Toughie 2930 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2930

Toughie No 2930 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A proper Wednesday Toughie, as one would expect from Robyn, with some splendidly sneakily hidden definitions

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5a    Account we hear bona fide banks cited (7)
RECITAL A synonym for genuine (bona fide) goes round (banks) an abbreviation for cited

7a    Maybe a grateful grandma — she stitches coats (5)
ASHES Something a grate may be full off after a fire is hidden in (coats) grandmA SHE Stitches

9a    Honour actor finally playing Shakespearean role (6)
OBERON An honour, the final letter of actor and an adverb meaning playing

10a    Words such as a bizarre realist pens in chapter (8)
ARTICLES An anagram (bizarre) of REALIST into which is inserted (pens) the abbreviation for chapter

11a    Rock song then cover of Erasure for rock group (10)
STONEHENGE An anagram (rock) of SONG THEN and the outside letters (cover) of ErasurE

13a    Tablets picked up giving relief (4)
EASE A homophone (picked up) of the informal way one might refer to tablets of ecstasy

14a    Show backward country gripped by fear? Thus the problem may be solved (5,3,5)
TRIAL AND ERROR A reversal (backward) of a verb meaning to show and a country ‘gripped by’ or inserted into some fear

16a    Good saving returns generating interest (4)
GRAB The abbreviation for good and a reversal (returns) of saving in the sense of except for

17a    A Western deprived of Oscar is possibly flat (10)
ACCIDENTAL This flat is a type of musical note – A (From the clue) and a synonym for western without (deprived of) the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

19a    US general stores overwhelm exhausted shopper (8)
CUSTOMER One of America’s most well-known generals ‘stores’ or keeps inside the outside letters (exhausted) of OverwhelM

20a    Motive of crime, short of time (6)
REASON A type of crime without (short of) the abbreviation for time

22a    Crew from both sides of Honduras (5)
HANDS If you were to describe the ‘sides’ of the word HonduraS, you’d say that they were x xxx s

23a    Give title to book in one line I cut foolishly (7)
ENNOBLE The abbreviation for book inserted into an anagram (foolishly) of ONE LNE (I ‘cut’ telling you to omit the I)


1d    Make unsightly winter garment female abandons (4)
SCAR The abbreviation for female ‘abandons’ a winter garment

2d    Eliot initially turned up new handle or nom de plume (8)
STENDHAL The reversal (turned up) of the initials of the poet Eliot followed by an anagram (new) of HANDLE produces the nom de plume of a 19th Century French writer

3d    Jerseys, say, Conservative PM once shortened (6)
CATTLE The abbreviation for Conservative and the ‘shortened’ surname of a former (once) Labour Prime Minister

4d    Slip behind yellow area with many layers (7,3)
CHICKEN RUN An informal term for cowardly (as is yellow) followed by a synonym for slip in the sense of escape

5d    Deny, e.g., King Edward overthrown (5)
REBUT A reversal of a type of plant growth such as a potato (eg King Edward)

6d    Line for The Apprentice, given lucre ran out (8,5)
LEARNING CURVE Nice use of the misleading capital as this type of line could apply to any apprentice – an anagram (out) of GIVEN LUCRE RAN

8d    English linesman having second to think in Paris (7)
SPENSER The abbreviation for second and the French verb (as used in Paris) meaning to think

12d    Stressful moment fixing fences (4-6)
NAIL-BITING Part of a verb meaning fixing ‘fences’ a moment

14d    By leaving Spain, where bad driver may end up (7)
THROUGH The IVR Code for Spain leaving a two-word place where a bad golf driver may end up

15d    Raised game in finale going on a long time (8)
ENDURING A reversal (raised) abbreviated game inserted into a finale

17d    Max, Mike and Jack hosted by a sober individual (2,4)
AT MOST The letter represented in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet by Mike and an abbreviated sailor (Jack) inserted (hosted by) between A (from the clue) and an abbreviated sober person

18d    Make up lunch now? (5)
ATONE Split this verb meaning to make up 2,3 and you’ll see a possible time for lunch

21d    Father‘s areas to keep bees, by the sound of it (4)
ABBA Two abbreviations for area between which is inserted (to keep) letters that if said out loud sound like bees

13 comments on “Toughie 2930
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  1. The first thing I noticed was that there were only 26 clues but give me quality over quantity anytime.
    I thought this was a terrific Toughie that didn’t take too long although a few solutions arrived on an earlier bus than the parsings. I’m happy to say I did eventually get them all, though had never heard of the musical context of 17a and likewise 21d which I got from wordplay only.
    Where to start with a podium? The whole puzzle, great stuff.
    Many thanks to Robyn and CS.

  2. Thought this very difficult but brilliant. Couldn’t parse many initially until I did, but 1a and 12d eluded me so needed your hints for those. Would be hard to pick a favourite but it’s a toss up between 10a and 11a which took me a long time to see. Feel very proud to have finished this masterpiece eventually. Tvm Robyn and Sue.

  3. Needed the hint to parse 17a, didn’t know the French author in 2d, the French word for think in 8d or the father in 21d, so I had to look them up. Anyway I do now. Favourite was 14a, a little like my solving. Thanks to Robyn and CS.

  4. I thought this was a top quality Toughie that took a bit of teasing out. Trying to pick a favourite involved the use of my trusty pin, with the winner being 14d.

    Many thanks to Robyn for the challenge and to CS.

  5. I too thought that this was brilliant, with no problems for me with the GK in 2d, 8d, 5a, or 21d–just up my street–but my top choices are 14d, 3d (knew the PM too), & 11a. Puzzle of the week (so far) for me. Thanks to CS for the review and to Robyn, one of our premier compilers indeed.

  6. Top quality puzzle that we solved with a scatter-gun approach. Found several entry points throughout the grid and then gradually filled in the gaps once some checkers were in place. Good fun.
    Thanks Robyn and CS.

  7. Many thanks indeed to crypticsue for the sterling exegetical work, as well as to everyone dropping in to comment, for my first foray into the mid-week slots.
    Wishing everyone a good week!

  8. Usual pedestrian start with a Robyn puzzle then picked up speed & left to play golf (badly again hence 14d my favourite clue) with 3 in the NE remaining – 7&10a + 4d. Just had another look & no light bulbs yet but hope springs eternal. Pleased to get both of the literary ones & am indebted to a recent bands themed Picaroon puzzle in the Graun for teaching me that 21d isn’t just 2 boys & 2 girls from Sweden.
    Quality fare as ever & very enjoyable indeed.
    Thanks Robyn & in advance to CS whose review I’ll read later & hopefully not requiring 3 hints.

  9. As per Huntsman I started this slowly. Actually I had zero answers after about 5 mins which usually results in ‘Forget it’, for me.

    Anyway, managed to get a few and the rest followed pretty quickly albeit a couple of recalcitrant stragglers.

    Lovely puzzle and thoroughly enjoyable, with thanks to CS and Robyn.

    Hope my fellow American dwellers are or will be safe from the barrelling brute which is Ian. We’re in TN which will not bear any brunt of its wrath. Looks like it made landfall around Sanibel Island which we’ve visited many times before. By all accounts, it’ll change the barrier islands’ shoreline in that area.

  10. Enjoyable puzzle . My only slight query is that in 16a the clue should say generate rather than generating ! Or it’s it just me !! ( second time blog !)

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