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Toughie 1954

Toughie No 1954 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I hadn’t solved a Donnybrook puzzle before (Kitty has done the only previous blogs of this setter’s puzzles) and so I didn’t know what to expect. I must confess to making fairly heavy weather of it and the time it took me put it firmly in the 4* difficulty zone. But it was nice to have a genuine Toughie on a Thursday and I really enjoyed the challenge.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    Preacher worried for the French renegade (8)
APOSTATE: Take a word for a person sent to preach the gospel (such as one of Christ’s chosen followers) and replace LE (the French) by a word meaning ‘worried’

8a    It’s divine being in form — demand regularly to be recalled (6)
DAEMON: A divine being = a reversal of alternate letters of IN FORM DEMAND

9a    Fund-raiser managed to keep one on register (8)
ROTARIAN: A member of an international organisation known for fund raising = a register + ‘managed’ round I (one)

10a    Soldier going round ancient city breaks elegant statuette (8)
FIGURINE: A US soldier round an ancient Sumerian city inside ‘elegant’

11a    Assume nothing in such a colony (6)
NUDIST: In such a colony people assume (wear) nothing

12a    One to put squeeze on soon, lawyer having received account (8)
ANACONDA: A creature that crushes its prey = ‘soon’ and an abbreviation for a US lawyer round an abbreviation for ‘account’

13a    Educated to use repetition following lecturer’s lead (8)
LITERATE: L (first letter or lead of LECTURER) + ‘to use repetition’

16a    Karate moves involving pressure — time to join in (4,4)
TAKE PART: An anagram (moves) of KARATE round P (pressure) + T (time)

19a    Former police officer pressman proved wrong (8)
EXPLODED: A prefix meaning ‘former’ + a slang term for a policeman + a person in charge of a newspaper

21a    Sound heard to left and right before entering stone circle (6)
STEREO: ‘Before’ inside an abbreviation for ‘stone’ + O (circle)

23a    Backlash from soldiers fighting (8)
REACTION: A corps of the British Army + fighting or a battle

24a    Ideas revised about animal in Christian emblem (5,3)
AGNUS DEI: An anagram (revised) of IDEAS round a large antelope

25a    Confess losing tail and heart of rare beast (6)
COUGAR: ‘To confess’ with the last letter removed + the middle two letters of RARE

26a    Ink and water thrown that sometimes covers blouse (8)
KNITWEAR: An anagram (thrown) of INK WATER = clothing often worn over a blouse


1d    Brilliant point in tirade about charity sent up (7)
RADIANT: A tirade (4) round a reversal of ‘charity’ (3)

2d    American rebel capturing transport in sudden attack (9)
AMBUSCADE: An abbreviation for ‘American’ and an English rebel of the 15th century round a public service vehicle

3d    Flag vehicle down at last with gesture (6)
ENSIGN: The last letters of VEHICLE and DOWN + a gesture

4d    Barker‘s manner altered swimming in lake and river (8,7)
AIREDALE TERRIER: A barker (breed of dog) = a manner + an anagram (swimming) of ALTERED in one of the Great Lakes + R (river)

5d    Old station broadcast musical phrase (8)
OSTINATO: O (old) + an anagram (broadcast) of STATION. I didn’t know this term so had to wait for the checking letters before working it out

6d    Ready to drop on coming in half-drunk (5)
TIRED: ‘On’ or ‘concerning’ inside the frist three letters of a six-letter word meaning ‘drunk’

7d    Passage from North and South expanding character (7)
TRANSIT: N (North) and S (South) inside a characteristic feature

14d    Eurocrat out around noon, one entertaining relations (9)
RACONTEUR: An anagram (out) of EUROCRAT round N (noon). I’m not convinced by the definition

15d    Spoon about to be used with pasta (8)
CANOODLE: ‘To spoon’ = an abbreviation denoting ‘about’ + a string- or ribbon-shaped strip of pasta

17d    Opposing knowledge that could help fight infection (7)
ANTIGEN: ‘Opposing’ + knowledge or information

18d    One stops damage, mounting candelabrum (7)
MENORAH: A reversal of ONE in ‘damage’ = a candelabrum used in Jewish religious ceremonies. I had to really dredge deep to come up with this word

20d    Empty power addiction and crude swagger (6)
PRANCE: The first and last letters of POWER, ADDICTION and CRUDE

22d    Page taken from novelist to stir things up (5)
ROUST: Remove P (page) from the surname of a French novelist. I got this quite early on but couln’t convince myself that it was a real word

I wonder if I’ll make such heavy weather of the next Donnybrook puzzle.

27 comments on “Toughie 1954

  1. Interesting to read the prologue as I’d have put this one at the particularly fluffy end of the Toughie spectrum. Today’s back pager took me quite a bit longer to solve

    I did enjoy myself while it lasted so thank you to Donnybrook and Bufo too

  2. Many thanks Donnybrook and Bufo

    13a has the answer in the hint Bufo.

    14d the definition might have been easier to understand as “one entertaining with relations” or similar – the relations intended not as family but stories

    I liked 12a (one putting the squeeze on), 19a (proved wrong) and 20d (empty…)

    1. Sorry to have duplicated a couple of your comments, Dutch – obviously typing as your comment appeared!

    2. I felt ‘one entertaining relations’ to be fine, to ‘entertain’ meaning to ‘find acceptable’, or even appealing. That made the clue more misleading for me, and thus better.

  3. Following Stick Insect’s excellent puzzle yesterday I found this to be equally challenging and enjoyable but fair. 12a, 9a and 18d were all novel and amusing. Another recently-introduced setter whose future crosswords will be very

  4. Have to admit that I didn’t have too much trouble with this one so I expected comments to be more along the lines of those made by CS above.
    The musical phrase was new to me and I did try to make the ‘barker’ a member of the ‘Lakeland’ variety but didn’t come across anything else that particularly worried me in what I found to be a most enjoyable solve.

    Would agree with Bufo that the definition at 14d seemed a little inaccurate – perhaps the inclusion of ‘with’ could have helped?

    My top three consists of 11a plus 6&15d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and also to Bufo for the blog – think the hint for 13a needs a word change.

  5. I had more of a tussle with this than I usually do with Toughies (and more than with the previous Donnybrooks too) so I’d have given the same star allocations as Bufo did. Must put into the honesty box that I used a dictionary search for a couple (2d, which was new to me, and one other that I don’t want to admit). 22d was a case of “well, it has to be.”

    Other than that it was all smiles and aha!s. I thought the clues superbly crafted and highlighted the across clues between 10 and 13 as well as 20d.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  6. Started off well but slowed up fast in nw corner. Admitted defeat and needed hint with 18d as I was trying to use mar reversed as damage. Never heard of menorah before, but should have worked it out really.
    I stuck lakeland in as well without thinking about it properly. We had an Airedale years ago to make matters worse!
    Looking forward to the next Donnybrook, so thanks to him/her and to Bufo

  7. I enjoyed this one – I thought that Donnybrook had really upped his/her game since earlier puzzles. 14d seems odd and I wondered whether ‘entertaining’ was a mangled version of the intended word – ‘executing’ would fit the bill and make the surface amusing.
    I liked lots of clues including 10a, 12a, 15d and 20d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Bufo.

  8. We had a very slow start but gradually found an answer here and another there until, finally, it was complete. We confess to having to look up the 5d term to check it existed.

    Favourites were 20d and 10a but, most of all, we were struck by how good Donnybrook’s surfaces are, which often made it difficult to get that all-important initial toehold on a clue.

    We agree with Bufo’s ratings (is CS having us on?) and thank him and Donnybrook.

  9. I enjoyed this one immensely.

    I was in the ‘occasionally dodgy surface’ wolf pack for yesterday’s Stick Insect puzzle, for my sins, and so it was a treat to solve today’s smoothly and elegantly put together Scoobies. Bit of a craftsperson is our Donnybrook, very neat constructor, and I’m looking forward to his or her future offerings.

    As I opined up the thread in reply, I was fine with ‘one entertaining relations’: the definition is misleading, but fair since a raconteur ‘entertains’ (considers or is willing to adopt) ‘relations’ (stories).

    Thank you so much Donnybrook and also Bufo for a lovely blog, which needs just a little correction at 13A.

  10. Pretty tricky – I had the bottom half solved entirely, then 4d before anything else in the top half. 24a, 18d, 5d & 2d all new to me. Haven’t worked out the logic for the last three letters of 4a yet, either. Definitely not quite on wavelength with this setter, but all fairly clued so I can’t complain.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Bufo.

  11. I found this at the more difficult end of the spectrum. 5d was my only one in for a long time, and then slowly the SE corner came into focus. The NW corner I found particularly difficult with 2d and 8a not being words that are always on the tip of my tongue, but I did like the squeeze in 12a. I enjoyed it very much, once underway. Many thanks to all.

  12. Just realised today’s toughie number is my year of birth. No doubt that will to others over the next few weeks, just a little extra something to enjoy.

    1. I’ll have to wait until 13th Feb for mine – sounds like a good enough excuse for a pint to me

  13. We had to work quite hard with this one and found plenty to keep us smiling and chuckling.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  14. Magnificent puzzle with extremely strong surface readings. Quite liking Donnybrook’s style, who seems well-suited to Toughie puzzles.

  15. Say **/*** for difficulty here. The musical phrase was new to me, but the rest was pretty common vocabulary. A little too tricky to be a back pager, perhaps, and it did take me longer than today’s… Enjoyable throughout.

  16. This was only my second Donnybrook, which I found far more to my liking or understanding than I did yesterday’s offering from Stick Insect, which I gave up on half completed this evening. Some excellent clues which needed a great deal of unpicking. Pleased to have completed it, albeit with Bufo’s help. Thanks to both setter and Bufo.

  17. Top marks from my part.
    Loved the way the clues were written.
    Right on wavelength.
    A lovely new addition to the toughie world.
    Thanks to DB and to Bufo for the review.

  18. A bit late just about covers my comments at the moment.
    I enjoyed this but found it quite difficult – don’t think I’ve done a Toughie set by Donnybrook before so this was new territory for me.
    I got into a pickle with the first word of 4d although the second part was OK.
    2d was a new word – sounds a bit like a cross between an ambush and a cavalcade but probably isn’t.
    8a caused trouble but shouldn’t have done.
    I particularly liked 19a and 20d and my favourite was 11a – made me laugh quite a lot.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for the crossword and to Bufo for the hints.

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