Toughie 3142 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3142

Toughie No 3142 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A Wednesday Toughie that put up quite a fight before I reached the end

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1a     Self-control lagging, greedily eats waste food (8)
PIGSWILL The faculty of choosing (self-control) goes after (lagging [behind]) a slang word meaning eats greedily

5a     Thick slob, half ignored, beginning to tackle employment (6)
OBTUSE Ignore the first half of slOB, then add the beginning to Tackle and a synonym for employment

9a     Boredom at heart of drunken nuisance (5)
ENNUI Hidden between (at the heart of) the last two words in the clue

10a     Sketches and rubs out writing? (9)
DESCRIBES Split the solution 2,7 to understand the last three words of the clue

12a     Union assistant misread bid unfortunately (10)
BRIDESMAID An anagram (unfortunately) of MISREAD BID

13a     In Yorkshire, the border is in good order (4)
TRIM How someone from Yorkshire would say ‘the’ and a border

15a     Contest that’s equally balanced; 0-0 match? (4-3,4)
ZERO-SUM GAME A contest in which the total cumulative gains equal the total cumulative losses

16a     Vintage sport played by teams teeing off with clubs (3)
CRU An abbreviated sport played by teams, the abbreviation for Clubs going before the sport (teeing off)

17a     In Perth, no celebrity male is ignored (3)
NAE The Scottish word for no – a celebrity ignoring the abbreviation for male

18a    Tea Party prophet cycled to get carriage drivers (11)
CHARIOTEERS An informal cup of tea, some wild revelry (party) and a prophet, the first letter being cycled to the back of the word

20a     Area of London, Ohio provided houses (4)
SOHO The abbreviation for the US State of Ohio inserted into (houses) an adverb meaning provided

21a     Leaderless jazz gig going badly, Oscar quits, moving in different directions (10)
ZIGZAGGING An anagram (badly) of ‘leaderless’ jAZZ GIG GoING, ‘Oscar quits’ telling you to leave out the letter represented by Oscar in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet

24a     Fought happy daughter for the second time (9)
CONTENDED Replace the second T (time) in a synonym for happy with the abbreviation for Daughter

26a     Passage from Sahara to Nubian Desert (3,2)
RAT ON Misleading capitals time – a synonym for desert is hidden in a passage from SahaRA TO Nubian

27a     Spirit notes quiet must end early (6)
MESCAL Some musical notes and a synonym for quiet without its final letter (must end early)

28a     Mum flees display covering snake migration (8)
DIASPORA An informal name for a mother leaves a display into which has been inserted (covering) a snake


1d     Sink into work regularly is common (6)
PLEBBY A word I haven’t heard in many a long year – a verb meaning to sink inserted into another meaning to work regularly

2d     Low-down on two spirits (5)
GENII A slang term for general information (low-down) and the Roman numeral for two

3d     Old man’s resistance raised in starting point for toast, maybe (5,5)
WHITE BREAD Move the symbol for [electrical] Resistance further up the second part of a word meaning an old man

4d     Press invention (3)
LIE A verb meaning to press or a false statement (invention)

6d     Right to interrupt terrible poet (4)
BARD The abbreviation for Right ‘interrupts’ a synonym for terrible

7d     Sheds weight when rude snub’s broadcast about one’s belly (9)
UNBURDENS An anagram (broadcast) of RUDE SNUB into which is inserted (about) the ‘belly’ of oNe

8d     Opponents are like engineers quitting musical group (8)
ENSEMBLE Some opponents in a game of bridge and a verb meaning to be lik,  without (quitting) the abbreviated Royal Engineers

10d     Confronted about unclear oral, that’s made clear (11)
DEMYSTIFIED A synonym for confronted goes about a homophone (oral) of an adjective meaning unclear

11d     Measured around it, backing good rug that’s branded (11)
STIGMATIZED A synonym for measured goes around a reversal (backing) of IT and the abbreviation for good and a rug

14d     Lorry salesman returned empty lorries after assistant misses making deliveries (10)
PAPERGIRLS An abbreviated assistant, reversals (returned) of a salesman and an informal, especially North American, word for a lorry,  followed by the outside (empty) letters of LorrieS

15d     Noisy group eager to be heard regularly hiss vegetables (9)
ZUCCHINI A homophones (to be heard) of a informal noisy group and a synonym for eager, followed by the regular letters of hIsS

16d     Pepper music played following cover (8)
CAPSICUM An anagram (played) of MUSIC following a cover

19d     Country smug and arrogant in part (6)
UGANDA Hidden in part of smUG AND Arrogant

22d     Enthusiastic about involving king in musical opening (5)
INTRO An informal way of saying enthusiastic about into which is inserted (about) the Latin abbreviation for king

23d     Expect a bee in Athens (4)
BETA The Greek letter B – A prediction of the result of something (expect) and A (from the clue)

25d     Finish study, deferring start of degree (3
END Move (deferring) the D (start of Degree) from a study to the end of the word

17 comments on “Toughie 3142
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  1. A pleasant puzzle – thanks to SI and CS.
    I know that ‘provided’ is listed in the BRB as one of the meanings of the short word in 20a but can anyone produce a sentence with this usage?
    I liked 10a and 24a but my favourite (for the very neat definition) is 14d.

    1. I wondered about that and cannot think of anything …..even, provided, so forth and if and then!😉

      Also a bit of a query re 1a. Doesn’t lagging indicate it goes around and not beneath?

      Very good enjoyable puzzle for a Wednesday, i.e. tougher than some. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

    2. The OED quotes from The Tatler by Richard Steele, “…it is no matter how dirty a bag it is conveyed to him in, or by how clownish a messenger, so the money is good. ”
      Meaning ‘so long as’. I can’t say I (or anyone else) ever use it on its own like that!

  2. Slightly mollified when seeing that CS awarded this one 4* for difficulty, I found it very tricky indeed.
    Got off to a bad start by making the same assumption as Wahoo over ‘lagging’ and had never heard of the phrase in 15a which I thought was unhelpfully clued.

    Top three the same as those mentioned by Gazza with a nod to the Yorkshire border.

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

  3. I had the same problem with 20a and still can’t think of an example. Nice puzzle with an unusual grid, I guess to accommodate 21a. My faves were 24a, 8d and COTD 14d. 15d contains the most excruciating homophone I’ve heard for quite a while.
    Thanks to Sticky and Sue.

  4. I’m pleased that Sue has given this the difficulty rating she has as I thought it was me not being able to find the setter’s wavelength as Stick Insect is a someone we don’t see a lot of these days.I eventually ended up with a full grid and enjoyed the challenge even if some of the surface reads and anagrams seemed a tad manufactured at the time but reading back a little less so.
    We don’t often see the American versions of the vegetables or the American spelling of 11d so I’m wondering if the setter built the puzzle around 15&21a.
    My ticks go to 1&10a plus 1(was surprised it’s actually a word) 3&7d with top spot going to the super 14d.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and to Sue for the review.

  5. Very enjoyable, it came together quite nicely once I had a decent quorum of checkers.

    14d gets my vote.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  6. CS sums this one up perfectly in that it put up quite a fight. I would agree with the 4* rating. It came together steadily, though.

    I liked the Union assistants and the Yorkshire edge. Favourite was 14d for the clever definition.

    There used to be an Agave worm in the 27a bottle and if you ate it you could claim a certificate 👍….

    1. Been there and done that. On a tiny farm in Oaxaca producing the stuff, with an Ass turning the grinding wheel. Powerful hangover. Thanks for the “so” history.

      1. Sounds like you had a proper authentic experience there. I can certainly vouch for the hangover-inducing abilities. 🤕

  7. I really enjoyed this wonderful puzzle and evidently had the good fortune to tune in reasonably swiftly. Such clever clueing, with many laugh out loud moments as pennies dropped. Ticks all over the place, so Hon Mentions go to 10a, 28a, 11d & COTD 18a.

    3 / 4

    Many thanks to Stick Insect and CS

  8. Got about 85% of this done, which is pretty good for me for a 4-star CS difficulty rating.

    Not quite sure how….

    Thanks to SI and CS.

  9. Started this yesterday but abandoned it with six to go & remembered this morning it was still to finish. Managed it but needed the help of a letter reveal (15a/d checker) as not only had I not come across the 15a theory before but I then had to read the explanation of it a couple of times to get my head around it. Ought to have clocked the veg without the checker though. Very difficult in parts & what a contrast to the previous day. 12,13&21a + 1&14d among the clues I liked best.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & to CS

  10. ***** / ***
    Hard going. A small DNF, with a couple of uncrackables. I have to admire the likes of Crypticsue, who are able to complete the puzzle so quickly – and produce the blog (whilst I am only half way through the challenge).
    Good stuff. I will try and not give up !

  11. Managed all but three, albeit with considerable electronic and google help.
    Still don’t get 3d, even with Sue’s explanation.
    Thanks all.

    1. The old man is a whitebeard. The R moves up the word, which is then split 5,5 to make something you can toast

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