to mind. Am I right?,

  3. A pleasant start to the toughie week. 15d made me smile and there are 2 “oh now what do I do with this grid” words at 11d and 22d, both nicely clued. There is good South Yorkshire zydeco too. Just Google “R Cajun and the Zydeco Brothers”.
    Thanks to Gila and XofA.

  4. Needed the blog to understand 25a.
    Strange clue Imho. Specially as snakes don’t have bones.
    The rest was very straightforward.
    Liked 11d.
    Thanks to Gila and to MP for the review.

    1. As a player of many dice games JL, I can confirm 25a is standard parlance for double-one

    2. A dot on two cubes of ivory (bone) look like a snake’s eyes to a gambler; an unlucky throw in craps despite the odds.

  5. I enjoyed this but do agree with crypticsue on 10a. Wasn’t much that held me up, 22d was new to me, and although easily constructed I needed to check. My favourites were 7d and 11d. Thanks to Gila and Xenathon of Athens.

  6. Plain sailing for the most part, until a few in SE corner. Never hear of the type of music/dance. Having googled a number of videos of it, it looks like a lot of fun! – like a quicker version of some of the Caribbean grinding I’m more used to, although I’m note sure I could move that fast nowadays.

    I too thought there should be a D in 10a.

    12a and 29a get my special mention for the surfaces.

    Thanks to Gila and MP.

  7. Very enjoyable and gentle start to the tuffy week. 25a brought back fond memories of playing a variety of games with my dad, a phrase he always used for double 1. And yet more memories of pleasant evenings listening to 22d, usually accompanied by copious draughts of whisky and/or rum. Thanks Gila & MP, I presume.

  8. First of all Cryptic Sue I agree with you, 22 down was new to me I knew 21 down but the spelling failed me for a while, 12, 13 14 are my C’sOTD for their misdirection, my Thanks to Gila & XOA.


  9. Is there a website for Brewers Dictionary of Phrase and Fable? if so could some on send me the link please.


    1. Only available in book form as far as I know, but well worth getting as it is one of the most interesting and informative source of knowledge

    1. BD you might like the rendition of Chuck Berry’s “Promised Land” by Dave Edmunds with Geraint Watkins on accordion. Zydeco it ain’t but it’s wonderful nonetheless.

      1. I’ve only seen Dave Edmunds once but I’ve seen Geriant Watkins quite a few times.

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this. I needed help with a couple but managed most of it by sheer stubborn determination. :grin:

    I agree with the comments regarding 10a and not being a player of dice 25a was a mystery and 21d is a new word for me.

    Thank you, Gila for the puzzle. Thanks also to X of A for the hints.

  11. My Cajun (albeit limited) knowledge of music led me to 22a, my first experience hearing it live being down in New Orleans many moons ago. And JB in #2 above is spot on with his recognition of the phrase in 25a, and its Damon Runyon overtones in, say, Guys and Dolls, as well as in the North American flavor to the puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle, with my LOI proving to be a real stinker for me, for some reason: 7d, which I’ll call the COTD. I also liked 21d and 30a. Thanks to Xenathon and Gila for the pleasure. ** / ****

  12. It’s a very long time since I’ve ventured into ‘toughie land’ but today I did.
    Managed all but 25a and I can’t see how anyone could have got the answer from the clue unless they knew it. :unsure:
    I agree that 10a would be better with a ‘D’ at the end of the first bit and I’m always caught out by the 16a snack.
    We’ve had 21a as a district in NY recently or I wouldn’t have known it.
    The top right corner was completely empty when the rest was done and that took a while.
    I particularly appreciated 19a and 6 and 8d and my favourite was 12a.
    Thanks to Gila and to X of A.

  13. Just right for the Tuesday Toughie slot. A bit of head-scratching for us in the SE but not for too long.
    Thanks Gila and MP.

  14. Thank you, all, for the helpful and interesting hints, comments, and music.

    CrypticSue, yes, 10a sounds to me like it needs a ‘-d’ — as do ‘corn beef’, ‘skim milk‘, ‘scramble eggs’, and ‘mash potato’. But apparently t/d-deletion is something which happens over time. Most of us don’t say ‘roasted potatoes’, ‘popped corn’, or ‘iced cream’, but when their ‘-d’-less variants started gaining use, they probably sounded just as odd to many folk as 10a does to us today.

    Since everybody’s posting their favourite 22d music, here’s ours: we encountered The Gumbo Flyers giving a free outside performance at a festival in Fowey, Cornwall:

    (Sorry, I don’t know how to do the embeddy thing.)

    You can see one of the band wearing (and playing) something that seems to be a cross between a tank top and a washboard. Wikipedia tells me this is called a frottoir, and was invented specifically for 22d music.

  15. Thought I’d have a late night look at the Toughie & glad that I did. Lovely crossword with nothing too obscure although Mr G was needed to confirm the Manhattan district & confirm the spelling of 21d. Plain sailing other than the NE that for some reason proved a little troublesome. Like RC my last in was 7d.
    Thanks Gila & MP.
    PS of the many productions of Guys & Dolls (probably my favourite musical if pushed to name one) Richard Eyre’s early 1980s revival at the National with Bob Hoskins, Ian Charleson, Julia McKenzie & Julie Covington in the lead roles was easily tops – as close to perfection as possible – still play the recording of it occasionally.

    1. I saw the great Vivian Blaine as Adelaide (and she was the original Adelaide) in a 1966
      B’way revival. She was the only one from the original 1950 production in the revival I saw, but her “Lament” stole the show. I’m not very fond of the Brando-Simmons film, though Vivian is there!

      1. Kiss Me, Kate is my all-time favourite musical–Cole Porter at his peak–but Guys and Dolls ‘rocks the boat’ still.

  16. With reference to the hint for 1a … I thought there was only one US President with that name. But I have been wrong before.

    Thanks to Setter and Blogger.

    1. You are correct. I was thinking of those called Bush. I often wonder if the Bush family line up, do they form a hedge?

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