Toughie 3136 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3136

Toughie No 3136 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Tricky! A satisfying solve. Seeing the pangram earlier might have helped me decide the correct alternative spelling for the last clue.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Route home with party girl once (3,4,4)

WAY BACK WHEN: A (3,4) ‘route home’, the abbreviation for with, and a ‘party girl’

9a    Done with shop sale complete? (3,2,3,6)

OUT OF THE WINDOW: The shop sale might be complete when items on display are gone

11a    Executives planning to include retro range (4)

ALPS: Reverse hidden ( … to include retro)

12a/13a Writer who had sisters respond to alarm (5,4)

ACTON BELL: Split (3,2,4), the penname of a writer with sister writers would mean ‘respond to alarm’

16a    Before Teuton misses his starter, pub grub fills it! (5,3)

INNER MAN: Another word for Teuton without the first letter (misses his starter), but first (before) a 3-letter pub

17a     Following on after wicket for one bowler, I suppose (4,2)

WHAT IF: The abbreviation for following comes after the abbreviation for wicket, something a bowler exemplifies (for one), and I from the clue

19a     Poor punk with dunce’s cap standing out from assembled clodhoppers? (6)

SCHLEP: An anagram (punk) of POOR plus the first letter (cap) of dunce are removed (standing out) from an anagram (assembled) of CLODHOPPERS

20a    The player twin heirs both expect to be (4,4)

LEFT HALF: A sporting position would also describe twin heirs’ inheritance expectation

22a/23a Poet cross about charge carried by nude dancing (4,5)

EZRA POUND: A 2-letter cross or hybrid breed goes about a criminal charge, all inside (carried
by) an anagram (dancing) of NUDE

24a    Black and, on far edge, 15 step (4)

JETE: A 3-letter black and the last letter (on far edge) of 15d

27a    Perhaps Jane Eyre read carefully after opening letter? (9,5)

CHARACTER STUDY: A word meaning ‘to read carefully’ comes after another word for letter (which comes first, opening)

28a    At terminals, a computer we will split by hours (4-7)

TIME-SHARERS: The last letters of 3 words in the clue (at teminals … ) go inside (will split) another word for ‘(multiplied) by’ and the 3-letter abbreviation for hours


2d     Knock single beer off celebrity trailer (1,4,2,3,4)

A BUMP IN THE ROAD: A (1,3,4) phrase for single beer that’s off, a 4-letter celebrity and a 2-letter trailer

3d/14d     Deficient medic takes so long without right device (4-5)

BLOW-DRYER: A 3-letter word for deficient and the abbreviation for doctor are contained within (takes … without) a word meaning ‘so long’, then the abbreviation for right

4d    Being from another world, one may set about sea creature (8)

CETACEAN: A being from another world, a one in cards, all contained in (set about) another word for may

5d    Guitarist on tour of Europe, we assume (6)

WEEDON: Going around (on tour of) the abbreviation for Europe, we have WE from the clue and a word meaning assume or put on

6d    Leave old mate the ticket (4)

EXIT:    An ‘old mate’ and ‘the ticket’

7d    One displays opening times over the coming days (6,8)

ADVENT CALENDAR: A cryptic definition with plays on ‘opening’ and ‘coming’

8d    “You can’t dance with us” in message from outside port (3,4,4)

TWO LEFT FEET: Inside (in) a message now called an X-post, we have a 2-letter word meaning from, all outside a word meaning port

10d    Architect roughs out loops to inscribe plinth (5,6)

BASIL SPENCE: A word meaning “roughs out” or “sketches provisionally” with the first three letters cycled to the end (loops) goes inside (to inscribe) a 4-letter word for plinth

15d/26d Festival rates ruined shipping line (5,4)

WHITE STAR: A Festival after Easter and an anagram (ruined) of RATES

18d    Writing up a great deal (8)

PENNORTH: A word meaning writing and up on a map

21a    Scholar passes out from Bible Circle at last (6)

GOETHE: How you might expect to read “passes out” or “leaves” in the Bible, and the last letter of circle

25a    Turning up to case prosecutor brains judge (4)

QADI: Going around (to case) a 2-letter prosecutor, we have the reversal (turning up) of an abbreviation for brains or intelligence

My favourites today are 20a for lovely simple elegance and the all-in-one at 19a for clever wordplay. Which clues did you like?

12 comments on “Toughie 3136

  1. Elgar with his hob-nailed boots back on. I struggled most with the top quarter, failing [to my shame] to see the guitarist [I had a BW teeshirt once!] until 1a was finally cracked. Having “omit” at 6d didn’t help much. Failed to parse 28a. Best clues for me were 22/23a, 2d [LOL when the penny dropped] 4d and 10d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  2. Oof! Yes, he’s back to his best (worst?!) – I really thought I wasn’t going to finish this. In fact, for a few minutes I wasn’t sure I was even going to get started, and it was a slow solve. I failed to parse 9a (which I’m still not totally convinced by), 28a (totally my fault), 8d and 10d (oooh, ‘pencils’!). Never heard of the architect and I had forgotten the name of the less famous brother of the more famous sisters, so that didn’t help. Well, I’ve definitely been given a work out. Time for a lie down.

  3. One thing I like about elgar his care in setting. For example, this grid is not so well connected between quadrants. So elgar makes sure he has 4 clues that cover more than one quadrant, and cross references that refer to another quadrant to improve the connectivity. In addition the pangram is a solution aid. I also like that his double entries are inevitably in a single row or column and symmetrically distributed. Not many setters bother to do that. I’m doing Paul in the guardian now, and his stuff is all over the place.

  4. Slow but steady progress came to a grinding halt with 8 to go, mainly in the SW. Thanks to Dutch for the hints and to Elgar for making my brain hurt.

    My favourite (which I didn’t get) was 28a and least favourite was the architect who I didn’t know and could never have guessed from the cryptic bits (would have been a tough clue even if he had used pencils directly instead of roughs).

    I guess the holidays are over.

  5. As is often the case with Elgar, I spent quite some time parsing after inserting the answer, a number of which I needed Dutch to come to my rescue, e. g. 9a. Even with the longer answers in, this was a slog. It didn’t help not knowing the architect or the poet (I doubt I would have got ZO as a cross anyway?) Towel thrown in after a pummelling.
    My thanks to Elgar & Dutch.

  6. “Your score is 21/28” said the DT App. Thanks for the hints for the rest, none of which I’d have got unassisted. Does Elgar have a thing for the Brontes? They turned up in force a few Elgars ago as well.

  7. I don’t think I’m breaking any rules if I say that I spent all of yesterday and part of this morning on this and still needed electronic help for the last five. I knew the guitarist, the architect and the poet but had never heard of the judge and would not have thought that 18d was ‘a great deal’.

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