Toughie 2858 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2858

Toughie No 2858 by Logman

Hints and tips by Crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Logman’s turn to provide a crossword for the Wednesday Toughie slot

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Arrogant for the most part when confronting a second monster (10)
COCKATRICE Most of a synonym for arrogant, A (from the clue) and a short moment of time (second)

6a    Panic and go mad needing answer for one (4)
FLAP Replace the I (one) in a slang verb meaning to go mad with the abbreviation for Answer

10a    Object reserved briefly (5)
DEMUR A synonym for reserved or modest without its final letter (briefly) produces a verb meaning to object

11a    Plant information about former staff (9)
GOLDENROD A slang word for information goes ‘about’ an adjective meaning former, the result followed by a staff

12a    Fast mover covering return of service that’s very delicate (8)
GOSSAMER A lively energetic person (fast mover) ‘covering’ a reversal (return) of a church service

13a    Sauce from Italy quickly runs out (5)
PESTO A musical term meaning very quick without (out) the cricket abbreviation for Runs

15a    There’s no interest at first in new captain’s refreshers (7)
CATNAPS An anagram (new) of CAPTAiNS without the first letter of Interest

17a    Stockholder’s means of identifying reserve? (7)
EARMARK A means of identifying the animals kept on a farm or a verb meaning to set aside (reserve)

19a    Contracted soldiers avoided losing king (7)
REDUCED The abbreviation for the Royal Engineers (soldiers) and part of a verb meaning avoided, ‘losing’ the chess abbreviation for King

21a    Give up, disappointed by place (3,4)
LAY DOWN A synonym for disappointed goes after (by) a verb meaning to place

22a    Traces descent — so without love (5)
DROPS A [vertical] descent and So (SO from the clue without the letter representing love)

24a    Even one needs energy drink (8)
SMOOTHIE Having an even surface, the letter representing one and the abbreviation for Energy

27a    Man losing head criticizes safety features on board (9)
TAFFRAILS A verb meaning to man or provide with employees without (losing) its head followed by part of a verb meaning criticizes

28a    Follow example, keeping husband (5)
CHASE An example ‘keeping’ the abbreviation for Husband

29a    Idiot student’s breaking point (4)
DOLT The usual abbreviated student ‘breaking’ a very small spot (point)

30a    Mess about in compliance review (10)
ASSESSMENT An anagram (about) of MESS inserted into an agreement (compliance)


1d    Secret language of fish eaters, primarily (4)
CODE A type of fish and the primary letter of Eaters

2d    Acquitted of humour mainly found outside dock (9)
COMPORTED Almost all of a humorous work into which is inserted (found outside) a harbour (dock)

3d    Returning trespasser caught crossing land (5)
ACRES Hidden in reverse (returning … crossing) in trespasSER CAught

4d    Governments, for example, welcomed by emirs in trouble (7)
REGIMES The abbreviation meaning for example is ‘welcomed’ by an anagram (in trouble) of EMIRS

5d    Amount of energy produced by a recoil shot (7)
CALORIE An anagram (shot) of A RECOIL

7d    Fun thing a dog does when pound replaces its lead (5)
LARKS Replace the letter that leads a thing a dog does and replace it with the abbreviation for pound

8d    Securing flat and getting engaged (10)
PADLOCKING A slang term for a flat and a verb meaning getting engaged

9d    Character in New York supporting the man’s pre-match gathering (3,5)
HEN PARTY A character in a play inserted into the abbreviation for New York, the result supporting, or going after in a Down solution, the masculine third person pronoun (the man’s)

14d    Official account believed (10)
ACCREDITED The abbreviation for account and a synonym for believed

16d    Trips with no leader needing time on railway line (8)
ANCESTRY Some trips without the first letter (with no leader) followed by the abbreviations for Time and railway

18d    Hate being moderate about working across motorway (9)
ABOMINATE A verb meaning to moderate or subside into which is inserted (about) the usual two-letter ‘working’ into which is inserted the abbreviated way we refer to one of our motorways

20d    Fire occasionally dries maiden (7)
DISMISS The occasional letters of DrIeS and a maiden

21d    Butcher‘s side of pork stocked in free-range aisle finally (4-3)
LOOK-SEE Despite the surface reading of the clue, this butcher’s refers to Cockney rhyming slang. The letter at the right-hand side of porK inserted (stocked) in an adjective meaning free-range, the result followed by the final letter of aislE

23d    Lights out et al (5)
OFFAL These lights are edible parts of an animal carcass, the parts known as ‘lights’ apparently used these days only in haggis – a synonym for out and (et) AL (from the clue)

25d    Hearing of duty, turns into the wind (5)
TACKS A homophone (hearing) of a synonym of duty

26d    Religious group dry out at last (4)
SECT A French adjective referring to dry (wines) and the last letter of ouT


27 comments on “Toughie 2858

  1. Thank you Mr Logman for the excellent puzzle, far more pleasant (and a much quicker solve) than elsewhere in this esteemed organ. Less GK required, clear clueing throughout. Thanks also to CS. Btw, my spellchecker tells me “cluing” is correct – surely not?

  2. Much the same as yesterday.
    27ac was new and the meaning of 2d seemed a little stretched but this didn’t detract from an excellent puzzle.
    Thanks to both.

    1. I think you’ll find that to “*******” oneself and to “acquit” oneself are synonyms.

  3. A game of 2 halves with the top much gentler than the bottom, where all the best clues were. Favourites – 16d and 21d for cleverly disguised definitions and 23d for a neat construction as well as a cleverly disguised def.
    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  4. I thought this might be a Logman when I’d only got one answer in after reading through the across clues and eight answers in after reading through the downs. The answers to the down clues gave enough checkers to begin a grid fill in less time than today’s back pager. All in all a very satisfying solve. Thanks to Crypticsue for the review and Logman for the puzzle

  5. A pleasant puzzle on the gentle side – thanks to Logman and CS.
    Top clues for me (for the well-disguised definitions) were 17a and 16d.

  6. A very pleasant companion to the back pager – **/****.

    The particular use of ‘trip(s)’ in 16d seems to be becoming more and more popular with our setters.

    Candidates for favourite – 11a, 24a, and the aforementioned 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Logman and CS.

  7. I thought I was going to struggle but in the end I didn’t too much and amazingly I managed to parse everything. Favourite was 18d. Thanks to Logman and CS.

  8. Needless to say, this was more than a 1* for me but I did enjoy the solve. 27a was new and will doubtless be quickly forgotten, hard enough to remember the stuff that crops up every day!
    Podium places went to 11,12&17a plus 25d.

    Thanks to Logman Jay and to CS for the review.

    1. I’m surprised you didn’t know 27a, Jane. Isn’t it the company that runs the railways in Wales? :D

  9. Very enjoyable, slow start but gathered momentum with a few checkers.
    I’d never heard of the plant, the safety features, or lights in the context of the solution but all obtainable from checkers and wordplay, this setter is always very fair in that respect.
    Top clues for me was 17a and 16d.
    Many thanks to Logman and CS for the workout.

  10. As usual I failed to finish but enjoyed the mental workout. I was frustrated in the bottom left by assuming that 27A was TRAMRAILS. With Bertram being the man losing his head. Clearly Tramrails does not fit ‘safety features on board’ but I often wonder whether some setters occasionally find very obscure definitions unknown to Mr Google. As someone who worked in a butchers as a teenager I knew the meaning of lights and should really have got OFFAL. C’est la vie.

  11. Although those ‘lights’ were new to me, my bung-in worked, and I proceeded to a happy finish, with 17a, 1a, & 16d taking the podiium. Very enjoyable. Thanks to CS and Logman.

  12. A steady solve for me nicely clued and no obscurities.
    2d was a new synonym for me and not heard of 27a.
    Going for a **/****,liked 1a lovely word, liked the 11a charade.
    Thanks to setter and CS-especially the 1a pic!

  13. Good Wednesday Toughie fare, meriting its place. Quite a few add / remove / swap a letter clues, which is great for keeping one’s synonym databanks fresh! I found the N somewhat more straightforward than the S, and felt like a real 29a when 23d finally clanged. I remember a cafe in Monmouth called the 27a in the singular: good meeting point as a teenager … both the youth and the cafe now long, long gone!

    Many thanks to Logman for the challenge, and to CS for the review,

  14. Took similar time to today’s back pager to complete but more fun!
    Lights had to be e-verified after a bung in as did the safety features. Good to learn some new terms
    Thanks to all

  15. I think 16d just about takes the top spot for me in this enjoyable and accessible puzzle that was very nicely clued throughout. This setter rarely if ever disappoints in whatever guise he operates.

    My thanks to Logman for a fair challenge and to CS.

  16. Struggled a bit with 2d until I twigged the other meaning of acquitted.
    Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Logman and CS.

  17. Having had a bitty, busy day, I have dipped in and out of this puzzle countless times, but each time I did so I enjoyed it a lot and so I continued to persevere.

    I thought this was at just the right level of challenge for me for a Wednesday Toughie and it was a lot of fun. I failed on 27a without electronic assistance and it took a while to drag 1a from the recesses of my memory. 12a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Logman and to CS.

  18. Completed without a letter reveal but needless to say found it tougher than a * star difficulty but I’d award an extra * for enjoyment. Like Halycon found the north easier than down south & the new(s) to me were the same as for Stephen but the wordplay thankfully clear.
    Thanks to Logman & CS for confirming my parsing thoughts were correct

  19. Late to the party as usual.
    Usual concise clueing from Logman but I struggled more than most to get into the swing of things, so I would rate this certainly higher than *. Good variety in the clues provided much enjoyment, needed electrons for 2d and MrG for 11a and 27a.
    Thanks to Logman for the workout and CS for the blog.

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