Toughie 3095 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3095

Toughie No 3095 by Artix
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Artix makes a comparatively rare but welcome visit to Toughieland. Thanks to him for a tricky puzzle which I thoroughly enjoyed doing battle with.

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

Across Clues

1a Shrewd narcs trick churchman (10)
ARCHDEACON: assemble an adjective meaning shrewd, the abbreviation for the US Drug Enforcement Agency and a trick or scam.

6a Soldiers facing uniform range of options (4)
MENU: ordinary soldiers and the letter that uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

10a Professional jargon in string of muddling orders (5)
LINGO: hidden.

11a Furniture maker held demo without excessive use of junk (9)
SATINWOOD: a phrasal verb (3,2) meaning ‘held a demo’ and abbreviations for ‘without’ and taking too many drugs.

12a Unconventional, like Kafka? (8)
BOHEMIAN: double definition, the second based on Kafka’s birthplace.

13a Fancy hotel’s residents taking time out (5)
GUESS: residents in a hotel without the physics abbreviation for time.

15a When crossing Roman road, note flies (7)
AVIATES: a synonym of ‘when’ contains the Latin word for road and a note from tonic sol-fa.

17a In essence, he informs Cosa Nostra to kill its capo (7)
RATAFIA: an informal word for someone who informs or betrays and the more usual word for Cosa Nostra without its head. The answer is a liqueur flavoured with almonds (useful to know when you get to 28a).

19a What you feel when you’ve drunk like a fish? (7)
LEGLESS: how fish might be described with regard to their deficiency in the limb department.

21a According to professor, say, she stuffed herself full to the gunwales (7)
SATIATE: homophones of ‘say’ and a phrase (3,3) meaning ‘she stuffed herself’.

22a Concerned with beat, go back over … (5)
RECAP: a preposition meaning ‘concerned with’ and a verb meaning beat or outdo.

24a … musical piece involving harps and trio of yodellers? (8)
RHAPSODY: an anagram (involving) of HARPS and the first three letters of YODellers.

27a Original sort of minestrone failing at The Bull? (9)
INNERMOST: an anagram (original sort) of the letters of MINESTRONe without its last letter (failing or having a shortcoming) could mean at the exact centre of a dartboard.

28a Out to lunch, as 17 is (5)
NUTTY: how the 17a answer could be described.

29a City bash a laugh (4)
DOHA: glue together a festive party and an exclamation (more usually doubled) for a laugh.

30a Prized lab expert reported couple that is stalking dog (5,5)
MARIE CURIE: this lab expert won not one but two Nobel prizes. Start with what sounds like a verb to couple or unite and add the abbreviation for ‘that is’ after a dog.

Down Clues

1d Support answer by student base (4)
AXLE: string together four single-letter abbreviations for a) answer, b) by in maths, c) student and d) the base in logarithms.

2d Big loss hampering those in country sport (9)
CANYONING: an informal word for a big loss or harsh beating contains a literary word meaning ‘those’. I’d never heard of this rural sport.

3d Some cattle wandered about with tail aloft (5)
DROVE: a verb meaning wandered about with its tail letter moved to the top.

4d Diggers Russia used, after crossing borders, to fill waters to the north (7)
AUSSIES: cross out the outer letters of Russia and insert what’s left in the reversal of a word for waters.

5d Take cap off conditioner more frequently (7)
OFTENER: another word for a fabric conditioner without its top letter.

7d Recall vote in favour of blocking First Lady (5)
EVOKE: insert an informal verb to vote in favour of something into the Biblical first lady.

8d Cool press boss understands briefs ousting Eastern PM in 2018 (10)
UNDISMAYED: our usual newspaper boss understand or stands under another word for briefs (in the clothing sense) without the abbreviation for Eastern and the name of our Prime Minister in 2018. They come and go so quickly these days that it’s difficult to keep track.

9/16d Met date after sunset? It was a Hollywoodian farce! (1,5,2,3,5)
A NIGHT AT THE OPERA: Met here is the short name of a concert hall in New York so cryptically the answer could be a date there after sunset. It’s actually the title of a Marx Brothers film.

14d Warbler‘s golden time chasing dog (10)
TAILORBIRD: our usual tincture of gold and a slang word for ‘time inside’ follow a verb to dog or follow.

16d See 9 Down

18d Charlatan botched fur trades (9)
FRAUDSTER: an anagram (botched) of FUR TRADES.

20d Alas, it may grow within song’s intro featuring bow by cellist (7)
SARCOMA: insert a bow or curve between the introductory two letters of SOng  and append the surname of a celebrated cellist. [Thanks to Philbert for providing the correct parsing]. Further update (thanks to halcyon) – it’s the first letter of Song plus an adjective meaning ‘using the bow’ and the cellist.

21d Cricketer from Mumbai, swashbucklingly hitting all sixes, tying record, is the tops! (7)
SHASTRI: an excellent first letters clue identifying an Indian cricketer who once hit six sixes in an over to equal Gary Sobers’s record.

23d Leader of Caribbean island making what some might call duck soup (5)
CINCH: the first letter of Caribbean and a small island make what we might call ‘money for old rope’ and some (specifically North Americans) call duck soup (another Marx Brothers film).

25d Going really fast is such fun? Not entirely (5)
SONIC: start with a phrase (2,4) meaning such fun and drop its last letter.

26d So-called smart bits of Mountain View? (4)
BYTE: this sounds like a verb to smart or sting. Mountain View (new to me) is an area of Silicon Valley where bits are usually found in groups of eight (though a long time ago I worked on a range of computers where they were grouped in sixes).

My ticks today went to 11a, 4d, 9/16d and 21d with my favourite being 30a. Which one(s) appealed to you?


19 comments on “Toughie 3095

  1. I am pleased to see that Gazza and I agree on both the difficulty and enjoyment ratings for this Thursday Toughie

    Many thanks to him and Artix

  2. Enjoyed this and its ghost theme. Struggled to get 2d and 26d, so many thanks to Gazza for his elucidations. Thanks to Artix as well.

  3. Some ingenious clues here. I particularly liked 11a [furniture maker] 8d [understands] and 17a [in essence]. I’d vaguely heard of 2d and it had to be that, but I’d never come across that term for “those” before and spent a while trying to make use of “any” in the middle. And 26d, which I didn’t get, is even more recherché – Mountain View – really! But at least the cricketer was spelled out.
    Thanks to Artix and Gazza.

  4. Excellent puzzle just let down by 2d and 26d – don’t regard the former as a sport and never heard of the place in 26d

    Just a bit annoying not to be able to claim a completion . Thanks to both .

  5. Our blogger mentioned doing battle with this in his preamble, and a battle it certainly was. All fairly clued though, with a couple of new definitions thrown in together with a musician and a cricketer; those were my two favourites, along with 30a.

    Thanks to Artix for the terrific challenge, and to Gazza.

  6. This was most definitely a challenge! I managed about half which gave me enough checkers to struggle through the rest. I needed Gazza to enlighten me on a couple of parsings though.

    For 20d I assumed the ‘intro’ was referring to the first two letters of ‘song’ but it worked out…

    Thank you Artix and Gazza

        1. Well done. I’d never heard of arco but that now makes perfect sense. Now updaying the blog again!

          1. Or there is a cellist called Vihtori Oma, hence s arc oma. Safe to say the answer is correct.

  7. A good half was quite straightforward, the rest not, and I was relieved rather than pleased to complete the grid, even if I could not parse quite all my answers. I felt it was rather less than sporting in too many places – two films that are nearly 100 years old; too much American slang, referencing & even ‘sport’; why the professor?; pick three random letters from the next word; an Asian bird; even googling “cellist” “om” provides no enlightenment; arguably cattle are a drove only when being driven. It felt like a crossword set for the US but published in the UK. I know, grump grump grump!

    4* / 2*

    Thanks Artix, but sorry, this one just wasn’t for me. Thank you also to Gazza.

    1. ‘According to the professor’ (i.e. according to someone announcing) is the homophone indicator in 21a.

  8. Technically a dnf as I was Googling canyoning for the country sport when right answer popped up which I’d never have got. Had to Google Kafka the cellist and duck soup, not heard of 17a, or 14d and needed the hint to parse 26d which was a bung in. Too many obscurities to be enjoyable. I did like 19a. Thanks to Artix for the beating and Gazza.

  9. Is it just me or is Queen in there? At a stretch you can even garble Freddy at 30 across. Just saying!

    1. Very much so! We have names or homophones of the names of each member of Queen contained in 1a, 30a, 8d and 14d, the name of their biggest hit at 12/24a and the name of one of their classic albums at 9/16d.

      1. Well done. That’s something I’d never have spotted because I only know the name of one member of Queen.

      2. Well done, Kelotaph! Am glad somebody mentioned it and I have to confess that I do giggle to myself each time I read 30ac out loud!
        (Incidentally, in 2dn, parsing is “those in country” = YON, and def is just “sport” (both of which come straight out of Chambers)).
        Thanks to all for their (largely) positive comments … much appreciated.

  10. 18 & 1/2 answers in & I’m declaring. Well above my pay grade I fear but may return to it tomorrow as it’s Elgar so will leave the review for the time being. Twigging the Queen theme has helped with the ones I have got but it was painfully slow getting thus far. The movie/album was not surprisingly my fav of the few solved.
    Thanks Artix & in advance to Gazza

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