Toughie 2955 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2955

Toughie No 2955 by proXimal
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I started this at the speed of an arthritic snail but very gradually speeded up and ended in a rush. Thanks to proXimal for the enjoyable challenge.

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

Across Clues

1a Return when not in place (6)
OUTPUT: the opposite of ‘in’ and a verb to place.

4a Sea creatures get around everything aboard ship (8)
SCALLOPS: a slang verb to get or obtain containing a synonym of everything goes inside our usual abbreviated ship.

9a Biscuit container sealed with clip (6)
PARKIN: a chest or coffer (one used to hold the Torah scrolls in a synagogue) is contained in a verb to pin or fasten.

10a One boasts retro attire with good design (8)
BRAGGART: assemble the reverse of attire or clothing, the abbreviation for good and design or drawing.

12a Disease travelled by water quietly, always retaining force (5,5)
SWAMP FEVER: a verb meaning propelled oneself through water is followed by the musical abbreviation for quietly and a synonym for always with the physics abbreviation for force inserted.

13a Small split in your trousers (4)
TINY: hidden.

14a Win with this shot would make cheerless result (3)
TRY: if you place this shot or attempt after ‘win’ you end up with an adjective meaning cheerless or chilly.

15a They provide closure from ties involving street gang (11)
DRAWSTRINGS: ties or matches in a cup competition, say, contain the abbreviation for street and a gang or syndicate.

18a Plants move slowly in pictures from camera (11)
SNAPDRAGONS: a phrasal verb (4,2) to move slowly goes inside an abbreviated word for photographs.

20a Rabbit that may be sweet (3)
BUN: double definition, the first a child’s word for a rabbit.

21a Hard to escape, bad luck is unchanged (4)
SAME: an informal term for a bit of bad luck loses the pencil abbreviation for hard.

22a Pocket set ordered with neat rulers (10)
POTENTATES: a verb to pocket a ball is followed by an anagram (ordered) of SET NEAT.

24a Performed stop before entering road (8)
RENDERED: a verb to stop and a poetic word meaning before go inside the abbreviation for road.

25a Alternative view after exchanging home for short time (6)
OPTION: start with a view or stance and replace the adverb meaning ‘at home’ with the abbreviation for time.

26a Tea bags with name never used before (5-3)
BRAND-NEW: an informal word for a cup of tea contains a conjunction meaning with and the abbreviation for name.

27a Totally unprotected hazy forest region of Portugal (6)
AZORES: remove the outer letters (totally unprotected) of two words in the clue.

Down Clues

1d They attract work, models possessing je ne sais quoi (9)
OPPOSITES: our usual abbreviated artistic work and a verb meaning models containing a short word for something difficult to describe.

2d Like fine lines of article almost prepared (7)
THREADY: almost all of our definite article and an adverb meaning prepared.

3d Nil desperandum in conflict releasing terrible snarl without restraint (9)
UNIMPEDED: this is a subtractive anagram – remove the jumbled (terrible) letters of SNARL form NIL DESPERANDUM and make an anagram (in conflict) of what you have left over.

5d Don’t let gems go — they are of great importance (12)
CORNERSTONES: split the answer 6,6 to get a phrase meaning to keep control of gems.

6d Here it is, exit sign (4)
LOGO: an old exclamation meaning ‘here it is!’ or ‘behold!’ and a verb to exit.

7d Novelty bar in north gets show of approval (7)
OVATION: start with a word for a novelty or something new and remove (bar) IN and the abbreviation for north.

8d Fare from Asia heading for touristy area in express (5)
SATAY: insert the first letters of touristy area into a verb to express.

11d Nutrient from tea tree hybridised with bacon (12)
BETACAROTENE: an anagram (hybridised) of TEA TREE BACON.

16d Got up to pass quickly over rock (4,5)
ROSE TOPAZ: string together a verb meaning ‘got up’, TO and the reversal of a verb to pass quickly.

17d Function with awards entertaining small social gatherings (9)
SINGSONGS: start with an abbreviated mathematical function and add a word for awards or medals containing the clothing abbreviation for small.

19d First person among fliers dropped over a country (7)
ARMENIA: start with a word for male fliers and move the first person pronoun to the bottom. Now add A.

20d Cut section of wedding cake and more disconnected (7)
BITTIER: stick together a word for a cut or portion (of meat, perhaps) and a layer of a traditional wedding cake.

21d Cancel boat to collect the King (5)
SCRUB: the abbreviation for a type of boat contains the regnal cipher of our new King.

23d Arch nemesis’ leader engaged in plot (4)
BEND: insert the first letter of nemesis into a garden plot.

I liked 13a, 14a, 1d, 6d and 7d. Which ones cut the mustard for you?

18 comments on “Toughie 2955
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  1. Loved this. Took several sittings but got there in the end. Nice to see the new CR being used in 21d
    Thanks to proXimal and Gazza

  2. For me the most gentle of the three excellent Toughies this week.
    I have to say that I’ve never regarded (the delicious) 9a as a biscuit but I guess the setter has justified it.
    I liked the clever lurker ar 13a, 14a and the imaginative 5d but my podium is 26a plus 1&17d, all three of which produced a big smile.
    Many thanks to ProXimal and Gazza for the top-notch entertainment.

    1. I did wonder about the ‘biscuit’ in 9a but the BRB says it’s a biscuit or gingerbread. On the other hand Collins calls it a cake.

      1. It does say that in the BRB, but I’ve always considered parkin to be a moist, dark ginger/treacle cake. In fact, I bought a slab of “parkin loaf cake” by the Yokshire Baking Company from Morrisons this very morning and had a sizeable chunk of it with my mug of tea after lunch. It was originally £1.25, reduced to £1.00 and today a “to clear” price of 50p. Probably explains why it’s a bit on the dry side …

  3. Found this one easier than yesterday & at least managed an unaided finish albeit it took a couple of stabs – started at the pace of an arthritic snail, came to full stop, had a nap & then staggered home. 11&16d both unfamiliar to me but gettable from the wordplay but the pesky short ‘uns were bung ins. I was sort of on the right track with 20a (bugs bunny) but nowhere close with 14a. Have never thought of 9a as a biscuit but then I don’t really think of Jaffa Cakes as cakes so what do I know. 6d my pick today ahead of 3d.
    Thanks to proXimal for an entertaining puzzle & to Gazza for explaining 14a.

  4. This setter rarely disappoints and he didn’t today. Loads to enjoy with some innovative clueing, none better than 3d. 14a was a worthy runner-up.

    Thanks proXimal and Gazza.

  5. Gazza, 1d photo. I wonder if John Bercow ever acquired Tom Cruise’s redundant step ladder after he split with Nicole Kidman?

  6. My usual problems with this setter, alas, most notably in the SE corner, as I needed to reveal some letters for 17d & 22a (beguiled into thinking that ‘Pocket set’ was a partial anagram and couldn’t let go of that ‘idee fixe’!). I very much enjoyed my DNF, though, so thanks to proXimal and to Gazza for the further assists here and there (esp. parsing 14a & solving 20a).

  7. A dnf unaided today as I didn’t know 9a was a biscuit and couldn’t parse it anyway couldn’t see 14a or parse that either and needed the hint to parse 7d. Hey ho! I got the rest. Favourite was 12a. Thanks to ProXimal and Gazza.

  8. We also questioned 9a as a biscuit but got it anyway.
    Good level of difficulty for a Thursday and a satisfying and enjoyable solve.
    Thanks proXimal and Gazza.

  9. Managed to finish this is 4* time, which is a step up from yesterday’s dnf. A lot to like all through. Loved 13a (must remember the use of trousers to indicate a lurker), but 7d gets my laurel as I couldn’t parse it without the hints. Thanks to ProXimal and Gazza.

  10. Ah! Nice to see that this tricky little number was from ProXimal.
    Starting to get used to his style.
    Probably due to all the Sunday toughies he’s been compiling over the last year.
    Thanks for the good workout and thanks to Gazza for the review.

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