Toughie 3024 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3024

Hints and tips by Dutch

Toughie No 3024 by Elgar

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

Not the easiest of puzzles …


1a    Disconcerted at how heavy this rug is when unpackaged, others too (4,4,3)

WHAT HAVE YOU: An anagram (disconcerted) of AT HOW HEAVY plus rUg without the outer letters ( this … is when unpackaged)

9a     He’s left Ashes trophy bent (4)

TURN: ‘He’ is omitted (‘s left) from ‘The Urn’. Definition 27 (noun) in Chambers

10a     Support new director’s last cut? I’ll be in attendance (7-4)

PICTURE-GOER: The whole clue is wordplay and also the definition. A 4-letter support on a waterfront has inside it (in attendance) an anagram (new) of the last letter of (directo)R + CUT, plus a 3-letter word meaning ‘I’

11a    Some who attend school staff (4)

PIKE:    Two meanings

14a    Chap notices alien receiver (7)

HEADSET:    A male pronoun, a word meaning notices or bills, and an abbreviation meaning alien

16a    Up to no good adjusting rear, after something that will irritate car man (7)

BUGATTI: A (2,2) expression meaning ‘up to no good’ with the last two letter reversed (adjusting rear), following (after) ‘something that will irritate’ gives the surname of a man who started a car company

17a     At a given point in interview, he retires (5)

WHERE: Hidden (in … )

18a    “Factory” crossword compiler isn’t well, shot of Independent (4)

MILL: How our crossword compiler might say he isn’t well (1’1,3) without (shot of) the abbreviation for independent

19a    Way she was drawn in by Kent (4)

LANE: Two meanings. As in Clark Kent – we are looking for the surname of Lois

20a    Like Fleming, Kissy Suzuki or Wai Lin? (5)

ASIAN: A (2,3) phrase meaning ‘Like Fleming’ (using his first name)

22a    Old felons here deny kidnapping wife (7)

NEWGATE: A 6-letter word meaning deny contains (kidnapping) the abbreviation for wife gives the name of an ‘old’ prison

23a    I’ll be choosing reduced frontal (7)

METOPIC:    A (2,2,4) phrase meaning ‘Ill be choosing’ without the final letter (reduced)

24a    It’s less daunting than a mountain chain, regularly taken on by learners (4)

HILL: The even (regularly taken on) letters of ‘chain’ plus twice the abbreviation for learner

28a    The basics about e.g. writing in red (6,5)

GROUND RULES: A word meaning about plus a letter that is one of three that would describe writing, for example (as well as reading and ‘rithmetic) go in a word meaning a red colour, apparently (I had to check Chambers)

29a    Player looking at cards faces facts, having this (4)

EAST:    ‘Faces’ can be derived from ‘facts’ with the answer (this) split (1,2,1)

30a    Internet’s crashed: steadily work around it in an appropriate way (11)

PERTINENTLY: An anagram (crashed) of INTERNET has around it a 3-letter word that means ‘steadily work’


2d    Welcome  fall in winter (4)

HAIL:    Two meanings, the second a frozen precipitation

3d    What ballerina puts on for the audience is exquisite (4)

TUTU: A homophone (for the audience) of a (3-3) expression meaning exquisite

4d “It happened when show-off heard about his legacy” said captain to stewards (7)

AIRCREW: The answer is a homophone (said) of inheritor boasted, a situation that could happen when a show-off heard about his legacy

5d     Security guard loses husband advantage (4)

EDGE:    A security guard or barrier loses the initial abbreviation for husband

6d    Late performance of Romeo and Juliet? Not the first or last (7)

OVERDUE: Romeo and Juliet might perform a (5,4) – remove the first and last letter to get the answer

7d    Uneasy CID man puts clothes shyly on one side – no undercover agents here! (6,5):

NUDIST CAMPS: An anagram (uneasy) of CID MAN PUTS covers (clothes) the leftmost (on one side) letter of shyly

8d     Staying on at His Majesty’s pleasure after burning old trousers (2,9)

IN RESIDENCE: A short word meaning on or pertaining to is contained by ( … trousers) a  6-letter word meaning ‘at His Majesty’s pleasure’ or incarcerated plus a 4-letter word that can mean after, from which the abbreviation for old is removed (burning old)

12d Parties divided over best place to lower current appetite (3,8)

THE MUNCHIES: Two opposite parties (pronouns) go around (over) a 5-letter ‘best place’ in which the abbreviation or current is lowered two spaces

13d    Girls hold down head of German soldier (11)

GALLOWGLASS: Two words meaning girl contain (hold) a 3-letter word meaning down or depressed plus the first letter (head) of German

15d    Distinctive character of individuals cycling? Not these people! (5)

THOSE: Take a word meaning the distinctive character or morals of individual or groups, and cycle the first letter to the end

16d    One swims British river from South West, maybe (5)

BREAM: The abbreviations for British and river, then a reversal (from the south) of Ms West’s first name

20d    Exhaustively looking over selection of integral tables (2,5)

AT LARGE: Reverse hidden (looking over selection of … )

21d    Funny channel fuels article about New Statesman? (7)

NEVADAN: The reversal (about) of a funny TV channel inside (fuels) an indefinite article, then the abbreviation for new

25d    Police raid  broke  statue, small, in bar (4)

BUST:    Three meanings and the abbreviation for small inside a word meaning bar or except

26d Man United, cracking one month, primarily awful in another (4)

JUAN: The answer, a man’s first name, can be the abbreviation of United inside the abbreviation of one month; alternatively, the first letter (primarily) of awful inside the abbreviation of another month

27d    Setters are going to advisable  source

WELL: Two meanings, and, from the setters’ perspective, how you might convey ‘Setters are going to’ (2’2)

I liked 17a for the smooth surface, and the lack of undercover agents in 7d. Which clues were your favourites?

12 comments on “Toughie 3024
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  1. I actually solved 18 clues on my own–including (of those I solved) my two favourites, 4d and 12d. Otherwise, it was ‘Oh thank you very much, Dutch!’ I’m moving snailwise in my successes with Elgar’s terrific Toughies, learning as I go–the big reveal today was 13d. But I did enjoy the challenge last night, with many thanks as usual to Dutch and Elgar.

  2. Very tough, but scrupulously fair. As is usual for this setter, I needed our blogger’s help to parse a couple at the end, both of which I am still scratching my head over. I will have to look at them again with fresh eyes later on. There were some very clever constructions and tidy definitions, producing my favourite clue, 14a.

    My thanks to Elgar for a terrific tussle, and thanks and congratulations to Dutch for the unravelling.

  3. Got about two thirds of this which , in view of the near impossibility of the remaining answers , gave me some pleasure !
    Still don’t understand some answers despite all the hints , but Elgar on a Friday is what you get , for better or worse !

    Thanks to both.

  4. No, not the easiest! As always, I ended up with a full grid and the internet told me I was right, but some headscratching. In this case 10a (I did not see ‘ego’ at all – very cunning), 28a (the ‘red’ threw me completely, but yes – a heraldic term, is it not?), 8d (did not spot the four letter (minus one) word for ‘after’) and 12d (I spent ages trying to figure out why Elgar thought Munich was the best place…)

    Massive thanks for Dutch for clarifications, and the usual wide-eyed admiration, as well as gratitude, to the ever-fiendish Elgar. Truly a master.

  5. Phew, a full grid! Super puzzle and real Friday Toughie material. The ‘frontal’ and soldier were both unknown to me and I needed e-dictionary help to find those words and reverse-parse the answers. Needed the blog to understand the parsing of a few, especially 10a, 8d and 12d (yep, Munich had me puzzled, too!); the NE was the final stronghold and unfortunately when coming here to confirm my answers for 9a and 19a I could not help but glimpse just for a fraction of a second the illustration for 16a – but it was enough for a D’oh! moment as the long-sought for answer arrived with the clang of a dropping penny.

    So many quite inspired and brilliant clues. Thank you so much to Elgar and of course to Dutch, too.

  6. It can’t have been that difficult as I nearly finished it – failing only on 21d where I had Neasden despite being unable to parse it fully. In my defence Neasden is “funny” [see Private Eye] and “ea” means channel.
    I was mightily impressed by 13 and 25d and amused by 4d. I couldn’t [be bothered any longer to] parse 10a or 12d and still only grudgingly accept that niche = best place.
    Thanks to Elgar for the struggle and Dutch for the blog.

  7. Excellent and precise clueing by Elgar as ever. Got around 80% done before conceding despite finding the tube stations. Difficult to pick favourites as so many clever clues. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    1. Wow.
      Mill hill east and turnpike lane.
      You’ve got to be a real Londoner to get these.
      Well done for seeing this and we’ll done to Elgar for a wonderful crossword which I failed to finish.

  8. I was left with five to complete after a lot of thought, so many thanks for the hints. A couple of those I would never have solved. That said I still don’t understand 8d, despite getting the answer !

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