Toughie 2618 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2618

Toughie No 2618 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have a pleasant pangram today – thanks to Stick Insect. It’s not really very tough and all twelve of the four-letter answers (which usually provoke accusations of peskiness) are pretty straightforward.

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

Across Clues

1a Creative rap about hedge (11)
PREVARICATE: an anagram (about) of CREATIVE RAP.

8a Old police car gets stuck with hoist missing middle part (3,8)
JAM SANDWICH: bring together a verb meaning ‘gets stuck’, a conjunction meaning with and a type of hoist or lifting device without its central N. The answer is a dated slang term for a police car based on how it looked.

11a Advanced drink plant (4)
ARUM: the abbreviation for advanced and an alcoholic drink.

12a Rush meal, start to repent (4)
TEAR: a meal and the first letter of repent.

13a Handle judge dismissing university cases (7)
LUGGAGE: string together a word for a handle and a verb to judge or estimate without the single-letter abbreviation for university.

15a Experts with reptiles losing leader (7)
WIZARDS: the abbreviation for ‘with’ and some reptiles without their leading letter.

16a Prepare online joke? (5)
EQUIP: cryptically as 1-4 this could be an online joke. How many times have we seen this recently?

17a Seethe, seeing barrel lost in bungling attempt (4)
FUME: start with a bungling attempt (a failure to catch a ball, perhaps) and remove the abbreviation for barrel.

18a By the sound of it, murderer’s brother is competent (4)
ABLE: this sounds like the Old Testament brother of a murderer. The most chestnutty of all old chestnuts?

19a UEFA I think embodies trust (5)
FAITH: hidden.

21a Self-inflicted damage that hurt along with treatment (3,4)
OWN GOAL: an exclamation of pain (that hurt!) followed by an anagram (with treatment) of ALONG.

22a Cooked well, soy becomes sickly-looking (7)
YELLOWS: an anagram (cooked) of WELL SOY.

23a Reviewed IMAX exhibition, partly for test (4)
EXAM: hidden in reverse.

26a Italian agreement involves space in penultimate round (4)
SEMI: an Italian response signifying agreement contains a printer’s space.

27a Tiny, evil island placed in trap from the east (11)
LILLIPUTIAN: an adjective meaning evil or ominous, the single-letter abbreviation for island and a verb meaning placed all go inside the reversal of a verb meaning trap or capture.

28a Kiss taxi company worker entering city in high spirits (11)
EXUBERANTLY: the letter used for a kiss, the taxi company which recently lost an important court case and our usual working insect are all inserted into a city in Cambridgeshire.

Down Clues

2d Paper bundle half studied in the morning (4)
REAM: half of a verb meaning studied and an abbreviation meaning ‘in the morning’.

3d Undergarment I receive almost produces mark (7)
VESTIGE: knit together an undergarment worn on the upper body, I and a verb to receive without its final letter.

4d Obnoxious class row (4)
RANK: triple definition. It always used to amuse me to see a Motorway sign warning that the upcoming service station was obnoxious.

5d Fragrant flower subdues impertinence (7)
COWSLIP: charade of a verb meaning subdues or browbeats and an informal word for impertinence.

6d Thanks court for discretion (4)
TACT: a short word of thanks and the abbreviation for court as a road name.

7d Supply foul lice with raw vegetable (11)
CAULIFLOWER: an anagram (supply) of FOUL LICE RAW. This doesn’t sound too appetising!

8d Hear intellectual laying down the law (11)
JUDGEMENTAL: rivet together a verb to hear in court and an adjective meaning intellectual.

9d Desolate earth could result from this (11)
HEARTBROKEN: a reverse anagram which when split 5,6 provides the fodder followed by the indicator.

10d Being an administrator is binding, keeping support in (11)
TRUSTEESHIP: a binding or surgical appliance contains a golf support. Finally append a dated informal adjective meaning ‘in’ or fashionable.

14d Identical plaques uncovered and rebuilt (5)
EQUAL: remove the outer letters from [p]LAQUE[s] and make an anagram (rebuilt) of what remains.

15d Amusing song daughter’s dropped for wife (5)
WITTY: start with a simple song and replace the genealogical abbreviation for daughter with that of wife. I know his name’s not spelt the same way but this reminded me of the recent Private Eye cartoon of the professor whose doom-laden illustrated presentations we’ve grown accustomed to over the past year:

19d Mistake in LA, including African party in backing group (3,4)
FAN CLUB: put an informal North American word for a gaffe (not one I knew) around a South African political party.

20d Give encouragement: ‘Catch — catch up!’ (7)
HEARTEN: a verb to catch (by ear) and the reversal of a verb to catch (a fish perhaps).

24d Stir involving new girl who’s cheeky (4)
MINX: a verb to stir or whisk contains the abbreviation for new.

25d Post mineral box (4)
SPAR: triple definition – the first two are nouns and the third is a verb.

26d Attack when leaving ships (4)
SAIL: remove a conjunction meaning when from a verb to attack to leave a collective word for ships.

My clue of the day is 8a. What appealed to you?


27 comments on “Toughie 2618

  1. Managed most of this unaided. I needed electronic help for 1a and 10d. As usual, kicked myself when I saw the answers. I think it was a pangram but I haven’t checked closely. 8a only came to me because that was what police cars were called during the days of CB radio. My favourite clue among many good clues was 15a.

    Many thanks Stick Insect for the entertainment and thanks also to Gazza for the hints.

    Why do I get a pop up advert occasionally when I click on a link in the blog?

    Thanks for confirming the pangram, Gazza. I usually miss them.

    1. I’m getting a Google Chrome advert every time I click on a comment in the Recent Comments List

      1. I don’t get an ad every time I click on a link, CS but it is quite irritating when it happens.

      1. The problem is different on my tablet – clicking on a comment here produces adverts for taps!

  2. Pleasant if short-lived crossword solving experience. I spent more time discussing with Mr CS how many people would remember that a police car was called an 8a

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza

    1. In the NW (of England), I understand that they were called ‘butty cars’ (as in jam butty).

  3. I don’t think that this crossword deserves the title “toughie”. The only clue that gave me trouble was 10 down

        1. So do I but still enjoyed it & I’d had enough head scratching with 4 clues in the back pager.
          Thanks Stick Insect & Gazza.

  4. Yep, relatively gentle for SI -10d was the only one to cause any head-scratching. I enjoyed 8a for the reminder of a term I haven’t heard in years and 19d for the backing group.
    Thanks to SI and to Gazza for the blog.

  5. A very solid puzzle that just needed a little application. Thanks to stick Insect and Gazza

  6. Very enjoyable and not too tough. Predictably, I missed the pangram and I also didn’t realise there were so many, so they were obviously non-pesky, four letter answers. **/****
    Candidates for favourite – 2a, 3d, 9d, and 24d – and the winner is 27a – quite a Lego exercise.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  7. Quite straightforward in the main but I did encounter a few hiccups along the way. My knowledge of police cars begins and ends with Pandas and Black Marias so I needed the checkers to fall into place, I’m only really familiar with the first three letters of 13a being used in the verbal sense and I certainly didn’t know the American term in 19d. 10d also caused problems but that was simply because I couldn’t see the proverbial wood for trees!
    All came good in the end and I enjoyed the solve. Bonus points went to the simple 6d which I thought was neatly done.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza for the review – I’ll never look at one of those motorway signs in quite the same light again and I may change my choice of vegetable for a while, although it does taste nice with cheese sauce!

  8. I managed to finish this so am delighted as I only managed 4 yesterday! I first of all wanted to put ham sandwich because it fitted and then asked the other half who told me it was jam – never heard of it. In fact I think I found this easier than today’s back pager. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  9. Finished this lovely Stick Insect (semi-)Toughie is less time than Jay’s took last night, though the police car was admittedly a bung-in based on the checking letters. Got all the 4-letter words first, then rather glided through the rest. 27a brought back fond memories of teaching the Houyhnhnms and Brodingnagians, and all of those brilliant ‘Swifties’. 10d was my LOI and is my COTD. Thanks to Gazza and Stick Insect. Most enjoyable.

  10. Pretty straightforward apart from 10d. Unfamiliar with American mistake in 19d but I took the African party out of the answer and googled what was left, I’d say fluff, but we’re separated by the same language. It would appear that I’m going to struggle with the back pager later this evening when I’ve had a drink or two. Favourite was 8a. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  11. What a lovely day in crosswordland with four excellent puzzles to be savoured: Jay’s back-pager; Kairos (Prolixic) in the Indy; Brendan (Virgilius) in the Guardian; and, last but not least, this one from Stick Insect.

    Although this pangram wasn’t remotely tough, it was extremely well-crafted and very enjoyable. With two very good triple definitions and a clearly indicated Americanism, all is well with the world – although I could have done without the picture of one of the arch harbingers of doom to accompany 15d. At least I got the good news this afternoon of the appointment for my second jab on Saturday.

    With lots of contenders, my podium places are awarded to 8a, 27a, 4d & 6d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  12. When I first saw all these 4 letter words, my heart fell but as they were quite straightforward, they gave me a lot of useful checkers.
    Took a while to get the synonym of binding in 10d.
    The slang name for the police car was new to me and the parsing led me to it.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Gazza.

  13. We needed the checkers for the police car which a quick check proved our guess to be correct.
    Nice to have the short answers not too pesky and a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Gazza.

  14. Finished in 4* time. Never heard of the police car description or the american fluff, but once checkers were in, the answers couldn’t be anything else. Also didn’t know the Gulliver’s Travels word had actually become part of our language. Favourite 28a as the word uber always raises a smile somehow. Weird. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  15. I agree with Miffypops @5. Loved the reverse anagram at 9d and the the clever 20d, and they are joined on the podium by 21a.
    Thanks to SI and of course to Gazza.

  16. All good, needed some assistance on 10d and didn’t manage to parse 17a. Thanks to Stick Insect and Gazza.

  17. Hurrah. Just finished this although I did need the hint for 10d as I had actually entered Abel. Started in the bath last night and just finished at breakfast – huge sense of achievement! Many thanks to Stick insect and Gaza. I had never heard of an 8a but it had to be. 😀

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