Toughie No 3045 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3045

Toughie No 3045 by Dada

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone from a blue skies South Devon coast.

Tuesday Toughie regular Dada gets us up and running this week with a very enjoyable puzzle. A few easy ones to get you started and one or two that needed teasing out.


7a Raise a lot of money, perhaps going to left winger (7)
JACKDAW: A synonym of raise as one might a car in order to change a tyre and a reversal (going to left) of a pile of notes.

8a Figure twelve featuring badger (7)
NONAGON: The time of the day represented by twelve (not midnight) around (featuring) a synonym of badger as a verb.

10a Staples etc firmly fixed, did you say? (10)
STATIONERY: A homophone (did you say) of something that is static or not changing.

11a Bird’s hoot (4)
LARK: Double definition, both pretty straightforward.

12a Frequent tours become hard for invader of Roman Empire (8)
VISIGOTH: Start with a synonym of frequent as a verb and place it around a 2-letter synonym of become and add the abbreviation for Hard to the result. By some distance my last one in.

14a A warren almost adjacent to river (6)
AMAZON: A charade of A from the clue, a warren without its last letter and a preposition that could mean adjacent to or by the side of.

15a A cart reversing into bank clerk, one on the wagon (11)
TEETOTALLER: Place a reversal of A from the clue and a synonym of cart or haul as a verb into our usual bank clerk.

19a Sponsor two little boys (6)
PATRON: We need the shortened version of two men’s names, one synonymous with the Irish.

20a Away kit, better (8)
OUTSTRIP: A synonym of away or not in plus one of kit or outfit. The solution is a verb.

22a Captured in bronze, tallish Greek character (4)
ZETA: Hidden (captured in)

23a Lack of ability evident in difficult tie, United soaking up pressure (10)
INEPTITUDE: Anagram (difficult) of TIE and UNITED placed around (soaking up) the abbreviation for Pressure.

25a Play in books: what do we have here? (7)
OTHELLO: The abbreviation for some biblical books and an exclamation which could mean “what do we have here” but is more commonly used as a greeting. Lol.

26a Musician, one making minor adjustments? (7)
FIDDLER: A double/cryptic definition, the latter being a possible description of someone who fidgets or acts aimlessly.


1d Biblical character embodying proper leader (7)
CAPTAIN: One of crosswordland’s favourite biblical characters is placed around (embodying) a synonym of proper or suitable.

2d Sketch several kids in trousers, first of all (4)
SKIT: An initial letters (first of all) clue

3d Red toolbar, having failed to open, malfunctioning (6)
BAROLO: Anagram (malfunctioning) of (t)OOLBAR (having failed to open).

4d On head of youth in woven plaitis it? (8)
PONYTAIL: Place ON from the clue and the initial letter of Youth into an anagram (woven) of PLAIT giving an extended definition. Great on women but perhaps not the best look on men….in my humble opinion!

5d Irishman enthralled by feeder of baby owls (10)
PARLIAMENT: Place a name associated with being Irish (think musician Noel’s cantankerous brother) inside (enthralled by) someone who could be described as a feeder or nurturer of babies giving a collective noun.

6d House drink (7)
BOURBON: Double definition, the less obvious being an old European dynasty of French origin.

9d Bloom likely to win card game (3-3,5)
RED-HOT-POKER: This plant that looks like the implement its name describes could whimsically mean likely to win a certain card game.

13d Ship in first line?10)
ICEBREAKER:  This ship that clears a path for others is also the first line of a conversation between strangers designed to dispel initial nervousness and make them more comfortable. Very clever and worth the admission fee alone.

16d Being at the top of landmark constructed in concrete (8)
TANGIBLE: Anagram (constructed in) of BEING AT plus the initial letter of Landmark.

17d Great quality kid in early life (7)
MAJESTY: Place a synonym of kid as a verb in the month that indicates springtime, early life or youth.

18d Approach group after judgement (7)
MINDSET: Append a group or batch to a synonym of judgement in the sense of attitude. The solution is a noun.

21d Potato gone to seed, by the sound of it? (6)
TATTIE: This informal word for a potato also sounds like an adjective meaning scruffy, unkempt or “gone to seed”

24d Drawing upward, use blue pencil for movement of waves (4)
TIDE: Although the solution is obvious I hadn’t heard of the phrase “use blue pencil” which means to alter a manuscript or similar.

Thanks Dada. My podium is 25a plus 4&13d. Which were your medal contenders?

15 comments on “Toughie No 3045
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  1. Cracking. But what else would one expect from Dada? Took me ages to separate the left from the winger (as Dada clearly intended), and similarly to decide the definition in 1d was at the end not the beginning. Eyebrow went up at the synonym for “early life” and I still think it is the poorest / only poor clue in the grid.

    Ticks went to 8a, 11a, 5d (briefly – and wrongly – tried to work out how everything went into Pat, rather than Liam going into everything else) with COTD to the brilliant 25a.

    Many thanks to Dada and to StephenL – quite agree re 4d & men: hideous, full stop.

  2. I liked 25a too, and also 19a which is neat and I’m surprised not to have seen it before.
    Thanks to Dada and SL.

  3. Mr Halpern has the enviable ability to vary the difficulty level of his puzzles from our fairly gentle Sunday prize puzzles via the early week Toughies like this one to the more testing puzzles that he provides elsewhere (and which the Telegraph has never shown any interest in utilising, unfortunately).
    I enjoyed this one – thanks to Dada and to SL.
    My medal contenders were 7a, 5d and 13d.

  4. This was just about the perfect Toughie, being testing enough to get me scratching my head occasionally, yet sufficiently well clued to get me over the line. I particularly liked 7a, plus 5 and 13d. Top quality entertainment from one of my favourite setters.

    Thanks indeed to Dada and SL.

  5. Didn’t know the blue pencil phrase but guessed the meaning and couldn’t really see the early life but it couldn’t be anything else. All fairly straightforward, just right for a Tuesday. Favourite was 20a. Thanks to Dada and SL.

  6. What an excellent puzzle apart from two raised eyebrows from me in one clue. I certainly found it very challenging but it was a lot of fun with 7a, 12a, 25a & 13d making up my crowded podium.

    Many thanks to Dada and to to SL.

  7. I found the LHS impenetrable for quite some time having completed everything on the other side reasonably quickly. Eventually a couple of pennies dropped & with the aid of 1 strategic letter checker reveal & a progress check en route that necessitated a correction I staggered across the finish line. Suffice to say a darn sight harder for me than our reviewer’s difficulty rating – my solving ability (much like my golf) seems to be regressing of late to the point of 23a. Anyway a super puzzle -though I agree with MG that the early life synonym was a stretch. Another vote for 25a & countless ticks elsewhere – 7&12a plus 5&13d other particular likes.
    Thanks to Dada & Stephen
    Ps not sure why but my comments now appear to require moderation

    1. Just read the review Stephen & enjoyed the music – probably my fav track on the album which I still listen to now & again.

      1. Ah pleased that you liked it, I think it’s a beautiful track off an album that was in its time quite superb.

  8. We found this one trickier than most others are reporting but lots of fun as puzzles from this setter always are.
    Thanks Dada and SL.

  9. Always late on Toughie Duty as I’ve explained before, but couldn’t let this one past without comment. Found this very hard going for a Tuesday, lots of misdirection (or was it just me), got there in the end despite 3d being an unknown and I always thought 12a only existed in Harry Potter Land! and like others I hummed at 17d.
    On reflection I can’t see why this well-clued composition gave so much trouble, I particularly liked the clever 7a &19a simple clues amongst the rest.
    Thanks to Dada for the puzzle and Stephen (incidentally I share your opinion on 4d…….but each to his own, I guess)

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