Toughie 3144 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3144

Toughie No 3144 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another grid helped by clues that span quadrants. Enjoy

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1a    Exam, student hopes, will be OK (8)

PASSABLE: Two meanings

5a     Where lies the Truth, but with unrest at its interior? (6)

ISRAEL: A 2-letter verb meaning ‘lies’, then word meaning the Truth with its central letters swapped (unrest at the interior)

9a/10a         British charity events ruin village cricket knockouts: one leaves these established? (8.6)

BRAGGING RIGHTS: The abbreviation for British, student charity events, mother’s ruin, a dialect (village) word for a cricket, and a word meaning knockouts with the I removed (one leaves)

11a    Disdainfully view “so-so” artist’s debut Salford picture frames? (4,4)

LOOK AWRY: A 2-letter “so-so” plus the first letter (debut) of artist contained in (frames) a Salford picture (in the sense that we call a piece of work by the creator, e.g. an Elgar)

12a    The first of the large parts we have here! (6)

TWELVE: The first letter of ‘the’, then the abbreviation for large goes inside (parts) the contraction of ‘we have’

14a    When, say, club’s great servant leaves ground: and on a free (3,2,2,3)

END OF AN ERA: An anagram (ground) of AND ON A FREE

18a    One following Stipe’s rockers is overcome by Dire Straits (2,8)

IN EXTREMIS: The Roman numeral for, one a word meaning following, Stipe’s band, and IS from the clue

22a    Stated “cornflakes, muesli, shredded wheat …” in order (6)

SERIAL:    A homophone (stated) of the quoted items

23a    Furious body-builders perhaps kept in check (8)

VEHEMENT: Some (2-3) macho types go inside (kept in) a word meaning check

24a/25a    Who’s producing Exodus, provider of track for Steps or Black Box? (6,8)

FLIGHT RECORDER: Double whimsical wordplay. The answer can describe the person in the studio producing Bob Marley’s “Exodus”, as well as a gadget that counts steps

26a    Hose time runs out of 10 (6)

TIGHTS: The abbreviation for time, then remove the abbreviation for runs from the answer to 10a

27a     Source of unofficial holy water in an emergency? (2,1,5)

AT A PINCH: Split (1,3,2,2), we see the source of unofficial holy water


1d    Go back into work stoned (6)

PEBBLY: A word meaning to go back goes into a word meaning to work

2d/16d A Chair at Oxford – or Settle College? (4,2,8)

SEAT OF LEARNING: A cryptic definition with two indications – playing on chair and settle

3d    Mercury rising in cooler having been given a shawl (6)

AFGHAN: The chemical symbol for mercury is reversed (rising) inside a cooling device, all following (having been given) A from the clue

4d    His partner’s brave 14 extended cases

LONE RANGER: The first three words in 14a used as a cryptic indication for a last letter, plus the fourth word in 14a, are contained by (cases) a word meaning extended

6d    Blind setter’s wife is sporting bikini?

SWIMWEAR: A (1’1) version of “setter is” plus the abbreviation for wife is covered by (sporting) a word meaning to blind (as in eff and blind)

7d/20d    Most iced extremity in a leg? (8,6)

ACHILLES TENDON: An 8-letter word for “most iced” plus a word for extremity go inside (in) A from the clue and a leg side in cricket

8d    Silver City girl adopts shiny star (3,5)

LAS VEGAS: Another word for girl contains (adopts) a first magnitude star

13d    Leaving one’s boxed remains close to sacrosanct Asian area (4,6)

GOBI DESERT: A 4-letter “leaving one” contains (‘s boxed) a verb meaning remains and the last letter (close) to sacrosanct

15d    Paddy, last on early shift, is fired (5,3)

HISSY FIT: An anagram (fired) of last on (earl)Y SHIFT IS

17d     Such as succeeds theatre etc given a turn off-Broadway in June? (5-3)

STRAW-HAT: A 4-letter word meaning “such as” comes after (succeeds) the reversal (given a turn) of a general word describing theatre etc

19d    Make good ground round hill? (6)

RECOUP: A ground, a round letter and a word that as a noun can mean a hill or a rise

21d     Formal inquiry that’s oppressive, abandoning caution (6)

STARCH: A (4,7) former court of inquisition in England that was jury-less and dodgy (“inquiry that’s oppressive”), but without (abandoning) the last five letters that correspond to the traffic light meaning “caution”

Lots to like today. My biggest smiles came from 27a, 12a and 4d. Which were your favourite clues?

13 comments on “Toughie 3144
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  1. A completed grid but hints required to parse the second half of 9&10a.

    Quite a few ticks, 27a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Elgar & Dutch.

  2. Me too, full grid but had no idea of the parsing for last half of 9/10, nor 21d so thanks Dutch. In the case of 17d I got the parsing but still don’t understand the definition.
    Thanks to Elgar and [again] Dutch.

  3. One of my quickest Elgars ever, though I had never heard of 17d. 9/10a I got but could not fully parse – is ‘ruin’ quite fair without ‘mother’s? And I had never heard of the word for cricket. Still, it wouldn’t be Elgar if it wasn’t seriously difficult, and I did thoroughly enjoy this once I found my way in. As always, I am awed by both Elgar and Dutch – bravo!

  4. Great puzzle. I started in the S & SW, working AC to the NW where most time was taken. Could not parse 9/10 for toffee, and still feel a bit “hummmm” about 11a. 17d entirely new to me, too. Top three steps on my podium taken by 12a, 24/25a, & 7d, with 27a “in reserve”.

    Thanks & bravo! to both Elgar & Dutch

  5. A proper Toughie as we might expect from this setter, with a handful of unparsed bung-ins to complete the grid (cheers Dutch). As is generally the case on alternate Fridays, there is both a great sense of reward having completed it, and, as Richard says above, a serious sense of admiration at both the skill of the compiler and our blogger. 27a top of my pile.

    My thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  6. In 8a “unrest at the interior” is a fair definition for my country these days, but we’re not the only ones.
    A lot of bung ins with the parsing waiting for the hints, but it is always very satisfying to complete a Friday Elgar.
    Thanks to him and to Dutch!

  7. You’ve got to admire the way Elgar uses the answer for one as part of the clue for another; 4d/14a is so clever. I doff my cap to the setter and to Dutch for explaining at least 4 bung-ins that I failed miserably to parse. Thanks gentlemen.

  8. Heavens – much too difficult to qualify as a Toughie, which are generally doable. I hate to think what Brian would have made of this one.

    I guess practice makes perfect, so I will have another go next time.

  9. A massive coincidence with 1d here and 1d in Wednesday’s toughie. Almost the same clue in each case, for two different words.

  10. Haven’t commented for ages, but couldn’t let this one pass……..a doable Elgar!
    As usual, I needed electronic assistance to cross the finishing line (though strictly a dnf seeing the picture for 17d whilst answer checking, always a risk).
    Still in awe of both this setter and reviewer, many thanks to both.

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