Toughie 3078 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3078

Toughie No 3078 by Musaeus

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Toughie Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

A fairly typical Musaeus Toughie. Musaeus is one of those setters, just like Chalicea, where you can be certain that they have found the synonyms or definitions in the BRB, so if you aren’t the blogger, you don’t necessarily need to check the dictionary yourself!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Froth seeing somewhat crazy second bed (6-4)
CUCKOO-SPIT An informal way of saying slightly crazy, the abbreviation for second and an informal name for a bed

6a    Knight of the Garter embraced by monarch (4)
KING A preposition meaning by ’embraced’ by the abbreviation for Knight of the Garter

9a    A part of unusually rich poem (5)
LYRIC Hidden in (a part of) unusualLY RICh

10a    Exciting ten days for us followers? (9)
ENTOURAGE An anagram (exciting) of TEN followed by a two-word phrase meaning ‘days for us’

12a    Coat with this material is not commonly worn on impulse at the front (8,5)
EMULSION PAINT An anagram (worn) of ON IMPULSE goes before (at the front) of an informal (commonly) way of saying is not

14a    OK, apparently cricket ground welcomes runs (8)
APPROVAL The abbreviation for apparently and a [London] cricket ground ‘welcomes’ the cricket abbreviation for runs

15a    Master flying jet (6)
STREAM An anagram (flying) of MASTER

17a    Near fine upper class (3-3)
TOP-HAT A preposition meaning near and a slang adjective meaning fine

19a    Chauffeur maybe found by old hill shrouded in haze (8)
MOTORIST The abbreviation for Old and a hill ‘shrouded’ or inserted in a haze

21a    Leave behind US author with Twitch’s flexing of literal facts (6,7)
POETIC LICENCE A synonym for leave in the sense of permission and a twitch go behind an American poet

24a    Growing feature of avenue? Earth perhaps and endless grass (5,4)
PLANE TREE A celestial body such as Earth and a type of grass without its last letter (endless)

25a    Marching staff keep playing (5)
BATON If split 3,2 this marching staff would mean to keep playing [cricket]

26a    Bank reversed charge, right (4)
REEF A charge and the abbreviation for right reversed

27a    Tart‘s imagery focusing on appeal (10)
CHEESECAKE A type of dessert (tart) or imagery focusing on sexual appeal Guess which definition I’m going to illustrate!


1d    Sniffles caught by elderly (4)
COLD The cricket abbreviation for caught and a synonym for elderly

2d    Vehicle, very close to aggressive and amiss, to swerve thus (5,2)
CARVE UP A vehicle, the abbreviation for Very, the letter at the ‘close’ of aggressivE and a simple way of saying amiss

3d    Cliched start in a poem — continue working (4,4,1,4)
ONCE UPON A TIME An anagram (working) of IN A POEM CONTINUE

4d    Nursery worker‘s flapping made sense for the most part (8)
SEEDSMAN An anagram (flapping) of MADE and most of SENSe

5d    Name dropped in explosive prefatory matter (5)
INTRO Drop the abbreviation for name from a short form of a type of explosive

7d    Conceive fancy peace song? (7)
IMAGINE A triple definition clue, the first two relating to synonyms of the solution; the third being the name of a famous peace song

8d    Visitor I finally defeat is to reckon without specific thought (10)
GUESTIMATE A visitor, I from the clue, and a verb meaning to finally defeat in a game of chess

11d    Powerless to grasp snub of utterly absorbing read (13)
UNPUTDOWNABLE A synonym for powerless into which is inserted (to grasp) a way of saying  snub or humiliate

13d    Refuse when recycled appears wet (5,5)
WASTE PAPER An anagram (recycled) of APPEARS WET

16d    Firm‘s do supported by island (8)
CONCRETE Do or swindle supported, or followed, by (in a Down solution) a Greek island

18d    Eat before appointment (7)
PREDATE A prefix meaning before and an appointment

20d    Unfortunately I retain an inclination to indolence (7)
INERTIA An anagram (unfortunately) of I RETAIN

22d    Wood that forms the braces of William Tell’s bow (5)
LARCH The letter found twice (braces in the sense of pairs) in both William and Tell followed by a verb meaning to bend in a curve (bow)

23d    Vocally opposed to advanced payment (4)
ANTE This advanced payment is a homophone (vocally) of a preposition meaning opposed to


14 comments on “Toughie 3078

  1. As usual with CS reviews I’d go a star harder! I just couldn’t see 1a until nearer the end so went round the houses. I particularly liked 24a, 7d and 22d which was my last in. As well as “pairs” double els are “braces” in their own right -as I now dimly recall from school algebra.
    Thanks to Muses and CS.

  2. A decent puzzle but not one that will last long in the memory – thanks to Musaeus and CS.
    The clue that I liked best was 22d.

  3. I’m afraid I indulged in a fair bit of ‘well, I suppose so’ as I worked through the clues and certainly needed CS’s assistance when it came to the parsing of 17a – what a strange piece of slang terminology for ‘fine’!
    The answer that worked best for me was 18d.

    Thanks to Musaeus and to CS for the review.

  4. Great fun, a most enjoyable Toughie even if it was towards the gentle end of the spectrum with some odd surface reads. I do hope some of the backpage-only company give this accessible puzzle a go. 17a was a head-scratcher and, like Jane, I do appreciate CS’s explanation for the answer on which I had settled as my LOI.

    COTD for me was 21a, with runner-up 22d.

    Many thanks indeed to Musaeus and CS

  5. Completed with a modicum of electronic assistance.

    Top clues for me were 24a and 16d.

    Ta to setter and hinter for keeping me occupied on this v. hot afternoon. Just thankful that we are not further west or south.

  6. All very straightforward until 17a – it was a case of take your pick from man, hat or cat & fortunately picked the right one. Not sure I entirely understand the explanation either. 11d my fav – made me think of Robert
    Thanks to Musaeus & to CS

    1. 17d The solution means upper-class. The first two letters are ‘near’ and the rest of the letters are a slang word meaning fine, excellent (especially of music) or, when talking about a woman: sexy

      1. Thanks Sue – now I understand Jane’s comment. The slang term a new one on me & can’t say I pegged the first 2 letters as meaning near either

  7. Like others we failed to parse 17a as we had not previously heard of the slang term. Suspect that when used to describe a sexy woman it would often be misinterpreted.
    A pleasant solve for us.
    Thanks Musaeus and CS.

  8. Ultimately defeated by 17a which I had to reveal the answer and I still don’t understand it, I can’t see either synonym and I’ve never heard of the term before. Apart from that the rest was quite solvable although parsing some of them was another thing altogether. I wasn’t sure if 11d was a real word. Favourite was 1a. Thanks to Musaeus and CS.

    1. Near and to are shown as synonyms of each other in Chambers Crossword Dictionary. Phat is in the BRB

  9. I was pleased to nearly finish a toughie! And I really enjoyed it.
    I also struggled with 17a as I’d not heard of the slang for fine. The only one I’m stuck with is 18d as I can’t see the answer as a definition of eat. If anyone should read this late post, I’d be grateful for further explanation.
    Many thanks to Musaeus and crypticsue.

    1. The dictionary defines 18d as ‘to eat, to prey upon’ or ‘to hunt prey’

      The word has been mentioned quite a lot in the current series of Springwatch!

      1. Thank you crypticsue. I kept seeing it as pre-date!!!! I couldn’t see predation in there at all. How silly!! Thank you so much for explaining it to me.

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