Toughie 2598 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2598

Toughie No 2598 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I took a little while to get going with this one but once I had a few footholds the answers went in at a rate of knots. Stick Insect gave us a double pangram in his last Toughie so I was on the lookout for anything special – the only thing I can see here is that the five letters with the highest Scrabble scores are all missing.

Thanks to Stick Insect.

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

Across Clues

1a Full charge for travelling open road (12)
THOROUGHFARE: a charade of an adjective meaning full and the charge one pays for travelling.

9a Reverse van route (7)
TRANSIT: triple definition. I didn’t know the first meaning but apparently, as a verb, it means to reverse the direction of a surveyor’s instrument.

10a Flier advanced to Rome’s edge following Roman road (7)
AVIATOR: start with the abbreviation for advanced and add the Latin word for road, TO and the first letter of Rome.

11a Level out denture with gold (7)
PLATEAU: bring together another word for denture and the chemical symbol for gold.

12a Piggy is stylish around home (7)
SWINISH: an adjective meaning stylish or fashionable contains the adverb meaning ‘(at) home’.

13a Songstress directed backing in American English (5)
ADELE: reverse a verb meaning directed inside abbreviations for American and English.

14a Country music from sad dope (9)
BLUEGRASS: join together an adjective meaning sad and a slang word for marijuana.

16a ‘Simply patterned’ encountered in Virgilian poem, not good the second time (9)
GEOMETRIC: insert a verb meaning encountered into one of the four books making up Virgil’s poem about agriculture (the Georgics) without the second occurrence of the abbreviation for good.

19a Curse witches wearing clothes (5)
SWEAR: hidden word.

21a Article indicator of alternative space hypothesis (7)
THEOREM: knit together a grammatical article, a conjunction introducing an alternative and a space used in printing.

23a Ready to explode? Nap in part of chair (7)
ARMREST: a verb meaning to ready a device to explode is followed by another word for a nap or snooze.

24a Amateur entering pipe operated in shifts (7)
RELAYED: insert an adjective meaning amateur into a music pipe.

25a Storm split again around area (7)
TORNADO: string together an adjective meaning split and an abbreviation meaning ‘the same again’ and insert the abbreviation for area.

26a Golf tournament, also location for snack (4,8)
OPEN SANDWICH: the name of the major British annual golf tournament and one of the locations (in Kent) where it is held.

Down Clues

1d Bun consumed when cycling, put on coat (7)
TEACAKE: cycle the letters of a verb meaning consumed and append a verb to put on a coat or add a layer of something.

2d Dirty old book consulted in audition (7)
OBSCENE: abbreviations for old and book followed by a homophone of a past participle meaning consulted.

3d Go past snail sadly lost in insurmountable ground (9)
OUTNUMBER: this is a subtractive anagram. Remove the jumbled (sadly) letters of SNAIL from INSURMOUNTABLE and make an anagram (ground) of what you have left over.

4d Mirror informant changes sides (5)
GLASS: a slang term for an informant or snitch with the side inside it changed to its opposite.

5d Female sick, not going to make it (7)
FAILING: the abbreviation for female and an adjective meaning sick.

6d Wine in box with lid off upended (7)
RETSINA: remove the first letter from a box or cylindrical container and reverse what remains.

7d Some acquired kids and oxen, paid anything to be involved (13)
STEPDAUGHTERS: another word for oxen or bullocks contains the abbreviation for paid and a poetic word meaning anything.

8d Band with zero sex appeal upset arrangement (13)
ORCHESTRATION: a large band and the reversal of a phrase (2,2) meaning zero sex appeal.

15d Turned out to consume tea that’s unfamiliar (9)
UNCHARTED: an anagram (out) of TURNED holds an informal word for tea.

17d Have something in common with friend, literally? (7)
OVERLAP: split the answer 4,3 and use the first part as an indicator to find the friend.

18d Nearly nuts about Oscar after a short time (5,2)
EARLY ON: an anagram (nuts) of NEARLY containing the letter for which Oscar is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

19d Warriors mostly told to surround an odd revolutionary (7)
SAMURAI: a verb meaning told without its last letter contains the reversal of ‘an odd’.

20d Observe line has disturbed facial feature (7)
EYELASH: collate a verb to observe, the abbreviation for line and an anagram (disturbed) of HAS.

22d Morse vacantly needing help to raise sources of information (5)
MEDIA: the outer letters of Morse precede the reversal of a synonym for help.

The clues I liked best were 19a and 26a. Which ones attracted your admiration?


23 comments on “Toughie 2598

  1. I too started slowly and then finished it all off in about the right time for a Wednesday Toughie

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza – 26a was my favourite too – not least because I’ve eaten such a snack in the occasional home of the golf tournament

  2. Thanks to Gazza for parsing 23 and 25ac and as always I missed the subtractive anagram.
    However after a slow start it all fell into place. Good to see16ac…. a classical education wasn’t wasted, but of course I’d never heard of 14ac.
    Thanks to Stick Insect for the enjoyment.

  3. Unusually for me I started at a gallop & finished at a crawl but pleased with an unaided finish though did need to check my Virgil. Reasonably happy I have them all properly parsed but will read the review to check. Stick Insect is fast becoming one of my favourite setters as the puzzles are always entertaining & free of obscurities. Loved 3&7d plus 14a, (you can’t beat a bit of The Steeldrivers & Union Station) but 26a was my clear favourite too – never played it but on the bucket list.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & to Gazza.

  4. Not too difficult and some good concise clueing made this a real pleasure to solve. 26a gets my nod too. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  5. This wa enjoyable, 26a brought back memories of ordering these(I am now retired), COTD was 14a but lots to enjoy, thank you to Stick Insect and Gazza. How is Tilsit?

    1. Tilsit is still undergoing tests in hospital but has asked me to thank everyone for their good wishes

  6. So pleased to see that our setter has got his sense of humour back in recent times, this was another thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from him.
    Just about remembered enough Virgil to enter in 18a but I did check to be on the safe side afterwards!
    Happy to go along with the popular vote for 26a as favourite and I also gave big ticks to 1a & 8d.

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

  7. I definitely struggled at the beginning but gathered momentum as it went along.
    Thanks to Stick insect and Gazza.

  8. Almost finished without help, I didn’t know the Virgil or the wine. My idea of travelling does not include drinking the local paint-stripper. For the same reasons, I also missed the dope connection in 14a.

    I have no idea how long it took, as it was solved over about four sessions.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect (did you used to work in an office just outside Wilmslow?) and to Gazza.

  9. Lots of fun. Last one in and favourite was 7d as it took ages to sort out how the clue worked.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  10. Started well then slowed down in the lower half; the long ones at the edges also resisted for a while. Does anyone else have to write out part-done down clues horizontally to solve em? I liked 16a [it’s the only Virgil I’d heard of] and thought 21a was a neat charade.
    Thanks to SI and to Gazza for the blog.

  11. Only had time to tackle one crossword today and glad that I chose this pleasant offering.
    Favourite 26a also.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza

  12. Loved this crossword in general and 26a in particular. Perfect clue particularly for a golfer.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.
    Just the right difficulty for me for a thoroughly satisfying and entertaining solve.

  13. I’m in the slow to get going camp this afternoon. Obviously never heard of the Virgil poem so Googled it until I found one with 2 ‘g’s in it and worked it out from there. I’m going with 19d for favourite. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  14. Steady as she goes. All done with only a little head-scratching.
    To buck the trend I quite like Retsina. A half finished bottle still in the fridge. It does have to be really cold though.
    It’s weird how often the coincidences in the answers occur.
    Thanks to all

  15. Very nice indeed. A Stick Insect Toughie is something I look forward to. I have had a strange day doing all sorts of chores meaning, firstly, that I couldn’t watch the cricket (thank goodness!) and, secondly, that I have only just found time to tackle this puzzle. I was going to ignore it but I’m glad I decided not to.

    I didn’t know the first element of the 9a triple definition, and I spent far too long trying to parse “club sandwich” for 26a until I noticed that it was highly improbable that the 2-letter word in 18d would end with a B.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  16. Started slowly and continued in that vein! 5* solving time for me. Needed some electronic help / research, but happy to have completed the grid. Going to choose 21a for favourite as I don’t understand the clue as a sentence, but it was nevertheless my first one in! Thanks to all.

  17. Very late today but I did finish this lovely Stick Insect last night before doing the excellent Jay puzzle, though I needed one electronic assist for 9a, and even then, I failed to see it as a triple definition. When I realised what the wine was in 6d, I remembered the time–can it now be 49 years ago?–when a bottle of that stuff came to the rescue of a dear travel-mate who took a nasty fall as we were climbing Mistra (a few miles from the site of Sparta). We were enjoying another outing sponsored by Swans Hellenic, and before beginning our ascent to Mistra, I had bought a bottle of 6d and stuffed it in my backpack. When my friend fell and lay quite disoriented on the ground, I opened the bottle, gave it to her, and she immediately partook of that piny, resinous concoction, and got right up and continued her climb with us. She kept in touch for years afterwards

    My favourite clue today has to be 16a. When the Aeneid failed to work, I immediately remember the other biggie by Virgil, and Voila! I also liked 14a and 7d (thanks to Gazza for the birthday card from the Abomination).

  18. Enjoyed this, but defeated by 7d (and took a while for the parsing to become clear even after Gaza’s explanation) I need to upgrade my dictionary, as my feeble thing doesn’t give the first definition, so the uncertainty about the T didn’t help with 7. Ah well…

  19. Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky, but I was beaten by 7d. Just couldn’t see the wordplay or definition. Favourite was 14a. Was 2* /4* for me.

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