Toughie 2296 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2296

Toughie No 2296 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

There’s nothing too tricky here but I did find, especially when writing the hints, that a significant number of the clues require lots of little bits to be assembled including many abbreviations.

Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Panic about a court reversing working-class symbol (4,3)
FLAT CAP: a verb to panic or dither contains A and the abbreviation of court reversed.

5a Lance and Jack have topless work cut short (7)
JAVELIN: string together the abbreviation for Jack in card games, HAVE without its first letter and someone’s work or occupation without the last letter.

9a Virginia’s spotted flier is bad, ugly criminal (7)
LADYBUG: an anagram (criminal) of BAD UGLY gives us the North American word for a spotted insect.

10a With difficulty, I caught it under the table (7)
ILLICIT: assemble an adverb meaning ‘with difficulty’ (as in ‘she can *** afford to lose her job’), I, the cricket abbreviation for caught and IT.

11a Anxious and hopeful with child (9)
EXPECTANT: triple definition, the first meaning anxious or ‘on tenterhooks’.

12a Nun maybe accepts university entrance (5)
MOUTH: what a nun is a type of in the insect world contains an abbreviation for university.

13a Saint Oscar in charge of a philosophy (5)
STOIC: build the answer from an abbreviation for saint, the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and the abbreviation meaning ‘in charge’.

15a Gossiped and giggled, wife getting involved (9)
TWITTERED: a synonym for giggled with the abbreviation for wife being inserted.

17a Year in poverty after horse is worn-out (9)
HACKNEYED: insert the abbreviation for year into a word for poverty or deprivation and precede all that with a horse kept for riding.

19a Gambles made by Romeo, first to make advances in smooch (5)
RISKS: start with the letter that Romeo stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and add a verb to smooch with its first letter advanced. ‘Advanced’ can be ambiguous in constructs such as this but here it means ‘moved further along’.

22a Squadron emptied with man flu regularly produces chaos for Patton’s army (5)
SNAFU: the outer letters of squadron are followed by the even letters of ‘man flu’ to get an acronym (used originally in the US army during WWII) describing a common circumstance which is (to put it politely) completely fouled up.

23a In the morning, after first of beers, drink absorbs student fool (9)
BAMBOOZLE: the abbreviation for ‘in the morning’ follows the first letter of beers. After that we need a slang word for alcoholic drink containing our usual abbreviation for a student.

25a Cover’s provided by one batting with certain runs (7)
INSURER: concatenate a cricket word meaning currently batting, a synonym for certain and another cricket abbreviation, this time that for runs.

26a In prime locations, ninth American took charge and inspired (7)
INHALED: extract the letters corresponding to the first three prime numbers from the word ‘ninth’ and append an abbreviation for American and a verb meaning ‘took charge’.

27a X squared in division (7)
HUNDRED: a bit of maths is required on the Roman numeral at the start of the clue. The answer is an old term for a subdivision of an English county – a word still used in a typically archaic procedure by which an MP can resign from the House of Commons.

28a Produce cry like a dog over lost duel (5,2)
YIELD UP: a verb to give a short, sharp cry contains an anagram (lost) of DUEL.

Down Clues

1d Sieves messy trifles (7)
FILTERS: an anagram (messy) of TRIFLES.

2d A direct debit prepared for total (3,2,2)
ADD UP TO: bolt together A, the banking abbreviation for direct debit and a phrase meaning ‘capable of and ready for’.

3d Little bear beginning to indicate cold — it’s about three degrees (5)
CUBIC: a young bear is followed by the first letters of ‘indicate cold’. I think that degrees here means powers – I’m sure that the mathematicians amongst our number will correct me if I’m wrong.

4d Attendant and soldier supported by ridiculously empty pomp (9)
PAGEANTRY: knit together a young male attendant, a soldier insect and the outer letters of ridiculously.

5d Beam is taken in by hint (5)
JOIST: insert IS into another word for a hint or small amount.

6d Elector arrests lieutenant, this person showing measure of force (9)
VOLTMETER: a synonym for elector contains the abbreviation for lieutenant and the objective pronoun by which a speaker identifies himself or herself.

7d Japan perhaps replacing one Republican with Conservative in mad quarrel (7)
LACQUER: an anagram (mad) of QUAR[r](C)EL after we’ve replaced one of the abbreviations for Republican with that of Conservative.

8d Nicked revolutionary diamonds following retro fashion (7)
NOTCHED: our ever-present friend the South American revolutionary and the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds follow the reversal of a word for fashion or style.

14d Victor and Conor protecting queen twice (9)
CONQUEROR: CONOR contains an abbreviation for queen and the regnal cipher of our current one.

16d In study about motorway condition, technology’s ultimate guarantee (9)
INDEMNIFY: weld together IN, a study containing the abbreviation for motorway, a conjunction identifying a condition and the ultimate letter of technology.

17d Obtains the man’s hospital drug (7)
HASHISH: collate a verb meaning obtains or keeps, a possessive pronoun meaning “the man’s” and the cartographical abbreviation for hospital.

18d Fixing one’s car is dull (7)
COARSEN: a verb to dull or blunt comes from an anagram (fixing) of ONE’S CAR.

20d Well confused, without turning up drunk (7)
SOZZLED: well is an interjection introducing resumed narrative – we want another similar word (one which is now used by most people under thirty to start their answer to every single question they’re asked – how did they all get into this very annoying habit?). Follow that with an adjective meaning confused without the reversal of the word ‘up’.

21d S-low?? Go faster (5,2)
SPEED UP: start with the S from the clue then add a cryptic instruction (4,2) to get an adjective meaning low or far down.

23d Browned off? Yes, if two points ignored (5)
BORED: an anagram (off) of BRO[wn]ED without the two cardinal points.

24d Scots tut about money (5)
OCHRE: a Scottish word of rebuke such as ‘tut’ followed by a preposition meaning about or concerning. The answer (new to me) is a slang term for money, especially gold.

The clues I liked best were 22a and 21d which stood out by being a bit different. Which clue(s) made your podium?


30 comments on “Toughie 2296

  1. This pangram would have made a very nice mid week back page crossword but …

    My favourite clue was 21d. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

    1. I forget to say that it was a pangram. I did think at one stage that it might be going to be a double pangram when the double ZZ appeared.

  2. Mmm…
    I’m not quite sure what to make of this pangram. I seemed to hit on the right wavelength from the outset and raced through the first three quarters pausing only to check that there was such a thing as a Nun Moth and wondering if “one batting with certain runs” might refer to Steve Smith.
    Then I completely seized up in the SE corner which ended up taking me over twice as long as the rest added together.
    I liked 21d a lot but didn’t like 24d at all.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  3. Well, since the ‘F-word’ no longer applies to the Tuesday Toughie does it now apply to the Wednesday Toughie? On a sample of one, possibly. Very enjoyable and completed at a Toughie fast gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 23a, 14d, and 16d – and the winner is 23a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza,

  4. I enjoyed this one more than is usual for me with this setter’s puzzles although I did need Gazza’s help with 16d where I’d confidently put in the wrong 8th letter and also with 21d where my imagination had run wild.
    Had to check on the Nun as I’m more familiar with Black Arches as the name of the insect in question and was very interested to see how Gazza would hint 22a!

    Despite agreeing with our blogger over ‘youth-speak’ it was 20d that made me smile.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the humorously illustrated review.

    1. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one with the wrong 8th letter in 16d – and I suspect with equal confidence!

  5. Only the SE corner stopped this being finished faster than the back pager. The Wednesday back pager together with the Saturday one were the puzzles I used to find the easiest but both seem to have got a bit harder recently. I had not heard of the money, moth or cry in 28a but ended up guessing correctly. I thought the cry had to be yap but could not come to a sensible solution so guessed a similar word existed

    I can’t say I have noticed younger people answering every question with a certain short word – I will listen out carefully. When my daughters were teenage there was an infuriating fashion to add the word “like” every few words. I also disliked the fashion of using “goes” to mean “says” especially as “went” was never used for the past tense.

    Favourite clues must be 20 and 21 down as they took a bit of parsing

    Thanks to the setter and Gazza

    1. Another annoyance – Can I get.. when buying something. Eg in a pub “Can I get a glass of red” sometimes varied to “may I get?”

  6. Your explanation for 26 across does not make sense. Nowhere does the clue tell you to extract anything , nor anything to do with the first three prime numbers, or even that they should come from the word ninth. This is a typical wishy washy clue with an equally wishy washy explanation!!!!! a better, More coherent answer is clearly needed.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Brian.
      What’s your explanation for 26a then and how would you write a hint for it?

    2. What a coincidence – here’s a ‘Brian’ throwing his dummy out of the pram over a crossword clue within minutes of another ‘Brian’ critique on the back page puzzle. Call me suspicious, but . . . . . !

  7. 24D was a new slang word for me and I didn’t know the moth. Parsing 26A was a lost cause and even with the hint I still don’t get it. 21D was my favorite. Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

    1. The lowest prime numbers are 2, 3 and 5 so the prime locations of the word ‘ninth’ are letters 2, 3 and 5 i.e. INH.

      1. Well, no one I was having difficulty! I had it in my head that one was a prime number! Thanks Gazza

  8. Like others 26a and 24d had me stymied until i realised 1 is no longer considered a prime number, so the answer to 24d had to be what it is although i’ve never heard of it as a synonym for money. Lovely puzzle.

  9. I enjoyed twigging 21d almost as much as I disliked comment #6 – thank you BD
    My last few held me up and pushed it into *** territory
    Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle and also to our very restrained and respectful Gazza

  10. I consider three-quarters of any Toughie as a success, so I will sleep tonight. I reckon that three corners rated **/*** for difficulty but the SE was just out of my league.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  11. Thanks Gazza, that felt like a medium/hard back-pager.
    I just needed a couple of nudges with the parsing, but all in all, very enjoyable.
    Thanks to Stick Insect, too, of course.

  12. SE corner was last in for us where it took a while to sort out the wordplay for 21d.
    Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  13. A puzzle I could cope with this evening. I liked best 23a, 27a and 7d although I can’t explain why!

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  14. A nice puzzle. A little harder than a back pager would be, but not overly tough either – a nice stepping stone between the two.

  15. I thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie. Okay so I needed a hint for 26 across too, but all in all it was one that I could complete without recourse to further ‘cheats’. It was a pleasure to solve after a pretty energetic afternoon cutting down a neighbours small but overgrown tree, bagging the shortened branches and taking them to our local tip. Lots to enjoy, so thank you Stick Insect and Gazza.

  16. Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review and hints. I enjoyed the little bit that I was able to do. Perhaps it was a wavelength thing, but I couldn’t make head nor tail of it.

  17. I never do the Toughie. Sometimes look and decide it will be unfsthomable. However finding myself at a loose end this morning I had a go and found it indistinguishable from many a back pager. What is the criteria for deciding between one and the other? I finished it without aids save for looking up SNAFU. I think I can guess what the last two letters stand for but not sure about the first three. I did know the word for money usually associated with gold. It was the SE that held me up too. I had most of them but could not parse so was uncertain about them. I never would have parsed 26a in a million years. Favourites 10 and 23a and 16 17 and the controversial 24d

      1. Ah fouled was not the word I had in mind. Clearly I am not polite enough and shall now wash my mouth out with soap and water. Thank you.

Comments are closed.