Toughie 2758 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2758

Toughie No 2758 by Gila

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Gila’s turn to provide this Wednesday’s crossword in the middle of the paper 

For once I was grateful that the crossword wasn’t on the Toughie spectrum (for me it was a 3* backpager) because, following an ‘upgrade’ to our printer yesterday, it took me over an hour to persuade the perishing thing that I would like to print off today’s crosswords in order that I could solve them and then prepare this blog post

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Singer travelling on recent tour (12)
COUNTERTENOR An anagram (travelling) of ON RECENT TOUR

9d    Cycle group exercise with crowd round noon (7)
PELOTON Some abbreviated (school) exercise, a crowd, the ’round’ letter and the abbreviation for Noon

10a    Rail is sited centrally alongside a drinks dispenser (7)
BARISTA A rail, IS (From the clue), the central letter of siTed and A (from the clue)

11a    Sweet treat that is removed in bits from selection? (4)
CHOC Remove the abbreviation for that is from a selection – ‘in bits’ telling you that the two letters in the abbreviation are not next to each other

12a    Make fine cut (5)
FETCH The abbreviation for Fine and a verb meaning to cut

13a    Police officer starts to scrutinise criminal’s record (4)
DISC An abbreviated police officer and the starts to Scrutinise and Criminal

16a    Vet wearing glasses trimmed cat’s tail (7)
INSPECT Insert the tail of the word caT into a truncated (trimmed)  informal way of saying wearing glasses

17a    Publication hit back following a merger (7)
AMALGAM A (from the clue) followed by a reversal (back) of an abbreviated publication and a verb meaning to hit

18a    Thick people of rank dismissing books (7)
VISCOUS Some people of rank without (dismissing) the abbreviation for the Books of the New Testament

21a    Gourmand‘s grand time in town (7)
GLUTTON The abbreviation for Grand and a town in Bedfordshire into which is inserted the abbreviation for Time

23a    Certain rule accepted by party for trial (4)
DEMO A dash in printing (also known as the xx rule) ‘accepted by’ or inserted into a party

24a    Going up without using a track (5)
SCENT Remove the A from a synonym for going up

25a    Unknown projected delivery date for letter from abroad (4)
ZETA A mathematical unknown and abbreviated way of referring to a projected delivery date

28a    Fiddled around, capturing electronic piece of music (7)
RONDEAU An anagram (fiddled) of AROUND ‘capturing’ the abbreviation for Electronic

29a    Twist arm, almost (7)
REVOLVE Almost all of a type of pistol (arm)

30a    Profitable comedians entertaining large clubs, perhaps (7,5)
PLAYING CARDS A description of something profitable and some comical people (comedians) into which is inserted (entertaining) the abbreviation for Large


1d    Hard-hearted relative drops in, overwhelming everyone (7)
CALLOUS Drop the ‘in’ from one of your relatives and insert (overwhelming) an adjective meaning everyone

2d    Planning ahead, couple take week off (2,2)
UP TO A simple way of saying ahead and a couple without the abbreviation for Week (take week off)

3d    Most small pixels frequently hidden by colour (7)
TINIEST The even letters of pIxElS hidden by or inserted into a colour

4d    Book about British accountant bored with the City (7)
REBECCA The usual ‘about’ and abbreviations for British and accountant into which is inserted (bored with) the abbreviation for the part of London where the City can be found

5d    Earthy tone of European vintage (4)
ECRU The abbreviation for European and a French term for a vintage

6d    Driving out or in got us confused (7)
OUSTING An anagram (confused) of IN GOT US

7d    Running advance press, featuring current game (5,8)
SPACE INVADERS An anagram (running) of ADVANCE PRESS ‘featuring’ or having inserted, the symbol for electrical current

8d    A teacher can’t initially make out where pupils come from (9,4)
CATCHMENT AREA An anagram (out) of A TEACHER CANT and the initial letter of Make

14d    Sailors tackling environment-related survey (5)
RECON The Royal Navy (sailors) ‘tacking’ a combining form meaning environment-related

15d    Corporation with a good flipping range (5)
GAMUT A reversal (flipping) of that part of the body known as a corporation, A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Good

19d    Influential artist embodied by Spall occasionally (7)
SEMINAL A English female artist ’embodied’ by the occasional letters of SpAlL

20d    Island located in such an extraordinary part of China (7)
SICHUAN The abbreviation for Island ‘located’ in an anagram (extraordinary) of SUCH AN

21d    I endlessly go back, up and around to get blanket (7)
GENERIC A reversal (up) of I (from the clue) and a truncated (endlessly) verb meaning to renounce (go back), followed by the Latin abbreviation for around

22d    Climbing frame very badly erected inside (7)
TRELLIS An informal (French) adverb meaning very into which is inserted a reversal (erected) of an adverb meaning badly

26d    Brilliant finish to University Challenge (4)
DEFY A slang adjective meaning brilliant (apparently originating in hip-hop culture) and the ‘finish’ to universitY

27d    No more eggs, by the sound of it (4)
OVER A homophone (by the sound of it) of the biological term for eggs


22 comments on “Toughie 2758

  1. Definitely a Toughie that is 24 hours late or not a Toughie at all. But, having said that, it was very enjoyable – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 1d, 3d, and 4d – and the winner is, because I have recently watched the latest ‘film of the book,’ 4d.

    Thanks to Gila and CS.

  2. Many thanks CS and Gila, favourites 25a & 8d, plus 7d for nostalgic reasons. Just to note,16a isn’t an insertion: “trim” an informal way of saying wearing glasses, then add the tail of the word caT; 19d is perfectly explained but missing the solution.

  3. A pleasant gentle puzzle (thanks Gila and CS) with the only black mark, for me, being the non-homophone at 27d.
    My ticks went to 12a, 1d and 2d.

    [The hint for 16a is in need of attention]

  4. Three quarters of this went in pretty easily until a complete brain freeze in the SE & so figured it would only get a CS *star difficulty rating which merely heightens my feeling of inadequacy. Used my full complement of 5 letter/checker reveals to sort out the 6 remaining. Inexcusably missed the anagrind at 28a, couldn’t twig the 4 letter artist at 19d (not my cup of rosie) nor think of the definition synonym & hadn’t come across this spelling for 20d before. Rather wish I’d just put it to one side & returned to it later but impatience won the day. No particular favourite but a very pleasant puzzle nonetheless.
    Thanks Gila & to CS.

  5. Grid completed quite quickly but with a mild sense of irritation rather than joy.
    I think this is because 11ac 14d & 26d we’re all a bit iffy…and three long anagrams on outside…maybe I’m getting like Brian.
    Thanks to CS for parsing 22d ..printers are such a pain. I now have a laser one which is brilliant ( but not colour).
    Thanks to Gila, apologies for being grumpy.

  6. 14d aside I found this very enjoyable and not “ovaly” difficult. Was pleasantly surprised to see CS had confirmed my parsing of 22d too.
    No particular favourites but smiled at 1,2,15,21&22d.
    Many thanks to Gila and CS for the fun.

  7. Reasonably straightforward but my lack of French prevented me parsing 5d and 22d. Oh well! Favourite was 21, mainly because I managed the difficult parsing. Thanks to Gila and CS.

  8. Loved the crossword today except 12a, because the answer doesn’t mean “make”. I had “Reach” as in “make it to someone’s house”. Am I missing something?

  9. Well done to the clever people who thought it was easy, ‘cos for me it was in at least 4* territory! But I got there in the end after substantial trial and error, plus electronic assistance. Ok I am on holiday and nicely relaxed – but 1*? Not in a month of Sundays! I did enjoy it in parts, though and received a moderate sense of achievement, despite cheating a lot.

  10. I thought 1* for the NE half, but the SW pushed me into 2* territory. But now I look at it, the only one I can justify having had trouble with is 21d – I see how it works but it’s a bit of a stretch. On 22d, are informal and French always the same thing?! Not if you asked President Mitterand, I wouldn’t have thought. I was surprised not to have an indicator of the language, but then the definition was so obvious that it certainly wasn’t unfair. I didn’t have any quibbles with those that others found iffy.

    Yes, the large number of anagrams, especially the number of large anagrams, made it easier, but I did enjoy the construction of 8d especially. Fun, light-ish, just nice. Thanks to the setter, and Sue, thank you, and I hope your printer behaves from now on.

  11. One day I’ll remember that rather odd ‘brilliant’ but today was not that day! However, I did register the fact that I’ve been spelling 8a incorrectly for quite some time.
    Nice enough puzzle but couldn’t pick out a favourite.

    Thanks to Gila and to CS for the review.

  12. My rating system differs from CS’s, as I’ve mentioned before! ***/*** for me. CS do you have minus stars as ratings for toughies? There are plenty that feature on the inside pages that are a lot easier than this!
    I did like the struggle with this. I felt 14d could be derived from reconnoitre, but is usually recce I thought.
    Thanks CS and Gila

  13. Very much enjoyed this nice Toughie last night, even though I had to seek a bit of electronic help near the end (I think I just wore myself out). We don’t have such a thing as 8d over here but it has appeared before in a cryptic, as I recall, and I finally worked it out (sounds like a place where one loads up on lots of fish). 18a was my favourite. Thanks to CS for the review and to Gila for the pleasure.

  14. A most enjoyable puzzle, which for me was either a delightful Floughie or moderately challenging backpager, though I was slightly held up in the SE until 21d leapt to the fore. Really enjoyed the surface reads and the variety of clue types – that the three edge anagrams were readily solvable helped immensely.

    Snorted with amusement at 21a, while I had ticks afterwards for 18a (COTD), 30a, 15d and 19d.

    1.5* on my personal Toughie scale (3* as a backpager), 4* for enjoyment.

    Thank you to Gila and to CS for the review.

  15. I challenge 25a. Both B and Z are geometric unknowns so the answer can surely be either Beta or Zeta?

  16. We struggled with 12a. Got the right answer from the wordplay but could not get the synonym for the definition until we read Gazza’s comment above.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Gila and CS.

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