Toughie 3301 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3301

Toughie No 3301 by Dada
Hints and tips by ALP

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

By Timothy, Dada has some bite today. I wasn’t helped by the customary Telegraph tech muppetry that meant I had to type in all the clues rather than cut and paste, which put me in a foul mood. And this puzzle, which is undeniably whip-smart, almost tipped me over the edge. There’s some real skullduggery here and worse, for me, plants. Arrgh! Moreover, there’s a drink that I have (and old hacks like me have downed most of ‘em in our time) never heard of. All yours. I’m going for a lie-down.

Across

1a Grotesque misrepresentation of story, it following battle (11)
MONSTROSITY: STORYIT, misrepresented, following/after a 1914 battle.

10a One cycling qualification? (5)
RIDER: Double definition, a fun one.

11a Sick when crossing the Channel after poison spread (9)
MARMALADE: Sick or ill in French (across the Channel) after (to) poison or impair. I was frankly astonished to find this definition in Chambers. But it’s a belter of a clue.

12a Begrudge going into work not far down the road (9)
PRESENTLY: Begrudge or feel bitter goes inside (to) work or wield.

13a Pals initially meeting somewhere in Bedfordshire briefly – it’s a small world! (5)
PLUTO:  P[als] and/meeting possibly the best-known Beds town, minus its last letter. An outrageous but very funny definition.

14a Really waterlogged, old township (6)
SOWETO:  How one might say “really waterlogged” as (2,3) plus the usual old.

16a Confusing arrangement, lot sorted out, very nice work! (8)
MAZELTOV: A confusing arrangement or labyrinth + LOT, sorted out, plus the usual “very” = a Jewish expression that means congratulations. Or, I suppose, nice work. Good grief!

18a Flower in a container like that (8)
ACANTHUS: A from the clue + a container or tin + a word for “like that/so”. The parsing’s straightforward, the definition made me want to cry!

20a Like winger Jack’s behind (6)
ASTERN: The synonym for “like” + a gull-like bird.

23a Woody in love with a doll (5)
OAKEN: The usual “love” plus A from the clue and Barbie’s on-off other half. Lovely surface.

24a Forgotten commercial about first group? (9)
ABANDONED: The usual two-letter commercial about/around an expression (4,3) for first group.

26a Frost, say, on web’s diviner outside (9)
SONNETEER: “On” from the clue + a synonym for (the) web (has) diviner/prophet around/outside.

27a Trouble caused by those kicking off as governor general releases orders (5)
AGGRO: Acrostic (those kicking off).

28a Plant in Vietnam, soil abroad (4-2-1-4)
LOVE-IN-A-MIST: VIETNAMSOIL, abroad. New to me. But hey, it’s an anagram.

Down

2d Maybe pensioner consumed by apartheid looked towards heaven (5)
OLDIE: A lurker (consumed by) hidden in the fifth and six words, reversed (looked towards heaven).

3d Expression of rank American artist (7)
SARGENT: A homonym (expression of ) of (a military) rank = an old portrait painter.

4d Detached, connected with small particle (6)
REMOTE: Connected with or concerning + a particle or speck (of dust, say).

5d Mister Charles the singer, approximately within range (5,3)
SPRAY CAN: The singer’s first name + the one-letter “approximately” within/inside range or spread = summat that mists!

6d Tramp tickling a priest (7)
TRAIPSE: APRIEST, tickled.

7d Supportive of apostate, so depraved – suggest we salute? (7,1,5)
PROPOSE A TOAST: Supportive or for + APOSTATESO, depraved.

8d Happen to check temperature on time following fever and pain locally? (8)
BAGUETTE: Happen/take place checks/contains the usual temperature and time following/after the four-letter word for fever or fit that no one ever uses these days, unless they’re quoting Shakespeare or an extremely pompous doctor.

9d Republican Party that’s developing? Alternatively, policy with high turnover of staff? (9,4)
REVOLVING DOOR: The usual Republican, then how one might say “party that’s developing” (ie, developing party) expressed as (8,2) + the two-letter “alternatively”. Nicely topical.

15d Slaying monster (8)
WHACKING: Double definition, with monster as an adjective.

17d European fills in application after South African (8)
SUDANESE: A four-letter European (not Pole!) fills/goes inside application or function, all after the usual South.

19d Sweetheart stops to cross (7)
TANGELO: Sweetheart (or nurse, say) stops/goes inside “to” from the clue. Another word one only ever sees in crosswords.

21d Weapon raised high over head of mugger (7)
SIDEARM: RAISED, high, plus M[ugger].

22d Blunder a week arising with terminus of London Underground network (6)
WARREN: Blunder/stray + W[eek] arising/reversed, plus londoN.

25d Provider of warmth knocked back when drinking, say (5)
NEGUS: The provider of warmth reversed/knocked back contains/drinks the usual two-letter “say” = a concoction of port or sherry mixed with hot water, sweetened and spiced. Sounds absolutely frightful. Personally, I’d rather push pins in my eyes!

Yes, some (a smidgeon) of the lingo’s a tad exotic but the parsing is all impeccably fair and, on reflection, this probably wasn’t as tricky as I made it. But Dada’s got his old vinegar back, that’s for sure, and huzzah for that. I blame Telegraph towers entirely for getting me off to a bad start. There’s a lively mix of clues, with five anagrams (including partials), a chunk of GK and some fine construction. I particularly enjoyed, for various reasons, 11a, 13a, 8d and 17d. But my clear winner was 23a. Magnificent. What did you make of it?

24 comments on “Toughie 3301
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  1. I didn’t find this very tough – in fact for me, it only just crept over the border into Toughieland. My favourite Across clue was 13a (although there were a couple of other clues in runners-up places) and my favourite Down clue was 8d

    Thanks to Dada and ALP

  2. At the outset this threatened to be chewier than it turned out to be, it all falling into place very swiftly such that I would not have been surprised to find it on the Sunday backpage – especially as Dada exercised relatively tight self-control on the anagram count in this puzzle! Really enjoyed it, all GK known or at least reasonably familiar, with some great PDMs – 16a & 26a in particular. I parsed the wordplay in 5d but what it has to do with the answer I have no idea. Honours to 13a, 23a & 9d, but there could have been a dozen more up there.

    Many thanks to Dada and ALP. I see your Ray Charles and I raise you Joe B & Beth H, also “Live in Amsterdam”:

    1. Well, that’s certainly a cover that deserved repetition! And, mercifully, vastly superior to that by Bruce Willis. What WAS BB thinking?! I clearly made a right meal of this one as all the grown-ups seem to have thought it a doddle! Oops.

  3. The French pain and the Jewish salute threatened to derail me so I was very grateful to the flowers for helping me out – horses for courses, ALP! Line-up for the prizes includes 13,18&23a.

    Thanks to Dada and to ALP for the review.

  4. This was no walk in the park for me although I certainly did enjoy the challenge, with 23a my favourite clue of many.

    Thanks to Dada and ALP.

  5. Well I found it every bit as tricky as you did ALP, and I’m good with plants. It was one of those puzzles where you have answers scattered all over the grid but some of the others just won’t come. Of the ones that I did get relatively easily I vote for 11a [you’re not fooling me with your French] and 13a [brilliant surface]. Of those I struggled for ages with I vote for 8d [OK, you are fooling me with your French] and 9d.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Dada for the struggle.

    1. That’s a relief, ta. Glad I wasn’t the only one to find it a wee bit chewy. Phew! So, being good at plants, you’d heard of 28a? That was a complete bung-in for me. Not a blooming clue.

      1. Yep, straight in! They’re all over our allotment courtesy of the nice lady next door. Nigella is their other name.
        BTW – thanks to you and Mustafa G – Beth Hart sure can sing. Another one I’d missed out on. Will now explore her Led Zep covers album.

        1. Ah! Nigella I have heard of. All is clear now (ish) ta. That was all down to MG, but I know Huntsman’s a big fan too. She’s certainly got some pipes on her, yes.

        2. Try her Live At Paradiso album – the concert is available on YouTube. A quite phenomenal performance. The emotion and power is incredible.

  6. A few held me up and I needed the hints for 26a. Some lovely clues, 23a gets my vote. Thanks to Dada and ALP.

  7. I’m glad I’m not the only one who needs the occssional rant at the Telegraph’s puzzle site!

    1. Oh, I know. It can be so vexing, can’t it? I’ve seen Kinder Egg toys built better and the Tel’s IT bods had clearly run out of sticky tape last night. I was beyond raging.

  8. Hats off indeed to those that found this a doddle. I thought it a beast & finally threw in the towel 3 shy of completion & sought help from the hints. Shame my French wasn’t better as I bunged in the wrong one of the two toppings that adorned my toasted multi-seed sourdough while doing the blog this morning. Even once I’d twigged that error the local pain context still eluded me (& even after revealing the T checker) but I didn’t know that’s how 16a was spelt nor quite what it means so doubt I’d have ever got there. Cross with myself for needing the hint at 26a having seen the diviner & knowing full well who the definition referred to. Anyway cracking puzzle with ticks all over the shop too numerous to list but if forced to pick a winner 13a just pips 8d by a short head.
    Thanks to Dada & to ALP for a top review – great clips of Woody & Lorraine. Shame no sound with the Withnail one.

    1. Indeed, re Withnail. I just couldn’t find a BD suitable clip, as wildly appropriate as Monty’s “**** on by Tories, shovelled up by Labour” is! Glad you found this salty too. PS What? No love for the peerless Zevon?! I’m scandalised..

  9. Count us among those that found the puzzle trickier than usual for a Tuesday, but good fun all the way through. Top prize for 8d when the penny finally dropped with that one.
    Thanks Dada and ALP.

  10. Far to difficult for me to be enjoyable.a French word, a Jewish word and a poet I’d never heard of and a lot of convoluted clues. I ended up using a lot of electronic help to find words that fitted in then trying to reverse engineer them, all in all a bit of a slog. I did like 13a though. Thanks to Dada anyway and ALP.

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