Toughie 3052 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3052

Toughie No 3052 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A not-overly-difficult and very enjoyable puzzle by Sparks. I did notice something interesting about all the across clues (and 6 of the down ones, but that is largely as a consequence)

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Gradually includes Times in back copies of favourites (4,2,4)
STEP BY STEP: A reversal (back) of two copies of a word meaning favourites contains (includes) a 2-letter word that can mean times in arithmetic

6a    Tense time with old academics? (4)
TAUT: The abbreviation for time and the abbreviation of an old University Teachers association that has been replaced by UCU

10a    Grumble without Mike, say (5)
UTTER: Take a 6-letter word meaning grumble and remove the letter with radio code Mike

11a    Fan found in abandoned farm vehicle (9)
EXTRACTOR: Another word for abandoned or old and a farm vehicle

12a    Oscar intercepts letter with a counterfeit permit (8)
TOLERATE: Insert the letter with radio code Oscar into an anagram (counterfeit) of LETTER+A

13a    Sweet betrothal partly rejected (5)
TORTE: Reverse hidden ( … partly rejected)

15a    Globe, maybe, within which one may operate (7)
THEATRE: Two meanings, the first related to entertainment, the second to health

17a    Missile shelter offering protection for free (7)
TRIDENT: A temporary shelter contains (offering protection for) a word meaning to free

19a    Compound doubling metal price (7)
NITRATE: A reversal (doubling) of a 3-letter metal and a word meaning price

21a    Secure satellite broadcast (7)
TIGHTEN: A homophone (broadcast) of Saturn’s largest satellite

22a    Too much crammed into flash phrase (5)
MOTTO: An abbreviation meaning ‘too much’ goes inside (crammed into) a flash or short time period

24a    Launch reportedly smashing sci-fi franchise (4,4)
STAR TREK: A 5-letter launch and a homophone (reportedly) of a smashing or crash

27a    Colleague in same company perhaps ignoring British deadlock (9)
STALEMATE: A 10-letter word for a person from the same group or club, but without (ignoring) the abbreviation for British

28a    Spell “just in time” using only some of the letters (5)
STINT: Hidden ( … using only some of the letters)

29a    Clear web sites centrally (4)
NETT: Another word for web and the middle (centrally) letter of sites

30a    Navy possibly daring to be PC (10)
BLUEBOTTLE: A colour that navy exemplifies and another word for daring or courage


1d    Film announced some century breaks (4)
SCUM: A homophone (announced) of SOME from the clue contains (breaks) the abbreviation for century

2d    Mixer is briefly, perhaps, wide open (9)
EXTROVERT: Another cricket word for ‘wide’, but without the last letter (briefly) and a word meaning open

3d    Hold up electronic lighter (5)
BARGE: A reversal (up) of a word meaning hold or seize, plus the abbreviation for electronic

4d    Leak note to skip part of book? (7)
SEEPAGE: Split (3,4), the answer could be a note to go to another part of book

5d    Beg for goods ditched by man and chief (7)
ENTREAT: The abbreviation for good is removed (ditched) from both a 4-letter man and an adjective that can mean chief

7d    Cut top off beam later on (5)
AFTER: Remove the first letter (cut top off) from a 6-letter beam

8d    Thinner internet up for development (10)
TURPENTINE: An anagram (for development) of INTERNET UP

9d    Change of old term for Andromeda Nebula, for one? (8)
FARTHING: Split (3,5), the answer could loosely suggest something remote like Andromeda Nebula

14d    For whom coping could be part of the job (10)
STONEMASON: A cryptic definition playing on two meanings of ‘coping’

16d    The Cloth meant to give dry services? (3,5)
TEA TOWEL: A cryptic definition. Nothing to do with religious services!

18d    Ultra vires unopened text message primarily scrapped (9)
EXTREMIST: An anagram (scrapped) of (v)IRES + TEXT + M(essage)

20d    Learns about shielding knight put in difficulty (7)
ENSNARL: An anagram (about) of LEARNS contains (shielding) the chess abbreviation for knight

21d    Swing section up on drugs by the sound of it (7)
TRAPEZE: Reversal (up) of a 4-letter section, then a homophone (by the sound of it) of some drugs

23d    Tribute perfectly covering saint (5)
TOAST: A (2,1,1) phrase meaning perfectly goes around (covering) the abbreviation for saint

25d    Dead poet identified by bones raised below bottom of crypt (5)
TASSO: A reversal of the Latin or anatomical word for bones follows (below) the last letter (bottom) of crypt

26d    Problem for viewer surfaces at injury time in finals (4)
STYE: Last letters ( … in finals)

Plenty to like here – I think my favourite is Andromeda Nebula. Which clues did you enjoy?

17 comments on “Toughie 3052

  1. All these Ts for Toughie maybe but didn’t find it that difficult either.
    A very pleasant end of the toughie week with 24a being my favourite.
    Thanks to Sparks and to Dutch for the review.

  2. Sparks has given us far tougher puzzles but I thought this was one of his best. Great fun with some lovely clues – awards to 28a, 30a, 5d and [pick of the crop and my last in] 9d. I can’t see anything extra in all the double Ts but what would I know about NINAs?
    Thanks to Sparks and to Dutch for the blog.

  3. This suited me to a tee. I couldn’t possibly exTracT a favourite from such a strong field, so as 1a got us off to such a strong sTarT I’ll go with ThaT
    Many thanks to Sparks and Dutch for a top puzzle and blog.

  4. Nice puzzle, didn’t spot the Ts. 30a was my favourite. Thanks to Sparks and Dutch.

  5. Looks as though Huntsman made a good call yesterday, this was certainly a fairly gentle Toughie by Sparks’ standards – much appreciated by middle of the road solvers like yours truly!
    So much to enjoy here and my podium spots went to 1,15,21&30a plus 9d.
    I did wonder whether all those Ts were mentions for young Tia – hopefully Sparks will call in later to give us an update on her progress.

    Many thanks to him for the puzzle and to Dutch for the review – particularly for advising me about the University Teachers Association.

    1. Thanks Jane :) — After Herculean daily efforts, Tia has finally become the affectionate and sort-of-manageable companion I dreamed of when adopting her. This week, she immediately obeyed a ‘return’ call when pursuing a cat, and she’ll now walk to heel, off-lead, near sheep. That was utterly unimaginable six months ago. But only when I can topple a squirrel from the apex of her attention hierarchy will I celebrate :D

      1. Hmm – well done on the sheep front but I’m not convinced that you’re in with much of a chance up against a squirrel!

  6. I really enjoyed this .
    “T” for Toughie ?
    30a is my favourite , along with 21a and 22a and 9d for special mention.
    Thanks to Sparks and Dutch.

  7. ToTally terrific. A lovely and amusing puzzle, even if more Floughie than Toughie for a Friday, but I’m certainly not complaining! 9d my COTD but the list of clues with ticks next to them is too long to give here.

    Many thanks to Sparks and to Dutch

  8. Quite user friendly for a Friday but beautifully clued and great fun to solve. I wasn’t going to pick a favourite, but upon reflection, 9d is hard to beat.

    My thanks to Sparks and Dutch.

  9. Wonderful. Loved it. I finished a Friday Toughie! A sparklngly splendid cryptic regardless of the day of the week, with the Andromeda Nebula my favourite. Thanks to Dutch and Sparks.

  10. Great blog as ever by ‘me old Dutch’, and thank you everyone for the lovely, very flaTTering, comments. Evidently this puzzle was proof (if any were needed) that solvers really do appreciate seTTers puTTing difficulty on the back burner. The TT device was simply my nod to ‘Telegraph Toughie’. Have a lovely bank-holiday weekend, all. TaTa! :)

    1. That’s disappointing, Sparks, I really thought you were getting Tia into the puzzle!
      Excellent puzzle nevertheless, thank you.

    2. Certainly appreciated by me. The Friday Toughie slot normally a no go area for the likes of me so this puzzle most welcome & thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish.
      Thanks also to Dutch for the review.

  11. Totally missed the T thing of course.
    Really good fun and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Sparks and Dutch.

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