Toughie 2420 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2420

Toughie No 2420 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Stick Insect has provided us with an enjoyable, if not particularly tricky, double pangram (eight letters short of a triple pangram – yes, I am that blogger who counted them all!) The difficulty rating has been arrived at after consultation with some other solvers and then working out an average from our combined ratings

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Bet on passion in rebound (8)
BACKFIRE A verb meaning to bet followed by some passion

5a    Male after one-fifth off fast food (6)
QUICHE The masculine form of the third person pronoun goes after the first four letters (the fifth being taken off) of a synonym for fast

9a    Throw out bread that’s hard (8)
OBDURATE An anagram (throw) of OUT BREAD

10a    Beginning of jarring in car manufacturer’s inlets (6)
FJORDS The ‘beginning’ of Jarring inserted into the name of a car manufacturer – don’t forget to include the S!

12a    Baffled cast (6)
THROWN Double definition

13a    One leading the way announced bird’s decline (8)
COXSWAIN A homophone (announced) of a male bird’s decline

15a    Eggs containing key salad ingredient (7)
ROMAINE Some eggs ‘containing’ an adjective meaning key in the sense of first in importance

16a    Runners smooch when son moves into the lead (4)
SKIS Take a more formal way of saying smooch and move the S at the end to the front of the word

20a    A cricket team succeeded in alliance (4)
AXIS A (from the clue), the Roman numeral for the number of people in a cricket team and the abbreviation for Succeeded

21a    Group of students getting new education sighed (7)
YEARNED A group of students at the same stage of their education plus (getting) the abbreviations for new and education

25a    Shelters including free weapons (8)
TRIDENTS A synonym for free in the sense of deliver or clear inserted into some shelters used when camping

26a    ‘Honestly, no energy’ is start of matrimonial platitude (6)
TRUISM A synonym for honestly without the E (no energy), IS (from the clue) and the ‘start’ of Matrimonial

28a    Turn left following cycling partners (6)
SWIVEL The abbreviation for Left follows some marital partners, cycling telling you to move the final letter to the front of the word

29a    Enormous omissions in short final letter (8)
OUTSIZED A printing term for some omissions in setting type*, the first letter of In (short telling you to omit the N) and a way of writing the final letter of the alphabet. *Another definition found hiding away in the BRB

30a    A surge up occasionally tracks forecast (6)
AUGURY The occasional letters of A sUrGe Up followed by the abbreviation for railway (tracks)

31a    Father sent back by himself? That’s obvious (8)
APPARENT A reversal (sent back) of an informal word for father followed by his role in the family


1d    Stain Antony twice discovered under the table (6)
BLOTTO A stain followed by the middle two letters (twice ‘discovered’ telling you to remove two letters either side) of anTOny

2d    Trees, possibly sacred … (6)
CEDARS An anagram (possibly) of SACRED

3d    … could be used for this English forest following another tree (8)
FIREWOOD The abbreviation for English and a forest follow another type of tree

4d    Mechanical repetition featured in rhetorician’s retreat (4)
ROTE Featuring in reverse (retreat) in rhETORician

6d    Hunt, at heart absolutely not fair (6)
UNJUST The letters at the heart of hUNt followed by an adjective meaning absolutely or accurately true

7d    Breakdown service returns cards and takes over vehicle (8)
CARJACKS A reversal (returns) of a breakdown service followed by some playing cards

8d    Facility is seen as strange (8)
EASINESS An anagram (strange) of IS SEEN AS

11d    Rural peer, randy on vacation (7)
COUNTRY A member of the aristocracy (peer) followed by the outside (on vacation) letters of RandY

14d    Look to cover English races in paper (7)
GAZETTE A verb meaning to look covers the abbreviation for English and some races held on the Isle of Man

17d    Film buff is at a broadcast (8)
FANTASIA An enthusiast (buff) followed by an anagram (broadcast) of IS AT A

18d    Paying a call is involved in proposing a meeting not at home (8)
VISITING Remove the IN (not at home) from a way of proposing a meeting and then insert IS (from the clue) into the remaining letters

19a    Bill right to seek answer: where does Lincoln makes the laws? (8)
NEBRASKA A dialect word for a bird’s beak (bill), the abbreviation for Right, a verb meaning to seek and the abbreviation for answer. The grammar in the definition isn’t correct – either the word ‘does’ should be removed, or makes should be changed to make

22d    Archdeacon always in disguise (6)
VENEER The abbreviated way you’d refer to an Archdeacon followed by a poetic way of saying always

23d    Great heat and light rain making month squally at first (6)
SIZZLE Remove the abbreviation for Month from some rain in small drops (light rain) and replace with the first letter of Squally

24d    It’s mad, mad, in ‘The Thick of It’ (6)
AMIDST An anagram (mad) of ITS MAD

27d    Leave quietly, no time for pleasantry (4)
QUIP Omit the T (no time) from a verb meaning to leave and add the musical abbreviation meaning to play quietly

20 comments on “Toughie 2420

  1. This was good fun and nicely challenging. I spotted the double pangram and then stopped counting when I noticed there were only two Qs. It’s very impressive to have achieved that with no obscure answers.

    I agree that “does” should have been omitted from the clue for 19d. One that slipped through the net. Also I think that 16a could have been improved by the inclusion of “… when one son …”

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  2. We enjoyed this crossword, a double pangram being a real treat, but like JB were flumoxed by 19D. **/***

  3. A nice puzzle mainly free from obscurities, so enabling completion without aids. 19d was the only bad egg – rather GKish plus typos in the online version made this my last one.
    I guess after three fairly gentle puzzles this week retribution will come tomorrow
    Thanks to SI and CS

  4. Nothing too special today though I did laugh at 26a. My favourite clue was 1d (for the well-disguised definition).
    It’s an achievement to construct a double pangram without obscurities.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  5. Failed! Couldn’t get 22 because of putting an anagram of PAIRS (partners?) with L to make a kind of turn in 28. Oh well… Better luck tomorrow. Thanks Crypticsue for pointing out the error of my ways, & ta too to SI for an excellent toughie.

  6. I’m not ashamed to admit that this uniquely stylised puzzle took me into 5* time in the wee hours of the morning before I worked the Cryptic–something I’ve been doing, rather perversely, lately–Toughie at midnight our time, Cryptic next, Quickie last. And somewhere around 0300, I finished all three without a single hint. I was giddy. (I have since slept some.) 10a was my first one in, and I wondered…a pangram? Little did I know what lay ahead. 22d and 14d held me up the longest, but the big winners are 5a, 13a, 19d (even with the gaffe), and 23d. Great work, Stick Insect, and thanks for the review, crypticsue. ***** / *****

  7. Firstly no quibbles with a **/***, nothing obscure and an enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Crypticsue for the ‘to’ parsing of 1d and the ‘recycling ‘in 28a- which I will try to remember, apart from these fine!
    Liked 19d when the penny dropped with Lincoln.
    10a reminded me of the hitchhikers guide and Mr Flartybartfast-excuce the spelling.
    Beautiful day in Cheshire, an ice cold Coors awaits

  8. We loved this and were counting the letters as we went. NE corner was first which gave an early (double) pangram alert.

    We decided 18d had a mistype, otherwise progress was well-paced throughout. Plenty to like in here with 13a and 28a competing to be our COTD.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Crypticsue.

  9. Managed to solve corner by corner and must admit that the SE gave me a bit of trouble. 19d, 23d and 29a were the last to fall.
    Couldn’t get drizzle out of my head and didn’t know the term mizzle so it took a while to parse.
    Thought about OS for the enormous but yet again couldn’t parse it.
    The US state only came when I checked Lincoln in Google.
    A proper toughie as far as I was concerned.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  10. I’ve certainly never seen the simple TO clued as “Antony discovered twice” before, made me feel like i was missing something in the surface, maybe I am.

    I’m with Jean-Luc on DRIZZLE

    Saw the pangram when I finished, unfortunately it did not help me, in retrospect it could have easily if I’d been paying attention.

    weird how some surfaces almost work, like 15a – surrounding, covering, infused with, ok, but containing?

    Like Gazza I particularly enjoyed 26a

    Many thanks StickInsect and CS

  11. Please can someone explain the ‘abbreviation for month’ in 23dn?

    Didn’t fair well with this Toughie, but thanks to CS for blog and to the setter.

    1. The abbreviation for month is M and you have to change the M to the first letter of S(qually) to make Mizzle (light rain) become Sizzle (great heat).

  12. We were helped with the last few by looking out for the letters needed to complete the double pangram.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  13. Gave it a good shot but finally had to concede defeat on 28a, 29a and 23d. Kicking myself for not spotting a pangram, let alone a double, which would have brought me home. Relatively slow going throughout but a highly enjoyable tussle. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  14. Like someone earlier 10a was my first-in and seeing an F and a J I immediately started thinking pangram – but a double ?
    My word. Completely stuck on 19d and my little bedside dictionary no help so thanks, Cryptic Sue for that and to Stick Insect for an amazing puzzle.
    Wish I felt like a stick insect, too many cups of coffee.

  15. An abject failure all round today for me. Made heavy weather of the back pager this morning, Graun cryptic utterly impenetrable & needed the review for 8 answers here – ought to have got most but wouldn’t have got 19d in a month of Sundays.
    Note to self – must start paying attention to this pangram malarkey.
    Brain tired…..

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