Toughie 3019 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3019

Toughie No 3019 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to proXimal for today’s Toughie which I enjoyed deciphering.

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

Across Clues

1a Go over city crime arrests (5)
RECAP: a slang word for a crime contains the postal area of the City of London.

4a Tons coming into planet, aliens regularly destroyed rocks (8)
STARTLES: the abbreviation for tons comes between a synonym of planet and the even letters of aliens.

10a King admitting another European is brighter (7)
CLEARER: the cipher of our current King contains the name of another king (this one fictional) and an abbreviation for European.

11a Vigorous soldiers back exercising (7)
ROUSING: reverse the abbreviation for non-commissioned soldiers and add a present participle meaning exercising or applying.

12a Amount of land by Washington annexed by pigs — we shouldn’t criticise them (6,4)
SACRED COWS: a measure of land and an informal way of referring to Washington (the city, not the state) are contained in some pigs.

13a Raise lad, we’re told (4)
BUOY: this sounds like a lad.

15a Terrible illness rate linked to the French island group (6,8)
LESSER ANTILLES: an anagram (terrible) of ILLNESS RATE followed by one of the French definite articles.

17a Incitements to mask over missing case studies (14)
INVESTIGATIONS: a noun meaning incitements or inducements contains (to mask) the inner letters of ‘over’.

20a Litre removed from full dispenser of fluid? (4)
PUMP: remove the abbreviation for litre from an adjective meaning full or well rounded.

21a Stringent running hospital with many people (2,8)
IN STRENGTH: an anagram (running) of STRINGENT followed by the map abbreviation for hospital.

23a Present urchins tantalising sandwiches (7)
INSTANT: a hidden word. I think that the answer here means present when referring to the current month.

24a Enlightened and raised to godly status with head thrown back (7)
EDIFIED: a verb meaning ‘raised to godly status’ with the first two letters reversed.

25a Be suspicious of vapour with reddish-brown colour (8)
MISTRUST: charade of a type of vapour and a reddish-brown colour.

26a Author‘s work journal reviewed (5)
GOGOL: a verb to work or function and the reversal of a journal give us a Russian novelist.

Down Clues

1d Degenerate eating rubbish lacks mineral (4,4)
ROCK SALT: a verb to degenerate containing an anagram (rubbish) of LACKS.

2d Forces mounted on church in Greek island (7)
COERCES: the reversal of a preposition meaning on or about and one of our usual abbreviations for church go inside a Greek island.

3d Agent turning on hard sells ultimately sticks at it (10)
PERSEVERES: reverse an abbreviated sales agent and add an adjective meaning hard or harsh and the ultimate letter of ‘sells’.

5d Quickly assembled posh chair picked up to win over that woman (6,8)
THROWN TOGETHER: string together a homophone of a ceremonial chair, TO, a verb meaning to win and a female pronoun.

6d Badger’s behind, not in hollow (4)
ROUT: the trailing letter of badger and an adverb meaning ‘not in’.

7d Band playing with such relaxation might be undesirable (7)
LEISURE: this is a compound anagram. An anagram (playing) of BAND plus the answer will produce the word ‘undesirable’.

8d Wet sauce, about two gallons (5)
SOGGY: a salty sauce contains two occurrences of the abbreviation for gallon.

9d Stalls for wine, new in cases (14)
PROCRASTINATES: start with a prefix meaning for or ‘in favour of’ then insert Crosswordland’s favourite sparkling wine and the abbreviation for new into some cases.

14d Adult dismissing Universal horror film is talking guff according to some (10)
BLETHERING: remove the abbreviation for universal from an adjective meaning adult or bawdy and append a horror film (3,4) from 2002 (not one I’d heard of). The answer is apparently a chiefly Scottish spelling so ‘according to some’.

16d Plant in reptile house guided upwards (8)
ASPHODEL: rivet together the reptile that did for Cleopatra, the abbreviation for house and the reversal of a verb meaning guided.

18d Rival‘s head punched by this writer … twice! (7)
NEMESIS: a geographical head contains, separately, two pronouns the writer would use for himself.

19d Continuing songs son sings completely dismissing outsiders (2-5)
ON-GOING: remove the outside letters from three words in the clue.

20d Solid doctrine of promoters? (5)
PRISM: definition and cryptic definition, the second what could possibly be a word for the doctrine of those promoting a favourable slant.

22d Retreat from upsetting ritual sacrificing second person in Lyon (4)
LAIR: remove the second person pronoun used in Lyon from RITUAL and make an anagram (upsetting) of what remains.

My top clues were 10a, 12a and 20d. Which one(s) came up to scratch for you?

11 comments on “Toughie 3019
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  1. Excellent and reasonably accessible (apart from the parsing of 14d) Toughie from one of my very favourite setters.
    I’ve ticked 10&24a plus 5( posh chair lol),7&18d as (more than) coming up to scratch
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Gazza for the all round top-notch entertainment, enjoyed the cartoons.

  2. Some truly clever clueing made this approachable puzzle appear deceptively tough. At first I thought I was getting nowhere, but the SW and then NE provided the toeholds, then the four long crossing clues fell into place and it all came together quite swiftly after that. So many great clues – Hon Mentions to 10a, 12a, 25a, 1d, 18d & 20d.

    3 / 4

    Many thanks indeed to Proximal and to Gazza (wonderful cartoons!)

  3. I had to Google the film and the author and needed the hint to parse 7d. Apart from those the rest were difficult but doable so, all in all, a very satisfying solve. Favourite was 5d. Thanks to ProXimal and Gazza.

  4. The big ones provided a way in to this and I particularly liked 2d [“mounted on” is a clever mislead]18d and 20d.
    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza.

  5. I started this a while ago and got nowhere, so had some lunch and returned to it, and of course it began to fall into place. Some very clever and convoluted clues made this a really good challenge, and I thought 12a was genius.

    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza.

  6. I suppose the use of planet = star is justified by ‘morning star’ = Venus, but it is a very annoying misuse to the scientist in me. I spent a long time trying to think of any other possible solution before checking the BRB, only to find that just about anything in the sky counts as a star. Grrr.

  7. Wonderful puzzle. I’m finally, if only asymptotically, approaching this setter’s wavelength, and if it hadn’t been for the ‘a’ I put instead of the ‘e’ in 14d (never mind the mis-parsing), I would have been altogether there. I did somehow remember that old American horror film because one of my favourite actresses, Naomi Watts (poor dear), was in it, but I never seem to remember ‘blue’=’adult’. 12a simply outscores all the rest on my Clarkometer, but high rankings go to 13a, 18d, 19d, 10a, 20d, & 26a: ‘The Nose’ was Shostakovich’s first opera, but I heard and saw it, streaming live, for the first time during this pandemic–clever clue; funnily serious and seriously funny book. Thanks to Gazza and proXimal.

  8. I knew I had to put that lettuce of a Greek island somewhere in 2d but it took forever.
    Didn’t know the horror film in 14d but it had to be that for the answer to make sense.
    The synonym of raise in 13a was also new to me.
    Thanks to proXimal for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review.

    1. Hi J-L,
      Buoy as a verb means to raise (the spirits, for example). It’s most often seen in the phrase ‘buoyed up’.

  9. Thoroughly enjoyed solving this but have to confess that crossers were of great assistance when it came to the likes of the unfamiliar 26a author and the horror film. I did also need to check with the BRB about the incitements in 17a which didn’t sit too comfortably with me.
    Top clues here 12&25a plus 5,8& 14d (such a descriptive word) with a special mention for Gazza’s cartoon selection!

    Thanks to proXimal for the challenge and many thanks to Gazza for the pictorial review.

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