Toughie 3008 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3008

Toughie No 3008 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Elgar back to full-on toughie style. I was left with about 5 unsolved well after 5* time, when I eventually saw 23a and 5d, giving me the rest. Satisfying in the end!


7a    “Spread a bit of Krona”: a twisted message (8)

AEROGRAM: A reversal (twisted) of a 4-letter spread, 1/100th of a Krona, and A from the clue

9a    The solver is on the phone as Jesus saves – several times a day! (6)

HOURLY: A 2-letter homophone (on the phone) of ‘the solver is’ (from the setter’s perspective) that a word meaning ‘as Jesus’ (i.e. pure or religious) contains (saves)

10/24a    Dutch passengers en route to Harwich, so they may have punch (4,4)

LEFT HOOK: This is about a ferry route. Complete the sentence with some geography: ‘Dutch passengers en route to Harwich, so they may have … (4,4)’

11a    Christmas for one rogue trader in loading area (7,3)

QUARTER DAY: An anagram (rogue) of TRADER goes inside a loading area of a dock

12/14a    Charge for borrowing The Ancient Pursuit of Herbalism? (6,8)

SIMPLE INTEREST: One way of calculating the charge for borrowing money. The first word is an old term (Ancient) for medicinal plants or their gathering (see Chambers!), and the second word can mean pursuit

15a     Mark of distinction that’s connected with style (6)

STIGMA: Two meanings: the first is often a mark of infamy or disgrace; the second is botanical

17a     Energy needed for one in humdrum musical setting (2,4)

TE DEUM: Take a 6-letter word meaning humdrum (as a noun) and replace the Roman numeral for one with the abbreviation for energy

20/22a    Look at the twins playing – aren’t they lovely? (5,3,2,4)

WHAT’S NOT TO LIKE: An anagram (playing) of LOOK AT THE TWINS

23a    Patsy S’s partner fuels row when quitting US corporation (7,3)

FREDDIE MAC: The Absolutely Fabulous partner of Patsy S (informal version of her name plus initial of surname, as in Patsy S) goes inside (fuels) a 6-letter word for a row or quarrel from which a 2-letter word meaning ‘when’ has been omitted (quitting)

25a    Nothing struck us about wandering African people (6)

BASUTU: An anagram (wandering) of US AB(o)UT from which the letter looking like zero has been deleted (struck)

26a     Women drinking make mistake opening for instance _____ ? (8)

SHERRIES: The 4-letter plural of a word for woman contains (drinking) a word meaning ‘make mistake’ plus the first letter (opening) of instance


1d    Important in upbringing psychologists cite negative development (8)

GENETICS: Reverse hidden (in upbringing …)

2/24d    For a bit of brass after show, unlimited service (4,4)

POST HORN: A word meaning after, SHOW from the clue without the outer letters (unlimited), and the abbreviation for a military service

3/16d    Our Queen: I’m so sorry for stopping our King snack (6-8)

CROQUE-MONSIEUR: An anagram (sorry) of OUR QUEEN I’M SO goes inside (for stopping) the abbreviation for our King

4/22d It is fine – or, look, evidence for such? (5,3,6)

THAT’S THE TICKET: The answer could be read to mean ‘look, the evidence for a fine’ – so, a double definition of ‘fine’

5d     She wrote, reporting beauty queen at Irish Oaks? (6,4)

CURRER BELL: This penname for Charlotte Bronte is a homophone (reporting) of a beauty queen from the place where the Irish Oaks horse races are held

6d     A front-runner in Liberalism wife votes for unfailingly (6)

ALWAYS: A from the clue, the first letter (front-runner) in Liberalism, the abbreviation for wife, and some ‘votes for’

8d    Viz does a character modelled on Scrooge (6)

MEANIE: Splitting the answer (4,2), we see what Viz does

13d    Oddly pedantic about scrophulariaceous plant (7,3)

PAINTED CUP: An anagram (oddly) of PEDANTIC followed by a preposition that could mean about

18d     A series of alterations to e.g. face and six balls will do (8)

MAKEOVER: Split (4,4), the answer is something that six balls will do in cricket

19d    End of play is baffling (6)

STUMPS: Two meanings, the first a cricket term

21d     Press covering what’s kicking off and I like it! (6)

HURRAY: A 5-letter word for press or rush is covering the first letter of (what’s kicking off) ‘and’

I was very pleased with the namecheck in 10/24a (A ferry I’ve taken more than once!), and I particularly liked “Viz does …” and the surface of 20/22a. Which were your favourite clues?

10 comments on “Toughie 3008
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  1. Blimey that was ‘ard! I got there with half a dozen unparsed bung-ins, most of which I solved but I needed our blogger’s assistance to explain fully the Irish Oaks. So many brilliant and convoluted clues, but I really enjoyed 7 and 23a, together with the clever reverse lurker at 1d.

    Thanks to Elgar for the considerable challenge, and to Dutch for the explanations.

  2. Yes, the hob-nailed boots are definitely back on. Stared at this for a long time before getting 25a and 5d. Then 3d surrendered, which opened things up a bit. Couldn’t parse 21d so plumped for the incorrect alternative. But got there in the end. Phew!
    Favourites? 9a and 8d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  3. Made steady progress to fill in half the grid and then came to a grinding stop. Some serious head scratching, a few guessed bung-ins that seemed to parse (confirmed by the new puzzle website word checker function) and then needed Dutch’s hints for the last five or six. As always, Elgar’s clues seem fair and reasonable (only) in retrospect and leave me thinking “why did it take me so long to see that?”

    Thanks to Elgar for the challenge and to Dutch for the hints.

    COTD for me was 20a, after all …

  4. Oh, now … I completed this much quicker than I normally do an Elgar. Not meaning to boast or anything, but isn’t it strange how you can sometimes just be on the right wavelength? Mind you, I did have to get Dutch’s help for the parsing of 7a, because I got it into my head the Krona was a type of margarine. All is now clear, so many thanks to Dutch, and of course to the master for another fine workout.

  5. I still had six unsolved entries when I came here for help, and managed to solve them all using the hints above. Favourite was 6d, helped by once having driven past The Curragh on the way from Dublin to Nenagh.

    1. i’m not sure they ever appeared on the online version. but there used to be a menu item that listed them, seems to have disappeared in the new “improved”(?) telegraph puzzles website, but fortunately still available on this brilliant site’s menu under the miscellaneous tab

  6. Liked a lot of clues today and got round to finishing in time to comment – just! Loved Jesus saving me, the Dutch on holiday, the rogue trader, the twins and a lot more. Thanks JH and blogger!

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