Toughie No 3057 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3057

Toughie No 3057 by Robyn

Hints and tips by StephenL

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Hello everyone from a rather grey South Devon coast.

The highly regarded Robyn makes a second appearance in three days (no complaints whatsoever here) with another excellent puzzle. First read through yielded very little but once I had a few checkers it went in relatively smoothly, helped by three of the four perimeter clues being quite friendly.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a One puts you under the sea, moving in opposing way (12)
ANAESTHETIST: Place an anagram (moving) of THE SEA inside a preposition meaning opposed to and append the abbreviation for STreet.

8a Switch positions, about to return for sale (2,5)
ON OFFER: Two positions of a switch are followed by a reversal of a preposition meaning about.

9a Female member of police personnel (7)
DISTAFF: The abbreviation for a senior police officer and a synonym of personnel or workforce.

11a Sculptor in article found in Bild holding soft stone base (7)
EPSTEIN: Place a German indefinite article (found in Bild) around the musical instruction to play softly, the abbreviation for STone and a mathematical base.

12a Retailer cut supply in workspace (7)
ATELIER: Anagram (supply) of RETAILER without its last letter (cut)

13a Went carefully like this into room facing west (5)
NOSED: Pace a 2-letter word that could mean “like this” into a room or study and reverse (facing west) the result.

14a Old composer knowing about a modern one (9)
BACHARACH: Follow an old composer, initials JSB, with a synonym of knowing into which is inserted (about) A from the clue. Here’s The Pretenders with one of his best

16a It may hold crude pig, perhaps, receiving large cheers (3,6)
OIL TANKER: Place an informal word for a pig based upon the noise it makes (also a derogatory word for a fat greedy person) around the abbreviation for Large and a 2-letter synonym of cheers.

19a King’s wife going around east in cutter (5)
PARER: Place the surname of the last wife of King Henry VIII around the abbreviation for East.

21a Communicates with setter, cracking e.g. Elgar and Dada minus one answer (7)
LIAISES: Insert (cracking) a first person pronoun (setter) into an something of which Dada and Elgar are examples after removing one of the abbreviations for Answer. Excellent clue.

23a Joker I caught, holding ace of hearts (7)
CARDIAC: Start with a joker or a comedian, add I from the clue and the abbreviation for Caught into which is placed the abbreviation for Ace.

24a It gave us chutzpah when hobby’s rejected by looker (7)
YIDDISH: Reverse a hobby that involves home improvement and follow it with a rather dated synonym of a looker or attractive person.

25a Better run, inhaling oxygen in the fresh air (7)

OUTDOOR: Place a verb meaning to better or eclipse plus the abbreviation for Run around (inhaling) the abbreviation for Oxygen.

26a Peer hard through windows? It’s a source of drama (12)
ARISTOPHANES: The peer here is a noun, an informal or abbreviated term for a member of the upper classes. Follow it with a single sheet of glass into which the abbreviation for Hard is inserted. .



1d Stirs drinks after leaving clubs (7)
AROUSES: Remove the abbreviation for Club from a synonym of drinks or celebrates.

2d Radical failed to secure new stronghold for the Reds (7)
ANFIELD: Anagram (radical) of FAILED placed around the abbreviation for New. Moving swiftly on….!

3d International sportsman bowled between well and fine (9)
SPRINGBOK: Start with a well as a noun, a source of water. Add a synonym of fine or all right and between the two insert the abbreviation for Bowled. I really liked this.

4d Big serpent in flowery bushes up to the middle (5)
HYDRA: The first half only (up to the middle) of some flowery bushes that are ubiquitous in my part of the world.

5d Decorative tile son fixed up over time (7)
TESSERA: The abbreviation for Son and a synonym of fixed are reversed (up in a down clue) and followed by a long or distinct period of time.

6d Strength enlivens revolutionary saving energy (7)
STAMINA: A reversal (revolutionary) of a synonym of enlivens or stimulates with the abbreviation for Energy removed.

7d Inherit income — investing pound, start to produce results (4,4,4)
COME INTO PLAY: Start with a phrasal verb that could mean suddenly inherit money or property. Add a synonym of income into which is inserted an abbreviation for pound.

10d That place gracious ex-president tours officially (3,3,6)
FOR THE RECORD: Place  an adverb meaning “that place” plus an exclamation (gracious) into the surname of an ex-president best known for falling down aircraft steps (no, not the present one!)

15d Church reluctant to store half of priest’s old shroud (9)
CERECLOTH: Place (the first) half the letters of a priest in charge of a self-supporting parish between the abbreviation for Church of England and a synonym of reluctant.

17d Hero’s beloved Portia ultimately stops Shylock (7)
LEANDER: Insert (stops) the final letter of Portia  into a something of which Shylock was an example.

18d Twirling chanteuse is suavely entertaining Victorians? (7)
AUSSIES: Hidden (entertaining) and reversed (twirling) in the clue. A brilliant example of its clue type. Having lived in Melbourne for two years this brings back some lovely memories.

19d Proper person wanting a turnip in a stew (7)
PURITAN: Anagram (in a stew) of the preceding two words.

20d Game 3s play with Italy — sense it’s very costly (7)
RUINOUS: The abbreviation for the game played by 3d plus the IVR code for Italy and a synonym of (common) sense.

22d Idiot over the pond making chit-chat half-cut (5)
SCHMO: Another clue in which we have to remove 50% of a word (half-cut) this time the last half of a word meaning talking idly or in a friendly way.

Great stuff Robyn, many thanks. My podium is 21a plus 3 and 18d. Which ones gained your medals?




14 comments on “Toughie No 3057

  1. Super puzzle with some cunning misdirection. I particularly liked 21a and 1a. Thanks to Robyn and Stephen.

  2. Another fine crossword from Robyn – just right for a Tuesday Toughie – the only word I didn’t know (15d) was very fairly clued

    Thanks very much to Robyn and Stephen

  3. A very entertaining puzzle from Robyn – thanks to him and SL.
    From a printout covered in ticks I’ll choose 1a, 16a, 21a and 2d for honourable mention.

  4. I enjoyed this on the whole. It was nicely challenging but with a sting on the tail with my last couple of clues including the unsolved 15d, which was a new word for me.

    I don’t understand the need for “setter, cracking” in 21a. The clue seems to me to work just as well without those two words. I’m also bemused that a human being, Aristophanes, should be described in 26a as “it”, or am I missing something?

    1a was my favourite, closely followed by 14a.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to SL.

    1. As far as I can see you definitely need the first person subject pronoun in 21a RD for the clue to work, aliases only has one “I”. The it in 26a refers to the wordplay not the solution.

      1. Thanks, SL. I see what you mean about 21a, but 26a seems a bit contrived to me.

  5. Another masterful gem by the very inventive Robyn. Didn’t know 15d, but otherwise managed a slightly Google-abetted finish. 21a my COTD. Great stuff! Thanks to Stephen and Robyn.

  6. A highly inventive and most entertaining Toughie from a setter who is fast becoming a real favourite. Like our esteemed blogger, I thought 18d was a brilliant example of the clue type and it came out on top of my podium ahead of 1a.

    My thanks to Robyn and SL.

  7. Another very good puzzle from the excellent Robyn, though have to confess I didn’t crack 26a or 22d both of which pushed this to *** difficulty . Agree **** for enjoyment , though could have been ***** without those 2 above !

    Thanks to all

  8. Thank heavens I was doing the hints for the back-pager. No problems t’up north but found down south way harder than his Sunday Toughie. Needed 3 letter checker reveals to eventually finish plus 2 confirmations (11a&22d) & an outright cheat from Mr G (letters 2&4 for 15d). Like RD I didn’t think much of it’s rather than he’s at 26a – well that’s my excuse for not pegging before 2 letter reveals. As ever from Robyn a super puzzle with ticks aplenty – 1,14,16&24a plus 2,3,17&18d to highlight 4 from each. Think I have them correctly parsed but no doubt reading the review will put me right if not.
    Thanks to Robyn & Stephen – good music clip.

  9. I made heavy weather of this for good reason it was hard. I have to register a dnf as I needed the hint to parse 19a, never heard of 26a or 15d or 22d, who has? 21a still remains a mystery to me even with the hint. The lack comments at this late hour I think is telling. Favourite was 1a but the hardest thing was spelling it! Thanks to Robyn and SL.

    1. Taylor re 21a ….Dada and Elgar are aliases. To get to the solution we need to insert a first person pronoun (setter cracking) and remove the initial A (minus one answer). Hope that helps.

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