Toughie 2928 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2928

Toughie No 2928 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

As usual with Elgar, an extremely satisfying solve with lots of amazing clues,  though a slow start, a slow middle and a slow finish. Several clues parsed after completion – some while writing up the blog, which often happens with me. We have an (8,2,2,5) Nina with a (8,3,6) alternative, enjoy.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    “Dad’s botched Tower theft” as told by Colonel’s son? (5,8)

BLOOD RELATION: The story of the failed attempt to steal the crown jewels by this Colonel can be described by another familiar meaning

8a    Screen a series of Stones concerts (6)

SCONCE: Hidden (a series of … )

9a    Equitably acquire services of broadcaster? (2,6)

BY RIGHTS: A homophone (of broadcaster) of a (3,5) phrase for acquire services

10a    Love of a different sport, perhaps Holland crushing India (3)

NIL: The IVR for Holland contains (crushing) the letter with codeword India

11a    To land on an old nag, front of saddle repositioned (6)

ASHORE: Take an old word that can mean ‘on a nag’, and reposition the first letter (front) of saddle

12a    What’s keen yet wavering operator finally pressed? (5,3)

ENTER KEY: An anagram (wavering) of KEEN YET with the last (finally) letter of operator contained (pressed)

14a/16a 9, inside, it should have one “Quiet” sign installed (7,7)

BRITISH LIBRARY: Inside the first word in 9a we have 2 abbreviations of the second, then inserted (installed) into that we have IT from the clue, the Roman numeral for one, an interjection meaning “Quiet” and a zodiac sign

20a    Frank pictures from the East in spectator’s range (8)

STRAIGHT: A reversal (from the East) of a 3-letter word for pictures goes inside (in) a word meaning spectator’s range

23a    50-year-old journo’s rate of pay? (6)

LINAGE: Split (1,2,3), the answer means 50-year-old (using a Roman numeral)

24a    Off limits, “nosy” guy (3)

ASA: A 5-letter word for “nosy” has the outer letters removed (off limits) to give a man’s name

25a     Where beach borders the shimmering loch’s edge? (8)

SHETLAND: A 4-letter word for beach surrounds (borders) an anagram (shimmering) of THE plus the first letter (edge) of loch

26a    Strait hurried through on return river journey? (6)

NARROW: A reversal (on return) of a 3-letter word meaning ‘hurried through’ plus a ‘river journey’

27a    Civil, I did mild mix, showing them all up (5,8)

ROMAN NUMERALS: These are all presented in ‘Civil, I did mild mix’


1d    Granary bread is short of a filling in my book? More than one! (8)

CORNLOFT: A 4-letter bread missing (short of) an ‘A’ goes inside (filling in) an exclamation meaning “my!” and a biblical book (well, more than one).

2d    Unemployment papers presented to not so welcoming nurse (8)

IDLENESS: Some papers and a 4-letter word meaning ‘not so’ containing (welcoming) a nurse

3d/19d National home with foundering listed? Maybe, I’m not sure (7,7)

WEMBLEY STADIUM: The abbreviation for with, an anagram (foundering) of LISTED MAYBE, and an interjection meaning “I’m not sure”

4d    Reproduce the usual rubbish (6)

PARROT: A 3-letter word for ‘the usual’ and a word meaning rubbish

5d    Will she do Bob doubles – or double? (6)

RINGER: Two meanings, the first involves a set of bells

6d    Second scorer a reciprocal service provider (13)

BACKSCRATCHER: A 4-letter word meaning to second, and another word for scorer

7d    Privates hereabouts suffering for eternity? (6,7)

NETHER REGIONS: Two meanings – the first nothing to do with soldiers!

13d    Decline the love of Robert Browning originally?

EBB: The initials (originally) of the love of Robert Browning

15d    Cube root of 27? Ditto!

III: The ditto refers to a repeat of the ’27’ – in another sense, of course

17d     Setter speaks ill of 25 resident? (8)

ISLANDER: Split (1,7), the answer would mean ‘Setter speaks ill of’

18d    Way to get round unopened Soave shared at cruciverbal gathering? (4,4)

RING ROAD: Remove the first letter (unopened) of Soave, then read it as (1,3), cryptically (shared at cruciverbal gathering)

19d see 3d

21d     A sharp change, end of summer to middle of November, approximately (6)

AUTUMN: A from the clue, a (1-4) sharp change in policy, then swap the last letter (end) of summer with the middle (letter) of November

22d     Are blurred pictures like this in Warhol’s dismal frames? (6)

GRAINY: IN from the clue is framed by an American spelling (Warhols’s) of a word for dismal

Much to like. I loved ‘Granary bread’ (1d), I though the 14/16 all-in-one was excellent, 7d raised a chuckle, and I liked the quirky 27a (together with 15d). Which were your favourite clues?

13 comments on “Toughie 2928
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  1. After a slow start, I finished this unaided, so I’m feeling pretty pleased with myself. COTD for me is 27a; a great penny-drop moment. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  2. I’m not usually a fan of clues which refer back to other clues but 14/16 really is a masterpiece and 15d is pretty impressive too. Of the “normal” clues 21d gets my vote for best in show.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch [what NINA?]

  3. That was tough. A couple of bung ins and a bit of google along the way. 18d gets my vote. I am now looking for the Nina. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  4. Really, really, didn’t enjoy that experience, sorry Elgar.

    Thank you Dutch for the review. Still don’t understand the parsing of the biffed 3/19, and the first incomplete a puzzle in a very long time.

    1. Correction : of the contribution 9a makes to the biffed 14/18 (3/19 is straight forward). Yes, the initial letters of the answer to 9 are BR and there’s a Y in 9, but how does the single digit instruction “9” in the clue result in BR & RY surrounding the (easily found) content? To deduce British Rail and Railway from By Rights – if that’s what is required – seems rather tenuous!

  5. That was properly Tough! Like Dutch, I had a slow start – so slow I thought for several minutes that I was going to have to surrender. Gradually it came together, but I’m afraid I had two or three bung-ins, and needed Dutch’s help for parsing five clues, which I think is my highest number ever. I wish I had spotted the Nina, as it would have helped me with that three letter man’s name which was a total guess. Many, many thanks to Elgar for a real workout, and Dutch for helping me sleep at night.

  6. Late once again, but having only 5 entries in the grid on Friday, I returned to it today and finished it fairly quickly. Failed to.parse 18d, my LOI, and I had no idea of what 6a was all about. Missed the nina as per usual.
    Liked the parsing of BRITISH LIBRARY.

  7. I had a very slow start, and so resorted to the hints for 6A to give me a way in, and then made decent progress until failing at the last on the man’s name. As usual, parsing eluded me for several ! We’ve given up the dead tree edition, and I’m still getting my head around doing crosswords on an iPad without a pen and paper to doodle on.

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