Toughie 2843 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2843

Toughie No 2843 by Firefly

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Firefly has given us a theme today – I counted ten eleven (Thanks to Jonners for correcting my counting) answers fitting the theme. Thanks to Firefly.

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

Across Clues

1a Pater’s home, regrettably in mood! (10)
ATMOSPHERE: an anagram (regrettably?) of PATER’S HOME.

6a Start to appear in Twitter? (4)
PEEP: double definition – the first, for example, is descriptive of how the sun may start to appear over the horizon.

10a Plane gaining some remarkable velocity (5)
LEVEL: hidden in the clue.

11a Promise of match, live, run by Henry (9)
BETROTHAL: string together verbs to live and run and a Shakespearean nickname for Henry.

12a Flier damages nose of helicopter — idiot ignoring warnings at departure (5,3)
MARSH TIT: assemble a verb meaning damages, the first letter of helicopter and an idiot without the first letter of warnings.

13a Father provided name for Lorelei, say? (5)
SIREN: a father, especially in the equestrian world, and the abbreviation for name.

15a One almost ready to appear in performance is idolised (7)
DEIFIED: the Roman numeral for one and an adjective meaning ready to appear or play without its final letter are inserted in a synonym of performance.

17a Freshen up decor in Harvester, including paintwork at entrance (7)
REPAPER: someone who harvests containing the first letter of paintwork.

19a They say the setter used to be hard — that’s bunkum! (7)
EYEWASH: stick together what sounds like a pronoun the setter would use of himself, a verb meaning ‘used to be’ and the pencil abbreviation for hard.

21a/26d A greeting for Eve from two ladies touring India? (5,2,4)
MADAM I’M ADAM: two ladies (actually the same word twice) containing the letter that India represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet give us a well-known example of today’s theme.

22a Opinion among statesmen varied, following fractious mass walk-out (5)
TENET: remove the jumbled (fractious) letters of MASS from STATESMAN and make an anagram (varied) of what you have left.

24a Must this official decide  who’s in pole position? (8)
LINESMAN: I’m taking this to be a double definition – a) an official who decides whether a player is offside, for example and b) a worker sometimes found up a telephone pole.

27a Tiller Girl is next to weaken, given unending violent disturbance (9)
ROTAVATOR: a girl’s name follows a verb to weaken or crumble and that’s all followed by a violent disturbance or tempest without the letters at either end.

28a Bypass daughter is given after alveoli regularly fail (5)
AVOID: the genealogical abbreviation for daughter follows regular letters from alveoli.

29a Laggards in class to watch video call (2-2)
SO-HO: the letters bringing up the rear from four words in the clue.

30a Trust he’s off alcohol — getting treatment, to be honest (5,5)
TRUTH SERUM: an anagram (off) of TRUST HE followed by an alcoholic drink.

Down Clues

1d According to Italian, one pack animal’s lost its dam (4)
ALLA: remove the dam or mother from one South American pack animal (1,5).

2d Surrender post and disturb ace team (4,5)
MOVE ASIDE: glue together a verb to disturb, the abbreviation for ace and a synonym of team.

3d Songs — only for basses, you might say? (5)
SOLOS: split 2,3 this sounds like something restricted to deep voices.

4d Dressed a snack in topping of harissa and died (7)
HABITED: insert A and synonym for snack between the top letter of harissa and the genealogical abbreviation for died.

5d Schedule some urgent orthopaedics for muscle (7)
ROTATOR: start with a schedule or roster and add three letters hidden in the clue.

7d No exclamation of surprise when Heather enjoys Lark in the Clear Air (5)
ETHER: remove a 2-letter exclamation of surprise from HEATHER and make an anagram (enjoys lark) of what’s left. I’m not totally confident of this as an anagram is not actually required here but I can’t see why else ‘enjoys Lark’ is in the clue.

8d Above airfield, ace from British Flying Circus identifies 6 and 10 companions (10)
PALINDROME: prior to an informal word for an airfield we need the surname of a top actor from the ‘Flying Circus’. This identifies the theme.

9d Peripheral support from Mike over river protection (8)
MOUSEPAD: the letter that Mike is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is followed by an English river and some soft material used as protection.

14d Risks coming, partially from future shock (10)
ADVENTURES: a word meaning coming or origin followed by 4 letters contained in the clue. This is the second example (after 5d) of an answer needing hidden letters at the end – I don’t think it’s a very elegant construct.

16d Among facts exposed, setter’s still… (8)
INACTIVE: knit together a preposition meaning among, the inner letters of ‘facts’ and the contracted form of ‘the setter has’ from his viewpoint.

18d …set, from leak about old politician, to receive promotion (9)
POMPADOUR: set here is a hairstyle. A verb to leak or spill contains the abbreviation for old, our usual elected politician and an abbreviated promotion or puff.

20d In Gunners’ case, they — lacking wingers — lost badly, right? (7)
HOLSTER: an anagram (badly) of the inner letters of ‘they’ and LOST. Finish with the abbreviation for right. [Thanks to halcycon for a better parsing than my original effort.]

21d Airmen disconcerted, taking apex of temple for tower (7)
MINARET: an anagram (disconcerted) of AIRMEN followed by the top letter of temple.

23d Nick‘s grown up, then? (5)
NOTCH: split 3,2 the answer could mean ‘now an adult’.

25d Information from ship transporting junk (5)
STATS: our usual abbreviation for ship contains a word for junk or shabby stuff.

26d See 21a

My favourite clue was 21a/26d – which one(s) did the business for you?

23 comments on “Toughie 2843
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  1. An actual Toughie with a very nice theme – very clever to fit all those 8ds in the grid, Like Gazza, my favourite was 21/26 closely followed by 8d

    Thanks very much to Firefly and Gazza

  2. For once I actually spotted a theme, although in fairness it wasn’t too difficult. An excellent and intriguing Toughie that was thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable. I will join those who liked 8d the best.

    Many thanks to Firefly and Gazza.

  3. What a strange puzzle. Lots to admire, particularly the theme and 2 brilliant clues at 19a and 16d. I also sort of admire 14d for the way the significance of “coming” is disguised, but like Gazza I really don’t like the “partial hidden” device. OK he uses it well here and in 5d but it could be an excuse for lazy clueing in the hands of less adept setters. Also agree that 7d is clunky, at best.
    Thanks to Firefly and Gazza. [I parsed 20d as simply an anagram of he plus lost, followed by R – the container alternative doesn’t really work for me.]

  4. Invariably struggle with this setter but I did get there despite a couple of guesses along the way. If you have time, Gazza, could you explain why ‘Italian’ is required for 1d and why the whole of 29a is a call. Sorry, I’m doubtless just being thick!
    Top three for me were 11,12&19a.

    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza – your 5 rules made me laugh!

    1. Alla is Italian for ‘according to’ or ‘in the style of’, e.g. alla cappella (in the church style).
      So-ho is (according to the BRB) a form of call from a distance or a huntsman’s halloo.

  5. Delightful Toughie, even though I needed Gazza’s hints to finish–got stuck in the SW corner and still don’t understand 29a and 23d: are they particular British references, the lead-in to ‘call’ in 29a and the ‘ch’ at the end of 23d? Didn’t know the British F.C. gentleman but 8d had to be what it was. Got 10 of the themed answers; missed the tiller, which I think is called something else over here. Anyway, most enjoyable, so thanks to Gazza and Firefly.

  6. A proper Toughie, and I doff my cap to Firefly for so cleverly constructing this puzzle, with the 11 8Ds, and 8D itself. It was a very satisfying solve even if in the end I was a DNF, discovering post hoc that I’d got one wrong. Doh! Not sure I greatly enjoyed it though, finding some of the surfaces a little odd, likewise some of the clueing.

    Thank you to Firefly, and thank you Gazza for the review – I needed your parsing to understand some of my answers!

  7. I really did not like this. 1d and 6a were just plain silly while as for the chestnut that was 21a/25d…..! A fascinating theme for a Toughie but, oh dear, was it clunky! A pity as I know from experience tomorrow’s offering will be beyond me. I think it’s time to disobey 30a and open the bar!

  8. Excellent fun and a great moment when we realised what was going on with the theme.
    Thanks Firefly and Gazza.

  9. Did half last night and half this morning, the latter with some ‘crossword solver – fill in the gaps’ help. Didn’t spot the theme until coming here … sigh. Thanks for help with parsing, Gazza and thanks to Firefly for the workout.

  10. Found it much more accessible than yesterday’s Logman but still a joy to solve.
    Great theme that only came to mind quite late unfortunately.
    Thanks to Firefly and to Gazza.

  11. I’m a day behind with the Toughies. Absolutely loved this & only spotted the theme late in the day when the 21a/26d combo yielded.
    Thanks Firefly & Gazza

  12. Very late comment, but I thought 24a was something to do with latitude and longitude lines and the north and south poles! Too many years teaching Geography!

      1. I’m surprised that the setter didn’t contrive to somehow get Glen Campbell into the clue. Though, he was one without the S. Presumably, the American spelling.

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