Toughie 2499 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2499

Toughie No 2499 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Having stated in the preamble to last Wednesday’s Toughie that there were no gimmicks only to find later that every across answer contained ‘un’ I examined today’s completed grid with a bit more care – but I can’t spot anything unusual. I thought that this was pretty straightforward – thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Brooding giant oddly destroyed island into bananas (10)
INCUBATION: bring together the even letters of ‘giant’, a Caribbean island and an anagram (bananas) of INTO.

6a Start prison disturbance (4)
STIR: triple definition, the first a verb to start or rouse.

9a Member gets over state of uncertainty (5)
LIMBO: a bodily member and the cricket abbreviation for over.

10a Receipts over year involving new team (4,5)
GATE MONEY: an adverb meaning over or ‘in the past’ and the abbreviation for year contain an anagram (new) of TEAM.

12a Out-of-the-way direction taken by channel-hopper (6,7)
REMOTE CONTROL: charade of an adjective meaning out-of-the-way or far off and a synonym for direction or management.

14a Performance in once jazzy musical composition (8)
NOCTURNE: insert a performance or stage act into an anagram (jazzy) of ONCE.

15a Mother left animal (6)
MAMMAL: a baby’s word for its mother followed by the abbreviation for left.

17a The setter’s stomach rejects large drink (6)
IMBIBE: the contracted way the setter would say that he is and a word for the third stomach of a ruminant (bible) (thanks BRB) without the clothing abbreviation for large.

19a Soldiers pull round to enter towers (8)
REGULARS: reverse a verb to pull or carry inside a verb meaning towers or looms.

21a Wages restored. Profits start after this (7,6)
PAYBACK PERIOD: knit together a synonym for wages, an adverb meaning restored or reinstated and what our friends across the pond call the punctuation mark in the middle of the clue.

24a In small functions, remove ties (5-4)
STAND-OFFS: insert a verb to remove (an item of clothing) into the clothing abbreviation for small and some mathematical functions.

25a Bring about prime spots for timepieces before lake (5)
IMPEL: identify the letters corresponding to prime numbers from ‘timepieces’ and add the abbreviation for lake.

26a Impersonate party animal no longer (4)
DODO: a verb to impersonate or mimic and a festive party.

27a Religious houses bar one good — astonishing! (10)
PRODIGIOUS: an adjective meaning religious (or professing to be religious) contains a bar or pole, the Roman number one and the abbreviation for good.

Down Clues

1d Useless section of welding is rejected (4)
IDLE: hidden in reverse.

2d Fine linen in two-thirds of university clubs (7)
CAMBRIC: the first two-thirds of the name of one of our major universities and the abbreviation for the card suit clubs.

3d British space vessel with provisions for storage (5,8)
BROOM CUPBOARD: string together an abbreviation for British, a synonym of space or capacity, a drinking vessel and a word for provisions that’s often paired with ‘lodgings’.

4d Squeezes cycling crew between leaders in team’s new set-up (8)
TIGHTENS: a rowing crew with its first letter cycled to the back goes inside the leading letters of the last three words of the clue.

5d Subject’s temperature dropped about eye (5)
OPTIC: start with a subject or issue and move the abbreviation used for temperature down a bit.

7d Brown meets President, almost showing rage (7)
TANTRUM: a word meaning brown (as either a verb or an adjective) precedes the surname of a current (at least for a few more months) president without his last letter.

8d You might get this straight from throne in Buckingham Palace? (5,5)
ROYAL FLUSH: cryptic definition where both the answer and ‘straight’ refer to a poker hand and throne means loo.

11d Making small cocktail of martini, using bottled Asti at the end (13)
MINIATURISING: an anagram (cocktail) of MARTINI USING containing the end letter of Asti.

13d At home, sat mock, previously unwilling (10)
INDISPOSED: start with an adverb meaning ‘at home’, add a verb meaning sat or modelled preceded by a slang verb to mock or denigrate.

16d Buck maybe takes two seconds when rising on holiday (8)
RECESSED: insert two different abbreviations for a second into what a buck is an example of and reverse the lot.

18d Lout turning up in audition put a stop to One Direction, perhaps (3,4)
BOY BAND: reverse an informal word for a lout and add what sounds like a verb meaning ‘put a stop to’. Here’s my favourite example of the answer, the Highwaymen:

20d Fuss over political party getting tense result in (3,2,2)
ADD UP TO: a synonym for fuss contains a political party from Northern Ireland and the grammatical abbreviation for tense.

22d Drink and a piece of cake first (5)
KEFIR: hidden.

23d Beats first pair up for charity (4)
ALMS: reverse the first two letters of a verb meaning beats or thumps.

My podium houses 12a, 21a and 8d. Which clue(s) were awarded your rosettes?


28 comments on “Toughie 2499

  1. Well I completed the grid, but there were four answers that I couldn’t parse; 17a, 21a, 24a & 16d and I thought 22d was a naughty South African word.

    Other than that, it was over in a solid **** time. Either these Toughies are getting easier, or you can teach old dogs new tricks.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza for the explanations.

  2. Enjoyed this. Hadn’t heard of the stomach in 17a and am still a bit confused by the definition in 24a. Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect.

    1. I was a bit dubious about stand-off being a tie, but the BRB defines it as a tie or draw as well as a deadlock.

      1. I was having thoughts, yes I know thinking can be dangerous, of stand-offs and ties in construction but I might have to put that down to what I have to regrettably describe as a senior moment.

  3. About right for a Wednesday Toughie – enjoyable too. I did check the full stop in 21a and the BRB doesn’t make any reference to American at all, just calls it a mark at the end of a sentence

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  4. Mixing metaphors, I was getting along swimmingly at a gallop, maybe even a fast gallop, until only the SW was left. I missed the lurker indication in 22d and I don’t think I have ever heard of the drink that was lurking. So, that held me up on 21a and 24a with the result that completion was at a fast canter – ***/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 10a, 21a, 26a, and 20d – and the winner is 20d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  5. A game of two halves. Top part a piece of cake – bottom more taxing -last one in was 16d.
    Some rather odd surfaces but 21a, 24a and 8d were fun.
    Thanks to SI and to Gazza for the blog. Loved the “man band” clip. The other bunch of old stagers who proved that age isn’t necessarily a barrier to cutting it were [are?] the Rhythm Kings. I saw them at the Barbican a few years ago and they just kept wheeling people on [not quite literally] to blow us away – unlike several [better not name names] who still keep popping up on the box to embarrass us.

  6. I missed out on yesterday’s puzzles and was pleased to find an accessible Toughie today which I enjoyed.

    The parsing of 17a eluded me as I didn’t have my BRB to hand and was unable to find any reference online to “bible” meaning “stomach”. I also didn’t much like the definition for 24a.

    My top two were 12a & 8d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  7. The SE drew me up a bit short and I needed three letters (using the electronic function) to finish, but I really enjoyed today’s Toughie. 16d and 27a were the two bugbears for which I needed help. (27a does seem a bit of a stretch for ‘astonishing’, though I’m sure the BRB must list it along the way.) My favourites: 1a, 26a, 20d. Otherwise, I moved rather swiftly towards that cul-de-sac at the end. Thanks to Gazza for the hints and to Stick Insect for the pleasure. **** / ****

  8. I solved 25 across from the checkers and the definition but I could stare at that clue for the rest of eternity and not work out where the prime spots were or what timepieces had to do with it all. Thank you Gazza for sorting that one out. Thanks to Stick Insect too.

      1. The first 4 prime numbers are 2,3,5 and 7. Use those letters from tIMePiEces and add the abbreviation for lake.

  9. Very enjoyable excursion into Toughieland. The prime numbers I would never have guessed so thanks Gazza for sorting the parsing out for me. 8d stood out as my favourite clue although I did like 21a almost as much.

    Thanks, too, to Stick Insect for the challenge.

  10. Completed the grid but encountered the same problems as others experienced with the parsing of 24&25a. Hadn’t heard of the 22d drink before today and think it sounds revolting but then I don’t like yoghurt in the first place no matter how good it may be for me!
    Top two here were the same as RD chose – 12a & 8d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect who was a little more like ‘his old self’ today and thanks to Gazza for the review and the help with those stubborn bits of parsing.

  11. 17a is a great illustration of cruciverbalist over dependance on Chambers. Looking up the parts of a ruminant stomach elsewhere doesn’t mention bible. Rumen, reticulum, omasum, abomasum. OED doesn’t have this meaning for bible.

    I really doubt that Stick Insect “knew” this. He’s looked for a less obvious definition in BRB than what most of us would automatically know. I really wish compilers would stop doing this. I have serious doubts as to how good a dictionary Chambers is, however invaluable to crossword solvers.

    1. Mrs Bradford has bible = stomach (both ways) which is where I found it before looking up the meaning in Chambers.

      1. If you’re still following this thread, Gazza: who or what is Mrs Bradford? I looked in my Dictionary of Biology from my younger days. Nothing. I’d be intrigued to see a definition with etymology or other authority.

        1. It’s Bradford’s Crossword Solver’s Dictionary, compiled by Anne R Bradford since 1957 – my copy is the 7th Edition (I’m not sure what the current edition is).
          It’s described as one of the solver’s essential tools here.

    2. I agree with you Coatweazel, I very much dislike the ‘it’s in Chambers’ justification (It’s not in Collins either) – answers should be in all dictionaries and thus accepted as correct

      1. To continue….Just asking. Is 26a an animal? Part of the animal kingdom I suppose but to me 26a is an extinct bird,

  12. I completed this with help and enjoyment, my favourites were 12 across and 8 down, 21 & 24 across rung a bell with me and living in Canada the second word in 21 across was familiar, all in all very enjoyable, my thank you’s to Stick Insect & Gazza.

  13. Many thanks Gazza for boy band clip, made my day.

    Puzzle was nice too, many thanks stick insect, plenty to like

  14. Last one in was 27a as it took ages to sort out the wordplay. Good level of difficulty and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  15. I’m struggling here, yesterday’s success went to my head. I’m turning to Gazza some clarification!

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