Toughie 3161 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3161

Toughie No 3161 by Robyn
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

StephenL is otherwise engaged today so he and I have done a swap which gives me the opportunity to blog a puzzle by one of my favourite setters. SL will be here on Thursday when he’ll have the pleasure of blogging a Silvanus puzzle – we’re in for a good Toughie week!

Thanks to Robyn for the entertainment.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Maybe Annie Hall’s content to follow Mike round America (7)
MUSICAL: the inner letters of hall follow another short word for a mike containing a 2-letter abbreviation for America.

5a Perhaps one of The Beatles caught in pickle, right? (7)
SCOUSER: insert the cricket abbreviation for caught in a verb to pickle and finish with the abbreviation for right.

9a African runner runs, say, with hip twisted round (5)
NIGER: assemble the cricket abbreviation for runs, the abbreviation meaning ‘say’ and an adjective meaning hip or trendy then reverse the lot.

10a Choreographed lap dances showing artistic vision? (9)
LANDSCAPE: an anagram (choreographed) of LAP DANCES.

11a Was a historian shown in very bad light? (10)
CHRONICLED: an adjective meaning very bad (in relation to a disease) and the abbreviation for a type of energy-saving light.

12a Advanced fast (4)
LENT: double definition – the first a verb, the second a noun.

14a Is each rickety pine frame for usable furniture? (6-6)
CHAISE-LONGUE: an anagram (rickety) of IS EACH followed by a verb to pine and the framing letters of usable.

18a Information about tender old judge pocketing cash (8,4)
EXCHANGE RATE: a prefix meaning old and a verb to judge contain a synonym of cash.

21a Concerned with dinner-set getting scratched now and then (2,2)
IN RE: a legal term, from Latin, meaning ‘with regard to’ appears after scratching out the odd letters of dinner-set.

22a Coming before soldier, say, meeting people online? (10)
ANTEDATING: our usual soldier insect followed by a word (1-6) for meeting people online for romantic (or possibly more lusty) reasons.

25a Supervisor of timeless book’s opening section (9)
CHAPERONE: start with the opening section of a book (7,3) and remove the physics abbreviation for time.

26a Air funny panel show in Arabic (5)
IRAQI: an anagram (funny) of AIR followed by a panel show originally chaired by Stephen Fry.

27a Laments from cricket side I see playing outside (7)
ELEGIES: one of the sides of a cricket pitch with an anagram (playing) of I SEE outside it.

28a Pair of characters taunt husband admitting blame (7)
DIGRAPH: a taunt or snide remark and the genealogical abbreviation for husband contain a verb to blame or rebuke.

Down Clues

1d Champ punched by this person in European city (6)
MUNICH: a verb to champ or chew has a subjective pronoun (this person) inserted.

2d We’re told why Italian sauce’s flipping sweet (6)
SUGARY: string together what sounds like ‘why’ and an Italian meat-based sauce with its ‘S and flip it all upside-down.

3d My home area, surrounded by fine architectural style (10)
CORINTHIAN: an exclamation of surprise (my!), an adverb meaning at home and the abbreviation for area contained inside an adjective meaning fine or slim.

4d Fantastic Camilla leaves American in the shade (5)
LILAC: an anagram (fantastic) of CamILLA after removing the abbreviation for American.

5d Bard‘s Cassandra, around where surfers are? (9)
SONNETEER: Cassandra (named after the character in Greek mythology) means someone who has the gift of prophecy. We need another word for such a person containing a phrase describing where surfers (of the sedentary rather than sporting kind) are to be found (2,3).

6d Missing in old Belarussian city, or Russian one (4)
OMSK: the abbreviation for old and the capital city of Belarus without IN.

7d Herb dresses starter of pasta — great time for rocket! (5,3)
SPACE AGE: a culinary herb contains the starting letter of pasta and an adjective meaning great or first-rate.

8d Scientist from new generation wanting AI (8)
ROENTGEN: the surname of the German scientist who discovered X-rays comes from an anagram (new) of GENERaTiON after removing AI.

13d Stole drawing? It’s an Oxbridge tradition (4,6)
BOAT RACING: a type of stole and a synonym of drawing or outlining.

15d Clever during class about binary digits (9)
INGENIOUS: a preposition meaning during and a biological class containing what look like the two digits used in binary numbers.

16d Undistinguished compiler visiting Bordeaux and Rome on vacation (8)
MEDIOCRE: the subject pronoun used by the compiler goes inside a red wine from the Bordeaux region. Append the outer letters of Rome.

17d Gangster in panic receiving detailed information (8)
SCARFACE: a synonym of panic contains a piece of information without its last letter to make the nickname of Al Capone.

19d Insect spies circling dog (6)
CICADA: the US spying agency contains a dog or rotter.

20d Monstrous mistake when defending PM, nearly (6)
OGRISH: the abbreviation for a serious mistake made by a footballer when defending is followed by the forename of our current PM without the last letter.

23d Polish tough guys in EastEnders put on diamonds (5)
EMEND: give a word for tough guys (2-3) the Eastenders treatment and add the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds.

24d Luke, say, and Diana following yours truly in Paris (4)
JEDI: a French pronoun meaning ‘yours truly’ and the diminutive form of Diana make what Luke Whatsisname became in the never-ending film franchise.

There are lots of great clues here. I particularly liked 1a, 11a, 18a, 22a, 6d and 20d. Which one(s) did the business for you?


10 comments on “Toughie 3161
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  1. Most enjoyable, even it was a little tougher than is perhaps normal for a Tuesday? Either way, some splendid clues that kept the interest going throughout, none better than 11a and 20d. Great fun.

    My thanks to Robyn and Gazza.

  2. This provided a superb start to what promises to be a great week in Toughie land.

    I found quite a contrast in difficulty between the top half, which went in surprisingly quickly and the bottom half which took quite a bit of teasing out. Nevertheless, both halves were great fun with 5a, 11a, 13d & 20d fighting it out for podium places.

    Many thanks to Robyn and to Gazza.

  3. So glad that I found time for this one – would hate to miss out on Gazza’s cartoon selection and didn’t realise he’d be in the chair today!
    Very decent puzzle although I did need to check on the Latin expression and am not enamoured with answers like 20d which always feel like a bit of a cheat.
    Top marks went to 25a plus 16d with a mention for 13d which was probably the last tradition I thought about………

    Thanks to Robyn and to Gazza for the review – still laughing about the equal opportunities employer!

  4. Hadn’t heard the Latin legal term, the pair of letters or the scientist but all fairly clued. There was a lot of head scratching went into this and there were times I thought it was going to beat me but I stuck at it and stumbled over the line. Very satisfying. Favourite was the neat and compact 6d. Thanks to Robyn and Gazza.

  5. Our call of “Oh good” when we identified the setter was totally justified. A real pleasure to solve with just the right amount of head-scratching required to make it satisfying.
    Thanks Robyn and Gazza.

  6. Super puzzle as per normal. Not really an unaided finish as the German boffin & the pair of characters required mid solve confirmation via the check mistakes function & Mr G. Not a dud in there & ticks against just about every clue. If forced to pick a fav it’d be 6d for the time it took for the parsing penny to finally drop though there were a few others where the why took a while. Pretty tough for a Tuesday I thought but well worth the effort.
    Thanks as ever to Robyn & to Gazza for the review & cartoons – finally finished the Sunday Toughie at the 6th attempt but needed 5 of your hints to get me there.

  7. Couldn’t let this great Toughie go without acknowledging it and thanking Robyn for the challenge. I found it reasonably tough and challenging, but afterwards was not entirely sure why: the N third fell quite swiftly, I then scratched around for what felt like ages, but the last 10 clues in the S went down like dominos once the light dawned on 16d.

    Great cartoons, thank you Gazza, and many thanks once again to Robyn.

  8. Not bad, I managed to solve four of the clues. I have looked at the (splendid) Hints, which serve only to tell me that I must try harder. Shades of my school reports …

  9. A day late, but many thanks to Gazza for the tip-top blog and to everyone commenting.
    (Just for the record, Huntsman’s had yet another financially shrewd day by not betting on me for today’s excellent back-pager, which indeed isn’t one of mine!)
    Best to all!

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