Toughie 3206 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3206

Toughie No 3206 by Donnybrook

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Toughie Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Wednesday brings a Toughie from Donnybrook full of his usual fun and inventive sneakiness

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    That’s my view (to the extent that 13 may allow) (2,3,2,1,3,3)
AS FAR AS I CAN SEE A splendid double definition to start – the second one applying to someone suffering from 13a

10a    Union woman at first liked using arithmetic values (9)
NUMERICAL The abbreviated miners’ union, a woman’s name and the first letter of Liked

11a    Legal officer briefly touring here in Paris (5)
LICIT An abbreviated (briefly) officer ‘touring’ the French (as used in Paris) word for here

12a    Perhaps grizzly members are equipped to fight (4,4)
BEAR ARMS A reference to the members of an ursine animal

13a    Sigh providing clue for this looker’s problem? (6)
MYOPIA This particular ‘looker’s problem’ is also known as short xxxxx – which in cryptic crossword terms could describe the first word of the clue!

15a    Value in warmth and love coming to African location (4)
TOGO A measurement of thermal insulation (often used for duvets) and the letter representing love

17a    Red Queen supplies drink (6,4)
BLOODY MARY The name given to Queen Mary Tudor for her persecution of Protestants or a cocktail of vodka, tomato juice and seasoning

19a    Booking sensational comedian (6,4)
YELLOW CARD An informal word meaning sensational and a comedian

20a    Reveal where learner truant in school? (4)
ETON An expression meaning reveal without the abbreviation for Learner (learner truant)

22a    Constellation circling south comes into view (6)
ARISES A constellation going round (circling) the abbreviation for South

23a    Unstoppable decline in public brawl — men thrown out (4,4)
FREE FALL A public brawl (4,3,3) without (thrown out) the abbreviation for Ordinary Ranks of soldiers (men)

26a    Arsenic found in rum? Bottoms up! (5)
TOAST The chemical symbol for arsenic found in a measure of rum

27a    Shoots soldier with sawn-off gun in lawless SAS (9)
ASPARAGUS An abbreviated airborne soldier with the first two letters (sawn-off) of GUn inserted into an anagram (lawless) of SAS

28a    Nationalist nuts letting in posh artist, allowing citizenship (14)
NATURALISATION An anagram (nuts) of NATIONALIST ‘letting in’ the letter used to indicate poshness and an artist


2d    When soaring, grouse endlessly seen in island group (5)
SAMOA A reversal (soaring) of a conjunction meaning when and almost all of a synonym for grouse or grumble

3d    Certainly no motorway out of the country (6)
ABROAD The term (1,1,4) given to a minor road (certainly no motorway)

4d    Conspirator managed with church rather than lean-to (10)
ACCOMPLICE Managed, completed or achieved with the abbreviation for the Church of England replacing (rather than) a type of building such as a lean-to

5d    Could this be stormy Lewis wife departs? (4)
ISLE An anagram (stormy) of LEwIS without the W (wife departs)

6d & 9 Down Daily battle with army: enemy tank occasionally damaged? Nonsense (3,2,3,3,5,6)
ALL MY EYE AND BETTY MARTIN You’ve got some checking letters and you know the very old expression relating to nonsense (the last part supposedly connected to a sailor mishearing a Latin prayer) so do you really have to check the anagram fodder? Of course you do, you are the blogger! An anagram (damaged) of DAILY BATTLE with ARMY ENEMY and the ‘occasionally damaged’ letters of TaNk

7d    Groveller quiet about Yard PC seen with soldier? (9)
SYCOPHANT An abbreviation for Yard and an informal name for a policeman inserted into an instruction to be quiet, the result followed by one of Crosswordland’s soldiers

8d    Gay insults here recollected in talk about London? (7,7)
ESTUARY ENGLISH An anagram (recollected) of GAY INSULTS HERE gives a form of language heard around the River Thames area

9d    See 6 Down

14d    Accordingly desires to accept censure, being bad loser? (4,6)
SOUR GRAPES An adverb meaning accordingly and some desires ‘accept’ an informal verb meaning censure

16d    Cheerfully roam, dashing to trap one skein of geese? (9)
GALLIVANT A dashing, debonair young man, into which is inserted (to trap) the Roman numeral for one and the shape made by a skein of geese in flight

18d    Son in punt with sailor, leader of some magnitude (4,4)
POLE STAR The abbreviation for Son inserted between a long rod used to punt and a sailor

21d    Kane’s inspiration picks up payment at last (6)
HEARST A synonym for picks up and the last letter of payment – The inspiration for the film character Citizen Kane is based on the newspaper baron William Randolph xxxxxx

24d    Violence in the past involving King George (5)
AGGRO An adverb meaning in the past ‘involving’ the regnal cipher of King George

25d    Signal to stop bombardment (4)
HAIL A signal to stop or a bombardment of missiles, abuse or frozen rain

16 comments on “Toughie 3206
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  1. Well, that was undeniably a toughie, albeit gentle, and jolly good it was too. I didn’t love the 26a anagram – nat to nat, ion to ion – and I’m not sure 5d quite works as an all-in-one. Is Lewis, by definition, stormy? Actually, quite possibly! It took me a while to parse 13a – Dada-esque and rather splendid. And simpler than I’d thought. I wasted an age trying to convince myself that the IA was an allusion to the linked 1a. Er, no! 6d/9d may split the crowd (has anyone apart from the setter and Sue heard this delightful old saying before?) but it was undeniably brilliant and I see there are at least three (very average) modern tunes with that title. Some truly wonderful touches: the 16d skein of geese, 21d’s definition, the 15a tog, the 3d B road, etc. Superb entertainment. Many thanks to Donnybrook and CS.

  2. Good stuff but surely at least 2/3* for difficulty. Some cunning and refreshingly different clues, like 13a and 4d. I also liked 23a and 21d despite thinking football for quite a while for the latter.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to CS.

  3. Thought I was home and dry when all the long ones fell without any necessity to painfully parse but then I came unstuck with the unstoppable decline and Kane’s inspiration which made me doubt myself. Took me ages to sort out those two and also the 13a sigh which I still don’t quite understand.
    I was rather taken with the grizzly members and the dashing roamer so those can have top billing.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to CS for the review – also for apprising me of a hitherto unknown term for sensational.

  4. A full grid but a few parsing issues required a trip to google where I was delighted to discover 21d was known for yellow journalism. Not quite a skein of geese, but definitely two birds with one stone.

    Thanks to CS and Donnybrook.

  5. Needed the hint to parse 19a, the 6/9d phrase was a new one on me and didn’t know the inspiration for 21d so I had to look it up, I did guess the ‘citizen’ bit. The rest I just found plain difficult. Favourite was 23a mainly because I managed to parse it correctly, there were other contenders. Thanks to Donnybrook for the mental thrashing and CS.

  6. I thought this was relatively tough for a midweek Toughie, not helped by never having heard of 6/9d nor the synonym for sensational in 19a.

    I can’t quite get “are equipped to fight” and “bear arms” to be synonymous in 12a. Can someone provide an example where one phrase can be replaced by the other? Also, for me, “pole” and “punt” are not synonymous in 18d. Yes, you use a pole to propel a punt but surely they are not the same thing?

    A hmm for the vague woman in 10a.

    Those few things aside, I really enjoyed most of this puzzle with 13a my favourite. Many thanks to Donnybrook and to CS.

  7. A top-notch puzzle – thanks to Donnybrook and CS.
    I’m not a great fan of 22-letter anagrams. Does anyone ever work them out in the we’re supposed to as opposed to waiting for a handful of checkers and guessing the answer?
    Top clues for me were the 1a/13a combination, 23a and 18d.

  8. The 6d/9d expression was one we had not previously encountered so we had to wait for most of the checkers and try and make sense of what fodder was left. We got there.
    An enjoyable solve that probably took us longer than most other commenters.
    Thanks Donnybrook and CS.

  9. The batsman needs one run off the final ball to draw the game, and two to win. So the bowler rolls the final delivery under arm along the ground. That’s how the anagram of something vanishingly obscure such as the 6d/9d phrase feels : unsporting.

    I usually enjoy this setter’s puzzles but not today. It felt dated, convoluted, and lacked the usual wit and flare.

    Sorry Donnybrook, just not for me. Thank you to CS.

  10. Got to agree with MG re the 6/9d idiom. Like the 2Ks I got there eventually but it needed all of the checkers. So much for an early night & a 30 mins pre lights out solve. Needless to say it took way longer & more like a ***/**** difficulty for me. The parsing of 13a eluded me (very clever) & the sensational synonym was new also. Obviously liked the Citizen Kane one but the standouts for me were 13,23&27a plus 4,14&16d.
    Thanks to Donny & to Sue.

  11. NYDK certainly knows how to turn up the difficulty (door)knob for a Toughie. As Sue says, it was sneaky and inventive.

    The 6D 9D expression is known to me in its short form, but I found the unabridged version of that idiom worth working towards via the anagram, if only to discover its intriguing history. Having such an entry reminded me of enjoyable tussles with the likes of Araucaria and Bunthorne (RIP both) in The Guardian, when for me that paper published its crosswords unapologetically, and fearlessly.

    Bravo Sue and Donny.

  12. Thanks all for comments, and thanks Sue for the blog.

    I just thought it would be terrible to let such a marvellous old expression simply fade away, and I’m sure that now it lives forever in the annals of Big Dave, we are safe from all of that. White rhinos are next.

    It also lives forever in a Cardiacs song, The Safety Bowl, on On Land and in the Sea, with the lyric ‘falsehoods and a man of straw is all my eye and Betty Martin saw’. Needless to say, one of the most hated and loved bands ever to have existed :D

    RIP Tim Smith: we still love you!

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