Toughie 3291 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3291

Toughie No 3291 by Django
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Django’s not too tricky today but there are couple of devious parsings to deal with and I needed Google assistance to verify the existence of the 12a examples. All good fun.

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

Across Clues

1a  Paper announced original recording for Gareth Malone, say (11)
CHOIRMASTER: start with a homophone of a word for a number of sheets of paper and add the word for an original recording.

10a  Flags up Toyota satnav route errors finally (5)
PAVES: the final letters of five words in the clue.

11a  Prime Minister‘s Eastern philosophy is for everyone (9)
TAOISEACH: string together a Chinese philosophy, IS and an adverb meaning ‘for everyone’. No matter how many times I type this word I can never remember how to spell it.

12a  Diamond League in Boston or Chicago? (4,5)
ROCK GROUP: an informal word for a diamond or any precious stone followed by a synonym of league. Boston and Chicago are examples of the answer (I’d never heard of either).

13a  A book hard men hate (5)
ABHOR: A followed by abbreviations for book, hard and military men.

14a  Maybe soldier’s shot outside hut (6)
SHANTY: our usual soldier insect with a shot or attempt around it.

16a  Essentially find leaving son out of inheritance obscene (8)
INDECENT: the central letters of find and a synonym of inheritance or passing down without the abbreviation for son.

18a  Rebellious American raced back with it (8)
ANARCHIC: assemble an abbreviation for American, the reversal of a verb meaning raced and an adjective meaning ‘with it’ or trendy.

20a  Deliver flower around 12? Quite the reverse! (6)
REDEEM: an American example of 12a contains the name of one of several UK rivers.

23a  Extremely strange and unusual watery liquid (5)
SERUM: the outer letters of strange and a dated adjective meaning unusual or peculiar.

24a  Maintain establishment, putting Carry On Doctor on American TV (4,5)
KEEP HOUSE: a verb to carry (as in ‘the shop carries a variety of goods’) followed by the eponymous name of the doctor in a US TV series.

26a  Let client supply understanding (9)
INTELLECT: an anagram (supply) of LET CLIENT.

27a  Medic that is assuming smallest dose of Viagra creates urge (5)
DRIVE: an abbreviation for a medic and the abbreviation meaning ‘that is’ containing the first letter of Viagra.

28a  Infuriated Liberal axes red tape (11)
EXASPERATED: an anagram (liberal) of AXES RED TAPE.

Down Clues

2d Ruin both avocado sandwiches (5)
HAVOC: hidden.

3d Enlightenment coming soon (7)
INSIGHT: split the answer 2,5 for ‘coming soon’.

4d/17d Weak signal starts when hearing any ship becomes problem for travellers (6,8)
MOTION SICKNESS: a synonym for weak or poorly is preceded by a hand signal. Follow that with two letters that sound like ‘any’ and our usual abbreviation for ship.

5d/22d Score ninth and Pep Guardiola’s head’s working out where to spend money? (8,6)
SHOPPING CENTRE: an anagram (working out) of SCORE NINTH PEP G[uardiola].

6d Occasionally taking tennis shot near net (7)
ENSNARE: regular letters from ‘tennis’ and an anagram (shot) of NEAR.

7d Excited Spanish gathering in Madrid for the soccer match principally expect this from decent competitors (13)
SPORTSMANSHIP: for our third anagram in a row we have an anagram (excited) of SPANISH containing the word used in Madrid for ‘for’ and the principal letters of The Soccer Match.

8d  Realise this writer only half read material (8)
CASHMERE: rivet together a verb to realise or ‘turn into readies’, the objective pronoun used by our setter for himself and half of the word ‘read’.

9d  Fiery sort of drink mixed in proper proportions (5-8)
SHORT-TEMPERED: a small measure of strong drink and a verb meaning ‘mixed in proper proportions’ or counterbalanced.

15d  Eagerness of group of drivers touring Latvia’s capital city, Riga, initially to go inside (8)
ALACRITY: the support group for drivers (who once called themselves “Britain’s fourth emergency service”) contains the capital letter of Latvia. That’s followed by CITY containing the initial letter of Riga.

17d See 4d

19d  Devious pair making posh maiden cross (7)
COMPLEX: start with a synonym of pair and change the abbreviation meaning posh to the cricket abbreviation for maiden. Finish with the letter than resembles a St. Andrew’s cross.

21d  Unusual layer cake ultimately placed on plates perhaps cracked by daughter (7)
ECHIDNA: the ultimate letter of cake followed by what plates may be made of with the abbreviation for daughter inserted. The answer is unusual because few mammals lay eggs.

22d  See 5d

25d Squadron supported by European ally (5)
UNITE: a synonym of squadron followed by an abbreviation for European.

The clues I liked best were 11a, 24a and 21d. Which one(s) fired your imagination?

17 comments on “Toughie 3291
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  1. This started off disconcertingly straightforwardly, with the first 2 across answers going straight in, and about half complete after the first pass. Then nothing on the second pass, and I slowed down in the middle before eventually realizing I did know what 12a was on about, and then the 11a prime minister.

    I particularly liked 21d’s unusual layer cake and 26a’s supply. My favourite is 19d (“Devious pair”) for the construction. Thank you to Django.

    And thank you to Gazza for explaining the parsing of 4/17d.

  2. One of those doesn’t have to be tough to be enjoyable crosswords – would have made a nice Friday backpager

    Thanks to Django and Gazza

  3. Magnifique! What a super puzzle, from first to last, and despite the split answers of 4/17 and 5/22. On the benign end of the Toughie spectrum, but great surfaces (ok, some clues were more like novellas …), red herrings aplenty, and oodles of wit & humour. Podium places to 24a, 19d & 21d.

    2 / 5

    Great crossword, thank you Django. Thanks also to Gazza – haven’t heard that REM track for ages.

  4. Far from plain sailing, despite, as Smylers says, a deceptively gentle start. Tip-top, as ever from Django. I’m delighted to see that he hasn’t, as I feared, kicked his wordy (7d) habit. I loved 4d/17d – that hom of “any” tickles me every time. 24a’s a belter and 21d, albeit ouchy, is superb. 19d is very pleasing too. Many thanks to Gazza (glad I’m not the only one who can never remember how to spell 11a) and Django. No one does long clues quite like him.

  5. Slightly easier for me than the average Thursday Toughie, and all the better for it!
    Thanks to Django and Gazza.
    Gazza: The title is Toughie 3201, but it should be 3291!

  6. Bit of a curate’s egg for me. I also started well then slowed right down until 7d yielded and I got moving again. I liked the “in Madrid for” in that one and loved the unusual layer in 21 but verbosity, whilst sometimes OK, is not so great when it produces such clunky surfaces as 4/17 and 5/22. Failed to parse 24a [US medical dramas not my thing] and missed the NE alleged homophone in 4/17 so thanks Gazza [but really – neither Boston nor Chicago?]. Thanks to Django too, of course.

  7. I really enjoyed this. I thought it was relatively light for a Thursday Toughie, even though some of the parsings took quite a bit of winkling out.

    Although most of the surfaces were fine, that for 4d/17d was rather iffy.

    24a was my favourite with 11a a close second, and it was great to encounter three excellent groups in 12a.

    Many thanks to Django and to Gazza.

  8. I had to look up the 1a Gareth and the 24a US tv doctor and 4d was a complete bung-in. Apart from from those I got on quite well with this and enjoyed the journey. Favourite was 21d. Thanks to Django and Gazza.

  9. Thanks Gazza, thanks all.

    My intended parsing for 24a was slightly different to Gaza’s interpretation, which has the solver putting KEEP _on_ HOUSE.

    To my mind, while in down clues X on Y = XY, in across clues it feels fairer that X on Y = YX. (I appreciate that others might be happy either way).

    In any case, my intention was not CARRY = KEEP,
    rather it was

    As in: “carry on/keep running”.

    Not that it makes a huge difference.

    1. Thanks Django,
      Your parsing was my first thought but I then couldn’t really account for the ‘putting’ in the clue so I went with what I wrote in the blog. I do agree that X on Y in an across clue should lead to YX (but there are plenty of examples of it being used the other way round).

  10. Very enjoyable and not too tricky. I particularly enjoyed the unusual layer in 21d.
    Thank you Django and Gazza.

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