Toughie No 3069 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3069

Toughie No 3069 by Gila

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sunny but blustery South Devon coast.

Gila, always a welcome visitor to the Tuesday spot, kicks off the Toughie week with a fun puzzle that I filled in reasonably quickly though a couple of parsings held me up for a while.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Star treatment created with PR, somehow (3,6)
RED CARPET: Anagram (somehow) of CREATED plus PR.

6a Employed chief journalist from across the Pond? (4)
USED: In abbreviated form how an American senior journalist could be termed if split 2,2.

10a A couple of guys initially facing resistance over making trouble (5)
AGGRO: Put together A from the clue, two instances of the initial letter of Guys and abbreviations for Resistance and Over.

11a The other technique finally helping is another run-through (9)
ITERATION: A two-letter synonym of “the other”, the final letter of techniquE and a synonym of helping as a noun.

12a Teacher on vacation was of assistance and worked hard at one time (9)
TRAVAILED: Append a literary synonym of helped  or was of assistance to the outside (on vacation) letters of TeacheR giving another literary synonym.

14a A bit of silence on a podcast (5)
PIECE: A homophone (on a podcast) of a synonym of silence. I don’t think I’ve come across this indicator before but I rather like it.

15a Workshop is fitted at the front with cooling devices, right? (7)
FACTORY: Start with the initial letter of Fitted. Add an abbreviation for a cooling device or system and what could be informal description of someone to the right in a political sense.

16a Really excellent performance leading to Oscar (2,5)
DE FACTO: I think this is a three-letter abbreviation for excellent or cool plus a synonym of performance and the letter Oscar represents in the phonetic alphabet.

18a Delinquents concerned with looking embarrassed? (7)
CRIMSON: Follow an informal or abbreviated synonym of delinquents with a preposition meaning “concerned with”

20a Endless newspaper coverage about terrific housing (7)
PREFABS: Place an abbreviated terrific or great inside a collective word for newspapers without its last letter. They’ve probably moved on a bit since this.

21a Socialist constrained by firm set of principles (5)
CREDO: The colour associated with a socialist sits inside (constrained by) an abbreviation for a synonym of firm as a noun.

23a Suspect put everything back in the hands of master criminal (5,1,3)
SMELL A RAT: Suspect here is a verb. Place a reversal of a synonym of everything inside an anagram (criminal) of MASTER.

25a Awful manager runs board that has lost its leader (9)
EXECRABLE: An abbreviated word for a (senior) manager (often preceded by “chief”), the abbreviation for Runs and a board without its initial letter.

26a Female returned home, having eaten nothing in the hours before noon (5)
NAOMI: Reverse the usual two-letter adverb meaning at home and insert (having eaten) the abbreviation for the Latin “before noon” containing the letter representing nothing.

28a A lot of my cans had dents in the middle (4)
MANY: My from the clue goes around (cans) the middle litters of hAd and deNts.

29a Good article covering a band convention (9)
GATHERING: Start with the abbreviation for Good. Add the definite article and place A from the clue between them. Append a band in the sense of a loop.


1d Like being included in nonsense banter (5)
ROAST: A two-letter synonym of like like as a conjunction goes inside some nonsense or rubbish.

2d The rise of one hugely admired setter? (3)
DOG: Reverse a revered figure. The question mark indicates a definition by example.

3d A world-renowned restaurant, mostly terrible? That’s unusual (9)
ANOMALOUS: A from the clue, a famous Danish restaurant (who knew!) and a synonym of terrible without (mostly) its last letter

4d Fabric is soft and easily torn (7)
PAISLEY: Follow a musical abbreviation for soft with an anagram (torn) of EASILY:

5d Was popular on social media, but later ultimately died out (7)
TRENDED: Put together the final letters of buT and lateR and append a synonym of died out or finished.

7d Somewhere to sit while vicars worked (6-5)
SWIVEL CHAIR: Anagram (worked) of the preceding two words.

8d Unsafe level of fighting with nasty rogues (9)
DANGEROUS: Append an anagram (nasty) of ROGUES to a level of proficiency in martial arts.

9d River crossed by top swimmers (4)
CARP: Insert the abbreviation for River (crossed by) into a synonym of top in the sense of better as a verb.

13d Sly faculty official stealing limitless times from a mathematician? (11)
ARCHIMEDEAN: Insert the inside letters (limitless) of tIMEs between synonym of sly and a senior official at a university or church.

15d Whimsical, hilarious person said this may smooth over some cracks! (4,5)
FACE CREAM: Homophones (said) of a synonym of whimsical or elfish and an informal word for a hilarious person.

17d Independent country importing fish (9)
FREELANCE: Insert (importing) some slippery fish into a neighbouring country.

19d Boy upset, say, devouring airline food (7)
NOSEBAG: Reverse a male offspring and append our usual say or for example into which is inserted the abbreviation for our national airline.

20d Current head of state without a passport? (7)
PRESENT: Remove ID (without passport) from a head of state

22d Ingredient for stew is fine, occasionally great (4)
OKRA: Follow a two-letter fine or satisfactory with occasional letters of gReAt.

24d Gizmo perhaps needs light cleaning at the back (5)
THING: A synonym of light or slender and the final letter (at the back) of cleaninG.

27d Charm on show during job interview (3)
OBI: Hidden in the clue (during)

Many thanks Gila, my winners are 14,16&23a plus 7d. Which ones were atop your podium?





23 comments on “Toughie No 3069

  1. I thought this was going to be a quickie but the lower half proved more tricky than the top. Excellent clues – I particularly liked 16a [very contemporary – to me at least] and 26 & 28 across, both of which used clever constructions to create lovely smooth surfaces.
    Thanks to Gila and to SL for the blog.

  2. Enjoyed this a lot. A bit more fun than the back-pager & only taking a tad longer to complete. 9d&14a my last 2 in & involving a bit of a head scratch. I did know the Danish restaurant having read of its impending closure & their eye watering prices. Only an inexcusable failure to twig the why of the first 3 letters at 11a spoilt the exam paper. 16a my fav.
    Thanks to Gila & to Stephen

  3. Light but hugely enjoyable throughout – delighted I remembered 27d as spotted the lurker instantly! Some lovely clueing and great surface reads. Hon Mentions for me to 12a, 15a, 23a, 3d, 7d and COTD 15d.

    1 / 3

    Many thanks to Gila and to Stephen

  4. A gentle but enjoyable Toughie – thanks to Gila and SL.
    I’d never heard of the ‘world-renowned’ restaurant so 3d needed a bit of reverse engineering and Google verification.
    I registered ticks for 11a, 15a and 16a but my favourite, by a country mile, was 15d.

  5. I found this very friendly to begin with and then it got trickier.

    Thanks to Gila for the enjoyable crossword and Stephen for the blog

  6. What a thoroughly enjoyable crossword – as was the one from this setter that appeared elsewhere yesterday.
    My only slight doubt was over the definition of 4d as a fabric – it’s a pattern on same to my eyes although the BRB does have ‘an article made from same’ so I guess that’s almost acceptable.
    Biggest ticks here went to 1,16&23a plus 3d – I did know of the restaurant because it’s been featured on Masterchef before now. The offerings look a bit too ‘nouvelle cuisine’ for me but there’s certainly a huge amount of time that goes into their preparation – I have no doubt the prices reflect that!

    Many thanks to Gila and also to Stephen for the review.

  7. Gentle fun. The restaurant was new to me, but as the Waterside Inn and the Fat Duck didn’t quite fit I eliminated the locals.

    Thanks to Gila and Stephen.

  8. I don’t like clues where you have little chance of working out the answer through the wordplay unless you have an in-depth knowledge, in this case, of obscure Danish restaurants. That clue certainly took the shine of an otherwise pleasingly straightforward puzzle that was fun to complete. 16a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Gila and SL.

  9. Add me to the list of not having heard of the restaurant went in unparsed. The were some really difficult clues but I had enough checkers to complete. Favourite was 17d as I spent most of my career as one. Thanks to Gila and SL. I might have time to do the back pager tonight but somehow I doubt it.

  10. I seem to be with majority today. Quick out of traps before pace eased a fair bit. A couple of tricky solves eventually opened up the rest. Good fun. Thanks to Gila and StephenL.

  11. Beyond me but I enjoyed reading the revue and comments
    I don’t understand 18a. Is a rimson a delinquent. Surely not.

  12. After not doing very well with the back pager today, I decided to venture here and try my luck. OMG, first three across answers went right in… now that is more like it. Of course I didn’t romp to the finish, and needed several hints, but found this much more enjoyable. And no, I didn’t get 13d unaided. Thanks to Gil’s and StephenL.

    1. Well done, BL. I’ve found that some of the Toughies can prove to be very doable – just have to admit defeat where others are concerned!

  13. We got 3d from definition and checkers as had never heard of the ‘famous’ restaurant. Everything else sorted and enjoyed. Agree that 15d is the stand-out favourite.
    Thanks Gila and SL.

  14. Got a flying start before cooking duties interrupted me, progress after was a bit slower but I got there in the end. The fifteens a+d were great but I will give the honours to 15a just for SL’s music choice
    Thanks to Gila too.

  15. I did enjoy this and managed to finish with a fair amount of obvious guesswork and electronic research, but I still don’t understand the parsing of 15d. Is it me being particularly thick today? Any further guidance might make me feel less stupid please!!

    1. Hi Suzy,
      I saw it as being two homophones – the first being ‘fey’ and the second ‘scream’. Does that help?

  16. Obvious now you point it out! Thank you Jane and Huntsman. I really lost the plot there!

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