Toughie No 3129 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3129

Toughie No 3129 by Gila

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a very pleasant South Devon coast where thankfully the oppressive heat of last week has lifted.

Gila, a setter whose puzzles I always seem to enjoy, gets things underway on this side of the house this week. I thought it accessible and a lot of fun and would have rated it slightly higher if I hadn’t had to type in “the abbreviation for” so often.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Marketing policy limiting a sugary product (7)
PRALINE: A two-letter abbreviation for marketing and a synonym of policy or strategy go around (limit) A from the clue.

8a Retrospective report about international web merchant (1-6)
E-TAILER: A reversal (retrospective) of a synonym of report or tell around the abbreviation for International.

10a A fortune’s dished out to make a horror film (9)
NOSFERATU: Anagram (dished out) of A FORTUNE’S

11a Whence cheetah perhaps came and took shelter round the middle of one island (5)
HINDI: Not looking for a country here but the language from which the word cheetah is derived. Place a word meaning took shelter or concealed oneself around the middle letter of oNe and append the abbreviation for Island.

12a Collection of books containing standard, illusionary works? (2,3)
OP ART: The abbreviation for some biblical books around a synonym of standard in the sense of average.

13a Cooked breast of partridge ultimately providing a Sunday lunch option (5,4)
ROAST BEEF: Anagram (cooked) of BREAST OF plus the final letter (ultimately) of partridgE. Vegetarians look away

15a After close to twelve drinks, journalist slipped away (7)
ELAPSED: A charade of the final letter of twelvE plus a synonym of drinks as a verb and the usual two-letter abbreviation for a senior journalist.

17a Fighter told: choose a potential exit (7)
PICADOR : Although the “sport” repulses me the clue made me laugh. Homophones (told) of synonyms of choose and a potential exit (from a room say) are placed around A from the clue.

18a Animal badly in trouble on branch (9)
ARMADILLO: Start with a three-letter synonym of branch, then place a synonym of badly in a medical sense inside a synonym of trouble or fuss. The animal not as badly in trouble as the one above.

20a Awful covers group initially producing music that’s not for dancing! (5)
DIRGE: A synonym of awful or dreadful around (covers) the initial letter of Group.

21a Old station mostly used for trade fairs (5)
EXPOS: A preposition meaning old or former and a station minus its last letter.

23a Patrons craftily elect to take on right to retain property (9)
CLIENTELE: Place an anagram (craftily) of ELECT around a right to retain or a charge on a property.

24a Come together and create magic in the end, somehow (7)
ACCRETE: Anagram (somehow) of CREATE and the final letter of magiC.

25a Jazz fan welcoming simple form of entertainment (7)
CABARET: A three-letter informal word (probably American in origin, that I’ve only ever encountered in crosswordland) for a jazz enthusiast around a synonym of simple or basic.


1d Almost everything getting shut in till brings about unnecessary panic (5,5)
FALSE ALARM: Place a synonym of everything minus its last letter plus one of shut or make watertight inside a synonym of till in the sense of cultivate.

2d Piece — dry on the inside — split in half (6)
BISECT: A synonym of a (small) piece around a synonym of dry in a sense of not sweet.

3d Provided service, say, for each upcoming broadcast (8)
REPAIRED: A reversal (upcoming) of a three-letter preposition meaning for each and a synonym of broadcast or shown.

4d Jellyfish in ocean above America (6)
MEDUSA: An abbreviated sea (some may question if it’s actually an ocean) is followed by an abbreviated way referring to America.

5d Sad way to refer to being brought up (8)
PATHETIC: Follow a (small) way in the sense of route with a reversal of a word meaning refer to or quote.

6d Pastry dish left in cooler (4)
FLAN: The abbreviation for Left inside a “cooler” or ventilator perhaps.

7d Recycle a phone and reclaim photography equipment (7,6)
PINHOLE CAMERA: Anagram (recycle) of A PHONE and RECLAIM.

9d Stay in control with respect to the hard stuff? (13)
REINFORCEMENT: Start with a synonym of control (a horse maybe) add a three-letter word that could mean “with respect to” and then some “hard stuff” used in the building industry. Very smart indeed.

14d Bush Senior close to admitting blunder (10)
ELDERBERRY: Nothing to do with the former president, we can ignore the false capitalisation. A synonym of senior is followed by a two-letter preposition meaning close or next to, into which is inserted a synonym of blunder as a verb. Neat.

16d Bypass succeeded, despite going wrong (8)
SIDESTEP: The abbreviation for Succeeded and an anagram (going wrong) of DESPITE

17d Show houses in and around Quebec? (8)
PROVINCE: A synonym of show in the sense of demonstrate placed around (houses) IN from the clue and a single-letter abbreviation for around. I like this.

19d Large amount of Indian money covers principal valet (6)
LACKEY: An amount of Indian money equivalent to one hundred thousand rupees is followed by (covers in a down clue) a synonym of principal or most important.

20d Basic painting featuring Northern European river (6)
DANUBE: Place a basic or crude method of painting around (featuring) the abbreviation  for North and append the abbreviation for European to the result.

22d Power and fantastic speed (4)
PACE: The abbreviation for Power and a synonym of fantastic or very accomplished.

Thanks Gila, I particularly liked 1,9,14&17d. Which ones appealed to you?




20 comments on “Toughie No 3129

  1. A very enjoyable Tuesday Toughie but the 4d Ocean is a Sea and there was a big groan when Google confirmed the ‘source’ of cheetah in 11a – 2.5*/4*

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 18a, 2d, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.

    Thanks to Gila and StephenL.

  2. Great fun, amusing clueing, surfaces and answers. Hon Mentions to 11a, 13a, 17a & 14d, but a dozen more could have joined those on the list.

    1* / 4*

    Many thanks to Gila and to Stephen

  3. Lots to like in this most entertaining puzzle that was full of humour and smart, inventive clueing. 17a, 14 and 17d form my podium this damp afternoon.

    My thanks to Gila and SL.

  4. Very light and great fun although I failed to finish as I was completely perplexed by 19d.

    I share Senf’s reservation about 4d: the Med is a sea not an ocean.

    With plenty of excellent clues to choose from, 14d gets my vote as favourite.

    Many thanks to Gila and SL.

  5. An enjoyable and not too taxing Toughie – thanks to Gila and SL.
    Top clues for me were 5d, 9d, 14d and 17d.

  6. Preferred this one to the back-pager & pleasingly straightforward. The cheetah etymology & the oodles of Indian dosh required investigation but otherwise problem free. Shame about the 4d boo-boo but it didn’t spoil my enjoyment. Nice to see 10a in a puzzle too. Top 2 for me 13a&14d.
    Thanks to Gila & to Stephen

  7. Some nice touches of humour from our setter and – much as I agree with our blogger about the so called ‘sport’ in 17a the answer had to win a podium spot where it is joined by 5,9,14&20d.

    Thanks to Gila and to Stephen for the review.

  8. Splendid entertainment for a Tuesday Toughie. I had a few bung-ins which were parsed afterwards. The Indian money being one. 9d gets my COTD vote.
    My thanks to Gila and StephenL

  9. Lots to like here and just right for Tuesday. I thought “Whence cheetah” in 11a quite inventive [after a bit of head scratching] and 17d was a cracker too. Re the 3-letter word in 25a – I’m old enough and daft enough to have lived thro’ the jazz scene of the 60s and 70s and I only ever heard one person use the term – and he was a right dork who didn’t know a flugelhorn from a hole in the ground.
    Thanks to Gila and StephenL [but please, no more BOCult!]

    1. I wasn’t planning to use them today but I couldn’t resist as that’s such a good song. I’ll give them a well-deserved rest for a few weeks.

  10. Needed the hint for 11a as I couldn’t parse any word that fitted and the hint to parse 19d and I’m not really any the wiser. Favourite was 14d. Thanks to Gila and SL.

  11. Our solving was delayed somewhat by 11a and 19d both of which required a little research, so our difficulty level was higher than others are reporting here.
    Nevertheless an enjoyable solve for us with some interesting factoids from the above mentioned clues to try and remember.
    Thanks Gila and SL.

      1. Thank You Stephen;
        Do know whether the notifications function (of replies to comments) will be resumed on this site please ?

        1. Hi Robin, unfortunately I don’t know the answer to that, I only get notifications on the puzzles that I blog, that’s how I’m able to reply to your (or anyone else’s) late posts.

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