Toughie 3272 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3272

Toughie No 3272 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Seemed mildly easier today, though there are plenty of tricky clues and still 5* for me.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Much grandfatherly love, Ruby, from Fred Xx (10)
OFTENTIMES: As grandfather might have said ‘much’ – The score of love in tennis, remove a ruby colour from Fred, then spell out the Roman numeral X and the arithmetic symbol x

6a           Castles on king’s side, capturing pawns, mate (4)
OPPO: Chess notation for ‘castle on king’s side’ containing two abbreviations for pawn

9a           Bachelor grandpa and the like a potential source of upset (6,4)
BANANA SKIN: A bachelor’s degree, then a (4’1,3) phrase for ‘grandpa and the like’

10a        Domestic servant at last provided folio (4)
TIFF: The last letter in servant, a word meaning provided and the abbreviation for folio

12a        All lines might be hosiery were grand to be invested (5-2-5)
STOCK-IN-TRADE:  Inserting the abbreviation after the second word in the answer would give hosiery

15a        Songs by Mendelssohn one conducts in the auditorium (6)
LIEDER: Some German songs are a homophone of someone who conducts

16a        Ringing the chap with the map? (8)
PLANGENT: A chap with a map would be a (4,4) – a word for map and a word for chap

18a        Slip by so easily, perhaps (8)
POSSIBLY: An anagram (easily) of SLIP BY SO

19a        My work was on war and the point of writing about that in verse (6)
BINYON: Author of remembrance day poem. A reversal (about) of ‘the point of writing’ (eg on a fountain pen) and a poetic word for ‘that’

21a        Enchanting chap takes auxiliary diplomat on first trip (6,6)
MAIDEN VOYAGE: An enchanting chap or wizard contains a 3-letter word for auxiliary and a 5-letter diplomat

24a        Something for carrying money up to work (4)
TILL:       Three meanings, the first where supermarket money goes

25a        Another helping of dessert here? I’d be unwise … (4,4,2)
MORE FOOL ME: A play on the word for a type of desert

26a        … here’s trolley, there’s trifle (or tart) and beware staff carrying others … (4)
REST:  Three times hidden ( … carrying)

27a        … that one adult’s leaving to eat 80 per cent of fruit dessert (10)
BLANCMANGE: A 7-letter word for the previous answer ( … ) without the abbreviation for adult contains (to eat) the first 4 letters (80%) of a 5-letter exotic fruit


1d           Gold in reserve rarely in spherical form (4)
ORBY:   I assume the ‘rarely’ suggest a word that is infrequently used. The heraldic colour for gold and a word that can mean ‘in reserve’

2d           Aussie can bar northern youngster (4)
TINY: A 5-letter word for an Aussie can of beer without (bar)  the abbreviation for northern

3d           Drafted in by musical group, axeman is still in the dark (4,3,5)
NONE THE WISER: IS from the clue is inserted into a musical group plus a 5-letter ‘axeman’

4d           Wretched individual now a cult figure? (6)
INSECT: Split (2,4) the answer suggests now a cult figure

5d           Outside of Brian, this Python could be incredible (4,4)
ERIC IDLE: The outer letters of Brian plus the python actor in the answer could be anagrammed into INCREDIBLE

7d           Busy loo in which a supporter joins end of queue (7,3)
PRIVATE EYE: A 5-letter loo contains A plus a golf supporter, then the last letter in queue

8d           Bored Elgar is maybe making an effort (10)
OFFSETTING: Split (3,7) we may see what Elgar is to make him bored

11d        Requirement of jilted bride at altar what crowded church affords? (8-4)
STANDING-ROOM: Split (5-2,5) we see a replacement the jilted bride might want

13d        Hand-measuring device a complete disaster, finally scrapped (10)
CLAPOMETER: An anagram (scrapped) of A+COMPLETE+(disaste)R (finally)

14d        Palace so short, not entirely short of canvas (10)
VERSAILLES: A 4-letter word for so without the last letter (short), then the last letter is missing (not entirely) from a word that would mean short of canvas on a boat

17d        Fancy lovely securing mariner’s heart after Bluto’s exit? (5,3)
OLIVE OYL:  An anagram (fancy) of LOVELY contains the central letter (heart) of ‘mariner’, all after the last letter (exit) of BLUTO

20d        Parson visiting Big Apple with rampant dragon (6)

WYVERN:  A reversal (rampant) of a 3-letter abbreviation for a parson inside the city known as Big Apple plus the abbreviation for with

22d        A small way to promote energy and verve (4)
ELAN: A small road in which the abbreviation for energy is promoted to the first (top) letter

23d        Repost egotist’s favourite online image (4)
MEME: Twice (repost) the egoist’s favourite person

I think my favourite today is the Popeye-themed clue 17d. Which clues did you like?

9 comments on “Toughie 3272
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  1. Still a challenge, but definitely more friendly. Lots of chuckles from Elgar in this, I liked the hand-measuring device and the Popeye clue was very clever.
    Lovely outside and I’m inside tiling a bathroom… , well I will be now the crossword is complete 😁
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch for the review.

  2. Totally baffled by 19a but otherwise quite a friendly Elgar. All parsed, though 27a took a while [and he has used that device before]. Took a punt on the chess notation at 6a [why is it that?]. Top clues for me were the triple def at 24a and the hidden def in the lavvy clue at 7d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  3. Our setter was most definitely feeling in a more benign mood when he compiled this excellent puzzle. I worked that out on my Elgarometer, which registers the number of unparsed bung-ins I resort to, and today there was only one. Like our blogger, 17d was my top clue this afternoon. Great fun.

    My thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  4. I almost made it with the maestro. 1A was my downfall along with 15A. However, I was pleased with my all day effort. I so admire this amazing setter and one day I’d like to meet and talk to him to find out how he is wired. Lots of great clues but I think 8D was a gem and star of the show was 13D.
    Many thanks to Dutch who draws the short straw every week and of course to Mr E for his genius.

  5. Beaten all ends up, but it’s only by the tackling tough challenges, even with assistance (thank you Dutch) that one gets better at all levels. Thank you for the thrashing, Elgar!

  6. That only took me 50% longer than today’s (admittedly hard) back pager, so definitely at the easier end of Elgar puzzles. Needed to look up the poet, of whom I had never heard. Didn’t get 4d as the rather stretched wretch == insect did not occur to me, and thought it must be an obscure word for another cult figure of whom I had never heard…. Biggest smile/groan probably 11d.


  7. A day late to give this a go, astonishingly I completed it fairly quickly. I only had to check the existence of the poet, never having heard of him.
    I liked 25, 26 and 27a, but favourite was 13d.
    Thanks Elgar, and Dutch of course, whose hints I’ll now read

  8. Didn’t get much past half way with the previous two Elgars, but managed to finish this one at the first sitting tonight.
    I liked 11d.

  9. Very late to the party as been away on holiday but I had to give a shout out to grandad Fred, the stand-in groom and Elgar’s boredom (let’s hope it’s not true). Very kindly puzzle today. Thanks to all.

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