Toughie 2014 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2014

Toughie No 2014 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Last time I struggled with a Donnybrook puzzle that others found straightforward. This time I found it to be straightforward but not very exciting. The only problem I had in solving it was in trying to ignore an attention-seeking dog.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Wants facts about English team getting runs (10)
DESIDERATA: Wants (as a noun) = ‘facts’ round E (English), a team and R (runs)

8a    Duke being absent, intimidate family member (4)
AUNT: Remove D (duke) from ‘to intimidate’ to give a female relative

9a    City road morning mist envelops (9)
AMSTERDAM: A Dutch city = the abbreviation for ‘Road’ inside the abbreviation for ‘morning’ and ‘mist’

11a    Bow put around Liberal’s hat (4)
TILE: ‘Bow’ round L (liberal)

12a    Parrot magpie’s oddly ignored (3)
APE: The even-positioned letters of MAGPIE

13a    School with room for horse jumping? (9)
GYMNASIUM: 2 meanings: a school in Germany, Scandinavia, or central Europe that prepares pupils for university entrance/a room for physical exercise such as vaulting a horse

16a    Revolutionary supporter beginning to feel inferior (4)
NAFF: A reversal of a supporter + the first letter of FEEL

17a    Port in Scottish house for caller (7)
CLARION: A port in South America inside a Scottish house (family) = a type of trumpet that can preced the word ‘call’

18a    Problem eating dessert when back in bed (7)
STRATUM: A problem in arithmetic goes round a reversal of a dessert

20a    Administrator initially worked for Barnet (4)
AFRO: The first letter of ADMINISTRATOR + an anagram (worked) of FOR

21a    What about high charges current in Middle East? (9)
EUPHRATES: ‘What?’ round ‘high’ + charges = a river in the Middle East

23a    Woman debuts in Paris and Milan (3)
PAM: First letters of PARIS, AND and MILAN

24a    Extremely posh officer without commission (4)
UNCO: A single letter indication ‘posh’ + a non-commissioned officer = a Scottish word meaning ‘extremely’

25a    European travelling sees wild plant (9)
EDELWEISS: E (European) + an anagram (travelling) of SEES WILD = an Alpine flower

29a    Roman ruler in north on about love (4)
NERO: N (north) = ‘on’ reversed + O (love)

30a    Handle we use to split explosive open? (10)
TOURNAMENT: ‘Belonging to us’ and a handle inside an explosive = a sporting contest that might be an open


1d    Hard time for Olympian queen (4)
HERA: H (hard) + a long period

2d    Derisive exclamation greeting Schutzstaffel (4)
HISS: A greeting + the abbreviation for Schutzstaffel

3d    Nancy’s mother in shallow lake (4)
MERE: This word for a shallow lake is also the French word for mother (Nancy is a French town)

4d    Emotional Larwood at close lashed by savage batting (7)
MAUDLIN: The last letter of Larwood inside ‘to savage’ and ‘batting’

5d    Left quartet in riotous salon crawling about (2,3,5)
ON ALL FOURS: L (left) and a quartet inside an anagram (riotous) of SALON

7d    Two graduates coming in reshape one’s college (4,5)
ALMA MATER: Two arts graduates inside ‘to reshape’

8d    Dean madly circling races worker and steward (9)
ATTENDANT: An anagram (madly) of DEAN round motor cycle races + a worker (insect)

10d    Brown belt (3)
TAN: 2 meanings: a shade of brown/to belt

13d    Film shows elderly female in red (10)
GOLDFINGER: A James Bond film = ‘elderly’ and F (female) in ‘red-haired’

14d    Explorer wants brandy over game (5,4)
MARCO POLO: A Venetian explorer = brandy + O (over) + a game

15d    Reconciled people finally start reparations (9)
ATONEMENT: ‘Reconciled’ (2,3) + people + the last letter of START

19d    Man’s breaking record us Greeks once established here (7)
EPHESUS: ‘Man’s’ in a 45-rpm record and US = an ancient Greek city

22d    Dread uprising in Cisplatine War (3)
AWE: Hidden in reverse in CISPLATINE WAR

26d    Stick note in bundle (4)
WAND: N (note) in a bundle

27d    Foot at first intact needs a doctor (4)
IAMB: A metrical foot = the first letter of INTACT + A + a doctor

28d    Forward‘s second goal (4)
SEND: ‘To forward’ = S (second) + a goal

Sorry about the late posting. This was caused by a combination of the Loughborough bus services and my computer only agreeing to boot up on about the tenth attempt

16 comments on “Toughie 2014

  1. I thought it might’ve been a Beam production initially due to the low word count, but the absence of innuendo and the odd bit of anagramming scotched that idea.

    I enjoyed this one and found it pretty tricky to start with.

    Thanks to Bufo and Donnybrook.

  2. Donnybrook is persisting with his policy of using succinct clues (none more than eight words long) – I thought that this one was on the gentle side but I did enjoy it a lot. The clues I liked best were 13a (it helped if you learnt German at school, which was also useful for 2d), 30a and 4d.
    Thanks to the setter and Bufo.

  3. Took me the same time as the inside back pager – I’d agree with Bufo about the lack of excitement, but on the other hand there wasn’t anything to make me grumpy either

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Bufo

  4. I enjoyed this very much. It was just the perfect level of difficulty for me – no real hold-ups anywhere – just a good steady solve. There were a couple of the four letter words that I was not familiar with, but the word play was plenty generous enough to give them to me. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Bufo.

  5. Got it faxed over as office closed !
    Pretty straightforward but enjoyable.
    Just 24 I had nt heard of.
    And the = ‘ reconciled ‘? Hm.
    Thanks to Bufo & Donnybrook

  6. Tony took the words out of my mouth .A very pleasant romp.
    Thanks to the setter and Bufo .

  7. I was glad to see there were no perissodactylian obscurities today, although I’ve never heard of 24a before. Very enjoyable.. Thank you Donnybrook and Bufo.

  8. I will never forget my first meeting with 24a: in a Rufus puzzle, clued as “Very strange.” Well, my friend, I am wise to you now.

    Annoyed myself by giving up having stared at 17a and 13d for a while. Had even figured out the likely port to go in the middle of 17a … but I did a wildcard search and kicked myself. I’d pretty much convinced myself that there’d be an archaic Scots word for house I didn’t know. (Maybe the 24a scar runs deeper than I thought!) After that, I did manage to avoid having to cheat 13d too.

    My own failings aside, I thought this was a lovely puzzle and much enjoyed it.

    Picking favourites was almost a matter of sticking a pin in the grid but mine landed in 9a, 7d and 28d. 10d muuust have been done before but is brilliant.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  9. How refreshing, after yesterday, to have a straightforward puzzle with no obscurities. Now we can gird our loins for Friday’s offering!
    Thank you setter and Bufo.

  10. Surprisingly easy considering that there were 12 4-letter solutions and 4 3-letter solutions. I normally find the “pesky” little ones more of a struggle.

    Thanks to Donnybrook! Hope you get a better grid next time!

  11. Certainly quite a glut of 4 letter answers today but only 24a that was new to me. The answer seemed so unlikely that I spent quite a while looking for an alternative before doing the sensible thing and looking it up in the BRB.

    Don’t think I actually knew the meaning of 6a and I certainly struggled with the spelling of 25a until the checkers were in place.

    I was slow to get both 18a (thinking of the wrong bed) and 13d, where that shade of red hadn’t occured to me.

    No particular favourite although I did like the surface read of 5d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Bufo – hope the dog got your undivided attention once you’d finished the blog!

  12. We did a little groan when we saw the grid with all those short word answers but once we got into the puzzle they all slotted in without too many problems. A couple of flashes of inspiration on both 13d and 21a when there were very few checkers in place helped a lot by giving plenty of letters to work with. We thought it was good fun.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  13. Phew! What a week that was.
    Fashion festival now over and back to normality.
    So much to catch up on but managed to find time to start a few grids without finishing.
    Managed this one though and only had to check 24a and 19d which were new to me.
    Just realised that I didn’t fill 2d. Oops.
    Never mind. I enjoyed solving without any interruption
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Bufo.

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