Toughie 2874 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2874

Toughie No 2874 by Logman

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Solving the last few clues took me over into 1* Toughie time.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Fuzz arrests recidivist, finding rifle (7)
PILLAGE The raised or fluffy surface of a fabric (fuzz) ‘arrests’ a convict (recidivist), rifle here being a verb not a weapon

9a    Messiah who speaks before missionary essentially follows? (8)
ORATORIO This Messiah is a musical composition rather than a saviour. Someone who speaks before the ‘essential’ letters of missionary

10a    Amazed to have time for hotel available for sale (7)
STOCKED Replace the abbreviation for Hotel in a synonym for amazed with the abbreviation for Time

11a    Case after case of spice drug (8)
SEDATIVE A grammatical case goes after the ‘case’ or outside letters of SpicE

12a    Old Italian coin, one of five found after evacuating Syracuse (6)
SEQUIN One of five babies born at the same time goes after the outside (evacuating) letters of SyracusE to produce an old Italian gold coin

13a    Business operator‘s spread is covered by charge (10)
FRANCHISEE A North American stock farm (spread) and IS (from the clue) ‘covered’ by a charge

15a    Look on the radio for docking facility (4)
PIER A homophone (on the radio) of a synonym for look

16a    Unhappy destiny of men ultimately employed by new city desk (6,3)
STICKY END The ultimate letter of meN ’employed’ by an anagram (new) of CITY DESK

21a    Make a deep impression and the rest start to hope (4)
ETCH The Latin abbreviation meaning ‘and the rest’ followed by the ‘start’ to Hope

22a    Rolls hybrid engaging international workers (10)
CROISSANTS A hybrid ‘engaging’ the abbreviation for International, the result followed by some of crosswordland’s usual workers

24a    Book departure (6)
EXODUS A Book of the Old Testament or a going out (departure)

25a    Such wordy constructs bother memory within a second (8)
ANAGRAMS A verb meaning to worry or annoy (bother) and some computer memory put within or between A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Second

27a    Gambles keeping on new hoods (7)
BONNETS Another way of saying gambles ‘keeping’ ON (from the clue) and the abbreviation for New

28a    Design of lace gave a degree of separation (8)
CLEAVAGE An anagram (design) of LACE GAVE

29a    Liquor store cashier uncovered slick breach of the law (7)
OFFENCE Discard (cashier) the inside (uncovered) letters of sLICk from a liquor store


2d    Undaunted and home on time with pride broken (8)
INTREPID The usual two-letter home goes on (in a Down solution) the abbreviation for Time, then followed by an anagram (broken) of PRIDE

3d    Hearing of people without coats (8)
LACQUERS A homophone (hearing) of people without or short of something

4d    Insects may be environmentally friendly fishing lures (10)
GREENFLIES The colour associated with being environmentally friendly and some fishing lures

5d    Water in Ireland rising (4)
ERIE A reversal (rising) of another name for Ireland produces a large body of water in North America

6d    Join assault, needing help initially to supplant Korean leader (6)
ATTACH Take a synonym for assault and replace the ‘leader’ of Korean with the initial letter of Help

7d    Trudge along, finding answer during journeys east (7)
TRAIPSE The abbreviation for Answer inserted (during) into some journeys, the abbreviation for East being added at the end

8d    Attractive girl learning flower arrangement? (7)
LORELEI Some learning and a garland (arrangement) of flowers

11d    Body blows felt by bridge supremos? (9)
SPANKINGS If you split these body blows 4,5, you’d have an informal way of referring to bridge supremos

14d    Derby tip perhaps gets you fed up! (7,3)
CHEESED OFF The dairy product of which Derby is an example followed by a verb meaning to lift (one’s hat) to greet another person

17d    Condemn study on wild cat (8)
DENOUNCE A study and crosswordland’s favourite wild cat

18d    Used to hear company invested in gold getting endless criticism (8)
ACOUSTIC The abbreviation for company inserted (invested) in the chemical symbol for gold, followed by some criticism without the final letter (endless)

19d    Withdraw cash (7)
SCRATCH A verb meaning to withdraw or a slang term for ready money (cash)

20d    Widow‘s advice to those wanting a flutter? (7)
DOWAGER Another clue where splitting the solution enables you to see the second part of the wordplay. Splitting this widow 2,5 reveals the advice to those wanting a flutter

23d    Made an effort, seeing queen in range (6)
STROVE The Latin abbreviation for queen inserted into a kitchen range

26d    Faces assaults publicly (4)
MUGS Informal faces or part of a verb meaning attacks suddenly with the intention of robbing


13 comments on “Toughie 2874
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  1. Enjoyable without perhaps hitting the heights this setter frequently does in his Jay guise.
    I thought 3d was a tad weak and can’t decide whether I really like 20d or not but did like the rest with 25a my favourite.
    Many thanks to Logman and CS.

  2. A pleasant puzzle that didn’t put up too hard a fight – thanks to Logman and CS.
    My podium contenders are 29a, 8d and 14d.

  3. I enjoyed this with 29a my favourite. I was on pangram alert towards the end of the solve although ultimately the J & Z didn’t put in appearance.

    Many thanks to Logman and to CS.

  4. I agree this was at the easier end of this setters spectrum despite having not come across the second definition for 19d before. A search for synonyms for the first revealed lots of references for the second. Favourite was 29a by a country mile. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  5. Thanks Logman & CS, enjoyed this one a lot. Favourites 11a, 22a, and … 3d (sorry SL, I thought this was funny and satisfyingly silly! Though I do agree on 20d not being quite right, somehow – maybe “advice to those considering a safe bet”?) Not heard of the cheese, but was easy enough to figure out – I guess I am just a cheese philistine. Thanks again!

  6. All good fun though not particularly difficult. It was, however, a delight to solve as is usually the case with this setter under whichever name he uses. 3d made me laugh, and my top clue was 29a.

    My thanks to Logan and CS.

  7. One of my favourite setters in a gentler mode today but still quite enjoyable to solve, though I did think that the wording of the 3d clue was a tad inelegant (my LOI, too). My top three are good old Jay at his best: 8d, 29a, & 13a. Thanks to CS and Logman.

  8. I just couldn’t get on Logman’s wavelength today and in consequence found this much more challenging than have the commentariat so far – a complete reversal of my experience with the backpager. But what a super puzzle, so very clever, amusing and satisfying to solve. Hon Mentions to 22a, 25a, 29a, 3d, and 11d, with COTD to 8d.

    Thank you to Logman and to CS

  9. Enjoyable solve although I did have to check on the Italian coin which I’ll doubtless forget before it turns up again.
    Quite a packed podium housing 22&29a plus 11,14&20d.

    Thanks to Logman and to CS for the review.

  10. Slow solve for me although I had to multi-task and attend a zoom meeting for work at the same time. 22a and 14d were my picks.

    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  11. Solved before the backpager and only slightly harder. Like most Toughies I see a possible solution, dismiss it and go on to see that it was correct but needs a tad more messing with to see how it fits. Thanks to today’s setter and thanks to CS for her review

  12. Thanks to Logman and to crypticsue for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, but I still needed the hints for 1&10a, 3&19d. Had never heard of the latter. Favourite was 11a.

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