Toughie 2931 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2931

Toughie No 2931 by Kcit
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Thanks to Kcit for an entertaining puzzle containing two first-rate all-in-one clues for which I’ve awarded an additional half-star for enjoyment. There is a Nina for which you need to arrange the four three-letter answers in a specific order.

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

Across Clueshere

6a Political group who will come out with biased cant (6,7)
SHADOW CABINET: an anagram (will come out) of WHO and BIASED CANT.

8a Determined fish should be kept in farm enclosure (6)
STEELY: insert a fish into a farm enclosure.

9a Staff at Highland Games initially ignored requirement, reflected Scottish city (8)
ABERDEEN: a staff used by Scottish tossers loses its initial letter and that’s followed by the reversal of a requirement.

10a Store wanting second concession (3)
SOP: a retail store without its second letter.

11a I’m backing spurious claim linked to University environment (6)
MILIEU: reverse I’M and add a spurious claim and the single-letter abbreviation for university.

12a Power active before line disconnected, now hopeless (8)
PATHETIC: the physics abbreviation for power and an adjective meaning active or sporty without the abbreviation for line.

14a Excite a crowd about it (7)
AGITATE: A and a crowd (i.e. the paying spectators) containing IT.

16a Transient success in exam in Greek at first (7)
PASSING: string together what constitutes a success in an exam, IN and the first letter of Greek.

20a Fiancee energised after injecting strong stimulant (8)
CAFFEINE: an anagram (energised) of FIANCEE with the musical abbreviation for strong inserted produces a prerequisite for early morning solving.

23a Change for the writer, cuddling dog that’s returned (6)
MODIFY: a possessive adjective meaning ‘for the writer’ contains the reversal of a traditional dog’s name meaning ‘I am faithful’ in Latin.

24a Twitch at odd points? (3)
TIC: an all-in-one clue utilising the odd letters of the first word.

25a Trouble always returns, over one misjudged gag at first (8)
AGGRIEVE: the reversal of a synonym for always containing the Roman numeral for one is preceded by an anagram (misjudged) of GAG.

26a Trendy flight offering music (3-3)
HIP-HOP: an adjective meaning trendy and a short journey by air.

27a Stuttering woe, possibly? (6-7)
TONGUE-TWISTER: an all-in-one clue involving an excellent anagram (possibly) of STUTTERING WOE.

Down Clues

1d Information about manicure tool picked up in beauty work? (4-4)
FACE-LIFT: a piece of information contains the reversal of a manicure tool.

2d Daughter embraced by guys without question abandoned tight clothing (8)
BODYSUIT: the genealogical abbreviation for daughter is contained inside young guys. Follow that with a verb meaning abandoned without the single-letter abbreviation for question.

3d Disorganised program involved in small uproar (7)
SCRAPPY: the modern abbreviation for a computer program is contained in the abbreviation for small and a word meaning uproar (especially when it’s associated with ‘hue’).

4d Son kidnapped by a criminal is not here (6)
ABSENT: the genealogical abbreviation for son is contained in A and an informal adjective meaning criminal or corrupt.

5d A specific Italian leader missing nothing, being apprehensive (2,4)
ON EDGE: stick together a word meaning ‘a specific’ and the historic title of the Chief Magistrate of Venice without the letter resembling nothing.

6d Session with sailor to understand battle opportunity? (7,6)
SITTING TARGET: glue together a synonym for session, a dated informal word for a sailor and a verb to understand or twig.

7d During shift, see that chap stop work, finding a detective story (3,4,2,4)
THE SIGN OF FOUR: inside a shift or period of duty insert a male pronoun (that chap) and a phrasal verb meaning to stop work.

13d Cove’s vessels losing pressure, initially drifting away (3)
HIS: this cove is not a bay but an informal word for a bloke. Remove the physics abbreviation for pressure and the initial letter from seagoing vessels.

15d Consumed article first in meal (3)
ATE: start with a meal and move its grammatical article to the front.

17d Give power to board member without direct involvement? (8)
ARMCHAIR: charade of a verb to give power to or equip and the senior member of a company’s board.

18d Sort of deviation recorded in husband is upsetting (8)
SIDEPATH: insert a verb meaning recorded (sound or pictures) between the genealogical abbreviation for husband and IS. Now invert the lot.

19d Need odd bits of treaty reworked to achieve improved relations (7)
DÉTENTE: an anagram (reworked) of NEED and the odd letters of TrEaTy.

21d Person opposing keeping river flowing, say (3,3)
FOR ONE: a person opposing or adversary contains the abbreviation for river and an adverb meaning flowing (like electricity).

22d Angry, I get more petrol, dropping fourth in race (6)
IREFUL: I is followed by a verb meaning to get more petrol without the fourth letter of race.

I rarely select anagrams for my podium but I have to include the excellent 27a together with 24a and 17d. Which one(s) made the cut for you?

13 comments on “Toughie 2931
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  1. My favourites were 9a and 5d. I smiled at the former’s cryptic definition, even tho [I think} it’s been used before but I laughed out loud at your parsing Gaza. So thanks for that and the blog, and thanks to kciT for a fine puzzle.

  2. My printer wasn’t cooperating this morning so I solved the crossword online which makes it quite difficult to remember what I thought about it, let alone spot the Nina. I did note that it took me a 1* Toughie time

    I did enjoy the four outside clues, especially 27a

    Thanks to Kcit and Gazza

  3. Very enjoyable indeed with smiles throughout the grid. Happy to let our reviewer parse 5d and point out the Nina though.
    I particularly liked the “Highland game’s staff” at 8a, the quaint dog in 23a and thought 20a and 17d were clever too. However my top spot is shared by the excellent 6&27a.
    Many thanks to Kcit and Gazza, very funny cartoons on the Down clues.

  4. Like our blogger, I thought that the excellent all-in-one 27a was deserving of top spot this afternoon. This was a very accessible and entertaining puzzle that kept on giving, from first clue to last. I shouldn’t laugh at Gazza’s explanation of 9a but I couldn’t help myself.

    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and to Gazza. Now to look for the Nina…..

    1. Copped 27a as an all in one clue early on, had the first letters checked for each of the 2 words so played around and got “twinges” as the 2nd word. Assumed this to be on the right track so mucked around again and came up with “touret” for the first as the only viable option. So, even although deep-down knowing the syndrome wasnt usually spelt like that , I put it in anyway leading to total gridlock in the south. Then to compound it all, after consulting this oracle for help I managed to misspell the first word as “tounge”, thus delaying completion for yet another few days. All good fun though….but should have listened to my inner voice shouting “no”!

  5. A lot of fun with this super and very accessible Toughie earlier today. My laurels went to 23a, 5d & 13d. Had I parsed 27a rather than just writing-in what was by then an obvious answer, I would have added it, too, to the list of Hon Mentions.

    Many thanks indeed to Kcit & Gazza

  6. Well clued puzzle ,a steady solve all round.
    Quickly solved three of the four’ outside’ 13 letter clues ,I underlined 6d as a 6/7 which did not help!
    favourites were 23a,22d 9a.
    Going for a ***/*** About right for a Thursday.
    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  7. I find this harder than most and needed the hint to parse 5d. Took an age to parse 22d. Favourite was 1a, 9a hint was very amusing though. Thanks to Kcit and Gazza.

  8. A couple of tricky moments for me with the detective story and 21d. Podium overflowing with 1,12&20a plus 6&22d.

    Thanks to Kcit for the challenge and to Gazza for the review and cartoons.

  9. SE corner of this enjoyable exercise presented a problem or two mainly due to my not knowing 7d detective story. 5d and 21d not parsed. Thank you Kcit for the fun and Gazza for sorting last couple for me.

  10. This is the first Toughie I have completed on my phone and once the last one (21d which I couldn’t parse properly but it had to be right) went in a rather satisfying message came up saying “all clues correct” or something of that kind.

    A steady solve but far from easy in some places. Favourite was 9a of course!

    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and Gazza for the blog.

  11. Would never have spotted the Nina without being told it was there.
    Three of the long answers fell relatively easily and the rest flowed on from there.
    A pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Kcit and Gazza.

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