Toughie 2392 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2392

Toughie No 2392 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

I’m at a loss as to what level of difficulty to award this extremely straightforward crossword – time-wise, I’d have only given it 1* difficulty rating if it had been on the back page of the paper – I actually did a double-take at the timer to make sure it was correct.   However, I did have to furrow my brow and consult the BRB in order to check parts of the parsing of two clues, so I’ll reluctantly give it a Toughie 1*

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Following trivial provocation, time’s lost in training device (6,9)
FLIGHT SIMULATOR The abbreviation for following, an adjective meaning trivial, and something that provokes without the T (time’s ‘lost’)

9a    In disgust, Rose rejected retiring in holiday locations (7)
RESORTS A reversed (retiring) lurker found in disgusT ROSE Rejected

10a    No place to stay around outskirts of Teesside for recorder (7)
NOTEPAD NO (from the clue) and a slang term for a home (place to stay) go round the ‘outskirts’ of TeesidE

11a    A French cycling siesta is least relaxing (9)
UNEASIEST A French indefinite article followed by a ‘cycling’ of SIESTA where the last letter is ‘cycled’ or moved round to the front of the word

12a    Snipe eventually stuffed with grouse (5)
PEEVE Lurking in (stuffed with) sniPE EVEntually 


13a    Prisoner died following sailor’s escape (7)
ABSCOND An abbreviation for a sailor plus the S (sailor’s), a slang term for a prisoner and the abbreviation for Died

15a    Prosecuted about fish that’s sickly (7)
SUGARED A pike-like fish inserted into another way of saying prosecuted

17a    A posh girl beginning to sing articulated ‘Forever Young‘ (7)
AGELESS A (from the clue), a facetious rendering of an upper-class (posh) girl and an articulation of the letter that starts the word Sing

19a    Trump beat her clubs, brave man holding no trumps (7)
CLINTON The abbreviation for Clubs in a pack of cards and a brave man holding the abbreviation for No Trumps

21a    Drug smuggler, losing base, acquires church for plant protection (5)
MULCH Lose the letter at the end of a slang name for a drug smuggler and replace (acquires) with the abbreviation for church

23a    Horrible tailless rodent suppresses wicked snort (9)
MONSTROUS A rodent without its final letter (tailless) ‘suppresses’ an anagram (wicked) of SNORT

25a    Wanting more resistance for England’s opener is more foolish (7)
NERDIER The second E (England’s opener) in a word meaning wanting more is removed and replaced by the abbreviation for Resistance

26a    This country’s wet weather expected initially in another country (7)
UKRAINE The abbreviation for our country, some wet weather and the initial letter of Expected

27a    Charlie has strange optimism about king introducing solidarity and fellow feeling (9,6)
COMMUNITY SPIRIT The letter in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet represented by Charlie followed by an anagram (strange) of OPTIMISM and R (king) into which is introduced a synonym for solidarity


1d    Recipe adapted to double sulphate in retrospect (7)
FORMULA A preposition meaning to and a reversal (in retrospect) of a double sulphate of aluminium and potassium

2d    Supply spring publication (5)
ISSUE Triple definition

3d    Who rose without partners around to manage stars? (9)
HOROSCOPE Remove (without) the bridge partners from wHO ROSe and put the remaining letters around a synonym for manage

4d    Hold up dispatch about product’s key feature (7)
SUSPEND A verb meaning to dispatch goes about the abbreviation for a unique selling point (product’s key feature)

5d    Small, small notes (7)
MINUTES A synonym for small followed by the abbreviation for small

6d    Respite from rent increase? (3-2)
LET-UP Without the hyphen, the solution could be a cryptic description of an increase in rent

7d    Most hush-hush Potter novel involves short time (3,6)
TOP SECRET An anagram (novel) of POTTER ‘involves’ an abbreviated short period of time

8d    Uninspired, he advertises bottles with a cherry mop (7)
REDHEAD Bottles indicates that we are looking for another lurker, this time in uninspiRED HE ADvertises

14d    Horse holds line with odd instrument (5,4)
STEEL DRUM A horse ‘holds’ the abbreviation for Line and is then followed by a slang word meaning odd

16d    Bond heard hint about Republican self-flagellation (5,4)
GUILT TRIP A homophone (heard) of a government investment bond and the abbreviation for Republican inserted into a hint

17d    Register a large ship, a cutter, not complete (7)
ALMANAC A (from the clue), the abbreviation for large, a ship, A (from the clue) and the first letter of Cutter, the clue telling you that you don’t need the synonym for complete that makes up the rest of the word

18d    Weller, perhaps, at first upset regularly erratic retainer (7)
SAMURAI A military retainer of a feudal Japanese nobleman – the diminutive Christian name of, perhaps, the Dickens character Mr Weller, the first letter of Upset and the regular letters of eRrAtIc

19d    Group of soldiers weep over sad tune (7)
CENTURY A verb meaning to weep goes over an anagram (sad) of TUNE produces a group of Roman soldiers

20d    Sodium smell is beginning to develop (7)
NASCENT The chemical symbol for sodium and a smell

22d    Occasionally, Thea picks up poem (5)
HAIKU The occasional letters of tHeA pIcKs Up

24d    Over heads of slips, inaccurate drive finally gets runs for willow (5)
OSIER The cricket abbreviation for Over, the ‘heads’ of Slips and Inaccurate, the final letter of drivE and the cricket abbreviation for Run

18 comments on “Toughie 2392

  1. The ‘process’ that Toughies should get tougher as the week progresses appears to have been abandoned this week, but, presumably, that will change with Elgar on duty tomorrow. Completed at a Toughie gallop – **/***.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 1a and 19a – and the winner is 19a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  2. Confused by 19a not being a bridge player. Also it would have helped if I had remembered Hillary as well as Bill!
    I think the back page is harder,

    1. I’m not a bridge player either but the abbreviations for the ‘partners’ turn up regularly in crosswords so are worth remembering

  3. I really enjoyed this. Yes, it was on the light side but it was good fun, unlike today’s dull back-pager. The only thing I was sure of was the relationship between “retainer” and the answer to 18d.

    19a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  4. We’ve had a succession of Toughie-lite puzzles this week – I’m sure that’ll all change tomorrow with yet another Elgar scheduled.
    I thought that this one was pleasant. I didn’t know the ‘double sulphate’ and I’m not much the wiser after reading how the BRB describes it.
    My ticks went to 17a and 19a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  5. Straightforward even for me but nonetheless enjoyable for that. I’ll go with 17a for favourite as I couldn’t see I had the right answer until I wrote it down, pronouncing phonetically. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  6. Ah well, not a good day in crosswordland for me today. Nothing to say about the back-pager, I don’t know how this is a Toughie (though pleasant enough), Paul is ridiculously ‘off on one’ in the Graun, the Indy is mediocre too so only The Times to the rescue
    I’m almost tempted to do some work instead, even though I’m sick to death of coding php and JS
    Bugger it, I think I’ll go down the Club instead
    Thanks Sticky and Sue

  7. May I take issue with 1a? I agree with your parsing CS but “something that provokes” is not the same as “provocation” as in the clue.
    Perhaps I wasn’t on form today but I give it at least ** for difficulty. Top clue and last in {once nuttier clearly wasn’t an option} is 25a.

    Thanks for the blog and to SI for the puzzle.

    1. The BRB defines provocation as ‘something that provokes’. The word you need to remove the T from is defined as a person or instrument that produces a response

      1. Indeed: I’m perfectly happy with all of that but stimulator and stimulation are not synonymous and it’s the latter that’s synonymous with provocation, surely?

  8. Well at last an end to a run of crosswords where I have completed all but one clue without any difficulty or aids and then get stuck on one unknown-to-me word where the cryptic does not permit a unique guess. Even yesterday’s Jay puzzle got me with his coffee. This one was most straightforward without a single unknown word. One of the simplest toughies I can recall
    Left with time on my hands I had a go at the Guardian puzzle which made my head buzz – but good practice for tomorrow’s No 144 from the great impaler. The Telegraph does seem to be going to extremes this week – quick, quick, v quick, ultra-slow
    Thanks to CS and SI

  9. First time I have ever completed the Toughie I think? Yes! Now I see everyone else thought it was easy.😢

  10. Solved the top half this morning and just finished the bottom after a long day’s work.
    Quite a lot of little bits to assemble in that second sitting.
    Thanks to stick insect for the puzzle and to CS for the review.
    Off to do the back page now.
    See you all later.

  11. OK, so it wasn’t the Toughest but maybe some protest too much. Sometimes the grey cells are happy with just a little exercise?

    Thought I’d finished but then on reading the blog I realised I hadn’t filled in 3d although I’d ticked the clue.


    Favourites were 19a and 18d.

    Thanks to crypticsue for the blog and to Stick Insect.

  12. I didn’t find this easy at all, struggled to get on the setter’s wavelength and gave up halfway through. I’d say 99% of people would associate Weller with Paul not Sam…that just about summed it up for me.
    Thanks anyway to SI and to CS…though I can’t for the life of me see this as a “1* for difficulty back pager”.

  13. I enjoyed this one very much. Easy to some maybe, but for the like of this Shropshire Bloke’s solving skills – or lack of them, it gives me huge encouragement to keep attempting something more challenging than a back page puzzle. Thanks SI & CS Btw, I loved 3d, my favourite clue.

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