Toughie 2846 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2846

Toughie No 2846 by Stick Insect

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Stick Insect provided an enjoyable, just right for mid-week, Toughie with a couple of crafty clues that made me smile.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Abandon cup winnings (7)
JACKPOT An old slang word meaning to abandon and a cup

5a    Government department united with Democrat cheat (7)
DEFRAUD The abbreviation for the Government department concerned with the environment, food, agriculture, fisheries and rural communities, followed by the abbreviations for United and Democrat

9a    A tool for adjusting bridge? (7)
SPANNER The name of a tool for adjusting could be a description of a bridge

10a    Dull expert stated diamonds must become carbon (7)
PROSAIC An informal term for an expert and a simple way of saying stated where the abbreviation for the card suit of Diamonds at the end of that word must become (changed into) the chemical symbol for Carbon

11a    Shameful behaviour in disreputable place after the setter’s fashion (9)
IMMODESTY A disreputable place goes after the setter might say he was going to do something and a synonym for fashion

12a    Quiet lounge cut off area in open space (5)
PLAZA The musical abbreviation meaning quiet and a truncated (cut off) verb meaning to lounge or be idle, followed by the abbreviation for Area

13a    Cycling centre where we live (5)
EARTH Cycling or moving the letter at the start of a centre will produce where we live

15a    Compromise one politician — vice discovered in past (9)
IMPLICATE Compromise in the sense of involve or bring into question. The letter representing one, and abbreviated politician, and the inside (dis covered) letters of vICe inserted into an adjective meaning not long past

17a    What’s left of this (9)
SEVENTEEN What is to the left of this clue when you look at the paper or your print out (ie without the a I’ve added here) written out as a word

19a    Blow almost reduced the appetite (5)
TOOTH Taste, relish or appetite – almost all of a synonym for blow (a horn perhaps) followed by THe (from the clue) without its final letter (reduced)

22a    Irritating and malicious bishop struck off (5)
ITCHY The chess abbreviation for Bishop struck off an adjective meaning malicious

23a    In table, 12 in mega sum reformulated (9)
MAGNESIUM Element no 12 in the periodic table is an anagram (reformulated) of IN MEGA SUM

25a    Car retained by some in support payment (7)
ALIMONY A short form of a large motor car inserted in (retained by) an adjective meaning some

26a    Pragmatic sort is alert (7)
REALIST Possibly the clearest anagram indicator of all:  ‘sort’ telling you to rearrange IS ALERT

27a    Despicable person by counter in repair shop (7)
HEELBAR A despicable person and a counter

28a    Daily rag (7)
CLEANER A daily and what they might use a rag for as part of their work


1d    Press in England covering small shrub (7)
JASMINE A verb meaning to press, IN (from the clue) and the abbreviation for England ‘covering’ the abbreviation for Small

2d    Marine base interrupts tea for siren (7)
CHARMER The abbreviation for Royal Marine and the letter that is the base in the natural system of logarithms ‘interrupts’ a slang word for tea

3d    Supposed nothing is lacking or wasted (5)
PINED Remove (is lacking) the letter representing nothing from the start of part of a verb meaning supposed

4d    How you might get it’s the French gate? (9)
TURNSTILE The first part of the solution is an instruction to reverse ITS from the clue and once you’ve done that, the French definite article should be added at the end

5d    Agreement from American Revolutionary Party to lead stupid (5)
DOPEY A reversal (revolutionary) of an informal (especially North American) word of agreement goes under (party to lead) a party

6d    Area of coverage for tinpot criminal (9)
FOOTPRINT An anagram (criminal) of FOR TINPOT

7d    Mobile’s location in diorama balanced in retrospect (7)
ALABAMA Hidden in reverse (in retrospect) in diorAMA BALAnced

8d    Order cubes to hold rubbish (7)
DICTATE Some cubes ‘hold’ a synonym for rubbish

14d    Refine start of your search in maze (9)
HONEYCOMB A verb meaning to refine, the ‘start’ of Yore and a verb meaning to search methodically and thoroughly

16d    Grey mad in frenzy makes poem of praise (9)
PANEGYRIC An anagram (mad) of GREY inserted into a frenzy

17d    A vegetable twist with hearts of yam and artichokes (7)
SPINACH A synonym for twist with the ‘hearts’ of yAm and artiCHokes

18d    Verified against Covid, countrywide inoculation not expected at first (7)
VACCINE The initial letters (at first) of Verified Against Covid Countrywide Inoculation Not Expected

20d    Confine Oscar before judgement (7)
OPINION The letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet goes before a verb meaning to confine by holding

21d    Rodent meat sensation announced (7)
HAMSTER A type of meat and a homophone (announced) of a sensation

23d    In drama, Yorick’s an important figure (5)
MAYOR Hidden in draMA YORick

24d    Avoid space walk with idler, not oddly (5)
EVADE An abbreviation an astronaut would use to describe some extravehicular activity (space walk) followed by the even (not oddly) letters of iDlEr


22 comments on “Toughie 2846

  1. First Toughie I have taken on in a few weeks. This was just the one to get me back into them.
    4d was my favourite.

  2. I always enjoy a Sick Insect offering and this was no exception, I found it easier than yesterday so quite accessible I guess. I can’t claim to have fully understood 19a but it had to be and that was my only real problem.
    I liked plenty but my ticks go to 10,13&17a plus 3&14d.
    Many thanks to SI and CS for a top puzzle and review

    1. RE 19a, people who have an appetite for sugary foods are said to have a sweet 19a.

  3. I found this one relatively straightforward after a slowish start. 17a amused me as did 5d. All very enjoyable.

  4. A pleasant puzzle – thanks to SI and CS.
    My favourite clue was 13a.
    Is ‘sort’ not doing double duty in 26a?

    1. My first thought re 26a so just assumed that “pragmatic” could be a noun.

      1. The BRB does allow pragmatic as a noun but none of the (mainly obsolete) meanings given for it mean (or are even close to) the answer as far as I can see.

    2. I thought that too. Is that sort of thing ok or is it frowned upon?
      Can’t see how pragmatic can be a noun.

      1. I reckon the setter is more likely to have thought of realist as an adjective. Chambers doesn’t seem to agree but I’m sure I’ve seen it used in political, or similar, twaddle such as “a realist solution”.

  5. Thought this a lovely main after Jay’s tasty starter. Not sure if it was just me being a bit slow but found the north trickier than the south & 1a particularly took a bit of head scratching & I always need all the checkers for the flora so 1d was no help. 15a was a great topical surface & neat wordplay so it’ll have to my pick but there were loads of big ticks elsewhere – 1,5,10,13&17 plus 4,14&16d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & to CS
    Ps reckon a Miff review of this one certain to have featured a track from Blonde on Blonde at 7d.

    1. It certainly would have done Huntsman. Coupled with Alabama Getaway by The Grateful Dead.

  6. I found this difficult, but I always do. I needed the hint to parse 13a as I just couldn’t see it, I don’t know why. I’ll settle for one hint to parse. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  7. Huntsman’s first sentence sums it up perfectly for me. What a super puzzle, a very satisfying solve, perfectly gauged for a Wednesday Toughie. I worked it clockwise from the NE with 2d my LOI, groaning when I parsed it. Great humour and surfaces throughout. 17a was a laugh out loud moment when the coins dropped, and I’m not a great anagram fan but did like 16d; 23a almost pipped the splendid 4d to the COTD spot … but not quite.

    Many thanks indeed to Stick Insect, and to CS for the review.

  8. I struggled a bit last night, especially in the NW corner, so after sleeping on it and returning earlier today, 1d and 11a seemed easy as pie. Elsewhere, though, I did need a bit of electronic help to finish. Not feeling up to par, this was not my best performance at all, though I did enjoy the challenge. I think I’ll have to go with 16d as my favourite, having always liked that word. Thanks to CS and Stick Insect.

  9. A very enjoyable solve with a big smile at 4 down and 6 down. Spinach and Honeycomb are a strange mix but I’d eat it if I had to. Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle and to Cryptic Sue for the hints. 22 across is the name of our cat

  10. It has been pointed out to me that the abbreviation required for 1d isn’t recognised for England only English but of course that wouldn’t work in the clue

  11. Invariably struggle with this setter’s puzzles and today was no exception. Top two here were 22a & 21d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  12. Interesting puzzle with some very nice clues…..although I didn’t like 17a much.

    I especially liked 11a and 14d. Last in was (annoyingly) 19a.

    Thanks to CS for the blog and Stick Insect.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable solve that all slotted together smoothly for us.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

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