Toughie 3031 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3031

Toughie No 3031 by Silvanus
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Silvanus is not too tricky today but the enjoyment factor is as high as ever. I had problems in keeping my ‘likes’ down to a manageable level. Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Labour politician tours island nation (5)
BENIN: the surname of a current Labour MP (and of his more famous father who was once a 24a before he renounced his title) contains an abbreviation for island.

4a Son sculpted female figure, not half intimidating (5)
SCARY: the abbreviation for son and the first half of a stone carving of a female figure used as part of the support structure of a classical building (CARYATID).

10a Standard terms are being modified (8)
STREAMER: an anagram (being modified) of TERMS ARE.

11a Drug for unknown adult having cold (6)
PROZAC: string together a prefix meaning for or in favour of, one of the algebraic unknowns and abbreviations for adult and cold.

12a Bubbly female mostly undecided over hubby after vacation (6)
FROTHY: fuse together the abbreviation for female, the reversal of an adjective meaning undecided or ‘in two minds’ without its last letter and the outer letters of hubby.

13a Turncoat angered volatile European (8)
RENEGADE: an anagram (volatile) of ANGERED followed by an abbreviation for European.

14a German agreed to visit rugby player with tetanus (7)
LOCKJAW: the German response meaning ‘agreed’ follows a rugby forward. Finish with the abbreviation for ‘with’.

16a Pupil, unnamed, goes round boxing rings (6)
ANNULI: hidden in reverse.

17a Typically French plant gets left for source of roughage (6)
GALLIC: start with a strong-smelling plant and change the first letter of roughage to the abbreviation for left.

19a One promoting game perhaps that’s comparatively tough (7)
BUTCHER: double definition, the first someone who may promote or sell game.

21a Dvorak symphony recognised on radio by the public (3,5)
NEW WORLD: a homophone of a synonym of recognised and a word meaning ‘the public’ or ‘all and sundry’.

22a Case of fruit four tucked into (6)
DATIVE: this grammatical case (appearing between genitive and ablative if I remember my Latin lessons correctly) comes from a type of fruit with the Roman numeral for four contained within it.

23a Enter side road briefly (4,2)
TURN IN: a road which branches off another road without its final letter.

24a Very small number welcoming current peer (8)
VISCOUNT: abbreviations for very and small and a verb to number contain the symbol for electric current.

25a Smart coats some men put on dogs (5)
TAILS: double definition, dogs here is a verb.

26a Applaud old driver quelling a public disturbance (5)
CHEER: the driver of an old vehicle (such as Ben Hur, say) with a public disturbance (1,4) suppressed.

Down Clues

2d Kenneth, he really every so often displays charm (7)
ENTHRAL: alternate letters from three words in the clue.

3d One getting a lewd instinct about Jedward possibly (9,5)
IDENTICAL TWINS: the Roman numeral for one followed by an anagram (about) of A LEWD INSTINCT. I can’t bring myself to include a picture of the gruesome twosome – here’s a much more wholesome example:

5d Hairstyle that’s cropped barely becomes widespread (7)
CORNROW: stick together something that gets cropped and a verb meaning ‘becomes widespread’ without its outer letters.

6d Apologetic parent, wrong to gobble peanuts regularly (9)
REPENTANT: an anagram (wrong) of PARENT contains regular letters from peanuts.

7d TV’s Oscar with chronic fatigue, we hear (4)
EMMY: the TV equivalent of a film Oscar sounds like the abbreviation for chronic fatigue syndrome.

8d Old hotel tonight mistaken about number turning up (4,2,3,5)
LONG IN THE TOOTH: an anagram (mistaken) of HOTEL TONIGHT containing the reversal of an abbreviation for number.

9d Smooth, extremely atypical variety of footwear (6)
SANDAL: a verb to smooth or polish and the outer letters of atypical.

15d Wood Jack Lovelace maybe roughly managed to cut (9)
JACARANDA: start with the cards abbreviation for a Jack then add the forename of Ms Lovelace, regarded as the first computer programmer, containing an abbreviation for roughly and a verb meaning managed.

18d Drive from harbour, heading off requiring fuel essentially (6)
AVENUE: a synonym for harbour without its first letter and the central letters of fuel.

19d Doctor believed Spain disregarded plague (7)
BEDEVIL: an anagram (doctor) of B[e]LIEVED after one occurrence of the IVR code for Spain has been removed. Plague here is a verb.

20d Proceeds from eastern location, south of Cromer, ultimately (7)
REVENUE: the abbreviation for eastern and a location where events are staged follow the ultimate letter of Cromer.

22d Dim banker undermines deputy at first (4)
DUSK: a river in Wales follows the first letter of deputy.

I could have listed lots of clues that I liked but I’ll restrict myself to 12a, 19a, 26a, 5d, 7d and 15d. Which one(s) came up trumps for you?

22 comments on “Toughie 3031

  1. Super puzzle, reasonably gentle, a good challenge – would not have been unhappy for this to have appeared on the Friday backpage to gain the wider audience it deserves. Somehow I knew the sculpted female figure, recalled what a Jedward was, and remembered my rings. Bliss. For me, Hon Mentions to 15, 16, & 17a, and 19d, with COTD to 26a – indeed COTM IMV.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and of course to Gazza.

  2. A most enjoyable cranial exercise to go with the back pager – 2.5*/4.5*

    But, I know that tomorrow’s back pager, I’m ready to put five bob on Zandio, will not be accompanied by my solving the Toughie by the E-man.

    Candidates for favourite – 14a, 17a, 26a, 18d, and 20d – and the winner is 14a.

    Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  3. That’s my type of Toughie. Challenging, without being impenetrable, and very enjoyable.

    I can’t recall ever having heard of the the sculpted female figure in 4d so, although the answer was easy enough to derive from the definition and checkers, it needed a bit of e-help to understand the wordplay. I spent too long trying to think of the names of obsolete golf clubs before the PDM with 26a, and, even though I quickly decided on the correct Lovelace, it also took me a while to unscramble the parsing for 15d due of the number of As in the answer.

    None of the clues would disgrace a podium but I’ll settle for 14a, 17a, 26a & 7d as my top picks.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  4. Quite a relief to see from RD’s comment that I was not alone in having to check on the 4a female figure. I was also on a golf course looking for 26a and on a bowling green for 15d!
    So much to savour when it finally went together and my rosettes went to 17&26a along with 7d.

    Thank you yet again for today’s delights, Silvanus, and many thanks to Gazza for the review – the ‘contraceptive’ made me laugh!

  5. Fascinating, isn’t it, the variety of devices this accomplished setter employs to wield his magic. Just in case Google might help me with the unknown letters ‘jedward’, I decided to investigate and discovered not only who, in Gazza’s phrase, the ‘gruesome twosome’ were but also the immediate solution to 3d. I hope that such a manoeuvre isn’t cheating, but it wasn’t intended to be. Oh well, another delicious feast from one of my favourite setters, with 4d, 26a, 17a, 14a, & 19d (my COTD)–just a few of the great clues–the most palatable. Thanks to Gazza and Silvanus.

  6. I am allegedly fortunate to know who “JedWard” are and would have been just as reluctant as Gazza to inflict them on the blog. I thought about the Gruesome Twosome from the Wacky Races but they are not 3d. Thanks to Gazza for the hints and Silvanus for the triumvirate of puzzles in the DT today

  7. Nicely challenging for me, though I needed DrGoogle with a couple of references. Embarrassingly, Jedward wasn’t one of them. Again I found answers easier to come by than the parsings, which I appreciated Gazza’s assistance for. I always find Silvanus a humerous compiler and this puzzle showed why, with a whole variety of great surfaces: 3d, 7d, 22d, 12a etc. ***/****

    Thanks to Silvanas, who deserves a day-off after 3 excellent puzzles in one day and Gazza for the help

  8. Not been around much as I’ve been celebrating my 60th birthday for the last two weeks.
    Slowly catching up on the backlog and I am now up to date.
    Had to check the boys in 3d and the first IT girl in 15d.
    25a was the last one to yield in this great crossword.
    Thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza

  9. Despite being the parents of 3d we had to use Google for the Jedwards. Got 5d from definition and checkers but could not twig the wordplay. Hence ithe puzzle gave us more problems than many are reporting.
    Good clever fun so an enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  10. Found this a good bit more difficult than others have & by no means my best parsing effort. Last in 16a completed the grid but only twigged it was a reverse lurker reading back through before commenting. Had totally forgotten the sculpted female figure despite encountering it in puzzles previously & hadn’t a clue with the 15d wordplay – Jedward sadly I was familiar with but the only Lovelace I’d heard of had very little to do with computer programming I should imagine. Unforgivably didn’t twig the homophone at 7d either.
    Having said earlier that I preferred the back-pager to this one I’m inclined after reading back through it plus Gazza’s review to declare a dead heat if not a short head victory for the Toughie. As ever super clues – 11,12,19&26a plus 5,8&19d my picks with 26a my fav.
    Thanks to Silvanus & Gazza

  11. Super puzzle, thank you Silvanus and Gazza.
    Jedward went straight in, but the only Lovelace I could think of was much more earthy, so needed electronic help and Gazza’s parsing hints. Isn’t it amazing what one learns doing these puzzles- not only was Ada Lovelace the first computer programmer and first to envision what computers might be capable of, but also the only legitimate child of Lord and Lady Byron.

  12. Many thanks as always to Gazza and to everyone commenting, much appreciated.

    A belated Happy Birthday to Jean-Luc too!

    1. Thank you, Silvanus, for making my day, which had earlier been bedevilled by a monstrous case of hay fever (pollen and pollutants in the air everywhere here), but which your gifts to us today have helped me…well, sort of forget about or at least transcend while enjoying the solves. My comment above begins with “Isn’t it amazing…”, but what I failed to mention was how truly remarkable such a thing as wavelength is. I knew immediately, e.g., what the definition of 4a just had to be because I instantly had a vision of those lovely caryatids of the Erechtheum (the originals on the Acropolis before they were replaced by plasticised replicas), which I had first seen in March of 1972 during the Long Vac from Notts U. And as if that wasn’t enough mumbo-jumbo for one grid, I then saw Charlton Heston in his macho-man race with Stephen Boyd (hurtling through my mind’s eye–ouch!) to complete the puzzle at 26a. How’s that for wavelength spookiness? Thanks for all you do for us!

      1. I saw the Acropolis Caryatids back in 1967 and always think of them when I see the word

  13. I left it far too late in the day to attempt this and so only managed two thirds, but I am pleased with what I managed as I am still learning. The hints have helped me complete the grid and I have learnt some new words along the way.
    Many thanks to Gazza and Silvanus

  14. Late in the day solve for me. Thoroughly enjoyed the variety of clues. 8d was my favourite but plenty of others to enjoy. I did need the hints to solve 4a – a new term in the wordplay for me – and for parsing 5d.

    Many thanks to the prolific Silvanus. How do you manage so many great compilations so frequently? Thanks too to Gazza for the hints and tips.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Liz Halls.
      It’s Caryatid – I did include it at the end of my hint under ‘Click here!’.

  15. A day late so most of its already been said so I can only add to the well-deserved plaudits. Consulted Gazza rather than Google to fully understand Scary and Jacaranda.
    I have a plethora of ticks but I’ll mention 11,12,19&25&26 as worthy of special mention. Great stuff.
    Many thanks indeed to Silvanus and Gazza.

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