Toughie 2376 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2376

Toughie No 2376 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A lot of the difficulty in this crossword comes from having to take quite a time to work out the parsing of several of the clues, which is reflected in the difficulty rating. One of those days when the BRB is definitely your friend. The repetition radar did bleep a couple of times too.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Bury accepts doctor finally after criticism for wound treatment (8-7) Online clue now changed to “Bury heartlessly accepts doctor finally after criticism for wound treatment
STICKING PLASTER A verb meaning to bury ‘accepts’ an abbreviation for doctor  and a synonym for finally, all of which should be put after an informal term for criticism.   This does as Halcyon points out, leave us with a spare T – I was just relieved that, with several clues still to parse, I’d found all the parts of the wordplay.  Update at 4 pm: The clue has now been changed online – it would appear that people who spotted the spare T were few and far between!

9a    One coming out from mountain box departs westwards (9)
DEBUTANTE A reversal (westwards in an Across clue) of an Italian volcanic mountain, a slang term for a television set (box) and the abbreviation for departs

10a    Drone in centre of Heathrow — odd (5)
THRUM The letters in the centre of HeaTHrow and another way of saying odd or peculiar

11a    Ultimately see two French articles following country instrument? (7)
UKELELE The ultimate letter of seE and two French definite articles follow the abbreviation for our country

12a    Caught doctor noshing missing small bun (7)
CHIGNON The abbreviation for caught followed by an anagram (doctor) of NOsHING without the S (missing small)

13a    Geordie’s about to shelter deer (3)
ROE Lurking (to shelter) in reverse (about) in gEORdie

14a    What gossips do, it’s rumoured? (7)
HEARSAY Split your solution 4,3 and it will be obvious exactly what it is that gossips do

17a    To remove bugs from half of code, student replaces third of memory in peripheral (7)
DELOUSE The second half of coDE and a computer device (peripheral) where L (student) replaces the letter that is the third in meMory

19a    Collection of information a little bit put back by TV (4,3)
DATA SET A reversal (put back) of A (from the clue) and an informal term for a little bit followed by a television

22a    Bill advanced after innocent dance (7)
LAMBADA A figurative term for an innocent followed by (after) an abbreviated bill and the abbreviation for Advanced

24a    Self-importance is so not right (3)
EGO An adverb meaning therefore or so without the abbreviation for Right

25a    One rowing area seized by rough Romans (7)
OARSMAN The abbreviation for Area ‘seized’ by an anagram (rough) of ROMANS

26a    Acquire daughter, acquire chatterbox (7)
WINDBAG A verb meaning to acquire, the abbreviation for daughter and a second (informal) verb meaning to acquire

28a    I discovered acid queen is more hostile (5)
ICIER I (from the clue) the inside (discovered) letters of aCId and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

29a    Recently complaining more in hearing of inflammation (9)
PNEUMONIA A homophone (in hearing) of a way of saying recently and more complaining

30a    Levelling soft border, broke up plant (7,8)
EVENING PRIMROSE A verb meaning levelling, the letter used in musical notation to indicate softly, a border and part of a verb meaning broke up


1d    Dry, odious mix he’d prepared for a reagent (6,9)

2d    The setter’s sad, avoiding end of cruciverbal fill (5)
IMBUE How our setter might say that he was something, in this case depressed or sad, you’ll need to ‘avoid’ the letter in that synonym which also appears at the end of cruciverbaL to get the solution

3d    Provide large numbers for queen’s offspring (7)
KITTENS This queen being a female cat – a verb meaning to provide with equipment followed by some large numbers

4d    Sister’s house in New York accommodating fugitive when beginning escapes (7)
NUNNERY A fugitive without its first letter (beginning escapes) inserted into the abbreviation for New York

5d    Thrust mixture with little reliability when carbon is delayed (7)
PIERCED A printer’s term for a mixture of type and an abbreviation(little)  for reliability or deserving belief, the letter that is the chemical symbol being moved one letter down (delayed)

6d    Hotel in a northern farm is a busy place (3-4)
ANTHILL The abbreviation for Hotel inserted into A (from the clue), the abbreviation for Northern, and a verb meaning to farm

7d    Sailor and soldier are at first following oddly ugly poisonous creature (9)
TARANTULA A sailor, one of Crosswordland’s soldiers, the odd letters of UgLy followed by the first letter of At

8d    Lover’s speech in French perhaps? (7,8)
ROMANCE LANGUAGE French is one of example of native tongues that developed out of popular Latin, the term for this might also describe the type of speech used by a lover

15d    What comes after passing flier, feat that’s extraordinary (9)
AFTERLIFE An anagram (that’s extraordinary) of FLIER FEAT

16d    Copy American training (3)
APE The abbreviation for American followed by one of the abbreviations we’d use to describe a form of training, especially at school

18d    Leading lady over a number of years? (3)
ERA The second appearance of the regnal cipher of our current Queen (leading lady) goes over A (from the clue)

20d    Organ grinder’s assistant stashes detailed picture for soldiers (7)
SAMURAI A capuchin monkey (organ grinder’s assistant) ‘stashes’ or goes round a truncated (de-tailed) large wall painting

21d    What might make guy fast? (4,3)
TENT PEG A cryptic definition of something used to tie down a guy rope when camping

22d    One might go down to this wage or start to look for work (3,4)
LOW GEAR An anagram (for work) of WAGE OR and the ‘start’ to Look

23d    Note quiet enveloping North Island’s lowest point (7)
MINIMUM A musical note and an adjective meaning silent (quiet) ‘enveloping’ the abbreviation for North Island

27d    Prohibit Scotsman’s beloved instrument (5)
BANJO A verb meaning to prohibit and a Scottish word for a beloved one

27 comments on “Toughie 2376

  1. I thought that this was a mixed bag – the first five letters of the 15d answer appear in the clue although that could easily have been avoided, the surface of 9a doesn’t make any sense and the less said about 29a the better.
    I did like 14a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  2. At the beginning, I confused myself by transposing 1a and 1d, but was ‘rescued’ when I realised that 30a couldn’t start with an R. After sorting that out, a steady solve to complete at an enjoyable Toughie fast canter – 2.5*/3.5*.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 30a, and 8d – and the winner is 8d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  3. I enjoyed this but did need to parse a few after the event (e.g. 1a) and still couldn’t parse 5d so thanks for the explanation of the first three letters which I’ve never heard of.

    CS, your answer to 11a is shown with a U (as a normal person would spell it) but as that wasn’t accepted online I used the E (from the end of see). Favourite was 26a (amusing) just ahead of 30a and 22d for the construction and misdirection. Agree 29a is a bit of a Hmmm! Overall 3* – 4* for me. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

    1. I had the correct spelling and hint everywhere but under the Click Here button. One of those words I always have to think about when I’m writing it down. Now corrected, thank you

  4. I found this quite challenging and mostly enjoyable despite a few dodgy surfaces. As CS says, it’s a pity about the repetitions and I find clues like 15d unsatisfying where part of the answer appears in the clue.

    I knew the printer’s term in 5d but struggled to parse the answer because I have only ever known it spelt “pi”. I also didn’t know the monkey in 20d nor the Scottish word in 27d, so both of those had me reaching for my BRB.

    I made a meal out of 18d having first spotted the answer as a lurker and then spent ages trying to figure out how “leading lady” could be a lurker indicator. Then the penny dropped. D’oh!

    Isn’t 7d venomous rather than poisonous? We’ve had this debate before but I can’t remember the conclusion.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  5. I found this very enjoyable today. Favourite clue was 26a, 1a being a close runner up. I hadn’t heard of the Scotsman’s beloved in 27d but got there anyway. 2*/3*

        1. I’ve brought this to the attention of the Crossword Editor even though it is a bit late in the day to change the clue. Perhaps he should offer a small prize to all those who noticed the undeliberate error

  6. I have lived in Scotland for 35 years and never come across the Scotsman’s beloved in 27d. Seems it is very much a Rabbie Burns “thing” from the old Scots dialect and possibly short form of “Joy”. The pleasures (Joys?) of the Toughie!

    Really enjoyable puzzle, especially the four big clues around the edges.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS

    1. “John Anderson, my jo”. (From a poem by Burns.) It is also a very useful word in scrabble.

  7. Again, I have completed the grid, but had to come here to parse 1a (extra T), 5d (didn’t know the printing term), 20d (didn’t know the monkey) and 27 (didn’t know the beloved).

    However, any day when a Toughie gets finished, is a good day for me.

    Time to prepare for tomorrow’s celebrations . . . .

    Many thanks to the Stick Insect and CS.

  8. Well, Stick Insect became unstuck with STICKING PLASTER in 1A! I have to say I didn’t notice because I was powering down for a post-lunch siesta.

    The monkey had to be SAI and I think I have met the word before, but a long time ago.

    Likewise, a Scotsman’s beloved had to be JO, as confirmed by Chambers.

  9. I am cock-a-hoop having completed a 3* toughie without assistance. Mind you if you asked me to parse all of the entries I would struggle.

  10. I did spot the extra T but put the answer in anyway and we’ve had the monkey before fairly recently but I still had to Google it to check. I agree with the comments about 29a and 15d. I’ve never heard of a 12a but I have now and I parsed the last 4 letters of 30a as broke up as a court or parliament would do at the end of a session which was my favourite clue. That said, for a Thursday, I think we got away fairly lightly. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  11. Anyone who had accidentally dropped a case of 6 or 8 point type as often as I did as a printer’s devil would never ever forget the word ‘pie’ for a heap of type. What’s more, I always had to sort it out and put all the letters back into their correct compartments in the case (drawer) No complaints from me about this offering from Stick Insect – it kept me quite contentedly amused on and off this afternoon, finishing at something approaching a gallop toward the end. 17 across raised a bit of a chuckle, otherwise no huge favourites. The Jo in 27 down caused me no problems as I am well acquainted with the Scottish Song “John Anderson My Jo”. Thanks to Stick Insect and also to CS.

  12. We enjoyed the solve but have to confess missing the extra T in 1a. Guilty of ‘functional parsing’ where we realised how it was supposed to work and all the elements looked to be there. An OK technique for solving but a real trap when one is writing the blog. We chuckled at the 29a homophone but just knew it would not be to Gazza’s taste.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  13. Like Senf, I made life more difficult for myself by transposing the answers for 1a & 1d. Must have been that glass of wine at lunchtime – what’s your excuse, Senf?
    I did have to look up the 5d mixture along with the 20d monkey and the Scotsman’s beloved so – one way and another – this wasn’t my quickest Toughie solve!
    Favourite was probably 10a for the reminder of the airport chaos not so long ago.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  14. Right on wavelength.
    The four perimeter clues fell in first.
    Printed at 5pm so no mistake in 1a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  15. I got through this briskly but needed help to parse some of the clues.Thank you setter and CS.

  16. level is high for me.Enjoyed it though.I must try to remember stick as a word for criticism because I have come across it before in crosswords.Westwards to indicate reverse-ANTE for ETNA is also something to remember.

Comments are closed.