Toughie 2998 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2998

Toughie No 2998 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

Stick Insect set a most enjoyable Wednesday cryptic crossword

My particular favourites were 19a and 26a, mainly because both of them made me smile

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Part of chord in Albinoni’s fifth perhaps (7)
ORDINAL A type of numeral (fifth perhaps) is hidden in part of chORD IN ALbinoni

5a    Fabric twisted away in attack (7)
CHIFFON A reversal (twisted) of an adverb meaning away inserted into a slang term for an attack on part of the face

9a    He’s in France, rioting and intended, we hear, liberation (15)
ENFRANCHISEMENT An anagram (rioting) of HES IN FRANCE and a homophone (we hear) of a synonym for intended

10a    Long periods of recounts, periodically (4)
EONS The even (periodically) letters of rEcOuNtS

11a    Guard overlooking south gate (5)
ENTRY A guard without (overlooking) the abbreviation for South

12a    P for pilot, policeman and parent (4)
PAPA A pilot or policeman using the NATO Phonetic Alphabet would use this word for a male parent to represent the letter P

15a    Enormous bird the focus of Tasmanian Devil mostly (7)
TITANIC A small bird, the letter in the middle (focus) of tasmAnian and most of a name given to the devil, usually preceded by the word ‘old’

16a    Cover soldier well with end of overall (7)
PARASOL An informal name for a particular soldier and a word meaning well, very good, followed by the end letter of overall

17a    Fake half of dog’s hair cleaner (7)
SHAMPOO Fake or counterfeit followed by the first half of a breed of dog

19a    Writer of more than one Pilgrim’s Progress? (7)
CHAUCER The writer of tales about pilgrims progressing to Canterbury

21a    Feed the kitty upset Vietnamese houses (4)
ANTE Hidden in reverse (upset … houses) in viETNAmese. If you up the xxxx, you feed the kitty or pool of money you are prepared to stake

22a    Vacant English politician, no alternative for Tory (5)
EMPTY The abbreviation for English, an abbreviated politician and TorY without the ‘alternative’

23a    Buff good tooth (4)
FANG A buff or enthusiast followed by the abbreviation for good

26a    Clever chap, Robert Stephenson? (6,9)
ROCKET SCIENTIST An informal term for an extremely clever person or a description of Robert Stephenson

27a    Little dishes in pictures producing emotional response (7)
WEEPIES An adjective meaning little (which my daughter-in-law in Northern Ireland uses a lot) and some dishes combine to give an informal term for a highly emotional film

28a    Impressive American building (7)
ROTUNDA An adjective meaning, amongst other things, impressive followed by the abbreviation for American


1d    Be a glutton about meal, first to last (7)
OVEREAT A preposition meaning about and a meal with the first letter moved to the end of the word

2d    The sure thing (8,7)
DEFINITE ARTICLE Another way of saying sure followed by a thing

3d    Organised 21 nuts (4)
NEAT An anagram (nuts) of the solution to 21a

4d    Inmate taken in by amateur brief (7)
LACONIC An informal prisoner (inmate)inserted into (taken in by) an adjective meaning non-professional

5d    Force express pleasure, setting up Twitter (7)
CHIRRUP A Chinese word for an individual person’s life force followed by a reversal (setting up) of a way of expressing pleasure

6d    Little Rebecca supports one wild goat (4)
IBEX A diminutive form (little) of the name Rebecca goes after (supports in a Down solution) the letter representing one

7d    As for action, I see wobbly trick cyclist’s technique (4,11)
FREE ASSOCIATION A technique used in psychoanalysis is an anagram (wobbly) of AS FOR ACTION I SEE, trick cyclist being a slang name for a psychiatrist

8d    Online dance is sporting activity (7)
NETBALL Relating to the internet (online) followed by a dance

13d    Foolish and passive, getting pawn for rook (5)
INEPT Replace the R (rook) in a synonym for passive with a P (pawn)

14d    Pass on garment, changing hands (5)
CROAK This slang word meaning to die (pass on) is obtained by changing the Left (hand) in a garment to a Right (hand)

17d    Bird box on line (7)
SPARROW A verb meaning to box followed by a line

18d    Diffusion within cosmos isolated (7)
OSMOSIS Found within cOSMOS ISolated

19d    More malicious act affected band (7)
CATTIER An anagram (affected) of ACT followed by a band

20d    Boat race crew discovered American pistol at turning (7)
REGATTA The inside (dis-covered) letters of cREw, an American gun and a reversal (turning) of AT

24d    Food shop I ran gets written about (4)
DELI A reversal (gets written about) of I (from the clue) and part of a verb meaning ran or conducted

25d    One metre, for example (4)
UNIT A metre is an example of a xxxx of measurement

23 comments on “Toughie 2998
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  1. Stick Insect providing a very enjoyable and very doable Toughie challenge – **/****

    Candidates for favourite – 22a, 27a, 2d, and 8d – and the winner, by a country mile, is 2d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  2. I found this a veritable walk in the park after yesterday’s head scratcher. Having said that I do always enjoy immensely this setter’s puzzles and today’s was no exception. Only a couple of parsing issues held me up briefly (and musing over how many different ways the shop at 24d can be clued!)
    Big smiles for 17&22 plus 5&14d but the biggest of all for the lol attack in 5a, brilliant.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Cryptic Sue.

  3. Not too tricky but lots to like – thanks to SI and CS.
    I have ticked 5a, 19a, 2d and 14d but my top prize goes to the very neat 12a.

  4. Enjoyable lunchtime challenge, gentle and straightforward. Could not parse three clues but was relieved to see my biffs were all spot-on when reading the blog! Am still in two minds about 21a (let alone the awkward surface) – surely to feed the kitty one would ****-up, or ‘up the ****’? In other words is the stake/pool/kitty not the **** itself?

    Hon Mentions to 22a (great combined surface read and answer), 26a (though surely an engineer not a ****?) and 2d, with COTD 8d.

    1* / 3*

    Many thnks to Stick Insect and of course to CS

    1. Mustafa, regarding 26a the answer can be used in English as a colloquialism for a very clever person. It’s listed in the BRB as an informal meaning.

      1. I was being a little tongue-in-cheek, Dave – over the decades I have lost count of those (usually engineers) who have said WTTE “engineers design and build rockets, not ****s!” They usually limit their credit to ****s to the preparation of the fuel mix providing the propulsion …

  5. Medium difficulty for me, held up by the NE corner-should have seen the trick cyclist!
    Enjoyed the solve,favourite was 26a when the penny dropped.
    Thanks to setter and CS

  6. I found this relatively light for a Toughie but great fun to solve.

    Although rather spoilt for choice, I particularly liked 12a, 19a, 26a (my runaway favourite), 28a, 2d & 7d.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to CS.

  7. A total and very fast delight for me last night. Didn’t remember the British slang for psychiatrist, but what else could 7d be? I particularly liked 19a, 2d, and my last two in: 5a and 14d. Thanks to CS and Stick Insect.

  8. Thanks to Stick Insect for a moderately straightforward yet most entertaining Toughie. 2d was my clear favourite.

    Thanks to CS for the review.

  9. I found this easier than the Cryptic today but very enjoyable.
    Especially with 26a which is now my favourite clue of all time.
    Thx to all

  10. Rather enjoyed this although I did share Mustafa’s reservations about 21a. Definite favourite was 2d with the two 5s tucked in behind.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  11. Personally thought this was easier than the back-pager and certainly yesterday’s toughie. I thought 12a was very original, 26a and 2d made me laugh – both the last two really helped me get a hold of the grid. I too raised an eyebrow at 21a, though I liked the combination with 3d. I hadn’t heard of 27a. I needed some help with parsing the last few bung-ins, so thanks to CS for the assistance. **/****

    TY too to Stick Insect

  12. Found this pretty easy for a toughie today, more like the standard cryptic although the easterly half was trickier than the westerly, for me anyway.
    Some great clues, but pick of the bunch for me today was easily 26a. Well done to our setter, great fun!

  13. I too thought this maybe a tad easier than Jay’s puzzle & was very surprised to have it completed in floughie time as seem to recall I struggled with the previous Stick Insect production. Very enjoyable & after the demands of Donny yesterday not having to tackle another assault course was most welcome. Fav a toss up between 2d&5a with ticks for 9,12&26a plus 5&8d.
    Thanks to SI & CS.

  14. Not too many hold-ups today although some clues required a deal of thinking about. Lots to like. Favourite was 12a, very clever. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  15. Hesitated before writing my answer in 19a, thinking there would be more to it.
    Liked the online in 8d.
    Lovely chestnut in 17d.
    Thanks to stick insect and to CS for the review.

  16. The four long clues all yielded without too much resistance which meant we had plenty of available checkers.
    A most enjoyable solve for us.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  17. Thanks to Stick Insect and to crypticsue for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, I had a feeling that it would be 1* difficulty, as I managed to complete it 😁. Favourite was 18d. LOI was 8d. Was 1* / 5* for me.

  18. Late in on toughie duty as per usual. Never judge a book…………, like Huntsman above, recalling my fumbling attempt at the previous Stick Insect toughie, I nearly discarded this one straight away! Good job I took a second look as this was definitely the reverse side of the coin, apart from the previously mentioned reservation re 21a, and the “non-clue” at 19a, this was a blast. The full length clues gave plenty of checkers, and the whole puzzle a delight whilst it lasted.
    Look no further than 26a for COTD.
    Many thanks to our setter for the fun and CS for the review.

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