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Toughie 2790

Toughie No 2790 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

The most difficult thing about today’s Stick Insect double pangram was the parsing of two solutions, the whole process taking me about the same time as a Thursday backpager

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Revolutionary chamber left space in capital (10)
METROPOLIS A reversal (revolutionary) of a chamber for storing grain, the left side of a ship or aeroplane and a printer’s space

9a    Thanks football team for run along the ground (4)
TAXI An informal expression of thanks and the Latin number representing the number of players in a football team

10a    Corrupt African oil state (10)
CALIFORNIA An anagram (corrupt) of AFRICAN OIL

11a    Deposit and clear off (6)
PUTRID Verbs meaning to deposit and to clear

12a    Keys for numbers one and two (7)
OPENERS Some keys or the first two batsmen in a cricket team

15a    Cross over record year for animal science (7)
ZOOLOGY A cross between a male yak and a common horned cow, the abbreviation for Over, a record, and the abbreviation for year

16a    Mineral well cut we hear (5)
BORAX Homophones (we hear) of a well and a verb meaning to cut

17a    Evenly repairing pocket (4)
EARN The even letters of rEpAiRiNg

18a    Leaders of France invited Japanese into Pacific nation (4)
FIJI The ‘leaders’ of France Invited Japanese Into

19a    Work encountered back in time (5)
TEMPO A reversal (back) of some abbreviated work and a synonym for encountered

21a    City overcome, without feasible finish (7)
LACQUER An abbreviated American West Coast city and a verb meaning to overcome without the two-letter word meaning feasible

22a    Covering sitcom gossip for Spooner (7)
YASHMAK How the dreaded Reverend Spooner might muddle up an American sitcom about a surgical hospital in the Korean War (the final episode of which aired in 1983!) and some stupid gossip

24a    Peeled alum-root, cooked for decoration (6)
ORMOLU An anagram (cooked) of the inside (peeled) letters of aLUM ROOt

27a    Hardware supplier is one pressing to involve second dongle’s core (10)
IRONMONGER Someone pressing (clothes perhaps) into which is inserted (to involve) a short period of time (second) and the ‘core’ of dongle

28a    One’s wasted great periods of time (4)
EONS An anagram (wasted) of ONES

29a    Followers listen to soldiers (10)
ATTENDANTS A verb meaning to listen to followed by some of Crosswordland’s favourite soldiers


2d    Retro London alehouse bottles spirit (4)
ELAN Hidden in reverse (retro … bottles) in LondoN ALEhouse

3d    Dry wine component is covered by wet? (6)
RAISIN IS (from the clue) ‘covered’ by wet falling from clouds

4d    Saw support almost exactly in half (7)
PROVERB A truncated (almost) support and the first half of an adverb meaning using exactly the same words

5d    Organ pitch lacking echo (4)
LUNG A forward pitch without the letter represented by Echo in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

6d    EastEnders perhaps on TV platform (7)
SOAPBOX The type of programme of which Eastenders is, perhaps, an example and an informal word for a television

7d    Playing it at Prom is flag-waving (10)
PATRIOTISM An anagram (playing) of IT AT PROM IS

8d    Disc soused with printing liquid (10)
TIDDLYWINK Slightly drunk (soused), the abbreviation for With and some printing liquid

12d    Ignored editor supporting past appearance (10)
OVERLOOKED An abbreviated editor goes after (supporting in a Down solution) a synonym for past and an appearance

13d    Gates and Musk maybe admitted to hospital dept providing addition to funds (10)
ENRICHMENT A way of describing Messrs Gates and Musk (4,3) ‘admitted’ to an abbreviated hospital department

14d    In this way, partners start to restrain one spreading (5)
SOWER A conjunction meaning this way, two bridge partners and the ‘start’ to Restrain

15d    Energetic Zulu lucky, not getting hot (5)
ZAPPY The letter represented by Zulu in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and a synonym for lucky without (not getting) the abbreviation for Hot

19d    Lacking papers, liquidate fermented booze (7)
TEQUILA An anagram (fermented) of LIQUidATE without (lacking) some abbreviated ‘papers’

20d    One of eight possibly in audition astonishes staff (7)
OARSMAN A homophone (in addition) of a verb meaning astonishes followed by a verb meaning to provide staff

23d    Woman’s at first nice, ill-disposed after rupture (6)
HERNIA The female possession pronoun (woman’s) and the first letters of Nice Ill-disposed After

25d    Shock jock’s half-cut, late occasionally (4)
JOLT The first half of JOck and the ‘occasional’ letters of LaTe

26d    Relish bit of prize strawberry (4)
ZEST Hidden in a bit of priZE STrawberry


29 comments on “Toughie 2790

  1. Another great offering, thanks StickInsect. Blew away the fug from last night’s “wee drams” (note the plural). Don’t know from which part of my brain I dragged up the “cross” in 15a but it was there somewhere. Several goes at parsings, but all fell into place eventually. 2*/4* for me.

    1. Further to this, I think you have parsed 23 incorrectly, CS. Shouldn’t it be the initial letters of nice, ill-disposed, after?
      And I’m with you on the DREADED Archibald.

  2. Unless I’ve miscounted this is a double pangram – that’s quite an achievement without needing to resort to obscurities. Thanks to SI and CS.
    The clues I liked best were 11a and 21a.

    [The answers are not hidden from 7d onwards]

    1. I did notice the multiple appearances of some of the letters but never thought to count them twice

        1. I’m going to have to get Mr CS to move the computer to a much warmer room – I was obviously suffering from frozen brain this morning

  3. I thought this a gem of a puzzle. For no particular reason I started in the SE & was immediately on pangram alert & then as the solve progressed I thought surely not a double one & reckon it’s only shy of a 2nd F. Not overly difficult to fill the grid but still a couple to parse so will read the review once/if they’re parsed. 13d was my favourite but had ticks for plenty of others – 12&22a plus 4,8&19d others that stood out for me.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & in advance to CS

    1. Just read Gazza’s comment – I scanned through twice & missed the 2nd F both times – no wonder I can never find anything at home..

  4. There seemed to be a lot of unusual vowels in this so no surprises it was a double pangram. Nevertheless very enjoyable indeed as it was fairly clued throughout (even with the double unches).
    I particularly liked 11&12a plus 8d (lol)
    A couple of parsings I’ve yet to nail but will keep on looking.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS for the top notch entertainment.

  5. The double pangram helped in getting my last one in 21a.
    I’m never bothered by the Irreverent Spooner. Quite like it.
    A few other smiles along the way in 11a and 23d particularly.
    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  6. A very enjoyable double pangram, I’ll take Gazza’s word for it as I only counted once – **/****.

    20d is becoming popular as we had the female version a week or two ago.

    I do have a Hmm on 1a. Not all 1as are capitals, and not all capitals are 1as.

    Favourite – a toss-up between 27a and the aforementioned 20d – and the winner is 27a.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  7. All over much too quickly for a toughie.
    A double pangram which unusually I spotted early after the two zz appeared.
    That helped with 21ac which was proving a struggle.
    Thanks to Stick Insect for the fun and CS for the blog, I’d agree about midweek back page difficulty.

  8. Maybe not the hardest Toughie we have ever had, but certainly one of the most enjoyable, if only because of the brilliance of the setter compiling a double pangram. I am in awe. 7d was my favourite for the very smooth surface.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  9. A very enjoyable solve – together with Jay’s(?) super backpager making for a very entertaining day, cruciverbally. Spotting the double pangram was a big help in completing. Favourites 11a, 16a, 3d and top for me was 13d for the appearance of the ubiquitous Mr. Musk in a different way. Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  10. Suitably impressed by the double pangram. Loved 8d. The answer for 21a needs a tweak. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  11. Naturally, I missed the fact that this terrific Toughie was not only a pangram but a double one. I guess I was so excited that I was on the setter’s wavelength throughout that I simply 12d that remarkable achievement. Finished alone and unaided in the wee hours last night, most delighted by the cleverness of 13d and the wiliness of 21a, my LOI. I didn’t know about that yak and cow, but 15a was just what it had to be, and I agree with Senf about 1a, despite whatever that often-overadulated BRB might say. Thanks to CS, whose hints I didn’t need, and to Stick Insect.

  12. Made this hard work for myself by stupidly putting the answer to 15a in the space for 12a – either Specsavers or a concentration pill required!
    21a defeated me, never gave it a thought that the final word of the clue could be the definition.
    Podium places went to 11&22a (only the second time I’ve ever applauded the reverend) plus 8d which was probably my favourite.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS – particularly for the parsing of 21a.

  13. Noticed two Qs and two Zs, but still didn’t think about pangram possibilities! Pondering over my last four answers took my solving time well beyond CS’s *. More like **** for me, but accompanied by a great sense of achievement. Thanks to all

  14. This took me over six hours to complete. I started at 12.30 then kept getting interrupted all afternoon by two Jehovah’s witnesses, three deliveries, several phone calls, our new local councillor calling to introduce herself, and, most importantly, Mrs RD finding a variety of small jobs for me to do, eventually completing it at 18:30. I therefore have very little idea how tough I found it – I suspect not very; but I certainly enjoyed it when I was allowed to get on with it.

    I did struggle with 15d, eventually bunging it in when I had the four of the five letters in place. Even though it turns up in various thesauri, I don’t think that “lucky” is synonymous with “happy”. Being lucky is very likely to make you happy but that doesn’t make the two words equivalent. The BRB doesn’t list happy as a meaning of lucky, but it does for some strange reason give lucky as a meaning of happy. :unsure:

    11a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect for the fun and the frozen CS for the review.

  15. I know it’s all in the cause of a double pangram but, like RD above, I really don’t like 15d. No doubt it is in the BRB somewhere but I really don’t feel “happy” equates with “lucky”. Such a silly answer anyway!

    1. “Lucky” is the first definition of “happy” in the BRB, oddly. (Then “fortunate” before getting to “characterized by contentment…”) I think it does work as in e.g. “a happy conincidence”.
      “Zappy” is given as slang for “energetic” – not one I’d come across before though, so I spent a while wondering how lucky could be “hippy”.

      1. F, 15d. Yes, I agree with you – happy/lucky coincidence and the (slang) answer are both OK. Overall, a perfectly fine clue.

  16. Thanks to Stick Insect and to crypticsue for the review and hints. I really enjoyed this, realising quite early that it might be a double pangram after solving 15’s. That didn’t help me finish, as I just couldn’t get so many answers. Needed the hints for 11,21,22a and 5,8,13,14&20d,and to parse 23d. Favourite was 15d, don’t think I’ve ever seen this answer in a puzzle before.

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