Toughie 2983 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2983

Toughie No 2983 by Django
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Django has given us an enjoyable puzzle with some good laughs. Many thanks to him for this and for all his entertaining puzzles throughout the year.

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy 2023.

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

Across Clues

1a Luxury bed blankets from supply (7)
COMFORT: a type of bed contains an anagram (supply) of FROM.

5a Mould found in oddly real hairpiece right away (7)
RAMEKIN: the odd letters of ‘real’ and a hairpiece (though one not worn on the head – see here) without an abbreviation for right.

9a Sides with union and claps wildly, making Question Time? (5,10)
PANEL DISCUSSION: an anagram (wildly) of SIDES UNION CLAPS produces what Question Time on TV is an example of.

10a Half-cut star looking back over vacuous off-Broadway plays (4)
TOYS: reverse half of the word ‘star’ and insert the outer letters of ‘off-Broadway’.

11a See 5 Down

12a And others may be copper but not lead (2,2)
ET AL: what copper is an example of without its leading letter.

15a Most insecure people sit on this to go second rather than first in audition (7)
LOOSEST: what people sit on to go (in a 1a station perhaps) (3,4) with the abbreviation for second replacing the first letter of audition. LOL

16a Orders case of Drambuie with Marks and Spencer (7)
DEMANDS: the outer letters of Drambuie and how Marks and Spencer may be abbreviated.

17a Half-baked dessert is hot (7)
FOOLISH: string together a type of cold dessert, IS and the tap abbreviation for hot.

19a Sheep with soft fleece covering — it’ll help you get a grip (7)
CRAMPON: a sheep and the musical abbreviation meaning soft with a verb to fleece around them.

21a Found one’s free (4)
UNDO: hidden in the clue.

22a See 18 Down

23a Waiter wanting a way to become cook (4)
STEW: a type of waiter without A and the abbreviation for a way.

26a Huntsman possibly dealt with first Big Mac ingredient (9,6)
PROCESSED CHEESE: what Huntsman is an example of is preceded by a verb meaning dealt with or attended to.

27a Remote, small bank? (7)
SLENDER: the clothing abbreviation for small and how a bank such as Barclays could be described.

28a No source for Maxim magazine conclusively framing popular candidate (7)
NOMINEE: NO, the first letter of Maxim and the concluding letter of magazine contain an adjective meaning popular or trendy. There appears to be an E missing from the wordplay here – unless you have a better way of parsing. Thanks to halcyon for supplying the correct parsing: We need a 5-letter word meaning maxim (GNOME) – drop its first letter and add the concluding letter of magazine. Finally insert an adjective meaning popular or trendy.

Down Clues

1d Perhaps London tube station’s terminus is becoming very untidy place (7)
CAPITAL: start with a type of tube (an alimentary one perhaps) and replace the final letter of station with a slang term for a very untidy place.

2d E.g. penny for the guy — that’s long-established easy profit (5,3,3,4)
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE: how you might describe a penny for an antiquated guy, where the guy could be something to stop your tent collapsing.

3d Lace napkin’s not originally greasy (4)
OILY: start with a lace napkin and drop its first letter.

4d Film supporting, say, The Krays’ outfit (7)
TWINSET: the film that has been such a boon to setters over the years follows what the notorious Kray brothers were an example of.

5d /11a Author Dick Francis finally visiting Arabic country (7,5)
RICHARD OSMAN: the forename for which Dick is a shortened form followed by the final letter of Francis inside a Gulf state.

6d Problem upset English — it’s deliberate (4)
MUSE: reverse an arithmetical problem and append an abbreviation for English.

7d Smart, topless model under contract — this might make one shrug? (8,7)
KNITTING PATTERN: a verb to smart or prickle without its first letter and a model or sample both follow a verb to contract or tighten. Shrug here is a noun.

8d Confound Number Ten ultimately with … (7)
NONPLUS: assemble an abbreviation for number, the ultimate letter of ten and a preposition meaning with.

13d … Truss initially going on record with papers lacking enthusiasm (5)
TEPID: the initial letter of Truss is followed by a type of record and the abbreviation for papers.

14d Coat tails from the dress uniform Chelsea pensioner modified (5)
SMEAR: identify the last letters (tails) of five words in the clue and make an anagram (modified) from them.

17d Group of footballers excited when cross comes in error (4,3)
FAUX PAS: paste together the abbreviation for the ruling body in English football, an adjective meaning excited and a synonym of when. Now insert the cross-looking letter.

18d/22a Somehow also dithers with a fifty-fifty call? (5,2,5)
HEADS OR TAILS: an anagram (somehow) of ALSO DITHERS A.

19d On the radio promote artist’s debut with Professor Green (7)
CELADON: start with a homophone of a verb to promote or market and add the first letter of artist and a professor (especially at Oxford or Cambridge). The answer (new to me) is a pale-green colour found in glazed pottery.

20d Triumphed over that woman — caution after bumping car out of the race (7)
NOWHERE: reverse a verb meaning triumphed and append a female pronoun and what remains from a synonym of caution after you’ve removed ‘car’.

24d Gone almost ten years short of century (4)
DEAD: remove the abbreviation for century from a word meaning ten years without its last letter.

25d Imposter has cycled on motorway (4)
SHAM: cycle the last letter of has to its front and follow that with the abbreviation for motorway.

I ticked 1d, 2d and 7d but my favourite has to be the laugh-inducing 15a. Which clue(s) hit the spot for you?

21 comments on “Toughie 2983
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  1. What a difference a day makes. A most enjoyable friendly Toughie from Django – lots and lots to enjoy but I would agree with Gazza that 15a should be in top spot

    Thanks very much to both Django and Gazza

  2. Re 28a – it’s a rare 5-letter word for maxim without its source plus e from magazine around “in”. I spent ages trying to explain the surplus E. But I couldn’t parse 1d!
    Super puzzle – faves were 15a, 19a and 17d.
    Thanks Django and Gazza.

    1. Thanks for the 28a parsing, halcyon. I should have had more faith that the setter and editor wouldn’t both make a basic error.

  3. This was everything I love in a puzzle, clever and witty wordplay, contemporary references (the author at 5d, Professor Green) and inventive clueing with no obscurities (with the possible exception of 19d)…..what’s not to like?
    I particularly liked 1&12a plus 7&20d but I’ll give joint top spot to the super clever 15a and the aforementioned 5d/11a combo. Great stuff.
    Many thanks and a HNY to Django and Gazza, the latter for parsing my 1d bung-in too.

  4. This was nicely challenging and goof fun.

    Like Gazza, I struggled to parse what appeared to be an extra E in 28a but Halcyon’s explanation makes perfect sense. The hairpiece in 5a and the answer to 19d were new to me, and I am not entirely convinced by the definition for 7d – the pattern doesn’t make the garment, it guides the knitter on how to make it.

    With plenty of good clues to choose from, 15a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Django and to Gazza,

  5. Excellent puzzle ; lots of amusing clues and the ones we’d never heard of [ 5a,19d ] were gettable. 17d and 19a my favourites . Many thanks to Django and Gazza .

  6. Apart from the obscurities already mentioned, this was a fun and steady solve that felt refreshingly new and inventive. I must add my vote to 15a for the COTD; quite audacious.

    Many thanks to Django and Gazza.

  7. Learned a few things in this very pleasant crossword.
    Namely the hairpiece in 5a, the cheese in 26a and the maxim in 28a.
    The writer was also new to me but the parsing led me to the right answer.
    Thanks to Django and to Gazza.

  8. I have a slight query over the lurker at 21a – is there an indicator? What am I missing? Otherwise top notch fare with plenty of satisfying solving moments. Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  9. After yesterday’s car crash of a crossword this seemed like a walk in the park. Needed the hints to parse 1d, 20d and 28a. The hairpiece and the green were new to me and 26a was a bung in as I wouldn’t know what’s in a big mac as I’ve never one. Favourite was 24d. Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  10. An absolute pleasure to solve. We found ourselves chuckling all the way through and agree that the biggest chuckle came with 15a.
    Thanks Django and Gazza.

  11. A slow and steady solve here for a puzzle a bit above my pay-grade, but the originality and humour made it worthwhile. A few I struggled to parse which I needed hints for.

    5a, 5d/11a, 15a, 16a, 26a…. No there’s just too many excellent clues to pick a favourite!

    VG Django, and thanks to Gazza for the help

  12. Loved it. As TG said everything this was everything the Artix puzzle yesterday wasn’t. Stuck on 24d & 27a which needed the D checker revealed before the penny dropped. Unfortunately I had never heard of Huntsman cheese so that parsing escaped me but got the remainder.
    Cracking stuff Django & thanks to Gazza.

  13. Thanks Gazza and thanks all.
    Time seems to go a bit funny in the space between Christmas and New Year and I got my day’s muddled up and forgot this was in yesterday. Or rather, I forgot that yesterday was the 29th.

  14. After yesterday’s complete failure, back to winning ways today, though not without a tussle. Good mix of clues, all doable from the wordplay, but obscurities at 5a & 19d needed electronic assistance plus still not sure about 7d.
    Thanks to Django for the stretch and Gazza for an entertaining blog.
    Happy New Year to everyone.

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