Toughie 3150 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3150

Toughie No 3150 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

Robyn proving once again that not only can he set perfectly pitched Wednesday cryptic crosswords, he can also get the Toughie difficulty just right

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Holds wrapping papers for children with bows (6)
CUPIDS Holds in one’s hands ‘wrapping’ some abbreviated identity papers

4a    Flies pensioner removed from soap dishes from Asia (8)
SCURRIES The letter you are left with after you remove an abbreviated pensioner from Soap and some Asian dishes

10a    Supply item on van for detox treatment (9)
ANTIVENOM An anagram (supply) of ITEM ON VAN

11a    According to salesman, it comes from the east (2,3)
AS PER A reversal (comes from the east of sexual attraction (it) and a salesman

12a    Whoppers from firm hiding investments, primarily (7)
COLOSSI An abbreviated firm, a hiding and the primary letter of Investments

13a    Scruffy parliamentarian was in government circles (7)
RUMPLED A member of parliament ‘circled by’ a simple way of saying ‘was in government’

14a    Climber has trouble around Namibia’s borders (5)
LIANA A reversal of some trouble goes ‘around’ the borders of NamibiA

15a    US vets behave affectionately, scrubbing hospital (3,5)
OLD HANDS An American term for veterans – to behave in a particular affectionate way without (scrubbing) the first abbreviation for Hospital

18a    Be very fond of line by outstanding English poet (8)
LOVELACE Be very fond of, the abbreviation for Line and an informal adjective meaning outstanding

20a    The odds for Real one cuts to 3 to 1, say (5)
RATIO The odd letters of ReAl, and the letter representing one ‘cuts’ TO (from the clue)

23a    Still hoarding ultimate payment method (7)
PLASTIC An abbreviated photograph (still) ‘hoarding’ a synonym for ultimate

25a    Thinner mouchoir for cockney held in both hands (7)
LANKIER How a cockney might refer to the thing with which he blows his nose (the French use a mouchoir) inserted between the abbreviations for both hands

26a    Dimwit using computers to grasp 500 + 10? (5)
IDIOT Information Technology (computers) to ‘grasp’ the Roman numeral for 500 and 10

27a    How amazing heroine Verdi devised has inspired (1,5,3)
I NEVER DID ‘Inspired’ by the third, fourth and fifth words of the clue

28a    More than one fancy suit is worn by law enforcers, along with sheriff’s cap (8)
FIGMENTS A verb meaning to suit goes outside (is worn by) some American law enforcers, the result finished with the ‘cap’ of Sheriff

29a    Mind classic thriller film being given a new ending (6)
PSYCHE Give a classic Hitchcock film a new letter at the end


1d    Opportunities to secure large areas for the cloth (8)
CHANCELS Some opportunities into which is inserted (to secure) the abbreviation for Large

2d    Something eaten in Iberia includes T bone (7)
PATELLA Something eaten in Iberia into which is inserted (includes) T (from the clue)

3d    French state made economies after mounting waste (9)
DEVASTATE A reversal (after mounting) of the French word for state and a simple way of saying ‘made economies’

5d    Student players of revolutionary computer game down south (9,5)
CAMBRIDGE BLUES A reversal (revolutionary) of a brand of computer, a card game, the colour associated with being miserable (down) and the abbreviation for South

6d    Behind spymaster, ready for battle again (5)
REARM A synonym for behind and the initial by which James Bond’s spymaster was known

7d    This person’s lost colour, getting stuck (7)
IMPALED How out setter might say this person followed by a verb meaning lost colour

8d    Make no comment on Liverpool strips (6)
SHREDS An informal instruction to make no comment and the nickname of Liverpool FC

9d    Republican opponent of government punched by dramatic Athenian (14)
ANTIMONARCHIST A person opposed to government of any kind ‘punched’ by the name of the Athenian in Shakespeare’s eponymous play

16d    They supply scores of soldiers after retreat of artillery (9)
ARRANGERS Some soldiers go after a reversal (retreat) of the Royal Artillery

17d    Time inside half-hearted, inadequate bank (8)
PORRIDGE A synonym for inadequate without one of the letters at its ‘heart’ and a bank

19d    Banging on front of offices along with Jack (7)
ORATING The letter at the front of Offices and a sailor (jack)

21d    Police flipped after briefly hearing about a threesome (7)
TRIADIC A reversal (flipped) of an abbreviated part of the police force goes after a truncated (briefly) judicial investigation (hearing)

22d    Joint almost cracked very loudly (6)
SPLIFF Almost all of a synonym for cracked and the musical abbreviation to play very loudly

24d    Newspaper article supports ending of export tax (5)
TITHE The newspaper with only one letter in its title and a definite article ‘supports’ the letter at the end of exporT

13 comments on “Toughie 3150
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  1. We’re being spoilt today with two great puzzles – thanks to Robyn and CS for this one.
    I thought that 3d was a bit weak with ‘state’ appearing in both the clue and the answer.
    I parsed 13a a bit differently to CS – our usual elected parliamentarian circled by a verb meaning ‘was in government’.
    Top clues for me were 1a, 13a, 27a, 5d and 6d.

    1. I was reading something about the Rump Parliament only yesterday which obviously influenced my poor old brain – I’ll correct the hint

  2. Another top crossword from one of my favourite setters, with a plethora of excellent clues across the grid. Tough to pick a winner, but as co-favourites I will go for 5 and 6d.

    My thanks to Robyn and CS.

  3. Another superb example of his craft by the master of misdirection.
    11a with this setter I have ticks throughout the grid but I’ll mention 4a lol 13&27a (brilliant) plus 5&17d.
    Many thanks indeed to Robyn and Sue.

  4. What a great Wednesday Toughie. Nicely challenging and a lot of fun.

    It took me a while to justify to myself that “hiding” = “loss” in 12a.

    It’s probably just me, but I think that 25a should have had a French indicator and 3d should have had an American indicator. Perhaps different considerations apply to Toughies? I also thought it was a bit of a giveaway that the last five letters of the answer appeared in the clue.

    27a was my favourite but many other clues came into consideration. 13a & 5d also made it onto my podium.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to Sue.

  5. Loved this. Was just on my limit of difficulty but finished it after several sittings. Many ticks but the one that made me smile most was 25a. Thanks to Robyn and CS

  6. That’s two in row I found tougher than usual, but hugely enjoyable. Plenty of smiles along with some quite cunning clues; faves were 11a, 20a, 26a and 8d.
    Thanks to Robyn and CS.

  7. Another absolute snorter from Robyn. Does he ever have an off-day? Clearly not. Loved 4a and 20a but could have picked any as faves. Thanks to him. And CS, of course.

  8. I finished this some time ago and if I’m not mistaken my last attempt at a Robyn toughie was a dnf by some distance, so either I’m improving or this was considerably more straightforward, I would suggest the latter. I’m always happy to finish a toughie so enjoyment is high. Favourite was 13a. Thanks to Robyn and CS.

  9. Hugely enjoyable puzzle with which to bring the curtain down, possibly, on today’s cruciverbal challenges. Many thanks to Robyn and CS.

    While I saw no reason for foreign indicators in 3d or 25a, I did wonder why a reference to US was needed in 15a, when the answer is common parlance over here anyway, particularly with regard to the navy, let alone general past experience.

  10. A case of Robert the Bruce & that spider with this one for me. Had 3 stabs at it yesterday & couldn’t advance beyond 15 answers in but cracked it at the 4th attempt in the wee small hours. Not really sure why it was such a struggle as there was nothing in there particularly obscure (though I did need to look up mouchoir) & the wordplay wasn’t convoluted. Anyway super puzzle packed full of great clues with any number worthy of a podium spot but I’ll opt for a trio of 5 letter ones at 20&26a + 24d.
    Thanks to Robyn & to Sue whose hints I did well to resist & will read anon

  11. Well, I made it. It took only three days to deal with the recalcitrant SE, held up by the (now obvious, but splendidly well-hidden) lurker in 27a.
    A rather nice puzzle.

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