Toughie 2897 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2897

Toughie No 2897 by Moeraki

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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

Good Afternoon. Last time out Moeraki gave us a very clever quadruple pangram. Today he or she has settled for a mere corker of a puzzle. Just right for the Tuesday Toughie slot. I’m impressed by the puzzle and I hope you are too. I’m less impressed by the baby sick at 1 across but the drinks at 4 down make up for it. If my grandsons come with me they can have the stuff at 7 down


1ac.  On their game, perhaps, some found tossing a used caber (5,5)

BREAD SAUCE:   Game here is meat such as pheasant, grouse, hare, rabbit or venison. The answer is an accompaniment to such meats that looks a lot like baby sick. Here it is made from a mixture of the letters A USED CABER. Tossing being the anagram indicator

6ac.  Discharged from apartment (4)

FLAT:   A double definition. The first being said of a car battery that has no charge

9ac.  In France, Peter eats fruit in second home? (4-1-5)

PIED A TERRE:  The French name for Peter sits around the fruit of the palm

10ac.  Novel seeing them marvel somewhat (4)

EMMA:  Your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word somewhat

12ac.  Miss visiting this old capital? You would see a show (6)

SAIGON:   When the word MISS is placed in front of your answer the result is a musical show written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and loosely based upon the plot of Madam Butterfly. This Answer appears in exactly the same spot in today’s back pager clued as – Son and I journey inside an Asian city (6)

13ac.  Spoils time at the crease with Warwickshire’s opener (8)

WINNINGS:  A two part charade. 1 The name given to the time a cricketer spends at the crease. 2 The opening letter of the word Warwickshire. It is unclear where the opening letter of Warwickshire goes so try it at either end of the cricketer’s time at the crease. If you are unsure which end it goes then cryptic crossword puzzles may not be your thing

15ac.  Become scared and burp babies? (3,3,4,2)

GET THE WIND UP:  A double definition. Both rather easy. If in any doubt wait for some checking letters

18ac. Editing task from paid sportsman from county town (12)

PROOF READING:  When split 3,2,7 your answer will fit the underlined definition. Which County town? It’s one of 48 ceremonial counties in England. It is in a shire county. It has an annual festival once famed for heavy rock music that has morphed into the must go to festival for those who have just received their A level results

21ac. Bygone era of individual in phase of development (5.3)

STONE AGE:  A solitary individual sits inside a phase, step, moment or episode

22ac.  Sherpa from Alpine resort (6)

NEPALI:   Anagram (resort) of ALPINE

24ac.  Baudelaire’s retreat (4)

LAIR:  your answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the possessive apostrophe S (possibly, what would I know)

25ac.   The potman accepts hard  work by Rodin (3,7)

THE THINKER:   Begin with the word THE from the clue. A generous gift from today’s setter. Add a person who makes a living by travelling from place to place mending pans and other metal utensils. Insert the abbreviation for the word Hard. Don’t hold your breath waiting for the helpful soul to come around. His sort died out yonks ago

26ac.  With onset of snow. blazed a trail on this? (4)

SLED:    Begin with the initial letter of the word snow. Add a three letter word that means blazed a trail or went first

27ac.  A bit insane; mad while not present (2.8)

IN ABSENTIA:   Anagram (mad) of A BIT INSANE


 1d.  Ignore   ring road? (6)

BYPASS:   A name given to a road that goes around a town or village rather than through it is also a way to ignore something


2d.  Call me up —that’s  sickening (6)

EMETIC:   A word meaning to call or quote something plus the word ME from the clue are reversed to find your answer

3d.  Hang back, seeing monster set out without payment (4,4,4)

DRAG ONES FEET:   A fire breathing monster plus an anagram (out) of SET surround a payment for professional services

4d.  Carl Zeiss regularly drinks (4)

ALES:  Choose the alternate letters from the words of the clue to find drinks of the most wonderful kind

5d.  Fluffed a recording: edits needed (10)

CORRIGENDA:   Anagram (fluffed) of A RECORDING.  A new word to me

7d.  Article in French daily that’s refreshing (8)

LEMONADE:  Place an article (A) inside the name of only French newspaper any of us know

8d.  Wing and tail feathers missing one month (8)

TRANSEPT:  The name for the tail feathers of a peacock for example needs to lose the letter that looks like the number one. Add the abbreviation for one of twelve months. One with only thirty days to narrow it down for you.

11d.  EEC remaining active in old political system (6,6)


14d.   Fortify new gents with last bit of timber, therefore (10)

STRENGTHEN:   Begin with an anagram (new) of GENTS plus the last letter of the word timber. Add a word meaning therefore

16d. Letters record dreadful lies about saint (8)

EPISTLES: An Extended Play record is followed by an anagram (dreadful) of LIES which surrounds the abbreviation for Saint

17d.  Entering allotment, drop rock (8)

DOLOMITE:   The allotment given as a benefit to those out of work but not of retirement age contains a word meaning to drop or leave out

19d.   Scam that’s employed in court (6)

RACKET:   This scam might be used to hit the ball on a tennis court

20d.  Where to find a Range Rover or a Ford? (6)

SIERRAThe type of terrain a Range Rover might be found driving on (A mountainous terrain, not the car park at Waitrose) is also the name of a car made by Ford between 1982 and 1993

Ignore the capital letters of Range Rover which misdirected me to the unreliable motor car. This wanderer or rover might be found on a long steep range of mountains with the same name as a Ford (Fix or repair Daily) motor car made from 1982 to 1993.  Thanks  to those brave enough to question my infallibility

23d.  Raised objections to ashtray item (4)

STUB:   Objections that go with ifs and maybe’s need to be reversed to find these awful items that were the worst part of my job for some fifty years

32 comments on “Toughie 2897
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  1. I do enjoy Toughies from this setter and although this was not quite the tour de force of his/her previous compilation it was still a lot of fun.
    I particularly liked 1,9&13a plus 17& the super 20d.
    Many thanks to Moeraki and MP for the entertainment, though I found the picture at 23d somewhat 2d!!

    1. Looking through the images brought back some bad memories from the seventies when every ashtray would be overflowing. I was so glad when the smoking ban came in. The designated smoking area in my pub was Poland

  2. Very enjoyable start to the Toughie week. Thanks to setter. Favourite clue; having been born there, 18A was a delight for me!!

  3. Fairly straightforward despite the words I was unfamiliar with at 5d and 11d, they were anagrams so fairly clued. Cotd was 13a. Thanks to Moeraki and MP also for the kind comments to my late post yesterday.

  4. Sticking with the cricketing themes from the Quickie and the backpager I will go for 13a as my favourite clue from this most enjoyable and very accessible Toughie. My thanks to Moeraki for the challenge and to MP.

  5. Excellent Tuesday toughie. I did wonder, as you don’t usually miss the opportunity to give us some excellent music in your hints and tips illustrations, whether you knew the excellent album by Porcupine Tree with the same title as 27a. Thanks to MP and Moeraki.

    1. I’m not up on that one but I’m told that it is (or recently was) Vernon Dudley Bohay-Nowell’s 90th Birthday

  6. Right up my street today and a gentle Tuesday puzzle with some entertaining definitions to boot.
    Thanks MP for the parsing of 8d and the missing tail feathers
    Favourite was 15a which merited a smile closely followed by 7d which has occured previously’
    Many thanks also to Mr M .

  7. Easier than recent Tuesday toughies, but very enjoyable. I had a slightly different interpretation of 20d. The answer is a range and the range rover would be someone who walks / climbs over it, rather than just the car. Thanks for the usual smiles MP, and to Moeraki, whose name always reminds me of a fantastic trip to NZ a few years ago and a visit to the amazing spherical rocks there.

  8. Can’t believe I missed the double entry of 12a today; I often wonder whether my brain works at all. Couldn’t do 11d and had to look up to see if 5d was a word. If Mr K were listening I wonder how many times 10a has cropped up over the years, or doesn’t he do that any more? Thank you to the compiler (I don’t think I could put those letters in the right order) I loved 20d and MP— I’ve never seen the point of 1a either.

    1. I honestly think if I didn’t provide 1a with the turkey bird, if only microwaved Waitrose, my wife would Christmas elsewhere.

    2. Hi, Celia. I found 97 clues where 10a is part of the answer and the clue contains novel or Austen or heroine, which I think should find most of them. That’s from of a database of 893,000 cryptic clues. So roughly one clue out of every 9000 or 1 clue out of every 300 puzzles references the novel. The rate seen here feels higher than that, so perhaps the book is more popular in the Telegraph than in the Times, Independent, or Guardian.

      1. Oh you do still do it! Perhaps it occurs more frequently of late? 🤷🏻‍♀️ Thank you for your response 😊

  9. Encouraged by a contributor to the back page blog (‘doable’) I gave this a go and finished unaided. Expecting to be knocked back shortly but thanks to the setter and MP for unravelling my LOI 17d. COTD 20d. I’m in the ‘rover’ rather than ‘Rover’ camp.

  10. Most enjoyable for me in an unaided finish last night, with 18a, 11d, and 5d taking top honours. Such a pleasure, with many thanks to MP and Moeraki. More please!

    1. Finished it but I admit to needing the hints for two so I can’t claim an unaided solve but I’m happy with my effort nonetheless.

      Now for bed! 😴

  11. For once, I found this fewer stars for difficulty than the blogger except I needed help for 12a and 17d.

    Was sure for a while that the third word in 3d must be “free”.

    Thanks to Miffypops for the blog and Moeraki for the puzzle.

  12. A slight hesitation at the start with 1a and then it all flowed smoothly for us.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Moeraki and MP.

  13. I enjoyed this toughie thinking as it was 3* rated I would not do well.
    I was wrong and fairly whizzed through in 1.5* with 4* for enjoyment.

    Clues to like included 6a, 15a, 18a, 3d & 16d with winner a toss up of 18a & 16d

    Thanks to Moeraki and MP

  14. Very enjoyable indeed. 5d was an educated punt from the fodder which needed confirmation & a bit slow to twig the definition context at 13a but otherwise pleasingly straightforward. A dead heat between 13&18a for COTD.
    Thanks to M&M

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