Toughie 2753 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2753


Toughie No 2753 by Robyn

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Robyn has supplied an enjoyable test today. A genuine Toughie which took some teasing out for me. As usual dogged determination and checking letters got me through to a satisfying finish. I don’t quite understand why this took so long as I’m sure I test solved this puzzle some weeks ago. Heigh Ho. The definition at 17 across is a corker

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Rather cold starter of roast ham (6)
REMOTE:  The initial letter of Roast is followed by a verb meaning to portray emotion in a theatrical manner

4a        Something entertaining that’s repeated in books (3,5)
AGA SAGAS: Split 1,3 a phrase meaning something entertaining (Jumping Jack Flash perhaps) is written twice.  When split 3,5 as per the clues enumeration this reveals a genre of writing usually set in middle England and populated by the type of people who might own a particular brand of cooker

9a        Order what cream cakes? (6)
BEHEST: A adjective meaning the cream or most excellent of something surrounds (cakes)  a two letter exclamation meaning what

10a      Smooth guards mount Spanish Steps (8)
SARABAND: A verb meaning to smooth using an abrasive paper surrounds an type of thoroughbred equine mount

11a      Prepared to defend cross, letting in a mere shot (9)
FOREARMED: A verb meaning to cross a river surrounds an anagram (shot) of A MERE

13a      Sweet about vacuous selfie one shows off (5)
PSEUD:  The outer letters of the word selfie sit inside a sweet or dessert

14a      Tending to sit son beside garden, sits near rocks (13)
SEDENTARINESS: Begin with the abbreviation for son. Add a biblical garden. Add an anagram (rocks) of SITS NEAR

17a      Pioneer on satellite broadcast mangles intro when introducing queen (4,9)
NEIL ARMSTRONG:  An anagram (broadcast) of MANGLES INTRO which includes the abbreviation for Regina or queen will lead you to a geezer born in 1930 and remembered for a single short journey made over fifty years ago

21a      Bottom pinched by harasser I’d angrily repelled (5)
NADIR:  The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. As indicated by the words pinched by. It is reversed as indicated by the word repelled

23a      What diner has that is abstemious, cutting dish out (9)
SERVIETTE:  Begin with a word meaning to dish out a helping of food. Insert the abbreviation for that is and the abbreviation of a word meaning abstemious where alcohol is concerned

24a      Cease to work on publication’s material (8)
ORGANDIE:  A verb meaning cease to work, expire, shuffle off this mortal coil, kick the bucket, go to meet one’s maker or peg it follows a general term for a publication such as a newspaper

25a      Left organisation in which one pushes for a delivery? (6)
LABOUR:  A left wing political party (aren’t they all bang in the centre these days?) is also a stage of childbirth

26a      Newspaper pieces featuring in newspaper piece (8)
FRAGMENT:  A term for a tabloid newspaper and a term for chess pieces sit together inside the initials of a daily newspaper printed on pink paper

27a      Light reading on this (6)
KINDLE: A double definition. The second being a hand held device which stores books for reading


1d        Slight expert on theological matters (6)
REBUFF:  A person who is enthusiastically interested in and very knowledgeable about a particular subject follows the abbreviation for religious education

2d        Female spy’s forgetting thanks, greeting guru (9)
MAHARISHI: The stage name of an exotic dancer suspected of being a spy over one hundred years ago needs to lose a short word of thanks. She then needs the gain the apostrophe S from the clue. Finish her off (as did the French) with a short informal greeting

3d        One known for modelling gold, wearing studs out (7)
TUSSAUD:  An anagram (out) of STUDS surrounds the chemical symbol for gold

5d        Two monkeys together? Learn one successfully seeks mates (11)
GRANDMASTER: Keeping well within  the vernacular double the monetary value of a monkey. Add a verb meaning to acquire great knowledge

6d        Canine with no tail, cleverer one (4-3)
SHAR PEI: A word meaning cleverer loses is last letter (with no tail) The Roman numeral for one is added. This breed is far too ugly for an illustration

7d        Picked up large jar (5)
GRATE:  A homophone (picked up) of a synonym of the word jar meaning to irritate greatly

8d        Travelling, she and I did without small extra fare (4,4)
SIDE DISH: An anagram (travelling) of SHE I DID which sits around (without) the abbreviation for small

12d      Being unfettered, team gets goal (11)
MANUMISSION:  The abbreviation of a currently substandard football team is followed by a synonym of the word goal or aim

15d      Soldier getting into article lifted pen several times (9)
EIGHTFOLD: Place the abbreviation for an American soldier inside a three lettered regular article and determiner. Reverse what you have. Add a pen or enclosure for livestock especially sheep

16d      Switch positions   from time to time (2,3,3)
ON AND OFF: A double definition regularly seen and clued like this

18d      Ally splitting in the morning is perhaps AWOL (7)
ACRONYM: A synonym of the word friend or ally sits inside the abbreviation for morning where PM is the abbreviation for the afternoon

19d      Doctor welcomed into old foreign friend’s Asian craft (7)
ORIGAMI: A three part charade in this order. 1. The abbreviation for old 2. A verb meaning to improperly doctor or fix a result or outcome. A foreign word meaning friend

20d      Catch empty express going north, the late conveyance? (6)
HEARSE: A word meaning to aurally catch something is followed by the reversed outer letters of the word express

22d      Maybe litter producer’s unchallengeable conviction (5)
DOGMA:  Split 3,2 what a canine mother might be called after delivering a litter of pups


19 comments on “Toughie 2753

  1. Another not so Tuesday toughie from Robyn. Very enjoyable despite a very slow start, with some great misdirections. Thanks to MP and Robyn.

  2. A quite testing Toughie this morning that took me longer to complete than I might have expected. Highly enjoyable, though, with some excellent clues, foremost among which was the superb 17a and 2d.

    My thanks to Robyn and MP.

  3. How lovely to get a splendid actual Toughie on a Tuesday – although I’d expect nothing less from Robyn

    Lots to make you both think and enjoy – I could pick out many clues for special mention but I did like the ‘two monkey’s in 5d

    Thanks to Robyn and MP

  4. Unusually tough for a Tuesday but very welcome. Many smiles but my favourite is the two monkeys of 5d. Thanks to Robyn and MP

  5. I agree with everyone – tougher than usual for a Tuesday, and no less enjoyable for that. Certainly the two monkeys was a lovely bit of clueing, and I enjoyed the equally clever ‘what cream cakes’ in 9a, the fun surface read of 26a and, for professional reasons, 1d. There always seems to be one I need our bloggers’ help for, and today it was 4a. I was convinced that what was repeated in books was the letter ‘o’, and couldn’t see past that for ages. Bunged the right answer in last and wrote a sad face. But Robyn has once again brought many, many smiles.

  6. Ah, the inadequacies of American English where the first word of 4a (and that entire definition) as well as the ‘monkey’ (slang, is it?) are nonexistent. I was doing quite well elsewhere–even knew 23a, which also is ‘unknown’ over here–and felt quite chuffed that I’d managed to solve 2d, 12d, & others quite easily. But I also hit a brick wall with 15d and 13a (also not ‘used’ over here, though I really did know it, sort of). Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the tussle last night even though I came up quite short. I’ll give myself a C on this one. Thanks to MP for the hints, which of course I needed, and to Robyn for the challenge. A really most worthwhile Tuesday Toughie.

    1. Cockney Rhyming Slang that was popular on the dog and horse racing tracks.
      £1000 A grand
      £500. A monkey
      £100. A ton
      £5 A bullseye
      £25. A pony
      £20. A score
      £10 A tenner. An Ayrton Senna. A cock and hen
      £5. A fiver. A deep sea diver. A Lady Godiva
      £1 A Quid. A nugget. A nicker. An Alan Wicker

  7. Excellent stuff thanks Robyn.
    NE corner needed electronic help as was lost on 4ac
    I agree with previous comments of proper toughie standard.
    Thanks to MP as always.

  8. Clever stuff with some novel indicators that caused some head scratching [eg 9a]. The 2 monkeys win it for me too.
    Thanks to Robyn and MP.

  9. I needed the hint for 4a as I’d never heard of such a thing, so even with all the checkers I still couldn’t work it out. Oh well! I did better than last Thursday. Thanks to Robyn and MP for the hint.

  10. Not ashamed to say that I needed a little electronic help and a couple of hints but had a very decent stab at what I thought was a tough but excellent puzzle, full of very clever misdirection. The toughest Tuesday puzzle since this setter’s last one.
    Liked 11a and 3d but favourite was 5d.
    Thanks to Robyn and MP for their sterling work.

  11. Quite a challenge and excellent fun. Despite being an anagram we struggled for some time to get the letters in order for 14a.
    Lots of chuckles throughout.
    Thanks Robyn and MP.

  12. Not a floughie toughie but with Miffypops help I got there in the end. 17a and 2d pleased the most.
    Thanks to Robyn and Miffypops.
    I learned a little about fabrics and Spanish dances but still enjoyed the hunt.
    Less enjoyable was hearing about the death of David Longdon – the lead singer of a band I really like – big big train

  13. Evening all.
    Just wanted to drop in to say thanks for the feedback, which is always very welcome, and especial thanks to MP who did indeed kindly agree to give this puzzle a bit of constructive stick during the design phase to make it better.
    See you all soon, I hope.

    1. Thanks for popping in. That makes us 2 for 2 for Tuesday. It is always good to hear from setters and thanks for the test.

  14. Although I managed only a few answers unaided I loved the cleverness of the clues. Thank you Robyn for the many “oh, that’s good!” moments :-)

  15. “Oh, it’s only Tuesday [or at least it was when I started this puzzle], I’ll give the Toughie a go,” I naïvely thought to myself. Perhaps I should’ve read Crypticsue’s comment above first?

    I particularly liked 16d’s switch positions (apologies to anybody who considered it an old chestnut, but it was new to me) and 22d’s litter producer. Thank you to Robyn.

    And thank you especially to Miffypops. I used so many hints I lost count (plus a couple of reveals), but the fact that the hints exist is what gives me the confidence to attempt a crossword without knowing whether I’ll be able to manage it, and on reading the explanations I was able to appreciate the cleverness in many clues.

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