Toughie 2141 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2141

Toughie No 2141 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

There’s nothing really frightening in the stables here so it’s not too tough. I thought that some of the surfaces were not terribly smooth (e.g. 12a and 3d). Thanks to Stick Insect.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Against writing text for computer and compulsorily listing (12)
CONSCRIPTING: charade of a word meaning against and a present participle meaning ‘writing a set of instructions for a computer’. Listing can mean enlisting.

9a Well in favour of US pay (6,3)
SPRING FOR: this is a North American informal phrasal verb meaning to pay for or purchase. Stick together a well or source and a preposition meaning ‘in favour of’.

10a Chapter One: Everybody that’s backed Sixties singer (5)
CILLA: start with an abbreviation for chapter and the Roman numeral for one then reverse a synonym for everybody.

11a Malign worry follows wally (6)
ASSAIL: malign here is a verb. A verb to worry follows a wally or nitwit.

12a Match involving pulling stud has no limits with rough confusion around (3-2-3)
TUG-OF-WAR: the inner letters of stud are followed by the reversal of an adjective meaning rough or unpolished and a metaphor for impenetrable confusion.

13a Purify all, it’s idiotic holding it back (6)
DISTIL: hidden in reverse.

15a Scoop follows tips of journalist urging politician to abscond (4,4)
JUMP BAIL: a verb to scoop (water from a vessel) follows the first letters of ‘journalist urging’ and our usual elected politician.

18a Trump folk cooking with tuna (8)
OUTFLANK: an anagram (cooking) of FOLK and TUNA.

19a Hollow for burnt stuff is hot in a rain (3,3)
ASH PIT: insert the abbreviation for hot into A and a verb to rain lightly.

21a Good spot to find gold? Not for being dug up when king enters mark on map (4,4)
FORT KNOX: an anagram (dug up?) of NOT FOR contains the chess abbreviation for king. Finish with the letter used to indicate a location on a map.

23a Spice Girl losing head is detained by spies (6)
CASSIA: a synonym for girl without her first letter goes inside our usual US spies.

26a Arab offspring is lighting up illicitly (5)
ARSON: join together the abbreviation for Arab and a male offspring.

27a Ruin of slum hut causing outbursts (9)
MOUTHFULS: an anagram (ruin) of OF SLUM HUT.

28a Stalin is too crazy, following India in avoiding political links (12)
ISOLATIONIST: an anagram (crazy) of STALIN IS TOO follows the letter that India is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

Down Clues

1d In focus, Tardis is something running the Milky Way? (7)
CUSTARD: hidden in the clue. Does the definition really work?

2d Grasses progressed up centre of workshop (5)
NARKS: reverse a verb meaning progressed or moved swiftly and add the central letters of workshop.

3d Jolly trick: small flask holding six (9)
CONVIVIAL: a trick or scam followed by a small flask containing the Roman numeral for six.

4d Vacant idiocy about folios is risky (4)
IFFY: the outer letters of idiocy containing a double dose of the abbreviation for folio.

5d Sort out supply around uniform, full of twists (8)
TORTUOUS: an anagram (supply) of SORT OUT contains the letter that Uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

6d Chip china potty, swapping half of it for nothing (5)
NACHO: in the word china swap one half of the word ‘it’ for the letter resembling zero then make an anagram (potty) of what you now have.

7d Hot stuff from this oil company hosting small thrash (8)
BLOWLAMP: a British oil company contains an adjective meaning small or short and a verb to thrash.

8d Simplistic function mostly for army unit (6)
PATROL: stitch together an adjective meaning simplistic or perfunctory and a synonym for function or part without its last letter.

14d Comic posed with flag above front of theatre (8)
SATIRIST: assemble a verb meaning posed, a flag or plant with sword-shaped leaves and the first letter of theatre.

16d Knights quitting bar following sanctimonious nut (9)
PISTACHIO: start with an upright bar or post, remove the two chess abbreviations for knight and precede what’s left with an informal short word meaning sanctimonious or holier-than-thou.

17d In class a student becomes familiar (8)
INFORMAL: string together IN, another word for a school class, A and an abbreviation for student.

18d Swap parts in vacation, not most brilliant patch (3-3)
OFF-DAY: start with a (very short) vacation (3,3) and swap the two parts.

20d Van is crossing (7)
TRANSIT: double definition, the first a trademarked type of van.

22d Top posts on board from family introductions to good sorts (5)
KINGS: the definition here relates to chess. A synonym for family followed by the introductory letters of ‘good sorts’.

24d Sierra car belonging to a Middle-Easterner (5)
SAUDI: the letter that Sierra stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet followed by a make of car.

25d Stop Oscar going from ring (4)
QUIT: remove the letter that Oscar stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet from a type of ring that’s thrown in a game. This was my last answer and I had to work my way through the alphabet before the correct first letter became clear.

The best clue for me today was 15a (which seems quite topical considering what’s happening at Westminster). Do let us know which one(s) you favoured.

29 comments on “Toughie 2141

  1. My horses would have awarded it 3* for difficulty , not least because at one point I had to use Tippex

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

    1. Was the second part of your Tippexed answer to 15a by any chance ‘ship’? That was my first thought but I couldn’t parse it so didn’t write it in.

  2. Not too tough. I thought we might be on for a pangram but we seem to be missing Z and even more remarkably, E. Are there many cases of crosswords without an E?

      1. A back-pager is a puzzle that sounds as if it might be done with Es. Is a Toughie one without Es? :wink:

        1. It has been a while since I awarded a comment one of these :roll: but I think this one may deserve it (in the absence of a groan emoticon)

    1. Bufo’s NTSPP 161 had a missing vowel (I think) but I can’t check as when I click on it in the NTSPP list, Java Security won’t let me anywhere near it.

    2. Ther was a series of five crosswords, many years ago, which each featured only one of the five vowels. I can’t remember if they were Toughies or back-pagers.

        1. Yes, they were. A related question came up in survey 3. The question and my response follow.

          “I remember a few years ago a telegraph cryptic containing no other vowel but A. It was really enjoyable. Do you have any idea from your data base who set it?”

          I believe that the puzzle you’re thinking of is DT 25085 from August 2006. I discussed it in the intro to my blog for DT 28398. Since Thursday back-page setters are anonymous I don’t know who set it. A slightly modified version appeared later as DT 25209. A few years later, MynoT took the challenge further by composing a series of Toughies that each used only a single vowel: Toughie 173 (only A), Toughie 185 (only E), Toughie 203 (only I), Toughie 217 (only O), and Toughie 232 (only U).

          I’m on a plane right now so I can’t run a search to identify all puzzles missing Es. I’ll try to do that later.

  3. Not too tough and slightly disappointing overall with some dodgy definitions (e.g. 7d & 22d) and some 4d surfaces. At least the strange American term in 9a was clearly indicated.

    24d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  4. Well I enjoyed it. Only got held up by the ring in 25d and not being able to read my own handwriting

  5. Did pencil in an E at the end of 3d as I thought it might end in IVE but soon removed it.
    Thought of Ship too for the second word in 15a.
    25d was last in also.
    Enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  6. I enjoyed it too. Unlike yesterday, this went in from the bottom up, with the NW corner being the last in. I would be embarrassed to admit how long I spent touring the galaxy with a certain Doctor in 1d before the penny dropped (I thought the ‘real’ answer was very cleverly disguised in plain sight (even if the definition didn’t really work)). 7d was a bit of a stretch for me as well, but I thought there were many very nicely constructed clues (14d for example). Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  7. Needed help for a couple in the south-west, but apart from that a relatively friendly Toughie. I had never heard of that Americanism in 9a, but I bunged in the correct answer. many thanks to Gazza and the setter.

  8. 50/50 for me. One or two dodgy surfaces and one or two awkward definitions detracted slightly. Didn’t notice the lack of Es – well spotted Ash

    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  9. We got into trouble with 9a. Had never heard of the correct answer. We came up with STRONG FOR as a possible US phrase meaning ‘well in favour of’ or ‘supporting enthusiastically’ but this left ‘pay’ totally stranded.
    Of course we went through the grid searching for a Z to finish the pangram, totally oblivious to the lack of any E’s. That was very clever.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  10. Certainly a few 4d surfaces and I wasn’t very convinced by the definition in 1d.
    Think, like RD, I’ll give the honours to 24d.

    Well done, Ash, for spotting the lack of E’s.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the blog – loved the 14d clip.

  11. In 1d, if ‘milky’ is taken as a slang term for ‘weak’ or ‘lacking courage’, perhaps ‘running the Milky Way’ indicates that the answer should be preceded by ‘cowardy, cowardy’.

  12. I don’t often do the toughie but time hangs heavily when you are in hospital. I needed help with the ing instead of ion in 1a which cleared up the problem i had with 6d. I was also baffled by 25d. Otherwise this was very approachable and i quite enjoyed it. Might do a few more toughies.

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