Toughie 3245 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3245

Toughie No 3245 by Kcit
Hints and tips by ALP

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

As a hack, I’ve loved interviewing authors. They’re (generally) intelligent, they spend way too much time on their own so they’re often girlishly chatty and, most importantly, they always say yes to a sit-down because they’ve invariably got a book to promote. I’m equally fascinated by crossword setters. Reading up on Kcit, I was immediately drawn to a chap who went – in one breath – from describing his fear of an empty grid as “horror vacui” to his “squeee!” (sic) when he spotted someone tackling one of his puzzles on the Tube. From the ridiculous to the sublime. Marvellous. And this was certainly breezy, with a fair few insertions, the odd deletion and just four anagrams. Have at it!

PS As Gazza rightly points out below, there is some gentle trickery afoot in the first and last four across.


1a Silky cloth recalled a top article from Paris (6)
ALPACA: A + top (hat?) + one of the usual French articles, reversed/recalled.

4a Book trendy holiday resort? (8)
BRIGHTON: B(ook) + trendy (in a woke way, perhaps?).

9a Minister left in church, one enthralled by Catholic (6)
CLERIC: L(eft) in the usual church + the usual one inside (enthralled by) the usual Catholic.

10a Come down and stay put, idiot! (8)
DIPSTICK: Come down/duck + stay there (ie, don’t twist!) This cropped up just the other day. Do setters meet up every week and challenge each other to set the same word? I’m guessing some of them do.

11a Someone known for pushing son is unusually pushy (8)
SISYPHUS: S(on) + IS + PUSHY, unusually.

13a Celebrity drawn to accept information (6)
LEGEND: Drawn/guided outside (accepting) the usual three-letter info.

15a I’d rally with a spoof, possibly the occasion just passed? (5,5,3)
APRIL FOOL’S DAY: IDRALLY+ASPOOF, possibly. Thank goodness that’s over for another year! For some reason, the wrong image is attached to this clip (if anyone prefers Selena to Loudon you are, of course, dead to me) but this is the only live version I could find.

18a What captures dramatic agile shot? (7,6)

22a One’s followed rivers entering coastal location (6)
QUARRY: Two R(iver)s inside a dock(side area).

24a Try to secure mark of rank, not initially for cap? (8)
HEADGEAR: Try (in court) secures a distinguishing mark (of honour?) missing its first letter (not initially).

26a Gone over first of flowers in morning moisture lots (1,4,3)
A GOOD FEW: Gone/past + O(ver) + early damp, holding F(flowers).

27a Telegraph’s leader, probing expensive Times, rejected – not suitable for all (1-5)
X-RATED: T(elegraph) inside expensive/pricey + the symbol for times, reversed/rejected.

28a Agent‘s failure, coming in too soon, not leaving at the outset (8)
EMISSARY: Failure (ie, not a hit) inside too soon/before time, minus L(eaving).

29a One dead-set on leaving zone frequently (6)
ZEALOT: Z(on)E + often (1,3).


1d Hail charge being added to bill (6)
ACCOST: Bill (the usual account) + charge/price.

2d Group carrying off Fleet Street joke about knight (5,4)
PRESS GANG: Print journalists en masse + joke/crack, with knight (chess) inserted.

3d One may prepare potatoes well (7)
CHIPPER: Double definition. A device (I’d say a person, too, but Chambers doesn’t agree!) that makes French fries and well/hearty.

5d Control and rule after ousting Premier from Government (4)
REIN: The usual rule, minus G(overnment).

6d Victorian author‘s line supporting question in set (7)
GASKELL: L(ine) supports/comes below question (as verb), inside the usual set (hair?). You’re looking for the author of North and SouthZzz.

7d Feature of steely cord? (5)
TWINE: What the word “steely” has, expressed (4,1). I thought this was fun.

8d No scope for this, uncovered by detective (5,3)
NAKED EYE: Uncovered/bare + a (private) detective. I didn’t love the definition but it’s plucked almost word from word from Chambers so what do I know?

12d Limits to unearthing flower in a bad way (6)
UGLILY: U(nearthin)G + a (typically white) flower. A truly hideous word!

14d American author adopting crazy hair treatment (6)
POMADE: One of our usual US authors outside (adopting) crazy/potty.

16d I called out, receiving cheers in a manner of speaking (9)
DIALECTAL: ICALLED, out, around the usual cheers/thanks.

17d Sufficient promotional material provided before match (8)
ADEQUATE: The usual promotion/commercial + be equal.

19d Storms I encountered in equatorial weather (7)
TIRADES: I from the clue inside equatorial winds = storms of another nature.

20d Back European from part of Scandinavia Germany invaded (7)
ENDORSE: E(uropean) + an adjectival Norwegian, with D(eutschland) invading.

21d Believe censor after censor’s gutted (6)
CREDIT: C(enso)R + censor/amend.

23d Dip into detailed epic tale about love (5)
AIOLI: Epic + (tall) tale written as two words (2,3) missing the last letter/detailed, encompassing the usual (tennis) love. With thanks to Gazza, Jonners and halcyon – this is OF COURSE Homer’s epic tale, missing its last letter, reversed/about, with the usual love (tennis) inserted INTO it. A great clue, to be fair … when correctly parsed!

25d Some game much loved in radio broadcasts (4)
DEER: Homophone of “much loved” = game (animals).

I can’t envisage you clever lot having any problems with this jaunt. 4a made me smile gently and I rather liked the elegantly simple 11a but 7d gets my vote. How did you get on?

23 comments on “Toughie 3245
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  1. Not too tricky but enjoyable – thanks to Kcit and ALP.
    15a probably explains why Kcit has moved from his usual Thursday haunt to a Tuesday.
    I took the ‘detailed epic tale’ in 23d to be Homeric.
    There’s something going on in the grid based on the initial/last letters of the first four and the last four across answers.
    Top clues for me were 29a, 2d, 3d and 7d.

    1. You are, of course, absolutely right – there is indeed summat going on! I always forget to look for these things. Oops and thanks, Gazza.

  2. Gentle fun although I did consult google to check 11a. I also though Homer for 23d. Favourite was 7d.

    Thanks to Kcit and ALP.

  3. Reasonably light for a Toughie but still loads to enjoy. I missed the letter sequence top and bottom, which, upon discovery, made it even more entertaining. 7d was clever, but my favourite was 29a.

    Thanks to Kcit and ALP.

  4. Didn’t spot the something going on in the first & last 4 of the across clues needless to say & couldn’t parse 23d correctly having missed A1 for epic. 7d was another bung in & not sure I get it even having read the hint but otherwise ok. 27&29a were my top 2.
    Thanks to Kcit & to ALP for another entertaining review – went all in on an appearance for Dapper Dan & was tempted to punt a win double on The Who featuring at 8d (real music….)

    1. Spot on, Huntsman. The Who only just missed the cut. Banging track. Quadrophenia very nearly popped up for 4a, too!
      As for 7d, does this help at all?

      Characteristic of Huntsman to assume new identity? (7)

  5. Some really sneaky stuff snuck into an otherwise rather straightforward puzzle. 29a is a cracker, 7d is exceptionally sneaky and 23d [accepting the Homeric parsing] is brilliant. I don’t think it works your way ALP – you have “into” to explain and Kcit doesn’t do redundant words.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Kcit for the puzzle.

    1. Apologies to all my betters, and there are many! 23d is, of course, a much cleverer clue than I gave it credit for. I had indeed dismissed the “into” quite wrongly as a link. I will amend forthwith and hang my head in shame..

  6. This took me a little longer than most Tuesdays but I got there in the end. I see what Gazza means by something’s going on in the top and bottom 4 across clues. He’s got his wxyz together in the centre of the bottom four. Although I answered 7D I couldn’t parse it. I’m still at a loss to parse 23D even though I had the answer. I liked the clever and timely 15A and my favourite was 18A, again cleverly worded I thought.
    Many thanks to ALP for the enlightenment and Kcit for the enjoyment.

  7. Lovely straightforward puzzle, enough about it to justify being on an inside page, early in the week. Some nice tricks on show. Highlights for me were 22a, 2d, 14d & 23d. Cannot see anything going on in the corners with those 8 clues, but can see how the ends of the left side across clues work with the beginning letters of the right side clues. I’d thought a pangram was possible, but was not to be.

    Many thanks to Kcit and ALP

    1. I just automatically assume ALP is the guru but this is a rare occasion he led me down a blind alley – A1 for epic nowt to do with it. It’s the Ilia(d) detailed in reverse. I can never remember how to spell the dip either – tasty mind.

  8. Took me a great deal longer than others have mentioned but I rather enjoyed the ride. Top two here were the pushy fellow and the amount of promotional material.
    Don’t know much about Lebanese singers but I do love that piece of music – can someone remind me where I’ve probably come across it?

    Thanks to Kcit with his nod to 1st April and to ALP for the review.

        1. I’m not sure, sorry. I was introduced to it by Andy Kershaw 20 odd years ago but it has almost certainly featured on screen. A question for our film buff Huntsman, possibly?

            1. Apologies, I’ve led you both astray with my reference to a possible film. The melody is actually a piece written by Rodrigo for the classical guitar, Concierto de Aranjuez. No excuse, I even have it on a CD!

  9. As usual I made harder work of this than most. I had a slow start, a slow middle and a slow end. I needed the hint to parse 7d and 23d and I’ve read it, I never thought to reverse it. Enjoyable once finished. Favourite was 26a. Thanks to Kcit and ALP.

  10. When we got to 15a we realised why we had a setter who usually appears later in the week, but still totally missed the little alphabet game that was going on in the grid.
    Certainly a most enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Kcit and ALP.

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