Toughie 2795 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2795

Toughie No 2795 by Giovanni

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

It wouldn’t be a Giovanni Toughie without a few obscurities – I didn’t know either the sages, the poor conductor or the shrub. Thanks to Giovanni for the puzzle.

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

Across Clues

1a Biased message getting jolly good inspection, as some might say (10)
PROPAGANDA: stick together homophones (for some people) of a) an adjective meaning jolly good and b) a slang term for an inspection or glance.

6a First to be bumped off in sinful situation (4)
ABEL: I spent more time on this clue than the rest of the puzzle combined. On the face of it it is just a not terribly cryptic definition of the first murder victim in the Old Testament but I tried to justify it also being Babel without its first letter. However my research seems to suggest that this place and its associated tower was a situation of confusion rather than sin. Perhaps someone with more interest in the Old Testament than I have could explain.

9a Book / someone who could help grand player? (4-6)
PAGE-TURNER: double definition, the grand being a type of piano.

10a British beast — one in a pack? (4)
BRAT: an abbreviation for British and a small animal. The pack was a group of Hollywood actors.

12a Like Sibelius, but with only half the notes perfect? (6)
FINISH: the nationality of Sibelius but with only one of the abbreviations for note.

13a Mess in settee least likely to be noticed? (8)
TEENIEST: an anagram (mess) of IN SETTEE.

15a The age of sages? A waiting time maybe (6,6)
LATENT PERIOD: split the answer 4,2,6 to get the age when these Jewish sages operated. See Fez’s comment at #2 for a better explanation of the clue.

18a Account given for reduced Information Technology? The situation can’t be improved! (2,2,4,2,2)
IT IS WHAT IT IS: a possible response to a request for the abbreviation of Information Technology.

21a Difficulty about bright criminal’s activity (8)
BURGLARY: reverse a word meaning difficulty and add an adjective meaning bright or dazzling.

22a Overcoat dad folded over in shelter (6)
CAPOTE: reverse an affectionate word for dad and insert it in an avian shelter.

24a Jump and cut loose initially (4)
AXEL: a verb to cut or chop and the initial letter of loose. Very timely with the Winter Olympics just starting!

25a Second female I call may be making a lot of noise (10)
BACKFIRING: string together a verb to second or endorse, the abbreviation for female, I and a verb to make a call.

26a God of old to make discordant noise (4)
ODIN: the abbreviation for old and a verb to make a discordant noise.

27a Mechanical device consumed distilled liquid — the guy admits that (4,6)
HEAT ENGINE: a masculine pronoun (the guy) contains a past participle meaning consumed and some distilled alcoholic liquid.

Down Clues

1d Very loud repetitive work coming up? Escape! (3,3)
POP OFF: assemble the musical abbreviation for very loud and a double dose of the abbreviation for an artistic work and reverse the lot.

2d Men sang out — we may have heard them rendering hymns (6)
ORGANS: the abbreviation for some military men and an anagram (out) of SANG.

3d Sell water in a novel water container (8,4)
ARTESIAN WELL: an anagram (novel) of SELL WATER IN A.

4d Area / where religions clashed (4)
ACRE: double definition, the second a port (now in Israel) where the Christians and Muslims clashed during the Crusades.

5d Poor conductor to fail with terrible recital, no ace with music ultimately (10)
DIELECTRIC: knit together a verb to fail or conk out, an anagram (terrible) of RECIT[a]L without the abbreviation for ace and the ultimate letter of music. The answer (not a word I knew) is a substance which is a poor conductor of electricity.

7d Shrub African Muslim established on island (8)
BERBERIS: a Muslim from North Africa sits on top of one of the abbreviations for island.

8d Two at the top of height confused — allowance must be made (8)
LATITUDE: switch around the top two letters of a word meaning height.

11d Breeding technique in half the country? (12)
INSEMINATION: charade of IN and words meaning half and country.

14d Send home agent at speed — one in hiding (10)
REPATRIATE: bolt together an abbreviated sales agent, AT and a word meaning speed containing the Roman numeral for one.

16d Hilarious person wasting time given cheer in river (3,5)
RIO BRAVO: an informal word for a hilarious person without the abbreviation for time and a word of cheer or congratulation. The river is in Mexico.

17d Ex-PM‘s dodgy deal is dire at heart (8)
DISRAELI: an anagram (dodgy) of DEAL IS [d]IR[e].

19d Old coins with slanted marks (6)
SOLIDI: double definition, the first old Roman coins which supplied the middle one of the three words for our pre-decimal money (Lsd).

20d Union officer separating from fellow at work (6)
LEAGUE: remove the abbreviation for a senior army officer from a fellow worker.

23d Ray’s not finishing game (4)
SKAT: drop the final E from a fish of the ray family to leave a card game.

The clues I liked best were 10a, 18a and 11d. Which one(s) cut the mustard for you?


20 comments on “Toughie 2795

  1. A proper Toughie – I found the SE corner very tricky. I did know the overcoat, the shrub, both definitions of 19d and the poor conductor so the only thing I had to look up was the age of sages.

    Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza – I agree with your favourites

  2. Thanks Giovanni and Gazza, another top puzzle.
    Gazza, you may be over-thinking 15a: In sAGEs, what is the “age”? A ‘hidden’ ‘amount of time’. In 6a I assumed it was referring to Babel too.
    Favourites amongst a host of super clues, 12a and 18a.
    Thanks again!

  3. 11d was one of the first clues I solved, produced the broadest smile, and became my favourite. Giovanni on top form today, with any obscurities beautifully clued as always.

    Thanks to The Don and Gazza.

  4. Typical Giovanni puzzle. I liked 15a [my last in] once the penny dropped. In 6a the Tower never occurred to me – I just thought “ah Gio”. 8d is quite clever as well. I don’t want to start a dispute but is Sibelius the “only” famous Finn like Magritte is the “only” famous Belgian?
    Thanks to The Don and to Gazza for the blog.

  5. I don’t want to sound like Brian but there was a bit too much religiosity in today’s puzzle for me. The obscurities were new to me but that is as it should be for a Thursday toughie. Thanks to Gazza (and Fez)for explaining quite a few for me. Thanks to Giovanni for a taxing but rewarding puzzle

  6. Crikey that was hard. I needed the hints to parse 6a, 15a, 4d and 8d. I hadn’t heard of 22a, 19d or 23d either. I had to use too much electronic help for it to be really enjoyable. Favourite was 1a. Thanks to Giovanni and Gazza.

  7. As above, that was difficult not helped by too many obscurities so ****/** for me today although I did like 11D!

  8. From the time the first harvest refused to produce the goods, or so I am told, religion has had its place. Even for us pagans and atheists. So if it shows up in a crossword, I can just about take it, though I do rather like a Thor or an Odin, even if he doesn’t make much noise. This was a tough Toughie for me, although I was expecting a few gnarly ones thrown in by this compiler, who is legendary, not least for his tendency towards didacticism, within the crosswording art. Therefore a ***/** from me for today.

  9. Seemed tough but as usual with Giovanni all fair.
    15ac seems pretty clever whichever explanation is right and 18ac a nasty inflammation of the itiswhat.
    Anyway thanks to both Gs.

  10. After last week’s debacle, I am pleased to see that I can still solve a Thursday toughie.
    The Don at his best with a few little-known words as he called them in his Guardian crossword 28665.
    Leader of bloggers is to curse , put out when one’s included little-known words? (11)
    Wish that clue appeared here.
    Thanks to Giovanni for the great fun and to Gazza for the review.

  11. A rare DNF for me, but the majority provided much fun, so in spite of the foregoing many thanks for the diversion to G and thanks to the other G for the assistance in cracking the remainder. 4* for pleasure, infinity * for complexity.

  12. The old coins and the overcoat in the SE increased our solving time considerably but with Google help we did get them.
    Certainly a challenge but an enjoyable one.
    Thanks Giovanni and Gazza.

  13. I’ll echo TG’s opening remark. With the aid of 4 letter reveals (my rule is checkers only) I got to within 2 of a finish & with lots of confirmation required of Mr G (5&7d plus 22a) which left 19&23d – after reading the hint the first one was obvious (never heard of the card game) but gave up & revealed the latter.
    Though well beaten I thoroughly enjoyed the battle & am chuffed that I parsed 15a the same way as Fez did. 18a was my clear favourite & particularly liked 1,10&24a along with 11,14,16&17d.
    Thanks to the Don & Gazza.

  14. Very late today reporting in, but only because I earlier shied away from admitting how poorly I fared with Giovanni today. I needed all five of my allowable letter-reveals last night and still came up seven short of finishing. Though well and truly beaten, I nonetheless enjoyed the agony of defeat and deeply admired our compiler’s brilliance. I also learned a great deal. My favourites were 1d, 13d, and 18a. Many thanks to Gazza for all the help today and to Giovanni for the huge challenge.

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