Toughie 3189 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Toughie 3189

Toughie No 3189 by Dharma
Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A very warm welcome and massive congratulations to Dharma on the occasion of his first Telegraph Toughie. Thanks to BD’s stroke of genius in setting up Rookie Corner and Prolixic’s wise counsel to those cutting their teeth there many Rookie setters have gone on to become established national setters. I’m prepared to wager, however, that none have made the transition from Rookie Corner to a national newspaper in less time than Dharma – his last Rookie Corner puzzle was on November 20th so he’s achieved the jump in just 36 days.

I found the puzzle not too tricky but very enjoyable – thanks to Dharma.

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

Across Clues

1a Married, keeping promise at altar with or without partner (7)
WIDOWED: a synonym for married contains a promise at the altar (1,2) and the abbreviation for ‘with’.

5a Test rejected quantity of chemical — acid emerged (7)
MEDICAL: hidden in reverse.

9a Left by end of fireworks display (5)
SPORT: the naval left follows the end letter of fireworks.

10a Scholar shed tears from time to time in northern city (9)
DONCASTER: string together a scholar or academic, a verb to shed and the odd letters of tears to make a city that’s in the northern part of England (but south if you live in Scotland).

11a Encounter abrupt professional upsetting niece (10)
EXPERIENCE: an adjective meaning professional or specialist without its last letter and an anagram (upsetting) of NIECE.

12a United leaving trap for winger (4)
MOTH: remove the abbreviation for united from what trap is a slang word for.

14a Keeping tax cuts agitated senior rep (12)
PRESERVATION: the acronym for a type of sales tax goes inside an anagram (agitated) of SENIOR REP.

18a Load menu liberally, admitting PM for the most part’s short of food (12)
MALNOURISHED: an anagram (liberally) of LOAD MENU contains all but the last letter of our current PM’s forename.

21a Offer fix, go up a size to start with (4)
LEND: start with a verb to fix or repair and change the starting letter to the next bigger clothing size.

22a Outlook following a hint about temperature, it’s below 90 degrees (5,5)
ACUTE ANGLE: a synonym for outlook or viewpoint follows A and a hint or signal containing the abbreviation for temperature.

25a Head of church (non-clerical) has date to practise service here? (4,5)
CLAY COURT: assemble the first letter of church, an adjective meaning non-clerical or secular and a verb to date or woo.

26a Language of fool wasting time with maiden (5)
IDIOM: start with a word for a fool, drop the abbreviation for time and add the cricket abbreviation for maiden.

27a Mike tucking into triple shake (7)
TREMBLE: the letter that Mike represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet goes inside a synonym of triple.

28a Gifted mafia boss pontificated after gold goes missing (7)
DONATED: weld together the title of a Mafia boss and a verb meaning pontificated or sounded off without the usual tincture of gold.

Down Clues

1d Refuse cider, essentially hammered (6)
WASTED: another word for refuse (as a noun) and the central letter of cider.

2d Doctor sorry in Wilts (6)
DROOPS: one of the abbreviations for a medical doctor and an exclamation incorporating an apology.

3d Seal in lake perhaps? Verification to follow (10)
WATERPROOF: what a lake is an example of and another word for verification.

4d Avoid scam (5)
DODGE: double definition.

5d Hand one restores to health with these? (9)
MANICURES: join together a hand or worker, the Roman numeral for one and a verb meaning ‘restores to health’.

6d Blast! … almost late rising (4)
DRAT: reverse an adjective meaning late or delayed without its last letter.

7d Liberal, one seen in mass meeting? (8)
CATHOLIC: double definition, the second being a believer who may attend a Mass.

8d Fifty grand to imprison young rascal, it’s staggering (8)
LURCHING: the Roman numeral for fifty and the abbreviation for grand bracket a young rascal or guttersnipe.

13d Shirking one’s duty, a capital offence? (3,7)
TAX EVASION: cryptic definition of illegally withholding the required amount of one’s capital from HMRC.

15d Building reportedly hit on top at first? Certainly top’s missing (9)
STRUCTURE: a homophone of hit or thumped, the first letter of top and an adverb used informally (especially in North America) to mean certainly without its first letter.

16d Assumed one’s permitted to keep parking inside (8)
IMPLICIT: a contracted form of ‘one is’ from the setter’s viewpoint and an adjective meaning permitted or lawful with the map abbreviation for parking kept within.

17d Stretch out scandal involving Tesla boss? (8)
ELONGATE: definition and cryptic definition, the second involving the suffix that’s been used for scandals ever since Tricky Dicky got into a bit of bother.

19d One with swollen head say gets lift wanting hospital (6)
EGOIST: the abbreviation for ‘say’ followed by a verb to lift without the map abbreviation for hospital.

20d Called time on daughter taking Ecstasy (6)
TERMED: a fixed period of time and the abbreviation for daughter containing the abbreviation for Ecstasy.

23d Ferried small child over sea miles away (5)
TOTED: a word for a small child precedes the abbreviated name for a specific sea without the abbreviation for miles.

24d Ultimately drives taxi to make a crust (4)
SCAB: the ultimate letter of drives and another word for a taxi.

I enjoyed 12a, 5d and 13d but the highlight for me was 17d. Which one(s) diverted you?

25 comments on “Toughie 3189
Leave your own comment 

  1. Huge congratulations to Dharma on his Toughie debut. I am not sure where Proximal has been giving guidance in the Rookie Corner!

  2. Many congratulations to Dharma on an assured and enjoyable Toughie debut. The difficulty was about right for a Tuesday Toughie and it was a lot of fun to solve with 1a, 10a, 3d, 13d & 16d my top picks.

    Many thanks to Dharma and to Gazza.

  3. Most enjoyable with just the right level of challenge for me.

    Favourites 1a, 2d (after going though all the Wiltshire towns which I could remember, as the setter intended) and my COTD, 13d.

    More like this please Dharma,. Thanks to Gazza too for the cartoons.

  4. Congratulations on your swift rise through the ranks, Dharma! This debut Toughie was far more approachable than I’d feared it might be and worthy of its Tuesday slot although I half-expected Prolixic to give you a lecture on the wording of the wedding vows!
    Favoured clues here were 10a plus 8&16d.

    Thanks to Stephen/Dharma and to Gazza for the review and another peak into his amazing stock of cartoons.

  5. I cannot disagree with earlier comments, and would merely add my thanks and warmest congratulations to Dharma for a fine debut, and to Gazza for his tireless work on the site. I particularly liked the igloo cartoon.

    1. Wahoo, Dharma is the crossword setting pseudonym of our very own Stephen L. He graduated from Rookie Corner in November, by-passed the NTSPP, and has hit the ground running with his first Telegraph Toughie.

      1. Excellent! So therefore appropriate on his named Feast Day.

        SL/D – really enjoyed your crossword. Lovely mix of types of clues, some clever misdirections, only one anagram (I think) and no mention of nor allusion to a team that used to play at Maine Road. Give up the Blogging and stick to compiling.👍

  6. I don’t often venture here, preferring the easier fare, but what a super puzzle! So glad I did. Luckily solved two long ones to provide the springboard.
    25a had me off in the wrong direction for a bit …. 13d a smiler!
    Many thanks to the compiler!

  7. Many thanks to Gazza for his customary top review and everyone who has commented, I’m so pleased you enjoyed it. Also a big thanks to Prolixic, without the RC I probably wouldn’t have taken my first tentative steps in the world of setting, and much appreciation to Chris Lancaster at The Telegraph for showing faith in me and giving me this opportunity.
    Hope to be back with another in the not too distant fut
    ure. Enjoy the rest of your Christmas.

  8. Congratulations to StephenL for a great debut in telegraph towers.
    Definitely will renew my membership to the crossword site.
    Thanks to Gazza for the review and cartoons.

    1. Pleased to read last night that you enjoyed your Christmas with family around to share in the festivities, JL. How’s that lovely daughter of yours faring these days?

  9. Managed 3/4’s of this earlier then went out for a St Stephens Day Drive with Mama Bee, Gazza helped with the few hold outs in the NE. It took an embarrassingly long time to see the Yorkshire city and the non-avian winger Thanks to Gazza and especially to Stephen who has ascended to the top in double quick time, I recall the newbie asking if it would be OK to go to an S&B in Little Venice not so long ago. I hope we can have a similar get-together soon.

  10. Well done Stephen for landing a Toughie slot, and an enjoyable debut.
    This took me longer than two-star time, but I do have an aching head and sore tummy. Probably a tainted spoonful of cranberry sauce yesterday.
    My favourites, among many very neat clues, were 12a, 1d, 2d, 6d and 24d.

  11. What a pleasant surprise to see our own Stephen in the Toughie slot. Huge congrats on such an accomplished debut with the quality of the puzzle of no surprise. It would have been fun to let him review/blog his own work if only to see what difficulty/enjoyment rating he awarded. I thought Gazza’s rating spot on. 2&13d were my top two.
    Thanks to Dharma (hopefully CL pencils both you & T in soon) & to Gazza.

  12. We made this puzzle a priority as soon as we got home and noticed who had composed this puzzle.
    A pleasure from start to finish.
    Congratulations and thanks Dharma/Stephen and to Gazza for the blog.

  13. Congratulations and thanks to Dharma for an excellent debut Toughie.
    Fell at the last, having get the answer to 20d from the blog. Why couldn’t I see that.
    I don’t post much so I would like to thank all the bloggers for your help this year.

  14. I was astonished to hear that our very own StephenL/Dharma had leapt straight from Rookie Corner to Toughie setter, so I printed out his Boxing Day puzzle and have just completed it.
    It was brilliant. No other word for it. There are thirty clues in total and I have ticked twenty of them.
    Take a bow and more like this, please!

  15. Thank you for this, Dharma: I was busy on the day, but after seeing it was you I made sure to go back and try it afterwards, and I was so glad I did. I don’t offer attempt the Toughie, but you’ve now been added to my (short) list of Toughie setters to look out for.

    My favourite few were 2d’s sorry doctor, 17d’s scandal, and 21a’s going up a size. Congratulations on your debit, and more like this, please!

  16. I am very late to this one and only went back to it because I had l read that it was a debut toughie for Stephen L/ Dharma.
    What a great crossword, I really loved it – so many of the answers just built themselves up from the clues in a most satisfying manner.
    I’m not going to give a favourite because I loved so many of them.
    Thanks Dharma and keep them coming.

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.