Toughie 2901 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2901

Toughie No 2901 by Gila

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sun kissed South Devon 🌴. Gila kicks off the Toughie week with a fun and not overly difficult puzzle. Perfect fare for a Tuesday.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Overwhelmed by fighting, I have to surrender (6)
WAIVER:  The shortened form of “I have” is “overwhelmed” or surrounded  by some conflict

5a        Expectation for particular ballet’s finale (8)
PROSPECT:  A charade of for in the sense of in favour of,  a shortened form of a detail or particular and the final letter of ballet

9a        A doctor and nurse at the front of a queue for certain medication (10)
ADRENALINE:  Another charade of A from the clue, abbreviations for doctor, an (enrolled) nurse, followed by A from the clue and a synonym of a queue. This would certainly get it flowing

10a      Flower engulfed by receding shoreline (4)
NILE:  Hidden (engulfed) and reversed (receding) in the clue.

11a      Student inspired by well-informed, suitable, old mate? (8)

HELPMEET: Insert the abbreviation for student or Learner into a dated synonym of knowledgeable or well acquainted and append a synonym of suitable or fitting. Not my favourite clue

12a      Casually state times for visit (4,2)
DROP BY: A word that could mean mention casually plus a synonym of times in a mathematical sense.

13a      A number of shops mostly providing tea (4)
CHAI:  Remove the final letter from a group of shops.

15a      Attendant in home regularly going round with help (8)
HANDMAID: Start with alternate letters (regularly) of HoMe and insert a synonym of with. Append a synonym of help to the result, which could be an &lit.

18a      Soldier guarding back of unit alongside tense, tough instructor (8)
MARTINET:  Place an (elite) soldier trained in naval operations around (guarding) the final letter of uniT then add the abbreviation for Tense

19a      Beams put up in an auditorium (4)
RAYS:  A homophone (in an auditorium) of a  synonym of put up or erect

21a      Manual rewritten for graduate (6)
ALUMNA:  Anagram (rewritten) of MANUAL

23a      Dull assignment — it takes 24 hours (8)
WORKADAY: A synonym of assignment or task plus a period of 24 hours

25a      Sudden camera movements from right to left (4)
SNAP: A synonym of sudden or quick (maybe preceding the word decision say) when reversed describes the sideways movement of a camera when making a video.

26a      TUC agrees fresh end to striking — a good and bad thing (7,3)
CURATES EGG:  Anagram (fresh) TUC  AGREES along with the final letter of strikinG

27a      Set about probing source of power cut (8)
PREPARED:  Insert a preposition meaning about or regarding into the first letter (source) of Power and a synonym of cut or reduced

28a      Footballer from France snubbed one of its divisions? (6)
CANTON:  A famous somewhat enigmatic French ex footballer loses (snubbed) his last letter



2d        Create confusion by removing cover from seats (5)
ADDLE: Remove the outer letters (covers) from some seats (on horses perhaps)

3d        Struggle with objective opinion (9)
VIEWPOINT:  A synonym of struggle or contend, the abbreviation for With and an objective or purpose

4d        One rambling  somewhere in Italy, we’re told (6)
ROAMER: A rambler or wanderer sounds like the Italian name for its capital city

5d        Have a good time using phone and Twitter recklessly (5,3,4,3)
PAINT THE TOWN RED: Anagram (using recklessly) of PHONE AND TWEET

6d        Excessive work penned by old writer (8)
OVERDONE:  One of the usual synonyms of work is inserted into (penned by) the abbreviation for Old and a 19th century French novelist

7d        Award zero stars, perhaps, to theatrical performance (5)
PANTO: A verb meaning to criticize severely (award zero stars perhaps) plus TO from the clue.

8d        Star — British — in Speed (9)
CELEBRITY:  Insert the abbreviation for BRitish into a rather formal synonym of speed or hast

14d      Big band opening in Hungary, Spain and Ireland when on tour (9)
HEADLINER:  Start with the initial letter of Hungary, add the IVR code for Spain and an anagram of IRELAND (when on tour). The big band refers to their position on the bill.

Here’s one of my favourite bands of the nineties

16d      It’s normal to be put off a wicked act (6,3)
MORTAL SIN:  Anagram (to be put off) of ITS NORMAL

17d      Booster requires filling new can here with nitrogen (8)
ENHANCER:  Anagram (new) of CAN HERE with an insertion of the chemical symbol of Nitrogen.

20d      Army leader taking tips from renegades in the slammer? (6)
CRITIC:  The abbreviation for Commander in Chief “takes” the initial letters (tips) of  Renegades In The.

22d      Clean, flash young boxer? (3,2)
MOP UP:  Splitting the solution 2-3 we have a synonym of flash in the sense of a short time and a young boxer in the canine sense. A bit of a smiler

24d      Bothersome behaviour shown by “characters” in stag group (5)
AGGRO: Hidden in the clue, the characters here being the letters within the final two words.

Plenty to like but my biggest smiles came from 7&22d. Which clues did it for you?

20 comments on “Toughie 2901
Leave your own comment 

  1. A very enjoyable Toughie perhaps appearing a day early – ***/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 6d, and 8d – and the winner is 6d.

    Thanks to Gila and to StephenL.

  2. Tough, but not too tough, toughie with I thought very clear solving instructions. Satisfyingly full grid for once so thanks for the confidence boost Gila and Stephen for your wonderfully concise hints.

  3. I struggled with some of this but having finished it I can’t see why. Wrong wavelength I suppose. Favourite was 18a. Thanks to Gila and SL.

  4. I was intrigued by 11a. I’ve only come across it in a religious context.
    With America fast turning into Gilead, I felt 15a was chilling.

  5. A pleasant early-week Toughie – thanks to Gila and StephenL.
    I had some problems in the SE corner because I’d forgotten the name of the French footballer and it took me long enough to twig that slammer wasn’t being used in the sense of prison.
    Honourable mentions to 23a, 7d and 20d.

  6. A really nice start to the Toughie week. Thank you Gila. Especially for 11 across defined as “a helpful companion or partner, especially one’s husband or wife” by Google whose example of usage was “she acted as his pleasant but by no means uncritical helpmate” A perfect description of Saint Sharon/Nurse Ninepence. I also liked the two stretched synonyms used in 11 across. A pity the learner was so obvious. It took me a while to find the flower at 10 across. Thanks also to StephenL who can have a rest now

  7. Just me then – probably a wavelength issue. Some comfort that Gazza shared my problems in the SE!
    No particular favourite but I did rather like 18a.

    Thanks to Gila and to Stephen for the review.

  8. I was swimming along quite nicely until I reached 20d and 28a (and I still have no idea who the Frenchman is), so I was grateful for Stephen’s hints for those two. Otherwise, a lovely start to the Toughie week for me. 11a & 26a are my co-favourites. Thanks to SL and to Gila.

    1. The Frenchman is most famous for saying “When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea” How can you not know that?

      1. Or for the action in the illustration when he assaulted a fan. Having said that, he was a very fine player.

          1. I think it was against Crystal Palace but I may be wrong. Personally I’m a City fan, my second team is anyone but Liverpool!

  9. Unlike Gazza I was quick to cotton on to the context of slammer & see the answer but having done so reckon I was a darn sight slower to parse it. Fairly plain sailing until one remaining that stubbornly refuses to yield at 11a & that’s even after reading Miff’s comment. I’ll resist the temptation to reveal a letter or read Stephen’s hint in the hope that the penny drops later, as it sometimes does, when I’m not even thinking about it.
    Thanks to Gila for an enjoyable puzzle & to SL

  10. A slow start, but eventually all came good. Except for 11a of course.

    Nice puzzle: thanks to Gila and to StephenL for the blog.

  11. A good puzzle today for the toughie I thought.

    Favourites were 9a, 23a, 3d & 22d with winner 9a

    Thanks to Gila and StephenL

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