Toughie 3066 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3066

Toughie No 3066 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Toughie Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Stick Insect’s Toughie proved to be another of his crosswords where it was essential, especially if you are the blogger, to keep the BRB handy to check a few things including an unknown word in 1d and the alternative meanings of several other words in the clues/solutions

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Come before quiet official, almost give up (7)
PRECEDE The musical abbreviation meaning quiet, almost all of an abbreviated official and a verb meaning to give up or yield

9a    Game ended early after Border’s returning smears (8)
SMIRCHES A reversal (returning) of some borders followed by almost all of one of Rabbit Dave’s favourite games

10a    Cycling soldiers cut off fools in a group (2,5)
EN MASSE Cycle or move the first letter of a synonym for soldiers to the end of the word and then follow with some fools without the last letter (cut off) The third clue in a row requiring the solve to remove a letter, there are more to come in the Downs

11a    Advance made more attractive when little interest is shown? (8)
MORTGAGE A cryptic definition of an advance where the less interest the borrower has to pay, the better

12a    Iliad rewritten to include western festival (6)
DIWALI An anagram (rewritten) of ILIAD into which is inserted (to include) the abbreviation for Western

13a    Dry, heated up and ultimately arid (10)
DEHYDRATED An anagram (up) of DRY HEATED followed by the ultimate letter of anD

15a    Sadly, a journalist wrote this old piece (4)
OBIT A short form of the article written by a journalist on the death of someone – the abbreviation for Old and a piece

16a    Working soldier sent back driver with American airhead (9)
IGNORAMUS A reversal (sent back) of a simple way of saying working and an abbreviated (American) soldier, followed by a type of driver and an abbreviation for American

21a    Type of horn found in Timbuktu backwater (4)
TUBA Found in TimbukTU BAckwater

22a    Hero, at first hot, abject in ordering assassination (7,3)
HATCHET JOB The first letter of Hero and an anagram (ordering) of HOB ABJECT

24a    Vices discovered, confine in cooler (6)
ICEBOX The inside (dis-covered) letters of vICEs and a verb meaning to confine (in or up) – I did check and it is only our friends across the pond that would call this a ‘cooler’, here it can refer to a particular part of a refrigerator or an insulated container for carrying cold food

25a    Clarifies what Slimmer of the Week’s previous reading shows? (8)
EXPOUNDS Split 2,6 this would show that the Slimmer of the Week was less heavy than previously

27a    Critical trap Gerald heartlessly produces (7)
GINGERY A snare or trap and the diminutive form of Gerald without its middle letter (heartlessly) – here critical refers to remarks that are cutting or full of criticism

28a    Is old country singer in area of rock that’s folded? (8)
ISOCLINE IS (from the clue), the abbreviation for Old and the surname of Patsy, the country music singer

29a    Satisfied tool’s procedures (7)
METHODS A synonym for satisfied and a tool for carrying bricks or mortar and S (tool’s)


2d    Choppy brine covers new motorway and one group of fens (8)
RENMINBI Here our setter painted himself into a corner as there is only one word that fits the checking letters – the standard unit of currency of China equal to 100 Fen. An anagram (choppy) of BRINE ‘covers’ or goes round the abbreviations for New and our first motorway, the result finished with I (one)

3d    Tea, bit of butter all but oblige bread (8)
CHAPATTI Another word for tea, a bit of butter and almost all of a verb meaning to provide something as a favour (oblige)

4d    Home, about to be supplanted by underworld in contention (10)
DISSIDENCE Replace (to be supplanted) the usual two-letter ‘about’ at the start of a house with a name for the underworld

5d    Battle supplies hidden by retreating commander (4)
AMMO Hidden in reverse (retreating) in cOMMAnder

6d    Speaker for a Tory’s selection (6)
ORATOR Found in a selection of fOR A TORy

7d    Quiet drink, boozer’s fourth, produces sentimental singing (7)
SHMALTZ A  way of saying be quiet, a type of drink and the fourth letter of booZer

8d    Raises a stink, abandoning tango with police officer (7)
ASCENDS A (from the clue) and a stink or smell without (abandoning) the letter represented by Tango in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet, but with an abbreviated police officer

11d    Princes‘ mother keeps housing prince (9)
MAHARAJAS An informal mother and a verb meaning keeps ‘housing’ or going round an Indian prince to produce some great Indian princes, usually rulers of a state

14d    Disperse protest, anger spreading around island (10)
DEMOBILISE An informal protest and some anger, the latter going around a two-letter abbreviation for island

17d    Expression of dismay’s no good for women’s power (8)
STRENGTH Take an interjection of dismay and substitute the abbreviation for women with the abbreviation for No Good

18d    Detested sailor scraped around bishop (8)
ABHORRED An abbreviated sailor and a verb meaning scraped with a particular garden tool goes ‘around’ the abbreviation for a bishop

19d    Bill steals, according to hearsay, legendary creature (7)
PHOENIX Homophones (according to hearsay) of a bill and a slang way of saying ‘steals’

20d    Subdues child one’s taken on (7)
STEPSON Split this ‘child one’s taken on’ 5,2 and you’ll get a phrase meaning subdues

23d    Frequently sanctimonious about universal right (6)
HOURLY A synonym for sanctimonious goes about the abbreviations for Universal and Right

26d    Force tense after row (4)
DINT A rarely-used word for force is obtained by putting the abbreviation for tense after a row or loud noise


22 comments on “Toughie 3066

  1. Very enjoyable. 27a was a bung in as I struggled with limited resources to find the connection to the definition. 21a was my favourite.

    Thanks to CS and Stick Insect.

  2. I really enjoyed this. Just tough enough to make several visits necessary. Got it done and parsed. I like Stick insects style. Many light bulb moments and smiles. As CS says, new word for 1d
    Many thanks the Stick Insect and CS

  3. I thought this was great fun, lots of clever wordplay and perhaps a little tougher than this setter’s usual offerings.
    New words for me in 28a and 2d which both required electronic clarification and 27a was obtained from wordplay only.
    Lots of podium contenders, but I’ll go for 3,7(lol)11,17&19d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Sue for the review.

  4. Completely beaten by this. Not helped by expecting 2d to be another name for the Norfolk Broads!
    I hate to mention this but there is something amiss with the answer to 28a. The answer is 8 letters not 6

    1. Crypticsue is probably out enjoying the sunshine so I’ve taken the liberty of correcting the typo in the 28a answer.

      1. Thank you for correcting my error – it is hotter and sunnier today than it has been for a very long time so I certainly wasn’t going to stay indoors waiting for people to point out my mistakes. Goodness only knows how my brain looked at the solved grid and then my fingers typed something very different

    1. Welcome to the blog, Ernie J.
      Typo now corrected. What did you think of the puzzle?

      1. I found it a bit tough, although I kicked myself when I read some of the answers. I’ve had more success in the past with other 3* and 4* puzzles. Some enjoyable clues though, E.g. 25a. The blog is invaluable, both for the Toughie and (more often for parsing) the Daily.

  5. When I started this I thought it was going to be a typical Stick Insect puzzle, i.e. very enjoyable and moderately tough. However, it got tougher and tougher with each corner as I worked my way clockwise round the grid with the SW proving almost impenetrable.

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  6. An enjoyable Toughie – thanks to Stick Insect and CS.
    For the first time (and probably the last) I knew a word (2d) that CS didn’t but my knowledge didn’t extend to 28a. The 27a wordplay was clear but who knew the answer meant critical?
    Top clues for me were 10a, 7d, 17d and 19d.

  7. Who’d have thought that 2d was a word, fortunately Mr. Google knew and also came up with fen which I was also blissfully unaware of. I couldn’t parse 25a but it had to br what it was and although I could parse 27a it was also technically a bung in as that meaning was new to me. One lives and learns. Favourite was 11d. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS for the much needed clarifications.

  8. Two new words for me in 28a & 2d and the definition of 27a took me by surprise but did make me think of ‘arry across the pond!
    11a raised a smile as did 17&20d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review.

  9. Finished with a grimmace, having enjoyed a good part but disliking too much. Rather repetitive, and it was unfortunate that two lurkers followed each other, as did two anagrams and three ‘remove a letter’ clues; 28a is pretty darned obscure at the best of times, but for it to be clued using a (somewhat minority interest) singer who’s been dead for 60 years? 8d is surely more accurately rises rather than raises; an airhead is not necessarily an ignoramus or ignorant; I did know renminbi but the less said about 2d the better; 25a – wouldn’t the previous reading show more pounds, and the current reading, fewer?

    OTOH I did like in particular 11d & 23d, with COTD by a long distance to 19d.

    Sorry, SI, thank you but just not for me today; thanks also to CS for the review.

  10. Even the new words were very gettable through the accurate wordplay, which is always worth an extra star for enjoyment in my book. I think 17d has to take pride of place on my podium this afternoon. Great fun and entertainment all round.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  11. Luckily one of our team did know the GK for 2d so just a spelling check required there. A few other stumbling blocks too but nothing that detracted from our enjoyment of the solve.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

  12. Good evening
    I don’t often attempt the Toughie. 11 correct solutions – for me, that’s good! One of these days, I will finish one, but fear that day is far away…

  13. I knew the word in 2 down but had never heard of the fen and I am more familiar with country singers than folded rocks. Thank you setter and CS.

  14. Always enjoy this setter’s guzzles & while I’m not quite with MG I can’t say this one was my favourite. I clocked the wordplay at 2d but it needed 2 stabs to chop my brine & once the check facility confirmed the 2nd arrangement correct & even after I looked it up still hadn’t a scooby what it had to do with peaty wetlands but I do now (nowt). Both 3d (an extra T) & 7d (no C) are variant spellings to what I’m used to & required a BRB check. The 27a def completely was new to me which left 19d & 28a (new to me) & by that stage I let CS take the strain & turned to the hints but ought to have got both really. 17d just pips 19d as my fav & also liked 11,20&23d
    Thanks to Stick Insect & to CS

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