Toughie 2970 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2970

Toughie No 2970 by Stick Insect

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment **

Stick Insect’s turn to provide the Wednesday Toughie – The only thing that made this difficult – I solved it in a mid-week back-page time – was the amount of time I spent deciding how to hint 12a

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Tirade follows fresh, backsliding justification (7)
WARRANT A tirade goes after (follows) a reversal (backsliding) of a synonym for fresh or unaltered

5a    Awfully nice gal might be this (7)
ANGELIC An anagram (awfully) of NICE GAL

9a    Trace offence farmer heard (9)
SCINTILLA Homophones (heard) of an offence and a cultivator of land (farmer)

10a    Island’s leader demoted with paper providing justification (5)
ALIBI Demote or move the first letter (leader) of an Indonesian island further down the word and then add a newspaper with a single-letter title

11a    Smiley perhaps regularly found in Exmoor jail (5)
EMOJI The regular letters of ExMoOr JaIl

12a    Occasionally could be Tim or me? (9)
SOMETIMES Both TIM and ME can be found in part of (SOME) xxxxx

13a    Tricky Russian takes in Conservative with small plant (9)
NARCISSUS An anagram (tricky) of RUSSIAN into which is inserted (taken in) C (Conservative), the result finished with the abbreviation for small

16a    Silk was part of occupation (5)
SATIN Split 3,2 this type of silk would suggest that someone had been part of an occupation

17a    Mother’s close to builder (5)
MASON An informal way of saying mother’s and a preposition meaning close to

18a    Smelt the setter’s dog’s lead and plunged to the ground (9)
NOSEDIVED Part of a verb meaning smelt, how our setter might say he had (the setter’s) and the letter that ‘leads’ Dog

20a    Confuse ref with fluke involving loud commotion (9)
KERFUFFLE An anagram (confuse) of REF with FLUKE, into which is inserted (involving) the musical abbreviation meaning loud

23a    Head discovered vice is matter for debate (5)
TOPIC The head of something and the inside (discovered) letter of vICe

25a    Across end of difficult plain (5)
OVERT An adverb meaning across and the letter at the end of difficult

26a    Dorothy, travelling, embraces local’s neat established thinking (9)
ORTHODOXY An anagram (travelling) of DOROTHY into which is inserted a general name for a type of cattle (neat being a dialect [local] word for cattle)

27a    Taught rebuke, fed up when head leaves (7)
TUTORED An interjection of rebuke and a synonym for fed up without its first letter (head leaves)

28a    Corruption showed the way: made cowboy’s charges disappear (7)
RUSTLED Some corruption and a simple way of saying showed the way


1d    Left-leaning movie? (7)
WESTERN Leaning towards the left-hand side when you are facing north, or a type of movie

2d    Animal Greek character adopts at home (5)
RHINO A letter of the Greek alphabet ‘adopts’ the usual two-letter at home

3d    Interest account withdrawn for one wearing away (9)
ATTRITION Take a synonym for interest, remove or withdrawn the abbreviation for account and replace with the letter representing one

4d    Taxes regressive channel covering left (5)
TOLLS A reversed (regressive) channel ‘covering’ the abbreviation for left

5d    A branch within records prophets of doom (9)
ALARMISTS A (from the clue) followed by a branch inserted into (within) some records

6d    Allow nanny time (5)
GRANT A female relative some children might call nanny and the abbreviation for Time

7d    Tim and Violet recreated theme (9)
LEITMOTIV An anagram (recreated) of TIM and VIOLET

8d    Blushing offspring supports sin, mostly (7)
CRIMSON A male offspring supports, or goes under in a Down solution, most of a sin

14d    Coming back about start of sudden emergency (9)
RESURGENT The usual two-letter ‘about, on the subject of’, the ‘start’ of Sudden and an adjective meaning calling for immediate attention (emergency)

15d    Calmness of celebrated sea inlet internally upset (9)
SANGFROID Part of a verb meaning celebrated and an alternative spelling of a sea inlet, the three letters in the middle (internally) being reversed (upset)

16d    Issue ID to suspect revolutionary (9)
SEDITIOUS An anagram (suspect)of ISSUE ID TO

17d    Draw up formation in error (4,3)
MAKE OUT A formation and a synonym for in error

19d    Enticed Bashful into action (7)
DECOYED A synonym for bashful inserted into an action

21d    Total state (5)
UTTER An adjective meaning total or a verb meaning to state

22d    Consumer, losing article, accepts new record (5)
ENTER Remove the A (losing article) from a consumer and then replace it with the abbreviation for new

24d    Keep moving front of ship on lake (5)
PROWL The front of a ship on the abbreviation for lake

18 comments on “Toughie 2970
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  1. A little more challenging for me than for our blogger with quite a large Hmm for 12a – 2.5*/2.5*

    Candidates for favourite – 18a, 25a, 8d, and 19d – and the winner is 18a.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  2. A very enjoyable mid-/late-week backpager for a Wednesday Toughie, a good mental workout over the carrot soup! Only delays were in parsing the eyebrow-raising 12a, and trying to get ‘returning’ out of my mind in 14d. Ticks afterwards for 10a, 13a, 3d and 8d, with COTD to 20a – a lovely word & creative anagram!

    1* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Stick Insect (and for being gentle!), and to CS

  3. Very gentle. Despite aforementioned hmms and eyebrows, 12a made my podium, along with 16a and 28a.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  4. I am in the camp that found this a little more challenging than gentle, but I still completed it in good time. I did not particularly like 12a, but other clues more than compensated for this anomaly, especially 20a, a terrific word.

    Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  5. I know that Stick Insect invariably sets fun and very accessible puzzles and this was no exception.
    12a &7d didn’t really float my boat, (using two Christian names as obvious anagram fodder) but plenty did.
    9&20a are great words,18a made me laugh,11a smile and 3d was clever.
    Many thanks to Stick Insect and Cryptic Sue for the entertainment.

  6. I rather thought our reviewer would be somewhat disparaging about this being in the Toughie slot but it was fine for me, despite my being less than persuaded by either 12a or 17d.
    Top marks here went to 9&18a plus 8d.

    Thanks to Stick Insect for the gentle ride and to CS for the nicely illustrated review.

  7. All done and parsed although I needed the hints to confirm some of my parsing which is not always accurate. Hard to pick a favourite but I’ll go with 12a, which I did parse correctly. Thanks to Stick Insect and CS.

  8. Gentle for a Toughie but like Jane that was fine by me too. It took less than half the time I spent with Jay. Forgot (if I ever knew) that neat was cattle so didn’t figure the ox out & was nowhere near parsing 12a – it’s a big hmm from me too. Otherwise a straightforward & very pleasant stroll with ticks at 9,18,20&28a plus 1&3d.
    Thanks to Stick Insect & CS

  9. A decent Toughie. A bit of thought needed, but generally we’ll clued and no obscure GK.
    12a was a bung in TIM and ME was obvious and with checkers the answer was also quite obvious. But even with CS hint, I still do not understand the parsing
    15d was a new word to me but gettable from the clue

  10. Loss of the Internet for hours today enabled me to stick with McEwan’s Atonement, which I am reading for the fourth time, and it (the book) just gets better and better. I actually finished this lovely Toughie last night in record time (with bonus points!) for me and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thought that 20, 26, & 28a were ‘the bee’s knees’ (aha!) with about another dozen or so jockeying for podium positions. 11a wins the Clarkie of the Week so far for making me LOL–so clever. Thanks to CS and Stick Insect.

    1. I rarely read new books nowadays Robert for some reason – just the old favourites over again every now & then. Atonement is one of them (at least 3) but reckon the runaway leaders Tess & Brideshead.

      1. Great choices, Tess and Brideshead. McEwan’s new one, Lessons, has not got the kind of attention it deserves (the Booker literati snubbed it altogether, but that’s no surprise these days), and I’ve been touting it, here and yon, for its daringness and hidden glories. I never had a piano teacher like that one, though one of them (a male) came close.

  11. Finished this in very quick time (so knew it would only be a 1*) but 12a was a bung-in and even with the hint I have no idea what is going on. If someone thinks this was a clear clue, could they perhaps explain it more clearly to us lesser nortals?

    1. I don’t think it’s particularly clear but, if you write TIME twice, i.e., TIMES, part (SOME) of one is TIM and of the other is ME. That’s the best I can do.

    2. I read it thus. Split the answer 4, 5 – SOME TIMES. SOME (of the word) TIMES could be (ie it contains) TIM or ME.

      Have been known to be wrong …

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