Toughie 2766 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2766

Toughie No 2766 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Miffypops

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

Chris M Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good day. This puzzle from Stick Insect is a step up in difficulty from yesterday’s puzzle but still broadly within the remit of proficient back page solvers. Give it a whirl and see if you agree

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        In hearing, the King’s schoolteacher enumerates researchers (8)
ANALYSTS: Two homophones (in hearing) are required here. One of the name of a character (miss Loenowens) from a little known musical from the middle of the last century and one a homophone of a synonym of the word enumerates. Bunged in from the checkers and parsed later

5a        Southern troupe with yen for erotic (6)
STEAMY: Begin at the beginning with an abbreviation for Southern. Add a troupe or group of individuals striving for a united outcome. Add the abbreviation for yen

9a        Criticise American urban greed (8)
RAPACITY:  Take a synonym of criticise, add the letter A from the clue. Add a word meaning urban

10a      Fleet Street strangely avoids ‘Starr made tea’ (6)
ARMADA:  Remove the letters of the word STREET from the very odd phrase ‘Starr made tea’. Which Starr. I only know of Ringo. Did he make the tea?

12a      City celebrate an opening (9)
SINGAPORE: A rather stretched synonym of the word celebrate is followed by a minute opening in one’s skin

13a      Title a bishop without work engineered (5)
SAHIB: An anagram (engineered) of A BISHop

14a      Lower the French ship (4)
LESSON : The French masculine word for the is followed by the initials given to a steamship

16a      Condition for sunscreen, end of cover disappearing (7)
PROVISO: A short word meaning for is followed by a cover for one’s face minus its last letter

19a      US lad right to suppress school dish (7)
BORSCHT: A two-letter American name (boys or girls) is followed by an abbreviation for right which encircles an abbreviation for school. I’m open to offers of alternative passings for this clue

21a      Endured journey’s start for pilgrimage (4)
HADJ: The answer is a Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca which explains itself quite simply

24a      Male after bear symbol (5)
TOTEM: A word meaning to bear or carry is followed by the abbreviation for male

25a      Bargained about coat (9)
GABARDINE : Anagram (about) of BARGAINED

27a      Void surrounds nose of Apollo 8 (6)
ANNUAL: As is usually the case with numbers shown digitally in a clue the number 8 here refers to the answer to 8 down. A word meaning to void or declare invalid surrounds the first letter of the word Apollo

28a      Begin to consume a large whiskey and stout (8)
STALWART: A word meaning to begin contains the letter A from the clue and the abbreviations for large and whiskey.

29a      Very small adolescent, extremely sulky (6)
TEENSY: Another word for an adolescent is followed by the outer letters of the word sulky

30a      Leading actor lived to take on Romeo in film (4,4)
STAR WARS: A word meaning to have lived contains the letter suggested by Romeo in the phonetic alphabet. This word follows a description of a leading actor


1d        Not this one? (6)
ACROSS: A subtly cryptic definition of what a vertically placed answer isn’t

2d        Hang on widget outcome (6)
APPEND: A widget used on modern computers and devices is followed by a result or outcome

3d        Critical over dismissing lists of duties in plant (5)
YUCCA: Begin with a TEN letter word meaning critical. ACCUSATORY reverse it and remove a word meaning lists of duties

4d        Rubbish extremely small markings (7)
TATTOOS: A three letter word meaning rubbish, tasteless, shoddy or gaudy is followed by another three letter word meaning extremely. This is followed by an abbreviation of small

6d        Beat former limit (9)
THRESHOLD: Begin with a word meaning to beat as one might beat ears of corn to release the grain. Add a synonym of the word former

7d        Scorpion perhaps caught hen heartlessly in an attack (8)
ARACHNID: A three part charade. 1 A two word term split 1,4 meaning an attack. 2 The abbreviation for caught. 3 The word hen from the clue without it’s middle letter. Arrange as suggested by the clue

8d        Review the old chest, keeping in disapproval (8)
YEARBOOK: Begin with an old term for the word the. Add a chest, perhaps the one said to contain the holy grail. Insert into this chest a word of disapproval. Maybe the one aimed at the baddie in the Christmas pantomime

11d      Assist in getting article for opening of Latin mass (4)
HEAP:  Begin with a word meaning to assist. Change the opening letter of the word Latin to a single letter article

15d      Opponents limit embrace (9)
ENCOMPASS:  The initial letters of two opponents in a game of bridge are followed by a word meaning limit or range

17d      Summarise sailor’s area (8)
ABSTRACT: An area of land follows some able bodied seamen

18d      Show in church after 9:59? (8)
PRETENCE: Begin with a term split 3,3 which describes the time 9.59 in relation to the time that follows it. Add the abbreviation for the Church of England

20d      Going north, old acquired land (4)
TOGO: Reverse (going north) the abbreviation for old and a word meaning obtained

21d      House in Ipswich a bit attractive (7)
HABITAT: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word in

22d      Dishonourable chap recruited by spies for bug (6)
CICADA:  The Central Intelligence Agency surround a bounder

23d      Shelter hags giving up silver for tithes (6)
TENTHS: A canvas temporary shelter is followed by the word hags once the chemical symbol for silver is removed

26d      Sovereign   measure (5)

RULER: A double definition


26 comments on “Toughie 2766

  1. Fairly gentle with the odd pause over parsing e.g. 3d (which I immediately ticked once it made sense).

    Thanks to MP and Stick Insect.

  2. As MP says, suitable for anyone who can solve a Friday back page cryptic

    19a According to the BRB, the first two letters of the solution are a US slang term for a man

    Thanks to Stick Insect and Miffypops

  3. Many thanks Miffypops for the hints for 20d and 23d. Both totally eluded me. Had removed ag from hags but kept trying to fit tenths inside h….s! And Heaths just did not work, so simple. Obviously my grey matter was found wanting today. Otherwise had managed to get the rest. Not keen on the US lad part of the clue for 19a but the answer was easy once I had the checkers. No favourites but an enjoyable solve Thanks Setter.

  4. Excellent and enjoyable. Not too tough.
    I feel his clues are always precise.
    Thanks for parsing 19ac and 3d, MP.
    Thanks to Stick Insect.

  5. I made heavy weather of this yet cannot really understand why. The clues were fair, with nothing too obscure or difficult. Just one of those days I guess. Rewarding to complete, though, with the charade at 7d my favourite.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and MP.

  6. Straightforward, once I had realised that 26D, my FOI of “POUND” didn’t fit the crossers.

  7. Challenging but doable. I liked 12a, 15a, 22a, 4d, 5d and 23d.

    Thanks MP for explaining 1a, the lad in 18a and 3d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and MP for the blog.

  8. I agree with the general view – just right for a mid-week Toughie. For myself, it was the NW corner that stumped me for ages – for a long time I was starting at a lot of white spaces, with nothing but 9a filled in. Then suddenly I twigged 12a and all fell into place. I’d say 1a was the hardest clue.
    As always, many thanks to the setter, and to Mr Miffypops for an excellent blog.

  9. I found this harder than most. I needed the hint to parse 3d but obvious now Miffypops has pointed it out. I’m happy with that. Favourite was 1a once the penny dropped on the parsing. Thanks to Stick Insect and MP.

  10. The online insists that 25 a is spelled GABARDINE..
    I found it quite hard.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and Miffypops.

    1. I’ll alter it shortly. Thanks for pointing that out. I wondered why my beloved predictive text didn’t finish it for me. It did when I altered it

  11. Very enjoyable with the possible exception of 19a which I wasn’t keen on. I had to check the first syllable meaning of 6d and guessed how 3d was working without parsing it precisely but the rest, while not exactly plain sailing didn’t present too much head scratching.
    Plenty to like including 16& 28a (a word I like) plus the 8d/27a combo but my favourite was the very clever 18d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and MP for the fun.

  12. Having bypassed the NW corner, where I’d drawn a blank initially, I was doing beautifully on my own, having quite a good time, and then…back to the top, where I just could not twig 2d or 3d, even though I managed the rest of Cumbria. Really enjoyed this one, though, with thanks to MP for helping me parse the one clue that my 3 electronic gifts had enabled me to solve: 3d. I knew what I was looking for but just couldn’t find the synonym for ‘lists of duties’! And many thanks too to Stick Insect for a delightful entertainment.

  13. I’m afraid I needed the hint for 1a to unlock the NW, other than that, another completed grid.

    I really find this sort of grid hard work, where the puzzle is really divided into four quadrants with only a single link eah. Bit all part of the rich tapestry I suppose.

    Many thansk to Stick Insect and MP.

  14. A great penny drop moment with 1a so that is our favourite.
    19a and 20d were our last couple to solve.
    Enjoyable puzzle.
    Thanks Stick Insect and MP.

  15. Chalk me in as another who found this a good deal tougher than a back pager & especially so in the NW where other than 2d&9a it remained a no go area until a PDM at 1a. Last in was 11d – don’t know what it is with letter substitution clues but it takes me an age to twig them. Anyway got there without a letter reveal which looked highly improbable at one stage. Haven’t parsed 3d yet – more thought until I let MP explain it. Lots to like but I’ll plump for 8d (in the Quickie also) as my favourite & thought the linked surface read at 27a very neat.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & Miffs.

    1. Well that is a Starr that has been deservedly forgotten by me. However it is always worth watching the YouTube clip of him spooking The Greatest Mohammed Ali on Michael Parkinson’s show

  16. For two days running have completed the toughie on the puzzles page on PC, since it has disappeared from the mobile app. Does anyone know if this was supposed to happen please? Or is it just a temporary glitch? Have tried reinstalling it but no difference. Unhappy bunny!

    1. I’ve brought this up to the puzzles editor who was unaware that the Toughie had not been included. He is now on the case

      1. It is puzzling [pun intended] that something as simple as the Puzzles section of the app should so often have issues.

        I flagged the missing Toughie on both Tuesday and Wednesday to CL via FB, but sadly no comments or posts in response and no correction (I also deleted the editions and reloaded in the late afternoon, to no avail). As SuzyQ indicates, it’s back this morning, but not in its usual place.

  17. Agree with others that it was the NW that caused problems. It was certainly where I ground to a halt and didn’t have time to persevere and finish. Actually, looking at the answers I don’t think I’d ever have finished it alone.
    Certain clues were very clever and my COTD is 19a which was my first one in.

  18. 2*/3*….
    liked 7D ” Scorpion perhaps caught hen heartlessly in an attack (8 ” with its somewhat improbable surface reading.

Comments are closed.