Toughie 3093 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3093

Toughie No 3093 by Serpent
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

StephenL is under the weather at the moment so you’re getting a double dose of me this week. That’s no hardship for me because Serpent is a setter I always enjoy. He’s provided a pretty straightforward puzzle that’s very entertaining today. Thanks to him.

He usually gives something extra hidden in the grid so it’s worth having a look – if you can’t find anything there’s a further hint at the bottom of the blog.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Misshapen ground next to school that’s unsuitable for sporting events (12)
GAMESMANSHIP: an anagram (ground) of MISSHAPEN follows a word for a school of whales. The answer means tactics that have no place where sportsmanship is highly valued, like stumping a batsman who thinks that the over has been completed (to pick an example at random).

9a Row about one dancing like those involved in Pride? (7)
LEONINE: another word for a row or tier contains an anagram (dancing) of ONE.

10a Test case in principle involves student role model (7)
EXAMPLE: assemble a synonym of test and the outer letters of principle containing our usual abbreviated student.

11a Favourites making a comeback for beginning of March? (4)
STEP: reverse a word for favourites. As the Chinese philosopher said ‘A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single ****’.

12a Introduction of gigabit lines cut back network tests (5)
PINGS: the first letter of gigabit goes inside (lines) the reversal of a verb to cut.

13a Quality of sound supported by piercing note (4)
TONE: a preposition meaning ‘supported by’ pierces a note from tonic sol-fa.

16a Fashionable style with no right to clothe upper-class young woman? (7)
INGENUE: start with an adjective meaning fashionable or trendy and add a word for style or category without its abbreviation for right but containing our usual letter meaning upper-class.

17a Source of funding and power secured by boys and men (7)
SPONSOR: insert the physics abbreviation for power into a synonym for boys and an abbreviation for military men.

18a Mad genius covers Ring of Fire (7)
IGNEOUS: an anagram (mad) of GENIUS contains the ring-shaped letter.

21a Restore vitality to husband abandoned by impertinent woman (7)
FRESHEN: an adjective meaning impertinent or cheeky and an affectionate term for a woman in Scotland with one of the genealogical abbreviations for husband removed.

23a Prosecute case of gutless scoundrels (4)
DOGS: a verb to prosecute or conduct and the outer letters of gutless.

24a Damage device for stopping broadcast (5)
BREAK: this sounds like a device used for stopping.

25a Not liable to run quickly (4)
FAST: double definition, the first meaning not liable to run or fade.

28a Please settle on terms of good service (7)
DELIGHT: a verb to settle or come down to earth follows the last letters of ‘good service’.

29a Intimately associated with secret love (5,2)
CLOSE TO: an adjective meaning secret or hidden and the love-resembling letter.

30a They jump and sing about singer (12)
GRASSHOPPERS: a verb to sing or snitch contains a person who sings (with the same meaning).

Down Clues

1d Fine person with wicked urge (4,3)
GOOD EGG: an adjective meaning wicked in its modern informal sense and a verb to urge.

2d Spinster in need of male hand (4)
MAID: the abbreviation for male and a synonym of hand or assistance.

3d Tries out failed service largely devoid of ideas (7)
STERILE: an anagram (out) of TRIES and a service at Wimbledon that has to be retaken without its last letter.

4d Gets back at group involved in craven gesture (7)
AVENGES: hidden.

5d Big name last to leave institute (4)
STAR: a verb to institute with its final letter missing.

6d Irreverent Independent politician is bored by forum regularly (7)
IMPIOUS: start with the abbreviation for Independent and our usual elected politician then add IS containing the even letters of forum.

7d Secret announcement of what can cut piece of paper (10,3)
CLASSIFIED ADS: an adjective meaning secret and what sounds like a cutting tool.

8d Pioneering art represented a journey (13)
PEREGRINATION: an anagram (re-presented) of PIONEERING ART.

14d Person who delivers circular letter consumed by grudge (5)
ENVOY: our circular letter is inserted in a verb to grudge.

15d Witness briefly inspired by encouraging gesture proceeded carefully (5)
NOSED: a verb to witness without its last letter gets inserted in an encouraging or assenting gesture.

19d She criticises foreign country imprisoning girl on vacation (7)
NIGGLER: an African country contains the outer letters of ‘girl’.

20d Extend/ period of time in prison (7)
STRETCH: double definition.

21d Top coverage using Spooner’s account of Queen’s entrance? (4,3)
FLAT CAP: an olde but goodie Spoonerism where the falsely capitalised queen is one of Mr K’s favourites.

22d My great joy ending in tears (7)
HEAVENS: a word for great joy and the final letter of tears.

26d Wise man’s head is lowered for a long time (4)
AGES: a wise man with his first letter relegated to the bottom.

27d Level of optimism disheartened secret agent (4)
MOLE: a 6-letter word meaning ‘level of optimism’ without its central letters.

My ticks today went to 30a, 1d, 7d and 21d. Which one(s) gave you 28a?

To find the Ninas look at rows 5 and 11 and columns 5 and 11 in the grid.

18 comments on “Toughie 3093

  1. I obviously found this trickier than Gazza but perhaps if I’d remembered to look for, and find the four Ninas I might have got on more quickly. Much more of a Thursday Toughie than a Tuesday Toughie

    Many thanks to Serpent and Gazza

  2. What a lovely bunch of clues – not a dud amongst ’em in a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle. My votes today go to 10a, 29a, 2d [I think it’s a {slightly politically incorrect} all in one Gazza] and – it’s a chestnut but you can’t help chuckling – 21d.
    Thanks to Serpent and Gazza.

      1. I was concerned that “in need of” was redundant and then thought that Serpent might have intended the clue to refer to a woman in need of getting married [hand in marriage] to avoid becoming an [old] maid.

        1. Thanks, halcyon. You may well be right but it’s rather tenuous and I would have thought it merited a question mark if that was Serpent’s intention.

  3. Nina’s? Oh blimey, I didn’t look for them or had forgotten this setter’s use of them. Better have a look in a mo. As for this most enjoyable Toughie, the well hidden lurker at 4d was my final entry, with 30a and 1d sharing top spot.

    My thanks to Serpent and the hard working Gazza.

  4. I’d not heard of the school of whales so needed the hint to fully parse 1a, anyway I have now and 8d was also new to me but fairly clued. All in all a very satisfying solve. Favourite was 7d. Thanks to Serpent and Gazza.

  5. It may have been easy for you, Gazza, but the same wasn’t true for me! A DNF here with 12a plus 2&3d putting up total resistance. Spotting the Ninas would have helped but I didn’t think to look for any.
    Top clues for me were 10,28&30a plus 1&21d.

    Thanks to Serpent for the mauling and to Gazza for the assistance and the great cartoons!
    Hope Stephen soon recovers – it will be all that sea swimming that’s done for him!

  6. I found this very challenging indeed – I should not have been surprised to have been faced with it on a Thursday, or as a Sunday Times prize puzzle.

    NHO the school of whales, and had several biffs where I simply couldn’t parse fully the clues, the cryptic grammar or less common synonyms sending me on wild goose chases elsewhere. All entirely fair, of course! Was struck by the very large number of clues adding/removing/inserting one or two letters – a degree of repetition that I’m uncertain would be tolerated elsewhere. Needless to say was utterly oblivious to the Ninas, sadly, which had I noticed would certainly have helped with 5 of my last 5 answers … ;)

    Thanks for the challenge Serpent, though you gave me a drubbing, and thank you too to Gazza (great cartoons!). Best wishes to Stephen for a speedy recovery.

  7. Thanks Gazza…I don’t usually bother with the Toughie but your intro and the prospect of finding a Nina or four encouraged me to have a go! And very glad I did too, a most enjoyable way to spend (quite a few!) minutes sitting in the Lancashire sunshine. I needed a couple of ‘free’ letters and had to check a couple of answers but got there in the end.
    Thanks to Gazza and Serpent.

  8. Well I’m with Jane & MG in finding this extremely tough. It was a long & meandering 8d. Can’t claim an unaided finish either as bunged hope in at 27d & amended at the end when I pressed reveal mistakes once notified of an incorrect completion & it was still a head scratch to parse it. Had to look up school of whales & needless to say completely oblivious to the Ninas (12a last in & would have been a gimme if twigged).
    Thanks to Serpent & to Gazza for a great review plus best wishes to Stephen.
    Ps one query – thought she in 19d a bit odd

    1. She is just as valid as he in 19d. I think I’m right in saying that Serpent often uses female pronouns in cases where either male or female would work. I suppose it makes such clues slightly trickier to solve because it’s a bit unusual.

  9. Many thanks to Gazza for the excellent blog, and to everyone who has taken the time to comment.

  10. 3*/3* ….
    liked 21D “Top coverage using Spooner’s account of Queen’s entrance? (4,3)” …..
    & the cartoons in the hints esp. “Congratulations George Brownridge ……. “

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