Toughie 2951 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2951

Toughie No 2951 by Kcit
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Kcit for today’s puzzle which involves a lot of inserting and deleting of individual letters. The four three-letter answers make a pattern.

I can’t satisfactorily parse 7d so any better ideas than mine for this one would be most welcome.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

8a Small print stuff noting winds passing through shelter (8)
LEGALESE: strong winds go inside a word meaning shelter.

9a Very prominent, describing those charged over crime originally (6)
ICONIC: an adjective describing charged atoms or molecules contains the original letter of crime.

10a Rather thick, not seeing question posed (3)
SAT: an adjective meaning short and thickset without the 2-letter abbreviation for question.

11a Risk not considered in surveillance activity (5-3)
STAKE-OUT: charade of what you might risk in a betting shop and an adverb meaning ‘not considered’ or ‘no longer involved’.

12a Irascible and emotional, missing second part? (6)
TOUCHY: drop the second half of an informal term (6-5) meaning emotional.

13a Bee in wild forest, with bee outside getting fruit when things should be consumed? (4-6,5)
BEST-BEFORE DATES: lnsert the letter B into an anagram (wild) of FOREST, enclose that in the word BEE then add some sticky dark-brown pieces of fruit.

15a Foolish to observe loch covering North (7)
WITLESS: start with a verb to observe and replace the abbreviation for North with that of loch.

18a French are holding me in last revolutionary country estate (7)
DEMESNE: a French word meaning ‘are’ (as in TU ES) contains ME. Now put that inside an adjectival synonym of ‘last’ reversed.

21a Arts duo, working with city gent, distributed business (7,8)
COTTAGE INDUSTRY: an anagram (working) of ARTS DUO CITY GENT.

24a Not so bright student I found in care of fool (6).
TWILIT: the usual abbreviation for a student and I go inside an informal word for a fool.

25a Evidence of duel? I’m the thing involved, perhaps (8)
SCIMITAR: the bodily mark which could be evidence of having been involved in a duel contains I’M and a word identifying ‘the thing’.

26a Who’s turned to Scotch, primarily? (3)
SOT: TO and the primary letter of Scotch all reversed.

27a Small particle Newton misplaced immediately (6)
PRONTO: move the abbreviation for newton (the SI unit of force) within a type of subatomic particle.

28a Taste in music covering recording by Mexican, recalled as a model (8)
EXEMPLAR: a word for the appreciation of music contains the reversal of a type of record and an informal word for Mexican.

Down Clues

1d Satisfied with story expressing American spirit (6)
METTLE: a verb meaning satisfied or complied with and a synonym of story without an abbreviation for American.

2d Parking scam missing initial load of money (6)
PACKET: the abbreviation for parking and a scam or fraudulent scheme without its initial letter.

3d Intend college crews around vessel to be controlled by boy (3,4,6,2)
SET ONE’S SIGHTS ON: our usual college in Berkshire and a word for rowing crews containing the abbreviation for a steamship all go inside a boy child.

4d Swag nearly all placed in swamp (7)
FESTOON: a swag (new to me) is an ornamental garland of flowers, leaves or ribbons hung in a curve. A verb meaning placed or positioned without its last letter goes inside a nounal synonym of swamp.

5d Make a splash and suffer concussion, perhaps, with name getting into stories (3,3,9)
HIT THE HEADLINES: something (3,3,4) that might give one concussion perhaps is followed by untrue stories containing the abbreviation for name.

6d Location retaining a lot of work for people (8)
POPULACE: a synonym of location contains a word for an artistic work without its final letter.

7d Majority? Not a resounding one in the average constituency (8)
EIGHTEEN: remove A and what the BRB tells me is ‘a machine that records television pictures and sound on tape for almost immediate reproduction’ (Vera) from IN THE AVERAGE and make an anagram (constituency) of what remains. This leaves us one E short of the answer so either I’ve got the parsing wrong (more likely) or there’s an error in the clue – I await a better explanation from you.
Ignore all the nonsense above. Thanks to Young Salopian for pointing out what should have been obvious to me – in an election the answer would constitute a very small majority.
14d Swift to ignore regular elements in session (3)
SIT: drop the even letters from the first word.

16d Smooth cooking vessel involving right metallic construction (8)
IRONWORK: a verb to smooth and a cooking pan containing the abbreviation for right.

17d Never mind causing death — hospital overlooked one (3,5)
LET ALONE: stick together an adjective meaning causing death or fatal without the map abbreviation for hospital and ONE.

19d Determined  collector’s intention (3)
SET: double definition, the second what a collector might be keen to accumulate.

20d Tumbles over, ends in the river — needed to provide better support (7)
TIPSTER: assemble a verb meaning ‘tumbles over’, the outer letters of ‘the’ and the abbreviation for river.

22d Agent accepting Indian novel containing little material (6)
SKIMPY: a secret agent contains the name of a Kipling novel set in India (and coincidentally the forename of one of the Cambridge Five who were agents for the Soviet Union).

23d Leading pair of Republicans further requiring dismissal of Independent President (6)
REAGAN: the first two letters of Republicans and an adverb meaning further without the abbreviation for Independent,

My favourite clue today was 7d. Which one(s) did you like?

11 comments on “Toughie 2951
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  1. Re 7d: perhaps I was being overly simplistic but eighteen is the age of majority, and that would be a very small majority in an election.

    1. Thanks YS – that’s obviously right. I’ll update the hint. I spent ages trying to make the partial anagram work!

  2. Lots to enjoy in this tricky little devil. It took me a while to get on the right wavelength, but when I did the solving process evolved quite smoothly. 25a and 5d were particular favourites.

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  3. I seemed to get a lot of the solutions in this from having a stab at the definition and checkers rather than following the wordplay precisely, then working back to justify.
    While not being my favourite puzzle of the week I did enjoy it a lot.
    I particularly liked 15a as it’s a great word, thought 25,26&27a were clever but my favourite was 23d
    Many thanks to Kcit and (why do I always think of “The Sunshine Band!) Gazza.

  4. Managed OK although not very fast. 12a and 4d were bung ins as I saw the defintions but struggled to parse them (and still do). 3d my favourite Lego.

    Thanks to Gazza and Kcit.

  5. This one took us quite a while sorting out all the little bits to be added or taken away but rewarding to eventually get it all sorted.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

  6. The first read through yielded only 26a so I fled to the Graun in fright. Returned to it later & surprisingly got the 4 long ‘uns at 13&21a + 3&5d pretty quickly & so gained a foothold. In the event completed in respectable time. Like Stephen very much a case of figuring out the wordplay after the grid fill which I managed except for bung ins at 12a (nowhere near) & annoyingly 23d where I pegged again but had my leading pair as RR & not RE. Pleased to recall 18a from previous puzzles. Liked the 4 wee ones & clocked the link. Last in was 7d & probably my favourite also though 25a ran it close. Ticks also for 27a along with 1&20d.
    Thanks to Kcit for a very enjoyable & challenging puzzle & to Gazza

  7. This was just right for me. Nearly every clue made me think hard, and there were some seldom used words to rake out of storage! None of the clues were impenetrable, and I’ve got 7d as my cotd, even though it was the second one to fall. 13a and 22d followed close behind. Thanks Gazza and KCIT

  8. So sorry that I had to forsake today’s Toughie for my annual physical exam–at least the beginning of it (the physical, I mean)–and so I ‘solved’ and ‘finished’ it (the puzzle), going across and down with Gazza, something I’ve never done before, first by attempting a solve on my own and then, that failing, moving on to the next clue. I learned much about technique from Gazza and immensely enjoyed the learning experience. I am reminded of the great American short story writer George Saunders who, in a recent critical study of some Russian short stories, presented a story first (so that we readers could form some opinions about it) and then discussed how he taught it–or indeed how we might teach it–to a class. (In his case, at Syracuse University; the book is titled A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.) Thank you, Gazza, for being my George Saunders, and that is quite a compliment. Wonderful puzzle, so thanks to Kcit.

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