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Toughie 2786

Toughie No 2786 by Django

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Django in fine form once again – I do love a crossword set by a fellow appreciator of splendid words – this Toughie tests you on your knowledge of sporting abbreviations too!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Good time on Space Commission (6)
ENGAGE Misleading capitals time! The abbreviation for Good and a period of time go after a printer’s space

5a    Modelling work comes first for rival (8)
OPPOSING Some abbreviated work goes before (comes first) a synonym for modelling

9a    Loose quilt cover isn’t scratching child’s head — one with a dummy (13)
VENTRILOQUIST An anagram (loose) of QUILT cOVER ISNT without the C (scratching child’s ‘head’)

10a    Repercussions from football team visiting bar (8)
BLOWBACK A figurative word meaning repercussions is obtained by inserting (visiting) an abbreviated West Midlands football team into a verb meaning to bar or prevent

11a    Content to leave education — American university, Yale’s heading for feud (6)
ENMITY The outside letters (content to leave) of EducatioN, an abbreviated American university and the ‘heading’ for Yale

12d    and 15 Down Somehow make reservation with Youth Hostel in new town after cycling to reach castle (2,4)
BY HOOK OR BY CROOK Insert the abbreviation for Youth Hostel into a verb meaning to make [a] reservation, then ‘cycle’ or move the first letter to the end of the name of a New Town and then add the  chess piece that looks like a castle

14a    Literary twelve from revolutionary publication, working for an independent (8)
NOONTIDE A literary term for midday (twelve) comes from a reversal (revolutionary) of a publication where the adverb meaning working replaces one of (an) the abbreviations for Independent in that word

16a    Dodge oddly in and out, without cover — initiation to military attachment (8)
ADDENDUM The odd letters of DoDgE are put ‘in’ AND (from the clue), followed by the inside (without cover) letter of oUt and the ‘initiation’ to Military

19a    Regularly cleans back in tub — not hot — it’s cooled down after running (6)
BASALT The regular letters of cLeAnS are reversed (back) and inserted into a tub without the H (not hot)

21a    Attacker and a coach joining TV show (6)
ABUSER A (from the clue) and a coach ‘joining’ the title of an American TV (medical) show

23a    Grant possibly stopped by group running tests over malfunction (8)
HICCOUGH A man’s Christian name (our setter uses Mr Grant the actor as an example [possibly]) ‘stopped’ by the abbreviation for the body running [cricket] tests and the cricket abbreviation for Over

25a    Iron its cotton flaps — one must be flexible (13)

26a    Window fastener’s broken (8)
FENESTRA An anagram (broken) of FASTENER

27a    Quick, I’m on OnlyFans — remove some clothing (6)
KIMONO Remove some of the ‘clothing’ of quicK IM ON OnlyFans


2d    Half a month left — ultimately must pay for freshness (7)
NOVELTY Half of a month, the abbreviation for Left and the ultimate letters of musT and paY

3d    Bridge players support their opponents after ace barely used (2,3)
AS NEW Bridge players are known by the abbreviated compass points of their positions at the table – the abbreviation for Ace followed one set of these players ‘supporting’ or going after in a Down solution, another

4d    Attention: boat swallowed by sea will be set aside (9)
EARMARKED A synonym for attention and a boat ‘swallowed’ by an abbreviated Sea

5d    Painting drum to make waterproof (7)
OILSKIN A type of painting and an informal name for a drum

VINTAGE YELLOW OILSKIN coat and sou'wester hat L - £81.00 | PicClick UK

6d    Something easy about question causes resentment (5)
PIQUE The food item used in a comparative expression relating to easiness goes ‘about’ an abbreviated question

7d    Irrational number turned up in complicated maths test, discovered crew (9)
SHIPMATES An irrational number reversed (turned up) in an anagram (complicated) of MATHS tESt (discovered telling you to remove the outside letters (cover) of tEst)

8d    In conversation, understand rag editor used shorthand (7)
NOTATED A homophone (in conversation) of a verb meaning to understand, a rag and an abbreviated editor

13d    Honour doctor as nice show of respect (9)
OBEISANCE An honour and an anagram (doctor) of AS NICE

15d    See 12 Across (2,2,5)

17d    Discuss using a hundred pounds instead of a ‘ton’ — disaster (7)
DEBACLE Replace the abbreviation for Ton in a verb meaning to discuss with A (from the clue), the Roman numeral for one hundred and the abbreviation for Pounds Sterling

18d    Adept in combat sport without a head covering (7)
MAHATMA An abbreviation for combat sport goes ‘without’ A (from the clue) and a head covering

20d    Unload bleach? (7)
LIGHTEN Double definition – to either reduce some of a load or bleach to make fairer

22d    Raised threat, so ornithologist hides nest (5)
ROOST Hidden in reverse (raised) in threaT SO ORnithologist

24d    Dislike cricket match being on pause (5)
ODIUM The abbreviation for a particular type of test cricket match goes on or above (in a Down solution) an interjection used when momentarily hesitating (pause)


37 comments on “Toughie 2786

  1. Again all over too quickly but fun while it lasted…or maybe I’m improving at last?
    The abbreviation in 18d was new to me but the rest seemed to fall into place without requiring parsing aid .
    Thanks to CS and Django.

    1. Just dropped by to say the same thing. Mrs SB used to teach in that particular new town almost fifty years ago, so many good memories have been evoked. Always enjoy Mr G’s Toughies – nice one
      :-) :-)

        1. I played in a football match there ,we lost 8-0, I broke a rib and could hardly breathe on the coach ride back and subsequently for 5 nights until it started to itch, internally! I have memories!!!!

  2. Great fun. What is not to like. Thanks to Django once again. Thanks to Crypticsue who has surprised me with her knowledge of The Boing Boing Baggies. Who would have thought it

  3. I, too, thought the 12a/15d combo was the pick of the bunch this morning. Together with the Jay cryptic this was another great combination. Most entertaining and enjoyable.

    Thanks to Django and CS.

  4. This must have been at the easier end of the toughie spectrum as not only did I have no problems but, for once, I managed to parse everything. Enjoyment factor high. Favourite was 12a/15d. Thanks to Django and CS.

  5. Great fun as ever from this setter and kudos to CS for her knowledge not only of the football team but of cage fighting too!
    As others, I liked the 12a/15d combo along with 9a plus 13&17d.
    Many thanks to Django and CS for the top notch entertainment.

  6. First, what is ODI in cricket and do I gather basalt is lava once it has “stopped running”?
    An impressive anagram at 9a and can anyone read the shorthand at 8 d? Is it now a forgotten skill?
    My COTD in the clever 23a.

    1. I actually surprised myself when I found I could still read the shorthand in the picture, although I shouldn’t really have been as I still used it daily until I retired

      1. I’m not surprised. My mother could read shorthand long after she’d ceased to use it. It’s an skill I wish I’d acquired

  7. Fairly straightforward (but probably only so if you’re well up on sporting abbreviations) – thanks to Django and CS.
    My favourite clue was 23a (“group running tests”).

  8. Except for a couple of bung-ins (10a: didn’t know the football team and still don’t; 24d: likewise the cricket term), I found this quite a lark. I especially liked 23a, 12a/15d, and the very interesting definition for 18d, a lovely word even apart from its Gandhi context. Many thanks to CS and Django. (I do wonder at times if I’ll ever pass muster on these puzzles without my knowledge of sporting teams, abbreviations, etc., or perhaps I should just rise above it all. It’s rather like the NYTimes’s insistence on including rap artists and rap terms just about every day in their puzzles. It gars me greet! H’rrrumph.)

  9. Great fun, some lovely clever cluing and anagrams. No hold-ups and a lot of satisfaction on the speedy assistance-free completion.

    Hon Mentions to 16a, 23a; COTD the combined 12a/15d.

    Many thanks to Django & to CSue

  10. Top stuff, as ever with this setter. Too many good ‘uns to pick just one, but managed to get a COTD shortlist, at least: 12/15, 16a, 19a, 7d, 13d, 18d. Many thanks Django – and thanks to CS for review.

  11. This really was a treat, even if I still can’t see the “rag” in the homophone at 8d. Can anyone offer enlightenment? Some of Django’s clue constructions here are quite amazing – the sequence from 10a to 19a is a real tour de force. I also loved the ‘hidden” clue at 27.
    Many thanks Django and CS.

  12. We were held up in the SE, mainly with the definition and abbreviation used in 18d which held us up with 23a too. Eventually got them sorted.
    Enjoyable to solve.
    Thanks Django and CS.

  13. Unlike most, I found this more a 4* for difficulty and 1* for enjoyment … too many weird and convoluted clues for my liking.
    Did the bottom and then doe to the lack of fun, abandoned top half, so a DNF
    Not my cuppa at all I am afraid

    Thanks to setter and CS

  14. Some cracking clues and some I couldn’t see without CS’s help. The 12/15 combo was my favourite today and raised a grin when the new town revealed itself. I will try to remember 13d too as it is one of those words I can’t reliably spell. A few “portmanteau” clues I couldn’t put together but they are my failings, not the compilers. The definition of 18d was my learning moment today.
    Thanks to Sue and Django.

  15. Found this less straightforward than most but very enjoyable & all parsed (I think) correctly unless the review, which I’m yet to read, tells me otherwise. Like the 2Ks 18d & 23a caused me a deal of head scratching – definition bung ins subsequently parsed. The clues may be wordy but the wordplay is impeccable. 12a/15d possibly my favourite ahead of 7d& 23a.
    Great stuff Django & thanks. To CS also.

  16. I did not finish but had a good go which is fine. I always appreciate the explanations as a learning experience but really struggled to map ‘attention’ onto ‘ear’ in 4d. Any comments?

    1. Since everyone else is in bed by now……ear has definition number 4 as attention in my version of BRB.

    2. you have my ear…

      i.e you have my attention and I giving you my ear to hear what you have to say

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