Toughie 2859 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2859

Toughie No 2859 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

An entertaining puzzle from Hudson – thanks to him. There are several of what we call 25s amongst the clues.

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

Across Clues

4a Florid upper-class writer of verse, Solomon, undressed to go outside (8)
RUBICUND: the letter meaning upper-class and a writing implement with the inner letters of Solomon the nursery rhyme character’s surname in the verse below around it.

Solomon ******,
Born on a Monday,
Christened on Tuesday,
Married on Wednesday,
Took ill on Thursday,
Grew worse on Friday,
Died on Saturday,
Buried on Sunday,
That was the end,
Of Solomon ******.

8a Help a solver stuck with part of border that has plenty of crossers (2,4)
EL PASO: our first 25a is concealed (stuck with) in the first three words.

9a “Nautical mile” confusing Emirati (8)
MARITIME: the abbreviation for mile and an anagram (confusing) of EMIRATI.

10a Dodgy Pop Art featuring Joe Stalin’s dirty tricks? (8)
AGITPROP: an anagram (dodgy) of POP ART containing the abbreviated US Soldier commonly known as Joe.

11a Next to Belgium, Europe’s number one team (6)
BESIDE: string together the IVR code for Belgium, the first letter of Europe and a synonym for team.

12a First of novels by Lawrence collected by Nick, a literary figure (8)
STENDHAL: the first letter of novels and the initials of Mr Lawrence (not TE, the other one) go inside a verb to nick to make the pen name of a French novelist.

13a Fire unlimited ammunition, you see — that’ll get ’em jumping! (4,4)
SACK RACE: a verb to fire or dismiss and the inner letters of a type of ammunition that you can see when it’s fired.

16a City where some say the underworld’s very dark? (8)
HELSINKI: homophones of a phrase (4’1,4) which could mean the underworld’s very dark. Top marks from me for the ‘some say’.

19a Make sheets of metal in a cast (8)
LAMINATE: an anagram (cast) of METAL IN A.

21a Bumped into Romeo, in charge of weights and measures (6)
METRIC: assemble a verb meaning bumped into or came across, the letter that Romeo represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and the abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

23a Second U-boat base blown up by her, ultimately (8)
SABOTEUR: start with the abbreviation for second, add an anagram (blown up) of U-BOAT and E (the letter used as the base number in logarithms) then finish with the ultimate letter of heR.

24a Valve from ordinary computer where you would expect to find it if available? (8)
STOPCOCK: abbreviations for ordinary and personal computer placed where you might expect to find something available for sale, i.e. IN *****.

25a Shadowy figure holding stuffing for Xmas bird with both hands (6)
LURKER: the inner letters of a Xmas bird are held by both hands.

26a French leader expressing his refusal to jail an East European (8)
NAPOLEON: how this French leader would have expressed a refusal contains A and an East European.

Down Clues

1d Wound captain The Bounty discharged (7)
BLIGHTY: the name of the captain set adrift from his ship, The Bounty, followed by the outer letters of “The Bounty”. The answer, new to me, was a military slang word in WWI for a wound necessitating a soldier serving abroad’s repatriation to Britain.

2d Spoil mum’s preserve before quarterly feast day (9)
MARTINMAS: a verb to spoil and an affectionate word for mum and her ‘S with a verb to preserve food before her. The answer is a Christian feast day and one of the ‘quarter days’ in Scotland when rents and leases start and end.

3d Forward cried out loud, just failing to get a medal (6)
FOURTH: a homophone of ‘forward’ often preceded by ‘set’ or ‘sally’.

4d Having slept poorly after hard liquor, I left skint, broke; an angry man (15)
RUMPELSTILTSKIN: this is an angry little man from a Grimm fairy tale. Weld together a hard liquor, an anagram (poorly) of SLEPT, I, the abbreviation for left and an anagram (broke) of SKINT.

5d Tossing thick caber, Aberdonian choked without support (8)
BAREBACK: a backward 25a.

6d Hide countries’ odd constituents? (5)
CUTIS: odd letters from countries.

7d Itinerant actor Matt turned up, almost freezing (7)
NOMADIC: reverse the surname of US actor Matt and append an adjective meaning freezing without its last letter.

14d Sudden burst of activity upstairs sending bishop out in bad weather (9)
RAINSTORM: remove the abbreviation for a bishop in chess from a burst of activity in the top bit of the body.

15d Ant and Dec recycled old, boring, ultimately dire yarn (8)
ANECDOTE: an anagram (recycled) of ANT DEC with the abbreviation for old getting inserted. Finish with the ultimate letter of dire.

17d Agamemnon’s girl stirred treacle (7)
ELECTRA: the daughter of Agamemnon in Greek mythology is an anagram (stirred) of TREACLE.

18d Most rude lady gobbling pastry (7)
STRUDEL: another 25a.

20d Active undercover spy recruits British Head of Intelligence (6)
MOBILE: a deeply embedded spy contains an abbreviation for British and the first letter of intelligence.

22d Regularly bin bits of pre-Empire or antique-looking style of furniture (5)
REPRO: ‘pre-Empire or’ with regular letters discarded.

On my podium I have 13a, 24a and 14d. Which one(s) did you select for an honourable mention?

20 comments on “Toughie 2859

  1. Very enjoyable. Not for the first time I was held up by my inability to spell the sleepy guy, and the French scribbler had to be confirmed by electrons. I did know the wound though.

    1. Together with your problem two, the NE brought me to a halt after a reasonable ride for the majority of the puzzle, before filling the grid I struggled to parse 3d, and needed MrG to confirm 1d & 2d.
      Elsewhere, 4a & 17d needed assistance, so a true toughie for me today.
      Thanks to Hudson and Gazza, now let’s see what Proximal has in store for Friday.

  2. Very enjoyable indeed & despite a slow start my fastest Toughie solve for a while. The wound was new to me but otherwise nothing unfamiliar. Top 3 for me 4,10&12a.
    Thanks to Hudson & Gazza

  3. Slowed up by the NE corner with the wound and the literary figure new to me, the former being accessible without electronic help.
    Otherwise a mixture of gimmes and head scratchers, just as it should be.
    Parsing help needed for 4ac thanks Gazza and thanks to Hudson for the challenge.

  4. When I came downstairs with the printout of this crossword, Mr CS asked why I was smiling. Because it is a Toughie by one of my favourite setters; it won’t be that tricky but will be full of fun and cleverness. I’m still smiling because I wasn’t wrong!

    I had noticed that there were a few examples of a 25a in the clues and so when I solved that clue, it became one of my favourites. For reasons connected to our No 1 son, 16a was on that list too. I did know the wound

    Thanks very much indeed to Hudson for the entertaining solve and to Gazza for the entertaining blog

  5. The wound was also new to me, and I needed a bit of help parsing a couple, but I thoroughly enjoyed this lovely Toughie last night, with the French novelist (aided by the pride of Nottingham [well, Eastwood]) my favourite at 12a, followed by 4a and 10a, but as I said in my backpager post, there’s not a dud in the grid. In fact, I thought this the best puzzle this week, and I revelled in solving it. Thanks to Gazza and Hudson, fast becoming one of my top 2 or 3 compilers.

  6. An enjoyable and satisfying solve, or rather, given the grid, four solves. 4d & all the East completed first, and then S to N. Had vaguely heard of the obscure French writer, but not helped by my miss-spelling of 4d; the quarterday was quite new to me but entirely fairly clued. All else familiar and some lovely clue construction, but quite a few odd surfaces. Could pick several for special mention but will limit to 13a, 25a and 26a.

    3* / 3*

    Many thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

    1. I spelt 4d incorrectly as well. What a difference a letter makes. NW did me in, annoying as the other 3/4 fell quite quickly. Thanks to all

  7. Great fun and not too taxing but held up by my inability to spell names correctly [as Devartly, above] which caused delay with 3d. I was puzzled by what seemed at first to be surplus words in both 4a [of verse] and 13a [you’ll see]. More fool me, both are great clues as are 24a and 14d [lol].
    Many thanks to Hudson for the entertainment and Gazza for the blog.

  8. Can’t begrudge CS getting one of her favourite setters in the Toughie when I’ve already been treated to mine in the back-pager!
    Not sure how much I enjoyed solving this but a couple that stood out were16a & 14d.

    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza for an excellent review.

  9. I put a different last letter in for 1d, which I could not parse but seemed to fit, and I was unaware that the answer meant wound, so a dnf by one letter. Grr! 19a,12a and 2d were also new to me. Oh well! Favourite was 23a solved when I finally stopped trying to make it ‘sub’something. Thanks to Hudson and Gazza.

  10. Very enjoyable.
    Just beaten by 10a & 12a both of which I had never heard of before.
    1d had to be what it was from the wordplay. I hadn’t heard of it as a wound, but it is something that I have learned today that may be useful in future crosswords

  11. Are you sure today isn’t Friday? I was completely beaten by this. Reading the clues I particularly liked 16 a . Such a pity I was just not on this wavelength. And it really is Friday tomorrow!

  12. An absolute delight to solve with the NW being the last to yield where it took some time to recall the wound.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  13. A Big hello from Baile Atha Cliath where I shall be for the next 5 days.
    Had a real hard time with Hudson today.
    I wanted 23a to start with Sub so much that it took ages to find the proper parsing.
    Didn’t know the nursery rhyme in 4a and even with all the checkers, I couldn’t make sense of it.
    10a was also new to me.
    No problems with 12a as I went for the right Lawrence straight away. Nice to see the author of Le Rouge et le Noir which, in France, is a real classic.
    Had to check the spelling of 4d before writing it in.
    26a always makes me laugh. In Animal Farm, the pig is called that but in France it is illegal to call your pig Napoleon.
    Thanks to Hudson for the tussle and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Thanks for the fascinating fact about French pigs’ names, J-L. Apparently in early French translations of Animal Farm Napoleon was renamed César.

    2. I hope you have a wonderful time in the city that shares its name with Blackpool. Please have a pint or three of the black stuff while you are there. I have just secured a ticket to see Bruce Springsteen in that fair city next May, can you recommend some lodgings?

  14. Wish I’d done this yesterday now, thought I wouldn’t have the time – however a near-as-dammit R&W for me, with the exception of putting (for no good reason other than he fitted in ) Rabelais for 4a, and NW taking a minute or two longer than the other three corners. An extremely enjoyable solve, thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  15. Started last evening and finished this morning. I have a thought on 1d. I have never seen the single word used to mean a wound. ‘Blighty’ was a nickname for the UK or ‘home’ and a ‘Blighty one’ was a wound that was sufficiently serious to get you sent home for treatment.

    1. Both Chambers and Collins say that blighty means a wound that gets you sent home but Collins adds ‘also called a blighty one‘.

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