Toughie 2054 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2054

Toughie No 2054 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I had few problems today. There were no words that I hadn’t met before and it all went in fairly easily

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Song about exploit in musical (8)
CAROUSEL: A song of joy or praise round ‘to exploit’ = the title of a Rodgers and Hammerstein musical

9a    Say badger new man in East End residence? (8)
OMNIVORE: Badgers eat both animal and vegetable food. N (new) and a man’s name inside an ‘ome (East End residence)

10a    This woman’s opening immoral houses! (4)
BAWD: A female brothel-keeper = W (the first letter of WOMAN) inside ‘immoral’. The whole clue provides the definition

11a    Offence and fellow’s inappropriate response? (12)
MANSLAUGHTER: Unlawful homicide without malice aforethought = a fellow + the S from ‘S + an inappropriate response to the offence

13a    Group that cuts grass in meeting again (8)
REUNITED: A group of persons forming a subdivision of a larger body goes inside a tall stiff marsh or water grass

15a    Wear down a nail point (6)
ABRADE: A + a type of small nail + a point of the compass

16a    Go / to wound as Casca (4)
STAB: 2 meanings: a go or attempt/to wound (as Casca did Caesar)

17a    Fitness expert demands silence (5)
PEACE: This could be a fitness (physical education) expert

18a    Peter Sellers holds tongue (4)

20a    Mountain, cold in two areas, and beast there (6)
ALPACA: A high mountain + C (cold) in A and A (two areas) = an animal found in the Andes

21a    Dead bird boy finds outside (8)
EXTERNAL: ‘Dead’ + an aquatic bird related to the gulls + a boy’s name

23a    Lord investing pound accepted monetary system (4,8)
GOLD STANDARD: Lord (a deity) round L (pound) + ‘accepted’

26a    Roman law pursues one prickly family (4)
ILEX: I (one) + the Latin word for ‘law’ = the holly genus

27a    Express view on spreading rat poison (8)
ATROPINE: An anagram (spreading) of RAT + ‘to express a view’ = a poisonous alkaloid found in deadly nightshade

28a    Envoy‘s European member appearing in court (8)
DELEGATE: E (European) and a member (limb) inside ‘to court’


2d    Stories forgotten about English poetic reversal (8)
ANAPAEST: Stories or anecdotes or literary gossip (3) + ‘forgotten’ or ‘bygone’ (4) round E (English). I knew that this word had something to do with poetry but I’d no idea what

3d    Husband, small and imperial, perhaps climber (3,4,5)
OLD MAN’S BEARD: A husband (3,3) + S (small) + something of which an imperial (as popularised by Napoleon III) is an example = a climbing plant also known as traveller’s joy

4d    Small seal, or ugly duckling mentioned (6)
SIGNET: A homophone of an ugly duckling as in the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale

5d    Loaf of bread cut (4)
LOLL: ‘To loaf’ = bread (money) with the last letter removed

6d    Brood over note in Caribbean republic (8)
INCUBATE: IN and a Caribbean republic + a note

7d    Rail firm motto: every second counts! (4)
COOT: A rail (water bird) = a firm + alternate letters of MOTTO

8d    Spare theatre day before occupied by religious instruction (8)
REPRIEVE: ‘To spare’ = a theatre + religious instruction + the day before

12d    Business in an Arab market? (5-7)
HORSE-TRADING: Here the Arab is a type of animal

14d    Elizabethan favourite died a dissolute man (5)
DRAKE: D (died) + a dissolute man

16d    City in Ghana is built round harbour’s front (8)
SHANGHAI: An anagram (built) of GHANA IS round H (first letter of HARBOUR)

17d    Large insect found in Escoffier’s bread fruit (8)
PLANTAIN: L (large) and an insect inside the French word for ‘bread’ = a type of banana

19d    Necessary restraint shown as bum needing whack (4,4)
SEAT BELT: A restraint required by law = a bum (the buttocks) + ‘to whack’

22d    Tango composer in treatment for narrow mind? (6)
TRAVEL: T (tango) + the name of a French composer = something that is said to broaden the mind

24d    Spinning bait in lake and river (4)
LURE: An angler’s brightly coloured artificial bait = L (lake) and a Yorkshire river

25d    Require no introduction for one news supremo (4)
NEED: ONE with the first letter removed + a newspaper chief


22 comments on “Toughie 2054

  1. No words you hadn’t met before, Bufo? We had not encountered the three letter word for literary gossip needed for 2d, nor the actual answer to 2d, so it’s a 4* puzzle for us.

    Most enjoyable nevertheless. Our favourite was 22d for the penny drop moment. Liked 10a too.

    Thanks to Bufo and Donnybrook.

  2. All done in around back page time except for three eight-letter words, each with a double unch (grumpy face). Got two of them after some sweat but gave up on 2d. I didn’t know the answer or the first part of the wordplay, and don’t necessarily equate past with forgotten. Add in the double unch and I was on a hiding to nothing with that one!

  3. Fairly straightforward though I had to check that 9a was a person rather than an activity. I knew the 2d word though I was hazy on its meaning. Thanks to Donnybrook and Bufo.
    I don’t really know why ‘ugly’ is included in 4d – it makes the answer glaringly obvious.
    My favourite clue was 7d – a bit of satire on the problems currently being encountered by rail passengers in some areas?

  4. Really enjoyed this one.

    I agree with Gazza about 7D, though ‘every second train turns up’ would be more accurate according to my ongoing experience. Anyway, a fine puzzle from Donny with his usual uninterrupted surfaces. I picked out 10 18 and 21 across for special mention, and 5 down. 19 down caused a ‘bum needing whack’ kind of a giggle.

    Super stuff, super blog, thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  5. Oh my, I had a dreadful time with this. Progress for me was VERY slow, but I eventually got the bottom half. In the top half, I had not heard of the poetic reversal in 2d nor the climber in 3d (and I did not have the association for imperial). In a sea of blank spaces I optimistically put ‘rebanded’ for 13a which did not help any. I should have been able to get some of the ones I didn’t, but I really wasn’t remotely on the right wavelength, and I probably should have given up sooner than I did. Thanks to all.

  6. Ana means literary gossip??? Or are they initials rather than a three-letter word?

  7. ANA means a collection of reminiscences etc. It pops up fairly often in the quality daily puzzles, especially The Times.

    Agree with the choice of 10A for CoD. Some pretty good runners-up however, and the usual smooth-as-silk surfaces.

    Thank you both Donnybrook and Bufo.

  8. Parsing 2d was our stumbling block and in the end needed a check in BRB and were surprised to find the needed three letter word there. 9a also took some time. Guess it was the combination of a rather rare male name being clued simply as ‘man’ in an answer that has an inconvenient double unch might have been responsible for that.
    Plenty to enjoy and certainly not a rapid solve for us.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Bufo.

  9. Well done on your GK knowledge, Bufo, I didn’t know the lady at 10a (have tried but failed to find a connection between her and the word ‘brothel), the imperial beard or the stories/poetic reversal in 2d. Can someone explain the latter to me – all I can come up with as a definition is that it concerns stressed and unstressed syllables.

    My other sticking point, which was totally my own fault, was the parsing of 5d where I was stuck with the idea of a bread ‘roll’ being involved!

    Ticks here went to 17a & 12d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Bufo for knowing all the answers!

    1. A bawdy house is an old name for a brothel.
      My Oxford Dictionary of English says that anapaest derives from a Greek word meaning reversed, so called because it’s the reverse of a dactyl. A dactyl is a metrical foot consisting of one long syllable followed by two short syllables whereas an anapaest is the reverse (two short syllables followed by one long).
      I hope you’re learning all this because there will be a test later.

      1. Thank you Gazza – I’ve at least got a grip on the anapaest issue now but could we possibly have the test within the next few hours?
        I’m OK with bawdy house = brothel, I was trying to find a common root from which both bawd(y) and brothel sprang – there doesn’t seem to be one.

        1. This is what the Oxford Dictionary of English (ODE) has to say:


          ▶ noun archaic a woman in charge of a brothel.

          – origin late Middle English: shortened from obsolete bawdstrot, from Old French baudestroyt ‘procuress’, from baude ‘shameless

  10. Found it quite tough and needed the hints to understand my possible answers in 2d and 9a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Bufo for the review.

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