Toughie No 2989 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 2989

Toughie No 2989

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a wet and windy South Devon.

Tuesday rolls around again and Dada kicks of the Toughie week with a fun puzzle that, notwithstanding five double definitions, was a lot of fun


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.




1a Dog, one with puppies far from relaxed (7)
MASTIFF: An informal word (2) for one’s mother and adjective meaning rigid.


5a Man on journey singing for his supper? (7)
BUSKING: Append one of our usual chess men to a form of public transport.

9a Device ultimately dividing measure of liquid in vessel (7)
GALLEON: Insert the final letter (ultimately) of devicE into an imperial measure of liquid.

10a Under protection of goddess, a maiden from the East raised (7)
AMASSED: Hidden (under protection of) and reversed (from the East).

11a Chewing up hay, animal like the yak? (9)
HIMALAYAN: Anagram (chewing up) of the following two words.

12a Brown bread, dead! (5)
TOAST: Double definition, the less obvious one being a description of someone/thing that is about to be doomed.

13a Triad shot in the arm (5)

TONIC: Double definition, the less obvious being musical, relating to chords.

15a Game for children providing silence on journey (9)
HOPSCOTCH: An informal word for a short journey and a verb meaning to put an end to or silence (a rumour say).


17a Degree secured by US lexicographer, developer of online site (9)
WEBMASTER: Insert one of our usual educational degrees into the common name of an American dictionary.

19a Money from Cape Town, say, for fabric (5)
SATIN: The abbreviation for the country in which Cape Town is situated and an informal (and rapidly going out of fashion as we increasingly use cards) word for some coins.


22a Teller of tales in a show that’s retrospective (5)
AESOP: A from the clue and the reversal (that’s retrospective) of a synonym of show or display.

23a Early high-flier, one occupying river bed (4,5)
TEST PILOT: Start with a river in Hampshire, and add a bed (in a garden say) into which is inserted the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one.

25a Freeloader beginning to scrounge, stinker? (7)
SPONGER: The initial letter of Scrounge and an informal name (that I haven’t heard for years) for someone or something that smells.

26a First sign (7)
INITIAL: A pretty straightforward double definition.

27a Endeavour to nurse queen where skin undergoing treatment (7)
TANNERY: A verb meaning to endeavour or have a go goes around (to nurse) an English queen.

28a Containing anger, son of Jacob shut up (7)
GARRAGED: The eldest of (biblical) Jacob’s two sons goes around (containing) a synonym of great anger.



1d Sensation I hate, skin in morning tickled? (7)
MEGAHIT: Anagram (tickled) of I HATE plus the outside letters (skin in) of MorninG.

2d One day, wise guy! (7)
SOLOMON: A adverb meaning alone or “without others” and an abbreviated day.

3d Best possible declaration of player holding all the cards? (5)
IDEAL: An adjective meaning perfect could also be a proclamation (1,4) of someone holding all the cards in a card game.

4d My time in Royal Ascot attire? (5,4)
FANCY THAT: If we insert the abbreviation for Time into a description of a fashion item at Royal Ascot we have a synonym of “my” as an expression of surprise. Very amusing.

5d Country lacks it, mind (5)
BRAIN: Remove the word “it” from a country most of us reside in.

6d Tom, perhaps, cracks up over American film (9)
SPARTACUS: A feline animal (Tom perhaps) and a synonym of cracks or hits are reversed (up) and an abbreviation for American is appended.

7d Isn’t trained soldier, say, prepared in advance? (7)
INSTANT: Anagram (trained) of ISN’T and the usual “military” insect. Clever clue.

8d Share costs with encouraging words from husband? (2,5)
GO DUTCH:  An informal name for one’s husband (think of our Friday blogger!) follows a 2-letter imperative that could be a word of encouragement.

14d Buddy and girl nearly finished drink (9)
CHAMPAGNE:  Follow an informal or abbreviated name for a buddy or supporter with a female name lacking its final letter (nearly finished).

16d Cold will be gone soon (9)
PERISHING: Double definition, one a weather related adjective, the other a participle of a verb meaning die.

17d So-and-so, with task almost entirely messed up (7)
WHATSIT: Anagram (messed up) of WITH TAS(k) (almost entirely).

18d Charlie’s gift-wrapped instrument (7)
BASSOON: A gift or godsend “wraps” or goes around a fool or nincompoop (Charlie).

20d Effective relation (7) in
TELLING:  Double definition, the more obvious being an adjective meaning effective or significant the other a recital or account (of a tale perhaps).

21d Cross being clear, shown (7)
NETTLED: A word meaning being clear (of tax maybe) and a synonym of shown or directed.

23d Sticky delay (5)
TARRY: Another double definition, one an adjective relating to a black viscous substance, the other a verb meaning to linger.

24d Leaders in public roles, invariably obnoxious, rather superior among brothers (5)
PRIOR: The initial letters (leaders in) of the following five words.

My Tuesday contenders are 5&15a plus 7&18d with 4d winner “by a couple of lengths” Which ones are your frontrunners?


8 comments on “Toughie No 2989
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  1. This was nicely challenging and great fun with a plethora of ticks and two hmms.

    5d – Britain is not a country. In fact, it is not even listed in the BRB without being preceded by Great; and Great Britain comprises three countries.
    14d – aside from the vague girl, I can’t find anything in any of the main dictionaries to suggest that “champ” = “buddy”. It does get a mention in Wiktionary, but is that really considered as a valid source for a Telegraph crossword?

    My ticks went to 5a, 19a, 23a, 25a, 2d, 4d, 16d, 18d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Dada and to SL.

    SL, you’ve probably noticed but the formatting of your review has gone somewhat awry.

  2. Just the right difficulty one hopes for on a Tuesday – ie about the same as a difficult Friday backpager

    Thanks to Dada and StephenL

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, from first clue to last, apart from the same gripes as RD. 16d was my favourite.

    My thanks to Dada and SL.

  4. Hello! I’ve been a big fan of this group as I have enjoyed my initiation into the cryptic crossword world. Huge thanks to all of you – setters, clue guides and solvers like me.

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