Toughie 2995 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2995

Toughie No 2995 by Silvanus
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

A very enjoyable puzzle from Silvanus who manages to compile his puzzles without the need to include obscurities. Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Disease maybe soldier will catch? Not here (6)
ABSENT: a disease suffered by cattle is contained inside an example of a soldier in the insect world.

5a Comic mostly promoting European’s first appearance as Shakespearean prince (8)
PERICLES: start with an informal adjective meaning comic or hilarious, drop its last letter and move the first example of the abbreviation for European a few places to the left.

9a Gordon Ramsay types cooking are true stars across university (13)
RESTAURATEURS: an anagram (cooking) of ARE TRUE STARS containing an abbreviation for university.

10a How crabs will move rocks concealing fish? (8)
SIDEWAYS: a verb meaning rocks or swings contains a fish also called an orfe.

11a Waffle baking attracts publicity (3,3)
HOT AIR: charade of an adjective meaning baking or sweltering and a synonym of publicity.

12a Washington writer once Berlin barman (6)
IRVING: double definition, the surname of Washington and the forename of Berlin. Since neither is still living I wasn’t sure which to associate the ‘once’ with but since the writer lived much earlier I’ve given it to him.

14a Given present, diamonds, by bank not wholly for retirement (8)
DISPOSED: this was my last one to solve and it took a little while even with all the checkers in place. The cleverly disguised definition is ‘given’ as in ‘he is given to bouts of self-pity’. Stick together a verb to present or give rise to and the cards abbreviation for diamonds. Precede that with the reversal of a bank or border without its last letter.

16a Waiter is devastated, making big bloomer (8)
WISTERIA: an anagram (devastated) of WAITER IS.

19a Become inflexible whenever shaven-headed authoritarian is around (6)
OSSIFY: a conjunction meaning whenever goes inside an adjective meaning authoritarian without its first letter.

21a Embellishes Cockney’s basic description of former nanny? (6)
ADORNS: how a Cockney might describe a former nanny is a 3.5 phrase with the leading H stripped from both words.

23a Bishop, perhaps he’s succeeded replacing forward section of crook (8)
CHESSMAN: HE’S and the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded replace an adverb meaning forward in a crook or trickster.

25a Making individual girl’s pension complex area to access (13)
PERSONALISING: insert the abbreviation for area into an anagram (complex) of GIRL’S PENSION.

26a Pomposity from Republican in charge, introducing flipping corrupt pardon (8)
RHETORIC: abbreviations for Republican and ‘in charge’ contain the reversal of a verb to corrupt and a less polite way of saying pardon or ‘please repeat that’.

27a Heard unfamiliar song, it featured in Hair (6)
NUDITY: homophones of an adjective meaning unfamiliar or fresh and a simple song.

Down Clues

2d Block playwright meeting queen (7)
BARRIER: a Scottish playwright and the single-letter abbreviation for queen.

3d Ignoring the odds, Jean is sure to get result (5)
ENSUE: the even letters of three words in the clue.

4d Kid, student with a fine skill turns up for battle (9)
TRAFALGAR: assemble a verb to kid or tease, our usual abbreviated student, A, the pencil abbreviation for fine and a synonym of skill. Now reverse the lot.

5d Read country’s top journalist (7)
PERUSED: a South American country with its ‘S and our usual top journalist.

6d Heave case of claret that woman admits lifting (5)
RETCH: a feminine pronoun contains the outer letters of claret – turn it all upside down.

7d Outsource supply to be obliging (9)
COURTEOUS: an anagram (supply) of OUTSOURCE.

8d Sort of bathroom needing 3 to maintain it? (2,5)
EN SUITE: the answer to 3d containing IT.

13d Explain the meaning of painter prettifying houses (9)
INTERPRET: a hidden word.

15d EU citizen from Vienna somehow supporting Labour briefly (9)
SLOVENIAN: an anagram (somehow) of VIENNA follows a verb to labour hard without its final G.

17d Detailed what speed Dennis regularly goes over (2-5)
IN-DEPTH: regular letters from three words in the clue reversed.

18d Old-fashioned Conservative in a chair, relaxing (7)
ARCHAIC: an abbreviation for Conservative goes inside an anagram (relaxing) of A CHAIR.

20d Tension-filled fear outwardly over anything (7)
FRAUGHT: the outer letters of fear precede an old-fashioned word meaning anything.

22d Polish search (5)
SCOUR: double definition, the first a verb to polish vigorously.

24d Worked for MI5 close to colleagues, black and white? (5)
SPIED: the closing letter of colleagues and an adjective meaning having markings of two or more colours (black and white, for example).

I enjoyed 5a, 12a, 19a and 23a but my favourite clue (because it made me laugh) was 21a. Which clue(s) hit the spot for you?

21 comments on “Toughie 2995
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  1. It’s terrific Thursday again with RayT and Silvanus setting for our pleasure supported by superb reviews from Mr K and Gazza.

    This Toughie was challenging but great fun, although I confess to having failed to parse 14a and 23a fully and was very grateful to Gazza for the explanations for those two.

    It’s quite a struggle to pick a favourite but I think 27a just gets the nod.

    Many thanks to both setter and reviewer.

  2. I completed both the regular and the Toughie whilst returning from a couple of very pleasant days up in North Norfolk. Don’t worry, Mrs Shabbo was driving!
    Both puzzles were very enjoyable.
    My last on in on this puzzle was also 14a and I’m still not sure that I fully understand the parsing.
    Ticks all over the place, with special mentions to 21a, 27a and 7d.
    Thank you Silvanus and Gazza.

    1. 14a is POSE (present, as in ‘global warming poses a threat for the whole planet’) + D(iamonds) preceded by SID[e] (bank not wholly) reversed.

  3. Yet another brilliant crossword from Silvanus. At first I didn’t think it fitted the Toughie category … but I really struggled to parse the harder ones after writing in the easy ones.

    So, many thanks to Gazza, for explaining 1a, 5a, 14a and 23a.

    Favourite: The new ditty @ 27a.

  4. For me the perfect Toughie, relatively free of obscure GK with the difficulty coming from clever wordplay (some of which took some unpicking!) and misdirection only.
    My ticks in a strong field go to 12,19&21a plus 5&15d but just nicking joint top spot are the clever and funny 1&27a. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and Gazza, whose help I needed parsing 14a, also my LOI.

  5. 14a was my last in too. I sussed the wordplay but couldn’t see how the definition worked – so thanks for that Gazza. It therefore must be a top clue but is joined by 23a and the chuckleworthy, if a bit corny, 27a.

    Thanks Sylvanus and thanks again Gazza.

  6. An accessible and thoroughly enjoyable lunchtime challenge, beautifully crafted – as ever – with slick surfaces and imaginative clueing. Largely straightforward at first (starting in the S where a clue had leapt out at me) I ground to a halt with the last few in the NE, not spotting the anagram in 7d and 14a being my (unparsed) LOI. I was unfamiliar with the perjorative use of 26a though it could have been nothing else, and while 21a was an early pencil-in my inability to parse it meant it was one of the last to be inked. Too many super clues to single out any in particular.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and also to Gazza.

  7. Excellence comes as standard with this compiler and this was a fine example of his art. Like others, the parsing of 14a had me stumped, (cheers Gazza), but that aside, this was an enjoyable and rewarding solve. I think 27a has to be my top clue this afternoon.

    Thanks to both Silvanus and Gazza.

  8. Rather relieved to see that others found 14a hard to nail, have to admit to using my phone-a-friend for help with that one.
    As usual with a puzzle from this setter, my page is littered with ticks. In this instance it was 1,10,16,21&27a plus 16&18d that caught my fancy with 21a taking the most humorous clue award.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for another of his excellent compilations and thanks also to Gazza for another of his excellent reviews.

  9. With apologies to The Don but what a delightful contrast to yesterday’s obscurity packed (well for me anyway) puzzle. I’m biased but once again best of the week thus far. 14a my last in also – saw the definition but not the truncated side in the wordplay & had the HESS at 23a but not what it replaced so missed the parsing there too. My instinct is always to want to put an N in the spelling of 9a so glad of the fodder. As ever you could happily put a tick beside them all but like RD 27a my fav.
    Thanks to Silvanus & Gazza

  10. I needed the hints to parse 14a, 19a and 23a. I made steady if slow progress throughout this enjoyable crossword. Favourite was 21a. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  11. First pass through got nothing and thought we’d got Friday’s puzzle early! Then bit by bit everything fell into place and just rattled it off in the end. Good fun.

  12. I found a really nice difficulty curve to this one; it started pretty easy with some obvious anagrams and synonyms but by the end I was staring hard at some pretty complex wordplay (looking at you 14a, 23a, 4d). Mixed in were some fun with crabs and nakedness (not together). Given my complaint yesterday I ought to say I far more enjoyed this outing without the obscurities, but I know it’s horses for courses! I needed some help towards the end, especially with the parsing which I spent probably half as long again on – ty Gazza ****/****

    More please Silvanus!

  13. As with others, I needed help parsing 14a, my LOI, and 23a, but I actually finished this terrific Toughie in relatively fast time for me; it was in the canniest wordplay this side of Heaven that I fell short of mastering the nitty-gritty. Certainly this week’s Toughie highlight for me, with ticks galore–5a (COTD), 12a, 21a, 24d, 2d, & 27a: how’s that for the first two podia? Many thanks to Gazza and the ever-exciting Silvanus.

  14. Many thanks to Gazza and to everyone for their kind comments. I’m glad you seem to have enjoyed the puzzle as much as I did compiling it.

    As I was also responsible for today’s online Mini and Cross Atlantic puzzles, it’s the first time that I have been privileged to have three Telegraph puzzles appearing on the same day.

    I hope that anyone else who watched today’s Countdown Semi-Final was as deeply impressed as I was by the winner solving the conundrum (POPLITEAL) in under five seconds! Truly staggering that he even knew the word, let alone got it so fast.

    1. Many thanks for popping in, Silvanus, and congratulations on having three puzzles in today’s DT. An accomplishment that I should think was beyond your wildest dreams back in the days of your appearances in Rookie Corner!

  15. Completed this over the weekend. Only problem 14a. Love the cockney clues. 21a was LOL for me! Don’t often add a comment but thanks to those who contribute regularly to the solving of these puzzles.

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