Toughie 2738 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2738

Toughie No 2738 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Stick Insect provides a fairly friendly Toughie – my favourites were 20a and, because of the spooky coincidence, 12a

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Burn with energy for new blockade (5)
SIEGE The abbreviation for Energy replaces that for New in a verb meaning to burn on the surface

4a    Clear old platform (9)
MANIFESTO An adjective meaning clear or easily seen and the abbreviation for Old

9a    One needing space to work (9)
ASTRONAUT A cryptic definition of someone whose job description requires him to work in space

10a    Location for planes in minor park to the west (5)
APRON Hidden in reverse (to the west in an Across clue) in miNOR PArk

11a    Manufactured bizarre cooker (7)
BRAZIER An anagram (manufactured) of BIZARRE

12a    Disapprove of plant denying a second jab (7)
BOOSTER An expression of disapproval and one of crosswordland’s favourite plants without the A (denying A) at the beginning. I was actually writing this solution into the grid when my phone beeped with a text message from NHSvaccine inviting me to book a COVID 12a, which was nice of them but my arm is still slightly sore from the one I had (after an invitation from our GP surgery) on Sunday!

13a    Settled a bit of long list (6)
LITANY Part of a verb meaning settled and an adjective meaning a bit

15a    Book’s list of chapters literally inconsistent (8)
CONTENTS I’m grateful to Gazza for helping me understand that, as the clue says, TENT is literally in CONS

18a    Team declared support for game controller (8)
CROUPIER A homophone (declared) of a team followed by a support

20a    Kings escaping from select prison is easy undertaking (6)
PICNIC The chess abbreviation for King escaping from both (hence the Kings plural) a verb meaning to select and an informal term for a prison

23a    African people mostly accepting vehicle colouring (7)
MASCARA Most of an African people of Kenya and Tanzania ‘accepting’ a vehicle

24a    Set bed by lake (7)
COTERIE A type of bed and one of the Great Lakes

26a    Delightful housing European relative (5)
NIECE A synonym for delightful ‘housing’ the abbreviation for European Much as I love my female relatives, we’ve seen an awful lot of them in crosswords lately, with slight variations in the clueing each time, but I think it might be time for them to take a bit of a rest

27a    Foolish to arrest graduate with a peculiar style (9)
IDIOMATIC An adjective meaning foolish ‘arrests’ an abbreviated graduate

28a    Gold floor inside quiet gloomy place (9)
MAUSOLEUM The chemical symbol for gold and a floor goes inside an interjection asking for quiet

29a    Katherine perhaps is wise shunning diamonds (5)
SHREW Here you have to remember one of Shakespeare’s comedies (or occasions when similar clues to this have been used before) where Katherine was the person referred to in its title – an adjective meaning wise without (shunning) the abbreviation for the suit of diamonds in a pack of cards


1d    Fake writer about golf discovered in confusion (9)
SHAMBOLIC A word meaning fake or false and the trade name of a particular ballpoint pen (writer) go ‘about’ the inside (discovered) letters of gOLf

2d    Complex trade involves accessory (5)
EXTRA Hidden inside (involves) complEX TRAde

3d    Undermining love at home, receiving nothing (7)
EROSION The God of Love and the usual ‘at home’, the latter receiving the letter representing nothing

4d    Thin silver with simple surrounding (6)
MEAGRE The chemical symbol for silver ‘surrounded’ by an adjective meaning simple

5d    Pad dead tree edition perhaps? (8)
NOTEBOOK In order to ‘see’ the wordplay, you need to split a type of writing pad 3, 1-4

6d    Using every effort to fault supply (4,3)
FLAT OUT An anagram (supply) of TO FAULT

7d    Nine roots developed into neurotransmitter (9)
SEROTONIN An anagram (developed) of NINE ROOTS

8d    Proprietor in depression, heading off (5)
OWNER Remove the heading or first letter from a slang term for a state of depression

14d    Time philosopher makes collection for union (9)
TROUSSEAU The abbreviation for Time and a Swiss philosopher

16d    Arranged soccer draw right away? It can’t be criticised (6,3)
SACRED COW An anagram (arranged) of SOCCEr DRAW (right away telling you to omit one of the Rs)

17d    Critical as musical knowledge shown up (8)
NEGATIVE A reversal of one of crosswordland’s favourite musicals and a slang term for knowledge

19d    Stink after job provides ineffective remedy (7)
PLACEBO An abbreviated stink goes after a job

21d    The setter’s going around South American bottleneck (7)
ISTHMUS How the setter would refer to himself goes around a three-letter abbreviation for south, an abbreviation for American being added at the end – as well as referring to a narrow stretch of land, this word can also mean a constriction or bottleneck

22d    Split internally, putsch is miscarrying (6)
SCHISM Hidden inside putSCH IS Miscarrying

23d    Bit of music popular and current in 2000 (5)
MINIM The usual popular and the symbol for electric current inserted into the Roman numerals for 2000

25d    Turner starts to rise once Temeraire overshadows rivals (5)
ROTOR The starts to Rise Once Temeraire Overshadows Rivals


28 comments on “Toughie 2738

  1. What a contrast to yesterday’s Toughie. This was relatively light and great fun despite a few strange surfaces in evidence.

    I couldn’t understand the relevance of “literally inconsistent” in 15a so thanks to Gazza for the explanation.

    Strictly speaking 12a is a third jab.

    My top selection is 4a, 28a, 1d, 17d & 23d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

    1. Only if it is a jab for COVID – I’m sure there are other jabs where you only have one and then have a 12a

      The BRB says ‘an additional dose of a vaccine to increase or renew the effect of the original dose’

    2. I thought (wrongly apparently) it was just that the letters of contents all appeared in consistent

  2. Couldn’t see 13a at all until I revealed the 2nd letter but otherwise reasonably straightforward & a gentle stroll compared to yesterday. Much more my level & thoroughly enjoyed it. No parsing issues although can’t say I was familiar with 10a in the airport context – more the approaches to greens on the golf course. 1d & 18a my top two from a fine selection.
    Thanks to SI & CS

  3. Beaten by 21d….I’d never seen that word before and having a three letter abbreviation (sth) for a word that’s only 5 letters long seems a little unreasonable. Enjoyed the rest a lot with my ticks going to the topical and witty 12a, 27a as it’s a great word, with the 1d making up the podium.

      1. You ought to read my reasoning for 21d below, Stephen. I’ve never seen ‘sth’ as an abbreviation for ‘south’ either.

  4. A pleasant but not too demanding puzzle – thanks to SI and CS.
    I didn’t know the word for floor in 28a so had to verify that.
    My ticks were awarded to 15a, 5d and 14d.

      1. Chambers def. 4 (floor of oven or furnace) or 6 (the bottom / understructure / floor/ undersurface of various things), apparently … no, I had no idea either!

  5. Thanks to Stick Insect for an absorbing an most enjoyable puzzle. I particularly liked 14d and 28a and overall the conciseness of the clues was admirable. Thanks too, to CS.

  6. Really enjoyed this, thanks Stick Insect & crypticsue. I don’t often get to tackle a Toughie – as a non-subscriber I’m reliant on which free puzzle the Telegraph app decides to make available on any day (sometimes it’s just a sudoku :-/) – so this was a treat, although not too tough(ie). There’s a great Enigmatist (Elgar) in today’s Guardian though!

  7. Interestingly, I solved 21d for all the wrong reasons, thinking only of the 21d of Panama and that the setter must have considered Central America as being south of North America. Never mind the parsing! How absolutely cockeyed my reasoning was! Anyway, I got there by my own misdirection. It was 18a wot done me in, as I just couldn’t see it and had to go electronic briefly. But I really enjoyed this puzzle as I have all of this compiler’s. Cleverest: 20a; favourites: 29a & 5d. Great stuff. Thanks to CS and to Stick Insect.

    1. Take Fez’s advice. If you haven’t done so already have a bash at Elgar’s Graun puzzle – I reckon you’ll finish it. Took me an age to get going but got there in the end with bung ins galore.

  8. Much more straightforward than yesterday’s which I only completed half before resorting to the hints. Needed the hints to parse 13a and 15a. Favourite was 17d, my last in. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  9. Last puzzle of the day and mainly straight forward although the last few clues in the NE corner seemed to take ages, failed to parse 5d and 15a- thanks to CS- even after the 3,1-4 split in 5d the dead tree edition still eludes me! Going for a ***/***
    Nearly opening time.

  10. Gave up with 4 to go in NW corner! Thanks for the explanation for notebook – I got it but had no idea why. Thanks to all.

  11. Most enjoyable. I had to come here to understand the parsing of 15a, my last one in. Very clever.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  12. I had a lot of fun with this one, and did need some hints to finish. But strangely, found it much easier than today’s cryptic. Some of the answers, such as 28a, fell in from the checkers, but overall quite friendly. Thanks to setter and CrypticSue.

  13. A lot of fun, although I stumbled a bit in NW and had to be guided on the parsing for 15a and 1d.

    Favourite was probably 24a…..not a word I use every day.

    Thanks to CS for the blog and Stick Insect for the grid.

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