Toughie No 3145 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Toughie No 3145

Toughie No 3145 by Serpent

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone from a warm and sunny South Devon coast.

The rightly much-admired Serpent gets us underway this week with a hugely enjoyable puzzle which was chewy enough without being as difficult as some of his past puzzles I’ve blogged. With this setter there’s usually something going on in the grid but I’ll leave you to try to see it.


1a Merry gang overrunning hotel in Slough (7)
SCREWED: Take a synonym of slough (ignore the capitalisation) as a verb and replace the abbreviation for Hotel with a four-letter synonym of a gang. Unusual definition but it’s in the BRB.

5a Man who’s served in pub with good reason (7)
LOGICAL: Insert a (US) military man into an informal name for a familiar pub.

9a Generous company promises to pay parking charges (7)
COPIOUS: Insert the abbreviation for Parking into the usual two-letter company and some unpaid debts.

10a Liberal party accepting case for honourable handling of complaint? (7)
THERAPY: Liberal here is an anagram indicator. The fodder is PARTY and it’s placed around the outer letters of HonourablE

11a List corrupt SMS missing from original measurements (9)
ENUMERATE: Remove the letters SMS from an anagram (original) of MEASUREMENTS. The setter has correctly given two anagram indicators here.

12a Head off state control essentially (5)
AVERT: A formal synonym of state as a verb and the essential letter of conTrol.

13a Standing up before court (5)
ERECT: An archaic or literary synonym of before and the abbreviation for CourT.

15a Extremely poor aptitude test’s not suitable unfortunately (9)
DESTITUTE: Remove the three-letter synonym of suitable from the front of (apt)ITUDE TEST and make an anagram of the result.

17a Alliteration in source Frost reported (4-5)
HEAD-RHYME: A synonym of source (a river maybe) and a homophone of a type of frost. Again ignore the false capitalisation.

19a Go over upper limit for religious programme in schools? (5)
RECAP: Split the solution 2-3 to see the wordplay.

22a Proportion of speech ignoring boundaries (5)
RATIO: Remove the outer letters (ignoring boundaries) from a formal or pompous speech.

23a Prepared to change situation? (9)
RETRAINED: Cryptic definition with the situation being one’s job.

25a Difficult role for examiner (7)
TESTING: Double definition, a gerund.

26a Care about embracing this man’s dream (7)
CHIMERA: Anagram (about) of CARE around (embracing) a third person object pronoun.

27a Capacity of temporary accommodation for prisoners? (7)
CONTENT: Whimsically if split 3-4 we have what could be a temporary accomodation for prisoners.

28a Set about accommodating people in proper place (7)
ELEMENT: Reverse an informal name for a set that one watches and place it around some adult males. The solution is a reference to someone being in their *******


1d Hide in south-eastern part of Greece (7)
SECRETE: The abbreviation for South-Eastern and a popular Greek holiday destination

2d Put off boarding unusual transport (7)
RAPTURE: Insert an anagram (off) of PUT into a synonym of unusual.

3d Women’s problem is fully formed (5)
WHOLE: The single-letter abbreviation for Women’s and an informal synonym of a problem or predicament

4d Wicked old man stealing leading lady’s coat (9)
DASTARDLY: Place an abbreviated name for one’s old man around a synonym of leading (in a film maybe) and add the outside letters (coat) of LadY. Happy memories here.

5d Supple snake sheds skin (5)
LITHE: A synonym of snake as a verb loses its outside letters (sheds skin)

6d Soldier shot ringleader without trial ultimately (9)
GRENADIER: Anagram (shot) of RING(l)EADER (without the final letter of trial)

7d Conservative antipathy to the French is building (7)
CHATEAU: Follow the abbreviation for Conservative with a synonym of antipathy and the French word for “to the”. French is cleverly part of the wordplay and not the definition.

8d Everything needed for new arrivals still delayed borders (7)
LAYETTE: Insert a synonym of still in the sense of “until now” into one of delayed or tardy (borders).

14d Menace of unstable site concealing blunder (9)
TERRORISE: Menace here is a verb. Place an anagram (unstable) of SITE around a blunder or mistake.

16d Show self-respect a clergyman shows (9)
SPECTACLE: Hidden in the clue (shows)

17d Person who quotes what upset nonconformist (7)
HERETIC: A reversal (upset) of a person who quotes or names and an informal interjection meaning “what”.

18d Powerlessness affecting prejudiced mechanic (7)
ARTISAN: Remove the abbreviation for Power from a synonym of prejudice or biased.

20d Assemble religious community short of time and energy (7)
CONVENE: Remove the abbreviation for Time from a community of nuns and add the abbreviation for Energy

21d Download Spooner’s mock history (7)
PODCAST: Synonyms of mock and history or time gone by are given the Spooner treatment. Love it!

23d True creative type announced service for the audience (5)
RIGHT: The setter has kindly given us two homophones here, one of a creative type (typically a maker or builder) and one of a religious service.

24d Company isn’t privy to this part of record (5)
ASIDE: A remark in a play intended for the audience (and not your fellow players or company) when split 1-4 is a part of a record.

Thanks Serpent, very enjoyable. My ticks go to 28a  plus 4 (such a great word) 7,21&24d. Which ones floated your boat?




20 comments on “Toughie No 3145
Leave your own comment 

  1. A really terrific puzzle for the first Toughie of the week that was fairly friendly but still needed some head-scratching to get over the line. Most unusually, my favourite was the excellent Spoonerism at 21d.

    My thanks to Serpent and SL. Still looking for something extra in the grid. Any clues Stephen?

  2. Lots of clever clueing but a bit tough for Tuesday? I had a real struggle with the SE corner. Favourites were 27 & 28 across plus 17, 18 and 24 down.
    Thanks to Stephen [loved the clip of NG with his symphony orchestra] and Serpent.

  3. The sort of Toughie we ought to get on a Tuesday but very rarely do

    As usual there was lots to enjoy so thank you to Serpent and Stephen

  4. A top-notch puzzle – thanks to Serpent for kicking off what promises to be a great Toughie week and to SL for the blog.
    Amongst the clues which helped to float my boat were 1a, 28a, 18d, 21d and 24d.

  5. Found it a bit a slog, too often needing checkers to find the word and and then reverse engineering to parse. I particularly disliked 21d.

    Thanks to Serpent and Stephen.

  6. A bit of a cracker, that one. Good to have a satisfyingly chewy puzzle deserving of the name Toughie, but approachable enough for the early part of the week. Many thanks to Serpent and Stephen.

  7. Tougher than usual for a Tuesday crossword for me, failed to parse last in 28a-thanks SL.
    A treat of a puzzle and well worth the effort, liked the spoonerism ,unusual to only have only one word to play with.
    Favourite was 5a,liked the word play.
    Thanks all for the fun.

  8. Hadn’t heard of 17a but fairly clued. Needed the hint for 28a, which was a complete bung in, 7d and 23d, the rest I managed with difficulty. Still I got there. Favourite was 15a. Thanks to Serpent and SL.

  9. Many thanks to StephenL for the very kind preamble and excellent blog, and to everyone who has taken the time to comment. Unusually, I didn’t include anything extra in the grid this time.

  10. Too late to say anything other than thankyou for the brain workout and the hinty bits. I really liked the Classic simplicity of 13a, and 22a appealed to me as well. Simple but effective. Good night.

  11. Didn’t get a chance to look at this yesterday & glad I remembered it this morning. Absolutely top notch. Loved the Spoonerism but 4d has to be my fav.
    Thanks to Serpent & to Stephen – much prefer HFB to Oasis

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.