Toughie 3302 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3302

Toughie No 3302 by Robyn

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

As a fellow solver said in an email this morning “… the Telegraph shows once again that it doesn’t care about those who solve on paper” – although it did mean that I solved 24d while writing the clue at the bottom of my print-out of the first page – the only clue I solved in the difficult SE corner for quite a while.

I will be interested to see whether I was the only person who thought this Robyn Toughie was much trickier than they expected.  Enjoyable as ever, but definitely tricky!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought

1a           Successfully perform free concerto’s finale in part of theatre (7,3,5)
DELIVER THE GOODS Free from restraint or danger, and the finale of concertO inserted into the gallery of a theatre

9a           Ministers to humour entertaining American kid (5,2)
WAITS ON A synonym for humour ‘entertaining’ the abbreviation for American, the result followed by a male kid

10a         What Jack’s stalker does for a heavenly body (3,4)
DOG STAR What a stalker of a sailor (Jack) could be said to do

11a         European accommodating to New Englander (9)
BOSTONIAN Someone from a country on the Balkan Peninsula ‘accommodating’ TO (from the clue)

12a         Almost somewhere to catch an opera’s leitmotif (5)
THEME Almost all of an informal way of referring to a New York opera house

13a         Big fan of headgear containing new fastening (4,3)
WING NUT A way of describing a big fan of a particular type of headgear into which is inserted the abbreviation for New

15a         Legislator involved in business law case (7)
COMPACT An abbreviated UK legislator inserted between (involved in) an abbreviated business and a law

17a         Criminals reversing banking deficit flourish (7)
BLOSSOM Reversing the US slang for the Mafia (criminals) and ‘banking’ a deficit

19a         Performed in a bass voice, creating a light effect (7)
SUNGLOW – Split 4,3 this would by a way of saying performed in a bass voice

21a         Swimmer lacking time to make a comeback, breaking the habit (5)
REHAB A reversal (to make a comeback) of a swimmer without (lacking) the abbreviation for Time

23a         What stops rupture after theatre critics do this (9)
REPREHEND An interjection of enquiry (what) ‘stops’ or goes between an informal name for a type of theatre and a verb meaning to rupture or tear apart with force

25a         Ban return of zero interest mortgage, not content (7)
EMBARGO A reversal (return) of the letter representing zero, a slang term for a particular interest and the outside (not content) letters of MortgagE

26a         Islander, chap with Diana getting undressed (7)
HAITIAN The inside letters (getting undressed) of cHAp wITh dIANa

27a         Criminal condoned scamming, mostly, and vice (6-2-7)
SECOND-IN-COMMAND An anagram (criminal) of CONDONED SCAMMINg (mostly telling you to omit the last letter)


1d           Playing the violin, stroke neck and bend one’s body (7)
DOWNBOW A verb meaning to drink (neck) and another meaning to bend one’s body

2d           Family in No 10 once not opening refuges (5)
LAIRS A family that moved into No 10 Downing Street in 1997 without the first letter (not opening)

3d           Peers in entrance to Santander banks after six (9)
VISCOUNTS The ‘entrance’ to Santander and a synonym for banks or relies on go after the Roman numeral for six

4d           What a Brazilian mayor may do on tense rampage (3,4)
RUN RIOT What a mayor of a particular Brazilian city may be said to do followed by the abbreviation for Tense

5d           Seeking pleasure, that man put on a lot of diamonds (7)
HEDONIC That man, a verb meaning to put on and most of a slang name for diamonds

6d           Leave tea, we hear, after serving American meat (5)
GIGOT A verb meaning to leave and the letter that sounds like tea go after an abbreviated serving American

7d           Where varnish may go straight away (2,3,4)
ON THE NAIL Where one might put varnish is another way of saying without delay (straight away)

8d           Cold-blooded type transported packages ripped in odd places (7)
SERPENT A synonym for transported ‘packages’ the odd letters of RiPpEd

14d         Disliking the new mobile phone ring by one stuck in ancient era? (9)
NEOPHOBIC An anagram (mobile) of PHONE O (ring) and the Roman numeral for one ‘stuck’ in an abbreviated ancient era

16d         Idiosyncrasy of miners working to support staff (9)
MANNERISM An anagram (working) of MINERS ‘supports’ (in a Down solution) a synonym for staff

17d         Guy who spied starter of boiled egg on steamer (7)
BURGESS The ‘starter’ of Boiled, a verb meaning to egg on and an abbreviated steam ship

18d         Telegraph pioneer running newspaper is behind revolutionary stuff (7)
MARCONI Running or working and the newspaper with a single letter name go behind a reversal (revolutionary) of a verb meaning to stuff

19d         Idiot caught penning letter redolent of some poetry (7)
SAPPHIC An informal name for an idiot and the cricket abbreviation for Caught ‘penning’ the twenty-first letter of the Greek alphabet

20d         Let out extra room that’s been fixed up (7)
WIDENED A cricket extra and a reversal (that’s been fixed up) of a room

22d         Benefit embracing R & B in a lab (5)
BORON Something to be thankful for (benefit) ‘embracing’ R (from the clue)

24d         Conservative in broadcast about supporting lead of Edward Heath (5)
ERICA Another name for the heath plant – the abbreviation for Conservative inserted into a reversal (about) of broadcast, all supporting or going after the ‘lead’ of Edward

10 comments on “Toughie 3302
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  1. Super puzzle, and I was at a loss as to who the setter was until coming here for the review. I found this more challenging than yesterday’s Toughie, certainly, but progress was steady enough (N to S) for the overall completion to be in what for me was a reasonably good time for a ‘proper’ Toughie.

    All GK sufficiently G (for me, at least) to pose no problems, and I thought the variety of clues, their wit, humour, and super surface reads, excellent – especially the shortage of anagrams! 22d came to mind, if not pen, quite early on, having been in a Times puzzle in the last day or two.

    So many great clues it’s quite invidious to select just a few for the podium, bit I’ll go for 13a, 17d & 10a.

    Much irritation yet again at the DT’s inability to format a puzzle to fit on a single page – an inept IT department who clearly don’t give a monkey’s.

    Many thanks to CS & Robyn

  2. A superb puzzle – thanks to the always excellent Robyn and the indefatigable CS.
    Unusually I noticed the number of pages required for the printout in time to avoid pressing ‘print’ too early thus saving a whole sheet of paper. Buoyed up by that I got off to a flying start by getting the top and bottom rows straight away and it all flowed fairly smoothly thereafter.
    My top clues were 1a, 10a, 21a, 17d and 22d.

  3. Celebrations here – I managed to solve a puzzle that CS rated a 4* with only a couple of visits to the BRB required! I was somewhat surprised to see the answer to 24d being allowed as a synonym of heath, surely it’s a plant that grows there, not the heath itself?
    Tops for me were 1&10a plus 4d (which maybe a chestnut) 17&22d. Smiled at the use of ‘in a lab’ where 22d was concerned.

    Thanks to Robyn for the challenge and to CS for the review.

  4. This time I agree with you Sue. I thought it was tricky enough for 4* and that the SE corner was the problem. Robyn is a bit of a nemesis for me – I always have problems with his puzzles, but there is always lots to admire – as here. 10a [Jack’s stalker] 26a [took me a while to twig all 3 were getting undressed, not just Diana] 6d [serving American is cunning] 17d [egg on ditto] and the overall winner 22d [a lovely clue].
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Robyn for the struggle.

  5. The SE sector was the minefield for us too but it did all eventually fall into place.
    Another really enjoyable puzzle from this setter.
    Thanks Robyn and CS.

  6. Add me to those who struggled in the SE. 19a & 20d only yielded when I eventually threw in the towel & revealed the checker & I then bunged in the only 6 letters I could think of onto rep to make a word but needed the hint to parse it & see the definition context. Took an age to figure out where to put my varnish & also to sort out definition from wordplay at 1d. As ever hugely enjoyable albeit very tricky. Ticks aplenty – 1,11&19a + 2,4&14d particular likes.

  7. Re the disgraceful user-unfriendly revamp of the DT puzzle site. Not only do we have the ridiculous and frequent over-running of clues onto a second page on the print version, the setter is not identified, the day of the week should, but doesn’t, accompany the date and, most annoying of all, trying to access backdated puzzles is like looking for the proverbial needle. Previously this was so simple using a widget on the home page. Now, after much searching, you eventually stumble upon the access to backdated puzzles (below the fold of course!) then you have to click on them to see if you can remember any of the clues so you’ll know if you’ve already done it. Previously, under each icon it was stated whether you had already downloaded that particular puzzle. I have been emailing customer services ever since this disaster was foisted on us, threatening to cancel my subscription, but nothing seems to have been done. I wonder if everybody who reads this emails a complaint whether some action might be taken. Please, everybody, join me and have a go at them on:

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