Toughie 2941 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2941

Toughie No 2941 by Hudson

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone from a cloudy but mild South Devon coast.

Hudson provides the Tuesday fun and what a treat he’s given us. I think this is the first time I’ve blogged one of his puzzles, hoping it won’t be the last.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Married actor who played The King is, according to Spooner, the main earner (11)
BREADWINNER: An informal synonym of married and the surname of the actor who played the title role in The King and I receive the Spooner treatment.

10a E Sussex town student accommodation which is very basic (5)
HOVEL: A town often referred to as the “posh part of Brighton” (it shares the name of the football team) plus the usual abbreviation for student.

11a Some hope kismet claims detective creation of Biggers, E. D. (3,6)
FAT CHANCE: The detective created by the author named in the clue, written in the same way of said author, is inserted into a synonym of kismet. This is a device often used by setters so it’s worth remembering.

12a Predatory killer wrecked Pearl Harbor without limits (5,4)
POLAR BEAR: Anagram (wrecked) of PEARL hARBOr (without limits)

13a Lady’s dose of Moderna Omicron (5)
NAOMI: Hidden (dose of) in the clue

14a Setter’s firm refusal to retire in Melbourne or Adelaide? (6)
EPONYM: A first person determiner (setter’s) is followed by a word to express a refusal emphatically and the result is reversed (to retire)

16a Tristan’s inamorata, energy spent, had dinner in alone (8)
ISOLATED: The lover of Tristan in a 12th century tale (no, me neither) loses the abbreviation for Energy (spent) and it’s replaced by a verb meaning “had dinner”.

18a Retro swimming pool fashion shot by introduction of flash bulb (8)
DAFFODIL: An outdoor swimming pool and a short-lived fashion incorporating (shot by) the first letter (introduction of) of Flash are all reversed (retro)

20a Flat racehorse breeder starts to infuriate owners (6)
STUDIO: A breeder of racehorses and the initial letters of the last two words.

23a Bung a bit of bacon in soft cheese (5)
BRIBE: The initial letter (bit of) of Bacon is inside some French soft cheese.

24a Figure out quickly following boring Arsenal wasted time (5,4)
LEARN FAST: THE abbreviation for Following is inserted into (boring) an anagram (wasted) of ARSENAL and the abbreviation for Time is appended.

26a Corners knights? (3,6)
SET PIECES: Double definition, one a reference to chess, the other football.

27a American invited to school dance event for ill-matched couples (3-2)
PRO-AM: Insert the abbreviation for American into an informal word for a school dance (do they still exist?). The couples are partners at golf events for one.

28a Ugly desk, ugly rug, ugly practice (11)
SKULDUGGERY: Anagram (ugly) of the following three words. Unusual in that the anagram indicator also happens to be in the fodder and the definition Great word, great clue.


2d Turn handle and push the boat out (5)
REVEL: A reversal (turn) of a type of handle.

3d Unfortunate reaction of friend taking on certain amount of work (7)
ALLERGY: A unit of work or energy is inserted into a crossword staple friend.

4d Breezed in with a newspaper boss (6)
WAFTED: A nice charade…the abbreviation for With, A from the clue, the abbreviation for a (pink) newspaper and the usual abbreviation for our newspaper EDitor.

5d Authenticate documents senorita forged (8)
NOTARISE: Anagram (forged) of SENORITA

6d Neat booze (more than Olive had consumed) (7)
ETHANOL: Hidden (had consumed) in the clue.

7d Herb sped out of control in quiet area of W London (9,4)
SHEPHERDS BUSH: An anagram of HERB SPED is inserted into an instruction to “be quiet”….. brilliant!

8d New doublet, trousers knight left open (8)
UNBOLTED: Anagram (new) of DOUBLET contains the abbreviation for knight.

9d Mediocre POTUS prancing around in weskit and breeches? (6,7)
PERIOD COSTUME: Anagram (prancing around) of the preceding two words. What a great surface read!

15d Where one takes a risk, being on a slippery slope (3-5)
OFF PISTE: My first thoughts were that this was a cryptic definition but on reflection I think it’s a double definition as the solution is used in a wider context these days. The slope is slippery as it’s covered in snow.

17d Such as 13 and 2 x 1lb about about about? (8)
BIBLICAL: Two instances of ILB arranged (about) around the (about) Latin abbreviation for about or CircA. Phew! About performs three different roles in the clue!

19d Christobel is killed, pierced by a dagger (7)
OBELISK: Hidden (pierced by) in the clue.

21d One steadies Guy, having got hammered (4,3)
TENT PEG Cryptic definition, the solution being particularly familiar to those who like camping (I couldn’t think of anything worse)

22d New bottom for American gold capital (6)
NASSAU: The abbreviation for New, how an American may refer to the derriere and the chemical symbol of gold.

25d Head of Royal Mail denied love affair (5)
AMOUR: Nothing to do with the postal service, the mail here refers to some protective clothing. We need to remove one of the Rs (head of Royal).

Great stuff Hudson, my winners are 11,14&28a plus 7&9d.

In the wake of what would have been his 82nd birthday I’ve been trawling around YouTube looking for one of John Lennon’s lesser known gems. I found this.

36 comments on “Toughie 2941
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  1. That was fun and, for me, slightly less challenging than the back pager – 1.5*/4.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 20a, 27a, and 15d – and the winner is 15d.

    Thanks to Hudson and to StephenL.

  2. I’ve come to appreciate that a Hudson Toughie is a rare and special treat – and this hugely enjoyable puzzle was exactly that. Thought it perfectly-pitched for the Tuesday slot with humour and inventive clueing throughout. Amongst a long-list of great clues including a couple of top-class lurkers, 28a is surely clue of the day, if not the month?

    Many thanks to Hudson and Stephen L for unravelling some of my bung-ins.

  3. Oh this was good! I particularly loved 28a, great fun! Can you explain why Melbourne and Adelaide are 14a’s as it’s killing me. Great track from JL with whom I shared a birthday. I hadn’t heard it before. Thank you Hudson and Stephen.

    1. The reference to Melbourne is their word for refusal. Adelaide is the example of a 14a as it is a place named after a person

    1. If the author is ED Biggers, write the detective created by him in the same way the author is written in the clue. Place the result in a synonym of kismet.

  4. One of my favourite setters with one of his usual splendid crosswords, which I found on the cusp between a 5* backpager and a 1* Toughie

    Thanks very much to Hudson and StephenL

  5. Superb puzzle – many thanks to Hudson and StephenL.
    Did anyone else try to work out which actors had played Elvis (until the penny dropped with a great thump)?
    My podium boasts 11a, 14a and 26a.

  6. This was great fun although I failed in touching distance of the finishing line being unable to parse my answer for 25d. Thanks for the explanation, SL.

    Although 17d is a very clever construction, the surface is nonsensical.

    Many thanks to Hudson, along with a bonus point as I was delighted to see the American word in 22d correctly indicated.

    I had a lot of ticks and the outstanding 26a was my favourite.

  7. Not too difficult but enormously satisfying and rewarding to complete. This was stuffed full of inventive clues, including my favourite, 14a. I even appreciated the Spoonerism, which I solved straight away.

    Thanks to both Hudson and SL.

  8. So much to enjoy and in a rare occurrence for me I’m putting the Spoonerism at the top of the leader board. Joining it are 20,27&28a plus 7d.

    Thanks to Hudson for the fun and to Stephen L for the review.

  9. Just the job for a Tuesday. It all went in reasonably quickly until I reached the bottom right where 17,24 and 25 put up fierce resistance. I rather admire 17 but it’s a bit clunky and I can’t resist bum clues so it’s 22d for the award with 18a the runner-up.
    Thanks to Hudson and SL.

  10. I struggled with a few of these but got there and parsed everything, not always the case. Top puzzle. Favourite was 17d. Thanks to Hudson and SL.

  11. Nicely clued throughout, made a few errors in the SW corner-ski lifts did not help!
    Last in was 14a, can’t remember the word, will make a note.
    I6a my favourite followed by 25d going fir a ***/***
    Thanks SL for the pics.

    1. I like to think I offer slightly more than the pictures Beaver but thanks for the thanks and pleased you liked them!

  12. I just loved this one, with 1a and 28a running neck-and-neck for the COTD and possibly, for both of them, CsOTWeek. The expression ‘push the boat out’ is one I haven’t heard since my days at U of Nottingham, and I love the image (especially if it’s a yacht or something deluxe like that!). The entire puzzle gave me such a sense of joy and uplift that I must thank Hudson for such pleasures, and of course my thanks to Stephen for the very fine review.

    Jimmy and I watched ‘The King and I’ again the other night and both of us started singing along to ‘Shall We Dance?’ as Anna and the King twirled bout, and then we both broke out into delirious giggles.

  13. What a super puzzle: exactly what a Tuesday Toughie should be: a step up from a Friday backpager, not yet a brain-mangler. Thank you Hudson for a delightful challenge, abounding with smiles and such witty clue constructions, lurkers, cryptics and anagrams. I think that was the first time I’ve ever written in a Spoonerism as my first answer!

    Thanks also to SL for the review.

  14. Coming to this late after entertaining 2 Dutch friends off the Holland America ship “Rotterdam” berthed today in Plymouth.
    Needed a little help with this but my COTD has to be the lovely 28a
    COVID booster tomorrow. It’s all go!
    Thanks to Hudson and SL

  15. Well after last Tuesday’s Donny head scratcher what a relief to get a gentle & hugely enjoyable intro to the new Toughie week. Very rare for me to waltz through a puzzle in this slot in back-page ** time but seemed to tune in to the setter’s wavelength from the off. I don’t have RD’s exacting standards – l didn’t parse 25d either but am not chalking it up as a failure. 26a my clear favourite – never had cause to spell it before & reckon my inclination may well have been to include an unwarranted 2nd L.
    Thanks to Hudson & Stephen

  16. An absolute delight with such original clever cluing.
    Smiles and chuckles all the way through.
    Thanks Hudson and SL.

  17. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from one of my favourite setters. Not particularly difficult, but certainly no pushover.

    Thanks to SL and the mighty Hudson.

  18. Thanks to Hudson and to Stephen L for the review and hints. What a super puzzle. I needed a few hints, but what great fun. I liked 11a & 6d,but my favourite was 28a. Was 2* / 4* for me. Some super clues.

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