Toughie 2861 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2861

Toughie No 2861 by Moeraki
Hints and Tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone and welcome to the start of another Toughie week.

Moeraki is a bit of a mystery setter, he or she doesn’t seem to appear elsewhere and not too often here. Given the epithet and maybe one of today’s clues I wonder if there’s a Kiwi connection.

Anyway to today’s puzzle, an amazing quadruple pangram. This results in one or two unusual words, all obtainable from checkers and wordplay. I enjoyed it a lot.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Sporting establishment for driver (4,4)
GOLF CLUB: The driver here has nothing to do with cars but is likely to be found at Augusta or Royal Birkdale.

5a Two tasks, the first: cut a herbal cosmetic (6)
JOJOBA: Repeat a synonym of a task or duty but remove the last letter of the first. Add the A from the clue.

9a Cardinal points past brand name tents (8)
MARQUEES: Append (past) two points of the compass to a brand or trade name.

10a Table linen any rep ordered (6)
NAPERY: Anagram (ordered) of the preceding two words.

12a Dress code’s first introduced in African city (6)
TUNICS: Insert the initial letter of Code into an North African city. The solution is plural but the definition suggests singular.

13a  Alcoholic drinks, quite new, last endlessly
TEQUILAS: Anagram of QUITE plus LAS(T)

15a Spelling test includes complex quiz game (7)
BEZIQUE: A 3-letter spelling test goes around (includes) an anagram (complex) of QUIZ.

16a Fly low, turning after sharp bends (4)
ZOOM: A reversal of a synonym of low as a verb goes after the letter that indicates or describes sharp bends.

20a  In the face of Australia’s very old wicket, declare (4)
AVOW: A first letters clue (in the face of).

21a Artist Paul with name on former partner’s hanky (7)
KLEENEX: A charade of a (German) artist with the abbreviations for Name and the usual former partner.

25a Unmarried man’s degree status! (8)
BACHELOR: A pretty obvious cryptic definition.

26a Land and come round about eleven (6)
MEXICO: Insert the Roman numeral for eleven into an anagram of COME

28a Could be a bust of three letters, some reported (6)
EFFIGY: The three syllables of the solution when spoken are three letters.

29a Hot Indian meal could be fare Jack and Liz cooked (8)
JALFREZI: Anagram (cooked) of FARE and LIZ and the abbreviation for J(ack)

30a Make quick run, leaving cover behind (6)
STREAK: The cover here are your clothes! Need I say more.

31a Icarus owned these birds (8)
WAXWINGS: Split the solution 3-5 to give what Icarus owned, coming to grief by flying too close to the sun.


1d Cell bars restraining setter (6)
GAMETE: A barrier goes around (restraining) a first person pronoun (setter)

2d Box of vibrators (6)
LARYNX: This box is in one’s throat, larger in males than females, though you never know these days.

3d Service stations getting milk and tea containers shortly? (8)
CHURCHES: Remove the last letter (shortly) of both a milk and a tea container. The service is religious.

4d Like some previous edition? (4)
USED: Hidden in the clue. I think this is an &lit too.

6d Pop a question that’s somewhat obscure (6)
OPAQUE: Hidden in the clue (somewhat)

7d Disregard   survey (8)
OVERLOOK: Double definition, one more obvious than the other.

8d Bloomers produced by poor slums, say (8)
ALYSSUMS: Anagram (poor) of the following two words.

11d French nobleman in action worked out (7)
DEDUCED: Place the French word for a Duke inside an action or act.

14d Having a complaint, little woman in Kentucky is a party-pooper (7)
KILLJOY: A 3-letter adjective describing someone with a medical complaint and one of the “Little Women” go inside the abbreviation for the state of KentuckY.

17d Spring visitors causing unseemly brawl at Queen’s (8)
WARBLERS: Make an anagram of BRAWL and add the royal cypher of our fabulous queen with the possessive S.

18d Stand surety against roof being rebuilt over University College Hospital (5,3)
VOUCH FOR: Start with the V (against) then insert the abbreviation for University College Hospital into an anagram of ROOF.

19d Perennial plant not many associated with disease (8)
FEVERFEW: Append a word meaning “not many” to a word that indicates a disease by causing the body’s temperature to rise.

22d Even parts of quiz game developed this figure (6)
ZEUGMA: Anagram (developed) of the even letters of qUiZ plus GAME

23d Homer from the Iron Age (6)
PIGEON: A name for some crude iron and an indefinite and long period of time.

24d Talking points where film buffs go (6)
TOPICS: Split these talking points or themes 2-4 and you will see the wordplay.

27d Reporter caught out by a challenge (4)
HAKA: Remove the abbreviation for Caught from a pejorative term for a reporter and add A from the clue.

Fabulous, thank you Moeraki.



33 comments on “Toughie 2861

  1. When I said to Mr CS over breakfast ‘there’s a lot of Qs in this crossword’ I had a feeling we were on for at least a double pangram but I never quite expected the quadruple.

    Thanks to Moeraki for a most enjoyable, tour-de-force of a crossword with too many great clues to pick a favourite in this Proper Toughie on a Tuesday. Thanks also to Stephen L

  2. After the disappointing back pager this was a breath of fresh air and I thought it was going to be something special when pairs, and one triplet, of the more ‘unusual’ letters were ‘popping up’ in the same answer – **/*****.

    Candidates for favourite – 21a, 30a, 2d, 3d, and 11d – and the winner is 2d.

    Thanks to Moeraki for the splendid entertainment and to StephenL.

  3. What an incredible achievement to set a quadruple pangram with no obscure words. This was nicely challenging without being too tough and was great fun to solve. I agree with CS that it would invidious to try to select one clue from so many excellent candidates.

    Many thanks to Moeraki and to SL.

  4. What a great feat to produce a quadruple pangram without the need to resort to lots of obscurities (although the 8d bloomers were new to me). Thanks to Moeraki and StephenL.
    I’ve selected 2d (LOL), 3d and 27d for my podium.
    More puzzles like this and I’m sure that Moeraki will be promoted to, say, the Thursday Toughie Beat!

  5. Splendid! Got everything but the challenge in 27d (already had four aitches, so the idea of a quadruple pangram didn’t help me there), but what an amazing feat this is. I have to go along with 22d a my COTD because in poetic theory & practice it’s one of the most sublime figures that can be wrought. Note to self: Must learn more Maori. Thanks to StephenL and Moeraki (do come again, sir or madam!).

    1. 27d my last in Robert. I’d miscounted my Ks & that was how I fortuitously arrived at the answer.

  6. Blimey! Quite an achievement – and eminently doable too. Nothing particularly stands out except perhaps the service stations at 3d but it was all good fun. Thanks to Moeraki and SL.

  7. An absolute tour de force. How anyone can get a quadruple pangram to also be a most enjoyable solve is beyond my comprehension.
    Ticks all over my paper but I’ll pick out 26&31a plus 2,3&17d for special mention.
    I have a ‘feeling in my water’ that we do know who our mystery setter is but getting him to admit to it could be a very different matter!

    Many thanks to Moeraki for an excellent puzzle and to the lucky Stephen who got to review this gem.

  8. A very well clued puzzle ,all went smoothly until I reverted back to the NW corner where only 1a was originally solved, eventually twigged 1d, and all fell into place.Favourites were 2d and 3d with a special mention to 31a for originality and also 23d.
    22a was new to me,
    A top class Tuesday crossword and a ***/****.
    Again thanks setter and SL

  9. If Cryptic Sue hadn’t mentioned this to me this morning I’d have been oblivious to any form of pangram let alone a quadruple. A fine puzzle as usual from this setter which I enjoyed very much so thanks and well done to him or her. Thanks to Mr Lord for the review. Who remembers when the Haka was just something to get out of the way performed to the crowd in the main stand and not the opposition?

  10. A remarkable feat, for which my thanks to Moeraki. The puzzle threatened to be much more challenging than it actually was, not helped by this five-in-one grid, and it fell very swiftly, ending in the NW.

    Enjoyment factor entirely ruined by the spoilers on the other thread.

    2* / 1* – sorry, Moeraki, that’s no reflection on your excellent puzzle, for which many thanks.

      1. A lifetime ago, MP, certainly too long ago to recall any material detail. It being by Rattigan helped with a clue in the last couple of weeks.

  11. Naturally I missed the fact that this was a pangram, let alone a quadruple. Quite remarkable and a real work of genius in my opinion. I am in awe of the setter’s ability. Picking a favourite would be disingenuous so I won’t attempt to do so. The whole solving process had a nice flow to it, which was probably how I missed the pangramatic elements.

    My thanks and admiration to Moeraki and to SL.

  12. Having accounted for the double pangram I then wrote down the missing letters for the triple which helped the solve, I didn’t count any more. Absolutely brilliant though. Only 22d I was unfamiliar with but very fairly clued. I parsed everything too. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go for 28a. Thanks to Moeraki and SL.

  13. Absolutely superb. Like TG I quickly accounted for the double then the triple & then started all over again for the 4. I’ll lay odds that this puzzle won’t be beaten this year for a cumulative Scrabble score. Pleased to finish & parse them without a letter reveal despite needing to check the flora at 8&19d, the oil at 5a & the 22d figure all of which unfamiliar to me. Among the many fine clues 15,21,26,28&31a plus 2,3,6,14&24d the standouts for me.
    Thanks to Moeraki & hats off for a such a setting achievement & to Stephen.

    1. And hats off to you Huntsman for solving it. You have come a long way during your time on this blog

  14. I thoroughly enjoyed this which is saying something as I rarely get anywhere with Toughies. I needed the hints for two (22d and 27d) but the rest fell into place with a bit of thought and reading the clues without jumping to conclusions. I missed the quadruple pangram but then I often miss a normal pangram.

    My favourite clue is 3d – it gave me quite a laugh once I twigged.

    Many thanks, Moeraki, for the fun. Huge thanks to StephenL for the hints.

  15. I believe we’ve mentioned it before but there is a Moeraki beach in NZ. Surely the 2 Kiwis know?

    1. Moeraki is a popular tourist spot as the beach is strewn with giant rounded boulders. Great for climbing on and taking selfies.

  16. I have never heard of 22d.
    I’m not sure how 27d was parsed but I have fond memories of my late sister’s NZ boyfriend and his mates performing it in our parent’s Canadian apartment in the 1960’s. I wonder what happened to him?

  17. What a magnificent tour de force. Our favourite of course was 27d but lots of other ticks too.
    Thanks Moeraki and SL.

  18. Decided to do this after all the comments in the back pager blog.
    Very enjoyable with a couple of unknown words for me in 29a and 27d
    Favourites 15a, 26a, 2d,3d & 14d with winner 2d …very clever!
    15a was a close contender for winner too

    Thanks to Moeraki for a great puzzle and StephenL for great hints

  19. Congratulations to Moeraki for such an achievement.
    Knew it was more than a double pangram but stopped counting after a while.
    The figure in 22d and the dish in 29a were new to me.
    Thanks to the setter and to StephenL for the review.

  20. Late to the party again, you experts have quite rightly praised the setter’s ability in producing a crossword masterpiece, the likes of myself are in awe at the ability of every cryptic setter.
    Unusually (Friday (you know who) apart), this was a DNF for me, even with the hints and electrons available I failed at 5a. Must have led a sheltered life as 1d, 8d, 19d, 22d & 29a were all new words for me.
    I have no complaints, this is what a toughie is all about.
    Thanks to Moeraki for the workout and SL for the review.

  21. Better late than never! I came across this puzzle having seen yesterday’s review of Moeraki’s latest toughie. Seeing that it was a quadruple pangram, I just had to have a go and quite brilliant it was too. In fact I’d say one of the best puzzles I’ve done for a long time. Thanks to Moeraki for the ingenuity and fun!

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