Toughie 2156 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2156

Toughie No 2156 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We have a pangram today with nothing too obscure other than the 1a Drake. The last Stick Insect Toughie was deficient in the E department (which I missed completely) so I examined today’s completed grid with some care. There can’t be any letters missing (since it’s a pangram) and I can’t find anything odd about it either – so I’ll wait for someone to point out what I’ve missed! Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Drake maybe very quiet in turning back (6)
RAPPER: insert the musical abbreviation meaning very quiet into the reversal of a word meaning back or hind part. This character (I’d never heard of him) is a Canadian entertainer.

4a Spinning good election? (8)
PIVOTING: stick together an informal adjective meaning good or holy and a synonym for election.

10a Joint stank less internally (5)
ANKLE: hidden in the clue.

11a Maintain criminal facing life, ultimately, is dead (9)
INANIMATE: an anagram (criminal) of MAINTAIN followed by the ultimate letter of life.

12a Is M apparently put in the wrong film? (7)
MISCAST: if you split the answer 3,4 and treat it as a reverse anagram you end up with ‘IS M’.

13a Zulu entering estate maybe is threatening at first for despotic supporter (7)
CZARIST: put the letter that Zulu represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet inside what an estate is an example of. Now append IS and the first letter of threatening.

14a Careless bird nears cat, mad about tea mostly (14)
SCATTERBRAINED: an anagram (mad) of BIRD NEARS CAT containing TE[a].

17a Alcohol and tea cocktail? Novel! (5,4,5)
CIDER WITH ROSIE: this novel by Laurie Lee is a mixture of an alcoholic drink and the Cockney rhyming slang word for tea.

21a Defend student in former trouble (7)
EXPLAIN: start with a prefix meaning former then insert the abbreviation for student into a verb to trouble or ail.

23a With nitrogen displaced, vague about what’s at the core (7)
NUCLEAR: start with an adjective meaning vague or indistinct and move the chemical symbol for nitrogen one place to the left.

24a Confines devil with prayers, nothing’s lost (9)
IMPRISONS: join together a small devil and an old word for prayers without the first of the letters that resemble nothing. The word for prayers always brings to mind Wilfred Owen’s powerful poem ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth’:

25a Intestinal bile actor is repressing (5)
ILEAC: our second lurker.

26a Oil company drops Trump, perhaps, in drink (8)
ESPRESSO: the trading name for an oil company (which started out as Standard Oil) with an abbreviation for Trump’s current role dropped into it.

27a Former leader at first raw, excitable and good at nothing? (6)
REAGAN: the first letters of the last six words.

Down Clues

1d Last of all, engineers weapons taking over third of nation (8)
REARMOST: string together the abbreviation for our army engineers, a synonym for weapons containing the cricket abbreviation for over and, finally, the third letter of nations.

2d Asian king is drawn in by smashing pinata (9)
PAKISTANI: insert the chess abbreviation for king and IS into an anagram (smashing) of PINATA.

3d English member and soldier is debonair (7)
ELEGANT: cement together the single-letter abbreviation for English, a bodily member and a six-legged soldier.

5d Error in entry about corrupt nature (14)
INACCURATENESS: IN and another word for entry or admittance contain an anagram (corrupt) of NATURE.

6d Folding money initially pressed by old equipment — excellent! (7)
ORIGAMI: the initial letter of money is contained (pressed, in the sense of squeezed) inside O(ld), a synonym of equipment or apparatus and the 2-letter abbreviation that resembles the code for excellent. The ‘initially’ seems redundant since M is a standard abbreviation for money.

7d Island queen, queen for northern Arab (5)
IRAQI: stick together the single-letter abbreviation for island and a Hindu queen then replace the abbreviation of northern with the chess notation for queen.

8d Going round hospital, arrive at poor district (6)
GHETTO: a phrasal verb meaning to arrive at contains the abbreviation for hospital.

9d Image software provides ways to enjoy view (7,7)
PICTURE WINDOWS: charade of an image or representation and the trade name of an operating system.

15d Lunatic gets eager for festival food (6,3)
EASTER EGG: an anagram (lunatic) of GETS EAGER. Seems a bit early since we’ve only just got through Christmas although I noticed yesterday that Sainsbury’s already have hot cross buns on sale.

16d Start of Jane Eyre, oddly, with lines about new repository of refined output (8)
JERRYCAN: there are lots of little bits to stitch together here: the starting letter of Jane, the odd letters of Eyre and abbreviations for railway lines, about and new.

18d Inspect base under old dictator? (7)
EXAMINE: the symbol used for the base in logarithms follows a prefix meaning former and the name of a brutal old Ugandan dictator.

19d Meet in harbour (7)
RECEIVE: double definition, both being verbs. The first means to meet (one’s guests at a formal function, say).

20d Fake empty yarn about Tom? (6)
FELINE: the outer letters of fake and a synonym for a yarn or thread.

22d Youngster takes work, producing annoying advert (3-2)
POP-UP: a youngster in the animal kingdom contains our usual abbreviated artistic work.

My favourite clue was 17a. Do let us know which one(s) hit the spot for you.

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18 comments on “Toughie 2156

  1. A very enjoyable not too tough Toughie completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Sorry Gazza, I can’t help you in finding anything you might have missed; I didn’t even ‘see’ the pangram (as usual).

    The synonym for prayers (24a) was new to me; something else to remember, but probably easier to do so than yesterday’s Welsh stories.

    17a favourite for me too.

    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  2. I really enjoyed this. It took me less time than yesterday’s and a whisker less than today’s backpage, but maybe I was just warmed up by then. My last in were 1s across and down, the former ringing the faintest of bells. Two Drakes today, and neither (to my knowledge) goes “quack!”

    When it comes to favourites, I won’t deviate from the popular vote.

    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  3. Second try………

    Another vote here for 17a although I would have much preferred it to have been of the Long Island iced variety…….
    1a was certainly obscure for me but the ‘gentleman’ in question seems to have accumulated wealth so I guess other people beyond our setter have heard of him. I read that he had a property built ‘from the ground-up’ – can’t be too many other ways of building!

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the blog and the poetry reading – long time since I last heard that one.

  4. I enjoyed this very much. It took me longer than it should have probably because I was slow in sorting out the four longer clues in the core of the puzzle. Even with these four longer clues in place, the SE corner was very slow to come into focus. Eventually I got a full and correct grid although I was fortunate in places and I needed Gazza’s review to fully understand the word play in some instances. (For example, I was stung, yet again, by my ignorance of Cockney slang in 17a). I missed that it was a pangram – one of these days I will recognize one in time for it to help with completion). Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  5. 1a gave us pause for thought. We’d had a Drake in our blog and had heard of a water bird called a dipper. Both turned out to be red herrings.
    Certainly a very enjoyable puzzle with 17a getting top billing from us too.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza. (Got it right today)

  6. 1a – Wot? Entertainer of whom? Has anyone ever actually listened to that drivel who isn’t stoned s******s? Loved 17a as it was a favourite of mine at school and thought 12a was nifty.

    Didn’t enjoy being reminded of that nasty piece of work at 18d though.

    Thanks for the puzzle, Stick insect, and thanks Gazza – my local store has replaced the tinsel and ‘White Christmas’ for inflatable pink hearts, Valentine’s Day cards and ‘I Just Called To Say I love You’. Deep joy.

    1. I actually knew 1a straight off for some reason (I’m 55 – go figure), but apparently there is a movement to stop people using this musical genre to describe the output of this person.

  7. Thanks to Gazza and all who’ve commented.

    I wondered if Drake might get some responses. I’ve never heard his “music” but heard the name as a friend’s teenager is keen, so she can take the blame!

    Happy new year to you all.

    1. Thanks for dropping in, SI, and a Happy New Year to you.
      Is there any chance of your coming along to the blog’s 10th anniversary bash on the 26th?

  8. Most enjoyable, gentle, easy but good. I do like a tough Toughie, but not all the time, so I think the flow of difficulty through the puzzles is just great right now. I back-paged today just to check the difficulty, and yes, we were a fair deal tougher in Toughieland.

    Thanks all, nice stuff.

  9. I thought this was a most enjoyable Toughie. My favourite was 17a. There were many others I singled out for special mention. The synonym for ‘prayers’ in 24a is a rather lovely poetic word with which I am familiar. 12a made me chuckle, as did 14a with its 14-letter answer. I also liked many others, including 16d and 20d.

    Very many thanks to Stick Insect. And appreciative thanks to Gazza for the review and for including the reading of that powerfully moving ‘Anthem of Doomed Youth’.

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