Toughie 2946 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2946

Toughie No 2946 by Django

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

Another great crossword from Django which I thought just right for the Wednesday Toughie slot.

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1a    Small number taking on villainous wrestler in ring — ultimately without restraint (12)
FREEWHEELING A clue which took quite a time to parse – I might have been quicker if my nine-year-old grandson had been here as he is a bit of a WWF expert. A small number of something into which is inserted (taking) the preposition meaning on or concerning, followed by a term for a wrestler who portrays the bad guy (villainous wrestler), IN (from the clue) and the ultimate letter of ring

9a    Page in a religious work pursuing a dry objective (9)
ATTENDANT The first A in the clue and an abbreviation for the second part of the Bible (religious work) go after (pursuing) the second A in the clue, the abbreviation for dry or abstaining from alcoholic drink, and an objective

10a    Ominous sound of Allen key partially turning the wrong way (5)
KNELL Hidden in reverse (turning the wrong way) in part of aLLEN Key

11a    Country legend on tour, wanting love (6)
TURKEY Some explanatory words with a picture (legend) go after (on) ToUR without the letter representing love

12a    Bank concede old exit charges (8)
GRADIENT An old word for exit ‘charges’ or goes inside a verb meaning to concede

13a    Business — one of seven, famously not following fishing dispute (3,3)
COD WAR An abbreviated business and one of a famous group of seven without the abbreviation for following

15a    Psychics occasionally help overcoming resistance — they can be divisive? (8)
SCISSORS The even (occasionally) letters of pSyChIcS and an appeal for help ‘overcoming’ the abbreviation for resistance

18a    Grotesque mouthwash to drink only on vacation (8)
GARGOYLE A mouthwash drinking the outside (on vacation) letters of OnlY

19a    Perhaps Victoria Beckham dismissively recalled embodying ‘Posh’ with very loud laugh (6)
GUFFAW A reversal of an abbreviation for someone like Victoria Beckham, into which is inserted (embodying) the letter representing posh and the musical abbreviation meaning very loud

21a    Attention, gun is secret service agent’s accessory (8)
EARPIECE A synonym for attention and another word for a gun

23a    Trying to get coach to replace extremely fat attacker (6)
ABUSER Take a synonym for in search of (trying to get) and replace the F and T (extremely FaT) in that word with a coach

26a    See 18 Down

27a    Seven stars — big characters in English Premier League — enter nevertheless (3,6)
THE PLOUGH The capital letters (big characters) in English Premier League ‘enter’ a conjunction meaning nevertheless

28a    Promising to carry drunk padre’s dessert course (5,7)
BREAD PUDDING Promising or showing talent ‘to carry’ an anagram (drunk) of PADRE  If I was going to be a little picky, I might say that this particular dessert includes the word AND.   Without it, it looks more like this:


1d    Desperate brother — last to clean and jerk (7)
FRANTIC A brother or friar, the last letter of cleaN and a jerk

2d    Some Aberdeen terriers join in (5)
ENTER Hidden in some aberdeEN TERriers

3d    Detail Victor Hugo half-concealed after academic award for language (9)
WINNEBAGO The language of a Native American people originally living in Wisconsin. De-tail or remove the final letter from a victor and then the second half of huGO goes after an abbreviated academic award

4d    Maybe lead roof’s missing — and the rest (2,2)
ET AL Remove the ‘roof’ or first letter from an element of which lead may be an example

5d    Reading Gaol’s closure years after it goes over limits of capacity (8)
LITERACY The ‘closure’ or last letter of gaoL followed by IT (from the clue), a period of time (years) and the ‘limits’ of CapacitY

6d    In Hackney, every now and then, daughter stripped (5)
NAKED Alternate letters (every now and then) of iN hAcKnEy followed by the abbreviation for Daughter

7d    Partners, say, rose up — identifying monster (8)
WEREWOLF Two of the abbreviated partners in a game of bridge, and a reversal of a type of plant of which rose is an example (say)

8d    Feet and inches initially renounced by exercise regime (6)
PLATES The Cockney rhyming slang word for feet is obtained by removing the initial letter of inches from an exercise regime

14d    Developing situation as ship runs into catastrophe (8)
DARKROOM A ship and the cricket abbreviation for runs inserted into catastrophe

16d    Outfit worn by Canadian singer once uniform’s thrown away and scrapped (9)
SQUABBLED A lovely piece of misleading wordplay. A Canadian singer without the letter represented by uniform in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet inserted into (worn by) a small group of people (outfit)

17d    British want verbal support to make drink (5,3)
BLACK TEA The abbreviation for British, a synonym for want and a homophone (verbal) of a golf support

18d    & 26 Across Sally Rooney gasps — cheap food is served here (6,5)
GREASY SPOON An anagram (sally) of ROONEY GASPS

20d    Throw a wobbly over golf game? (7)
WARTHOG An anagram (wobbly) of THROW A goes over the letter represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

22d    Exclusive pub with beer oddly missing (5)
INNER A pub and the even (oddly missing) letters of bEeR

24d    King Salman could be in small German car (5)
SAUDI The abbreviation for small and a German car

25d    Cannabis drug hidden in His Majesty’s Prison (4)
HEMP The abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy hidden in or inserted into the abbreviation for His Majesty’s Prison


22 comments on “Toughie 2946
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  1. A highly enjoyable and entertaining puzzle that seemed quite fresh and modern. I particularly liked the Canadian singer, Sally Rooney and Victor Hugo. Great fun.

    Thanks to Django for the originality and CS.

  2. Surprised myself by managing this without hints or electronic help Only just started to attempt the Toughie so don’t really have any comparison but this seemed on a par with today’s backpager and I really enjoyed it. I especially liked 9a, 15a, 19a and 20d though I’m not sure this would be considered ‘game’ on an African safari. Thanks to all concerned in bringing us this puzzle.

    1. M, 20a. Game/quarry can be any animal hunted by another animal or a human for food or anything else, so the answer could fall into that category in specific circumstances. The answer isn’t a precise/direct definition, more of a rather indirect definition by example.

  3. Really enjoyed this, I always find this setter to be supremely entertaining, and like how he brings real life into his puzzles. I was quite happy to let Sue (or her grandson) parse 1a but got the rest.
    Judging the clues on how big a smile they produced I’ll pick 13,19&27a plus 8,16&20d for special mention. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Django and CS for the top-notch entertainment.

  4. Some really good clues from Django today. I particularly liked 8d and 15a, but the combination 18d and 26a favourite and LOI.
    Thanks all

  5. Good fun – thanks to Django and CS.
    I needed to check the villainous wrestler – the BRB informs me that the opposite (i.e a wrestler with a crowd-pleasing persona) is known as a ‘face’.
    I ticked 19a, 8d and 14d but my favourite (for the excellent surface) was 5d.

  6. Defeated by 16D and 23A. Revealed letters, then defeated by the parsing of 16D. 1A was a bung-in that I couldn’t parse either. 3D to me is an American recreational vehicle. But apart from those I did fairly well (by my Toughie solving standards). 18D/26A raised a smile. I’ve had some really good breakfasts in those establishments. Thanks to CS and Django.

  7. Six to go sitting in waiting room while David has a gastroscopic procedure which he was dreading. Will try and finish without hints but thanks to CS anyway

  8. Super puzzle, which I found much more straightforward than what was yesterday, to me, a Thursday/Friday-level Toughie from Gila – I just couldn’t get on her wavelength and so solving it was a trial. Today’s however was very much the opposite, and what a pleasure it was!

    Had no idea of the parsing of 16d – indeed didn’t even know that that singer was Canadian, but that mattered not. Hon Mentions to 13a, 3d, & 14d, with COTD to 19a.

    Many thanks to Django and to CS

  9. I took 12a to mean concession with an old in age exit inside. Great clues, great crossword, worthy of a countdown guest!

  10. Finished this delightful Toughie altogether on my own, though I didn’t understand the parsing of the Victoria Beckham clue– i.e., the WAG initials–until I googled ‘Br slang wag’, and thought it the puzzle of the week so far for me. Surprised but quite pleased to have recognised the Canadian singer, though he does appear occasionally on American TV, and I remembered his retro-crooning style, which I rather like. So 16d is my COTD, but the entire puzzle is a little work of art, especially the Sally Rooney bit. Thanks to CS and Django.

  11. A very enjoyable puzzle sprinkled with the usual handful of intricate parsings which are this setter’s hallmark. I registered a DNF today courtesy of 23a for which I could not come up with any answer at all, even with the three checking letters and having correctly identified the wordplay and the definition. :sad:

    19a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Django and to CS.

  12. Really enjoyable puzzle, especially 19a and the 18/26 combo.

    Couldn’t parse 1a but bunged it in and didn’t know (but worked out) the language in 3d. Failed on 14d which is do obvious now.

    Thanks to Django and CS.

  13. Crackerjack puzzle. A delight from start to finish & inventively clued throughout. Still a couple to parse so will read the review later. As ever for me with this setter many, if not most, of the answers come before the why & the wordplay is both witty & clever – just wish Mr G would get a more regular slot. Fav for me was 20d as the surface fitted the way I’m playing it lately & I wasted time trying to justify hurling.
    Thanks to Django & CS.

  14. Thanks to Django and to crypticsue for the review and hints. What a difference from yesterday. Super puzzle, really enjoyed trying to unravel it. Needed 6 hints to finish. I liked the combo 18d & 26a, if it’s an anagram of Rooney gasps, then the “s” must be overwritten where the two clues intersect? Never seen this before. Lots to like, but my favourite was 5d. Was 3* / 4* for me.

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