Toughie 3050 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3050

Toughie No 3050 by Giovanni

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

We don’t get a Giovanni Toughie very often these days, but even if you hadn’t seen his name on this week’s Toughie Setters list, it wouldn’t take very long to spot that this was definitely his work with lots of rarely-seen but fairly clued words, only one of which I didn’t know but several of them requiring confirmatory visits to the BRB

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1a    Sore after returning to position in time of resettlement? (7)
POSTWAR A reversal (after returning) of a synonym for sore goes after a position

5a    Process making Oscar’s successor sick inside (7)
PAPILLA A biological term for a projection or protuberance on the skin is obtained by inserting a synonym for sick inside the NATO Phonetic Alphabet code word for the letter after Oscar

9a    Special collection from East presented by lush Heather (9)
ESOTERICA The abbreviation for East, a habitual drinker (lush) and another name for the heather plant

10a    Old BBC boss perhaps entertained by the French club? (5)
LODGE The abbreviation for old, the abbreviated way of referring to the boss of the BBC inserted into (entertained by) the French definite article

11a    Artist with bit of sculpture in entrance (7)
INGRESS The surname of a French artist and the first ‘bit’ of Sculpture

12a    Like botanical feature that could win first prize at flower show? (7)
ACEROSE A botanical term for something pointed like a needle – split 3,4 it could mean something that might win first prize at a flower show

13a    Feature of carol service, with Noel finally included in prison entertainment? (11)
CANDLELIGHT The final letter of noeL included in (or inserted between) a slang word for a prison and some that gives great pleasure or entertainment

16a    Character in Thermopylae had to retreat (3)
ETA A Greek letter obtained by reversing (to retreat) of part of a verb meaning had or consumed

18a    Dry religious group, not half TT (3)
SEC A religious group without the letter that is [either] half of TT

20a    Starlet I aim to change, being out to make loads of money? (11)
MATERIALIST An anagram (to change) of STARLET I AIM

22a    PM, nasty about Labour’s leader, getting victory (7)
BALDWIN An adjective meaning nasty goes ‘about’ the leader of Labour, the result followed with a victory

23a    What’s odd about wet weather bringing disease? (7)
MURRAIN A reversal (about) of a synonym for odd or peculiar followed by some wet weather produces a disease or cattle-plague such as foot-and-mouth disease

25a    Allow a thousand to enter passage (5)
ADMIT The Roman numeral for a thousand inserted into (to enter) a passage, especially into a mine

26a    Composure of celebrated female, one sitting in bar (9)
SANGFROID Part of a verb meaning celebrated, the abbreviation for female, and the letter representing one inserted into a bar

27a    Wants gentleman to have children back around (7)
DESIRES A reversal (back) of children or offspring goes ‘around’ a gentleman

28a    They may be given fee to hold girl back? (7)
DUENNAS Some fees ‘hold’ a reversal (back in the second clue in a row) of a girl’s name


1d    Vicinity with princes mixing outside court (9)
PRECINCTS An anagram (mixing) of PRINCES goes ‘outside’ the abbreviation for court

2d    Weapon of former commander needing minimal time to get loaded (7)
SHOTGUN An old Japanese military governor into which is inserted (to get loaded) the first letter (minimal) of Time

3d    We are put outside hotel in what circumstances? (5)
WHERE An informal way of writing  we are put outside the letter represented by Hotel in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

4d    Restrictions and rules not good (5)
REINS Simply remove the abbreviation for good from part of a verb meaning rules

5d    Mate grabbing husband with fury is a beast (9)
PHALANGER Any of a group of small arboreal Australian marsupials (beast) – an informal friend (mate) ‘grabbing’ the abbreviation for Husband, the result followed with fury

6d    Pater, alas, coming to grief in gymnasium (9)
PALAESTRA An anagram (coming to grief) of PATER ALAS to give a gymnasium from ancient history

7d    Boy sailor, ultimately one becoming old-fashioned pirate? (7)
LADRONE An archaic pirate – a boy, the ultimate letter of sailor and ONE (from the clue)

8d    Female learner diving into a river (5)
ADELE The usual abbreviation for learner inserted between (diving into) A (from the clue) and a river

14d    Chemical solution dissolving metal wire (9)
LIMEWATER An anagram (dissolving) of METAL WIRE produces a solution including calcium hydroxide, often used as an antacid

15d    More than one musician longs to cover a number one (9)
LUTENISTS More than one lute player – Desires eagerly (longs) ‘covers’ a number and the letter representing one

17d    Certain elements function inside out (9)
ACTINIDES Some radioactive metallic elements – a verb meaning to function and an anagram (out) of INSIDE

19d    Quill writer Albert used to pen his article (7)
CALAMUS A reed pen of ancient times (quill) – an Algerian-born French philosopher and author (one of whose works I studied for French A Level) ‘pens’ or goes round the French (his) feminine definite article

21d    American princess wants a new house hidden away (7)
IDAHOAN The name of the princess in the title of a comic opera by Gilbert & Sullivan, A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for New, into which is inserted (hidden away) the abbreviation for house

22d    Bishop put down as “a bit boring“? (5)
BLAND The chess abbreviation for Bishop and a way of saying put down

23d    Report of intellectual being unearthed (5)
MINED A homophone (report) of a synonym for intellectual

24d    Steal and carry off firearm (5)
RIFLE A verb meaning to plunder (steal and carry off) or a type of firearm


12 comments on “Toughie 3050
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  1. Lots of words I am unfamiliar with: 5a, 12a, 23a and 5d,6d,7d and 19d.
    Guessing words you never heard of before makes it difficult.
    I liked 17d and 26a among others.
    Thanks to CS and Giovanni (who’s vocab is too extensive) .

  2. Who else? I spent a long time trying to parse “anemone” for 12a “anem 1” what’s an anem -try Chambers – no luck – now what? I’d give it COTD except it’s so damned obscure. I know a fair bit of botany and am married to a botanist but we’ve never come across it – heigh ho. But I did like 17d so that gets my vote.
    Thanks to Giovanni, the BRB and CS for the blog.

  3. It could only be Giovanni. I did not need to come here to see the day’s Toughie setter, nor buy the paper, to spot the work of the Don, now seen far too infrequently in the DT and dismissed entirely from the backpage (Booo! Hisssss!).

    Every single word fairly clued, and while 5d and 17d were new to me, on checking them afterwards in the BRB I was delighted to see my answers were correct. Others (and there were a fair few) were dragged from recesses of my memory, or the definition was sufficient to justify the unfamiliar wordplay.

    Completed reasonably swiftly and with a huge amount of satisfaction and pleasure. I could nominate any number of clues for special mention but shall “limit” to 13a, 16a, 22a, 26a, 2d, 7d, 15d, 21d …

    3 / 4

    Many thanks indeed to The Don, and of course to Sue

  4. I thought this was pretty hard for a Wednesday Toughie slot, full of (entirely gettable) obscurities. I guess if they are indeed solvable through the accurate wordplay then the setter has done his job. The number of clues that needed reverse engineering to solve them took a bit of the shine off an otherwise enjoyable and entertaining puzzle. 22a was my favourite this afternoon.

    Thanks to Giovanni for the challenge, and to CS.

  5. If I were grading my performance on this very challenging Toughie, I would never walk across the commencement platform or make it to grad school. Managed the left-hand side well enough, but the r-h defeated me utterly. Still, you know what? I always enjoy seeing what this compiler manages to pull out of his vast lexicon, and so I don’t mind terribly getting a C- for my performance–and just think of all of the new words I could have tossed into a lively conversation with all of those brilliant interlocutors I’m no longer in touch with because they are no longer here. C’est la vie. Thanks to C-Sue and to Giovanni.

  6. I guess there’s a sort of masochistic sense of satisfaction in very nearly completing a puzzle full of words that aren’t in one’s or I suspect most people’s vocabulary (where’s Terence & his LIST when you need him) – in my case there were 7 completely new & a further 3 that kind of rang a bell but wouldn’t have been 100% confident of defining.
    With the assist of the check facility & 2 corrections en route (heroically resisting a letter reveal) very nearly made it but needed the hint on 7d having misunderstood the wordplay & vainly tried to find a 3 letter synonym for sailor to insert thinking E (from one) the 7th letter- needless to say never heard of Spanish Dick Turpin/Blackbeard.
    Can’t say the puzzle rocked my boat but did like 9,13,22&26a plus 2d
    Thanks anyway to Giovanni & to CS

  7. No matter how precise the wordplay, and Giovanni’s is always immaculate, I don’t enjoy puzzles which drive me to constant use of the BRB. Thanks to Giovanni and CS.
    My favourite clue was 26a.

  8. As Huntsman said, there’s a masochistic sense of satisfaction to be had from solving one of the Don’s Toughies!
    My BRB has now gone for a well-deserved lie-down and I’m unlikely to remember the new words I found.
    Wasted a fair amount of time on 23a as I was trying to fit the ‘odd’ letters of ‘what’s’ around the precipitation instead of using my brain to get the disease which I actually knew – silly girl.
    Top three here were 22&26a plus 2d – gold star going to 26a and honourable mention to the quote from the named PM!

    Thanks to Giovanni for the reminder of past struggles and to CS for the review – as a matter of interest, which was the word you didn’t know?

  9. At least, Giovanni remains constant in his approach to crosswords.
    Learned some new words also that had to be checked and the mention “archaic” showed up a few times.
    Definitely a term that describes this setter.
    Thanks to him and to CS for the review.

    1. In the present World surely some things that are archaic are welcome?

      Two words crossing at 7 and 12 which I didn’t know but a bung in worked. 15 strange word (I thought they may be “lutists”) that I’ve never heard of.

      Still no idea about 28 a. Spanish?

      But fun overall and into about a Don’s midway time.

  10. With 14 unusual words (for me) this was a bit like doing a Mephisto. Good cluemanship as ever, mind you.

  11. With a bit of reference assistance along the way we did eventually get everything sorted.
    Thanks Giovanni and CS.

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