Toughie No 3041 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3041

Toughie No 3041 by Robyn

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a cloudy South Devon coast where Spring seems to have temporarily deserted us.

Another super puzzle today from the master of misdirection.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Alcoholic drink on bar in box with a certain style (12)
COUNTERPUNCH: Append a mixed alcoholic drink typically consumed at parties to a bar seen in a shop.

9a Love-filled groom in depression (5)
COOMB: Insert the letter that represents love or zero into a synonym of groom as a verb.

10a Dine out? Hot food from the east is capital (9)
EDINBURGH: Anagram (out) of DINE plus a reversal (from the east) of the abbreviation for Hot and an informal name for food.

11a Details a lot of foolish questions book ignored (3,3,4)
INS AND OUTS: Remove the final letter (a lot of) from a synonym of foolish or crazy and add a synonym of questions or uncertainties with the abbreviation for Book removed. Finally enumerate as per the clue.

12a Short trousers revealing figure back in biblical times (4)
LEVI: Remove the last letter from an iconic brand of trousers.

13a Fail to score at home, gathering round goal (7)
MISSION: Follow a word that could mean fail to score or hit the target with the usual preposition meaning at home into which is inserted the “round” letter.

15a Fence in play area English struggle to get knocked over (7)
RECEIVE: Fence here is a verb and has nothing to do with wooden posts! A 3-letter abbreviated play area plus a reversal (get knocked over) of the abbreviation English and a synonym of struggle as a verb.

17a Stones record captures hearts (7)
SHINGLE: Insert the abbreviation for Hearts into a 45 rpm vinyl record say giving a mass of small pebbles typically found on a beach. Simple but very good.

19a Supplier of DC current that’s too variable in basic lodgings to the west (7)
POTOMAC: Insert an anagram of TOO into a reversal (to the west) of some basic lodgings.

21a Seat leading Conservative lost generating anguished remark (4)
OUCH: Remove the first letter (leading) of Conservative from a long seat or sofa.

22a Official choosing to ignore first instance of base work of The Mirror? (10)
REFLECTION: Start with an informal name for a sports official and add a synonym of choosing after ignoring or removing both the first letter and a mathematical base. Ignore the false capitalisation of the rather down-market “newspaper”.

25a Seasonal deliveryman reported pleasure trip in resort (5,4)
SANTA CRUZ: The seasonal delivery man here is one who delivers but once a year in late December. Follow him with a homophone (reported) of a pleasure trip on a ship.

26a Silly way programme and performance end (5)
INANE: If we split the solution (a synonym of silly or foolish as per 11a!) 2,2,1 we can see how both the words programme and performance end.

27a Group has e.g. driver installed in fast computer (9,3)
FLEETWOOD MAC: Follow a synonym of fast (often followed by “of foot”) with a well known PC designed by Apple and insert a driver seen on a golf course between the two.


1d Cold beer’s flavouring in the mouth (5)
CHOPS: The abbreviation for C and an ingredient or flavouring of beer or lager.

2d Constantly going on about British firm (9)
UNBENDING: A word meaning constantly going on or infinite around the abbreviation for British.

3d Fix match — agree about bagging wicket (3,4)
TIE DOWN: Start with a simple synonym of a sporting match perhaps. Add a reversal of an action indicating agreement into which is inserted (bagging) the abbreviation for Wicket.

4d One filling roll for party (7)
ROISTER: Insert the letter representing the Roman numeral one into a roll in the sense of a list of plan.

5d Bit of fungus in American’s soup, not good (4)
UMBO: Remove the abbreviation for Good from a soup or stew popular in the southern states of America. My LOI and not my favourite clue.

6d Grumbled this person repeatedly rejected proactive advice (5,4)
CARPE DIEM: A synonym of grumbled or moaned about followed by a reversal (rejected) of an object and subject first person pronoun (this person).

7d Drama’s opening — I’m not sure Antony and Cleopatra lost here (6)
ACTIUM: If we split the solution, a location for the defeat of the fleet of Anthony and Cleopatra, 3,1,2 we have a play’s opening and an exclamation expressing hesitation.

8d Cut the grass again and again? (6)
THRICE: Remove the final letter (cut) from th(e) and append a type of perennial grass native to North America

14d Chaplains interpreted passage with great craft (4,5)
SHIP CANAL: Anagram (interpreted) of CHAPLAINS.

16d Designed schematic Q&A session (9)
CATECHISM: Anagram (designed) of SCHEMATIC. The old London bus analogy comes to mind here.

17d Stew, small bit of meal left by king (6)
SCOUSE: Robyn must have been hungry when he set this as we have a second stew, this one closer to home and synonymous with Liverpool. The abbreviation for Small and a part of a meal once the Latin abbreviation for King has been removed.

18d Caught EastEnders’ highly cultural feature (7)
EYEBROW: How someone from the area in the clue may refer to something intelligent or rarified.

19d A pair of Zulus in China love swanky residence (7)
PALAZZO: An insertion of A plus two instances of the letter represented by Zulu in the NATO phonetic alphabet into a “cockney china” and the same letter for love as used in 9a.

20d Record-breaking queen in a state of inebriation (6)
CANNED: We have another instance here (following Dada’s Sunday puzzle) where the hyphen is important. Insert a Queen into an abbreviation for a type of record that replaced cassette tapes.

23d Two places to save one due to get sacrificed (5)
ISAAC: The two places to save here are abbreviations for bank savings schemes

24d Save energy — it’s basic (4)
BARE: Save here is in the sense of except. We need to follow it with the abbreviation for Energy.

Good stuff as ever from Robyn, I particularly liked 11&27a plus 6d. Which were your chart toppers?


15 comments on “Toughie No 3041
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  1. A cracking puzzle, quite tough for a Tuesday I thought (surely it’s time for Robyn to get a transfer to Thursdays?). Thanks to the setter and SL.
    I gave ticks to 1a, 25a, 26a and 20d but my favourite was 19a with its brilliant definition.

  2. This would have made a perfect Thursday Toughie – not just because that would make Gazza very happy, but also because it took me a Thursday Toughie time to solve

    Although I liked the same clues as Gazza, like him the brilliantly defined 19a is definitely the top favourite

    Thanks to Robyn and StephenL

  3. 19a and 16d were perfect examples of superb clueing, and both attain favourite status this afternoon. The whole grid was an absolute delight and five star entertainment.

    Thank you Robyn for the challenge, and thanks, too, to SL.

  4. The previous Robyn Toughie I solved was challenging but not overly tough. This one I found very tough indeed in parts, but at least there were enough clues across the grid to get a foothold and work from there. That said, it was very enjoyable and I was well satisfied on completion.

    With plenty of options for favouritism, I will go along with the crowd and settle for 19a.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to SL.

  5. Toughest Tuesday for me in a long time, especially the four-letter ones (I think I actually managed to solve none of them on my own (so, even with letter-reveals, how many did I manage? Zero). But beyond that dismal report, I found much to like, even love–notably, 18d, 6d, 1a, 19d, 19a. The Clarkie goes, naturally, to 7d. Thanks to Stephen, whose help I really needed today, and to Robyn.

  6. Another game of 2 halves. Found the LHS tricky though not too bad but the RHS took 3 times as long. A good bit harder than Sunday but much the better of the two puzzles in my view. Another vote for 19a as the pick of many fine clues – got the answer from the wordplay but the definition dawned on me much later. Despite Stephen kindly answering my question about the significance of the hyphen on Sunday I was still slow to twig 20d – along with 8d the head scratchers that significantly extended the solve.
    Thanks to Robyn & Stephen
    Ps would 27a have been ok without the e.g. – I understand why it’s there but thought it slightly detracted from the surface read.

    1. Hi Huntsman
      I did ponder that myself, I guess it’s there because a driver is a golf club and a wood is an example of a golf club.

    2. I think you’re right about 27a – the “e.g.” isn’t really necessary, does mar the surface a bit, and the setter might be be being a tad over-cautious (especially for a Toughie). Isn’t a No1 wood actually a driver?

  7. Technically a dnf unaided as I had ‘ing’ at the end of 22a making 20d impossible, so thank you Steven for sorting that out. Another vote for 19a as cotd. Thanks to Robyn and SL.

  8. Quite a lot trickier than we expect Tuesday Toughies to be’
    Really good fun with the star of the show being the penny-drop moment with the DC current in 19a.
    Thanks Robyn and SL.

  9. Quite a bit different to the Robyn I have come to expect on Sunday. Hard to choose between 19d and 7d so I won’t. I may even put 4d on the podium if only because it brought to mind Blackadder and “Bob”
    Thanks to SL and Robyn

  10. I found this tough, and for some reason, got stuck on 12a and 8d.
    Not sure it was necessary to describe the “Mirror ” as downmarket. Usually the opposite politics of the DT, but surely has higher standards than other tabloids of both persuasions.

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