Toughie 2938 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2938

Toughie No 2938 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Stick Insect provides a Toughie with about the right level of difficulty for a Wednesday. It was one of those crosswords where having a 1a by your side certainly helped when explaining the clues

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1a    Fairly occasionally pursuing choice of words, you may find the answer here (10)
DICTIONARY The even (occasionally) letters of fAiRlY going after (pursuing) a choice of words

6a    Sign over pieces (4)
OMEN The cricket abbreviation for over and some [chess] pieces

9a    Clementine cooked with bit of thyme for large carrot (10)
ENTICEMENT An anagram (cooked) of ClEMENTINE with the first bit of Thyme replacing the abbreviation for Large

10a    Lawyer’s document with shortened ceremony (4)
WRIT The abbreviation for with and a truncated (shortened) ceremony

13a    Fed up about the setter’s flipping fault (7)
DEMERIT A reversal (about) of fed up in the sense of having exhausted patience with goes ‘about’ the way our setter might refer to himself

15a    Book departure (6)
EXODUS The second Book of the Bible or a departure

16a    Critique regarding appearance (6)
REVIEW The two-letter preposition meaning regarding and an appearance

17a    Further notice about ancient city when river moves beyond set course (5-10)
EXTRA-CURRICULAR A synonym for further and an ancient Mesopotamian city inserted into a notice sent to a number of persons in which the third letter, an R (river) moves further up the word

18a    Antelope claiming to be your best friend? (6)
IMPALA A clue to make you smile – splitting this antelope 2, 3, 1 will reveal a claim to be your best friend

20a    Headline place in band (6)
SPLASH The abbreviation for place inserted into a band

21a    Ecstasy legal, end of dubious extracts (7)
ELICITS The abbreviation for the drug Ecstasy, an adjective meaning lawful and the ‘end’ letter of dubious

22a    Island gentleman brought back plant (4)
IRIS The abbreviation for island and a reversal (brought back) of a gentleman

25a    Manuscript father misspelt badly (10)
PALIMPSEST An informal father and an anagram (badly) of MISSPELT

26a    A square located in Rimini neighbourhood (4)
NINE Located in rimiNI NEighbourhood

27a    Lecturer catches Heather cycling, the main cause of trouble (10)
RINGLEADER A higher grade of university lecturer ‘catches’ another name for the heather plant, the first letter of which ‘cycling’ to the end


1d    Judge reward must be overturned (4)
DEEM A reversal (must be overturned) of a word that I didn’t know meant reward until I looked in the BRB to see if a reversal of the obvious word for judge was defined as such!

2d    Call is contemptible, without route to the north (4)
CITE A reversal (to the north) of a synonym for contemptible without a way for pedestrians (route)

3d    Creeps in church uncovered pest (6)
INCHES IN (from the clue), an abbreviated church and the inside (uncovered) letters of pESt

4d    Analysis of perhaps local crisis in government initially (6-9)
NUMBER-CRUNCHING A description of an anaesthetic, of which local is an example, a critical moment (crisis) IN (from the clue) and the initial letter of government

5d    Gambling city fleeced dire artist (6)
RENOIR A US city known for its casinos and gambling and the inside (fleeced) letters of dIRe

7d    Will Tamara suspect general rule? (7,3)
MARTIAL LAW An anagram (suspect) of WILL TAMARA

8d    Important fashion backed by online celebrity? (10)
NOTEWORTHY A reversal (backed) of a word meaning fashion (these days mostly found in crosswords or Georgette Heyer novels), the letter used to indicate that something is online and a person of high social position

11d    What beat demonstrates in instantaneous recital (10)
REPETITION If you look at the word INSTANTANEOUS, you will see (as Walkabout pointed out) that a verb meaning to beat is repeated

12d    Second from highest into arranging picnic (4,6)
SOFT OPTION The abbreviation for Second, a preposition meaning from, the highest of something and an anagram (arranging) of INTO

13d    Hardy stuntman loses nothing embracing artist (7)
DURABLE A stand-in for a film actor (stuntman) without the O (loses nothing) ’embracing’ the usual abbreviated artist

14d    Guide almost raises vessels (7)
TEACUPS Almost all of a verb meaning to guide and a simple way of saying raises

19d    In Dundalk, a little base (6)
ALKALI Hidden in dundALK A LIttle

20d    Plain movement in audition (6)
STEPPE A homophone (in audition) of a movement

23d    Official omits the French drop (4)
BEAD An official without the French definite article

24d    Top performer in performing arts (4)
STAR An anagram (performing) of ARTS


20 comments on “Toughie 2938
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  1. I enjoyed this and found it easier than the back page. COTD 25a because I like the word.
    Have we any news on our invalids? Perhaps I missed an update while away?

  2. Very enjoyable if not overly difficult for a mid-week Toughie. I seemed to get an lot of these from the checkers and a stab at the definition, having to then nail the parsings.
    I see the “square” appeared again after its last showing on Sunday. Having never seen it before then, I’ve now seen it twice in a week! 25a was new, hope not to see that again anytime soon, and had to confirm the official in 23d as well.
    I like clues that make me smile and on that basis 18a deserves a mention, I also liked 1&9a plus12d but top spot goes to the clever 4d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Cryptic Sue, whose rating I think is spot on.

  3. I agree with SL that 4d was the COTD from this not too tricky yet still entertaining and rewarding puzzle. The NW corner was last to yield its secrets, and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  4. An unaided finish apart from needing a couple of stabs to nail the anagram at 25a, my last in & needless to say a word I’ve never come across before or likely again. Thought we were sure to get a pic at 23d of Harry Secombe as Mr Bumble in Oliver, which is how I knew the official. Very enjoyable & thankfully not a brain mangler. 1a was my favourite ahead of 4&5d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & CS
    Ps Decided to have a lazy afternoon. Feet up with a cuppa & am rewatching The Remains of the Day for the umpteenth time – easily my favourite of the Merchant Ivory films. Superb script adaptation, faultless direction & superb performances throughout.

    1. One of my all-time favourite films, with Emma T at least equalling the power & poignancy of her role in Howards End, and I also love Ishiguro’s book. I’ve seen and read them both many times. And I still can’t stop the tears at the end of the film.

  5. I thought beat was to tan (11 down) and tan was repeated in instantaneous. Good crossword, though, with 12 down my favourite

  6. An enjoyable puzzle from our setter,if anything easier than Tuesday’s Toughie.
    25a was new to me ,confirmed in Chambers.
    Well clued throughout,favoutite was 18a-took a while to parse ‘best’ Thanks to CS for the pics
    Going for a **/****

    1. At one time, I had to type a report on an archaeological dig just up the road from us. 25a was used a lot to describe land which had layers of things from different ages, the originals being visible through the changes. I

  7. I loved 25a and delighted to see it there, one of my favourite words–thanks to all of my art history readings and interests, as well as all of those Gabriel Allon books by Daniel Silva. Interested in Huntsman’s reference to Mr Bumble as there are beadles all over the place in Dickens, but he is certainly the one I thought of too. I was held up by 12d for the longest time and needed CS’s hint to set me straight–not a term that comes trippingly off my tongue. Podium: 25a, 18a (yes, I laughed), & 23d. Thanks to CS and Stick Insect.

  8. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to SI and CS.
    Knowing the 25a word is one thing; being able to spell it correctly is a different matter entirely (as I discovered).
    The top clues for me were 18a, 4d and 8d.

  9. Took me a great deal longer than my learned friends but I did get there eventually with a few marbles still intact.
    Biggest ticks here went to 9&18a plus 4&8d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the excellent review.

  10. Needed the hints up parse 1d, 2d and 11d, obviously not heard of 25a. I also found it harder in places than most. Favourite was 13d. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  11. We found this quite a lot gentler than yesterday’s one but had spelling problems with 25a.
    Good fun all the way through.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  12. Good Wednesday fare, reasonably straight forward. Still can’t parse my (correct) answer to 2d despite CS’s otherwise very helpful blog! A synonym for contemptible beginning with E, let alone from which I might remove pavement, byway, footpath, bridleway, track, path, road, etc, is beyond my recall so far.

    Hon Mentions for 17a,18a,5d and 7d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS

  13. Overall a fun challenge without too much aggro. Fav was grinworthy 18a. Needed help with 25a. Thank you Stick Insect and CS.

  14. Thanks to Stick Insect and to crypticsue for the review and hints. I really persevered with this, but some of the words were beyond my vocabulary. Some of the wordplay was really difficult. Needed 7 hints to finish. It’s painful, but I think I’m learning. Had another 4 that I couldn’t parse. Was 4* /3* for me. Nice puzzle.

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