Toughie 2849 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2849

Toughie No 2849 by Robyn

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thank you Robyn for providing a real Tuesday Toughie. I struggled a bit with the last few but that should be the norm over here on the dark side

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Wholesale whiskey and fish paste (10)
WIDESPREAD: Begin with the letter indicated by the word whisky in phonetic alphabets. (I’m not sure why we have Irish Whiskey and not Scotch Whisky). Add a fish popular with crossword setters. Add what a paste is when used on a sandwich. I remember

6a Information not following in religious book (4)
ACTS: Remove the abbreviation for following from pieces of information known or proven to be true to find the fifth book of the New Testament

9a A lot of trees, if not leaves you can eat (7)
ORCHARD: A two-letter word suggested by the words if not is followed by some edible green leaves

10a Proper, upper-class jacket of Lycra is ornamental (7)
PRIMULA: A word meaning stiffly correct is followed by the letter which denotes upper class. Finish off with the outer letters of the word Lycra

12a Motto of waiter, exhausted, needing G&T? (3,2,4,4)
ALL IN GOOD TIME: The first two words here are synonymous with the words exhausted, knackered, spent or tired. Add the words suggested by the abbreviations G and T

14a Comic performance better finishing early (6)
IMPROV: Remove the last letter of a verb meaning to make or become better

15a European region ousting leader accepts deed is cause of complaint (8)
BACTERIA: A south-western European peninsula needs its first letter removing and a three letter deed inserting

17a Aware when unusual knowledge to experience a revival (8)

REAWAKEN: An anagram (when unusual) of AWARE is followed by a noun meaning one’s range of knowledge or understanding

19a Loud vocalist mostly chilled (6)
FRAPPE: The musical abbreviation for loud is followed by a vocalist specialising in a type of popular music of US black origin in which words are recited rapidly and rhythmically over an instrumental backing. Not the first choice of music for most accessing this blog

22a Proof what criminals do infiltrates my address (13)
CORROBORATION: A three part charade. A word describing what thieves do lies after a word meaning my or blimey and before a spoken address

24a Monkey regarding, say, Van Gogh’s technique (7)
IMPASTO: The first three letters here relate to a monkey, rascal or scamp. The last four letters need to be split 2,2 to mean regarding say

25a Court finally sent away unscrupulous opportunist (7)
CHANCER: Remove the last letter from the Lord Chancellors court which is a division of the High Court of Justice

26a Saint John’s perhaps a Czech (4)
SLAV: A single letter abbreviation for Saint is followed by a slang term for a toilet indicated by a slang term for a toilet which is more commonly used in America I think

27a Carry out tours around area, running through (10)
IMPALEMENT: Insert the abbreviation for area into a verb meaning to put an agreement, plan or decision into effect. I often say that checkers are your friends. Not in this case they weren’t


1d Promoters of health spa ultimately stop (4)
WHOA: The abbreviation for a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health is followed by the final letter of the word spa

2d Modern artist — in Berlin, you will get Munch (7)
DUCHAMP: Translate the word you into German. Add a word meaning to munch as a horse might at the bit. The result is an artist known for his readymades whatever they might be

3d Stops oatmeal getting sprinkled around large trifle (5,8)

SMALL POTATOES: Anagram (getting sprinkled) of STOPS OATMEAL plus the abbreviation for Large

4d Manipulate housing racket in old county area (6)
RIDING: A noisy racket sits inside a word meaning to manipulate or manage or conduct (something) fraudulently so as to gain an advantage. Here is a noisy racket just for you

5d Green light is item on phone with right shape (8)
APPROVAL: The item on a phone is a computer application. Begin with its common abbreviation. Add the abbreviation for right. Add the shape of a cricket field or squashed circle

7d Person delivering The Telegraph’s fancy rice cakes (7)
COURIER: An anagram (fancy) of rice surrounds or cakes a determiner meaning belonging to. I suppose the Daily Telegraph fits the bill as newspaper we and the setter consider to belong to us

8d Eccentric fixed outside step with rake (5,5)
SPACE CADET: Three synonyms are required here. One for fixed or placed. One for a single step when walking. One for a rake or bounder. Arrange as per the instructions in the clue

11d I’m entertained in a form that’s ‘nouvelle vague‘ (13)
INDETERMINATE: Anagram (in a form that’s nouvelle) of I’M ENTERTAINED

13d PC needs these, which may be made from 3? (10)
MICROCHIPS: The number 3 here refers us to the answer to 3 down. I think this clue is self explanatory. A term meaning tiny French fries perhaps

16d Oscar stood up in predicament, showing great bottle (8)
JEROBOAM: A word meaning stood or tolerated is reversed and placed inside a synonym of the word predicament. Now find a place for the letter suggested by Oscar in phonetic alphabets

18d General Secretary follows American with control (7)
AGRIPPA: This Roman general, first names Marcus Vipsanius can be found by placing a noun meaning to have an effective control over something after the abbreviation for American and before a secretary or personal assistant

20d Greek god on long dash (7)

PANACHE: The Greek god of almost everything is followed by a longing or yearning for something

21d  One in black shirt leaving street with a phone case (6)
FASCIA: A far right dictatorial extremist needs the abbreviation for street changing to the letter A to provide a detachable covering for the front part of a mobile phone

23d Queen breaking finger, which is red (4)
TROT:  A finger or measure of spirits (tot) surrounds the abbreviation for queen or Regina to give a shortened form of a supporter of Leon Trotsky possibly




39 comments on “Toughie 2849

  1. Took me a while to get going on this very entertaining puzzle. Great fun.

    Thanks to MP and Robyn.

  2. Terrific! Loved this from first to last, solved between visits to the barber.
    Not easy but I’ve got ticks all over the grid.
    9,12&26a all made me smile broadly, thought 1d was very clever and liked the linked 3&13d. Also liked 21&23d where we went from one political extreme (in the wordplay at least) to the other. Intentional or coincidental?
    Great stuff.
    Thanks to Robyn and MP for the top notch entertainment.

  3. Robyn provides another splendid actual Toughie on a Tuesday for our solving pleasure. I found the RH side considerably trickier than the left. My favourite has to be the link between the solutions to 3d and 13d

    Thanks very much to Robyn – if only all Tuesdays were like this – and also to Miffypops

  4. Tough for Tuesday, with some cunningly disguised definitions of which my favourite was 11d. I spent quite a while trying to justify “scan” for 26.
    Thanks to Robyn and MP [I’ll take Afrika B over the Carpenters any day]

  5. My inability to tune-in to Robyn’s wavelength is undiminished, and I found this more of a Wednesday/Thursday than Tuesday Toughie. Some quite odd surfaces rather took the edge off for me, and while the answer to 12a was a write-in, the abbreviations G and T do not lead me to an instant reaction of “oh, a good time”, so it felt like a “pick two words beginning with G and T because it makes the surface scan with a smile” sort of clue. Sorry. Ticked were 23d and 13d.

    3.5* / 1.5*

    My thanks to Robyn for the challenge, and to MP for the blog. I often think of Blondie when it comes to rap music, and am somewhat startled to note that their song Rapture was a hit 41 years ago now. The old tempus does rather fugit.

  6. Thanks, Miffypops: I got stuck in the bottom-right corner until rescued me.

    It was fun, though. At the point I’d solved 14 clues, 8 of them were marked as potential favourites. I’ll go for 4D, because Yorkshire. Thank you to Robyn, especially for such clear cluing on the Roman and the plant, enabling me to get them even though I didn’t know them.

  7. A really top notch puzzle to kick off the new Toughie week. Packed full of excellent clues throughout. Annoyingly still require 2 to finish (pesky 4 letter blighters at 23d&26a) where despite reasonable confidence I’ve got the definition I still can’t see them despite a break for a nice walk in the sunshine. I’ll have another look later otherwise I’ll need a shove over the line from Miff. Had to check on the brushman but remembered the Roman. The 3/13d combo tops for me with further ticks for 1,14,15,19&22a plus 8,16&21d though there wasn’t a duffer in there.
    Thanks to Robyn & in advance to MP

    1. Twigged the Czech eventually but Smylers got me over the line with the red – very partial (in the days when I was allowed) to a malt so particularly irritating not to have figured out the finger synonym.
      Enjoyed your review Miff.

  8. Excellent toughie thanks to Robyn.
    Seemed harder than usual for Tuesday.
    Thanks again to MP for some parsing assistance.
    I’m surprised you didn’t show”The Shower” as an example of Duchamp’s work.

    1. I think he was taking the **** with The Shower. Though L H O O Q was quite a funny play on words.

  9. This was a breath of fresh air coming so soon after completing a generally lack lustre backpager. By comparison, this was sparkling, with some elegant clues, foremost among which was the 3d/13d combo.

    Thanks to Robyn for the great challenge and to MP.

  10. Took a while to get into this puzzle and gradually completed the solve, certainly a notch or two over the usual Tueday intro to the toughie week, certainly enjoyable.
    The four letter clues were difficult to parse with 23d the last in and the D’oh moment arrived when the finger wagged!
    Liked 18d and the surface of 25a-this was also in a recent puzzle last week.
    Mny thanks to Robyn and MP.

  11. Think I must be losing it. Needed a letter hint, and had to look at MP’s excellent parsings to see the reasoning behind a good few. Can’t say it was an enjoyable solve but hey, it’s a Toughie and I found it more than worthy of the name. Hope this doesn’t bode badly for the rest of the week… after all, it’s only Tuesday!
    Thanks both.

  12. I thought this was brilliant from start to finish–tough, tricky, & thoroughly enjoyable–with the 3d/13d connection winning the Gold but 1d, 16d, 14a & 23d fighting it out amongst themselves for the other laurels. Great start of the Toughie week. Thanks to MP and Robyn.

  13. I have to register a dnf as I needed the hints for 8d, a phrase I’m unfamiliar with, and 23d, a word I would not associate with red. I still can’t see it if I’m honest, I’m sure someone will enlighten me. I really liked the 3d/13d combination though. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

    1. Hi, Taylor. For 23D, think of the answer as a shortened name for a particular group of people and what they believe in …

      The answer and definitions are both nouns, even if one looks like a verb and t’other an adjective.

  14. A puzzle worth the name of a Toughie on a Tuesday, for a change. **/***. Thanks to Robyn and MP.

    Why does a person make more than one trip to a barber on the same day?

    1. StephenL? Can anybody explain the proliferation of barbers shops all over the place. The village next to ours has eleven barbers shops in the high street. Far Gosford Street in Coventry seems to have them every other shop in a short distance.

      1. There are three in a row just around the corner from the Women’s hairstylist I take Mama Bee to most Fridays. I haven’t visited a barbers for 20 plus years so usually save the wait for tackling the Friday toughie. I need a full perm to tackle an Elgar though.

  15. Thank you both that hadn’t occurred to me. Delete the previous comment I’m just having a bad day.

  16. I thought this was marginally easier than Robyn’s last Sunday Toughie but still a good fit for a Tuesday Toughie. I think that I will agree with CS in liking the 3d 13d combo spud based clues. The opportunity to research the work of 2d was a pleasant diversion though and congrats to Miffs for avoiding the obvious pissoir. Thanks to Miffs and Robyn for the fun crossword and blog.

    1. How rude but at least you said please. The answers were covered as always. There has been some sort of glitch of late which means the answers are showing on some devices. As for Danword …

      1. With the exception of JB yesterday I think most complaining about this glitch are anonymous names never seen before. They mostly seem to follow a format of terseness without being willing to say which browser or platform they are using. Is this some sort of backdoor spam thing? Maybe JB can shed some light on her problems. I haven’t had these problems myself but similar problems were solved by regular cache clearing. (although I once went too far and lost all my Wordle stats!

        1. Answers uncovered in Toughie but covered in Cryptic. How’s that for confusion!
          The Toughie by the way was quite out of my league.

          1. I’ve just covered all the solutions in today’s Toughie blog so it will be interesting to learn what you can or cannot see this afternoon

            1. I’ve just logged in and had a look. I can verify that all of today’s Toughie answers are covered

  17. Agree with the majority above. A really challenging solve but enough to make you think you could finish, which I did with a little help. Thanks to Robyn for good company on a long train ride

  18. Tricky but good fun sums it up for us too. the 3d/13d gets our vote for top of the pops.
    Thanks Robyn and MP.

  19. I read the blog everyday, but have never commented previously. I have not had a problem with uncovered answers until the last couple of weeks, but it now seems a permanent “fault”. I access via Google Chrome on my Android Motorola phone which is permanently backed-up and regularly “cleaned”….Why now!

    1. I spoke to Big Dave about this and it’s quite a complicated business setting spoilers in WordPress. I believe our resident WordPress wizard Mr Kitty is looking into the problem

      1. Many thanks MP for the prompt response regarding uncovered answers in “hints”, hopefully it can be sorted soon

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