Toughie 2851 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2851

Toughie No 2851 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Kcit for today’s Toughie. I did notice when writing the hints that the wordplay involves a great deal of deleting first and last letters.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Superficial American backing France in competition (7)
SURFACE: reverse an abbreviation for American then insert the IVR code for France into a competition.

5a Singular revolutionary group almost capturing mountain in component of operation (7)
SCALPEL: the abbreviation for singular and a small revolutionary group without its final L containing a high mountain.

9a Time for winner to receive new wine? (9)
CHAMPAGNE: what could cryptically be a time for winner (5,3) contains the abbreviation for new.

10a Instinctive to accept one criminal’s ultimate responsibility (5)
GUILT: an adjective meaning instinctive (as in the phrase ‘*** reaction’) contains the Roman numeral for one and the ultimate letter of criminal.

11a Drug dealer ignoring first court official (5)
USHER: a drug dealer without his/her initial letter.

12a Holding teacher’s latest school punishment, allowing daughter out (9)
RETENTION: the final letter of teacher and a school punishment without the genealogical abbreviation for daughter.

13a Grandiose failure receiving a significant portion of blame (9)
BOMBASTIC: an informal word for a failure (typically relating to a film or play) is followed by A and an informal word for blame or criticism without its last letter.

16a Big shot taking last of paper in back yard toilet (5)
PRIVY: reverse the abbreviation for a big shot or important person containing the last letter of paper then append the abbreviation for yard.

17a Fine time to promote energy, making a stink (5)
FETID: start with the pencil abbreviation meaning fine and add a poetic word for time with the abbreviation for energy promoted to its front.

18a Meet distractedly during hard work for a sugar boost? (9)
SWEETMEAT: insert an anagram (distractedly) of MEET into an informal word for hard work.

20a Lack indication of early New England winter? (9)
SHORTFALL: split 5,4 the answer may be an indication of an early winter in the USA.

23a Mediterranean port provided answer after show of surprise (5)
HAIFA: a conjunction meaning provided and an abbreviation for answer both follow an exclamation of surprise.

25a Sharp point right in something probing locks (5)
PRICK: unusually in a cryptic crossword these locks are security mechanisms rather than hair. Insert the abbreviation for right into an instrument used to probe them (possibly by a criminal).

26a Conservative, one at the top level, but initially very left-wing (9)
SOCIALIST: an abbreviation for Conservative, the Roman numeral for one and an adjective meaning (as a celeb) at the top level (1-4) are all preceded by a short word meaning ‘very’.

27a Liner incomplete, needing a queen’s name (7)
TITANIA: a doomed liner without its last letter and A.

28a Stop short by lady, backtracking intently (4,3)
LIKE MAD: reverse both a) a verb to stop (a computer program, say) without its last letter and b) a titled lady.

Down Clues

1d Devilish women mostly besetting male? Give in (7)
SUCCUMB: delete the final I from the plural form of devilish female demons said to have their wicked way with sleeping men at night and insert the abbreviation for male.

2d Get to dispute losing book (5)
REACH: a dispute or disagreement without the abbreviation for book.

3d M and S are perhaps primarily represented with this? (9)
AMPERSAND: the character appearing in the shortened name of the high street shop is an anagram (represented) of M AND S ARE P[erhaps]. Thanks to halcyon for pointing out the anagram.

4d Bet swapping bridge partner will make you keen (5)
EAGER: a synonym of bet with the bridge player replaced by his/her partner.

5d Think a lot of ditching soldiers and airman, hosting large display (9)
SPECTACLE: a verb meaning to ‘think a lot of’ or esteem loses the abbreviation for a corps of the British army. Add a successful wartime pilot containing the clothing abbreviation for large.

6d Justice principally absent from the way some people talk or gas (5)
ARGON: the form of specialised language used by some people without the first letter of justice.

7d 3 or 5? It’s 4 coming within that — very basic (9)
PRIMITIVE: what the numbers 3 and 5 are examples of in maths containing IT and the Roman numeral for four.

8d Hidden state is behind source of confusion in US state (7)
LATENCY: an adjective meaning behind or delayed followed by the abbreviation for an eastern US state containing the first letter of confusion.

14d French designer not finishing dressing the converted religious follower (9)
METHODIST: what the BRB calls ‘a professedly fashionable dressmaker or milliner’ without the final letter goes round (dressing) an anagram (converted) of THE.

15d A small guy’s tucked into drink (a large quantity of the drink) (6,3)
TASMAN SEA: A, the clothing abbreviation for small and another word for a guy with his ‘S all go inside a non-alcoholic drink.

16d Long day in estate — how might the night look? (5-4)
PITCH-DARK: a verb to long and the abbreviation for day go inside a word for a private estate or tract of land.

17d Particular person reduced safeguard, leading to awkward situation (7)
FUSSPOT: stick together a safeguard (in an electrical appliance) without its last letter and a word for an awkward situation.

19d Pledged to a place (not America) (7)
TOASTED: assemble TO A and a word for a place (that we may see preceded by ‘home’) without an abbreviation for America.

21d Symbolic English author Left dismissed I also abandoned (5)
TOKEN: an English author’s name without the abbreviation for left and the letter I. My sympathies here are with the academic reputed to have said of this chap’s output ‘Not another effing elf’.

22d Pub that won’t put you all out (5)
LOCAL: what will make just part of you numb during a minor op.

24d Italy discouraging adopting old form of expression (5)
IDIOM: the IVR code for Italy and an adjective meaning discouraging (related to prospects, say) containing the abbreviation for old.

The clues I liked best were the amusing 16a, 20a and 17d – which one(s) made the grade for you?

19 comments on “Toughie 2851
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  1. Quite relaxed for a Toughie today!
    And 23a is just half an hour up the road.
    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  2. A very accessible and enjoyable Toughie that was tricky enough in places, with a couple of new words for me to unravel. 7d was a favourite, although 16a takes my top spot.

    Thanks very much to Kcit and to Gazza.

  3. A nice actual Toughie, although I did notice, as Gazza did, the heavy reliance on the deletion of letters.

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza – my favourites were the same as yours

    1. Back to the answer reveal problem. If I use chrome the answers are revealed, if I use Safari they remain hidden. Anyone any idea what I can do?

  4. Very enjoyable and not quite as tough as I thought it was going to be on first read through. I too noticed a lot of deletions in the wordplay but it didn’t detract from the fun.
    I thought there were some real smilers in there 13,16 and the clever 26a plus 7,15& perhaps my favourite 17d foremost amongst them.
    Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza for the top notch entertainment.

  5. Thanks Kcit for the enjoyment and Gazza for parsing 28a – couldn’t for the life of me see the shortened bit, having assumed (wrongly) that the reversed lady was a horse!

  6. No problems for me today though I needed the hint to parse 22d, obvious when it’s pointed out. Favourite was 20a. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  7. Late again today because my post-RayT nap took precedence over everything else, even lunch. I began the Toughie last night but didn’t fare very well, even with the lagniappe of 5 letters from the genie inside my gizmo here. But when I returned, voila! The entire SW, which had been almost empty, filled in almost automatically, so I’ll pick 20a, 17d, & 14d as my top three. Thanks to Gazza for helping me parse a number of the other ones that had been bung-ins, and many thanks to Kcit for a most enjoyable but very challenging puzzle.

  8. Quite a lot of head-scratching along the way but eventually it all came together.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

    1. No I haven’t been working on this since Thursday! But it certainly took some head-scratching to complete and Gazza’s tips to explain how I got there. On reflection Kcit’s clueing was actually first-class. Thanks to all.

  9. Good Toughie and a welcome distraction from the disappointing scoreline in North London. Plenty to smile about here though, so thanks to Kcit and to Gazza for the review – I just couldn’t quite understand why two of my answers were what they were!

    3* / 3*

  10. I liked 26a and 7d but couldn’t make sense of 22d. I thought it might have been about reduced calorie diets but that just serves me right. A propos the pub [in 22] that’s where Hugo Dyson uttered his famous put down to Tolkien [21] about Elfs. I’m with him all the way.
    Thanks to kciT and Gazza [btw G there’s an anagram in 3d]

  11. I wouldn’t go as far as to say no problems but got there without a letter reveal. Found the south much harder than the north. 20a my clear favourite followed by 22d though the latter was my one parsing failure.
    Like MG the puzzle a welcome distraction from the wrong football result in north London.
    Thanks to Kcit & Gazza – your illustration for 25a made me laugh.

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