Toughie 3140 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3140

Toughie No 3140 by Sparks

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

The clever device using 5 symmetric pairs (see 21a) helps the solve a lot, if you spot it early

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Before November, court meets with leading West Country town (10)
BARNSTAPLE: Before the letter with radio code November, we have a word for the court. Then, a word meaning leading or main

6a    Crow runs into net (4)
BRAG: The abbreviation for runs goes into a word meaning net or get

10a    Refuse to acknowledge pressure in dance (5)
REPEL: The physics abbreviation for pressure goes in a dance

11a    Knee-jerk reaction finally seen after iodine found in dessert (9)
PAVLOVIAN: The last letter (finally) of reaction is seen after The chemical symbol for iodine is inserted in a New Zealand dessert

12a    Tunisia calls checks concerning Egyptian goddess (7)
ISIACAL: Hidden ( … checks)

13a    Rescue extremely delicate king with bad back (7)
DELIVER: The outer letters (extremely) of delicate, the a reversal (back) of the Latin abbreviation for king and a word meaning ‘bad’

14a    Ineptitude of indulged redneck regularly cutting revenue (12)
INCOMPETENCE: A word meaning indulged or favourite plus the even letters (regularly) of redneck go inside (cutting) a 6-letter word for revenue

18a    English article is subsumed by edited leader and made immaterial? (12)
ETHEREALISED: The abbreviation for English, the definitive article, then IS from the clue goes inside (subsumed) an anagram (edited) of LEADER

21a    Did rail send back 13? (7)
REVILED: A reversal (send back) of 13a

23a    Metal poles carrying current in transmitter cables (4-3)
LEAD-INS: A heavy metal plus 2 magnetic poles contain (carrying) the physics abbreviation for current

24a    Sue solver for going off us as setters? (9)
OURSELVES: An anagram (for going off) of SUE SOLVER. I know only one Sue solver!

25a    Sword, almost clasped by hands, one once considered untouchable? (5)
LEPER: A 4-letter sword without the last letter (almost) goes in between (clasped by) two abbreviations for hands

26a    No time for rubbish clothing (4)
GARB: An 8-letter word for rubbish from which a word meaning time is removed (no … for)

27a    Hardware item the whole team welcomes more than this, ultimately (5,5)
ALLEN SCREW: A (3,5) phrase meaning the whole team contains (welcomes) the last letters ( … ultimately) of three words in the clue


1d    Quarter of Spain‘s written history inspiring a bishop (6)
BARRIO: A 3-letter written history of someone contains (inspiring) A from the clue and a 2-letter abbreviation for a bishop’s title

2d    Settled strike, suppressing record (6)
REPAID: A strike, e.g. an air strike, containing (suppressing) a 4-track record

3d    Large fine against online pest — in beginning showing restraint (4-10)
SELF-CONTROLLED: The abbreviations for large and fine plus an ‘online pest’ go in a 4-letter beginning or origin

4d    Horrify snubbed ladies and gents on a US mount (9)
APPALOOSA: A 5-letter word for horrify without the last letter (snubbed), the ladies and gents, and A from the clue

5d    Was once, as it happens, associated with Germany (5)
LIVED: A word meaning “as it happens” (as in a broadcast), plus the IVR for Germany

7d    Slow up opening in frame again (8)
REINVENT: A word meaning ‘slow up’ and an opening

8d    Racks etc horse goes over given several attempts (8)
GANTRIES: The reversal (goes over) of a 3-letter horse, then a word for more than one attempt

9d    Whereon chips may be down when awaiting revolutionary outcomes? (8,6)
ROULETTE TABLES: A cryptic definition – think casino

15d    Mattress base on which girl supports bucket (9)
PAILLASSE: The natural log base, on top of which we have another word for girl, on top of which (supports) we have another word for bucket

16d    According to some, those noble bores finish off talking over Four Seasons? (8)
YEARLONG: A dialect word (according to some) meaning ‘those’ that a noble inserts into (bores), then the last letter (finish) of talking

17d    Shaker clergyman put up with more secluded housing (8)
SHIVERER: A reversal (put up) of a 3-letter abbreviation for a clergyman covered by (with … housing) a word meaning more secluded

19d    Benefit cut short after help withdrawn in New York pad? (6)
DIAPER: A 4-letter job benefit without the last letter (cut short) comes after the reversal (withdrawn) of some 3-letter help

20d    Key line in deed (6)
ESCROW: A computer key and a 3-letter line

22d    Daughter undermined by rotten cook in a particular way (5)
DEVIL: The abbreviation for daughter and a word meaning rotten or very bad

My favourite smile today came from 24a because of the namecheck. Which clues did you like?

10 comments on “Toughie 3140
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  1. A nicely- clued puzzle, not too taxing for Friday. Despite the giveaway at 21a I failed to spot the other 4 reversals. Top clue for me today is 16d – despite its less than perfect surface – it’s very cleverly constructed. Runner up 24a, despite the obvious anagram [once you twig it] and even with all the checkers, it was a tricky word to visualise.
    Thanks to Sparks and Dutch.

  2. Great stuff and not too tough for a Friday. “Pet” “Indulged” took a little more thinking about. Hadn’t heard the Spanish quarter or the mattress but just followed the clues and checked.

    Apart from that, nothing too devilish – apart from the obvious!😉

    As it brought back memories of many years ago, and a great surface, I’ll vote for 9d.

    Thanks Sparks and Dutch. Golf on tv beckons for me.

  3. A DNF for me, but only by a couple of mysterious clues. Btw Dutch, the answer to 18a is missing a final “D”, I think. I must admit that I had to bung in most of the answer myself.
    A challenging puzzle. The more one does, the more one learns.

  4. Like halcyon, I, too, missed the other pairings, so thanks to Dutch for pointing them out. On the first pass, I think I had the grand total of three clues solved, but I persevered and eventually got to the end. I certainly needed our blogger’s help for two of the more awkward parsings, but other than that it was a rewarding challenge. 19d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Sparks and Dutch.

  5. Cracking Friday Toughie, and for once 3/4 of the way through I spotted that something was going on, which assisted in the final stages. As Wahoo noted above, where words were unfamiliar the clues were so impeccably fair that the answers came anyway. Could not see 1a for toffee, and needed a letter reveal for the penny to drop … rather embarrassing given that town isn’t exactly far from here and we’ve frequently visited the stunning gardens at RHS Rosemoor.

    24a made me laugh, I thought the five pairings very clever, with other Hon Mentions to 3d & 20d, although to be honest they were all deserving of mention.

    Many thanks to Sparks & to Dutch

  6. Finished in two stints, either side of installing a curtain rail. Second go was more successful and I spotted the reversed pairs but only after solving them. Hey ho.
    An enjoyable and challenging puzzle.
    For 4d, I took it to mean the ‘L’ for Ladies was snubbed but it got me there.

    Thanks Sparks & Dutch.

  7. As Sparks was the setter we did look for a hidden message when we completed the solve. We totally failed to notice it until we read the blog this morning.
    Really enjoyed the solve though and kicking ourselves that we did not make it easier for ourselves.
    Thanks Sparks and Dutch.

  8. Turned to the excellent hints with 8 to go & completed. A number of words I wasn’t familiar with & couldn’t work out from the wordplay but enjoyed what I did manage. Predictably failed to spot the symmetric pairs also.
    Thanks to Sparks & Dutch

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