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Toughie 2180

Toughie No 2180 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

This is an interesting mixture of fairly straightforward clues (e.g. 9a and 3d where the answers leap out at you) and clues with clever and misleading definitions (e.g. 11a, 6d and 20d) which provoke thoughts along the lines “How on earth does that mea….? – Ah”. I enjoyed it – thanks Donnybrook.

Those who read or contributed to yesterday’s back-page blog will find 4d and 15d especially interesting.

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

Across Clues

1a Giant pig carrying dog around (7)
GOLIATH: put a pig round a verb to dog and reverse it all.

5a Old soldier fired in anticipation (7)
HOPLITE: this is an ancient Greek foot soldier (new to me). Insert a synonym of fired or ignited into another word for anticipation.

9a Heartburn Pepys said should be treated (9)
DYSPEPSIA: an anagram (should be treated) of PEPYS SAID.

10a Against introducing one live percussion instrument (5)
VIBES: a 2-letter abbreviation meaning against or ‘opposed to’ contains the Roman numeral for one and a verb to live. The answer is a short word for an instrument similar to a xylophone.

11a Bottom fan in ship, American, initially cut out (7)
TITANIA: stick together the name of the most famous (and least successful) passenger ship and a single-letter abbreviation for American then remove the initial letter of ‘cut’.

12a Speaker’s expression, crude perhaps, bringing disorder (7)
TURMOIL: start with what sounds like an expression or phrase and append what crude or unrefined is a type of.

13a Here plant growth may be seen in graph done wrongly (3-6)
HOP-GARDEN: an anagram (wrongly) of GRAPH DONE.

16a Short story being broadcast, one that grips (5)
TALON: a synonym for a story without its last letter and an adverb meaning ‘being broadcast’.

17a Spirit seen in March and November (5)
DEMON: a short word for a march or rally followed by the letter that November is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

18a Problem for walker on island, needing sign (9)
CAPRICORN: a problem growth suffered by walkers follows the name of an Italian island.

21a Dog that is sent back after biting (4-3)
SHAR-PEI: reverse the abbreviation for ‘that is’ following an adjective meaning biting or chilly.

22a Base has cargo brought round front (7)
LEADING: front here is an adjective as in ‘the front runner’. The letter used for the base in natural logarithms is contained in a word for cargo or freight.

25a Books returned in totally tropical paradise (5)
ATOLL: reverse the abbreviation for some Biblical books inside a synonym of totally. Some of these (especially in the Maldives) are marketed to tourists as a tropical paradise but the word doesn’t actually mean that so I think the clue needs a question mark.

26a Ready to excuse faults in largely boring chap (9)
INDULGENT: knit together IN, an adjective meaning boring without its last letter and a posh chap.

27a Predict charge to cover valued metal sources (7)
FORESEE: a word for charge or price contains materials from which valuable metals can be extracted.

28a Clouds from high blue area gathered in north-east (7)
NEBULAE: insert an anagram (high) of BLUE and the abbreviation for area into the abbreviation for north-east.

Down Clues

1d Leave spouse in Bow and settle equitably (2,5)
GO DUTCH: a verb to leave and how a wife might be referred to in Bow (which is at the heart of Cockneyland).

2d Sound tip for music writer (5)
LISZT: homophone of a verb to tip or lean.

3d Finding energy in a can, dined at home (3,2)
ATE IN: A and a metal can contain the abbreviation for energy.

4d Man United having to manage wisely (7)
HUSBAND: a man who’s been united. Lovely clue!

5d Buoy, made with clay, but hard on top (7)
HEARTEN: buoy here is a verb. Start with an adjective meaning ‘made of clay’ then relocate the abbreviation for hard to the top.

6d Air ace unsettled patriot holding Bible (9)
PAVAROTTI: an anagram (unsettled) of PATRIOT containing the abbreviation for a version of the Bible authorised by King James I (or James VI if you are Scottish).

7d Big limo or convertible in massive jam (9)
IMBROGLIO: an anagram (convertible) of BIG LIMO OR.

8d Refusal to receive Liberal is picked up in letter (7)
EPSILON: a slang word of refusal contains the abbreviation for the Liberal party and IS. Reverse the lot.

14d Ceremony requires a severe hairstyle (9)
POMPADOUR: cement together a word for ceremony or pageantry, A and an adjective meaning severe or grim.

15d An Italian city and southern capital (9)
ANNAPOLIS: glue together AN, the Italian spelling of an Italian city and the abbreviation for southern to get a US state capital.

17d Rod following obese man sent north (7)
DISTAFF: weld together the abbreviation for following, an adjective meaning obese and a man’s short name and then reverse it all. I can imagine Rabbit Dave sucking his teeth!

18d Hint given about one error in French cooking (7)
CUISINE: a hint or signal contains the Roman numeral for one and a moral lapse.

19d Young man breaking bread for French champion (7)
PALADIN: insert a young man into the French word for bread.

20d Late shift perhaps in close connection (7)
NIGHTIE: assemble an old adjective meaning close or near and a connection or link.

23d German newspaper article drawn up freely (2-3)
AD-LIB: join together the name of a German tabloid newspaper and an indefinite article and reverse what you have.

24d Current understanding serves as example (5)
IDEAL: the abbreviation for electric current is followed by another word for an understanding or settlement.

I very much liked 4d and 6d but my favourite, for the laugh it produced, was 11a. Do let us know which one(s) had you in stitches.

17 comments on “Toughie 2180

  1. For the second day running, the most fiendish crossword in Fleet Street was to be found elsewhere

    However, the wonderful 11a is surely one to be added to the list for ‘definition of the year’

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

  2. Yes, some great definitions today. As well as the 11a “bottom fan” I also marked “Man United” of 4d, 6d’s “air ace” and the “night shift” in 20d.

    Favourites for whole-clue goodness were 17a and 26a.

    One fail to report: in 22a I wanted a wrong answer for the wrong reasons. It seemed all wrong and so it proved. Otherwise, just had to check that 5a existed.

    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza. Liked the cartoon – and 20d, of course.

  3. I absolutely loved this! So much to smile about. 15D was a ‘gimme’ for me since it’s my State Capital, and a lovely place to visit too. Favorites are 11A (my top pick) 1A, 4D, 20D, and of course 15D. Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  4. I think Gazza has summed this up nicely in his preamble.

    I found a lot of this very challenging especially in the bottom half but there were enough relatively straightforward clues to get a foothold in each sector. As others have noted, there were several absolutely wonderful definitions on show and I would have liked to have said that it was a joy from start to finish. However, my last two in, 15d & 17d, slightly took the gloss off it for me. My teeth have been duly sucked, Gazza, and I can see I am going to need to remember all 50 US state capitals in future as their inclusion seems to be the in thing. Sigh!

    There were certainly a lot of clues which came into consideration as my favourite, but, as one of those sad MU fans who gets confused when shown a map of Manchester, 4d gets my vote, especially as recently replacing Jose with Ole has shown the great benefits of managing wisely.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza.

  5. I struggled with the right hand side of this puzzle but things improved after a 6d “doh” moment, apart from 5a for which I had to consult Gazza.

    As a novice, I found this puzzle more taxing than other solvers have, but it was also very enjoyable, with 9a and 6d being my favourites.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

  6. I enjoyed this very much, and found it a perfect level of difficulty for me. There were so many clues to like with those already mentioned at the top of the list. I think I must pronounce 16a incorrectly (not that I pronounce it very often) because I couldn’t make the homonym to work. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza.

    1. I’m not sure what you mean about 16a – there’s no homophone involved. Its TAL[e] (short story) + ON (being broadcast, as in “the programme’s on at 7:30”).

  7. Very much a crossword of two halves, left v right, however I got there in the end. 21a didn’t pose a problem to me as the owners of my local have one! Very satisfying to actually finish it. Huge thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza.

  8. Probably my favourite of the offerings I’ve tackled from this setter. Loved the three misleading definitions mentioned by Gazza but also had the same issue as he did with the definition of paradise in 25a.
    Learned a new soldier but will doubtless have forgotten him by the time he turns up again!

    All the above-mentioned misleading clues got podium places but top spot went to 21a for its perfect surface read.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for the fun and to Gazza for the blog – especially the cartoon at 1a!

  9. Agree with the rest of the commentariat.
    Very enjoyable.
    Learned a new word in 5a.
    Ticked a lot of clues.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza.

  10. The one that held us up longest was 17a. An absolute Dooh moment when we twigged it. The whole puzzle was packed with moments like that and a real pleasure to solve. 11a gets top billing from us too.
    Thanks Donnybrook and Gazza.

  11. I thought this was a cracking puzzle with plenty of well concealed definitions and a good balance of fairly straightforward clues and tricky ones resulting in a satisfying outcome for this solver.

    As RD mentioned earlier, it was challenging but rewarding and a good example of the setter allowing the solver to “win” with some perseverance (for me at least).

    There were a couple of clues that I required Gazza’s help to parse, so thanks to him and Donnybrook for an enjoyable solve.

  12. We had only a few answers after our first pass, but then we started winkling them out one by one (spell checker tried to make that wrinkling!).

    5a was new to us too, and 17d was a new meaning of the word.

    Lots to like. Our COTD and LOI was 17d.

    Thanks to Gazza and Donnybrook.

  13. A lovely puzzle full of wonderful definitions, some fiendish, all amusing. Agree v. much with Jon P above, and with Gazza for 11a. Great stuff!

    Thanks Donny and Gazza.

  14. I suppose a lot depends upon where your interests lie. I had no trouble at all with 5a but I know absolutely nothing about logarithm bases, so 22a was my last in. It was a toss-up between ‘loading’ and ‘leading’ and I couldn’t parse either. Fortunately, I chose the right one. I also know little about oriental dogs and 21a isn’t in my elderly Chambers but I was sure that I had seen it before, so I popped it in. My favourite was 11a. Having studied ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at A-Level helped.

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