Toughie 2870 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2870

Toughie No 2870 by Stick Insect
Hints and tips by Tilsit
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment *****

Greetings from the Warrington tropics!
I’m holding the fort for our Lovely Crypticsue who is meandering around the Emerald Isle for a few more days and will be back for the weekend.
Thanks to everyone for the nice messages about the site and the warm wishes for BD. I’ll give him a call later and check-in. A big thank you to the other bloggers and setters who have rallied round to help out. A new Rookie Corner puzzle will be going up today, and there will be an NTSPP for Saturday. We should have enough stuff for the next couple of weeks. I’ll update you as needed.
So back to today’s Toughie, and we have Stick Insect in the midweek slot with a very agreeable puzzle that was nicely challenging and provoked a little head-scratching in the top right-hand corner. I thought we were on for a pangram, but I noticed a couple of absentees.
Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. Thanks to Stick Insect for a lovely Wednesday puzzle. I’ll see you at the weekend.


1a.  Mistake in fling resulting in drink (6)
SHERRY A word for a mistake goes inside a word meaning to fling, think fairgrounds and coconut.

4a.  Sadly coming short (6)
GNOMIC An unusual word meaning short and pithy is an anagram (sadly) of coming.

8a. Put out about let (8)
RELEASED The short word meaning about and something meaning let or rented.

10a.  Staff independent city paper (6)
MANILA A word sum. Something meaning to staff + an abbreviation for Independent and the abbreviation associated with an American city

11a.  Delay   last   visit (4)
STAY Three definitions for one word.

12a.  Bar in vacated interim structure (10)
IMPEDIMENT Using the first and last letters of INTERIM and adding an architectural term for a structure gives you a word for a bar or obstruction.

13a.  What chess expert does? Works of art (12)
MASTERPIECES If you split the word into two, you will get te cryptic answer to the question posed in the clue.

16a. Support answer further with main point about apostle (12)
PROPAGANDIST A word for a support plus the abbreviation for answer followed by a word for the main point of an argument that includes something meaning with or accompanying. This leads you to a word for an apostle.

20 The City team replacing Guardiola, essentially, with head of recruitment ushering in Zola (6,4)
SQUARE MILE A complicated clue. A word for a team (of players), which loses the central letter of GUARDIOLA (essentially) and replaces it with the first of the word RECRUITMENT. Add to this the first name of the French novelist.

21 Grand arena houses challenge (4)
DARE A hidden answer.

22a. Eden perhaps difficult around Arizona (6)
HAZARD The name of a famous sportsman called Eden is found by taking something meaning difficult around the US state abbreviation for Arizona.

23 Struggling marines succeeded in close call (4,4)
NEAR MISS An anagram (struggling) of MARINES plus an abbreviation for succeeded.

24a.  Time right to involve opponents in rubber (6)
ERASER The name for a period of time with an abbreviation for right. Inside this goes the abbreviation for two opposing players in the card game bridge.

25a. You and I discovered bird act is eccentric (6)
WEIRDO This puzzled me for a while, but I think this works like this: A word for You and I, plus the middle bit (dis-covered) of BIRD and add a short word meaning to act.


1d. Phantom jockey crept inside stall regularly (8)
SPECTRAL Inside the alternate letters (regularly) of STALL goes an anagram (jockey) of CREPT.

2d.  Base member beginning to yatter in song of mourning (5)
ELEGY A word for a memorial song or poem is found by taking a mathematical abbreviation for a base, then adding a member (or part) of the body and the first letter of YATTER.

3d. More dangerous rioter heartlessly surrounds runner (7)
RISKIER Around the word for a type of runner effective on snow or water, goes RIOTER minus its middle two letters (heartlessly)

5d. Wandering Bill adopted by leaderless 4 (7)
NOMADIC Something meaning wandering is found by taking the answer to 4 across, minus its first letter (leaderless) with the word for a bill or poster inside.

6d. Note is occasionally read and belittled (9)
MINIMISED The name for a short type of musical note, plus IS and the alternative letters from READ.

7d. Part of gut last to enjoy settlement (6)
COLONY:  The word for a part of your stomach system plus the last letter of the word ENJOY.

9d. What one might show in Pompeii? (11)
DUPLICATION: This puzzled me and I think it is a cryptic definition to what the abbreviation for one is demonstrating in the word POMPEII.

14d. Arresting outlaw to criticise a head honcho (3,6)
TOP BANANA: TO, plus a word meaning criticise holds (arresting) something meaning outlaw.

15d. Drink in drunken bout, mostly restrained by oil company (8)
ESPRESSO: Inside the name of a petrol company goes a word meaning a drunken event (or a shopping one, or a drunken shopping one!). That gives something I am indulging in a lot at the moment.

17d. Behind old greenery, southern resistance is hiding (7)
OVERDUE:  After the abbreviation for old goes a word for greenery that has two letters that represent resistance. The second or Southern one goes missing to give a word for behind or late. Clever.

18d. State one’s number of years? That’s mean (7)
AVERAGE: A word meaning to state and one’s number of years. My first one in today!

19d.  Compare half of horse’s bit (6)
EQUATE:  Half of a word that means ‘of horse’ and something meaning bit.

21d. Object of French flipping strange (5)
DEMUR:  A word meaning to disagree, or object is found by taking the French word for ‘of’ and adding a word meaning strange reversed.

Thanks to Stick Insect for a splendid puzzle that made me smile and challenged me in equal measure. I’ll see you all again sometime soon in Toughieland!


21 comments on “Toughie 2870
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  1. I found this easier than yesterday’s but Stick Insect always provides fun and accessible Toughies.
    I liked 20a despite the rather dated reference, along with 9d and the very clever 17d
    Many thanks to SI and Tilsit

  2. My own head scratching moment was in the SW corner (given 22a I was thinking more football than bookshelf when it came to the 20a Zola), in what was otherwise a straightforward, very satisfying, and enjoyable solve. After yesterday’s stinker of a Times backpager it was a huge relief not to have to dredge up all sorts of not-very-general-at-all knowledge and there was some absoutely wonderful clueing in this grid, and I really enjoyed some of the post-writing in parsing (eg 14d).

    Hon Mentions to 20a, 25a and 15d; COTD to 9d – great red herring, lovely clue.

    2* / 4*

    Thank you to StickInsect for the lunchtime mental workout, and to MP for the blog.

    1. Correction: thank you to Tilsit for the blog. Absolutely no idea why I thought MP had written it, sorry Tilsit.

      1. Because it says ‘Posted by Miffypops’ at the top of the blog. Tilset wrote it. I posted it. Teamwork at its finest. If Gareth Southgate had picked just Tilset and Miffypops to represent England last night it would have been at least 4 – 0 to us. Can I ask you what Humpty Dumpty was MustaphaG?

        1. Thank you, MP – thought I was going mad. The two of you together blindfolded and tied as for a three-legged race could probably beat the England football team at present! At least the proper summer sport enjoyed rather better success yesterday.

          As to your question, I’m sure you probably can (my English teacher at primary school was a stickler on that one …), and were you to do so I should probably respond that it was a nursery rhyme character, one shaped like an egg. Or would I be grasping either the wrong end of the stick, or even the wrong stick entirely?

  3. Tilsit, I think in 9d the “one” refers to numerals in Pompeii. Thanks for the blog, and thanks StickInsect for the pleasure.

  4. As others have said this was quite a bit easier than yesterday’s. Thanks to Stick Insect for the puzzle, tilsit for the review and MP for the publication.
    My ticks went to 11a, 12a and 9d.

  5. Problems as usual for me with this setter, mostly on the parsing front. Eventually sorted and my top two were 12&13a.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to Tilsit for the review.

  6. Most of my problems were on the parsing front but that made it, perversely, more enjoyable. Favourite and last to be parsed was 9d. Thanks to Stick Insect and Tilsit.

  7. Excellent stuff but over too quickly .
    No parsing help required today .
    Thanks to Tilsit for keeping us updated on BD and to setter for the enjoyment.
    Probably a wave length thing but for me */****

  8. A pleasant Toughie that was not too taxing but was enormous fun to complete. For no good reason the SW corner was the last to give up its secrets. I particularly liked 17d and 13a. Many thanks to Stick Insect and Tilsit.

  9. Solved them all, parsed everything but 9d, and also checked on ‘Eden’ (new to me), though the solution to 22a could not have been clearer. Really enjoyed this very fine Toughie last night, with 20a (my COTD), 17d, & 9d drawing huzzahs, plus just about every other clue getting kudos. Thanks to Tilsit and Stick Insect.

  10. Two things for me on this. First, 9 down’s ‘one’ beyond a doubt shows the meaning of the answer word, and so I’m not sure the use of ‘might’ really applies in that case. In 17 down, I’m on the one hand glad that the correct R is identified for removal, on the other I’ve never seen it done that way before, and so found the ‘southern’ bit rather confusing. All in all however a nice solve. **/*** for me.

  11. Our experience with 22a was the same as Robert’s above.
    An enjoyable solve with the last area to get sorted being the SW.
    Thanks Stick Insect and Tilsit.

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