Toughie 3058 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3058

Toughie No 3058 by Musaeus

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

A very difficult Toughie for a Wednesday, well I thought so anyway. It took me quite a while to get going and by the time I had finished, there was an awful lot of ‘the solution must be this, but why?’ I have also spent more time than I would like checking things in the dictionary, just to make sure that my ‘why’ was correct

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Grip without power thus becomes restrained (7)
CLASSIC Remove (without) the abbreviation for power from a verb meaning to grip and then add a Latin word meaning thus

5a    Excellent, taken for a ride so calmed down (7)
DEFUSED A slang adjective meaning excellent and a simple way of saying duped (taken for a ride)

9a    High-street saver establishing companionship? (8,7)
BUILDING SOCIETY Synonyms for establishing and companionship

10a    Study concerning the traditional CE (4)
READ The usual ‘concerning’ or on the subject of, and the traditional way of referring to the number of years since the birth of Christ, CE now being used to number the years of the Current Era

11a    Run literally goes round, for example, square (5)
LEGIT The abbreviation for literally goes round the abbreviation meaning for example. The solution can be read as an informal instruction to run away quickly, or an abbreviation of an adjective meaning lawful

12a    Draw river bank (4)
TIER A verb meaning to draw and the abbreviation for River

15a    Rat’s final intention? (7)
TREASON The final letter of raT and an intention

16a    Demand in steep dish of oysters (7)
SCALLOP A verb meaning to demand inserted into another meaning to soak or steep

17a    Civil char grabbing most of break on the way back (7)
SECULAR A synonym for char or burn ‘grabbing’ most of some reversed (on the way back) good fortune (break)

19a    Brass put aside? Clear saving succeeded with mine (4,3)
NEST EGG Insert the abbreviation for succeeded into an adjective meaning clear of all charges and follow with a slang name for a mine

21a    Rule that limits naturism? (4)
NORM The ‘limits’ of NaturisM could be said to be  X XX X

22a    Latest info force ignored in volatile matter identifying scum (5)
SPUME An abbreviation meaning ‘latest info’ and any volatile matter without (ignored) the abbreviation for Force

23a    Heading to pharmacy I will get this? (4)
PILL The heading or first letter of Pharmacy and an informal way of saying I will

26a    It may be sliced, examined and analysed by a superior thing? (9,6)
PROCESSED CHEESE A one-word way of saying ‘examined and analysed’ and a person of importance (superior thing) usually preceded by the word ‘big’

27a    Maritime duty is not overturned by new generation (7)
TONNAGE A reversal (overturned) of NOT followed by the abbreviation for New and a generation

28a    Continue scam about plague hospital’s wiped out (5,2)
CARRY ON A verb meaning to scam or swindle goes ‘about’ a verb meaning to plague or harass without (wiped out) the abbreviation for Hospital


1d    Jazz fan closing bleak club (7)
CABARET A slang term for a jazz fan goes round (closing) an adjective meaning bleak or barren

2d    Film no actor could get produced? (8,7)
ANIMATED CARTOON An anagram indicator followed by an anagram (could get produced) of NO ACTOR

3d    Spin southern fish (4)
SIDE The abbreviation for southern and a type of fish

4d    Is youth able to become a mess? (7)
CANTEEN Split 3,4 this place to eat (mess) could ask the question ‘is youth able?’

5d    Release distinctive doctrine in shortened treatise (7)
DISMISS A distinctive doctrine inserted into an abbreviated (shortened) treatise

6d    Loud and outstanding clock (4)
FACE The musical instruction to play loudly and an informal way of saying outstanding combine to give part of the body, a slang word for which is ‘clock’

7d    Perhaps late-night post exceptional bouncer worked, VIP cedes, “really staying current” (7,8)
SPECIAL DELIVERY There are two separate ways to solve this clue: firstly a synonym for exceptional and the bowling of a cricket ball, of which a bouncer is an example. Secondly, an anagram (worked) of VIP CEDES REALLY into which is inserted (staying) the symbol used in physics for electrical current

8d    Possibly jolly tryst, we hear, run down (3,4)
DAY TRIP A homophone (we hear) of a tryst followed by a slang (especially North American) word meaning to run down or criticise severely

13d    Son burst into Grease song (5)
PSALM The abbreviation for son inserted into (burst) a verb meaning to bribe (grease)

14d    Passage in large part of church (5)
LAPSE A passage of time – the abbreviation for Large and part of a church

17d    Quarry in coastal feature also (7)
SANDPIT A conjunction meaning also inserted into a long narrow tongue of land running into the sea (coastal feature)

18d    Mouth opening from this in ready repartee (7)
RIPOSTE An abbreviated mouth and the opening letter from This inserted into an adjective meaning read for a particular purpose

19d    Unsettled, I can do travels round motorway (7)
NOMADIC An anagram (travels) of I CAN DO goes round the abbreviation for motorway

20d    Chutzpah by Spain aboard vessel (7)
GALLEON Some effrontery or impudence (chutzpah) followed by the IVR Code for Spain and a simple way of saying aboard

24d    Cheapskate farcically holds back cheese (4)
FETA Hidden in reverse (holds back) in heapskATE Farcically

25d    Informally however, Queen is a divine being (4)
THOR An informal way of saying however and the Latin abbreviation for queen

My favourite Across clue was 15a because it made me smile. My favourite Down clue was 7d as I thought it was particularly clever to include two separate ways of getting to the solution

I’ll be interested to see whether people agree with me about the difficulty level – usually on days like this, several solvers will turn up to tell me I’m wrong.

15 comments on “Toughie 3058

  1. Definitely a proper Toughie and an enjoyable struggle – thanks to Musaeus and CS.
    A number of visits to the BRB were required for verification purposes – who knew, for example, that cheese (even without the ‘big’) meant ‘anything of excellent quality’?
    Two of the clues (11a and 7d) have two definitions, although this actually seems to make working out the parsing trickier rather than easier.
    I think that a two-letter mouth and the opening letter of ‘this’ are required in the wordplay of 18d.
    My medals went to 10a, 19a and 2d.

    It’s Artix tomorrow. Will it be tougher than this?

    1. My poor old brain had had enough by the time it came to working out what was going on in 18d. I’ve amended the hint

  2. For a change Sue I agree with you completely about this one and I still can’t see how 18d works [where does the T come from?] I thought 15a was neat but that was it.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Musaeus.

  3. Agree Very hard work Around 25% of my answers were as described by CS in the opening summary i.e. 1a, 5, 22, 28, 1d, 5d, 18.
    A good challenge which I ultimately failed by a couple. Thanks to Musaeus and CS

  4. I think I spent longer on reverse engineering the parsing than I did actually completing the grid, although 18d defeated me, so thanks to Sue and Gazza for sorting that one out for me. 2d was my favourite. This was a proper battle and ultimately very rewarding to finish.

    My thanks to Musaeus and again to CS.

  5. Got two of the long downs half wrong which made completion impossible for me . Felt a number of clues far too complex , forcing my incorrect guesses. Somehow Elgar’s” impossible” crosswords seem more satisfying than this ; one can marvel at the subtlety afterwards whereas the answers here just left me a little cold .

  6. Strangely I’ve almost a completed grid (albeit with the assistance of one or two presses of the reveal mistakes facility & a correction en route) faster than yesterday & without a letter reveal but am 2 letters shy with the pesky 25d. As to the whys of a number of them – well I think I’ll declare & let Sue tell me all about it. Way above my pay grade really & mentally spent having thought produced some weird anagram indicator & then racking my brain for a film title with what I thought was the fodder until an extra checker put me right – it was my pick though once the penny had dropped followed by 9a.
    Thanks to Musaeus & CS

  7. Blimey! You chaps must have such twisted brains to be able to solve one clue, let alone the whole grid! My admiration knows no bounds, congratulations.

  8. I usually find my difficulty ratings a couple of stars higher than yours CS, but this week I would agree with your 4 stars.
    Didn’t quite enjoy it though, much for the same reason as you have mentioned. Quite a number of my answers were bunged in because the checkers meant they had to be what they were. But even after reading your explanations I still cannot resolve some of the definitions and some of those I can see, I find very tenuous.
    However I did like all 4 of the long clues and, I suppose, the fact that I finished the puzzle unaided means the clues did do their job

  9. This was Liverpool St to Taplow tough on my Elizabeth Line rating system. A couple of parsings eacaped me though. Thanks to Musaeus and CS.

  10. I think it depends on how your mind works.
    ‘Er indoors had it as no stronger than ***. I was closer to your *****.
    Sometimes we’re the other way round.
    Neither of us has ever been able to crack an Elgar!

  11. So we weren’t the only ones to have struggled with this one. A sigh of relief when we eventually got a full grid.
    Thanks Musaeus and CS.

  12. I think me feeling last evening on completing this was more of relief than satisfaction, and enjoyment was sparse. For me too many clues where the parsing occured after getting the answer rather than before, and in several cases not at all until reading Sue’s explanations. While the answer was clear, I still feel 21a doesn’t really work: the limits of naturism are plural and therefore N *and* M; a limit of naturism, singular, would be N or M.

    Other than that, scrupulously fairly clued with much deception employed throughout: a large part of the challenge was working out what was definition and what was wordplay.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to CS

  13. Well done to you all! I am still struggling but haven’t quite given up… yet. Phew! This has thrown me completely out of any comfort zone I may have had. I look forward to reading crypticsue’s elucidation in due course… For which mega thanks and appreciation in advance. And thanks too to Museaeus.

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