Toughie 2982 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2982

Toughie No 2982 by Artix

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

This was an extremely difficult Toughie, especially for a Wednesday. So much so that I can’t remember when I last needed to send an email about a Toughie saying ‘just me or him?’ but was reassured this morning to receive a reply confirming that it wasn’t just me, but Artix with brass knobs on! . I’d also add that, If Mr Manley is looking for his Book of Obscure Words for Crossword Setters, I think I can tell him where he’ll find it!

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1a    Conceptually, they think timeless portholes must be scrapped aboard ship at sea (12)
PHILOSOPHERS An anagram (must be scrapped) of PORtHOLES (timeless telling you to omit the T) inserted into another anagram (at sea) of SHIP

9a    Purse tiny child pinched by middle of week’s peak viewing (5,4)
PRIME TIME A verb meaning to purse the lips and a tiny child from one of Charles Dickens’ stores inserted into (pinched by) the middle letters of wEEk

10a    Lower half of 25 I brutally punish (5)
STONE The bottom half of the solution to 25d and the number represented by I

11a    Peerless rider clobbering Southern luvvies (6)
THESPS A way of saying the rider (addition to a letter or document) beyond all others (peerless) into which is inserted (clobbering) the abbreviation for Southern

12a    One of a pair used to clean plant (8)
MARIGOLD An informal name for a pair of gloves used when cleaning is also the name of a flowering plant

13a    Outlandish 8-point letter about hearing aid? (6)
EXOTIC The 24th letter of the alphabet which would score 8 points if you used it in a game of Scrabble and an adjective meaning relating to the ear (a ‘hearing aid’)

15a    She’s not common but would be if she gained a pound (8)
COUNTESS If you inserted the abbreviation for pound into this member of the nobility (ie not a common person), you’d get an adjective meaning too many to number (common)

18a    Ahead starting off 9th, then all square, with Koepka finally besting Europe’s No 1 (2,3,3)
IN THE VAN Write out 9th in words and then remove the first letter (starting off) then replace the second appearance of the first letter of Europe in a synonym for equal (all square) with the final letter of koepkA

19a    Where orders may be of help to stop Turkish leader being jailed (6)
ABBEYS The abbreviation for something that helps to stop a vehicle into which is inserted (being jailed) a Turkish leader

21a    Supply e.g. WI food for one who cared for bairns (8)
GOODWIFE The Scottish female head of a household who would have looked after the children (bairns) is an anagram (supply) of EG WI FOOD

23a    Vedette winning gong eventually — entertaining English actress (old-school) (6)
STAGER A leading performer (vedette) winning or having inserted the final (eventual) letter of gonG and ‘entertaining’ the abbreviation for English

26a    Measure of compensation from Blitz in area close to Ilford (5)
AWARD A conflict (blitz) inserted between the abbreviation for Area and the letter that closes Ilford

27a    Some French Lilith, a victim of uxoricide? (9)
DESDEMONA The French word for some, a devil (Lilith) and A (from the clue) combine to give a character in Shakespeare killed by her husband (victim of uxoricide)

28a    50 men & women, 20+ birds and some bling is what you will have been sent by then (7,5)
TWELFTH NIGHT The clue that made the struggle with this crossword worthwhile! By the time this day arrived, my true love would have sent a total of the items listed at the start of the clue


1d    Drop producer‘s best sci-fi films back-to-back (7)
PIPETTE A slang verb meaning to beat (best) and two lots of a well-known sci-fi film, the first read normally and the second reversed, making them back-to-back

2d    Contents of yellower organic compound (5)
IMIDE The inside letters (contents) of a synonym for more cowardly (yellower)

3d    Think too much about delivering eggs purchase (9)
OVERPRIZE A homophone (delivering) of the biological term for eggs and an alternative spelling of a verb meaning to purchase or use mechanical power to force something open

4d    Poet and his sex-fuelled overdose (4)
OVID This Latin poet is obtained by inserting (fuelled) the numbers he’d use for six into an abbreviated overdose

5d    Hunter having long how-d’ye-do in Wells? (5,3)
HYENA DOG The initials of the writer Mr Wells into which is inserted a verb meaning to long and a difficulty (how-d’ye-do)

6d    Ex-CE guru (5)
RISHI The first name of a former Chancellor of the Exchequer (ex-CE) is also a Sanskrit word for a sage

7d    West African‘s takeaway battered eels (8)
TOGOLESE A (usually North American) name (2,2) for takeaway food and an anagram (bettered)of EELS

8d    Film director improves boxing movie’s trailer (6)
MENDES A synonym for improves ‘boxing’ the letter at the end (trailer) of moviE

14d    Population’s not up, up or up to you? (8)
OPTIONAL An anagram (up) of POpuLATION without (not) UP (I wonder if there should have been another ‘up’ to indicate that the letters UP are reversed in population?)

16d    Old Jordanian ate nuts with banana (9)
NABATAEAN A member of an ancient powerful Arab people who lived around Petra in Jordan. An anagram (nuts) of ATE with BANANA

17d    One of a host perhaps unfairly laid off day earlier (8)
DAFFODIL The abbreviation for Day placed before (earlier) the result of an anagram (unfairly) of LAID OFF

18d    After one, be blown away by Bergman when playing his signature feature? (6)
INGMAR The letter representing one and an anagram (when playing) of beRGMAN (the letters BE ‘blown away’ or removed)

20d    6 with Queen overruling a page (7)
SERVANT Another word for a 6d where the regnal cipher of our late Queen replaces (overruling) the first A

22d    Opportunity to fire new extra hand (5)
WIDOW An extra hand in some card games – ‘fire’ or remove the abbreviation for new from an opportunity

24d    Two gallons is drinking record for Swede’s Xmas booze (5)
GLOGG Two lots of the abbreviation for Gallon ‘drinking’ a record

25d    Steamship docks in port over here! (4)
PSST An abbreviated steamship inserted into (docks in) an abbreviation for port

18 comments on “Toughie 2982
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  1. I did about two thirds of this when I realised the enjoyment had become a chore. I therefore agree with CS that even though it was ***** for difficulty it was ** for enjoyment. With Elgar the difficulty is balanced by the lightbulb moments. Here it was “oh well”. Perhaps it’s me as it is raining yet again and the dog is giving me that look!
    Thanks to Artix and CS for filling in the ones I had given up on

  2. That was tough tough; if the internet is running slow for anyone today I can only apologise.

    1d and 28a were my favourites.

    Thanks to Artix and CS.

  3. A real Toughie – I loved it though it took me some considerable time enlivened by a number of penny-drop moments. Thanks to Artix and to CS.
    I was slightly surprised to find that five out of six consecutive clues amongst the downs were anagrams.
    The clues I liked best included 12a, 1d, 4d and 5d.

  4. A real mixture for me ; some excellent clues – 1d , 12a 27a – and some I thought quite poor – 5d ,11a, 21a , 23a – certainly too difficult to finish unaided.

  5. I was pleased to see that earlier commenters as well as our esteemed blogger thought this was extremely tough. It took me a couple sittings either side of a coffee break to complete it, albeit with a couple of unparsed bung-ins. 12a made me laugh once I had the necessary checkers to solve it, but my favourite was 1d.

    My thanks to Artix for the considerable challenge, and to CS.

  6. CS’s comments removed the need for me to say stronger things than “Above my pay level”.
    I have been teaching chemistry for over 40 years and “imide” is pretty obscure and not on the course , nor are amides nor amines.
    Luckily 16d was an anagram but I had to google it to find out if it was a thing.
    Sanskrit words !
    11a and 18a use slang that really is not at all familiar.
    I liked 1a, 15a and 26a.
    I needed to uncover the hints for 3d and 18a.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  7. LOI was 13a but I couldn’t parse it because I am not familiar with Scrabble. In general, this was a slog and unexpectedly tough for a Wednesday.

  8. Some of the clues seemed a bit verbose but there were some very clever disguises, both of answers and words within wordplay. Overall I had more question marks for incomplete parsing [11a,13a [Scrabble – of course] and 19a than asterisks for ace clues [1d altho the surface is a bit clunky].
    Thanks to Artix and to CS.

  9. Possibly a little contorted for midweek, but I do like ’em tough. Under slightly for enjoyment for me, but then you never do get a bad Toughie in my opinion.

    Thanks to both combatants.

  10. Mark me down as someone else relieved that it wasn’t just me. I rarely need help parsing anything on a Wednesday, but did not work out what the rider was in 11a. Most grateful to CS for the assistance, and to Artix for giving me a mid-week scare!

  11. I got 2 after staring at it for about 10 mins & one of those I wasn’t entirely sure of the parsing. Just read CS’s preamble & rating & the comments & think a tactical swerve probably sensible. Shall press reveal all & work back.
    Thanks Artix & CS

  12. So very impressed with those who finished this extraordinary Toughie and found CS’s review a model of clarity, erudition, and brilliance. I felt like such a parvenu last night in my faltering efforts, but I was delighted by the ones I was able to solve, especially 27a (I can still see and hear Renee Fleming awaiting that fateful ending–‘Ave Maria’, the Met Opera, mid-90s), 28a, & 16d. I did manage a few others, but am grateful for such workouts, thankful for such compilers as Artix, and delighted that we have such bloggers as CS to enlighten us.

  13. Took a while but I do like a proper challenge.
    Had to check a few things on the net and needed a bit of help to understand the parsing of The in 11a and Ado in 5d.
    Thanks to Artix and to CS for coming to the rescue.

  14. Apologies for setting you such a tough Wed Toughie. But there was a reason … PHILOSOPHERS STONE / PRIME / EXOTIC MARIGOLD / COUNTESS & ABBEY(s) / IN THE VAN / DESDEMONA / TWELFTH NIGHT … and then there were some “thematic” wording in some clues, notably STAGER (23ac), AWARD (26ac) … and it was her birthday yesterday! (hence Wed appearance)

  15. Completely beyond me, spent an hour getting absolutely no where!
    I’m sure the hints would have given me a start (and probably a finish) but for me there is no satisfaction via this route, I only ever use the hints to check my parsing, or as a last resort, if I just can’t get the LOI.
    No sour grapes from me, only high regard for those more capable who manage a finish.

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