Toughie 2089 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2089

Toughie No 2089 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Today we have a solid though not terribly sparkling puzzle with plenty of ways in but a few clues where (for me at any rate) assistance had to be sought from Mr Google and Mr B R Book to verify that what the wordplay was suggesting was indeed known. Thanks to Donnybrook.

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

Across Clues

1a Pedant and stoic clash violently (10)
SCHOLASTIC: an anagram (violently) of STOIC CLASH gives us a word (a noun in this case) for a pedantic teacher.

6a Sword cutting more flesh from this? (4)
CLAY: remove ‘more’ from a Scottish sword to leave a literary word for the human body.

8a Stop and arrest when finding missionary (8)
BARNABAS: string together a verb to stop or prevent, an informal verb to arrest and a synonym for ‘when’. This chap was apparently an early Christian missionary.

9a Lesser gorgons holding back another fierce woman (6)
OGRESS: hidden in reverse.

10a Ruled out old notion about daughter having died (8)
EXCLUDED: throw together a prefix meaning old, a notion or inkling containing the abbreviation for daughter and, finally, the genealogical abbreviation for died.

11a Given life, losing heart after temporary release rejected (6)
LIABLE: the word ‘life’ without its middle follows the reversal of a temporary release from custody.

12a Cold beer first — one Guinness so handled (4)
ALEC: the abbreviation for cold is preceded by another word for beer.

14a Man abroad grabbing at politician (7)
SENATOR: a Spanish man contains AT.

18a Shake from second-hand milk dispenser (7)
SHUDDER: charade of the abbreviation for second-hand and an organic milk dispenser.

20a Swan for one and others finding peace (4)
REST: triple definition. The swan is an implement used by snooker players (although Chambers doesn’t recognise it).

23a Prospect with men vacating isthmus (6)
PANAMA: remove the abbreviation for rank-and-file soldiers from a prospect or vista.

24a Deny Blunt’s smuggled dope from the East (8)
ABNEGATE: a transitive verb to blunt or tone down contains the reversal of an informal word for dope or information.

25a British couple from Rome hiding kilo in costume (6)
BIKINI: an abbreviation for British and the Roman numeral for two contain the abbreviation for kilo and IN.

26a Kid held by inspector put away for attack (8)
DIATRIBE: a verb to kid or tease goes inside the abbreviation for a police inspector and a verb meaning put away or consumed.

27a Sulphur removed from Salisbury plant (4)
ARUM: start with the old name for Salisbury and remove the chemical symbol for sulphur (or sulfur as we’re supposed to spell it now).

28a Country seen in alternative light after month (10)
MOTHERLAND: it took me a long time to get this as I was looking for a specific country. Knit together the single-letter abbreviation for month, an adjective meaning alternative or contrasting and a verb to light or alight.

Down Clues

1d Lower class corruptly use bungs (8)
SUBGENUS: an anagram (corruptly) of USE BUNGS.

2d Frost not a great poet (6)
HORACE: remove the A from a word for a white frost and append an informal adjective meaning great or superb.

3d French article put forward case: right to leave union (6)
LEAGUE: a French definite article and a verb to put forward or contend without the abbreviation for right.

4d Free programs run, brought in encrypted as we hear (9)
SHAREWARE: how many of you were fooled (as I was) into assuming that ‘as we hear’ was signalling a homophone? What we actually need is an anagram (encrypted) of AS WE HEAR containing the abbreviation for a run in cricket.

5d Tomb about to be seen by Pound coming into city church (8)
CROMLECH: this is a Welsh word for a tomb or prehistoric stone circle (not a word I knew). Start with an abbreviation for about or approximately, add a European city containing the abbreviation for a pound sterling and finish with an abbreviation for church. The tomb may have been obscure but the setter has been kind in giving us five out of eight checking letters.

6d Supporting female scientist crossing river from the south (8)
CARYATID: the surname of an English theoretical physicist (something else I didn’t know) contains the name of a Scottish river and that all gets reversed.

7d Soul beat wild and perfect (8)
ABSOLUTE: an anagram (wild) of SOUL BEAT.

13d Found pleasure going topless — mad to turn up inside (9)
ESTABLISH: a synonym of pleasure or delight without its first letter contains the reversal of an informal 4-letter word meaning mad or bonkers.

15d Tree forced flat to sprawl among scattered pears (8)
ESPALIER: insert a verb to sprawl or recline inside an anagram (scattered) of PEARS.

16d Location of underwater activity miles after sign for docking (8)
AQUARIUM: one of the signs of the zodiac without its last letter has the abbreviation for miles added.

17d Being church musician, mass preferred to last piece (8)
ORGANISM: a church musician with his or her last letter replaced by the abbreviation for mass in physics.

19d So-called priest has to tear round all the time (8)
REVEREND: a verb to tear contains an adverb meaning ‘at all times’.

21d Recovered gambler? (6)
BETTER: double definition, the first meaning ‘restored to health’.

22d Sea advanced to claim river and harbour (6)
MARINA: a literary word for sea and the abbreviation for advanced contain the abbreviation for river.

My favourite clue was 18a with its clever surface. Do let us know which one(s) did it for you.

23 comments on “Toughie 2089

  1. Even though it turned out I knew all the required ‘stuff’, this still took me a proper Toughie time which pleased me no end

    Thanks to Donnybrook for the brain stretching and Gazza for the illustrated explanations

  2. I’d agree with Gazza’s assessment of this puzzle. The 20a across rest is properly called a ‘swan neck’ which I suspect may be in the BRB?

    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza

  3. A tough one for me involving quite a lot of checking with the BRB.
    I hadn’t heard of 4d or the scientist in 6d and had to dig deep to recall the Welsh tomb (no excuse there!) and the 20a rest.
    Can’t get my head round the synonym in 11a – can you enlighten me, Gazza?

    18a raised a smile but that was about the height of it for me.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza for the blog.

    1. 11a My Oxford Thesaurus of English gives as an example of ‘given’ in the sense of ‘liable’: She was given to having temper tantrums.

      1. Umm – but I feel that would mean changing ‘having’ to ‘have’ in order to make it read sensibly.
        Thanks, Gazza, I shall just remain slightly disgruntled!

        1. I agree it’s not great. The Chambers Crossword Dictionary does give ‘liable’ under ‘given’ but not the other way round.

    2. 11a it’s l(if)e without heart, after a reversal of BAIL = temporary release. oh sorry, did you mean the definition, I see gazza has answered

  4. Thanks gazza for explaining 6a which had me stumped. In retrospect, I had heard of the sword, but the human body bit was new to me. I wasn’t familiar with the other name for Salisbury, but it had to be. I also didn’t manage to squeeze “forced flat” into the definition for 15d, which caused some confusion.

    A great puzzle I thought. I really liked 12a, 18a, 24a, 25a, 2d and more

    Many thanks donnybrooks

  5. I agree with you Dutch, an array of subtleties here, and a proper tough puzzle. You can add 4d for the nice homophone indication ruse, and the soul beat one I thought was pretty good as well.

    Speaking of subtle, the ‘given’ one stands well I think, as if you’re given to seizures (for example) you’re liable to them. Took me a while to see that one, but the PDM was worth it.

    Thanks to Gazza for the tips, thanks to Donnybrook for a well-spent *********.

    [I’ve edited your comment as the convention here is that we don’t quote solving times. Gazza]

    1. I know it’s against the rules but I would quite like to know how long some people take. The fact that the blog goes up at 2 pm shows that the experts are much quicker than I could ever be. For the record, I tend to be slow and have been known to spend most of a weekend over an Elgar. I am more likely to be impressed than disheartened.

  6. A proper Toughie on a Wednesday, what a treat.
    I confess with time pressing I cheated on 6d. The answer is a new word for me and the wordplay says basically pick a random river, put it inside a random scientist and turn it all upside down. Donnybrook was not giving much away there! Still it was probably a write in for all Scottish physicists with an interest in architecture…

  7. I enjoyed this for the most part but failed on 5d and 11 across.
    I think I can see what the setter was trying to do at 12 across but the very cold beer was drunk by John Mills (not Alec Guinness) in Alex(andria) (the lovely oldie “Ice Cold In Alex”)

  8. A bit too hard for me , and I needed a number of hints and reveals .
    18a was my favourite .
    Thanks to Gazza and Donnybrook.

  9. I thought this was a terrific puzzle, and I enjoyed it very much. The SE corner went in last, and VERY slowly. I had the definitions pencilled in (correctly) long before I could figure out how they all worked from the word play. In the end, and disappointingly, my only defeat was with 6a. I had the word play, but I did not know any sword that I could remove the ‘more’ from, and I was not aware of the flesh reference. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza.

  10. Solved this out and about which may have had some bearing, but the clock on my app showed I’d spent a 5* time on it. I missed a couple of easier ones but still found this a significant challenge, with aids needed in a couple of places. 6a was the most problematic, with both ends hard.

    I did enjoy 18a (and love the pic!), but my favourite is 12a.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  11. Cannot believe I got this done in daylight, I don’t usually start the toughie until I am in the bath. I needed you, Gaza, for 5d and 10a ‘cos I got 3D wrong – and I just knew 6d without understanding the parsing until you explained it. Thank you Donnybrook – I have a cousin living in Donnybrook Australia, do you know her ?!

  12. We had quite a lot of BRB and Mr Google input into the solving here. For the first definition in 20a we had thought that in the sense of ‘swan about’ the synonym just about worked. We did not know the 6d scientist and did not know whether we were searching for a name that started at the top or bottom of the answer. Certainly not a rapid solve for us and some of it did feel a bit of a slog but we did get everything sorted in the end.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  13. A master of innocuous surfaces is Donnybrook. Getting into it I really enjoyed this understated and tough puzzle. I’m going for 6a 12a 18a 2d and 4d, but that’s not to say there weren’t others.

    Re Guinness, I’m really not sure Ice Cold in Alec (?) was intended, and ‘given’ works for me as is. Terrific stuff.

    1. ‘Ice Cold in Alex’ is not relevant here. “So handled” just means ‘with such a name or handle’.

  14. So, a proper tough Toughie. I struggled to parse 24ac and 22d, and needed a little help up in the NE corner, especially with my LOI, 6d. A what? A nice challenge.

Comments are closed.