Toughie 3254 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3254

Toughie  No 3254 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

Another most enjoyable ‘start of the week’ Toughie from Robyn.

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1a           Manufactured snug sock line in silk (5,7)
KINGS COUNSEL The more formal name for a silk gown-wearing barrister can be obtained from an anagram (manufactured) of SNUG SOCK LINE

9a           Proper article about state with Italian Greens? (9)
PRIMAVERA An Italian word for dishes made with assorted spring vegetables – An adjective meaning stiffly formal (proper), to state positively and an indefinite article

10a         Spinning last of lace before long rope (5)
NOOSE A reversal (spinning) of the last letter of lacE and an adverb meaning before long

11a         Possibly pine to probe lives and dreams (6)
IDEALS A type of wood also known as pine inserted into (to probe) a simple way of saying lives

12a         As far as I’m concerned, around celebrity one may show a frown (8)
EMOTICON A reversal (around) of a two-word phrase meaning as far as I’m concerned followed by an admired person (celebrity)

13a         Mark sent back drink of Burgundy which is sweet (6)
GATEAU Another reversal (sent back) this  time of an identifying mark and the French word (as used in Burgundy) for a clear drinkable liquid

14a         Yours truly attempts to introduce a little equality (8)
ISOMETRY How Robyn would refer to himself (yours truly) and a verb meaning attempts into which is introduced ‘a little’

17a         One representative Eliot novel wanting refinement (8)
IMPOLITE The Roman numeral for one, an abbreviated representative and an anagram (novel) of ELIOT

19a         Catches sight of hapless cop eschewing arrests (6)
SCOPES ‘Arrested’ by the fourth, fifth and sixth words of the clue

22a         Picked up present more than once? That’s right (4,4)
HEAR HEAR An expression of approval is a homophone (picked up) of two lots (more than once) of  an adverb meaning present  It never fails to amaze me how many times people use the ‘present’ words when they should be saying I’m listening!

24a         Bill and I cutting rhubarb, showing skill (6)
ADROIT An abbreviated poster (bill) and I (from the clue) inserted into (cutting) some nonsense (rhubarb)

26a         Following Larsen’s opening, it’s me in check (5)
LIMIT Follow the letter that opens Larsen with another way of saying it’s me (2,2)

27a         Musical scale entertains curious bandleader (4-5)
DRUM-MAJOR A musical scale ‘entertains’ a slang word meaning curious in the sense of odd


28a         Is rook on kind of rock pile in Scotland? (6,6)
GLAMIS CASTLE IS (from the clue) and a childish or informal name for the chess piece Rabbit Dave would always call a rook,  go on or after what the BRB defines as “a type of British rock music popular in the 1970s, memorable more for the outrageous clothes, hairstyles and make-up of the performers than for the music itself”


1d           Ruler maintaining current powers is resting (7)
KIPPING A male ruler into which is inserted (maintaining) the symbol for electrical current and two (powers plural) of the symbol for power

2d           Wearing a singlet I put down is simplest (7)
NAIVEST Merge a phrase meaning ‘wearing a singlet’ and then move the I down the word a bit

3d           After start of speech, catch sound of man’s slow delivery (5,4)
SNAIL MAIL I looked at the definition  and thought ‘cricket’ or ‘way of speaking’ and then the penny dropped.  After the ‘start’ of Speech, put a verb meaning to catch and a homophone (sound) of an adjective meaning mans


4d           Not a single guy gives a sign (4)
OMEN Split this sign 1,3 and it could read as a way of saying not a single guy

5d           Ungenerous girl avoided disaster (4,4)
NEAR MISS Ungenerous or parsimonious and a girl

6d           Modern artist from Paris is incorporating navy (5)
ERNST The French (as used in Paris) word for is ‘incorporating’ the abbreviated Royal Navy

7d           Hosted by boor, perhaps ladies like certain dresses (3-3)
LOW-CUT An abbreviated  lavatory (perhaps ladies) ‘hosted’ by a coarse ill-mannered person (boor)

8d           Little support when driving south in US city (6)
TEENSY A support used when driving a golf ball and the abbreviation for South inserted into an abbreviated US city

15d         The first person I answer, after computer nut (9)
MACADAMIA The first person in the Bible, I (from the clue) and the abbreviation for answer go after a type of computer

16d         Shifting characters in drama, not without method (2,6)
AT RANDOM A anagram (shifting) of the characters IN DRAMA NOT

17d         Swallow cool and hot drink (6)
INHALE The usual two-letter cool or fashionable, the abbreviation for Hot and a type of drink

18d         Paternal grandmother possesses large type of TV (6)
PLASMA An informal way of referring to your paternal grandmother ‘possesses’ the abbreviation for Large

20d         Something actor might use on black plane (4-3)
PROP-JET Something an actor might use and a rich black colour


21d         Deliver furniture, half-heartedly stopped by father (3,4)
SET FREE Remove one of the letters at the heart of a piece of furniture and insert (stopped by) an abbreviated religious father

23d         Place for traveller that’s just before India? (5)
HOTEL A place for a traveller to stay is also the code word for the letter in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet that comes just before India

25d         Loud curses at intervals in Much Ado (4)
FUSS The musical abbreviation for loud and the even (at intervals) letters of cUrSeS


13 comments on “Toughie 3254
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  1. Another delightful Robyn puzzle (aren’t they all?) – thanks to him and CS.
    I’ve highlighted 13a, 22a, 7d (no image?), 18d and 23d.

    1. For some reason I did think of you when working my way through the finished crossword to decide which solutions to illustrate :D

  2. An absolutely cracking puzzle from one of my favourite Toughie setters that was stuffed full of great clues, none better than 18d.

    My thanks to Robyn and Sue.

  3. Super puzzle. All bar the last 4 or 5 (mainly in the NE) went in pretty swiftly but I could not see the proverbial wood when it came to those last few, and solving them was like having teeth pulled. Even so, I was done all ends up by 3d where I’d convinced myself that “snail ball” was a legitimate cricketing term for a slow delivery … doh! Thought instantly of RD on seeing 28a. Podium places for 13a, 5d & 18d.

    Many thanks to Robyn & to CS

  4. Sometimes I find our setter’s wavelength and this was one of those occasions although I’m still finding it difficult to adjust to our new monarch when it comes to things like today’s silk.
    So much to enjoy, my biggest laughs coming from 3,7&25d.

    Thanks to Robyn for a great puzzle and to CS for the review.

  5. Another Robyn romp. Is the man capable of turning in a duff puzzle? Clearly not. Fairly light for him but such larks. 13a is neatly done, 28a’s fun, I liked 3d and 21d’s jolly. 23d took me longer than it should have: so simple, so enjoyable. I do think you missed a slight trick with 7d though, CS. It was crying out for a picture of a bleeding toe, surely? That would have “upset” Gazza even more than no pic at all! Huge thanks to Robyn and CS.

  6. I found this very difficult but I got there in the end. I hadn’t heard of the nut or 14a but both fairly clued. NE last to fall. On the plus side I managed to parse everything. Favourite was 18d. Thanks to Robyn and CS.

  7. What a most enjoyable puzzle. So many great clues it seems unfair to choose a podium because I enjoyed every one of them. However 12 and 26A and 7D deserve a mention and 18D takes the podium.
    Many thanks to CS and to Robyn for making Wednesday such a pleasure.

  8. Pleasant midweek puzzle but rather more than 1* for me. My picks are 26a and 18d, both of which combine inventive clueing with smooth surfaces.
    Thanks to Robyn and CS.

  9. Lovely puzzle, few hold ups but a delayed finish due to a binge session of Slow Horses. Thanks to CS and Robyn.

  10. I thought this to be quite a challenge, requiring several revisits since yesterday to complete. I didn’t give up though!

    Got there in the end without help, but thanks to the setter and CS 👍

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