Toughie 2921 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2921

Toughie No 2921 by Shamus

Hints and Tips by StephenL

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BD Rating –  Difficulty * Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a grey skies and grim South Devon coast.

Today I have the pleasure of blogging a puzzle by Shamus for the first time. I know that he usually sets quite accessible and fun puzzles, and this was no exception, with only a couple of parsing issues giving any real pause for thought.


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


6a Pity a creep disrupted entertaining turn (5,5)
PARTY PIECE: Anagram (disrupted) of the preceding three words.

8a Lose one’s temper with game (4)
SNAP: Double definition, one a verb, the other a noun.

9a Writer in film cuts tirade characterising guilt-ridden criminal? (9)
REPENTANT: Start with a writing implement and insert it into a 2-letter film. The whole thing then goes inside (cuts) a verbal tirade.

11a Part of main dynamics for form of motor racing (4)
INDY: Hidden in the clue (part of)

12a Possess robes after doffing jacket (3)
OWN: Remove the outer letters (doffing jacket) of some robes or formal dresses.

13a See among unstable incomes sign of a pause? (9)
SEMICOLON: An old fashioned exclamation used to draw attention to something (see) is inserted into an anagram (unstable) of INCOMES.

16a How drivers gain attention also close to depot (4)
TOOT: An adverb meaning also or as well plus the final letter of depoT.

17a Describe harbour with small amount of sunshine (7)
PORTRAY: A harbour and a shaft of sunlight (sadly lacking here at the moment)

18a Reportedly, more noticeable feature of a rocky landscape (7)
BOULDER: A homophone (reportedly) of a comparative adjective meaning more eye-catching or distinct.

20a Mostly stop round circle of light (4)
HALO: A verb meaning stop or end abruptly loses its last letter. Add the “round” letter.

21a Representation of green lady of iconic status (9)
LEGENDARY: Anagram (representation of) the following two words.

23a Feel sorry about government disowning Liberal (3)
RUE: Remove the abbreviation for Liberal from a synonym of government or administration.

24a Word to greet oddly glib, posturing maestro? (4)
YOGI: An informal greeting or exclamation and the odd letters of GlIb. Clever use of the word “posturing”

25a Expert dropping article on ground in Crete is low-key character (9)
RETICENCE: Remove an indefinite article from a 3-letter expert and append the result to an anagram (ground) of IN CRETE.

29a By the sound of it, one opposing stake (4)
ANTE: Another homophone (by the sound of it) of someone opposing, the antonym being “pro”.

30a Awfully timid son now discontented is racked by doubt (2,3,5)
IN TWO MINDS: Anagram (awfully) of TIMID SON and the outer letters (discontented) of NoW.


1d Fine display in charity bazaar (4)
FAIR: The abbreviation for Fine and a verb meaning to display or show.

2d Put an end to fit of temper right away (4)
STOP: Remove the abbreviation for Right (right away) from a fit of temper or tantrum.

3d Put good slant on short car trip (4)
SPIN: Double definition, the first usually used in a political sense.

4d Discussion to adopt Conservative line for time? It’s a fiasco (7)
DEBACLE: Remove the abbreviation for Time from a discussion or discourse and replace it with abbreviations for Conservative and Line.

5d Tough university employee starts to employ brainy youth getting poorly treated (4,4,2)
HARD DONE BY: A synonym of tough is followed by our usual university employee and the initial letters (starts to) of Employ Brainy Youth.

7d Comedian with small room in New York for musical performer (5,4)
ELTON JOHN: An English comedian and author, probably best known for his work on The Young Ones and Blackadder is followed by an American word (in New York) for “the small room” or loo.

8d Mistake by agricultural worker, it’s said? There’s only a trace (9)
SCINTILLA: Two homophones required here, one for a mistake or wrongdoing, the other for a mechanical plough (agricultural worker)

10d Priest with story in a cycle (3)
ELI: Start with a story, a falsehood and cycle the last letter to the beginning.

13d Be a smart consumer getting concession when drinking in hotel with a set of drinks (4,6)
SHOP AROUND: Place a 3-letter concession, often of little value, around (when drinking in) the abbreviation for Hotel and add an informal term for a set of drinks (1,5) in a bar perhaps.

14d Couple of notes I tore out showing piece of debris (9)
METEORITE: Two notes on the sol-fa scale are followed by an anagram (out) of I TORE.

15d Role chair played in Belgian city (9)
CHARLEROI: Anagram (played) of the preceding two words.

19d A foolish sort had to make trouble (7)
AGITATE: A from the clue, an informal word for an unpleasant or unintelligent person and a synonym of had in the sense of consumed.

22d Outstanding musical composition for a pair in short (3)
DUE: The “outstanding” here means owing, not fabulous. Remove the final letter (in short) of a musical composition performed by two people.

26d Remove loose parts from a number of things (4)
CROP: After a bit of thought I’ve come to the conclusion that this is a double definition, one a verb, the other a noun.

27d Simplistic following associated with Scot on reflection (4)
NAIF: The abbreviation for Following and a Christian name (once) popular in Scotland are reversed (on reflection). I’d never heard of this word but the wordplay and checkers got me there.

28d Completes studies but departs later (4)
ENDS: The abbreviation for Departs is moved a couple of places along (later) in a synonym of studies as a noun.

I’ll award my ticks to 8d as it’s a lovely word, plus 13d and 28d for its clever wordplay.






27 comments on “Toughie 2921

  1. This was as straightforward a Toughie as I can remember completing. No hold ups, obscurities or head-scratching at all. There were still some very fine clues, 8d being a prime example. Very entertaining while it lasted.

    My thanks to Shamus and SL.

    1. All OK apart from 19 & 26d which were unparsed bung ins. Some very clever clues of which 7d stood out for me.

  2. This was an enjoyable puzzle but very gentle – thanks to Shamus and StephenL.
    My ticks went to 8a, 24a (I loved ‘posturing maestro’) and 13d.

  3. I really enjoyed this nicely accessible Toughie last night, and if dinner hadn’t interrupted my finishing it, it might have been my fastest Toughie ever. (But eggplant parmigiana (sorry: aubergine!), with a fine Valpolicella, was not to be denied.) I dithered a bit on 26d but finally concluded, as SL did, that it’s a double definition. I especially liked 8d, 16a, and 24a (the latter two making me laugh) — with a special shoutout to the great 7d, who brought the house down at the very last ‘rock’ concert I attended. Thanks to StephenL and Shamus.

      1. If you’re inclined towards big full-bodied reds, either of you, do look out for Amarone – it too is from Valpolicella, and a good one is absolutely sumptuous. Not cheap, but absolutely wonderful …

        1. I’m more inclined to a nice cup of tea these days Mustafa though I do like the odd glass of Peroni or cloudy cider.

        2. Oh yes, I know the Amarone quite well and have great memories of one special evening at Glimmerglass Opera, in Upstate New York, when Amarone was King Vino. But last night’s Valpolicella was fairly mid-market, I’d say, from our local deli…still quite fine though.

        3. I was given a bottle of amarone for father’s Day, and drank it last week. Absolutely brilliant, and on sale in Tesco’s at £17. Must get some more!

  4. Super early week Toughie, really enjoyed it as a lunchtime diversion. Some good accessible examples of clue types / constructions less frequently seen in backpagers. Plenty of smiles throughout and ticks went to 13a, 4d, 13d and 28d, with COTD to 8d.

    Thank you Seamus for a great puzzle.

    Thanks also to Stephen for the blog and for The Clash – somehow, incredibly, this year is the 40th anniversary of their Combat Rock album (from which came SISOSIG) – where did the years go? Mind you 1982 was a vintage year for albums – Avalon, Love Over Gold, Rio, The Dreaming, Upstairs At Eric’s, Number of the Beast, even Hello I Must Be Going.

    1. When I’m writing the blog I’m always thinking of songs that I like that could be appropriate to a clue and that one fitted the bill nicely I thought.

  5. What a joy this was. It was not really a Toughie in my book, but who cares when it’s this much fun.

    Everything fell into place very smoothly except for 26d, my last one in, where I couldn’t decide if the answer was “chop” or “crop” based on the checking letters and definition “remove loose parts from”. Now I have read SL’s excellent review, I see that it is a double definition – very clever!

    My crowded podium comprises 16a, 24a, 8d & 13d.

    Many thanks to Shamus and to SL.

  6. I too went for the double definition after a lot of deliberating for 26d. Apart from that all pretty straightforward. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to Shamus and SL.

  7. Another excellent piece of work from the Irish leprechaun, with just 26d causing any grief. I faced the same dilemma as RD and finally went for ‘chop’ – I suppose it’s somewhat debateable.
    From amongst a fine collection of clues, I gave the top three places to 24&30a plus 4d.

    Thanks to Shamus and to Stephen for the review.

  8. Thanks to Shamus and to StephenL for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, my first Toughie completion for quite a while. Favourite was 24a. Was 1* /3* for me.

  9. Enjoyable puzzle and not too tricky except at first I put “duo” in 22d and (although I opted for “crop” in 26d) I still ended inexplicably with “slam” in 8a.

    I suppose I was thinking of a grand slam game, so could perhaps claim it was a valid answer as might be “chop” in 26d?

    Thanks to Shamus for the puzzle and StephenL for the blog.

  10. Nice gentle intro to the Toughie week. “Posturing maestro” in 24a is lovely and 28d is a model of clue construction.
    Thanks to Shamus and SL

  11. Looks like we had a similar pause for thought as today’s blogger before settling on the answer for 26d.
    A Shamus puzzle is always something we look forward to and this one lived up to that expectation.
    Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Shamus and SL.

  12. I didn’t quite finish today, but this was enjoyable nonetheless. Thanks for the hints which nicely explained some that I couldn’t get!

  13. 1shy & 1 wrong so no unaided finish sadly. Add me to those who flipped a coin & went for chop – which is exactly what I deserve for a lamentable failure to get a 9 letter word (14d) with 6 checkers in & despite twigging the wordplay without looking at the hint where the pic gave the game away. 24a my favourite with a ticks for 4d (nice surface) &8d
    Thanks to Shamus & Stephen

  14. Found this puzzle much easier and more able to work through than todays back-pager, I must say😊
    1.5*/4* for me.

    Favourites include 13a, 17a, 5d, 13d & 14d
    My laugh was 16a!

    New words for me in 15d & 27d

    Thanks to Shamus and SL

  15. Well I’m back in the morning after club and feeling very pleased with myself as I nearly managed the whole toughie by myself. I couldn’t manage the pesky 26d and 27d or 18a despite having checkers in. Not to worry it was a good mental workout. Thanks to Shamus and SL. I’m not enjoying these darker mornings.

  16. Thank you for the tip to give this one a try Stephen.

    You were dead right and I’m glad I followed your advice .

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