Toughie 3288 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3288

Toughie No 3288 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The incredibly clever device used here helps the solve a little, though I still found this a very tricky puzzle. Last one in was 29a.

Please leave a comment telling us how you did and what you thought. I had problems adding pics, my apologies.



1a           Constituents of great condensed drink (1,3,1)

G AND T: The letters in the 2-letter abbreviation (condensed) of ‘great’

4a           Like some doors ferry company opens for everyone so briefly (2-3-4)

UP-AND-OVER: A (1,3,1) ferry company is inserted between the film classification ‘for everyone’ and a word that means ‘so’ without its last letter (briefly)

9a           Medic keeps in a hospital post a character presented elsewhere

AMPERSAND: A 2-letter abbreviation for a medic contains (keeps in) a 3=letter word meaning ‘a’ plus a 3-letter hospital, all following (post) ‘A’. ‘Character represented elsewhere’ as in the device used throughout the puzzle in various ways.

10a        Operatic types comically run out of pianos (1,3,1)

G AND S: Remove the abbreviation for run from some types of pianos

11a        GP with the case for youthful & strong support (3,4)

DRY LAND: A 2-letter abbreviation for a GP, the outer letters (case) of youthful, and a 3-letter conjunction represented by ‘&’.

12a        25 change fitting at rear of study (7)

READAPT: A 3-letter word meaning ‘fitting’ follows a word meaning to study

13a        Cryptic name tag out of a drawer (6)

MAGNET: An anagram (cryptic) of NAME TaG without an A

15a        Member representing Bude originally a long way back (8)

FORELIMB: A 3-letter word meaning representing, then a reversal (back) of the original letter of Bude and  a long distance

18a        For French banker, a little facial hair trimmer (8)

SOUTACHE: A very small French monetary denomination (for French banker, a little), and an informal word for some facial hair

20a/5d Model churchman has left emergency unit in pursuit of this writer (6,8)

PAMELA ANDERSON: A 6-letter churchman contains (has) the abbreviation for left and a (1,3,1) emergency unit following a pronoun describing ‘this writer’ (i.e., Elgar)

23a        Box for cigar papers in e.g. Thurber’s bag (7)

HUMIDOR: A 2-letter abbreviation for papers goes inside a word for wit (American spelling, with Thurber being an American comedian)

24a        Outsiders dispatched nicely: as a consequence, thinly populated state

ICELAND: NICELY without the outer letters (outsiders dispatched), plus a conjunction that could mean ‘as a consequence’

26a        Output from Washington perhaps stolen by errand boy? (1,3,1)

R AND B: Type of music by Geno Washington. Hidden (stolen by …)

27a        It may help to stop guest-house being considered decadent (9)

BANDBRAKE: A (1,3,1) guest-house and a person (being) who is considered decadent

28a        Masseur initially managed to take painful private practice hit (2,7)

MR SANDMAN: The first (initially) letter of masseur then a 3-letter word for ‘managed’ containing a (1,3,1) painful private practice

29a        India’s all out in this old one-day Cup? (5)

BANDH: An old 1-day cricket competition (1,3,1) sponsored by a cigarette company


1d           The number of gnomes yielding to golf authority, veteran old women (9)

GRANDAMES: GNOMES from the clue in which the 2-letter abbreviation for number is replaced by (yielding to) a (1,3,1) golf authority

2d           Biting the waitress in an old tea shop (5)

NIPPY: Two meanings, the first often applied to weather

3d           Naval twins with eyes on top dressing (7)

TARTARE: Twice a word for a sailor plus the top letter of ‘eyes’

4d           University elements making Georgia the home of Museveni (6)

UGANDA: The abbreviation for university and the letters in the abbreviation for Georgia

5d           see 2

6d           A long time in the ascendancy for one playing Cupid?

DOG’S AGE: A reversal (in the ascendancy) of an abbreviation meaning ‘for one’, a 2-letter word meaning playing or in the role of, plus a supreme being exemplified by Cupid

7d           Museum of Sound is trash (9)

VANDALISE: A (1,3,1) museum, then a homophone (of sound) of a word that can mean ‘is’

8d           Impressed by others, I do papers 25 (5)

RESIT: I from the clue surrounded by a word meaning ‘others’

14d        Major store my family frequents supports good food we love (9)

GOURMANDS: A 3-letter possessive pronoun plus a (1,3,1) major store follows (supports) the abbreviation for good

16d        Broadcaster Liz taking much-needed break (9)

BRANDRETH: A British broadcaster and politician. An alternative nickname for Elizabeth contains (taking) a (1,3,1) ‘much-needed break’

17d        A fill taken from Liebfraumilch, supply spirits (8)

CHERUBIM: A anagram (supply) of LIEBFRAUMILCH without the letters in A FILL

19d        Name pinned to a uniform close to bird drawer (7)

AUDUBON: A 3-letter word meaning ‘to name’ follows (pinned to) A from the clue and the abbreviation for uniform, then a preposition meaning ‘close to’

21d        Some people cut some profit (1,3,3)

A FEW BOB: A (1,3) phrase that could mean some people plus a style of haircut

22d        Pub enthusiast catches fish (6)

FINNAN: A 3-letter pub is ‘caught’ by a 3-letter enthusiast

23d        In which the Sultan of Bow might pack up his troubles? (5)

HAREM: Cryptic definition playing with the Cockney rhyming slang ‘troubles’

25d        Some ground made up further back (5)

AGAIN: Two definitions. Split (1,4), the answer could mean ‘some ground made up’. The hints in  12a and 8d should help give you this answer.


Where to start? Something very neat about the AND being the last 3 letters in 9a. I liked the model since I started out looking for a writer. Which were you favourite clues?









6 comments on “Toughie 3288
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  1. After a surprisingly bright start, I was lulled into the absurd belief that this was going to be gentle-ish. Er, no. Fiendisly clever as always. Delighted to see that Dutch deemed this tricky as 29a, in particular, caused me physical pain. Masterful stuff. Still chuckling over 23d. Outrageous! Got there in the end … with a fair amount of biffing, checking and cursing. Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  2. I had a similar experience with this to ALP’s. Thought it would be the “doable Elgar” but reckoned without the RHS. Gave up with 29a still unsolved [a new word for me – tho’ I vaguely remember the old cup]. Thought 7d was clumsily Yoda-esque but otherwise no complaints Guv. Faves were 27a, 28a [though how many solvers remember this hit?] the brilliant 1d and the hilarious 23d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch [btw I think 25d is a triple def – see Chambers].

  3. Hummmm. Started at a decent pace and the X&Y device leapt out, fortunately – I count 13 uses of it – which was very helpful in completing 3/4 of the puzzle. The SE, however, was a different matter entirely. I had discounted Bandh very early on, unfortunately – I wonder if our local college does Hindi evening classes? Other (sometimes very dated) obscurities included 18a (at least the clueing was fair), 27a, 28a and 16d (he’s certainly dated, and when broadcasting is ideally obscured with the volume muted).

    COTD for me 23d. Possibly also the 20/5 combo where for a short while I tried to convince myself that she was an author …!

    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  4. I’m an exceedingly rare poster here but, knowing just a little about this puzzle’s origins, it would be churlish of me not to drop in and commend Elgar on a fine achievement. I agree with Mustafa G that the price paid was a few obscurities but the gridfill remains the real star with so many cunning uses of the themed device. Very clever and very enjoyable – if a bit tricky! Many thanks, Elgar.

  5. Eventually got the idea and moved forward apace then. Held up by finding the wrong Anderson model at first. Sorry not to see Eddy Waring’s up and under in there, but you can’t have everything! Very enjoyable and completed in one sitting. Thank you

  6. Nearly got there but stumped by 21d which I parsed but just couldn’t see! Overall very clever AND entertaining as always.


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