Toughie 3246 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3246

Toughie  No 3246 by Dharma

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

I found this a particularly difficult crossword for a Wednesday.  One of those where I went from corner to corner with the RH side being filled long before the Left

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a           Paint, maybe not Crown, prepared and laid on thick (7)
OVERDID The first example of misleading capitals in this crossword – although the capital C in crown can mean a brand of paint, here it just means to omit the first letter (crown) from what paint does to a wall, for example, followed by a synonym for prepared

5a           Concentrates as opponent turns the air blue in conversation (7)
FOCUSES Homophones (in conversation) of an enemy and a way of saying turns the air blue

9a           Vim, number one for rinsing in sink (5)
DRIVE The first letter (number one) of Rinsing inserted into a verb meaning to sink or submerge

10a         Oversized American policeman squeezing in right uniform — time to go without? (9)
CORPULENT Not sure why this policeman is American but if you abbreviate him and then insert the abbreviation for Right, follow the result with the letter represented by Uniform in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and a period of going without

11a         Support Kitty taking current approach (10)
STANDPOINT A support and a sum of money (kitty) ‘taking’ the usual two-letter current or fashionable

12a         German guy implicated in nightspot tomfoolery (4)
OTTO Hidden (implicated) in the last two words of the clue

14a         Best date, the one holding ultimate appeal? (7,5)
SUPREME COURT The greatest or most excellent and a verb meaning to date or pay attention to

18a         Large drink, spirit perhaps — and what one may get after a few! (6,6)
DOUBLE VISION A large drink of spirits perhaps and a revelation (spirit perhaps)

21a         Heavy blows, no good for snakes (4)
ASPS Some heavy blows without the abbreviation for Good

22a         Salvation Army lacking a facility finally opened it up (10)
REDEMPTION Remove the A and Y from aRMy (lacking A and facilitY finally) and an anagram (up) of the RM and OPENED IT will provide the solution

25a         Top cook eats these? (5,4)
CREAM TEAS Top in the sense of elite and an anagram (cook) of EATS

26a         Little picture books capturing opponents following international (5)
INSET Follow the abbreviation for International with the books from the second part of the Bible into which is inserted two abbreviated bridge opponents

27a         Mark entertained by some Parisian models (7)
DESIGNS A mark ‘entertained’ by the French (as used in Paris) word for some

28a         Starter of Lancashire cheese excited those using others’ bread? (7)
LEECHES The ‘starter’ of Lancashire and an anagram (excited) of CHEESE


1d           Getting on with rather unusual student taking out first daughter (6)
OLDISH The state of being rather unusual where the abbreviation for student ‘takes out’ the first appearance of the abbreviation for Daughter

2d           Great exercise raised little energy? (6)
EPICAL A reversal (raised) of some school exercise and a description (1,3) of something providing very little energy

3d           Very latest from McDermid perused from cover to cover (10)
DREADFULLY The latest letter of McDermiD and a less formal way of saying perused from cover to cover (4,5)  I was unable to put down the latest Val McDermid book until I had indeed perused it from cover to cover

4d           Butcher‘s end of year fine overturned (5)
DECKO Butcher’s is Cockney rhyming slang for a look.  The solution is [[common or garden] slang for a look.   Abbreviate the last month (end) of the year and follow with a reversal (overturned) of an informal way of saying fine

5d           Pro European celebrities being given titles (9)
FORENAMES Pro or in favour of, the abbreviation for European and some celebrities

6d           Speak seductively to the audience, offering success (4)
COUP A homophone (to the audience) of a verb meaning to speak seductively

7d           Play guitar repetitively, limiting muscle range (8)
SPECTRUM A muscle ‘limited’ by a verb meaning to play the guitar repetitively

8d           Team Spurs essentially ousted from just outside the top three depart (3,5)
SET FORTH A team or group of something and the ‘essential’ letter of spUrs removed from the position just outside the top three

13d         Old politician supporting current Conservative bugs partner (10)
ACCOMPLICE The abbreviation for Old and a politician ‘supporting’ a type of electrical current and the abbreviation for Conservative, followed by some bugs

15d         Judges middle of free Observer and Spectator (9)
REVIEWERS The middle of fREe followed by people who watch (observer and spectator together, but without their misleading capitals)

16d         Attracted to American, cavorted, coming over very forward (8)
ADVANCED Not sure what ‘attracted to’ has to do with the solution, but you need the abbreviation for American and moved about rhythmically (cavorted) into which is inserted (coming over) the abbreviation for Very

17d         Drink with iron — squash? (8)
SUPPRESS A verb meaning to drink and what you do with an iron

19d         Cheap gear, half of college pursuing that! (6)
KITSCH Some gear and the first half of an educational establishment

20d         Marries a French countess, at last admitting appeal (6)
UNITES The French feminine indefinite article and the last letter of countesS ‘admitting’ one of the usual informal names for [sexual] appeal

23d         One who uses evasive words losing wife’s support (5)
EASEL A person who uses evasive words without (losing) the abbreviation for Wife

24d         First hint of scrapper’s face becoming puffed up (4)
SMUG The first ‘hint’ of Scrapper and an informal name for the face


16 comments on “Toughie 3246
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  1. This was an absolute riot: some delightful clues. Garlicky wordplay and nifty definitions. A couple of the surfaces (slightly) niggled (eg 26a), I thought 1a was trying a little too hard (I just don’t love “prepared” for “did”), if you’ve seen one Otto you’ve seen them all, and does 10a (super clue) really need the American? I’d firmly say “no”. But none of this matters – ticks all over the shop. 25a’s just marvellous, 11a’s a winner (I love it when “kitty” isn’t a cat) and 4d’s especially lovely. Huge thanks to Dharma and CS.

  2. I agree with CS! Pretty tough – and the NW corner was the toughest. I failed to parse 22a, took ages to spot the definition at 3d and thought “attracted to” was surplus in 16d. Top clue was the concise 25a which contrasted with the rather “wordy” feeling of the whole.
    Thanks to Dharma and CS.

  3. I’m not used to commenting this early but don’t take that as a sign that I found this straightforward because I didn’t. Unbelievably I managed to parse everything. Favourite was 22a which took some working out. Thanks to Dharma and CS.

  4. My goodness this was tough with lots of head scratching required. I struggled across the finishing line with 22a unparsed, and I can see from the review that I misparsed 15d having assumed that the final S must be an abbreviation for Spectator (for which I couldn’t find any justification).

    I’m not keen on the likes of “crown” or “top” being used as the first letter of an across clue, but they seem generally to be considered acceptable.

    14a was my favourite.

    Many thanks, Dharma. A little less hard next time please. Thanks too to CS.

  5. Good stuff pitched just right for a midweek Toughie – thanks to Dharma and CS.
    Chris Lancaster once told me, in reponse to a clue I submitted to the Puzzles Newsletter, that the Telegraph didn’t allow the use of ‘up’ as an anagram indicator. I’m glad to see, as shown in 22a, that times have changed.
    For my podium I’ve chosen 11a, 14a and 13d.

  6. Couple of ‘hmms’ in the NW corner and I’m not sure that the first two words of the 16d clue are anything other than padding but I did find parts of this puzzle enjoyable.
    Favourite clue was 14a and I also quite liked the iron-rich drink.

    Thanks to Dharma and to CS for the review.

  7. Tough but very nicely clued throughout with some neat misdirection thrown in. I have to agree with some of those above that 14a is a cracking clue and well worth the favourite tag. great fun.

    thanks Dharma for the challenge and to Sue for her blog.

  8. I thought this was fairly tough for a Wednesday. However the wordplay was fair. Although I finished I needed help with the parsing of 22A and 3D. I liked 5 and 11A with favourite being 8D.
    Many thanks to CS and Dharma.

  9. That was tough. Very tough.
    I made a really slow start and then, after a break, things progressed a bit more steadily.
    Some great clues, with 14a probably winning my CoD.
    Thanks to Dharma and CS.

  10. Thanks to blogger and everyone who has commented, very much appreciated.
    Pleased a wide range of clues “mentioned in dispatches”… always a good sign.

  11. Good stuff but, if I may say so, I still think some of the surfaces are lacking. But not 14 a, which is top for me today.

    Thanks Dharma/SL. It’s interesting to watch your style develop, I couldn’t do it.

  12. Popped in to see how to parse 22a. Otherwise no real problems although progress in the NW was bleak for a while. Thanks to CS & Dharma.

  13. An enjoyable and well-judged mid-week Toughie: challenging, fair, and satisfying. A few rough edges as have been noted above, but also some good surfaces and amusing clues. I really disliked the answer in 2d, fair though it certainly was – it’s just a ghastly word! Podium three for me were 5a, 14a and 8d, with runner-up 23d.

    Many thanks to Stephen/Dharma and CS

  14. Beyond my current level, so thank you to CrypticSue for proving the hints to unlock Dharma’s entertainment.

    My favourites were 14a and 18a. Thank you, Dharma.

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