Toughie 2935 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2935

Toughie No 2935 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is just the sort of Toughie I like with the toughness coming from clever wordplay and deceptive definitions rather than obscurities. Many thanks to the prolific proXimal.

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

Across Clues

1a Hit back on item at back (10)
RETALIATED: a preposition meaning on or about followed by the reversal of an item or component and AT.

6a Impressive ornate picture frames (4)
EPIC: hidden.

9a A Muppet with a female name (5)
ANITA: A followed by a muppet or fool and another A.

10a Account by son involved in row about coming to office (9)
ACCESSION: the abbreviation for account then the reversal of row or din into which the genealogical abbreviation for son is inserted.

12a Moving hinged brackets close to me made beastly sound (7)
NEIGHED: an anagram (moving) of HINGED contains the closing letter of ‘me’.

13a Passage this writer will read aloud (5)
AISLE: a homophone of ‘this writer will’.

15a Claimed part of body gets bitten by Welshman (7)
ALLEGED: a bodily member is contained inside a Welsh male name.

16a Plants go by craft, taken to the west (7)
DAHLIAS: join together a verb to travel on a craft and a past participle meaning taken (a meal, say) then reverse it all.

18a Pitches in Italian town cut by good person going round (7)
ASSISTS: an Italian town famous as the birthplace of St Francis loses its last letter and that’s followed by the reversal of our usual abbreviated good or holy person.

20a Cycling clubs release series of reports (7)
SPUTTER: cycle the last letter of some golf clubs to the front.

21a Brown book uncovered (5)
UMBER: remove the outer letters of an Old Testament book.

23a Relax being left in bed with space (7)
SLACKEN: insert the abbreviation for left into a slang term for a bed and append a printer’s space.

25a Enchanting place announced cost to ride antelope (9)
FAIRYLAND: a double homophone of what you pay for a ride and a type of antelope. Here’s said antelope using a zebra crossing.

26a Language in which pupil’s set first bit of homework (5)
IRISH: the bodily part in which you’ll find a pupil and the first letter of homework.

27a After refusal, detective signals assent (4)
NODS: a word of refusal and the abbreviation for a police detective.

28a Incredible mind a genius endlessly exercised (10)
UNIMAGINED: an anagram (exercised) of MIND A GENIU[s].

Down Clues

1d Scratch handle turned in regular train (4)
REAR: remove the reversal of a handle or ear-like projection from the word regular.

2d Instruments we hear annoy ancient settlers (9)
TRIANGLES: what sounds like a verb to annoy or tax one’s patience is followed by the Germanic folk who settled in England in the 5th century AD.

3d Metal in non-solid state on salver is deceiving (7,6)
LEADING ASTRAY: knit together a bluish-grey metal, IN, a substance which is non-solid (and not liquid) and another word for salver.

4d Disconcerted Punch journalist supporting article (7)
ABASHED: a verb to punch or thump and our usual abbreviated journalist follow one of our grammatical articles.

5d Cryptic crossword’s primarily composition to occupy target (7)
ENCODED: insert the primary letter of crossword and a lyrical composition into a target or aim.

7d Mates one put up in Hilton (5)
PAIRS: this Hilton is an American socialite about whom we’ve fortunately heard little recently. Move up the Roman numeral for one in her forename.

8d Teachers against, not for, people singing (10)
CONFESSORS: start with university teachers and replace the prefix meaning for with a word meaning against.

11d Bold laundering money for American with external support (13)
SWASHBUCKLING: the act of laundering and an informal American word for a dollar go inside a medical support.

14d Scruffy lad served up jelly and cake (10)
RAGAMUFFIN: reverse a type of jelly and add a sort of cake (which can be either bready or spongy depending on where you live).

17d Aim of busy environmentalist, saving marvels at sea (9)
INTENTION: this is one of proXimal’s favourites – a subtractive anagram. Remove the jumbled (at sea) letters of MARVELS from environmentalist and make an anagram (busy) of what you have left.

19d Slug oddly found on dirty bear (7)
SUSTAIN: the odd letters of slug followed by a verb to dirty or discolour.

20d Celebrity party hosted by Labour leader? I’m hesitant to go (7)
STARDOM: insert a festive party into the surname of the leader of the Labour party without the exclamation of hesitation.

22d Tight spot to accommodate large screen (5)
BLIND: a tight spot or difficult situation contains the clothing abbreviation for large.

24d Cat in this drop would be hurt (4)
SHED: if you insert the word ‘cat’ in this verb to drop or discard you get a verb meaning hurt or damaged.

The clues getting ticks from me were 18a, 25a, 14d and 20d. Which one(s) got 27a from you?

11 comments on “Toughie 2935
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  1. I thought I was going to struggle with this one as it took me two sittings to complete it. But it was so worth the effort and I am glad I persevered. The quality of the clues throughout the grid was high, and there were many contenders for favourite, with 8 and 14d my top two.

    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza.

  2. Superb! Ticks throughout the grid, and I echo completely what Gazza says in his preamble. Thought 9a was uncharacteristically weak, but the rest top-notch, from which I’ve selected 26&27a plus 8,14&11d for special mention.
    Happy to let our esteemed blogger parse 24d but that was my only problem.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Gazza, appreciated the picture at 7d far more than 20d!… though the clue was very clever.

  3. A lot of good clues and not impossible by any means. Failed on 24d however and I still don’t like it even after the explanation.11d my favourite. Thanks to all. Simon

  4. Even though 24d was my last in I appreciate the cleverness of the clue and I find it fair. I’m with Stephen L about which picture I’d rather see more of. Was thinking of which clue to nominate as favourite but then I realised I enjoyed most of them. Again I agree with Stephen L about the weakness of 9a but Proximal is forgiven.
    Thanks to Proximal and Gazza

  5. Those subtractive anagrams get me every time – I had the answer but the wordplay simply didn’t occur to me, dammit.
    A very absorbing Thursday Toughie with my top marks going to 23a plus 8,11&20d.

    Thanks to proXimal and to Gazza for the review – I suspect we’ve seen that zebra crossing before but it still makes me laugh!

  6. I need a primer course in ‘adding’ and ‘subtracting’, which are devices that this setter revels in, but, except for 1d & 24d (for which I needed Gazza’s help), I did manage to fill in the grid (thanks to a bit of e-help). One of these days perhaps I’ll finish a proXimal completely on my own. I did nonetheless enjoy most of this quite brilliant puzzle, especially 18a, 8d, 11d, & 14d. Thanks to Gazza and proXimal.

  7. I found that a proper Thursday Toughie, and it wouldn’t have been entirely out of place on a Friday! My last two in were 1d (a real Doh! moment) and 24d, which I biffed, thinking “no idea how this parses, but it’s the only word that both fits and makes vaguely any sense, because of ‘drop’ in the middle of the clue. Ironic, really, given that it was only a day or three ago that a blogger (of a Times or Telegraph puzzle?) noted the rarity of the definition appearing in the middle of a clue.

    Cracking clues throughout, if a couple of odd surface reads and not entirely convinced by 11d (to my mind, the answer indicates more style and flair than being merely bold), and my podium’s top step is shared by 8d and 17d.

    Many thanks indeed to Proximal and to Gazza.

  8. Plenty of head scratching required and very satisfying to eventually get it all sorted.
    8d gets our vote for favourite.
    Thanks proXimal and Gazza.

  9. Good challenge. Definitely agree with Gazza it’s toughie based on word play, so always a chance of completing, which I just failed to do. Generally enjoyed, especially 25a.

  10. Damn & blast it. Have laboured all the way through to a correct grid with only 24d remaining & just can’t see it. Reading through the comments I see that Stephen couldn’t parse it which is a modicum of comfort. Very difficult for the likes of me & yet to parse a couple but immensely satisfying to persevere & resist the temptation of a letter reveal. Shall sleep on it before resorting to the hint. Loads of big ticks for me – 18&25a plus 2,3,11&14d. Super puzzle.
    Thanks to proXimal & in advance to Gazza.

  11. Late on parade… I tackled this last night and thought it was superb. Although it was a DNF (1d and 24d eluding me), it was very enjoyable with clever wordplay throughout. Many thanks to ProXimal and to Gazza for the blog.

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