Toughie 2523 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2523

Toughie No 2523 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I thought that this was a typical midweek Toughie in terms of difficulty. I did note, especially when writing the hints, that there are lots of abbreviations and insert/delete letters involved.

Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Bars intrude into ship (6)
SPOKES: stick a verb to intrude or insert into our usual abbreviation for ship.

5a Singular pet runs both ways, old and disjointed (8)
STACCATO: construct the answer using the abbreviation for singular, a domestic pet both backwards and forwards and the abbreviation for old.

9a Mostly annoy university representative, hard to disapprove (8)
HARRUMPH: start with a verb to annoy or pressurise without its last letter and add U(niversity), our usual elected representative and the abbreviation for hard in pencil classifications. A splendid word which I always associate with that serial letter writer Sir Herbert Gusset!

10a Timmy discovered June won’t start, not being impressionable (6)
IMMUNE: remove the outer letters of Timmy and the first letter of June.

11a Unfinished business in den, possibly? (5,3)
LOOSE END: a reverse anagram which could result in ‘den’.

12a Conceal end of elephant seal (6)
CACHET: append the last letter of elephant to a verb to conceal or squirrel away.

13a Abandoned British quitting obligation to protect memorial (8)
DERELICT: remove the single-letter abbreviation for British from an obligation or liability and insert a memorial or historical object.

15a Maiden puts on best top (4)
ACME: the cricketing abbreviation for a maiden over is contained in an adjective meaning best or superlative.

17a Jack left out from stirring American dance (4)
JIVE: weld together the abbreviation for Jack (in card games) and an adjective meaning stirring or ‘not extinct’ without the abbreviation for left.

19a Dean for one enacted this cool measure (3,5)
ICE DANCE: cryptic definition of what Dean and his partner did at the Sarajevo Winter Olympics in 1984, for example.
Christopher Dean & Jayne Torvill

20a Cleans cuff of special suit when changing hands (6)
SCRUBS: the first letter (cuff) of special and a card suit with one hand changed to the other.

21a Coffee half-hourly in recent days (8)
LATTERLY: a type of coffee drink and half of the word ‘hourly’. Wasn’t life less complicated when the only decision you had to make when ordering a cup of coffee was ‘black or white’?

22a Plant spies to pursue leaders of agitators, communists and anarchists (6)
ACACIA: the US spy organisation follows the initial letters of the three words listed.

23a Chattering, acquire nose for Gluhwein, infused with regular doses of bubbly (8)
GABBLING: a verb to acquire or obtain and the initial letter of Gluhwein contain regular letters from ‘bubbly’.

24a Coming out, meet in hospital department (8)
EMERGENT: a verb to meet or converge goes inside our usual hospital department.

25a Newspaper leader passes over current events (6)
EDDIES: join together an abbreviated newspaper boss and a verb for which ‘passes over’ is one of many euphemisms.

Down Clues

2d Climbing mountain with medicine or without it? (8)
PLATONIC: reverse a high mountain and add some recuperative medicine. The ‘it’ in the definition is what might jocularly be called rumpy pumpy.

3d Party after revolutionary idiot has change of heart at edge of road (8)
KERBSIDE: a party or faction follows the reversal of a slang term for an idiot with its two central letters reversed.

4d Balanced my items precariously around river canoe’s prow (9)
SYMMETRIC: an anagram (precariously) of MY ITEMS contains the abbreviation for river. Finish with the foremost letter of canoe.

5d Product of commercial airline school, less than half taught, was first to reach exit (9,6)
SCHEDULED FLIGHT: cement together an abbreviation for school, 3 out of 8 letters of a verb meaning taught, a verb meaning ‘was first’ and a synonym for exit or escape.

6d Bargain smallish car seen on Route 66? (7)
COMPACT: double definition, the second what drivers on Route 66 (or other roads in North America) might call a smallish car.

7d Cooked chateaubriand stuffed with black Cretan nuts exported in emirate (3,5)
ABU DHABI: start with the word chateaubriand, insert the abbreviation for black and remove the jumbled (nuts) letters of Cretan. Now make an anagram (cooked) of the eight letters you should have left.

8d Obvious regret, dropping resistance to second proposal (8)
OVERTURE: an adjective meaning obvious and a verb to regret with the abbreviation for electrical resistance dropping down to be its second letter.

14d Law officer tricks board (9)
CONSTABLE: charade of a verb meaning tricks or hoaxes and a synonym for board.

15d Humourless after article linked to utter rat (8)
APOSTATE: string together an indefinite article, a shortened adjective meaning humourless or narrow-minded and a verb to utter.

16d Union put up for instance with broadcast strike (8)
MARRIAGE: assemble an abbreviation meaning ‘for instance’, a verb to broadcast and a verb to strike or crash into. Now reverse the lot.

17d In France, I rushed out to get stoned (8)
JEWELLED: rivet together the French pronoun meaning I and a verb meaning rushed or spurted out.

18d Fighting in church after bad name over nothing (8)
VIOLENCE: staple together an adjective meaning bad or wicked and abbreviations for name and church. All that contains the letter that resembles zero. I don’t really like ‘over’ in a down clue meaning ‘containing’ rather than ‘preceding’.

19d The setter’s cake includes top of icing and good filling (7)
IMBUING: paste together the contracted form of ‘the setter is’ from his or her viewpoint, a small cake containing the top letter of icing and the abbreviation for good.

I liked 11a and 25a but my runaway favourite today was 2d which made me laugh out loud. Which clue(s) were favourably received by you?


16 comments on “Toughie 2523

  1. Enjoyable mid-week Toughie, thank you Stick Insect

    Thanks also to Gazza – 2d made me laugh too

  2. Hurray! Finished this wonderful Stick Insect Toughie without any aids whatsoever, a most satisfying event in my life last night. It took me several visits but no Googling and no electronic assistance. I am quite pleased. Especially liked 9a, 2d, 7d, 17d, and 23a. 15d was my LOI. Thanks to Gazza, whose hints I’ll read now, and to Stick Insect for the great pleasure. (And yes, 2d made me laugh too.)

  3. I really enjoyed this with the outstanding 2d my favourite.

    Even with the correct assumption for 19d that it must start IM followed by the checking letter B and end with ING, I can’t believe I failed to finish missing just the middle letter – I kicked myself very hard when I read Gazza’s review.

    Gazza, I think that 19a is more than just a CD. Isn’t the definition “Dean for one enacted this” with the wordplay being a synonym for cool followed by a synonym for measure?

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

    1. I did consider that way of parsing 19a, RD. I think both work but on balance I thought the cryptic definition made it a better clue.

  4. I thought this an excellent Toughie. Very doable for the likes of me & entertaining throughout. Most unusually I think I’ve got them all correctly parsed too but once I’ve read Gazza’s review I’ll no doubt be disabused of that notion. With such an abundance of great clues hard to pick out favourites but the across ones at 5,9,13 & 25 along with the downs at 2,4,17& 19 stood out for me.
    Many thanks Stick Insect & to Gazza.

  5. I enjoyed this. Another vote for 2d. I’m with Rabbit Dave on 19a. Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect.

  6. Oh dear! I really couldn’t cope with this. Managed about 10 before grinding to a halt. Even looking at the hints didn’t help. 9a a lovely word but I would never have thought of it. Oh well, tomorrow is another day!

  7. Well I got there in the end. I had to put it down a couple of times as I was distracted and couldn’t concentrate fully but once I knuckled down it finally fell into place. Like others it is difficult to look beyond the wonderful 2d for a favourite, although 11a gave it a good run for the money.

    Thanks very much to Stick Insect for the challenge and to Gazza.

  8. Managed to get in a muddle with all the ‘in out, in out and shake it all about’ where 7d was concerned so have to confess that reverse parsing came into play there, as it did with 9a when I carelessly misread the last word of the clue as ‘disprove’.
    All sorted eventually and I gave podium places to 25a plus 2&14d.
    I parsed 19a as per RD – seemed to make the best sense.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review and the ‘extras’.

  9. An enjoyable solve for us and a huge relief to be able to understand it all as, since the weekend, we have had one almighty tussle with Stick Insect’s EV puzzle. That was diabolical.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

    1. Sure was. I only finished it after midnight last night. Never heard of the required Villains but Google came to the rescue.

  10. Another tough one, that’s 2 in a row. This one was a bit odd in that it took ages to get going then sort of speeded up until all that was left was the NW corner, where the best clues lived, especially 2d as widely noted – but 3d [change of heart] is pretty good too and 9a ain’t bad.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the blog.

  11. I think I’m repeating what’s already been said, but 11a, 22a, and 2d were brilliant.
    I also learned that in the UK, you have kerbs instead of curbs. Huh. Who knew?

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