Toughie No 3001 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3001

Toughie No 3001 by Robyn

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sunny South Devon coast.

Robyn kicks off the Toughie week with a puzzle that certainly does what it says on the tin. The “Master of Misdirection” had me working quite hard to establish an initial foothold but it did eventually all come together. Hugely entertaining though.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a One’s checked plan voiced by committee (12)
DRAUGHTBOARD: A charade of a homophone (voiced by) of a plan or outline plus a synonym of a committee, one that heads a large company perhaps.

9a Capital allocation, investing slightly reduced sum( 9)
PARAMOUNT: Place an allocation or portion around a sum or quantity without its final letter (slightly reduced)

10a Endless inactivity for notorious old buggers! (5)

STASI: A period of inactivity or standstill loses its final letter, as indicated by “endless” The “buggers” is a reference to the activity of the solution as a means of espionage.

11a King Lear? (6)
EDWARD: The solution is the name of a King and the given name of the poet in the clue, nothing to do with The Bard.

12a Three players covering Sting hit (8)
STRICKEN: The players here are those involved in a card game and they need to be placed around a synonym of sting (ignore the clever false capitalisation) in the sense of cheat. Great clue. Here’s the man though.

13a European stood around in dress (6)
ENROBE: The abbreviation for European and a synonym of stood in the sense of put up with or endured are reversed (around). Dress here is a verb.

15a Completed dramatic work’s opening chapter with a message (8)
DIDACTIC: A charade of a simple synonym of completed or carried out, the first part of a dramatic work and the abbreviation for Chapter.

18a View of the main area small duck circles (8)
SEASCAPE: Start with the abbreviation for Small and follow it with a synonym of duck as a verb into which is inserted the abbreviation for Area. Here’s one of the very best that I have the pleasure of seeing on an almost daily basis.


19a Painter frames grand, attractive object (6)
MAGNET: A 19th century French modernist painter goes around or the abbreviation for Grand, the containment indicator cleverly being “frames”.

21a Frank Biblical figure beyond the pale? (8)
POSTMARK: This took a minute or two to see exactly how it works. The definition is frank as a verb or noun, not as the setter would like you to believe an adjective We need to place a Biblical evangelist after or “beyond” a synonym of pale as an upright or stake

23a Discharge from position during problem (6)
SPUTUM: A synonym of position as a verb goes inside a (mathematical) problem

26a Huge low note, Delius’s first in song (5)
NADIR: The abbreviation for Note is followed by an insertion of the initial letter of Delius into a 3-letter musical work.

27a Respecting this person in old film showing strength (9)
RESILIENT: A preposition meaning respecting or with regards to is followed by an old type of movie into which is inserted a first person pronoun

28a Interrupted by bravos, footballer ran and finished roughly (12)
PEBBLEDASHED: The name of a footballing legend, one who has recently passed away, goes around the letter represented by Bravo (don’t forget the plural) and is followed by a synonym of ran or hurried. Another winner!


1d Consume power during strike (7)
DEPLETE: We need to insert the abbreviation for Power into a synonym of strike as a verb in the sense of cancel

2d Quarrel, say, in school from EastEnders? (5)

ARROW: Quarrel here is not an argument but something used by an archer and as it appeared in my first ever blog it came to mind immediately. How someone from the EastEnd of London may pronounce a famous school.

3d Fool knocked over most of coffee, a kind of sap (3,6)
GUM ARABIC: A charade of a reversal of a fool or naive person followed by a type of coffee bean which loses its last letter.

4d Heavy stomach husband fills up (4)
THUG: Heavy here is a noun. Insert the abbreviation for Husband into a reversal (up) of an informal name for a stomach, usually a big one!

5d Abroad, take off top (8)
OUTSTRIP: A charade of a word that could mean abroad or “not present” plus a synonym of take off or remove, giving top as a verb.

6d Wise teacher from Europe head demoted (5)
RISHI: Start with an adjective describing someone from the Emerald Isles and move the initial letter to the end of the word (head demoted), giving a Hindu sage.

7d Defending Iheanacho’s header, maybe Wolves can stop that (4,2,2)
PACK IT IN: The setter is using “defending” here as a containment indicator, so place a group of wolves (ignore the capitalisation) and a synonym of can as a noun around the initial letter (header) of the footballer referred to in the wordplay.

8d A piece of cake for a meal (6)
PICNIC: Double definition, the least obvious being something easily achieved.

14d By the way, you’ll find this attack deposing leader (8)
ROADSIDE: Remove the initial letter from a strong written or verbal attack.

16d A better rice dish American put away, wanting accompaniment (1,8)
A CAPPELLA: A charade of A from the clue, a word meaning better as a verb and a Spanish rice dish minus the abbreviation for American (put away)

17d Show mercy to guy, a bit of a pig (5,3)
SPARE RIB: A charade of a word meaning be lenient to (***** the rod, spoil the child) plus a synonym (only seen in crosswordland) of guy as a verb

18d Lying American overturned deal, say (6)
SUPINE: Lying here means horizontal. Reverse our usual abbreviated American and add a tree that the wood deal comes from.

20d Tense setter leaves drained and drawn (7)
TEMPTED: A charade of the abbreviation for Tense and a word meaning drained or bled minus a first person pronoun (setter leaves)

22d Invented copper, plum or sea-green dresses (5)
MORSE: Hidden in the clue (dresses). The copper here of course is a fictional detective.

24d Trouble on vacation with the barking canines? (5)
TEETH: The outside letters of TroublE (on vacation) and an anagram of THE (barking)

25d Hears about missing King Arthur, great court figure (4)

ASHE: Another sporting themed clue. An anagram (about) of HEARS once the Latin abbreviation for a king has been removed, giving a 1960’s or 70’s tennis player, after whom a stadium in New York is named.

Super stuff Robyn, my “aces” are 10,12&21a plus 7d. Which ones were your winners?


19 comments on “Toughie No 3001
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  1. A superb puzzle with cunning misdirections throughout – many thanks to Robyn and StephenL.
    I thought that Robyn was going to ‘do a Beam’ and have no anagrams at all then he slipped two in at the last.
    Top clues for me were 10a, 7d, 16d and 22d with top honours going to 28a.

  2. I concur with StephenL’s comments : Robyn is the master od misdirection.
    28a is probably the best example of this.
    A very enjoyable tussle.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  3. I’ll tell you what that wasn’t – a Tuesday level Toughie. What it was, was very tough, with the NE being particularly challenging. However, it was extremely enjoyable from start to finish.

    Who knew 6d was wise?

    I had ticks galore on my page. I loved the “old buggers” in 10a and that was joined on my crowded podium by 1a, 21a, 28a & 1d.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to SL.

  4. I can never quite get my head round Robyn’s puzzles. Even with all the checkers [2a, 28a] it often takes ages to twig the answer. But that’s because the clues are so cunningly constructed, and they usually have really smooth surfaces too. Favourites in this one were the nicely disguised 26a, the superb 7d and the neat little 24d. Bravo!
    Thanks to Robyn and to SL for the blog.

  5. Another superb, properly tough, Toughie from Robyn – too many favourites to list on a busy Tuesday afternoon

    Many thanks to him and StephenL

  6. A superb puzzle indeed – the full ***** for enjoyment as far as I’m concerned. Thought it might have been a Silvanus production but not in the least surprised to find out it’s by another member of my Toughie dream team & we’ve Django tomorrow I now see. Unfamiliar with 3d but the wordplay got me there & the penny was embarrassingly slow to drop with last in 6d. Only a failure to fully parse those 3 players (d’oh) took a bit away from the satisfaction of completing. The 2 footballing ones at 7d & 28a my joint favourites but with countless ticks elsewhere – 10 (The Lives of Others a magnificent Oscar winning film about those buggers),12&21a plus 16d four other particular likes. Great stuff.
    Thanks to Robyn & Stephen.

  7. I thought I had overslept through to at least Thursday when I solved this. Properly tough, with tricks and misdirection aplenty. From a big selection of possibles, I liked 28a and 1d the best.

    My thanks to Robyn for a terrific puzzle, and SL.

    1. There’s been a pattern in recent months, the odd Chalicea puzzle aside, where Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday puzzles have been virtually interchangeable.

  8. Found this the toughest Robyn yet and I needed considerable help in the NE. Not my finest hour, by far, but I did enjoy the long workout last night. Thanks to SL and Robyn.

  9. Slowly made my way up from the bottom of this crossword and spent an awful long time in the NE.
    I need a good drink now.
    Thanks to Robyn for the workout and to StephenL for the review.

  10. Ultimately defeated by 28a and 25d for which I needed the hints, the rest was simply really difficult but at least I managed to get them. This doesn’t augur well for the rest of the week. Favourite was 11a when the penny finally dropped. Thanks to Robyn and SL.

  11. Only my second attempt at a Toughie and was quite pleased to complete it apart from four clues in the NE. Unfortunately never heard of the wise teacher. Enjoyed the mental tussle!

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