Toughie 3300 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3300

Toughie No 3300 by Sparks
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have an enjoyable puzzle from Sparks today. He normally includes something significant in the grid but I can’t spot anything (possibly due to the fact that I’m knackered after staying up most of the night watching the election coverage).  Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

6a Condemnations needn’t consume rogue (13)
DENOUNCEMENTS: we start off with a straightforward anagram (rogue) of NEEDN’T CONSUME.

8a Cheers husband crushed by defeats (6)
THANKS: the genealogical abbreviation for husband is contained in an informal verb meaning defeats heavily.

9a Bit of hair hides half of blisters in need of TLC? (8)
LOVESICK: a piece of hair contains the first half of a word meaning blisters or sacs (VESICLES).

10a Every fool should be uncovered (3)
ALL: remove the outer letters from an informal name for an inept person.

11a Mutual converts Deutsche Mark? (6)
UMLAUT: an anagram (converts) of MUTUAL. Very neat!

12a Respectful honour given by George, say, with heart leading head (8)
OBEISANT: start with an honour or gong and add what George (or Andrew or Patrick perhaps) is with its central letter moved to the front.

14a Back-to-back promotions about joint supplements (7)
ADDENDA: two abbreviated promotions facing each other contain another word for a joint (of iniquity, say).

16a Action scene from 24 linked to unlimited enmity (7)
THEATRE: the answer to 24a and a synonym of enmity without its limiting letters.

20a Branch out from comic performance following vacuous farces (8)
OFFSHOOT: a preposition that can mean ‘from’ and an informal word for a hilarious performance following the outer letters of farces.

23a For example, seal escape from US, covering a very short distance in retrospect (6)
MAMMAL: reverse a slang US verb to escape or flee containing A and the abbreviation for a very short metric distance.

24a Setter leaves recurrent idea for article (3)
THE: start with a recurrent idea or motif and remove a pronoun the setter uses for himself.

25a Poet gets back excellent orchid (8)
MILTONIA: a 17th century English poet followed by the reversal of an abbreviation meaning excellent. Not something I knew.

26a Solitary strike pins English soldiers (6)
HERMIT: a verb to strike contains an abbreviation for English and the abbreviation for seagoing soldiers to make a person living alone.

27a Work odd bits of echo into record by rock group, and do it thoroughly? (2,3,5,3)
GO THE WHOLE HOG: string together a verb to work or function, a rock group (3,3) and the odd letters of ‘echo’ inside a record of events.

Down Clues

1d After losing lead, Man United thrashed Bury (8)
INUNDATE: an anagram (thrashed) of [m]AN UNITED.

2d Beat up lads with three hollow bats (8)
PULSATED: an anagram (bats) of UP LADS T[hre]E.

3d Seafood caught entirely in well? On the face of it, preposterous (7)
SCALLOP: the cricket abbreviation for caught and a synonym for entirely go inside an interjection that can mean well. Finish with the first letter of preposterous.

4d British once more struggle to make inferior film (1-5)
B-MOVIE: assemble an abbreviation for British, an archaic (once) word meaning ‘more’ and a verb to struggle.

5d Unexpectedly, noes and ayes offering European Union (6)
ENOSIS: I remember the time in the 1950s when this word for a putative political union between Greece and Cyprus was discussed a lot. Start with an anagram (unexpectedly) of NOES and add what I presume is the plural of the letter I (although I can’t find anywhere where ‘aye’ is used as the spelling of the letter).

6d Drying out hint of damp smell, one that’s building up externally (13)
DEHUMIDIFYING: the first letter of damp followed by a synonym of an unpleasant smell and the Roman numeral for one inside a present participle meaning building up or developing.

7d Tick Berkshire town that’s not Bill’s primary consideration (6,7)
SECOND READING: a tick or short period of time and a town in Berkshire give us a presentation of a bill to parliament (not for the first time).

13d Diamonds carried in briefcase every so often (3)
ICE: regular letters from ‘briefcase’.

15d Drama queen’s latest expression of surprise (3)
NOH: the last letter of queen and an expression of surprise.

17d Spring enthrals mediocre, extremely emotional assistant of old? (4,4)
HOME HELP: a verb to spring or jump contains a verbal expression of mediocrity and the outer letters of emotional to make someone who assists old people.

18d Marshal working around India in many Cabinets (8)
ALMIRAHS: an anagram (working) of MARSHAL contains an abbreviation for India to make an Indian word for free-standing cupboards. New word for me.

19d Junior diplomat regularly wants toothbrush, for one (7)
ATTACHÉ: the even letters of ‘wants’ and what toothbrush is an example of.

21d Offensive Liberal gets under skin of staunch Jewish community (6)
SHTETL: a Vietnamese offensive and the abbreviation for Liberal follow the outer letters of staunch. If you want to read about the Jewish community see here.

22d Nothing perhaps written or spoken like Napoleon? (6)
OINKED: the letter resembling nothing and a past participle which could mean written. Very amusing – it’s interesting that when the book which features this Napoleon was first translated into French Napoleon was renamed as César.

The clues I liked best were 11a, 7d, 17d and 22d. What about you?


7 comments on “Toughie 3300
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  1. An enjoyable Friday Toughie. My Across favourite was 11a and my Down favourite was 22d

    Many thanks to Sparks and Gazza – I also couldn’t find anything hidden in the grid

  2. I enjoyed this puzzle very much, though it was more mid-week Toughie or late-week back-page than is usually found in this slot. 5d “had to be” but the ayes didn’t work for me. I felt 25a a little unsporting – we have a couple of them in the house as well as quite a few others, but there are so many types and varieties of orchid, even before you get into distinctions between common and scientific names! 18d was new to me and it too felt somewhat below the belt, being an anagram of a very obscure word. 21d also new to me but very fairly clued, so no complaints there.

    Highlights for the podium : 22d (something similar in The Times recently – does Sparks set for it – puzzle felt quite Times-y, especially with the 21d offensive), 12a, 6d.

    3 / 4

    Thanks indeed to Sparks & Gazza – and I do hope all is well with Dutch, whom we haven’t seen for a couple of weeks, now.

  3. Quite lenient for Sparks and quite quick for a Friday. Enjoyable nonetheless with some great clueing. Favourites were 27a [clever wordplay & good surface] 4d [once more] 19d and 22d [both raised a smile].
    Thanks to Sparks and Gazza [loved the Who clip – it’s always great to watch Moonie miming the drums].

  4. Got somewhat bogged down in words I didn’t know and slang expressions but enjoyed the parts I managed by myself. Top three for me were 12a plus 3&7d. 25a must have been a gift for our setter, who presumably knew of its existence.

    Thanks to Sparks – any update on Tia? and to Gazza for his assistance which was sorely needed. Can’t believe that you stayed up to watch the media circus last night!

  5. Belated thanks to both Sparks and Gazza for this little gem, which I neglected to post yesterday.

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