Toughie 3271 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3271

Toughie No 3271 by Silvanus
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Silvanus has given us a very entertaining pangram. Thanks to him.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you liked about the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a  Glaswegian’s debut aside, gradually heard funny, entertaining new comedians (6,3,5)
LAUREL AND HARDY: an anagram (funny) of [g]RADUALLY HEARD (without the first letter of Glaswegian) containing the abbreviation for new.

8a  Dull sound’s quiet for large part (5)
VAPID: start with an adjective meaning sound or credible and replace the part of the word which is the abbreviation for large with the musical abbreviation for quiet.

9a  Maybe diamond made from paste’s a plant? (8)
SHAMROCK: split your answer 4,4 to get the imitation diamond.

11a  Patch up relic, no certainty to secure backing (9)
RECONCILE: hidden in reverse.

12a  Snatch watches being delivered (5)
SEIZE: ‘being delivered’ is the indication of a homophone.

13a  Further adult with case of laryngitis the focus of reports (4)
ALSO: string together the abbreviation for adult (the former film classification), the outer letters of laryngitis and the central letter of reports.

14a  Frenchman’s refusal to embrace a European card game (8)
NAPOLEON: the French word for no contains A and a European citizen.

17a  PM mostly defends British literary figure getting writ (8)
SUBPOENA: the surname of our current PM without his last letter contains the abbreviation for British and an American literary figure mainly noted for his macabre writing.

19a  Luxurious hotel not seen as something advantageous (4)
PLUS: remove the letter that hotel represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet from an adjective meaning luxurious or lavishly appointed.

23a  Ditches members of film crew (5)
GRIPS: double definition, the first (new to me) being a word for small ditches or drains.

24a  Prepare to get undressed in alcove, awfully suspicious? (9)
EQUIVOCAL: insert the central three letters of a verb to prepare or supply with what’s needed into an anagram (awfully) of ALCOVE.

25a  Gathering food in spite of advancing years (8)
FORAGING: a preposition meaning ‘in spite of’ (as in ‘*** all his bluster he was a coward’) and a present participle meaning advancing years or making old.

26a  People from Italy dancing (5)
LAITY: an anagram (dancing) of ITALY produces a word for people who are not clergy.

27a  Outstanding leader is normal and more open reportedly (8-6)
STANDARD-BEARER: a synonym of normal and what sounds like a comparative meaning more open or more exposed.

Down Clues

1d  Scoff when skirting around South Africa’s current treatment (5,7)
LIVER SAUSAGE: scoff here is a noun. A 3-letter abbreviation for South Africa is bracketed by synonyms for current and treatment.

2d  Opens negotiations originally after universal rumour of peace (7)
UNPACKS: the original letter of negotiations follows the abbreviation for universal. Append what sounds like the Latin word for peace.

3d  What sibling and offspring do to become close (6)
ENDING: split the answer 3,3 to see what the words sibling and offspring do.

4d  Powers possibly banks removed from producer over money (6)
AUSTIN: remove the outer letters from a word meaning producer or originator and add a dated informal word for money.

5d  Amazed I worried collecting prescription initially for drug (8)
DIAZEPAM: an anagram (worried) of AMAZED I containing the initial letter of prescription.

6d  Ultimately Chelsea supporter is upset about minor scrape (8)
ABRASION: assemble the ultimate letter of Chelsea, our usual supporting garment, the reversal of IS and a preposition meaning about.

7d  Drop product shop promotes for Christmas? (7)
DECLINE: split 3,4 this could be a product a shop might be selling at Christmastime (although that could in practice be any time of the year from August onwards).

10d  Cash perhaps generated by shifting ninety pearls (6,6)
TENNIS PLAYER: an anagram (shifting) of NINETY PEARLS.

15d  Jack who steers small apple cart around (8)
COXSWAIN: the clothing abbreviation for small is enclosed in a type of apple and a cart of the type that Constable famously painted.

16d  Roughly south of Islington area one finds cake decoration (8)
ANGELICA: the 2-letter abbreviation for roughly follows an area of Islington in North London and the Roman numeral for one. One of the light-blue properties on the classic Monopoly board might provide a hint for the area of Islington.

18d  Escape trouble during match (4,3)
BAIL OUT: a verb to trouble is inside a (boxing?) match.

20d  Breaking silly rule, rising island barrister’s comparatively fortunate (7)
LUCKIER: an anagram (silly) of RULE contains the reversal of an abbreviation for island and the title awarded to a senior barrister.

21d  Wasting day taking up golf, reckon daughter stewed! (6)
JUGGED: start with a verb to reckon or estimate and the genealogical abbreviation for daughter. Now delete the abbreviation for day from the verb, replacing it with the letter that golf represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

22d  Graceful tango wearing revolting eastern jeans Oti finally ignored (6)
SVELTE: the letter that tango represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is contained in the reversal of the abbreviation for eastern and a brand of jeans stripped of the final letter of Oti. Oti is apparently a professional dancer – I didn’t know that.

The clues I liked best were 3d, 4d, 7d and 16d. Which ones made the cut for you?

19 comments on “Toughie 3271
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  1. Well that was certainly a toughie but very much on the money for a Thursday. Very smart, very smooth – no surprises there. 9a is brilliant. 27a’s definition is (meanly!) amusing. Etc. Some pretty tricksy parsing (synonyms with first and last letters removed are always challenging) but all meticulously fair. And not a word wasted. Impressive, as ever. Many thanks to him and Gazza.

  2. As today’s toughie setter was not showing on this site, I waited for the review from Gazza to see who compiled it before printing it off.
    An excellent puzzle that I greatly enjoyed.
    I found some of it quite difficult, but then again I am always slower to solve in the afternoon.
    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  3. My goodness, that was as tough as it gets for a Silvanus puzzle, but consummately smooth and great fun as ever. I did however fail to finish as I knew neither of the two meanings needed for 23d, and I couldn’t unravel 21d.

    I know it’s in the BRB, but I really don’t like the use of “scoff” as a noun. It falls into the same category for me as “eats” when used as a noun.

    Taken for a long list of ticks, my top picks are 9a, 3d, 7d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus and to Gazza.

  4. Rather tougher than Sylvanus usually is, but no complaints. I got 1a straight away and thought it would be a doddle – how wrong can one be! Got there in the end but gave up on parsing 4d and had to resort to e-help to find the word for producer. 3d was neat and 16d a lovely clue – I suppose Monopoly helps non-Londoners.
    Thanks tp Sylvanus and Gazza.

  5. When I printed off this morning and saw who the setter was I smiled and thought today is going to be a good day with one of my favourite setters. Oh dear, how wrong I was. I bunged in 23A but couldn’t parse it because “ditches” was getting in the way. I made a meal of the NW because I couldn’t get “unlocks” out of my head. I therefore failed with 1 2 and 3D and 9A.
    Many thanks to Gazza for the clarification and to Sylvanus for beating me with his clever work.
    Favourite was 9A.

  6. Quite simply a highly entertaining pangram (radar twitched when I saw the drug) puzzle from one of my favourite setters. I have far too many ticks beside the clues that it is nearly impossible to pick a favourite – but I will go for 1a as my COTD. Lovely surface, funny and well constructed – as to be expected :yes:
    Thanks to Silvanus for the fun and to Gazza for his review. Keep up the good work guys. :good:

    A quick question – for whatever reason the site does not remember my name and email address when posting, even if I tick the ‘save’ box. Any ideas anyone ?

    1. Mr K is working on the ‘save details’ problem but at the moment we can have either a blog that doesn’t freeze or the ‘save details’ but not both and keeping the blog running smoothly is more important.

  7. Definitely one from our setter’s ‘tough Toughie’ drawer but well worth the perservation although it would have helped if I’d remembered the 3-letter code for South Africa long before I did!
    1a was cleverly constructed but I have no time for that pair of comedians so they were knocked off the leader-board in favour of Mr Cash, who was quite a dish during his bandanna wearing days. Final line-up here includes 9&27a plus 3,7& 10d.

    Many thanks to Silvanus for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review and great cartoon selection – I think Prolixic might enjoy the exit poll!

    1. I’m glad that it’s not just me who doesn’t find the 1a comedians funny. I was going to say this in the blog but I held off because I know lots of people think they were wonderful.

  8. I also found this very tough but I stuck at it and stumbled over the line. Very satisfying to complete and very well clued throughout. Favourite was 9a. Thanks to Silvanus and Gazza.

  9. Many thanks as always to Gazza for his excellent Hints, Tips and cartoons and to everyone commenting.

    I have to admit that “scoff” here was a tweak from the Deputy Puzzles Editor, but I did use it myself as a noun in Toughie 3079 last year. I’ve just checked, RD and Jane did not demur on that occasion!

    I’ve always had a soft spot for 1a, to be honest, whereas I never warmed to Charlie Chaplin for some reason. Horses for courses, I suppose.

  10. A most enjoyable way to spend a dull evening waiting to go out to dinner. There were a couple of bung-ins, which is unusual for a Silvanus production, but it is supposed to be a Toughie so no complaints from me. If I were to pick a single clue for favourite it would be 3d.

    Many thanks to the aforementioned for the challenge and to Gazza.

  11. We spent considerable time on 1d. Convinced ourselves that ‘treatment’ was the definition and tried to justify MASSAGE as the second word. Eventually saw the light.
    Of course we did not notice the pangram until it was too late to help us. A most enjoyable challenging solve for us.
    Thanks Silvanus and Gazza.

  12. As soon as I heard this was by Silvanus, I made time for it by abandoning any chores allocated to me by the present Mrs Shabbo. Well worth running the gauntlet for a puzzle of this quality. I loved it. Very clever, difficult and hugely enjoyable.
    As for the two definitions in 23a, I was pleased to know one of them. I met an old school friend for the first time in about 45 years and learnt that he made his living as a key grip. He has worked on some amazing projects and had some fascinating stories to tell. The ditch part of the clue, however, was new to me.
    Thank you Silvanus and Gazza.

  13. Super puzzle, the perfect level of difficulty for a Thursday. Tough but scrupulously fair, great surfaces, and too many highlights even to select just a half dozen.

    Many thanks indeed to Silvanus and Gazza.

  14. Setter invoked labour, vexation, angst- nevertheless, ultimately, solution.

    2 Toughies in a row (eventually solved), thanks to a slower pace on my holibobs.
    Thanks to Silvanus for a stiff but very enjoyable challenge and to Gazza, whose expert help I needed to parse quite a few.
    Favourites included 9a, 17a , 26a and 10d, but it was a long list

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