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Toughie 2352

Toughie No 2352 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Thanks to Stick Insect for a fun puzzle which I enjoyed a lot and which wasn’t too tricky.

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

Across Clues

1a Fighters search area, beat gutless traitors (10)
COMBATANTS: paste together a verb to search thoroughly, the abbreviation for area, a verb to beat and the outer letters of ‘traitors’.

6a Second person once without clothes (4)
THOU: hidden in the clue.

10a My girl? (5)
MANDY: spell out ‘my’ (1,3,1).

11a Rabble in election swamped by different calls for attention (3,6)
HOI POLLOI: a synonym for election is enclosed in two different interjections used to attract someone’s attention in a brusque manner.

12a Footballer from France is best at dribbling? (8)
MESSIEST: bring together the surname of a famous Argentinian footballer and the French verb meaning ‘is’.

13a Fruit that would make Cara sweet? (5)
MELON: to get a type of sweet we have to split the answer 3,2 and apply it to the word cara.

15a Language student is first in exams and put on a pedestal (7)
IDOLISE: string together an artificial language, the letter used for a student, IS and the first letter of exams.

17a Initially Equity underserved northerners, casting such men without parts (7)
EUNUCHS: the initial letters of three words in the clue followed by an anagram (casting) of SUCH. Ouch!

19a Tragic King Edward is wise (7)
LEARNED: charade of one of Shakespeare’s tragic kings and one of the short forms of Edward.

21a Speculator in taking over gold bars (7)
BULLION: someone who buys shares in the hope that their value will rise (as opposed to a bear, who sells shares hoping to buy them back later at a lower price) followed by IN containing the cricket abbreviation for over.

22a Corpulent alumnus has half of cheese (5)
OBESE: knit together the abbreviation for a former male student and half of the word cheese.

24a No matter which person TV doctor married, cut son out (8)
WHOMEVER: concatenate a long-running TV doctor, the genealogical abbreviation for married and a verb to cut without the abbreviation for son.

27a Journey there and back on the circle line? (5,4)
ROUND TRIP: cryptic definition of a return journey which might involve starting and finishing at the same station on the Circle Line.

28a Jump lead (5)
START: double definition, the second meaning to play the first card.

29a Place the object in empty safe (4)
SITE: put a pronoun identifying an inanimate object between the outer letters of safe.

30a Curse after small opening in whites perhaps (10)
SPORTSWEAR: a verb to curse or blaspheme follows the abbreviation for small and an opening in the side of a ship.

Down Clues

1d Head of space body is cold, woman discovered (4)
COMA: the abbreviation for cold and the inner letters of ‘woman’. The answer, new to me, is the luminous cloud surrounding the frozen solid nucleus in the head of a comet.

2d Criminal nominates place to find St Paul (9)
MINNESOTA: an anagram (criminal) of NOMINATES. St Paul here is not a person.

3d Chaos when idiot takes Times (5)
ABYSS: an idiot contains a word meaning times in multiplications.

4d Active type at hotel permitted opening of escalator (7)
ATHLETE: glue together AT, the letter that hotel represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, a verb meaning permitted and the opening letter of escalator.

5d First line in the national symbol? (7)
THISTLE: insert what looks like a way of writing ‘first’ (in a date, for example) and the abbreviation for line into ‘the’.

7d Food that’s permitted in hospital, prepared with hint of lemon (5)
HALAL: weld together the abbreviation for hospital, a phrase meaning prepared or cooked in a certain way (1,2) and the first letter of lemon.

8d Recruiting brothers and sisters, I celebrate after wedding (10)
UNIONISING: I and a verb to celebrate vocally follow a synonym for wedding.

9d Instrument holds second half of vial containing internal secretions (8)
HORMONAL: a wind instrument contains an informal word for a second or brief time. Finish with half of the word vial.

14d American promoters may use these two Shakespearean titles to gain Oscar, having succeeded (10)
BILLBOARDS: two attributes of Shakespeare, the first his name and the second a poetic title, contain the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet. Finally, append the genealogical abbreviation for succeeded.

16d Local university on edge over slur (8)
INNUENDO: bolt together a synonym for local or bar, an abbreviation for university, another word for edge or limit and the cricket abbreviation for over (for the second time).

18d Want to limit one call that keeps police busy (5,4)
CRIME WAVE: a verb to want or long for contains the Roman numeral for one and a feline call.

20d Turning up, we would decline overnight deposit (7)
DEWDROP: reverse the shortened form of ‘we would’ and append a decline or fall.

21d Dictator’s sad for each mistake (7)
BLOOPER: assemble a homophone of an adjective meaning sad or depressed and a preposition meaning ‘for each’.

23d Rejoice in lovemaking sect losing leaders (5)
EXULT: start with a lovemaking sect (3,4) and remove the leading letter of both words.

25d Third of army missing from canteens is what’s found at beginning and end of sorties (5)
ESSES: drop the third letter of army from a word for military canteens.

26d Disturb bird (4)
STIR: double definition. Bird here is a slang term.

Lots to like here – I’ll pick out 10a, 2d, 14d and 23d. Which one(s) made it to your shortlist?


19 comments on “Toughie 2352

  1. An enjoyable crossword although at the extremely easy end of the Toughie spectrum and/or the more difficult end of the Friday back page spectrum

    Lots to enjoy – in addition to those clues already mentioned by Gazza, I’ll add 25d

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

  2. Having completed the back-pager early, I relished the challenge of the Toughie. Unfortunately it was miles above my level, and I certainly can’t agree with CS that it was of a more difficult level of a back-pager, though I am happy to bow to CS’s greater knowledge of these things. Horses for courses, I guess. I find the jump between back-pager and Toughie far too wide.
    As ever though, I enjoyed the hints and I’m sure that one day puzzles like this will be within my grasp.
    Thanks Gazza and Stick Insect.

  3. Quite wordy clues but the stories they tell are fun.
    Second time we see Lionel in a crossword but he deserves it being the footballer of the year again if I am not mistaken.
    Thanks to stick insect and to Gazza for the review.

  4. An enjoyable Toughie. Liked 10a as couldn’t see the answer untill the checkers were in place but my favourite was 23d.

  5. I enjoyed this a lot but I did find parts of it really quite tough, although I only needed the services of my BRB for 1d.

    27a is somewhat anachronistic as the Circle Line ceased being a circle about ten years ago.

    My podium comprises 10a, 17a, 2d & 14d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

    1. 27a The clue doesn’t mention London (and circle line isn’t capitalised) so I suppose it could apply to various cities round the world.

  6. 13ac had to be what it was because of the checking letters, but I still can’t see the sweet, even with the hint.

      1. A bit of a cheat I’d say. The clue asks for the answer to use the whole fruit not part of it, though, just to confuse, there is a fruit using all 9 letters.
        I did not find this easy and needed hints.
        COTD 17a. As you say “ouch”!

      2. Yes, I had seen that, but I can’t see any justification for dropping the “on” when getting to caramel.”Fruit slice” would work for me. I don’t think I have seen an assumed partial deletion before, but maybe I’m missing something.

  7. Had to work out the football clue backwards and have never heard of the Americanism in 21d but made it across the finishing line in a reasonable time.
    Favourite was probably the journey on the circle line.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review.

  8. I remember discussing 10a and ‘Pa bear?’ etc on this very blog some time ago – makes me wonder whether I was unknowingly in conversation with this setter

  9. I found this another highly enjoyable puzzle, but with some tricky corners that pushed it over the ** in difficulty for me. I think the fruit in 13a gets my vote for favourite, although Gazza’s illustrations gave me the biggest chuckle! Many thanks to all.

  10. Steady solve with 17A having us laughing out loud and no assistance needed. Thanks to Stick Insect & Gazza. **/****

  11. Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review and hints. Very nice puzzle by Stick Insect, I thought it must be on the easier end of the Toughie spectrum, because I was making good headway. Just needed the hints for 1&3d and 10&12a, must’ve been a wavelength thing, because I would never have thought of any of them. Favourite was 17a, which made me laugh.

  12. 4*/4*….
    liked 25D ” third of army missing from canteens is what’s found at beginning and end of sorties (5) “

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