Toughie 2726 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2726

Toughie No 2726 by Serpent

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Serpent can always be relied on to provide the solver with a nicely challenging crossword, this one perfect for a Wednesday Toughie. He also always manages to hide something in the grid – if you haven’t spotted the Nina yet, then start with the second letter down in column 14 and then proceed in a clockwise direction

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Hide constant desire (5)
CACHE The abbreviation for constant and a desire

4a    Paying back value of property mainly controlled by cartel (9)
REQUITING Almost all (mainly) of the value of a property inserted into (controlled by) a cartel

9a    American beer and most lager turns out to be rather pleasant (9)
AGREEABLE The abbreviation for American and an anagram (turns out) of BEER and most of LAGEr

10a    Took one’s time boarding (5)
STOLE The abbreviation for Time ‘boarding’ an adjective meaning consisting of one person (one’s)

11a    Journalist provided formality and structure (7)
EDIFICE An abbreviated top journalist, a conjunction meaning provided and some formality

12a    Express disapproval about one item that’s charged in lessons (7)
TUITION An interjection expressing disapproval goes about the letter representing one, the result followed by an electrically charged particle

13a    Shut up nearest and dearest after losing second son (6)
CLOSET Lose the second abbreviation or Son from a way of describing someone or something nearest and dearest to you

15a    He stops disparate voices coming together (8)
COHESIVE HE (from the clue) ‘stops’ or fills an anagram (disparate) of VOICES

18a    Winger turned, ran and moved like this? (8)
DRIBBLED A reversal (turned) of a creature informally known as a winger followed by another word for ran

20a    Highest point for one turning into adult writer (6)
APOGEE A reversal (turning) [a bleep of the repetition radar was heard here!] of the abbreviated way of saying ‘for one’ inserted between the abbreviation for adult and an American writer famous for tales of mystery and the macabre.

23a    This grant, in part, could be seen as accident-prone (7)
CONCEDE A compound anagram where rearranging ACCIDENT PRONE will produce the solution and IN PART

24a    (T)horny problem? (7)
DILEMMA A reference to the expression regarding a difficult choice

26a    Speaker leaking head of state’s post on social media (5)
TWEET Remove the regnal cipher of our current Queen from a loudspeaker used in high-fidelity sound reproduction

27a    What, paradoxically, is spelt differently in dialect? (9)
IDENTICAL An anagram (spelt differently) of IN DIALECT

28a    Sad trend, getting drunk, encapsulates what finishes George Best (9)
DARNEDEST An anagram (getting drunk) of SAD TREND ‘encapsulating’ the letter at the end (what finishes) of georgE

29a    Wood spirit is something used to promote Prohibition? (5)
DRYAD Split this wood spirit 3,2 and you’ll see something used to promote Prohibition


1d    Coach briefly played with Leeds United (9)
COALESCED An anagram (played) of almost all (briefly) of COACh and LEEDS

2d    Lord, soldier and best friend of royalty (5)
CORGI An informal interjection of surprise (Lord) and an American soldier

3d    Person who doesn’t want company to issue shares before (7)
EREMITE A verb meaning to issue ‘shares’ or goes inside a (usually) literary word meaning before

4d    Person who holds up gown worn by bishop before Queen (6)
ROBBER The abbreviation for Bishop in a game of chess goes inside (worn) a gown, the result finished with the Latin abbreviation for Queen

5d    Grill hunting expedition over decapitated animal (8)
QUESTION A hunting expedition goes over (in a down solution) an animal without its first letter (decapitated)

6d    Start of invasion deployed sniper fire (7)
INSPIRE The letter at the start of Invasion and an anagram (deployed) of SNIPER

7d    Loving marriage vow is written in loveless language (9)
IDOLISING A marriage vow and IS (from the clue) inserted (written) into a language without the O at the end (loveless)

8d    Place for putting inexperienced member of party (5)
GREEN A triple definition clue with a nice surface reading

14d    Having expelled extremists, Conservatives support entering ‘New Right’ candidate in race? (9)
ORIENTEER Remove the outside letters (having expelled extremists) from an informal way of referring to the Conservative Party then add a golf support inserted between the abbreviations for New and Right

16d    Watched as the author cried out loud (9)
EYEBALLED A homophone (out loud) of how Serpent (the author) might refer to himself and a way of saying wept noisily

17d    Said vegan perhaps could eat this (8)
VEGEMITE A homophone (said) of an informal term for a vegan and a synonym for perhaps – my favourite vegan wouldn’t eat this as, unlike his father and brother, he and I are on the ‘hate it’ side of opinion on such yeast extract products!

19d    Quietly say, ‘Get clean clothes on!’ (7)
BREATHE A verb meaning to get clean ‘clothes’ a two-letter way of saying on the subject of

21d    Led experimental programme on education (7)
PILOTED An experimental programme and the abbreviation for education

22d    Most peculiar aspect of childhood destiny (6)
ODDEST Hidden in (an aspect of) childhoOD DESTing

23d    Named detectives charged with case of torture (5)
CITED The abbreviation for the detectives in a police force ‘charged’ or filled with the ‘case’ of TorturE

25d    Filthy cold caught in this country, also caught by many on vacation (5)
MUCKY The abbreviation for Cold caught in an abbreviation for our country, the result also ‘caught’ by the outside (on vacation) letters of ManY

The wind might be chilly and the sky look like something Turner might paint, but I’ve enjoyed being indoors solving and blogging the Toughie, especially as I found the Nina without too much trouble.   I’ve also just been informed that I’ve won £100 on the Premium Bonds so as Wednesdays go, this is a good one.

34 comments on “Toughie 2726

  1. A lovely puzzle – thanks to Serpent and CS. I forgot to look for anything special in the grid so thanks to CS for pointing out the Nina.

    Parsing 20a took me some time – I assumed initially that ‘one turning’ was ‘ego’ reversed then couldn’t work out how an adult writer was an ape!

    I have lots of ticks from which I’ll pick out 10a, 17d and 19d.

    [There’s a typo in 25d]

  2. Good fun first thing this morning. I never spot Ninas or Pangrams so thank you Crypticsue for pointing out the Nina. Don’t let the win go to your head. Keep your feet on the ground and think of the grandchildren and Christmas. Thanks to Serpent for the fun – you made me work for the last couple

  3. Managed to solve all but three on my own, then resorted to some electronic help for 4a and 5d, as well as 17d, which I had never heard of. (I don’t think that NZ import is much to be found in these parts, for which I am very grateful.) I thought that 24a was the cleverest of many clever clues. Still can’t make out the Nina, but I’ll survive. Thanks to CS and Serpent.

  4. Thanks for the parsing of 23ac…compound anagrams always defeat me, and for the Nina which I never find without help….but a lovely thought on my birthday!
    Brilliant stuff thanks Serpent.

    1. Somebody faced with a difficult choice between two options is said to be “on the horns of a dilemma”.

      1. Thank you – I have never come across that expression and prefer clues where the answer can be worked out
        Thank you also JB

    2. I believe one is on the horns of a dilemma?
      I found this puzzle very difficult and couldn’t finish it.

  5. I found this tough going. Three sittings and a few electrons filled the grid although I struggled to parse 24a. Needless to say the Nina also passed me by. Thanks to Serpent and CS.

  6. Excellent puzzle from Serpent that was fairly testing, and I will confess to a couple of unparsed bung-ins. 1 and 7d were particular favourites. One day I shall spot a Nina without a prompt, but today was not it.

    Many thanks to Serpent for a great challenge, and to CS.

  7. Though I completed the puzzle with much enjoyment, I still cannot find the Nina. I can’t interpret the second letter down in row 14. Give us a clue please.

    1. CS’s tip at the top of her preamble explains it nicely. Count across 14 rows from the left, take the second down then continue clockwise. Another clue: the first word is ‘love’.

    2. I also don’t understand how to interpret “second letter down in row 14”. I thought that rows only had letters going across?


  8. Many thanks to crypticsue for the excellent blog and to everyone who has taken the time to post a comment.

  9. A rapid solve this wasn’t and like Jonners it took more than one sitting and a few electrons. I thought it a most 9a puzzle, I’ll probably appreciate it even more when/if I manage to parse it all.
    My ticks go to 27&28a plus 2&16d.
    Many thanks to Serpent and CS for the workout and explanations

  10. Re the Nina, I can see a four letter word and possibly 2 letters split with apostrophe, but can’t get any further. Am I starting in the right place though, column 14, not row.
    All straightforward for me so far this week, and enjoyed all of them
    Thanks all

  11. Needed the hints to parse 20a, 23a and 14d, about par for me, though I was familiar with all the words, not always the case. Favourite was 17d. Thanks to Serpent and CS.

  12. Struggled with the compound anagram in 23a and totally missed the Nina.
    Good puzzle and thoroughly enjoyed.
    Thanks Serpent and CS.

  13. Despite all the comments about the Nina, I still cannot find it …

    … could someone, please, reveal the answer.

  14. CS’s ** difficulty rating assessment generally equate to **** for the likes of me & this excellent puzzle was a case in point. It was a laboured solve but got there without any letter reveals though with both 23&24a unparsed & needless to say the clever Nina not spotted. 14d was my pick of some very clever clues though it would probably have been the compound anagram in the highly event that I’d clocked it.
    Thanks Serpent & CS

Comments are closed.