Toughie 3175 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3175

Toughie No 3171 by Kcit
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Kcit for today’s puzzle which I didn’t find overly tough except for 25a.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you liked about the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a A lot of stuff going wrong in curtailed scheme, making you pensive (7)
WISTFUL: an anagram (going wrong) of STUF[f] goes inside a truncated cunning scheme.

5a Fruit in season, according to radio report (7)
CURRANT: a homophone of ‘in season’ or prevalent.

9a A tick found in South American island state (5)
SAMOA: A and a tick or small period of time go between abbreviations for South and American.

10a Controls time, getting worried in return (9)
REINSTATE: stick together a word meaning controls (for a horse), the abbreviation of time and a verb meaning worried.

11a Forward position in game one leads (10)
BRIDGEHEAD: a card game and a leader.

12a Lump soldiers pulled out of swamp (4)
MASS: remove the abbreviation for rank-and-file soldiers from a muddy swamp.

14a One analysing radiation from phosphorus in various meteors etc, right? (12)
SPECTROMETER: insert the chemical symbol for phosphorus into an anagram (various) of METEORS ETC then finish with an abbreviation for right.

18a What some Peruvians may claim will make you angry (12)
INCANDESCENT: split the answer 5,7 to see what some Peruvians may claim.

21a Source of light, given a measure of current (4)
LAMP: an all-in-one clue. The first letter of Light is followed by an abbreviated measure of electric current.

22a Suitably accepting most of raise, it seems (10)
APPARENTLY: a synonym of suitably contains all but the final letter of a verb to raise ones offspring.

25a Reimagined the modern feminine defender of Trump? (3,6)
DEN MOTHER: an anagram (reimagined) of THE MODERN. I spent longer on this clue than on the rest of the puzzle combined. The answer usually means a US woman who looks after a group of youngsters, for example cub scouts. I assumed initially that an uncapitalised trump meant a scout or group of scouts in the USA but I couldn’t make that work. I decided eventually that it was being used to mean a female apologist for the past president, for which I found a few references online but nothing very substantial. So, has anyone any better ideas? [Thanks to Baharin for pointing out that the answer applies to a female fox and that Fox News is a staunch defender of Trump]. [A further suggestion of how this works (thanks to 2Kiwis) is that ‘of Trump’ just means ‘in the USA’. On balance I think that this is probably what the setter intended because the answer is definitely an American term].

26a Main performer abandoning vessel in sudden movement (5)
START: start with the main performer in a variety bill say (4,4) and remove the 3-letter vessel.

27a A bit risky, initially, entering bar (7)
EXCERPT: insert the initial letter of risky into a preposition meaning bar or ‘other than’.

28a Carry on, after banking a stone’s loss (7)
WASTAGE: a verb to carry on (a military campaign, say) containing A and the abbreviation for a stone in weight.

Down Clues

1d After reflection, I understood about a black and green foodstuff (6)
WASABI: reverse I and a verb meaning understood or twigged then insert A and the abbreviation for black.

2d Frenchmen engaged in case conference (6)
SUMMIT: insert two occurrences of the abbreviated title of a Frenchman into a legal case.

3d Female called: “I will need grass cut, and jasmine” (10)
FRANGIPANI: assemble the abbreviation for female, a verb meaning called, I and a type of cereal grass without its last letter.

4d Difficult situation with pitch (5)
LURCH: double definition, the first what you might be left in and the second a verb.

5d Gallant‘s smart, keeping heart of his Valentine ravished at the outset (9)
CHIVALRIC: an adjective meaning smart or stylish contains the heart of hIs, the abbreviation for the name Valentine and the starting letter of ravished.

6d Hasty groom, forgetting topper (4)
RUSH: despite looking like a verb or a noun the answer here is an adjective. Remove the top letter from a verb to groom.

7d Knack wearing a thong offering a degree of freedom (1,2,5)
A LA CARTE: a synonym of knack or talent goes inside A and a thong or fastening.

8d Government department hear surrounding area in scheme overhauled (8)
TREASURY: a verb to hear (in court) contains the abbreviation for area inside the reversal of a cunning scheme or trick.

13d A bloke edited new issue, getting secretarial help (10)
AMANUENSIS: A and another word for bloke followed by an anagram (edited) of N (new) and ISSUE.

15d A lot provided by husband in bed? That’s a crude comment (5,4)
CHEAP SHOT: an informal word for a lot and the genealogical abbreviation for husband go inside a small bed.

16d Stop accepting hard work after taking in day shift (8)
DISLODGE: a Russian doll clue. A verb to stop or conk out contains a word meaning hard work which contains the abbreviation for day.

17d Old money men in charge regarding multiple denominations (8)
ECUMENIC: string together an old French coin , MEN and the abbreviation for ‘in charge’.

19d On holiday too much at first, taking year off to see capital city (6)
OTTAWA: an adverb meaning on holiday loses the abbreviation for year and that’s preceded by an abbreviation meaning ‘too much’.

20d Attempt to block tree climbing — its leaves are beautiful (6)
MYRTLE: put a synonym of attempt inside a deciduous tree then reverse the lot.

23d One indicates a mounting concern, though not entirely (5)
ARROW: A followed by the reversal of a word meaning concern or uneasiness without its last letter.

24d Time‘s hard for us (4)
HOUR: the pencil abbreviation for hard and a possessive adjective meaning ‘for us’.

My ticks today went to 18a and 15d. Which one(s) entertained you?


18 comments on “Toughie 3175
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  1. After a very unproductive first minute or two a couple of clues in the SW succumbed, and from then on it was largely plain sailing. A very approachable Thursday Toughie with some lovely imaginative and witty clues, and a constant need to think slightly “out of the box”. I too was stuck on the parsing of 25a, and so Baharin’s explanation makes sense, though I think the clue/answer is still very iffy. Podium places for me to 18a, 14a (brilliant combined surface read & answer) & 1d.

    Many thanks to Kcit & Gazza

  2. Very enjoyable with lots of nice misdirection/less than obvious definitions throughout, I always enjoy the tussle with this setter.
    I particularly liked 18a, which is my standout favourite, along with the well constructed and funny 15d with 28a making up the numbers.
    Many thanks Kcit and Gazza

  3. An enjoyable midweek Toughie. I hadn’t thought of that explanation for 25a and I thought 18a was an old friend of the regular crossword solver

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza

  4. Got there unaided but didn’t understand 25a , had all the checkers and it was the only way the remaining letters made sense.
    I remember the signpost at 23d in Orkney well, about 30 years ago my pals and I took turns at standing to the right of it and had our photos taken, very puerile.

  5. Thanks for the explanation of 25a which I was nowhere near achieving on my own. That little tinker was my only real hold-up from an otherwise user-friendly puzzle that produced my favourite as 14a.

    Thank you to Kcit and Gazza.

  6. Quite challenging for us but an enjoyable solve.
    For 25a we had thought that ‘of Trump’ was just another way of saying ‘in America’ but maybe that’s too simplistic.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    1. Crikey, I’ve gone from having no real idea of how the Trump bit of 25a worked to having not one but two plausible explanations. Thanks 2Ks – I’ll update the blog (again). I think your explanation is probably what the setter intended.

  7. Much more challenging for me than it was for our blogger but a great deal of satisfaction once it was completed, particularly after seeing the comment from Baharin which I thought was very plausible.
    Favouritism for 18a – such an emotive word – and 15d which made me laugh.

    Thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review and cartoons, novel use of an eye-patch!

  8. To say I was off the pace on this would be an understatement. I spent 2 hours staring at a completely empty grid, nothing zilch, then I got one, 18a then another 14a and I was up and running actually more of a crawl really. I persevered and managed to stumble over the line, mentally bruised and battered. Favourite was my FOI. Thanks to Kcit for the brain addling and Gazza.

    1. I’ve just had 2 read throughs & finally got 18a followed by 2 more of it. Not sure that I have your powers of perseverance…..

  9. Very tough. Finished only with the help of 3 presses of the reveal mistakes function necessitating 2 corrections en route (the spelling of 13d & the last letter of 3d) & with a good few unparsed. 🎩s off to those who breezed through this. Ticks against 1,10,11&27a + 1,15,19&20d.
    Thanks (I think) to Kcit & to Gazza whose explanations I’ll now read.

  10. Nothing to do with the crossword but 9a reminded me of something which has stuck in my memory. When Samoa first joined the international Rugby Union circuit they played under the name of Western Samoa. Shortly afterwards they caused a huge upset by unexpectedly beating Wales. Clive Norling, the respected international Rugby Union referee and a Welshman, made the following immortal comment: “As I lay on my bed of grief, I consoled myself with the thought of how much worse it might have been if we had been playing the whole of Samoa.” Wonderful!

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