Toughie 2570 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2570

Toughie No 2570 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty */**Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Stick Insect for a pangram which didn’t present too many problems.

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

Across Clues

1a Agent for landlords, perhaps, one writes (3,2,7)
MAN OF LETTERS: an intellectual writer could, cryptically, be an agent for people renting out accommodation.

8a Sailor, hurt leaving home, swore to give up (7)
ABJURED: an abbreviation for sailor and an adjective meaning hurt or wounded without the 2-letter word for ‘at home’.

9a What cat might say to American encouragement (7)
IMPETUS: a talking domestic cat could possibly describe herself thus (1’1,3). Add one of the abbreviations for American.

11a Spades placed in long row (7)
DISPUTE: the abbreviation for the card suit spades and a verb meaning placed go inside a verb to long (as in “I’m longing for a cup of tea”).

12a Preference for the best space around settled island (7)
ELITISM: a type of space in printing contains a verb meaning settled or landed and one of the abbreviations for island.

13a King becomes husband in merry cycling verse (5)
RHYME: change the second occurrence of the abbreviation for king in merry to the genealogical abbreviation for husband then cycle the letters until a word pops into view.

14a Independent horse crosses middle of rough river first (9)
INAUGURAL: knit together an abbreviation for independent, an old horse containing the central letter of rough and a river that flows into the Caspian Sea.

16a Where bucks get wasted? (4,5)
STAG NIGHT: cryptic definition where wasted means drunk.

19a Restrained, therefore drink half-heartedly (5)
SOBER: a synonym for therefore and an alcoholic drink without one of its central letters.

21a Arsonist is more worthless (7)
LIGHTER: double definition. The BRB confirms that the second can mean ‘less important’.

23a Spicy quip edited by soldier (7)
PIQUANT: an anagram (edited) of QUIP followed by our usual 6-legged soldier.

24a Questionable debts after American friend goes west (7)
DUBIOUS: our usual monetary debts follow the reversal of a informal word for a male friend in North America.

25a Theatre accepts indication of alternative reservation (7)
STORAGE: a metonym for theatre contains a conjunction used to introduce an alternative.

26a Cover pan with a lid, almost producing snack (6,6)
JACKET POTATO: string together a cover or coat, a type of pan, A and a lid without its final letter.

Down Clues

1d Former PM embraces something ludicrous in elevated style (7)
MAJESTY: a PM of not so long ago contains something ludicrous or amusing.

2d Opening for executive with routine career, coming over for training (7)
NURTURE: assemble the opening letter of executive, a boring routine and a verb to career. Now reverse it all.

3d If returned, Democrat to be elected leader of government that’s wriggling (9)
FIDGETING: paste together the reversal of ‘if’, the abbreviation for Democrat, a phrasal verb meaning to be elected and the leading letter of government.

4d Banish former partner on French island (5)
EXILE: a former partner and the French word for island.

5d Excellent sauce (7)
TOPPING: double definition.

6d More elegant author loses head over unknown one (7)
RITZIER: an author without the first letter contains one of the algebraic unknowns and the Roman numeral for one. I don’t really like ‘over’ in a down clue being used as a containment indicator.

7d Culinary classic of Dr Law? (7,5)
WALDORF SALAD: a reverse anagram where the first word is an anagram (*****) of OF DR LAW.

10d More than one relation in militia rises unexpectedly (12)
SIMILARITIES: an anagram (unexpectedly) of MILITIA RISES.

15d Starter opposing late beginning of Oaks (9)
ANTIPASTO: weld together a prefix meaning opposing, an adjective meaning late or previous and the first letter of Oaks.

17d All agree bursar regularly ignored means of calculating (7)
ALGEBRA: just the odd letters from three words in the clue.

18d Group with common interests in online post? (7)
NETWORK: charade of an adjective meaning online and a synonym of post or job.

19d Big tree in the main including endless ring (7)
SEQUOIA: what ‘the main’ means contains a ring without its final T.

20d Trouble after noble fails to end swagger (7)
BRAVADO: a noun meaning trouble preceded by an adjective meaning noble or gallant without its final letter.

22d Create puzzle again when one prepared earlier lacks power (5)
RESET: remove the abbreviation for power from something prepared in advance.

My favourite clue was 7d. Which clues were to your taste?

In case you weren’t overextended by the puzzle here’s a bonus clue from my just-arrived Private Eye:

13d Grim, finished, close to how a sulking Trump feels himself to be? (4,4,2)

For those who’ve given up the answer is HARD DONE BY


24 comments on “Toughie 2570

  1. I needed help with about half a dozen but this was an excellent Toughie from Stick Insect. I stumbled on 6d because I always forget that there are more “unknowns” other than X and Y. I also put in “party” as the second word in 16a and that stymied me for quite a while until 18d revealed the error of my ways. I missed the pangram, of course!

    My out and out favourite was 19d.

    Many thanks, Stick Insect and thanks, also to Gazza for the hints. I will now read them to check my answers.

  2. A nice friendly but actual Toughie from Stick Insect. Like Gazza, my favourite was 7d

    Thanks to both setter and blogger

  3. Enjoyable and straightforward, */***
    Favourite 16ac.
    I’m not sure about 12ac “is” as abbreviation for island.
    Thanks to both.

    1. ‘Is’ is a standard abbreviation for island or islands (as used on maps, for example).

  4. A fair bit of this suggested itself from the checkers, but still enjoyable to work out the parsing
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza
    PS Don’t think anyone else on the planet would empathise with DJT

  5. What a lovely puzzle! Not tough but a great deal of fun. My only hold up was in parsing 2d.

    I’ll go along with the consensus and make 7d my favourite.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  6. Need help to parse 12a but otherwise a straightforward sove today. Another vote for 7d. Very enjoyable. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  7. For the second day in a row, I finished a Toughie without assistance–something of a milestone for me, I think–and thoroughly enjoyed this little masterpiece by Stick Insect. 7d is also my choice for COTD, but I also enjoyed 13a, 1a/1d, and 6d. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Stick Insect for the pleasure.

  8. Like others, once I had solved 7d that was always going to be my favourite. Quite brilliant. I think this will be selected as clue of the week in Chris Lancaster’s weekly email/newsletter. Overall this was a friendly Toughie, with just enough trickiness to make it enjoyable.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  9. Took a bit of starting but then got steadily easier. I suspect 16a is a bit of a chestnut but I still took a while to see it, being fixated on some sort of deer shoot [as the setter may have intended]. So that’s a COTD, along with 7d.
    Thanks SI and Gazza.

  10. I managed to complete the grid in *** time, but will admit to using a few electrons along the way. I really couldn’t parse 11a without the hints.

    Thanks to SI and Gazza.

  11. A joy to solve from start to finish with plenty of great clues. A swift solve with no parsing issues for a change. Spotting the likely pangram early certainly helped with the ludicrous synonym in 1d which made 8a easy. Really liked 3&6d plus 14a but it’s another vote 7d as the winner. Felt sure someone would load a You Tube clip of Basil explaining to the irascible American that they were out of waldorfs after Terry had left him in the lurch to go his karate class.
    Thanks Stick Insect & to Gazza

  12. Knew I’d failed when Gazza pronounced this a pangram and I was short of a ‘z’. I’m aware that the BRB doesn’t agree with me but I don’t necessarily equate the answer to 6d with ‘more elegant’.
    My only other problem came with the parsing of 7d but I’m used to faring badly with reverse anagrams.
    Plenty of really good clues in this one and my favourite was 1a with a slightly grudging nod to 7d which almost defeated me.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for another of his amusingly illustrated reviews.

  13. Very enjoyable Toughie in which the only help I needed was parsing 11&12a
    The only time I seem to be on pangram alert is when the letter J comes up, and as 1d was one of my last in I got little help in that respect.
    Like Jane, a grudging nod to the clever 7d but podium places go to 1,9&14a
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  14. 7d was our favourite too in this thoroughly enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza. (We’re still scratching our heads on the Private Eye clue though.)

  15. Didn’t know the ring in 19d but when I looked it up, the image I saw reminded me of the Olympic Games logo from our own Pierre de Coubertin. One of his signed picture of these rings just sold for €180k.
    I love trivia.
    I also love a good 7d and haven’t had one for years.
    Same with 26a. There used to be a man with a wood burning oven on a chariot in front of Charing Cross Station baking the biggest potatoes I ever saw.
    The crossword made me hungry.
    Bon appétit everyone.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  16. Great to get this one done this afternoon, even if I did find it a bit tougher than */**.

    I liked 16a (perhaps for the nostalgia value in these dreary days of lockdown) and 7d. Had I thought about a pangram I might have got 8a (and 1d) a bit quicker.

    Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect.

  17. Persuaded to try a Toughie by some some comments on the Cryptic blog today. I had fallen for this before but never again.

    Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect. Definitely my last visit to a Toughie.

    1. Don’t give up Corky. Once you’ve mastered a few Toughies you’ll find the DT cryptics are a doddle, mostly.

      Two people to look for guidance – Chalicea (whenever and wherever she comments) and Miffypops (for his wisdom) and of course Dutch for Elgar.

      My suggested generalisation might be, think out of the box, break down all the words and look for constructions or directions that are, perhaps, slightly more oblique. Learn a few more anagram indicators and perhaps some Spencerisms. Equally, accept those clues that are a “gimme” and, for them, don’t read too much into the clue!

      Fun, isn’t it! HNY.

  18. Desperately late but I didn’t start this until I went to bed last night and have just finished it at breakfast with no recourse to the hints. Yeah. I do not know where my time goes? I spotted the pangram early with the big tree – bizarrely we have one in the middle of our village! Anyway, hope stick insect and Gaza pick this up and accept my appreciation. Must admit I spent some time last night open mouthed in front of breaking news from Washington!

    1. I can’t speak for Stick Insect but the blogger gets an email for every comment posted, however late. Thanks for the appreciation.

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