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Toughie 2706

Toughie No 2706 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Stick Insect provides a mid-week Toughie on this particularly autumnal feeling first day of September. Realising fairly early on that it was likely to be a pangram did help with the final few clues

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


5a    Quick, help with address? (6)
PROMPT A double definition

8a    Head of company with talent to charge a great deal (8)
CARTLOAD The ‘head’ of Company, some talent and a verb meaning to charge

9a    Calm monkey eating vegetables (7)
APPEASE A monkey eating some vegetables

10a    Poet Ovid is tense, no sex for him (5)
ODIST Remove the Roman numeral (no sex) for six from OviD, add IS (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Tense

11a    Notice opening, head off certain risk (9)
ADVENTURE An abbreviated notice, an opening and a synonym for certain without its first letter (head off)

13a    Lack maturity, following drink (8)
SHORTAGE Some maturity follows an informal term for a drink of spirits

14a    Frost’s on radio, as he does with TV (6)
RHYMES A homophone (on radio) of some frosts

17a    Finished removing new creature (3)
DOE Remove the abbreviation for new from another way of saying finished

19a    Brood housed in Hackney estate (3)
EYE Hidden in HacknEY Estate – If only, like Gazza, I’d looked at the second meaning of the solution – a brood of pheasants

20a    Ox-eye, perhaps following cow (6)
FLOWER The abbreviation for following and a name given to cattle making a particular noise

23a    19, adult according to true broadcast (8)
APERTURE The abbreviation for adult, a word meaning according to and an anagram (broadcast) of TRUE

26a    Trade union rough involves mine in depravity (9)
TURPITUDE The abbreviation for Trade Union and an adjective meaning rough, into which is inserted a mine

28a    Chief edited film with reduced information (5)
FICHE An anagram (edited) of CHIEF

29a    Fantastic business with limitless barrel (7)
BIZARRE A slang word for business and the inside (limitless) letters of bARREl

30a    Healthiest outings end in sweat (8)
JOLLIEST Some informal outings, especially at someone else’s expense, and the end in sweaT

31a    Start to get riled near deprived area (6)
GHETTO The ‘start’ to Get, a dialect word meaning riled or angry, and a preposition meaning near


1d    Dealing with a burden (6)
ACROSS A (from the clue) and a burden

2d    Rat, perhaps involved with riot? (7)
TRAITOR An anagram (perhaps) of RAT with another (involved) of RIOT

3d    Paper’s central section with scope for cliche (9)
PLATITUDE The central letter of paper and some scope

4d    Talk fish up in miscellany (6)
RAGBAG Reversals (up in a Down solution) of an informal verb meaning to talk and a type of fish

5d    String production? (8)
PUPPETRY A cryptic definition of a production using strings

6d    Plain to see when caught out in secret (5)
OVERT Remove the cricket abbreviation for caught from a synonym for secret

7d    Father and sister cooked cakes (8)
PASTRIES An informal word for father and an anagram (cooked) of SISTER

12d    Deposit owing to auditor (3)
DEW A homophone (to auditor) of a way of saying owing to

15d    Core fabric is deep (9)
HEARTFELT The core of something and a type of fabric

16d    Cake ingredient is hard to display (8)
FLOURISH A cake ingredient, IS (from the clue) and the abbreviation for Hard

18d    Musical story of Nelson perhaps beginning to go around men (8)
ORATORIO Nelson’s Christian name without its first letter (beginning to go) put around the usual abbreviation for soldiers (men)

21d    Owned headnote, literally (3)
HAD  As Gazza says, literally HeAD NOT E

22d    Revive Roman who shattered neck (7)
QUICKEN The Latin (Roman) word for who and an anagram (shattered) of NECK

24d    In favour of student picketing centre of Exeter for fuel (6)
PETROL A preposition meaning in favour of and the usual abbreviation for student picketing (surrounding) the letters in the centre of exETer

25d    Makes effort to uproot large plant receiving variable shade at first (6)
EXERTS A reversal (to uproot) of a large plant into which is inserted a mathematical variable, the result followed with the first letter of Shade

27d    Quiet lieutenant accepts first-class braid (5)
PLAIT The musical abbreviated instruction to play quietly and the abbreviation for lieutenant accepts the two letters meaning first-class

33 comments on “Toughie 2706

  1. An enjoyable midweek Toughie – thanks to Sticky and CS.

    A 19a (the BRB informs me) is a brood of pheasants.
    I parsed 21d as HEAD (not E).

    Top clues for me were 5a, 10a and 15d.

  2. I enjoyed this pangram although came up short with the parsing of 19a and 21d. 10a was my favourite. Thanks to CS/Gazza and Stick Insect.

  3. I found this a very enjoyable pangram of medium difficulty overall with the last few clues taking quite a bit of teasing out. I came here needing to understand the parsing of 21d and was grateful to Gazza for his explanation.

    10a is a strange one. I had a different answer (“ovist”) which fits with the wordplay and checkers using the definition “no sex for him”. OV = poetic abbreviation for Ovid plus IS plus T(ense). An ovist is a person who believes that the ovum contains all material required for development of the embryo, i.e. no sex required.

    15d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

    1. 10a – that’s an ingenious and largely convincing theory, RD, and you should be proud of it. But with your version the “Poet” wouldn’t be required (Ovid is a pretty well-known old Roman poet) and the last 4 words would be the clue definition. As I’m sure you know, but others may not, in Latin sex = six (VI).

  4. It had to be what it was but I really do not understand why “across” means “ dealing with”.
    No especial favourite but I did like 14a once I’d realised that Frost did not refer to David Jason.
    My one error was 30a where I had “ godliest” because of its link to cleanliness. I really don’t think jolliest has anything to do with being healthy apart from not complaining about ones aches and pains!

  5. A very pleasant Wednesday Toughie which, for me, took only a little longer than the back pager, and, like the back pager, it was a steady solve. I did think Pangram early on, with 19a and 29a, but then forgot about it until I remembered to carry out an alphabetic ‘roll call’ on completion. **/****.

    Candidates for favourite – 8a, 11a, 20a, 26a, and 18d – and the winner is 26a.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  6. 1d and 8a held me up, and I had to look up the unusual meaning of eye. It was the NW that made it harder than I thought it was going to be. 14a COTD for me.
    Thanks CS and SI

  7. Sorry to be dim but please, somebody, explain 14a. I get the rimes bit but who’s on TV? Thanks.

      1. Surely “he” has one syllable and TV two? I’m sure we’ve a purist out there who’ll question the rhyme. I’ll admit that I just thought it was a way of saying “ sounds like” and perhaps making us think of the tv Frost.

    1. H. As CS says, “he” rhymes with TV – which is telling you that the answer rhymes with the word derived from the word-play. I don’t know why, but because the clue cites Frost and TV, I couldn’t get the character Frost from TV’s A Touch of Frost out of my mind. Maybe you too?

      1. Just misdirection I think. Frost’s (= rimes) on radio = (sounds like) rhymes, = he and tv. I don’t think number of syllables matter in rhymes: it’s the last syllable that counts

  8. A thoroughly enjoyable and not overly taxing Wednesday Toughie. The fact that it was a pangram made it all the more fun. I am in awe of most of our setters, and the skill they employ to compile these is remarkable. Add in the ability to use all the letters of the alphabet and my admiration goes off the scale.

    The admirably brief 15d came close to being my favourite, but the top spot goes to co-favourites, 21 and 22d.

    My thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  9. Well, I got there but needed the hints for a few. Still, the bits I managed were “quite good” as the curate said. I wasn’t aware that to be jolly means to be healthy so something learned.

    I don’t often see pangrams in back pagers so there was no chance of my seeing one in a Toughie!

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  10. 28a was a new word for me and I did grumble a bit about 30a, 1d and the 14a ‘rhyme’ but a fair weather sail elsewhere.
    It may well be something of a chestnut but 5d came out on top here with 13a in reserve.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  11. Very enjoyable mid-week offering. Just the right amount of ‘toughness’ for me. Glad to say I completed it unaided: would have been easier if I’d spotted the pangram! My favourites were 14a and 8a.

  12. Finally completed unaided at the 3rd attempt though failed to parse 21d & hadn’t a clue 19a had anything to do with pheasants. I got the VI removal at 10a but my near total ignorance of Latin meant I had little idea of what six has to do with sex. Last 2 in were 22d & 28a. With the former the pangram came to the rescue & it still took a while to clock the anagrind for 28a which was a new word to me also. Found the puzzle pretty tough in places with a good deal of head scratching required for the pennies to drop. Lots to like & very enjoyable. A toss up between 5&15d would be my choice with ticks also for 14&26a plus 3&21d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & to CS.
    Ps I read with interest yesterday’s views on what constitutes an unaided finish & had always considered it acceptable to confirm understanding of an answer via whatever source (as opposed to seeking one) but am now resolved to attempt completion in strict exam conditions.

    1. I don’t think looking something up to confirm is really aid
      After all, how can one look up something in a dictionary if the spelling is unknown?
      Parsing a clue and thinking ‘Is that a real word?’ only to find it the BRB is always a delight

  13. Very enjoyable mid week Toughie. I had to check the frost synonym in 14a, my LOI (not helped by the double unch) and 22d went in without needing the Latin for who.
    Lots to like without any jumping out as outstanding, my ticks go to 5&8a plus 1,3,6,15&22d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS for the entertainment.

  14. Managed to complete this with help but without hints.
    Enjoyed it more than today’s back pager.
    Two toughies in a row. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead!
    I don’t even look at it usually.
    Thanks to Stick insect and CS
    Also to Steve for the nudge

  15. Agree that 10a is “ovist”.
    “Remove the Roman numeral (no sex) for six” makes no sense to me

    1. I first thought sex referred to It, but that’s more sex appeal. So removing it left something impossible. To get ‘ovist’ you have to remover either id or di, neither of which denote sex! Very clever use of sex!
      Sex = six in Latin. In Roman numerals = vi.
      Definitely odist

  16. A very enjoyable Toughie. Thanks, Stick Insect.

    I failed to parse two of the 3-letter wee stinkers: 19a (Brood …) & 21d (Owned headnote…).

    I also failed to notice the significance of “… no sex for him” in 10a. Now that it has been explained, 10a goes straight to the top of the podium. Brilliant clue!

    Thanks to CS (and Gazza) for the clarifications.

  17. So that is how the parsing for 21d works. We’d missed that.
    A most enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  18. I knew that “a nye” had to do with pheasants, but wasn’t aware the “an eye” was an alternative (or maybe a nalternative), though it makes as much sense as much of our fine language.

    Many thanks, as ever, to Stick Insect and Cryptic Sue.

  19. I agree with Ovist for10A. Being a person who believes no copulation is required to reproduce.

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