Toughie No 3105 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3105

Toughie No 3105 by Robyn

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sunny and pleasantly warm South Devon coast.

Robyn, a setter who rarely disappoints, kicks off proceedings this week with a typically tricky and witty puzzle. Apologies for lack of pictures but I’m still having a lot of trouble with my right eye.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Drug dealer quick to conceal wrongdoing (8)
PHARMACY: A synonym of quick (Stuart Broad perhaps?) around (to conceal) one of wrongdoing or malpractice. The dealer is not a criminal!

5a Sound of strike catching a six-footer, a pugilist (6)
BANTAM: Place a sudden loud noise around one of crosswordland’s favourite “six-footers”

9a Hating the novel of one odd writer about quiet house (9)
NEOPHOBIC: Start with an anagram (odd) of ONE and add a three-letter name of a pen. Insert the abbreviations for quiet and HOuse into the result.

11a Contact teacher’s ending with a head (5)
REACH: The final letter of teacheR plus a word that could mean “a/per head”.

12a Old widow‘s on line computer lessons (6)
RELICT: The usual two-letter preposition meaning on, the abbreviation for Line and the abbreviation for an Information Communication Technology course.The setter is using old to indicate that the definition is archaic.

13a Model worker not meeting deadlines (8)
TEMPLATE: An informal or abbreviated part-time worker and an adjective meaning behind time.

15a Fail to get breaks once in Cambridge University also (13)
MISUNDERSTAND: Place an archaic (once) or literary word for breaks or splits inside our usual abbreviated Cambridge (US) university and add a conjunction meaning also.

18a Hunting game, pass around live badgers (4,3,6)
HARE AND HOUNDS: Place a synonym of pass or distribute around the second person form of the verb “be” then add a synonym of badgers as a verb.

22a Dog turning right in grand residence (8)
BALMORAL: A reversal (turning) of an abbreviated dog plus a synonym of right or just.

23a Hip black plates the ultimate in book printing method (3-3)
INKJET: Start with a synonym of hip or popular, add a word that often precedes black to describe total darkness and insert between the two the final letter of booK.

26a Old guy, one horny bounder from Africa (5)
ORIBI: Put together the abbreviation for Old, a synonym of guy as a verb and the letter representing one.

27a Partridge cages keep out a big star? (9)
ALDEBARAN: The given name of cringeworthy “chat show host” Partridge around a synonym of keep out or block.

28a Flipping blue gag nearly holds interest (6)
ENGAGE: Hidden and reversed in the clue as indicated by the words flipping and holds.

29a Mike goes after kind of wood yielding resin (8)
BALSAMIC: The abbreviation for MICrophone follows a type of light wood.


1d Parents accepting not one artist will create landscape (8)
PANORAMA: Place two informal parents around (accepting) a two-letter synonym of “not one” and the usual two-letter abbreviation for an artist.

2d A dozen letters on large bunch of keys (5)
ATOLL: Split 1,2,1 the first dozen letters of the alphabet and the abbreviation for Large.

3d Complain about noise made by drunkard in Barnet (7)
MOHICAN: A synonym of complain or carp around a stereotypical sound attributed to someone who has drunk too much alcohol

4d Baby animal number five or eight, perhaps (4)
CUBE: If we split the solution 3,1 it would be a way of labelling a baby animal based upon the position of the final letter in the alphabet.

6d Ace assistant keeping control in general (7)
AGRIPPA: The abbreviation for Ace and an abbreviated assistant or secretary go around a synonym of control or hold.

7d Great Dane barking where refreshments are served (3,6)
TEA GARDEN: Anagram (barking) of GREAT DANE.

8d Playing match with nothing in it, Real’s great scorer (6)
MAHLER: Anagram (playing) of the outside letters of MatcH plus REAL.

10d Dramatic heroine leaves for a meal with princess (8)
CRESSIDA: The leaves here are for a salad or an egg sandwich perhaps . Add a princess from a comic opera.

14d Almost grasping wine vessel filled with claret (4,4)
VENA CAVA: The vessel here is a vein. A synonym of grasping or mercenary without its last letter is followed by a sparkling wine.

16d Freud probably spent this second relaxing (9)
SCHILLING: The abbreviation for Second and an informal word for relaxing. The solution is an old currency of the country in which Freud was born

17d Kind of drink I really drink (8)
ISOTONIC: I from the clue, a 2-letter adverb meaning really and a type of drink often mixed with gin.

19d Two chessmen sharing a square is cheating (7)
ROOKING: The final letter of one chess piece and the initial letter of another share a square on the crossword grid. Very clever.

20d Transport locum doctor around during uprising (7)
OMNIBUS: A 3-letter abbreviatied locum or SUBstitute plus an abbreviated doctor around a synonym of during are all reversed.

21d Reason against blocking tidal flow up in channel (1,1,1,3)
BBC ONE: Place a “reason against” inside (blocking) a reversal (up) of a tidal flow.

24d Tipped over fruit juice drink in drinking bowl (5)
JORUM: The reversal (tipped over) of an abbreviated fruit juice followed by an alcoholic drink

25d Girl from Spain, and something she inherits (4)
EDNA: THE IVR code for Spain and something we all inherit I presume from our parents.

19d was my favourite, which ones did you like?



16 comments on “Toughie No 3105
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  1. I thought this was absolutely excellent, but a tale of two halves in terms of difficulty with the bottom half taking me over twice as long as the top half. 19d was my favourite.

    I struggled with all of 21d, 24d & 25d and, although I eventually twigged 21d & 24d (the latter being a new word for me), I couldn’t parse my answer for 25d. Having now read SL’s review, I am kicking myself for this last one.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to SL.

  2. Like RD I found this a puzzle of two halves with the top half going in quite quickly and the bottom half putting up more resistance. Both halves were, however, very enjoyable – thanks to Robyn and to StephenL.
    Out of the many clues I ticked I’ll just mention 1a, 3d, 6d (which brought back memories of ploughing through Latin prose where said general always seemed to feature heavily), 10d and 16d.
    How did this one compare with Robyn’s Toughie on Sunday?

    1. It seemed quite a bit tougher than Sunday to me, but I didn’t allow some of the “tools” I use on a Sunday Toughie, the BRB app and thesaurus too get a lot of use and when the solve drags on to the wee hours I need the help.
      I enjoyed the tussle with Robyn on different terms and much like Sunday mornings some remain to be parsed, I will turn to the hints and see what Stephen made of them. Thanks to Robyn and Stephen look after yourself

  3. Top quality entertainment from Robyn with some clever and inventive clueing. RD had already highlighted some of the trickier clues, and 19d seems to be a good candidate for favourite. 21d also caught my eye.

    My thanks to Robyn for a cracking challenge and to SL. I trust your vision problems improve soon.

  4. I did wonder whether, when I’d finished solving this mot enjoyable crossword, whether we had missed out Tuesday and were already on Wednesday or even ‘friendly for a Thursday’ as this was a proper toughie and no mistake, even allowing for the fact that I knew all the words Terence would probably have complained about. Since Gazza asked so nicely, I’ll say it took me a bit longer than Sunday but was as enjoyable as all Robyn’s crosswords are.

    My favourite was the ‘noise made by drunkard’ in 3d

    Many thanks to Robyn and StephenL

  5. Well, I would not have been disappointed had this one appeared on a Thursday rather than a Tuesday. As with other commenters, top half more straightforward than bottom and I took ages to decide between the two main terrestrial UK channels, eventually parsing the correct one. I had quite forgotten the star, but knew it had to be that tedious Steve Coogan creation; there are so many of those African bounders and I was relieved that what I’d worked out might be right was indeed one of them. Had never heard of the bowl.

    Highlights for me were the other university, keys, drunkard & girl from Spain, with Freud’s relaxation my COTD.

    Many thanks to Robyn and Stephen

  6. For a while, I had Bilking for 19 down. B(ishop) + King with IL inside (49 = 7squared). I was really pleased with it at the time.

  7. Agree that this was much tougher than rated . Many good clues though one or two a bit borderline in my view . Robyn is definitely getting tougher ! Thanks to all .

  8. Taken me most of the afternoon but managed to finish courtesy of a couple of hints for the old widow and the drinking bowl.
    Top scorers for me were 1a plus 3,10,16&19d – knew RD would love 19d! The Spanish girl also made me giggle.

    Thanks to Robyn and to Stephen – pleased to hear that you’re on the mend, but do take care of that eye.

  9. I would love to answer Gazza as to the comparison between Sunday Robyn and this but I struggle to get into toughieland during the week but if I give it a good coat of looking at now I hopefully will get back before bedtime

  10. I’m glad you all found this a bit challenging for a Tuesday Toughie because I certainly did, altho’ I was trying to solve it whilst watching the Lionesses deal with China. I had trouble parsing 10d because it looked like a substitution clue i.e.”leaves [cress] for A” so how does Aida relate to ” meal with princess” ? Serves me right then. My COTD is 19d for the clever square share.
    Thanks to Robyn and SL

    1. The first 5 letters of 10d are ‘leaves for a meal’ and the name of the operatic princess is Ida.

      I’m surprised Robyn didn’t make the clue “Dick leaves for a meal with princess”.

  11. Thoroughly enjoyable solve for us from a setter whose we work we have grown to appreciate very much.
    Thanks Robyn and SL.

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