Toughie 2073 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2073

Toughie No 2073 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Fairly straightforward but pleasurable – thanks Donnybrook.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

2a High Church breaking contract for event (12)
STEEPLECHASE: start with an adjective meaning high (of a price, say) then insert an abbreviation for church into a contract.

8a Japanese fighter in love (4)
ZERO: double definition – my last answer because although the answer seemed obvious from the checkers I didn’t know this Japanese WWII fighter aircraft.

9a Coin once passed round in secret session (8)
SESTERCE: an old Roman coin is hidden in reverse.

10a Vicious about God, priest and PM twice (8)
DISRAELI: reverse the first name of Mr Vicious and add the Egyptian sun god and an Old Testament priest.

11a Passion ultimately consumed groom (6)
NEATEN: the ultimate letter of ‘passion’ is followed by a past participle meaning consumed.

12a Very quiet shopping centre? (10)
PIANISSIMO: what’s found at the centre of the word ‘shopping’?

13a Sport’s scheduled for autumnal shade (6)
RUSSET: string together the abbreviation for a fifteen-a-side sport, the ‘S and a past participle meaning scheduled or arranged.

16a Fabric salesman in City travelling west (5)
CREPE: an abbreviated salesman goes inside the reversal of the area code for the City of London.

17a Jack for instance performing in 60 Minutes (6)
HONOUR: other examples could be a king or queen. Put an adverb meaning performing inside a time lasting 60 minutes.

18a Detective faked news — it’s in Observer (3-7)
EYE-WITNESS: an informal word for a private detective followed by an anagram (faked) of NEWS IT’S.

21a Put aside shilling given to communist (6)
STORED: weld together the abbreviation for a pre-decimal shilling, TO and an informal word for a communist.

23a Is it shot through with cinnamon and raisins? (8)
TURNOVER: a semi-all-in-one. This baked pastry comes from a charade of a shot or ‘go’ and an adverb meaning through or finished.

24a Scraps in shower after match? (8)
CONFETTI: cryptic definition of what may be showered on the happy couple.

25a Bible book showing last character in generation (4)
EZRA: insert the 26th character in a generation or period of time.

26a Grilled deer rotating in pieces (12)
INTERROGATED: an anagram (in pieces) of DEER ROTATING.

Down Clues

1d Riviera location here in France, and house in Florence (6)
MEDICI: this is the name of the Florentine family which wielded great political power for most of three centuries (and provided three Popes during that time). Stick together an informal term for the area of the French Riviera and the French word for ‘here’.

2d Instrument son on air plays with restrained piano? (9)
SOPRANINO: this is a type of wind instrument (new to me) which could be a saxophone or clarinet. It’s an anagram (plays) of SON ON AIR with the abbreviation for piano contained within it.

3d Two letters mentioned outrageous act (6)
EXCESS: the sound of two English letters joined together.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

4d Invite VIPs to get free background check (8,7)
POSITIVE VETTING: this is a security check into someone’s background. It’s an anagram (free) of INVITE VIPS TO GET.

5d Tragic scene wrong in European traditions (8)
ELSINORE: insert a wrong or act of ungodliness into the abbreviation for European and a word for traditions and knowledge passed down through the generations. The answer is the place where Hamlet did his dithering.

6d Animal in elevated position heard female (5)
HYENA: cement together a homophone of an adjective meaning in an elevated position and a female forename (one associated with an old battleaxe in Coronation Street).

7d Man inside cries out bad news (8)
SICKENER: insert an abbreviated male forename (a one-time mayor of London, say) into an anagram (out) of CRIES. That’s two clues in a row where we have to get names with no wordplay, which can only be got by guessing the answer from the definition and the rest of the clue then working backwards.

14d Patronised and desperate in South Atlantic (9)
SPONSORED: insert an adjective meaning desperate or urgent into the abbreviation for South and an informal and humorous term for the Atlantic ocean.

15d Coward‘s circle in place with Scottish links (8)
POLTROON: insert the circular letter into the abbreviation for place and append the name of a Scottish golf course where the Open Championship is regularly held to get one of my favourite words.

16d Shark, maybe clever, cleaned out Fleet Street boss (8)
CREDITOR: this shark is usually preceded by ‘loan’. Gut the word clever and add the usual newspaper boss.

19d Break in — sound pleased about it outside (6)
IRRUPT: reverse a verb to make a sound of pleasure inside IT.

20d Chain letter read out on radio (6)
SIERRA: one of the words from the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

22d Security provider with stock to plunder (5)
RIFLE: double definition, the first a noun and the second a verb. Stock here is the wooden part of a firearm. ‘Security provider’ seems an odd definition – am I missing something?

Top clues for me were 10a, 12a and 14d. Do let us know which one(s) made your playlist.

30 comments on “Toughie 2073

  1. I’ve gone ‘incognito’ for a second attempt at posting a comment from my tablet

    I always have trouble getting on the Donnybrook wavelength and today was no exception. Once I’d emailed a friend to ask whether it was me or our setter, Gnome’s Law kicked in and I then made steady progress, ending up in the first time for a while with a Proper Toughie time

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

  2. ** Gazza? This was approaching **** for me – couldn’t get into the swing of it at all. Never having heard of 15d didn’t help. Slow going for me and a bit of a slog by the end of it.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook all the same, and to Gazza for the nudges. *** and some, ** and a bit.

  3. Certainly not plain sailing for me. I didn’t know the Japanese fighter, the old coin or the instrument and had forgotten that I actually did know the coward, the definition of break in and the chain. To cap it all, I couldn’t see the parsing of 12a for love nor money.
    Ho hum – ‘could try harder’ is definitely my score!

    At least I remembered 17a so awarded myself half a point for that.
    Favourite was 24a.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza – not least for putting me out of my misery over the shopping centre.

  4. I didn’t find it that easy. I didn’t know the japanese fighter either, nor the coward, instrument, the background check (but easily solved) and i wasn’t sure of the bad news.

    I liked 10a 17a 24a 16d 20d

    i wasn’t sure when i first guessed security provider with stock, but turned out to be right.

    Thanks Gazza for parsing of 14d, missed the atlantic bit hence was confused.

    21a – is TO doing double duty?

    Many thanks Donnybrooks and Gazza

  5. Thought this was going to be plain sailing till I hit the wall in the SE. Failed on 23a and 19d. 9a was well hidden. Bridge came in handy for 17a. I liked 3d and 5d as well, but 14d was my winner.

  6. A polished and erudite puzzle that I found about average difficulty and right up my street.

  7. Really liked 1d. My online dictionary had 12a as a voice not an instrument – though I suppose a voice is an instrument. I’m afraid I’m old enough not only to know 8a but remember the song “Johny’s got a zero”. Oh dear!!

    1. Chambers has 2d as an adjective meaning “(of an instrument) higher than the corresponding soprano” and as a noun “such an instrument”. I hope this means more to you than it does to me!

      1. 2d. I assumed that the pp (= pianissimo) was the instruction found on sheet music to play very soft/quiet.

  8. Gazza is possibly out on his own in having found this one easy.

    I found this latest offering from Donny to be a proper Toughie, and a serious solving challenge. Smooth surfaces as usual, and Donnybrook’s level of polish can make it very tricky to unpick clues. A satisfying ********** in my case.

    I loved 12a, once I’d reverse-parsed it, but my star clues are 14d, with the superb ‘pond’ reference, and the nice ‘Scottish links’ in the clue next door.

    Thanks Gazza (you’re TOO gifted as a solver, clearly!) and Donny.

    1. The convention here is that we don’t quote solving times so I’ve edited your comment.
      Difficulty is very subjective and in my experience it largely depends on whether or not you get two or three strategically placed answers early on.

  9. When I read Gazza’s hints,I had a serious facepalm moment! I’d put in the wrong answer for 8A which took out the checker for 1D. Will someone tell me that Donnybrook is a lady called Rebecca! Thanks to Gazza and Donnybrook.

    1. I bet that your answer for 8a was Sumo – that was my initial thought but I couldn’t parse it.
      The identity of Donnybrook remains a mystery as far as I am concerned but his/her inclusion in the list of Toughie setters is very welcome.

        1. You’re right – well remembered. BD identified him (from his forename he’s definitely a he) in Toughie 2033 – see here.

  10. Interesting to note that there is quite a divide here between those who found this benign and those who found it tricky. We had the same divide in our solving team. Several clues where we had to consult references but we don’t see that as a problem. Favourite was 12a as it took longer than it should have to twig the wordplay.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  11. I found that difficult and I too put in sumo which threw me. I got 12a as the meaning of pp and thought that was rather neat! I also liked 10a. Many thanks for the hints which were definitely needed!

  12. Well I wouldn’t have raised either or both eyebrows had this appeared on a Friday even.

    8a was my last in by a long way, not even thinking of the right answer, which evidently describes the contents of my brain. Yes, I too got myself stuck on sumo, but the sum didn’t equal what it needed to. I didn’t know the fighter either, and have to thank the brb’s anagram function for 2d. There were a few other things that, while not quite unknown, I had to reach very hard for and needed some help to get.

    Took me a stupidly long time to understand the middle bit of 19d – *insert appropriate cat noise* – so that ousts 12a to be my favourite today.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  13. Deceptively difficult I would say. Nice friendly-looking clues with sense-making surfaces, and a real struggle to crack them.

    Many really good clues, but my choice is 24a for its wonderfully misleading cryptic definition.

    Thanks Gazza for you super pointers, thanks Donny for a tough Toughie.

  14. Sumo. ?
    IN = present = I am here = sum = what we had ti shout out at school in roll call
    Latin for I am as we all know
    Better than the spurious zero

  15. Huh, I am so rubbish at this! But bizarrely, my first in was your last in! I have yet to go through all of these hints but I could not resist mentioning this.
    I only got 5 answers in so far! Tough is not the word.

  16. Right finished it now. What I had to do was to get on here, read the clues to the ones I had letters in for and check that what I surmised was actually right before going any further. Then finished off by just looking at the last few that I was never going to get. Hats off to any one who can finish this one on their own. 9a I tried for ages to get an anagram for “coin once” as felt “passed round ” indicated an anagram. 12a completely obvious to me, but then I can play and sing a bit. Am ashamed that I am a Bridge player yet still did not get 17a. To me 21a, a shilling is a “bob” so this really got me fooled. 2d, no chance without a dictionary, a high toned sax indeed! 3d, yes well, got it but does the answer match the definition? Agree totally about having to guess a name at more or less random for 7d. 6d was easier having already got the final “a”. 15d had me thinking “Noel” for ages so never got that. And only the NRA can honestly believe that the answer to 22d is a “security provider” !!!!!

    All in all a real £$%£er to do today! why do I keep on trying?

    1. You keep on trying because the struggle is enjoyable (and the more puzzles you try the better at them you become!).

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