Toughie 3002 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3002

Toughie No 3002 by Django

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

A properly tough Toughie for the second day running and I, for one, am not complaining. Django made us work hard for our completed grid today, the right-hand side being finished long before the left, but the enjoyment factor was as high as ever

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1a & 6 You sign to accept this job after arts degree — I managed without top grade (10,4)
REGISTERED POST A job goes after an anagram (managed) of aRTS DEGREE I without the letter representing the top grade

6a    See 1 Across

9a    Given to fighting back on horseback, obliging knight to replace last piece of armour (10)
PUGNACIOUS A reversal (back) of a two-letter word meaning on horseback followed by a synonym for obliging in the sense of full of kindness, where the chess abbreviation for knight replaces the final letter of armouR

10a    Check front of ship (4)
STEM A verb meaning to check or the front of a ship

12a    Perhaps vintage policeman’s holding informant’s focus (4)
CROP An informal name for a policeman into which is inserted ‘holding’ the focus or middle letter of infoRmant

13a    Compromise Independent politician I caught charging overtime (9)
IMPLICATE Compromise in the sense of involve or bring into question – the abbreviation for independent, a politician followed by  I (from the clue) and the cricket abbreviation for caught inserted into (charging) an adjective meaning tardy (overtime)

15a    Attendants therefore taking him on vacation before November (8)
HENCHMEN A formal way of saying therefore into which is inserted (taking) the outside (on vacation) letters of HiM, the result followed by the letter which is represented by November in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

16a    Wanting leaders — where is my dissent? (6)
HERESY Remove (wanting) the ‘leaders’ from wHERE iS mY  Obviously the day for this sort of dissent, there’s some in the back-pager too!

18a    Retain bronze ultimately, with second place captured by unknown (6)
EMPLOY The ultimate letter of bronzE, a short period of time (second) into which is inserted (captured) an abbreviation for place, the result finished with a mathematical unknown

20a    Request to join officers’ mess (8)
DISORDER A request or command goes after (to join) some abbreviated police officers

23a    Crew recalled mermaid with masculine characteristic (9)
MANNERISM A verb meaning to crew, a reversal (recalled) of a mermaid and the abbreviation for masculine

24a    Cadfael regularly follows Saint Peter (4)
SAFE The regular letters of cAdFaEl follow the abbreviation for Saint to give the proper name for the secure box, the slang name for which is a peter

26a    Greek character actor — essentially without play (4)
TAUT Tense or stiff (without play) – The nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet and the essential letter of acTor

27a    Ritualistic cult, I supply with a girl (10)
LITURGICAL An anagram (supply) of CULT I with A GIRL

28a    & 29 Old and mostly aching — initially Tom Hanks enjoyed time off over the holidays (4,2,3,5)
LONG IN THE TOOTH Most of a synonym for aching or desiring and the initial letters of Tom Hanks Enjoyed Time Off Over The Holidays

29a    See 28 Across


1d    Returning some ivory-porcelain that is substandard (4)
ROPY Hidden in reverse (hiding) in ivorY-PORcelain

2d    Jelly shot possibly entertains long-distance traveller (7)
GAGARIN An alcoholic spirit (shot possibly) “entertains” a type of jelly

3d    Someone who could take you out — well-dressed southern member of parliament? (12)
SHARPSHOOTER An informal term for being exceptionally well-dressed, the abbreviation for Southern and a possible informal way of referring to the bird which, collectively, is known as a parliament

4d    Brought out lecture series to support English student here in Paris (8)
ELICITED A series of talks by influential speakers (lecture series) goes after (to support in a Down solution) the abbreviation for English, the usual abbreviation for a student and the French (as used in Paris and today’s back-pager) word for here

5d    Entertainer’s opening jokes providing issues (6)
EQUIPS The opening letter of Entertainer and some jokes

7d    Cat up in tree — fireman’s belly gets biscuit (7)
OATCAKE An anagram (up) of CAT inserted into a tree, the result followed by the ‘belly’ of firEman  I’m not entirely sure why this biscuit should be causing a cat to get stuck up this particular tree so often, but there’s another one similarly clued elsewhere today

8d    Mary tried desperately, assuming book deal could be arranged here (10)
TIMBERYARD An anagram (desperately) of MANY TRIED into which is inserted (assuming) the abbreviation for Book to produce somewhere you might get a good deal on your deal!

11d    Direct views — if hotel’s sign repositioned (5,2,5)
LINES OF SIGHT An anagram (repositioned) of IF HOTELS SIGN

14d    He set out musical style — it’s flat (5,5)
SHEET METAL An anagram (out) of HE SET followed by a style of [heavy] music

17d    Gossip — it’s for everyone entering test during critical hour (8)
BIGMOUTH The letter used to indicate that something is suitable for everyone inserted (entering) a test for your vehicle, the result then put between an adjective meaning very important (critical) and the abbreviation for hour

19d    Villain‘s power generator cut off without uranium (7)
PENGUIN The abbreviation for power and a truncated (cut off) generator, the latter going outside (without) the chemical symbol for uranium

21d    Actually forgot cafe dishes’ ingredients displayed on the counter (2,5)
DE FACTO This Latin term is hidden in reverse (displayed on the counter) in forgOT CAFÉ Dishes

22d    One of 15 working under car (6)
MINION A simple way of saying working goes under a car

25d    Raise a pound with husband’s pretentious nonsense (4)
BLAH A reversal (raise) of A and a pound weight followed by the abbreviation for husband


23 comments on “Toughie 3002
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  1. I loved this, right up my street full of this setter’s off the wall clueing and wit.
    I liked the the well-constructed 12&22a and the linked 15a&22d but top three for me as they all made me laugh were 9a plus 19d with favourite 3d.
    Many thanks to Django and Cryptic Sue.

  2. I accidentally woke up far too early this morning — which was good for logging in early and upgrading the servers before my colleagues started work, but inconvenient for getting enough sleep. However, I was delighted to find a Django Toughie to help fill the time till the rest of the household were up. Fun and engaging — thank you to Django, and whoever scheduled this puzzle for today.

    3d’s member of parliament made me laugh the most. I also noted 4d (“lecture series”), 21d (“café dishes ingredients”), and 16a (“dissent”), and I think my favourite clue might be 9a (“obliging knight”) for its cleverness.

    Thank you also to CrypticSue, partly for the explanations I’m about to read for the three I failed to parse, but mainly just for being there: while I did manage to fill the grid by myself on this occasion, there’s no way I’d embark on a Toughie without knowing that help is here if I need it.

  3. It must be a wavelength thing, but I got through this one relatively easily compared to yesterday’s horror.
    15a and 19d are my favourites.
    Thanks to Django and CS!

  4. Good stuff. I thought that this was slightly easier than Django’s previous Toughies, but perhaps I’m just getting on his wavelength. Thanks to him and CS.
    I ticked 9a, 18a and 23a with my favourite being 3d.

  5. A typically Djangoesque production that took some twiddling with the tuner to get on the right wavelength. Once there, however, the clues fell fairly quickly, with the outstanding 3d my runaway favourite.

    My thanks to Django for the challenge and to CS.

  6. How strange to read the above eulogies! I find this setters verbosity so irritating that I just cannot be bothered to continue to struggle with the puzzle.
    I’ll read the answers but that will be that. Sorry!

    1. Doesn’t seem strange to me — we all have different tastes and preferences about all sorts of things in life!

      My enjoyment isn’t in any way correlated with the word count; for others like you it is. That’s fine, and there doesn’t seem any point in trying to persuade anybody otherwise. As Terry Wogan said to Chris Evans: “Either they like you, or they don’t.” Fortunately there are many different crossword setters, and we each get to have some that suit us.

    2. Whilst I prefer shorter clues, I am fine with longer ones provided the surfaces make sense. When this setter first appeared in the Telegraph, I did find his verbose style irritating because, in a lot of cases, the result was unconvincing surfaces. I am happy to say that I am a convert now that he has mastered the art of formulating long clues with meaningful surfaces.

      However, even though it is not a long clue, i have to say that the surface of 7d today is very peculiar. That apart, I really enjoyed this challenge with 3d, 1a/6a & 18d making up my podium.

      Many thanks to Django and to CS.

  7. Very enjoyable, if hard work. Another vote for 3d entertainment value. Don’t quite get 7d as the cat is scrambled rather just turned over?

    Thanks to Django and CS

  8. Relatively trouble free with no real hold-ups and most enjoyable. Another tick for 3d. Thanks to Django and CS

  9. A nice puzzle. I normally don’t do Wednesday’s, only buying the paper on Fridays and Sundays, but was inspired after reading the online article on Django and this one.

  10. Did much better than with his last offering as Fed in the Guardian.
    Managed to finish without help.
    Well, just a couple of things that I had to check in the BRB.
    Really enjoy this setter’s style.
    Thanks to Django and to CS for the review.

  11. I read CS’s pre am and almost decided not to bother attempting this one, thinking that if it did in any way compare with yesterday’s Toughie, then I’d have no chance with it – however, begin it I did and soon found it very much to my liking, solving time taking me just slightly longer than it took me to complete today’s pager. I’m another who highly rated 3d, but I also liked 19d and 28/29a too. Thanks to Mr G and of course to CS, who’s parsings I needed to refer to on a couple of occasions. 24a being a case in point.

  12. Great puzzle; very enjoyable ****/**** for me and, like several others, my favourite was the brilliant 3D. Thanks to setter

  13. Tough and slow going for me, but when CS awards 5 stars difficulty I don’t assume a speedy solve. I like Django’s witty and imaginative style but it’s just a bit above my station usually. I probably managed about 2/3 unaided and the last third with hints, the BRB, the thesaurus and the occasional reveal… ;) Again I liked the link between 15a and 22d, with COTD going to the great 19d, which completed the dastardly theme ****/****

    TY Django and CS for the support

  14. Oh, I came so close! Just could not come up with the villain (never would have thought of Batman & Co!), nor with the gossip (MOT is a non-thing over here, though I once knew what it was). Nonetheless, I did enjoy my labours last evening as I wrestled with the setter I consider to be the most formidable for me. 9a, 15a/22d, & 2d top my list of winners. Many ticks elsewhere. Thanks to CS and Django.

  15. Finally finished a day late & at the 4th stab. The LHS a real tussle which took 2 letter reveals to eventually crack. For me the toughest DG puzzle for some time. 3d my fav too.
    Thanks Django & CS

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