Toughie No 3005 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3005

Toughie No 3005  by Gila

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a very sunny South Devon coast where there’s definitely a whiff of early Spring in the air. Most welcome.

Gila kicks off the Toughie week with a typically fun and not overly difficult puzzle, spot-on for Tuesday.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Woman consumes drink and tons of bread (8)
MONETARY: A woman’s name goes around or “consumes” a word that could refer to a drink (as in we had *** in our local pub) and the abbreviation for Tons. The bread is not something we make a sandwich with.

5a Look at weapon — reportedly one that may be pointy? (6)
ICICLE: A homophone (reportedly) of a verb meaning to look at or leer plus one of an agricultural blade.

9a Agonising, hard job for crew guarding a king (9)
HARROWING: The abbreviation for Hard and a means of propelling a boat contain (guarding) A from the clue and the Latin abbreviation for King

11a Teacher carries round maths work? (5)
PROOF: An abbreviated high-level teacher contains or “carries” the round letter.

12a Fluff produced by cat lying around next to me (4,2)
MESS UP: Me from the clue and a reversal (lying around) of an informal name for a domestic cat. Fluff here is a verb.

13a Official due to leave Musee d’Orsay, sadly (8)
MAYORESS: Anagram (sadly) of the preceding two words once “due” has been removed (to leave)

15a Oh no! The brain’s crazily, ridiculously complex! (5-8)
HEATH ROBINSON: Anagram (crazily) of the preceding four words. Although it’s a while since I’ve heard this expression it jumped out at me.

18a Last drop of emulsion in paint tin possibly having no consistency (13)
TEMPERAMENTAL: Start with a water based paint and add something of which tin is an example (possibly) into which is inserted the final letter (last drop) of emulsioN.

22a Outside posh hotel, salespeople knocked back wine and soda (8)
SPRITZER: Reverse our usual abbreviated salespeople and place them around a well known posh hotel in London.

23a Vehicle always contracted for race (6)
CAREER: A charade of a vehicle most of us drive on a regular basis and a contacted or poetic form of a synonym of always.

26a Happy refrain embraced by Australasians (3-2)
TRA LA: Hidden (embraced by) in the final word of the clue.

27a Lid on the counter close to dank, old cardboard box? (9)
PACKAGING: Reverse (on the counter) a synonym of lid or top and follow it with the final letter of danK and a synonym of old or getting on.

28a Prophet starts to enforce demands and become angry (3,3)
SEE RED: A 4-letter synonym of a prophet (not sage!) and the initial letters of Enforced and Demands give an expression when split 3-3 mean become angry or “go ballistic”

29a Most expensive insurers ultimately bother to include support for drivers (8)
STEEPEST: Take the final letter of insurerS and a synonym of bother as a noun and place them around (to include) one of our usual “supports”, the driver being a golfing reference.


1d Fish and one type of meat served up repeatedly (4-4)
MAHI MAHI: Reverse (served up) the letter that looks like the Roman numeral one and some meat from a pig. Repeat the process

2d Rules of postal service outlined by unions from time to time (5)
NORMS: The initials of our postal service (although it’s now listed in the stock market as International Distributions Services) are inserted into (outlined by) alternate letters of uNiOnS.

3d Unreasonable concern about second uprising (3,4)
TOO MUCH: Place a synonym of concern in the sense of affect around a reversal (uprising) of an abbreviated second or short time.

4d Ferocious, heartless attack (4)
RAID: Remove the middle letter of a synonym of ferocious or feral.

6d Extensive evidence of debt acquired by police officers (7)
COPIOUS: An informal name for some police officers (**** and robbers) goes around the usual 3-letter evidence of debt.

7d Tightly bound printing material stored over in cupboard (5-4)
CLOSE KNIT: A type of cupboard goes around a reversal of some printing or writing material (in the pre-digital days!)

8d The tops of eclairs frequently melt and spread out (6)
EFFUSE: A charade of the initial letters (tops of) of Eclairs and Frequently and a verb meaning to melt or dissolve.

10d Grand, fancy artisan desserts (8)
GRANITAS: The abbreviation for Grand plus an anagram (fancy) of ARTISAN

14d Care assistant in hospital regularly feels pressure (4,4)
HOME HELP: A charade of a word that could mean in (as in not outside), the abbreviation for Hospital, alternate letters of fEeLs and the abbreviation for Pressure.

16d Swap a letter A and N, incorrectly (9)
ALTERNATE: Anagram (incorrectly) of A LETTER plus A and N. The solution is a verb.

17d Extreme political group‘s endless attempt to divide land (3-5)
ALT RIGHT: An insertion (to divide) of a simple synonym of attempt without its last letter into land as a verb, giving a right-wing movement that apparently started in the US in the early 2000’s.

19d Gas meter almost broken by worker … almost (7)
METHANE: Remove the last letter (almost) from METEr and place it around a 4-letter worker which in turn loses its last letter (almost)

20d Beans arrived with cheese as a replacement topping (7)
EDAMAME: Start with some (rubbery) Dutch cheese which replaces the topping or first letter of a synonym of arrived. Good clue.

21d Currently, a protest’s lacking intention at heart (2,2,2)
AS IT IS: A 3-word term for a protest (1-3-2) plus the ‘s loses the middle letter of inteNtion from the final word.

24d Occasional bits of jelly in the cream (5)
ELITE: Alternate letters (the setter does like this device!) jElLy In ThE.

25d Part of speech that’s authentic to Merkel? (4)
ECHT: Hidden in the clue (part of) giving a German word (hence the Merkel reference) for real or authentic


Thanks Gila, my ticks have gone to 14,20&21d. Which ones were your rays of sunshine?



15 comments on “Toughie No 3005
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  1. A ‘just right’ Tuesday Toughie – thank you Gila, especially for teaching me a way of remembering how to spell those beans

    Thanks also to StephenL

  2. I thought that this was quite tricky for a Tuesday but I did enjoy it – thanks to Gila and StephenL.
    I didn’t know either 1d or 17d but they were both gettable from the wordplay and checkers (the BRB doesn’t list 17d but Collins does).
    On my podium I’ve got 5a, 18a and 14d.

  3. For the second week running, I can safely say that for me this was very much tougher than a “normal” Tuesday Toughie. However, as with last week’s this was a lot of fun once I had got over the hurdle of finding a vague woman in the very first clue.

    I’ve never heard of of 1d and needed a bit of electronic help once I had the checking letters in place and assumed the answer must be MAH?-MAH?

    Regarding 13a, we have always been told that the Telegraph’s requirement when letters are subtracted from anagram fodder is that a secondary anagram indicator is needed if the letters to be removed appear in the clue in a different order. Increasingly that seems not to be the case. I don’t mind one way or the other but it would be good to know if that policy has been changed.

    With plenty of good clues to choose from, 14d gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Gila for a fun challenge and to SL.

  4. After a slow start, this came together nicely. I don’t think I have come across the beans before, but the excellent wordplay got me there and allowed me to select 20d as my favourite clue. Overall I thought the puzzle was genuinely tricky, but very solvable with perseverance. Great fun.

    Thanks to Gila and SL.

  5. As is always the way, the clues that fell easily seemed like a walk in the park, those that required a good deal of thought had me wading through treacle. Luckily I did know the required fish but always thought the extreme group began with a different first word. Please don’t tell me there are two different factions of them……….
    Top three for me were 18a plus 7&14d.

    Thanks to Gila and also to Stephen for the review. I know it’s in your nature to point out anything you consider to be old hat but I do hope you still use that ‘printing material’ when it comes to greetings cards!

    1. Absolutely Jane, I’m a stickler for traditional cards though the cost of using the service provided by the company in 2d can be somewhat prohibitive!

      1. I know this is way off topic as far as this pleasant crossword is concerned but on the subject of greetings cards, not only do I believe in the traditional paper and ink version but I also believe (despite the 2down expense) that hand delivery of such cards is a no no!

  6. Just that bit too hard for me so a DNF
    I enjoyed meeting Mr 15a again and think 22a is not a good way to drink wine.
    I see 1d is a dolphinfish. A strange mixture if ever there was one

  7. Just could not make any sense of 1a and so that blocked 2d, and now that I know who the woman is and what the bread refers to, I have to say that I consider it a very poor clue–something I almost never say. But beyond that, I really enjoyed this Toughie, with 17d, 9a, 25d, & 13a earning the biggest ticks. Thanks to Stephen and Gila.

  8. I needed the hint to parse 1a as it’s not a term I’d use for a drink unless it’s followed by gallon. 😁 I thought weapon was a bit of a stretch and the fish, the dessert, the political group and the German word were all new to me. I did enjoy the tussle though. Cotd for me was 19d. Thanks to Gila and SL

  9. Made steady progress and enjoyed the puzzle. I did need to check my German in 25d and wasn’t entirely convinced by my (correct) parsing of 1a. 20d gets my vote. Thanks to Gila and SL.

  10. I finished this considerably faster than today’s back-pager – I seem to go against the grain from both sets of comments today :) I hadn’t heard of the fish in 1d or the beans in 20d but got them with checkers and wordplay. I was convinced that 17d was “tea party” but my attempts to think of a shortened TEA- synonym for try failed miserably before checkers came to my rescue. My top three are 12a, 13a and 20d as the winner

    Thanks to Gila and StephenL

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