Toughie 2743 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2743

Toughie No 2743 by proXimal

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I do like the cryptic description of our setter at 5d in today’s back-pager. He’s given us an enjoyable puzzle but his usual MO of having either no X at all or a single X in each quadrant seems to have been abandoned.

Thanks to proXimal.

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

Across Clues

7a Carried around popular golf clothing (8)
ENROBING: reverse a past participle meaning carried and add an adjective meaning popular and what golf stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

9a Engaged outspoken Asian political party (4,2)
TIED UP: what sounds like a South-east Asian national and a UK political party which has already had three different leaders this year.

10a Game of mixed doubles unstarted (6)
BOULES: an anagram (mixed) of [d]OUBLES without its first letter.

11a Revolutionary closely looked to gather count’s hiding place (4,4)
DEAD DROP: reverse a verb meaning closely looked or scrutinized and insert a verb to count. This is a hiding place used as part of a spy’s tradecraft.

12a One bearing thong? Swimmer is lad showing cheek (14)
WHIPPERSNAPPER: charade of someone carrying a thong or lash and an edible fish.

15a Fighting opening of prong in buckle (4)
WARP: serious fighting followed by the opening letter of prong.

17a Liking comfort as tender hugs (5)
TASTE: hidden in the clue.

19a Judge that’s dressed down in bed (4)
RATE: insert your answer in ‘bed’ to get a verb meaning dressed down.

20a Brief rest matters with walk to give respite (9,5)
BREATHING SPACE: string together a rest or respite without its final K, a synonym for matters and a verb to walk.

23a People once against spy boss are turned secretly (2,6)
IN CAMERA: assemble an old South American people, a fictional spy boss and the reversal of ‘are’.

25a King ousted from fine land (6)
ALIGHT: remove a single-letter abbreviation for king from an adjective meaning fine or ok.

27a See forward tackling that man back (6)
BEHOLD: an adjective meaning forward or brazen contains the reversal of a male pronoun.

28a Bringing up former partner stinking — one male to forget (8)
EXHUMING: our usual former partner and a word meaning stinking without one of its abbreviations for male.

Down Clues

1d Pregnant avoiding almost all hard stuff (4)
INFO: a phrase (2,4) meaning pregnant in the animal world without the first two letters of ‘all’.

2d Toy sunk into prune creating blob (6)
DOLLOP: join together a toy (one usually more associated with girls rather than boys) and a verb to prune or pare. ‘Sunk into’ tells us that the two words are merged together such that the last letter of the first and the first letter of the second are fused into one.

3d Being both discontented, agonising, end of (4)
AGED: this was my last answer. Use just the outer letters of ‘agonising’ and ‘end’. For example: she was a woman of thirty.

4d Layers of stone on grass area (6)
STRATA: start with the avoirdupois abbreviation for stone and add a verb to grass and the abbreviation for area.

5d Mineral one removed from green box (8)
FELDSPAR: remove the Roman numeral for one from a green or grassy area and append a verb to box.

6d At a court rogue in charge is overbearing (10)
AUTOCRATIC: an anagram (rogue) of AT A COURT followed by the abbreviation for in charge.

8d Maybe fly across Portugal to find vet (7)
INSPECT: what a fly is an example of contains the IVR code for Portugal.

13d Try to gain diamonds, beg an eccentric rock enthusiast (10)
HEADBANGER: a verb to try (in court) contains the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds and an anagram (eccentric) of BEG AN.

14d Asian food from dodgy hotel north of India (5)
SUSHI: glue together a slang adjective meaning dodgy or of dubious legality and the letters that hotel and India stand for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. The BRB doesn’t list the ‘dodgy’ word as an adjective (only as a noun) but it is in Collins.

16d One hunting wine aisle, initially blended port bottles (8)
PREDATOR: an anagram (blended) of PORT contains a type of wine and the initial letter of aisle.

18d Glaze for one cut incorporating whiskey (7)
EGGWASH: the abbreviation of ‘for one’ is followed by a deep cut containing the letter for which whiskey is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

21d Time with studies in steps (6)
TREADS: the abbreviation for time and a verb meaning studies.

22d Solid forms of doctrines for spin-doctors? (6)
PRISMS: cryptically as 2,4 this could be doctrines for spin-doctors.

24d Top ten record climbing following article (4)
APEX: reverse the Roman numeral for ten and a record format following a grammatical article.

26d Clue that might give ‘thee’ (4)
HINT: split your answer 1,2,1 to understand how to get ‘thee’.

My ticks today went to 12a, 1d and 26d. Which one(s) floated your boat?


29 comments on “Toughie 2743
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  1. Quite friendly for a proXimal with the NW corner being the trickiest.

    Thanks to him for the crossword and Gazza for the blog – I agree with your favourites

    If you are a fan of Hudson Toughies, you’ll find his alter ego Julius in particularly fine form in today’s FT

  2. This was difficult. I managed two thirds.
    11a was interesting because I was thinking of The Count of Monte Christo and how he escaped in a body bag,
    I liked 28a

    1. JB, I too thought of Edmond Dantes, first off, having recently read that fascinating novel…for the first time in my 80s.

      1. Strangely enough, Edmond was also my first thought! Had it not been for ‘The Last Bookshop in London’ I doubt we’d have read about him, Robert.

        1. Isn’t that the truth, Jane! Remember how we luxuriated in both books? ‘How way leads on to way’, a la Robert Frost….

  3. Most enjoyable and amusing.
    Thanks proXimal.
    Just the one X which was a bit disconcerting.
    Thanks to Gazza as always…parsing of 1d was beyond me.
    ***/*****

  4. Although I managed to complete the grid, I needed some electronic help to do so and considerable help by Gazza just now with the parsing of 1d, 19a, & 26d–those blasted 4-letter words, which I think should form a three-way tie for CsOTD. Surprised to see that this is a proXimal work of art, which I think it is. Many thanks to Gazza and the X man.

    1. I erred above. I should have included another 4-letter word, 3d, in my unparsed category, making it a four-way tie for CsOTD. I’ll get my coat.

  5. I found this quite tough particularly in the NW corner, although not as tough as proXimal’s Toughies usually are. I failed in three cases. I resorted to “phone a friend”: to understand everything about 1d – answer, definition and wordplay; and to parse 26d. Finally the definition for 3d completely escaped me.

    In spite of those difficulties I really enjoyed it, in stark contrast to today’s back-pager, with 12a my runaway favourite.

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Gazza.

  6. Reasonably gentle for a Thursday, I thought – a good enough number of gimmes to get started and a steady solve thereafter in *** time. Thanks for the parsing of 19a, which is one of those which, when you see it, you can’t understand why you didn’t see it before.

    Many thanks for Gazza and to our setter.

  7. Great puzzle, solved at a pace except 1d which took me some time to see. Favourites were 19a and 26d. Thanks to proXimal and Gazza.

  8. I was surprised at how gentle I found this; the only hold up, and my last one in, was 11a (never heard of it).

    Many thanks to proXimal and to Gazza.

  9. Straightforward until it wasn’t, mainly in the parsing department, so I needed the hints to explain 12a, 19a, 3d (I still don’t get it) and 26d. Favourite was 16d. Thanks to ProXimal and Gazza.

  10. I got 1d not by solving but by the trusted method of bunging it in. I still don’t fully understand it even with our blogger’s intervention. That one apart, this was a thoroughly enjoyable exercise in problem-solving and rewarding to complete. 12a was my runaway winner for favourite, with the clever 26d an honourable runner-up.

    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza.

  11. A setter whose Toughies are right at the top end of my pay grade but I usually find that perseverance pays off and I get rewarded with a great deal of satisfaction – unlike some other Toughie setters I could mention……….
    Not going to choose a favourite as there are far too many contenders but I’m extremely pleased with myself!

    Thanks to Mr random X’s and to Gazza for the review.

  12. Really enjoyed that, a great puzzle … even though a DNF as I erroneously entered a wrong answer for 26d in the unch’s for 24d, which left me bewildered as to how to get any sort of answer at all for 24d in the 26d unch’s.

    COTD for me was 22d, quite wonderful.

    4* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to ProXimal and to Gazza.

  13. Came up three short (7a,1d&11a) and a couple to parse but happy to have got that far with a ProXimal Toughie.
    Very enjoyable though, full of this setter’s trademark wit and craft, my highlights were 9&28 plus 13d as they all made me laugh as did today’s podium topper, the hilarious 12a.
    Many thanks to Mr X and Gazza for a top puzzle and review.

  14. Found the pesky four letter answers the toughest to crack but did eventually get them all sorted and then tried in vain to find something clever happening with Xs.
    Thoroughly enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks proXimal and Gazza.

  15. An excellent puzzle solved a day late as the Elgar Toughie is guaranteed to be beyond me. 1d was my last in. There weren’t many options for letters 1&3 but bung in number 3 finally yielded the Puzzle correct notification – nowhere near parsing it. Parsing two of the other 4 letter answers were similarly beyond me – 3d & 26d.
    Thanks proXimal & to Gazza for the explanations

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