Toughie 2994 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2994

Toughie No 2994 by Giovanni

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s been a couple of months since we last had a Toughie from Giovanni and, even if you hadn’t  already known that he was today’s Toughie setter, it wouldn’t have taken you long to realise that this crossword was definitely one of his, not least because of some, fairly-clued, but not well-known, words in the mix.

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1a    Trouble with muck around candlestick (10)
DISCONCERT Trouble here is a verb to disturb or frustrate – put some muck around a candlestick with a handle

6a    Trading tips go entirely wrong for American wise guy (4)
KANT My last one in – the wise guy is a German philosopher and thinker. Take an informal American word meaning to go entirely wrong or fail at great cost, and ‘trade’ or swap over the letters at the start and end of the word (tips)

9a    Superior prisoner joins good camp (5)
GULAG The letter used to indicate that something is superior and a prisoner ‘join’ or follow the abbreviation for good

10a    Friar sat awkwardly, entertaining a revered emperor (3,6)
RAS TAFARI The title given to Haile Selassie, the former emperor of Ethiopia revered as divine by members of a religious movement is an anagram (awkwardly) of FRIAR SAT into which is inserted (entertaining) A (from the clue)

12a    Against diplomacy? You may see through it (7)
CONTACT An informal way of referring to an aid to vision – an adverb meaning against and a synonym for diplomacy

13a    Sozzled, heading off for chancy game (5)
LOTTO Remove the heading or first letter from an informal adjective meaning extremely drunk (sozzled)

15a    French person, messenger that’s left out his local wine? (7)
ANGEVIN Someone from the French province of Anjou – a heavenly messenger without the L (left out) and the French (his local) word for wine

17a    Extraordinary magic I’d created as image-maker (7)
DIGICAM An anagram (extraordinary) of MAGIC ID

19a    Mum cut short by American, jolly old satyr (7)
SILENUS The fat jovial satyr who was the attendant of Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine – Cut short a word meaning absence of sound (mum) and add an abbreviation for American

21a    Bewildered female, embarrassed about gents? (7)
FLOORED The abbreviation for Female and the colour you go when embarrassed between which is inserted (about) an informal word for a lavatory (gents?)

22a    Make merry in bar, falling over (5)
REVEL A reversal (falling over) of a bar

24a    Perhaps poker player, after switching hands, hit the roof (7)
GAMBREL The wordplay was obvious – take someone who plays for money (perhaps poker player) and ‘switch’ the abbreviations for hands – and then check the BRB to see that there is a type of roof with this name

27a    Transfer from road vehicle to railway completed (5,4)
CARRY OVER A road vehicle, the abbreviation for railway and a synonym for completed

28a    Country hotel and what is excellent about it? (5)
HAITI The letter represented by Hotel in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and an adjective meaning first-class, excellent, into which is inserted (about) IT (from the clue)

29a    Female ending after short time — tragic one in novel (4)
TESS A suffix indicating the female of a specified species goes after the abbreviation (short) for time

30a    Paper British peruse — an answer to prayer? (5,5)
DAILY BREAD A paper, the abbreviation for British and a verb meaning to peruse combine to give something prayed for in the Lord’s Prayer


1d    Hero brought up before English magistrate (4)
DOGE A reversal (brought up) of a hero goes before the abbreviation for English to produce the former title of the chief magistrate of Venice, who has appeared in so many crosswords that I only have to see ‘magistrate (4)’ to know what the solution must be

2d    Shelf making space for one container that keeps things dry (6,3)
SILICA GEL A shelf into which is inserted (making space for) the letter representing one and a compartment or container

3d    Publication that can make a big blast (5)
ORGAN A means of communication such as a newspaper (publication) or a musical instrument that uses blasts of air to make a noise

4d    Short article that is fashionable? It’s probably long! (7)
CURTAIN Short or discourteously brief, an indefinite article and the usual ‘two-letter’ fashionable produces something that is probably long, but it would depend on the height of the window!

5d    One in terrible desert must be moved somewhere else (2-5)
RE-SITED The letter representing one inserted into an anagram (terrible) of DESERT

7d    Stop a giant (5)
AVAST A nautical instruction to stop, which for some reason always makes me think of pirates – A (from the clue) and an adjective meaning exceedingly great (giant)

8d    Specifically designed junk a lot admire (6-4)
TAILOR-MADE An anagram (junk) of A LOT ADMIRE

11d    Section of Halle groans in this direction (7)
ALLEGRO A musical direction is found in a section of hALLE GROans

14d    Mum’s taken for a ride, we hear, in Dutch city (10)
MAASTRICHT This Dutch city sounds like (we hear) a way of saying Mum’s been duped (taken for a ride)

16d    Archdeacon to collaborate dishonestly (7)
VENALLY The abbreviated title of an Archdeacon and a verb meaning to collaborate

18d    Plant completely done for in essence (9)
CORALLINE A way of saying completely exhausted (done for) inserted into the innermost part of something (essence)

20d    Leader of orchestra gives a wave as distinguished instrumentalist (7)
SEGOVIA This distinguished Spanish classical guitarist is obtained from an anagram (wave) of O (the leader of Orchestra and GIVES A

21d    Men taken in by short woman — it has something to do with what short skirt reveals! (7)
FEMORAL Belonging to the thigh (what a short skirt reveals) – the abbreviation for Ordinary Ranks of soldiers (men) inserted into (taken in) a truncated (short) woman

23d    Bug makes six hurry, in need of hospital (5)
VIRUS The Roman numeral for six and a verb meaning to hurry, without (in need of) the abbreviation for Hospital

25d    Special treatment — what sailor gets after end of war (5)
REHAB An interjection of enquiry or surprise (what) and an abbreviation for a sailor go after the letter at the end of waR

26d    Care home doctor goes around (4)
MIND An abbreviated doctor goes around the ‘usual’ at home


13 comments on “Toughie 2994
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  1. A pleasant midweek Toughie – thanks to Giovanni and CS.
    The clues I liked best were 14d (which made me laugh), 21d and 25d.

    1. I didn’t know the Dutch town but managed enough of it (the spelling, I mean) to enable Google to complete it for me. Had no clue whatsoever about the 6a German ‘wise man’ (besides, the American word for ‘go entirely wrong’ is a fairly recent slangword over here that I have never used and never plan to). Otherwise, with a bit of Googling and letter-reveals I now have a full grid. Relieved a bit to see that our blogger has assigned it ***/**** for difficulty. But I did enjoy the challenge last night and, even though I wasn’t sure about the compiler at first, the solution to 30a (I’ll call it my COTD) pretty much sealed the deal for Giovanni. So a clear DNF but also a very clear Thank you to Giovanni for the pleasure and to CS for the review.

  2. I’m not going to claim an unaided finish, used some e-help but I did get there finally with the exception of 5a…how smart.
    Notwithstanding the obscurities I enjoyed this, thought some of the wordplay both clever and funny.
    I’ll mention 21,24&30a plus 14,21&25d as worthy podium contenders.
    Many thanks to Giovanni and Cryptic Sue.

  3. Ultimately defeated by 6a and 18d for which I needed the hints, never heard of either, as I did for the parsing of 29a. Other words I’d never come across before were 15a, 19a and 24a for which I used electronic help and parsed them from there. Too difficult to be enjoyable. Cotd was 14d. Thanks to Giovanni for the thrashing and CS for the much needed hints.

  4. Defeated by 6a, for which I needed Sue’s hints – thank you so much! Three-quarters of this I found reasonably straightforward Wednesday/Thursday-ish Toughie territory, but the other quarter was pure Friday for me.

    I’ve really missed the Don on the backpages, and what a pleasure to have him return to the Toughie slot – an excellent puzzle, with trademark obscurities to remember and new words to learn. Had never heard of 10a in 3,6 form, 19a was long forgotten if ever I knew it, 24a & 18d both entirely unknown. 2d was a write-in first, parse second. But every answer was so fairly clued that one can have no complaints, and indeed plenty of smiles and groans.

    14d my COTD, with Hon Mentions to 12a (41 years of wearing them, come August) 30a, 4d and 21d.

    Many thanks indeed to The Don, and to CS

  5. Had to use references for several of these but in the end everything was sorted satisfactorily.
    21d gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks Giovanni and CS.

  6. Completed eventually with what felt felt like copious amounts of e-help. I’m all for a bit of GK, sometimes even obscurities, but this was too much for my capabilities. I didn’t know the emperor of 10a and resorted to bung-ins with the letters. The French person of 15a, the satyr of 19a, the algae of 18d and the guitarist of 20d I needed hints + MrGoogle for. Looking back I could have got most with the wordplay but had lost the willpower by that point. Shame, because many clues I thought were great, such as 14d and 13a.

    Thanks for the education Giovanni, and for being my guide dog today CS

  7. I’ll add the roof to Wiggler’s list. With the aid of a letter reveal (20d/24a checker) & 2 hits of the reveal mistakes function which necessitated a correction en route I still needed CS’s hints for 6a&18d to fill the grid. On the plus side I did parse them ok. I just kept thinking of Terence – he’d need to sharpen his pencil for the stuff in this one needing to go on the LIST. 14d my clear favourite though 6a (like the trading tips wordplay which I missed) might have been if I’d got it without help.
    Thanks to the Don & CS

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