Toughie 2965 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2965

Toughie No 2965 by Robyn

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a beautifully sunny South Devon coast.

Robyn kicks off a stellar week in Toughie-land with a masterpiece of setting. No Tuesday stroll but very satisfying to complete.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a Red wine bottles for former president (8)
PINOCHET: Insert one of crosswordland’s staple reds in a political sense into a well known wine.

8a Extra clothing huge and blue (6)
MOROSE: A synonym of extra goes around (clothing) an abbreviation for huge or Over Size.

9a Rushed to swallow last of aioli dip, showing precipitation (8)
RAINDROP: Pace a synonym of rushed around the final letter of aioli and append a dip.

10a Puritan using speech to probe film (8)
MORALIST: Insert (to probe) a synonym of spoken or verbal into a film in the sense of fog or haze.

11a It’s used when blinking loud cry briefly interrupts festival (6)
EYELID: Another insertion (interrupts) this time a loud cry minus its last letter into a religious festival. LOL

12a Pig by borders of Indiana state (8)
SLOVENIA: A dated synonym of an untidy person and the outside letters (borders) of IndianA.

13a Where US criminals are ready for release (2,3,3)
IN THE CAN: Double definition, I have to admit I’d only heard of the US related one.

16a Stand in circle around Scottish island in game (8)
SUBBUTEO: Start with an informal or abbreviated name for a stand in, typically used in football, add a Scottish Island and the “circular letter” for a football related game.

19a Fine service by jester for king? (4,4)
FACE CARD: A charade of the abbreviation for Fine, a (tennis) service and a rather quaint synonym of a jester or joker.

21a Resembling fare the Spanish offer, east to west (6)
EDIBLE: Start with a Spanish definite article, add a synonym of offer and the abbreviation for East and reverse the lot (to west)

23a Lag’s processing date, clad in green (4,4)
LEAD TIME: An anagram (processing) of DATE is inserted into a shade of green, the insertion indicator being “clad”.

24a Shakespeare character leaves to eat with princess (8)
CRESSIDA: Some rather unpleasant edible leaves (often put on a sandwich with egg) and a princess from a G&S opera.

25a Slow-witted bishop possibly sheepish (6)
BOVINE: The abbreviation for Bishop and an adjective meaning related to or resembling sheep

26a Standard hotel not found in accessible old province (8)
NORMANDY: Start with an abbreviated synonym of standard and add a synonym of accessible with the abbreviation for Hotel removed from its front.


1d It helps you see my relative from Paris hasn’t second name (7)
MONOCLE: How one would refer to “my uncle” in France without one of the abbreviations for Name.

2d Should, say, mad lover frantically put on black? (5,4)
MODAL VERB: Anagram (frantically) of MAD LOVER and the abbreviation for Black giving what we commonly refer to as a “helping verb”. One of the few that jumped out at me on first read through

3d Many cricket sides touring India (6)
LEGION: Two terms for a side of a cricket pitch “tour” the abbreviation for India. Very smart clue

4d Boy’s characteristic in oddly ropy work (8,2,1,4)
PORTRAIT OF A LADY. An insertion of how you may describe the characteristic of a boy (5,2,1,3) in an anagram (oddly) of ROPY.

5d Chocolate highest ranked compiler hasn’t finished (8)
NOISETTE: Start with how you would write “Number one” in abbreviated form and append what Robyn is without the last letter (hasn’t finished).

6d Rotten fellow, say, flipping bum (5)
CADGE: Another rather quaint synonym, this time for a rotter is followed by a reversal (flipping) of the usual 2-letter say. The solution is a verb

7d Where Ruth is wrapped by Heather in blue material (7)
EROTICA. Insert the abbreviation for some biblical books (where Ruth is found) into some heather (not ling!)

14d Drug case stirring up memories (9)
EVOCATIVE: Our usual abbreviation for Ecstasy and a grammatical case.

Today’s music was recommended to me yesterday by Zandio, who of course set Friday’s excellent back pager and like me is a big fan of Wilko Johnson.

15d Maybe Plato turned up in boring trio of articles (8)
ATHENIAN: Insert a reversal of IN from the clue between three articles (two indefinite the other definite)

17d Unlikely Victor dismisses good cook perfunctorily (7)
UNDERDO: Firstly ignore the capitalisation of Victor, it’s there to mislead. Remove the abbreviation for Good from an unlikely winner (say Wales today?)

18d Stink about Republican associating with explosive, volatile element (7)
BROMINE: Place the common abbreviation for Body Odour around the abbreviation for Republican and add a type of explosive.

20d Short person driving around middle of fairway (6)
CRABBY: Place an informal word for a taxi driver around the middle letter of faiRway. LOL

22d Bust, or the opposite — investing succeeded! (5)
BOSOM: Insert the abbreviation for Succeeded into the opposite (think economics) of bust.


Superb puzzle, impossible to choose a favourite. Many thanks Robyn.


16 comments on “Toughie 2965
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  1. This was excellent – quite challenging and fun to solve.

    My only concern is that the definition for 21a seems rather strange. If something is 21a, it is “fare”, it doesn’t “resemble” it.

    That aside, there were too may good clues to pick a favourite or even select a podium,

    Many thanks to Robyn and to SL.

  2. Didn’t know who Ida was but an otherwise fully parsed solve & a good bit quicker than it usually takes for a Robyn puzzle. As classy as ever – fully agree that there are just too many good ‘uns to narrow down to a podium never mind pick a winner.
    Thanks to Robyn & Stephen for the review & music clip.

  3. A terrific start to the Toughie week that was just right for a dismally grey Shropshire morning. Some great misdirection with clever clueing throughout. Hard to pick a winner but I think 17d just takes it.

    My thanks to Robyn and SL. I envy you your sunshine.

  4. An outstanding puzzle with lots of cunning misdirections needing many pennies to drop – many thanks to Robyn and StephenL.
    My ticks went to 4a, 16a, 3d, 6d, 17d and 22d.

  5. I thought this was very hard for a Tuesday. I did not help myself by putting fall as the second half of 9A either.
    Stephen, it is actually two words for the same side in 3D, and not both sides!
    Thanks to you and Robyn.

  6. Another splendid proper Toughie from Robyn – too many great clues to pick just one as a favourite. Many thanks to him, and to StephenL

  7. Stunningly brilliant. If it weren’t for my particular delight at seeing 4d and 24a in any kind of wordgame, I’d simply go for 17d as my favourite and let it go at that–all things being equal, and just about every clue in this exemplary Toughie is equally superb. But it’s such a rare treat seeing The Master (only The Golden Bowl outscores POAL in my book) and The Bard together (and Cressida, of all things!) that I mustn’t let them go unremarked upon. Loved this one. Thanks to Stephen and Robyn.

  8. Very good puzzle, although slightly annoyed, like others, by 9a, where ”fall” and ”drop” both work for ”dip”. Thanks to all though for enjoyment. **/***

  9. Loved this. Smiled all the way through. My favourite thought was 22d. Nice sunny day up here in East Anglia.
    Thanks to Robyn and SL

  10. I always find Robyn’s puzzles challenging and the SW corner of this was a particular stinker, largely because of the clever 15 and 17d. I too had rainfall for a while which didn’t help with either 6 or 7d. Hard to imagine what Che would have thought of the company he’s keeping at 4a.
    Thanks to Robyn and SL, especially for the Daltrey/Wilko tune – such a huge loss, RIP Wilko.

  11. Difficult but very satisfying to complete. As others have said, hard to pick a favourite but 16a just about shades it. Thanks to Robyn and SL.

  12. Way beyond my pay grade. I only solved 3 and one of those proved to be wrong! I had “rainfall” instead of “raindrop”. Well I think a precipitation needs more than one raindrop.
    Congratulations to those who completed this.

  13. We just knew that we would not be the only ones to have rainfall delay our game. It was such a perfect fit that we took some time before we went looking for an alternative.
    Eventually all sorted for what was an excellent solving experience.
    Thanks Robyn and SL.

  14. Excellent Tuesday Toughie, with longest delay in the SW. As others have intimated, so many good clues that to single out any in particular would be unfair on the others.

    Thank you to Robyn and SL

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