Toughie 3056 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3056

Toughie No 3056 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This Elgar seemed to progress quite smoothly, though it still took me 5* time

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a/28a    This line of song may explain the down beat (1,10,3,2,3,1,5,3)

A POLICEMAN’S LOT IS NOT A HAPPY ONE: A song from a Gilbert & Sullivan work and a delightful pun on ‘beat’

10a    Walls of church wiped with oily rag irked leading group (9)

OLIGARCHY: The outer letters (walls) of C(hurc)H are surrounded by (wiped with) an anagram (irked) of OILY RAG

11a    A pair learning winter sports here? (5)

TYROL: Two learners, a 4-letter one and an abbreviation

12a/13a    Average attendance-based choice of venues for open-air bash? (6,2,6)

COMMON OR GARDEN: A choice of two outdoor venues, the first would accommodate more attendants than the second

15a    Educable hairdresser regularly cut artist, say (4)

RITA: The even letters (regularly cut) of ‘artist say’

17a    On donkey, railing against big lab (2,8)

AS CONCERNS: A 3-letter donkey goes around (railing) a word meaning against plus a big European physics lab in Geneva

19a    Misguided aim of overpowering attacks? Sadly, yes (2,6,2)

I’M AFRAID SO: An anagram (misguided) of AIM OF goes around (overpowering) another word for attacks

20a    What may be spotted among overhasty posts (4)

TYPO: Hidden (What may be spotted among … )

22a/23a    Investing emaciated weakling man licensed to act provocatively? (3,3,8)

RUN THE GAUNTLET: A 5-letter word for emaciated is inserted into (investing) a word for weakling, a male pronoun, and a word meaning licensed

26a    Current second home for Biden over home for some Europeans (5)

SUOMI: A reversal (over) of the physics abbreviation for current, a second or brief time, and Biden’s home country

27a    Douglas here loves watching Messi notching his first! (4,2,3)

ISLE OF MAN: A (2,3,3) phrase that could mean ‘loves watching Messi’ contains (notching) Messi’s first letter (his first)


2d     Miss who’s looking after Cecilya divisive figure

PRISM: Two meanings – the governess of Cecily in an Oscar Wilde play, and a solid that can split light

3d    Ready for “walkies” trick? (4,2)

LEAD ON: As illustrated!

4d     Daft suggestions for boosting mass production around plant (6-4)

CUCKOO-SPIT: A word for daft or nuts and a reversal (for boosting) of some suggestions

5d    Is able to love a bit on the side? (4)

MAYO: A word meaning ‘is able to’ and the score of love in tennis

6d Letter for Ms Mouskouri which children will give singer? (8)

NUTHATCH: A Greek (for Nana Mouskouri) letter, a word meaning ‘which’, and the abbreviation for children

7d    Large diamonds kept in proper condition by British Earl (4,5)

LORD DERBY: The abbreviation for large, then the cards abbreviation for diamonds goes inside (kept in) a word meaning ‘proper condition’, and BY from the clue

8d    What scout’s involved with old currency on a break? (6-8)

TALENT-SPOTTING: Ancient units of money plus “on a break” in snooker

9d    Conservative £1 game chasing Supreme Being essentially works (8,6)

CONCERTI GROSSI: The 1-letter abbreviation for conservative, a 5-letter word for £1, a ‘game chasing’, one of the Supremes and the centre (essentially) letter of being

14d    Tripe! Head GP turning stomachs was out of order (10)

CODSWALLOP: A reversal (turning) of a 4-letter word meaning to head and a GP contains (stomachs) an anagram (out of order) of WAS

16d     Prepare physically for meeting rail service from London? (5,4)

TRAIN DOWN: Prepare physically to lose weight ahead of a sporting event can also suggest a rail service from London, for example

18d     Preserver of old tea is boarding craft (8)

ARCHAIST: Another word for tea plus IS from the clue go inside (boarding) another word for craft

21d     Beagle: Journey’s End following On the Origin of Species, revolutionary work (6)

SNOOPY: The last (end) letter of journey follows a reversal of ON from the clue and the first letter (origin) of species plus the Latin abbreviation for work

24d    Miss who’s typing letters for Herculeshe’s useless (5)

LEMON: Two meanings – the first is the surname of Felicity, Poirot’s secretary

25d    Starring part in show, I think (4)

WITH: Hidden (part in … )

I liked the bit on the side, but my favourite is the Darwinian 21d. Which clues did you like?

9 comments on “Toughie 3056

  1. Wow that was tough. It took a while, with plenty of bung-ins to get me started, but I finally finished with a great sense of satisfaction. Like our esteemed blogger, 21d proved to be my favourite clue. As always, I am in awe of both setter and blogger for firstly compiling this little gem, and then sorting it all out for us. Quite brilliant.

    My grateful thanks to both Elgar and Dutch.

  2. I always like it when Elgar “gives” you some to help get going and then, when feeling confident that this might just be a slightly quicker one, he ramps up the difficulty. Which of course adds to the enjoyment. Brilliant as usual. Thanks to Elgar for the puzzle and Dutch for your usual skill.

    Bung in for 11a, with the checkers and then research the first type of learner.

    For the lego, the misdirection and the rather racy image it portrays, of a Tory letch paying a quid to chase Dianna, 8d gets top spot. Be interesting to see Brian’s response if somebody used “Supreme Being” in a back pager. 😇

  3. Well I nearly finished it without the hints but 6 and 9d did for me . The long clues probably made it a tad easier than usual as they were more guessable than deduceable . Good fun though , thanks to both .

  4. A sort of “Medium Elgar” with a few gimmes and several real stinkers. I had no knowledge of Cecily so was unable to parse 2d fully. 21d was nice when the penny dropped and 12/13a also raised a smile. Re 22/23a – I’m not convinced it means to act provocatively, I’ve certainly never heard it used in that sense.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch for the blog.

  5. Relatively easy for Elgar – a flash of inspiration fairly early on for 1a/28a definiely helped – but yes, still 5* for difficulty, and once again I find myself crawling over here looking for a parsing. Only one, this time, 9d. Thanks, Dutch, for the help, and Elgar for the morning workout.

  6. Fell short on 26a and a couple that were bung ins.

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  7. Needed the hint for 1/28, not being a G&S fan, plus a couple of others

    Lots of clever stuff…


  8. Late as usual with toughies, I found Mr Enigma’s puzzle almost doable for a change, got the long one quite quickly so this helped to get me under way. A long slog after this, but got all but 17a & 26a, so I regard this as a success.
    Thanks to the setter, thought I might make this my 3rd solve of one of yours, but it was not be, thanks also to Dutch, as usual you do such a sterling job by sorting out the parsing.

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