Toughie No 3033 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3033

Toughie No 3033 by Moeraki

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a decidedly miserable and grey South Devon coast.

Moeraki, a setter I always enjoy kicks off the Toughie week with a fun and user-friendly puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a High point when Carmen’s screened regularly, duck (9)
CRESCENDO: Alternate letters (regularly) of CaRmEnS sCrEnD plus the letter that represents a duck in cricket. Strange surface read.

6a Boy Scouts left holding nothing round (5)
TROOP: Insert the letter representing nothing into a reversal of a ship’s left.

9a Animal came ‘ither by boat, reportedly (3,4)
ROE DEER: If you split the solution 4,3 you’ll see a homophone of a method of propelling a boat and a synonym of hither with a similarly dropped first letter.

10a Regular terminus — no less — for Badminton Horse Trials participant (7)
EVENTER: Remove a synonym of less from TERminus and append it to a synonym of regular or smooth.

11a Welsh prince of old, on the wagon (5)
OWAIN: An abbreviation for Old and an archaic word for a wagon or cart.

12a Cut of meat from China to be cooked (9)
AITCHBONE: Anagram (cooked) of the preceding three words.

13a Tedious job — go back and review sharper routine planners (14)
CHOREOGRAPHERS: Start with a tedious job or routine task, add a reversal of “go” from the clue and finish with an anagram (review) of SHARPER.

16a Pod and house sea loch flows wildly around (6,2,6)
SCHOOL OF WHALES: Insert the abbreviation for HOuse into an anagram (wildly) of the preceding three words to give what must be one of nature’s most impressive sights.

20a Approaches swan swimming in bleak surroundings (5,4)
DRAWS NEAR: Continuing the aquatic theme, insert an anagram (swimming) of SWAN into a synonym of bleak or depressingly dull.

22a Sandy’s exclamation after record time (5)
EPOCH: An exclamation made by someone north of the border, as supposedly indicated by Sandy, follows an old vinyl record.

23a One who doesn’t believe where robber is working? (7)
ATHEIST: If we split the solution, a non believer in a religious sense, 2,5 we can see the wordplay.

24a Unfriendly US spies invading Laos on manoeuvres (7)
ASOCIAL: Insert some US spies or agents into an anagram (on manoeuvres) of LAOS. I don’t think I’ve seen this word before.

25a Japanese martial arts instructor’s endless opinion (5)
SENSE: A straightforward instruction to remove the last letter of a Japanese martial arts instructor/teacher.

26a Is in total charge around Maidstone (9)
DOMINATES: Anagram (around) of MAIDSTONE.


1d Incentive that could cause an MOT failure? (6)
CARROT: Another one where we need to split the solution, this time 3,3 to see the wordplay. This incentive is often offered as an alternative to a stick.

2d English trees are rubbish! (7)
EYEWASH: The abbreviation for English and two 3-letter trees.

3d Cooking Cornish fare near historic county (15)
CAERNARFONSHIRE: Anagram (cooking) of the following three words, giving an historic county in Wales. The fodder and checkers should help with the spelling.

4d Woman or man cycling (5)
NORMA: Take “or man” from the clue and cycle the last letter to the front.

5d Depose and gain this extra run (9)
OVERTHROW: Double definition, the less obvious being a cricket reference.

6d This is serious … my fish supper costs less! (3,5,3,4)
THE CHIPS ARE DOWN: This metaphorical reference to a testing or difficult situation could literally mean a reduction in price of what typically accompanies fish in a traditional supper.

7d End is not in reach (7)
OUTCOME: A charade of an adjective meaning not in (the house maybe) and a synonym of reach or arrive.

8d Bolshie salesperson possibly coming up with lines (8)
PERVERSE: Reverse (coming up) the usual abbreviated salesperson and add some (poetic) lines.

14d Perhaps Yoko doesn’t fancy being alone (2,4,3)
ON ONE’S TOD: The surname of John Lennon’s infamous partner and an anagram (fancy) of DOESN’T. Here’s the man himself with for me the best song he ever wrote and one he was said to be particularly proud of.

15d Crusades’ wheels? They’re old, but not that old! (4,4)
USED CARS: Anagram (wheels) of CRUSADES. The “old” is a reference to a  meaning of a crusade as a series of mediaeval expeditions I guess.

17d One who doesn’t believe in roast chicken (7)
HEATHEN: How a non-religious person could be referred to in a derogatory way by an avid believer, could if split 4,3 mean roast chicken.

18d Self-opinionated chap, number one out of 10, received top place (7)
EGOTIST: Take the first letter (number one) from clue 10, add a 3-letter synonym of received and then three letters that could represent top or first place.

19d Havoc when firing ship’s missiles (6)
SHELLS: A synonym of havoc or total mayhem is inserted into (firing) one of our usual abbreviated ships.

21d Field of interest in some future almanac (5)
REALM: Hidden in the last two words of the clue.


Thanks Moeraki, my ticks go to 6&14d with 18d taking top spot. Which ones floated your rowing boat.



19 comments on “Toughie No 3033
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  1. One of those crosswords that started off feeling it might be a tricky one and then it wasn’t

    Many thanks to Moeraki and StephenL

  2. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Moeraki and StephenL.
    There seemed to be lots of anagrams but I think I got that impression from four consecutive ones in the across clues.
    For my podium I’ve selected 9a, 2d (an oldie but goodie) and 15d.

  3. I commented earlier today that the back-pager was light but fun. That description fits this “Toughie” to a T. My only very slight hold-up was having to check that 11a was a Welsh prince.

    There were a lot of excellent clues here, and in the end I have settled on 6d & 17d as my top two.

    Many thanks to Moeraki and to SL.

  4. Had to check the martial arts instructor, the cut off meat, the spelling of the Welsh county and I want too sure about havoc but to be fair it couldn’t be anything else. Apart from those the rest were fairly straightforward with a few head scratchers, enjoyable though. Favourite was 16a. Thanks to Moeraki and SL.

  5. Last in was the martial arts bod & couldn’t remember which letter I was chopping off. Remembered the Welsh name from Gavin & Stacey (Hughes the surname I think) but had no idea that he was royalty & had never heard of the meat either. Other than those 3 post grid fill confirmations no problems in a swift & very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Moeraki & Stephen

  6. Think I’d have been shot at dawn by my Welsh friends if I hadn’t got the prince or the county correct!
    Certainly a rather ‘different’ and enjoyable set of clues from our setter and I handed out the rosettes to 2,6&7d.

    Thanks to Moeraki and to Stephen for the review.

  7. This was great fun, with everything going in very smoothly without any delays apart from the cut of meat. 6d was my favourite clue.

    My thanks to Moeraki and SL.

  8. No problem at all – apart from, even with the hints, I can’t parse 25a, but that’s me being thick, I guess.
    Always known him as Owen as immortalised on the Britannia class locomotive, but a quick check confirmed the authentic Welsh spelling.
    9a was chuckleworthy. 17d is my pick of the bunch.

  9. I particuarly enjoyed 14d, even though the definition (the expression itself) is not at all familiar to American ears (and its origin is amusingly quite arcane), though I wonder if Yoko, who just turned 90, isn’t now more celebrated than infamous. This was great fun, with 2d (which always seems to baffle me at first), 14d, & 6d, especially for laughs, making my podium. I did have to check on the two Welsh references, to be sure. Thanks to Stephen and Moeraki.

  10. As Huntsman, 25a was my last in.
    As Buzza, the combo 23a/17d is favourite.
    Thanks to Moeraki and to StephenL for the review.

  11. The Welsh prince and historic county both needed a bit of research so more than one star difficulty for us.
    Lots of chuckles along the way so a fun solve.
    Thanks Moeraki and SL.

  12. Once again a compiler has misunderstood the correct meaning of the Italian word crescendo. It does not mean a high point or a climax. It is a present participle meaning getting louder or in this case getting to a high point.

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