Toughie 3187 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3187

Toughie No 3187 by Django
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

The run of excellent Toughies this week continues with this enjoyable Django production. Thanks to him for the entertainment.

This is my last blog before the big day so may I wish all our setters, fellow bloggers, commenters and lurkers a Very Happy Christmas.

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

Across Clues

1a Perfect motorsport backing number one in Monaco (4-4)
FINE-TUNE: assemble the abbreviation for the yawn-inducing motorsport, the reversal of a 2-digit number and a word for ‘one’ in Monaco.

5a Small motor — a black Beetle (6)
SCARAB: start with the clothing abbreviation for small and add what motor is an informal word for, A and the pencil abbreviation for black.

10a Ultimately had to swallow his pride and work with Rod? (5)
DOWSE: the ultimate letters of five words in the clue.

11a Other tune composed in addition (9)
THEREUNTO: an anagram (composed) of OTHER TUNE.

12a Discharge energy following power cut (5)
PRUNE: a verb to discharge or flow out and the abbreviation for energy follow the abbreviation for power.

13a Two articles embracing equality with papers revealing systemic racism? (9)
APARTHEID: two grammatical articles bracket a synonym for equality. Finish with the abbreviation for personal papers.

14a/15a Somehow clone amphibian with gills essentially for oxygen — it needs flippers (7,7)
PINBALL MACHINE: replace the chemical symbol for oxygen in the word clone with the central letter of gills then make an anagram (somehow) of CLLNE AMPHIBIAN.

15a See 14a

18a/20a Perhaps Tom is inspired by Sri Lankan hero — I’m hugely grateful (6,1,7)
THANKS A MILLION: the surname of actor Tom goes inside an inhabitant of Sri Lanka. Append a word for a brave person or hero.

20a See 18a

21a Segregating bar area is offensive (9)
INSULTING: a present participle meaning segregating or shielding without the abbreviation for area.

24a Better holiday (5)
BREAK: double definition, the first a verb to better or surpass (a record, perhaps).

26a Once more on account of a profit (4,5)
OVER AGAIN: paste together a preposition meaning ‘on account of’, A and a verb to profit.

27a Shocked seeing space in hospital department (5)
AGAPE: insert a space or opening in an abbreviated hospital department.

28a Terms of my ASBO mean I’d be better off, far away (6)
YONDER: the terminating letters of six words in the clue.

29a Moaned as metal end melted (8)
LAMENTED: an anagram (melted) of METAL END.

Down Clues

1d Bored of extremely forgettable party (3,2)
FED UP: the outer letters of forgettable and a political party in Northern Ireland.

2d Island‘s optimistic with hospital being replaced by modern architect initially (3,6)
NEW GUINEA: start with an adjective meaning optimistic or unabashed then replace the 3-letter abbreviation for hospital with an adjective meaning modern. Finally add the initial letter of architect.

3d That lot record 6 rides here? (5,4)
THEME PARK: splice together a pronoun meaning ‘that lot’, the abbreviation for a type of vinyl record and a Biblical 6d.

4d Heard about any tea dance after game (7)
NETBALL: the letters that sound like ‘any tea’ and a formal dance.

6d Estimated two taps should open box (5)
CHEST: the abbreviation for estimated preceded by the letters seen on the two taps on a sink.

7d Donor-insemination nurses wash (5)
RINSE: hidden in the clue.

8d Internet mostly capturing electronic pulse (5,4)
BROAD BEAN: a word for high-capacity internet without its last letter has the abbreviation for electronic inserted.

9d Sedate city with royal house not spoken about (6)
BECALM: the postal abbreviation for the City of London has around it (about) a royal house in the north of Scotland without the adjective meaning spoken.

14d Sally Army top in church revenue (9)
PATRIMONY: an anagram (sally, presumably in the sense of rock) of ARMY TOP IN produces a word which can mean the endowment of a church.

16d Judge boring religious office making pub empty bar (9)
CALIBRATE: start with an Islamic religious office and replace the map abbreviation for pub with ‘bar’ without its middle letter. The answer can mean to determine the diameter of the bore of a gun.

17d Traveller is repetitive when describing home (9)
ITINERANT: an adjective meaning repetitive containing the adverb meaning ‘at home’.

19d Brute‘s returning all glam in acrylic trousers (6)
ANIMAL: hidden in reverse.

20d Graduate incorporating representative colour (7)
MAGENTA: an arts graduate contains a representative or go-between.

22d Runner taking tablet before final of marathon should make bundle (5)
SKEIN: a runner which helps you go downhill fast contains the abbreviation for a hallucinogenic tablet. Finish with final letter of marathon.

23d ULEZ assessed in prime locations for legal agreement (5)
LEASE: the first five prime numbers are 2,3,5,7 and 11. Select the matching letters from the first two words of the clue.

25d Dictator’s demand for massage (5)
KNEAD: this sounds like a verb to demand or require.

My ticks today were awarded to 1a, 18/20a and 1d. Which one(s) made your list?


27 comments on “Toughie 3187
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  1. Excellent!…with most of the PDM’s coming when working out the parsings.
    1a got us off to a strong start, I also really enjoyed 18/20&21a plus 1d…far be it from me to speculate on whether our setter intended this as an extended def.. along with 4d.
    Good stuff.
    Many thanks to the inimitable Django and to Gazza for his usual top blog and the parsing of 23d. A Happy Christmas to both.

  2. A Robyn, then a Django – does it get any better than that? SL’s “inimitable” is very apposite. Is it my imagination or are his clues getting slightly shorter? And I don’t have a problem, either way. Hugely enjoyable. 18a/20a tickled me enormously. Yes, it took me a couple of read-throughs to even vaguely understand the surface of 16d but when it’s this clever, who cares? “Judge boring”. Genius. Thanks, as ever to Django, and Gazza, of course.

    1. They definitely are getting shorter – he had one in the Graun not so long ago where the first dozen or so clues could have been Ray T

      1. Good to know I’m not imagining things! I do slightly miss his Tolstoy-esque clues though. There was one involving King’s Cross a while back that was about 800 words long and an absolute snorter. Thanks again for the Slow Horses nudges yesterday. That show is fast becoming as quotable as Withnail & I!

        1. My fav Withnail one is his comment on The Seagull – “Anyway I hate those Russian plays. Full of women staring out of windows whining about ducks going to Moscow”
          Along with The Big Lebowski a film you can just watch over & over & if you like that there a great You Tube piece of Bridges, Goodman & Buscemi being interviewed about making the movie & did they realise at the time it would attain cult status

          1. Brilliant, I will watch that clip, thank you. Absolutely my cup of tea. And Withnail was, of course, spot on about ChekovZzz. I boringly quote that film at will. In fact, I was sorely tempted to put up this clue recently – but I was (very) firmly counselled against it..

            Actor’s classic “Monty, you terrible c***” initially put this on the map (6,4)

            Is that irredeemably terrible, or even solvable?!

  3. Completed but only with the aid of one or two presses of the check mistakes facility (2 required) but at least no letter reveal. Never seemed to get on wavelength & the answers went in largely from the checkers (14/15 & 18/20a prime examples) with the parsing reverse engineered. Still a couple of whys to sort out so I’ll leave the review for later on. 1&8d my top two.
    Many thanks to Django & in advance to Gazza

    1. Well I’d never have parsed 2d in a month of Sundays & didn’t peg the any tea homophone either. His Indy puzzle today was a breeze compared to this one.
      Another great review & thanks for all of your help with this blogging malarkey

  4. A really enjoyable puzzle – many thanks, Django.
    A bit of a coincide to see a couple of themes from the back pager appearing here as well. Our masseur is kneading again at 25d and the hospital department that has caused so much debate makes another appearance here in its UK guise at 27a.
    Some tricky parsings, so many thanks to Gazza for unpicking them.
    Season’s greetings to all.

  5. Top drawer entertainment this afternoon that was full of inventive clueing. I think the 18/20a combo has to be my favourite.

    Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  6. Got a bit held up in the SW for a while. 8d is my favourite although can be prone to blackfly.

    Thanks to Gazza and Django.

  7. Some convoluted parsings to be worked out here as usual, but it all came together in the end and proved to be very entertaining.

    There is a recent trend where some setters appear to be creating anagram indicators which don’t bear even a passing resemblance to shuffling letters around. Today’s contribution is “sally” in 14d. No doubt it appears in a list of anagram indicators somewhere, but it seems very dubious to me (notwithstanding Gazza’s suggestion).

    The creativity of 18a/20d is remarkable as is that for 2d. Those two are joined on my podium by 1a.

    Many thanks to Django and to Gazza.

  8. Great fun! I’ll even forgive the terribly forced homophone at 4d. Loved 18/20a [though I was initially convinced there would be a cat or cricket in it] and 8d [what a difference a single vowel can make].
    Thanks to Django and to Gazza, particularly for “boring” in 16d – I really should have looked in Chambers.

  9. Needed the hints to parse 2d, 9d, 14d and 23d, which I wouldn’t have parsed in a month of Sundays. I started off well then slowed to crawl before eventually stumbling over the line. Another vote for 14/15a as favourite. Thames to Django and Gazza.

  10. We really struggled with this one and failed to parse a few. 2d and 23d in particular. However we did end up with a full correct grid and admire the cleverness of so many of the clues.
    Thanks Django and Gazza.

  11. I was busy yesterday but enjoy Django’s puzzles, so made sure to fit this in today. My favourite was either 8d (“internet”) or 13a (“embracing equality”).

    Thank you to the setter, and also to Gazza for explaining “royal house not spoken” in 9d, “terms” in 28a, and pretty much all of 16d. The word for “repetitive” in 17d was new to me, too, but I at least manage to work that out.

  12. An excellent toughie. I was defeated by 16d because I did not know that meaning of calibrate and the parsing was too tough. I was also uncomfortable about break equating to better.

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