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Toughie 3118

Toughie No 3118 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

Stick Insect set a Wednesday Toughie with some complicated anagrams, and one clue where it took an age to find out how it worked

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Flower reverend cut thrives strangely (3,5,6)
THE RIVER SEVERN An anagram (strangely) of REVERENd (cut telling you to omit the D) THRIVES

9a    Sable, not fit as cover, is disgusting (7)
SQUALID The first word of the clue without the synonym for ‘fit’, an adverb meaning ‘as, in the capacity of’ and a cover

10a    Very slow or very nippy (7)
GLACIAL Ponderously slow or extremely cold

11a    Bit the artichoke daintily at first (3)
TAD The first letters of The Artichoke Daintily

12a    A struggle in a French head produces ignorance (11)
UNAWARENESS A (from the clue) and a struggle inserted into the French feminine indefinite article, the result followed by a head [land]

14a    Hill cart in Cumbrian town (6)
BARROW A hill, a type of cart or a town in Cumbria

15a    Reprimand innocent master discovered (8)
LAMBASTE Someone sweet and innocent and the inside (dis-covered) letters of mASTEr

17a    Two courses announced for vegetable (8)
BEETROOT Homophones (announced) of two courses, the first one usually associated with policemen

19a    On account of self-confidence, come first (6)
FOREGO A preposition meaning on account of and some self-confidence

22a    Without mauling about, mad bulldogs love in same vein (5,6)
BLOOD VESSEL Lots of scribbles on my piece of paper helped me to work out that the anagram (mad) was of BulLDOgS LOVE in SamE without the letters of MAULING (about telling you that they aren’t in that order)

23a    Juxtaposed bottles let fluid out (3)
TAP Hidden (bottles) in the first word of the clue

24a    Were departures in the end twisted by editor? (7)
EXISTED ‘Twist’ or swap positions of the last two letters (in the end) of a synonym for departures and then add an abbreviated editor

26a    Conservative less productive, perhaps daily (7)
CLEANER The abbreviation for Conservative and an adjective meaning less productive

27a    About time, some corner lot manufactured handsets (6,8)
REMOTE CONTROLS An anagram (manufactured) of SOME CORNER LOT goes about the abbreviation for Time


1d    Try channel young kids produced with outside help (4-4,6)
TEST-TUBE BABIES A verb meaning to try, a channel and some young

2d    Spanish-speaking country in European Community united organising road (7)
ECUADOR The abbreviation for United inserted into the abbreviation for the European Community, the result followed by an anagram (organising) of ROAD

3d    Irritable, the setter will be busy hiding primitive beginning in dictionary (3-8)
ILL-HUMOURED How our setter might say he will be, a verb meaning to be busily active and a prefix meaning primitive inserted into an abbreviated dictionary

4d    Foster care requires close attention (6)
ENDEAR The close or finish of something and some attention

5d    Means to pursue Leo, perhaps, with essentially gay abandon (4,4)
SIGN AWAY A synonym for means goes after what Leo is an example of, the ‘essential’ letter of gAy being inserted between them

6d    This clue answer is through (3)
VIA The Roman numeral for this clue and the abbreviation for Answer

7d    Cavalry arrests American attackers (7)
RAIDERS Some cavalry or people on horses ‘arrests’ the abbreviation for American

8d    Moulding material that could be used for Trojan prince’s cut? (7,2,5)
PLASTER OF PARIS If they had such dressings back in the time of the Trojan War, the name of this moulding material could describe something that could be applied to a wound (cut) on a Trojan prince

13d    No end of comedy, Emily Bronte novel about maiden confusion (11)
EMBROILMENT An anagram (novel) of EMILy (no end of comedy) BRONTE into which is inserted (about) the abbreviation for Maiden

16d    Noble wandering about festival is very lazy (4-4)
BONE-IDLE An anagram (wandering) of NOBLE goes about a Muslim festival

18d    Controversial, base pretext? (7)
EMOTIVE The letter that is the base of the natural system of logarithms and a pretext

20d    Use up colour infusing gelato evenly (3,4)
EAT INTO A colour inserted into (infusing) the even letters of gElAtO

21d    Lament middle-distance runner in audition for Leigh movie (6)
PSYCHO This title of this Hitchcock film starring Janet Leigh comes from homophones (in audition) of a lament and the surname of a middle-distance runner

25d    Brace front of tank with third of props (3)
TWO The letter at the front of Tank, the abbreviation for With and the third letter of prOps.  The extra half a star for difficulty was added because of the time I spent muttering at the parsing before I emailed Gazza and he pointed out the obvious!


18 comments on “Toughie 3118

  1. I’m afraid I found this a bit dull. There are some surfaces that seem rather forced and 8d just doesn’t work for me. PoP for a cut? No way.
    The only clue that brightened the mood was 24a.
    Thanks to SI and CS.

    1. You are supposed to see it as a xxxxxxx belonging to the named Trojan prince which heput on a cut (finger, for example)

  2. I rather enjoyed this although I did need our blogger’s help with the parsing of 9a – yet another piece of terminology I didn’t know!
    Broad smile for 10a and I also liked 8d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and to CS for the review – loved your illustration for 16d, I can think of several people who need a present of one of those – mostly husbands of friends!

  3. This one served as a thankfully light appetiser before tackling the main course that was yesterday’s Robyn Toughie. I enjoyed it but didn’t think it quite on a par with some of Sticky’s recent productions. I assumed 22a was a subtractive anagram but didn’t bother to do the legwork (no pen or paper to hand) & failed to parse 9a which I’m not sure I get even after reading the hint but otherwise ok. Top 2 for me were the homophones at 21d&17a with 8d, the best of the peripherals, taking the last podium spot.
    Thanks to SI & to CS.
    Ps – am enjoying being 16d today listening to music, reading & catching up on puzzles while stubbornly ignoring a list of to do chores – in stark contrast I suspect to our reviewer who’s probably already accomplished a multitude of things

    1. While not being 16d myself, I have though thoroughly enjoyed listening to Chris Rea’s “Dancing Down The Stony Road” today (caught a track from it the other day, liked it so much I bought the double-CD and transferred it to my phone) and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy’s “Americana Deluxe”, having found our missing CD after years of not knowing where it had gone.

        1. Which one? The Chris Rea album is very Delta Blues-ish, and with his highly distinctive voice it’s a cracking set of tracks, possibly one or three too many, though. BBVD are a superb Swing Revivial outfit – my best man had them as the band at his own wedding reception some 21 years ago, and they were utterly brilliant. If you like that sort of music, of course! Try both on You Tube, Huntsman, if Spotify doesn’t have them.

          1. They have his complete discography less Dancing Down The Stony Road ( not an album I’m familiar with) for some reason. I know the other mob.

  4. An enjoyable and reasonably light Toughie, I thought – sort of Friday backpage-ish? Life, I thought, was too short to parse 22a and 3d. Never having seen 21d, or to be honest ever having wanted to, it was my LOI and I had to google the answer to find out what it had to do with Leigh. Ah well.

    But a good challenge and some lovely clueing, so thank you Stick Insect, and thanks also to Sue.

  5. When I read Sue’s preamble I was intrigued by which clue she was referring to. I’d have guessed every single one before the actual one! I didn’t actually like that clue, unless I’m missing something using “third of props” to clue the letter O seems somewhat contrived. I did like lots of others though and enjoyed the puzzle though it suffered a little by comparison to today’s back-pager (to be honest most puzzles would).
    The clever 4d takes top spot with 10&24a making up the numbers.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect & Cryptic Sue

  6. I found this pretty straightforward for a Toughie, but still enjoyable to complete. The four long peripheral clues went in immediately, which led to a speedy resolution of the grid. I think I must pick 1a as my top clue ahead ahead of 5d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  7. I liked this puzzle, far more than the back pager which I could barely start. Finished this with a little help from Cryptic Sue’s hints. I thought 8d was a great clue. I have never encountered what represents ‘primitive’ in 3d before, so I started off thinking it might just be a ‘p’, which started me thinking about another synonym which has 7 of the same letters in the same place. But then discovered primitive isn’t listed under ‘p’ in Chambers. Still couldn’t get that out of my head though, so came for a hint! Thanks CS and SI.

  8. Whilst puzzling over the parsing of 19a, was intrigued to find that the inclusion of an e can change the meaning — or not as the case may be. Nevertheless I hadn’t realised that it could be used in this context which is obvious now. Thanks to SI for, well all of it, and CS particularly for explaining the lower part of 3d.

  9. A few tricky bits of parsing but on the whole it went together smoothly enough.
    Thanks Stick Insect and CS.

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