Toughie 1926 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1926

Toughie No 1926 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was my first chance to blog a Stick Insect Toughie since I was on my travels when his last puzzle appeared on a Thursday. I echo the comments that Deep Threat made on that occasion when he echoed the comments made by Gazza when he blogged the first one. This was a gentle Toughie and had it not been for a slowish start I might have only given it one star for difficulty. Certainly once I got into gear it was all over very quickly.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pitcher with good left, about to turn one keeping balls in the air (7)
JUGGLER: A pitcher + G (good) + L (left) + a reversal of ‘about’

5a    Guided old puss inside to get fixed (7)
LOCATED: ‘Guided’ round O (old) and a puss

9a    Reviles small car standing in for advanced passenger transports (9)
MINIBUSES: Take a 6-letter word meaning ‘reviles’ and replace A (advanced) by a small car

10a    The setter’s lavish hint (5)
IMPLY: ‘The setter is’ + ‘to lavish’ = ‘to hint’. I’m not totally convinced by the ‘lavish’

11a    One leading Bond character, spy showing graft (7)
IMPLANT: I (one) + James Bond’s boss + a spy

12a    Fruit and eggs flipped over: oik’s captured (7)
AVOCADO: A reversal of ‘eggs’ and O (over) round an oik

13a    Good score in golfbad omen? (9)
ALBATROSS: 2 meanings: a score of three under par in golf/a bad omen or oppressive influence

16a    Two girls, one lacking heart to change (5)
ADAPT: Two 3-letter girl’s names with the middle letter removed from the second one

17a    Weapon’s redundant when base moves west (5)
SPEAR: Take a 5-letter word meaning ‘redundant’ and move the letter E (base of natural logarithms) nearer the front (i.e. towards the west)

18a    A burden going after royal address in a jam (9)
MARMALADE: A form of address to female royalty + A + ‘to burden’

21a    Blink to supply personality test component (3-4)
INK-BLOT: An anagram (supply) of BLINK TO

22a    Brave, taking on great boxer and soldier (7)
VALIANT: A letter denoting ‘taking on’ or ‘versus’ + the boxer styled ‘The Greatest’ + a soldier of the insect variety

25a    Gulf inhabitant‘s ship seized by attention-seeker (5)
OMANI: An inhabitant of an Arab sultanate = a ship inside an interjection used to attract attention

26a    Those making the cut abruptly keel over (5-4)
SHORT LIST: ‘Abruptly’ + ‘to keel over’

27a    Weary of large portions of piggy used regularly (7)
FATIGUE: ‘To weary’ = ‘large’ + alternate letters of PIGGY USED

28a    Force in Hull discovered Home Counties tracking troublemaker (7)
IMPULSE: A troublemaker + the middle letters of HULL (dis-covered) + the Home COunties


1d    After snarl-up, motorists’ group’s taken over in charge of island (7)
JAMAICA: A snarl-up (of traffic) + a motorists’ group round ‘in charge’ = a Caribbean island

2d    Learn about wordplay, say (3,2)
GEN UP: A reversal of wordplay and ‘say’ or ‘for example’

3d    Glib rationale contains a sign (5)

4d    Food is served in Santa’s place without starter (7)
RISOTTO: IS inside where Santa might be found with the initial letter removed

5d    Sailors impress girl with Porsche, for instance (7)
LASCARS: Oriental sailors = a girl round a Porsche for instance

6d    Greek character cut back on unlimited satay and sausage (9)
CHIPOLATA: A letter of the Greek alphabet + a reversal of ‘to cut’ + SATAY with the first and last letters removed

7d    Dope’s written up something fruity for star performer (3,6)
TOP BANANA: A reversal of dope (drug) + a fruit

8d    Bay toad wrecked small craft (3-4)
DAY-BOAT: An anagram (wrecked) of BAY TOAD

14d    Snout grabs first of rations, quick to get meal (9)
BREAKFAST: A snout round R (first letter of rations) + ‘quick’

15d    Exciting affair holds the seed of reckless wickedness (9)
THRILLING: An affair round R (first letter or seed of RECKLESSNESS) and ‘wickedness’

17d    Rotating presses: no longer available by-product (4-3)
SPIN-OFF: A reversal of ‘presses between two surfaces’ + ‘no longer available’

18d    Graduate is set to promote square painter (7)
MATISSE: A graduate + IS SET with the letter T (a type of square) moved nearer the front

19d    Run with garlic mayonnaise including five pasta cases (7)
RAVIOLI: R (run) + a garlic-flavoured mayonnaise round the Roman numeral for ‘five’

20d    Style books, elite refashioned covers (7)
ENTITLE: ‘To style’ = some books of the Bible inside an anagram (refashioned) of ELITE

23d    The French applied to go north in relief (3-2)
LET-UP: The French definite article + a reversal of ‘applied’

24d    Spirit, possible source of moonshine (5)
ARIEL: A spirit in The Tempest and a moon of Uranus

It was a pleasant enough puzzle but I’d like something more challenging next time.

23 comments on “Toughie 1926

  1. So far this has been a week of markedly decreasing difficulty in Toughieland. I did however hit a Sticky point at 24d even though the right idea occurred to me. All enjoyable anyway. Thanks to Stick Insect and Bufo.

    P.S. Never use the address in 18a for Her Maj.

  2. Have to agree not as tough as I usually find them, but pleasant. In my parsing I had missed (17a) the E as the base of natural logs and (18d) the T as “set”, so nice ti see these explained. Thanks to all.

  3. Not at the tough side pf tough town, but enjoyable all the same. Stick Insect still wins the contest because I could not parse the second part of (24d) without the hints. Shame on me for my limited knowledge of the outer solar system.

  4. Stick Insect delivers again although, echoing other comments, at the easier end of the spectrum – 2* / 3.5* from us.

    We had no stand-out favourite today.

    Thanks to Bufo and Stick Insect.

  5. I thought this would have made a perfectly acceptable Thursday back pager. The definitions were so obvious and generous that the cryptic element was often redundant. I agree with Bufo that it was not much of a challenge.

  6. I agree with Kitty that this has been a topsy-turvy week so far – I imagine that will come to a juddering halt tomorrow. My favourite clue was 17a. Thanks to Stick Insect and Bufo.

  7. This certainly wouldn’t be out of place on the back page but it was a pleasant solve.

    Thanks to Bufo and Stick Insect.

  8. Found the top half easier than the bottom. Finished it but needed the parsing explained for 17a, 24d and 24d. I always forget the soldier insects. I bet tomorrow is a different kettle of fish.

  9. This came as something of a 23d after the last couple of days – quite OK with me!
    Needed to check on both of the water-borne carriers – hadn’t come across 8d before and only knew of the one in 25a by its somewhat longer title.

    No particular favourite but I enjoyed the solve – thank you, Stick Insect.
    Thanks also to Bufo for the blog.

  10. I agree – all straightforward except for the definition of 25 a. – please explain the ship connection

  11. We think that Rick has identified what made this one rather a rapid solve, the definitions are generally rather generous to solvers. Plenty of smiles so a pleasant solve for us.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Bufo.

  12. After a couple of challenging toughies this week, I found this a very enjoyable solve, and with the added pleasure of being able to finish it unaided. There were one or two small sticking points, but in general it all went in relatively smoothly. Many thanks to Stick Insect and Bufo.

  13. An interesting puzzle – on the easy side, which doesn’t bother me. I knew 4d from the checkers before even looking at the clue. but with some tricky parsing in that some of the synonyms are either distant or uncommon – I didn’t know the ship, style seemed a bit unusual, lavish, etc. Thanks bufo for explaining rotating presses – again I had the answer but it looked like it had something to do with ‘rotating’, so I struggled to make it work. Also I was trying to use ‘large portions’ instead of just large, so thanks bufo for explaining that as well.

    Many thanks stick insect I liked 2d, 21a, 26a, and more

  14. Completed this at record speed and hence agree with the reviewer’s rating, Knew the Shakespearean spirit but not the satellite. I was not familiar with the 2d expression. The only clue I found interesting was 26a

  15. Thanks to all for the feedback. Glad it was enjoyed: I’ll work on more challenge for the future.

  16. Enjoyable, although not what I was expecting from the Toughie. :-) A nice change of pace though, we’re obviously being setup for something most definitely tough tomorrow. 24d was my last in, and a bit of a guess based on half remembered Shakespeare.

  17. A very gentle Toughie (the back-pager was harder) but a pleasure to complete: */****. My favourite was 19d, of which which I’m excessively fond. Thanks to Stick Insect and to Bufo.

  18. Very pleasant and just the right amount of difficulty as I don’t have much time on Thursdays.
    Fitted the bill perfectly.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Bufo for the review.

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