Toughie 2586 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2586

Toughie No 2586 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Stick Insect hasn’t just given us a pangram today, he’s given us a double pangram. Achieving that without having to resort to obscure words is impressive so thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Good-for-nothing given award rejected as site manager (9)
WEBMASTER: a good-for-nothing contains the reversal of one of the awards dished out twice a year in the UK.

6a Second pound daughter wasted getting second-class firework (5)
SQUIB: assemble the abbreviation for second, a slang term for a pound without the abbreviation for daughter and the letter that’s used to mean second-class.

9a Old friend seizes equipment for paper manipulation (7)
ORIGAMI: the abbreviation for old and a friend (French but present in the BRB) contain a synonym of equipment.

10a Church singer in vulgar assurance (9)
CERTITUDE: one of our usual abbreviations for church is followed by a singing bird contained in an adjective meaning vulgar or coarse.

11a Journal regularly ignored Conservative speech (7)
ORATORY: every other letter of journal and a term for Conservative.

12a Pressed city promoting River Dee (7)
EXERTED: move the abbreviation of river a couple of places towards the front of a SW city and append the letter dee.

13a Increase in mature corporation power studied after pre-Renaissance period (6-3,6)
MIDDLE-AGE SPREAD: the abbreviation for power and a verb meaning studied follow the period in European history which preceded the Renaissance.

18a Worked up about copyright, left (7)
EXCITED: a verb meaning left contains the copyright symbol.

20a Dismal starters of jam and yellowing bird (4,3)
BLUE JAY: bring together an adjective meaning dismal or sad and the starting letters of three words in the clue. This doesn’t sound too appetising.

22a Trifling ‘solid of revolution’ reconstructed in Toledo strangely vanishes (9)
FRIVOLOUS: an anagram (reconstructed) of SOLID OF REVOLUTION after we’ve taken away the jumbled (strangely) letters of IN TOLEDO. Has anyone any idea what the surface means?

23a Their hollow measure could be best? (7)
TROUNCE: weld together T[hei]R and an imperial measure of weight.

24a Last of tourists moving to east in channel vessels (5)
EWERS: start with a channel or drain and move the last letter of tourists as far to the right as it will go.

25a Tremble as some say ruin won’t take over chief’s territory (9)
SHEIKHDOM: a homophone (for some) of a verb to tremble or quiver and a synonym for ruin or fate without one of its abbreviations for an over in cricket.

Down Clues

1d Consumer of walnut perhaps solicited energy-less grub (8)
WOODWORM: join together a verb meaning solicited or courted without the abbreviation for energy and a grub or insect larva.

2d Black reptile houses zoo originally used in storm (8)
BLIZZARD: the abbreviation for black and a type of reptile containing the first letter of zoo.

3d Slowly American soldier supports girl with love (6)
ADAGIO: the abbreviation for a US soldier and the letter that resembles love in tennis follow a girl’s name (that of Ms. Lovelace perhaps).

4d Difficult test involves detective losing diamonds (6)
TRICKY: a verb to test or strain contains a slang word for a detective without the abbreviation for the card suit diamonds.

5d Pardon that is pre-empting nothing in censure (8)
REPRIEVE: start with a verb to censure and replace the letter that resembles zero with the abbreviation for ‘that is’.

6d Apparently, pals begin to play? (6,2)
STRIKE UP: if we treat the answer as a cryptic clue we discover that the first word is a synonym of the reversal of ‘pals’.

7d Nancy’s article absolutely biased (6)
UNJUST: string together an indefinite article as used in Nancy and an adverb meaning absolutely or exactly.

8d Saw six-footer introducing husband and lord (6)
BEHELD: a six-footed insect contains the genealogical abbreviation for husband. Finish with an abbreviation for lord.

14d Allow this section of clues to become disappointments (3-5)
LET-DOWNS: a verb to allow and the collection of sixteen clues here of which this is one.

15d Robots do drains badly (8)
ANDROIDS: an anagram (badly) of DO DRAINS.

16d Required target limiting associate employment at first (8)
ENJOINED: a synonym for target or aim contains a verb to associate or connect and the first letter of employment.

17d Pair upset about morning reverie (8)
DAYDREAM: reverse a word meaning a pair of units treated as one and add a preposition meaning about or concerning and the abbreviation for morning.

18d Obliterate European force going to front (6)
EFFACE: abbreviations for European and force followed by a synonym of front or facade.

19d Hint about level of intelligence for group (6)
CLIQUE: another word for hint contains the abbreviation for ‘level of intelligence’.

20d Broken sled discovered in ado (6)
BUSTLE: an adjective meaning broken and the inner letters of sled.

21d Losing head, drunk’s crazy bringing in company to open bottle (6)
UNCORK: an anagram (crazy) of [d]RUNK contains the abbreviation for company.

My top clues were 1d and 6d. Which one(s) stood out for you?


32 comments on “Toughie 2586

  1. Noticed the double pangram in time to help me in the SE.
    Very good achievement from the setter.
    Favourites are the same as Gazza plus 12a for its construction.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review.

  2. I spotted the double pangram which certainly helped the solve. It is the first time I have knowingly come across such a feat, although I am equally sure someone will put me straight. I found this hugely enjoyable and great fun. Apart from my eyebrows twitching at 22a, this was a delight with 1d my favourite.

    Thanks to Stick Insect for the challenge and to Gazza.

  3. Beaten by the NE corner but, having at the beginning felt I’d never get anywhere, this has to be a result. Some were bung ins as in 17d where I’d never heard of dyad but the answer had to be what it was.
    I did feel the clues were overlong .
    My COTD has to be 13a, one of the side effects of lockdown!

  4. I too noticed the double pangram but only just before I arrived here, not when I first finished this crackingly good Toughie last night (I did need two letter hints to finish–shucks!). I also liked 1d and 6d, as well as 13a, 17d, & 25a. Most enjoyable and thanks to Gazza for the review and to Stick Insect for a remarkable achievement.

  5. We enjoyed the bottom half, struggled with NW and nearly gave up altogether on the NE. Favourite clue incontestably 13a, actually rather clever that this clue was spread across the middle, an oldie but a goodie. We defy anyone to parse 6d: Gazza must be psychic. We needed his help to parse several clues, notably 12a and 5d. 17d introduced us to new word. Thanks to setter and Gazza.

  6. An enjoyable double pangram but what a lot of double unches in the grid

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

  7. A fine achievement indeed
    I did have a little nose-wrinkle at 22a and also wondered how robots ‘do drains’ in 15d?
    I also noticed quite a few clues are reliant on abbreviations – 18 or so seems quite a lot
    Anyway a lot to like so many thanks Stick Insect and also to Gazza for the review

  8. Given that I hardly ever ‘see’ a pangram, guess what – I didn’t see the double pangram and I didn’t notice the double unches until I got ‘bogged down’ in the NE towards the end. So, all in all, a fairly typical Toughie solve for me completed at a Toughie fast canter – ***/***.
    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 13a, and 19d – and the winner is the 15 letter non-anagram 13a.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  9. As someone who has started to dip their toe into Toughie land I found this really enjoyable and good fun. For me the top half went in very smoothly with the SW holding up my time.
    All I can say is many thanks to Stick Insect for the entertainment & Gazza for review.
    First class!

  10. Got there in the end but goodness knows how. 10 and 12 across plus 6 down put up the best fight but once one fell they all fell. Good fun all round. Thanks to Stick Insect, I didn’t notice the first pangram let alone the second. Thanks to Gazza for explaining 6 down.

  11. With 2d relatively straightforward a double pangram was on the cards!
    Still 6d was a stinker, but the whole was worthy of more than the 3* above for enjoyment.
    Thanks to Gazza and congratulations to Stick Insect. (Do his puzzles always include an insect?)

  12. Completed with a little bit of electronic help. Tried to fit chorister and choirgirl into 10a before the penny dropped. Last in and therefore favourite as the light dawned, 6d. First in was 2d, and thought, ‘Ooh, this might be a pangram.’ Thought it again at 20a when the J went in, then forgot completely and was amazed that it was a double A-Z. In awe of Stick Insect. Thanks to him/her and Gazza.

  13. Just popped in to see if anyone had worked out 22a.

    Any mathematicians out there? Is a sword an example of a solid of revolution? Why would it be in quotation marks?

    Hey ho, back to the gardening. I have some white flowered agapanthus seeds that can be sown now. Nice contrast with the blue.

    1. ‘If a region in a plane is revolved around a line in that plane, the resulting solid is called a ‘solid of revolution.’ Why that should be trifling is beyond me. I wonder what on earth possessed Stick Insect to even think of going there? What’s the process? Obviously you’ve got the answer: frivolous, so you need a definition – trifling. But what next? I know! I’ll take toledo away from solid of revolution and make it an anagram? Maybe the setter will pop in and enlighten us?

  14. I too rarely spot pangrams but I saw it early on then started to look for the double, it helped me in the NE. Thoroughly enjoyed this and didn’t need the hints today even for the parsing, always a bonus. Hadn’t heard of a dyad but a quick visit to the dictionary sorted that out and I have now. Favourite was 21d which I will be doing later. Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  15. 6d was our last one in as it took ages to twig the parsing. Very clever clue. We spotted the double pangram in time to be of assistance with the last few answers.
    Good fun and really appreciated.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  16. Well I gave this a good go, took me three times as long as the back pager. I needed a nudge in the NE and Gazza’s help in parsing a few, plus knowing it was a double pangram from the preamble helped a little towards the end.
    Surely 18a should read “Left about copyright, worked up”??
    Good fun, I particularly liked 13a&1d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza for the workout and explanations.

  17. Defeated in NE. All going so swimmingly! 6d was an early one in for me, and my COTD. In spite of this and 6a the others in this corner were impenetrable. I was very tempted to put chorister in, but it couldn’t be right.
    Loved frivolous though
    Thanks to all

  18. I don’t usually tackle the Toughie until I have my bath in the evening but this afternoon I accompanied George to the local tip to help offload five bins of
    tree prunings and came back exhausted, but not too tired to pick up the paper and get hooked on page 18. How brilliant do you have to be to deliver a double
    pangram? The mind boggles. Quite a few of my answers were ‘bung-ins’ so I am grateful to Gazza for explaining the why and wherefore. And I take my hat off
    to Stick Insect! I liked 13a which sprang to mind immediately and 21d, but they were all clever. I have to admit my page is covered with scribble, but I am not telling anyone that.

  19. I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t notice anything that was going on with pangrams, but I was struck with how straightforward some of the clues seemed to be, and how tricky others were. Regardless of it all, I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle. Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

    1. Sorry, I should have remembered the site’s strapline “Crossword clues explained in plain English”.
      An ‘unch’ is an unchecked letter, a letter in an answer which is not contained in a crossing answer. For example, in the answer to 19d the second, fourth and fifth letters are unchecked. Where two such letters come together (e.g. fourth and fifth letters in 19d) it’s known as a ‘double unch’.

  20. Not too hard except the 3 in the NE I couldn’t do. Even with the hint and the answer to 6d it took about 5 minutes for the penny to hit the bottom of the well!!

  21. Mercifully easier than the south in yesterday’s Dada Toughie but still plenty enough of a challenge for the likes of me. I did have the advantage of (un)fortunately knowing it was a double pangram as Wahoo gave the game away in a comment on the back pager but suppose there is a fair chance I’d have been on early alert (for a pangram at least) as 2&19d followed by 20a were my only yields on the first pass. Rather annoyingly I needed the hint for 19a, my last in, & not a word I’ve ever come across before. Found the NE the toughest quadrant by some margin – 12a took a good deal of teasing out, nowhere close to parsing 6d& knowing I was still looking for a second J&Q helped with 6a&7d.
    Very enjoyable. Lots of great clues of which 1,12&13a were my picks. Also liked 22a despite the nonsense surface.
    Thanks Stick Insect & to Gazza.

  22. This was a satisfying puzzle until I discovered I was supposed to have spotted pangrams . Could someone explain where the double pangrams are that helped you do this crossword? I have always found these tricky especially as I never think to look out for them. Thank you.

    1. A single pangram has every letter of the alphabet in it
      A double pangram has two examples of every letter

      1. Thanks. I had mixed this up with a Nina. Notwithstanding I hadn’t noticed one let alone two pangrams.

  23. 2*/3*….
    liked 13A “Increase in mature corporation power studied after pre-Renaissance period (6-3,6)”

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