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Toughie 2251

Toughie No 2251 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

As usual, Donnybrook teases and tantalises. There’s a lot to enjoy in this puzzle, and the words which were new to me were clued fairly. Favourite clue is a dead heat between 16 Down, which took a while to parse, and 19 Down, with its brilliantly conceived definition.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Fellow needs month touring unknown country (7)
MYANMAR: a fellow and a three-letter abbreviated month go around a mathematical unknown

5a    Ring for captain to supply troop with weapons? (7)
ARMBAND: a ring worn to identify the captain of a team could. If split (3,4), mean to supply a troop with weapons

9a    Perhaps a small Abyssinian pot (5)
KITTY: two definitions – Abyssinian is a type of cat and a pot is a fund of money – who did the setter have in mind when he wrote this clue?

10a    One charged expert to pen last article (9)
DEFENDANT: an adjective meaning expert around (to pen) a word meaning last and the indefinite article

11a    Stupid slur reportedly losing force (10)
DIMINUENDO: a three-letter word meaning stupid followed by what sounds like a slur or aspersion gives the musical notation for losing force or decreasing in loudness

12a    Bowl over, taking wicket ultimately in fine weather (4)
STUN: the final letter (ultimately) of [wicke]T inside some fine weather

14a    Pass duke with rapid progress (4,4,4)
HAND OVER FIST: a two-word phrase meaning to pass something followed by something colloquially called a duke

18a    Sonnet line as revised becomes dispensable (3-9)
NON-ESSENTIAL: an anagram (revised) of SONNET LINE AS

21a    Specialist brought to western front (4)
PROW: a specialist followed by W(estern)

22a    Unbalanced May’s contrived measuring system (10)
ASYMMETRIC: an anagram (contrived) of MAY’S followed by a measuring system

25a    Catch tense boy round new central zone (9)
HEARTLAND: a verb meaning to catch or listen followed by T(ense) and a boy around N(ew)

26a    Create image with line in slow speech (5)
DRAWL: a verb meaning to create an image, usually with a pencil, followed by L(ine)

27a    Excellent work secured by pin (3-4)
TOP-HOLE: a posh word for excellent is derived by putting a two-letter musical work inside a new-to-me word meaning a pin in the side of a boat to keep the oar in place

28a    Entertainer among travellers in a train (7)
SINATRA: hidden (among) inside the clue


1d    Note king having trouble with emperor (6)
MIKADO: a note of the scale in sol-fa notation followed by K(ing) and some trouble

2d    Condition in maths worked out attracting top grade (6)
ASTHMA: an anagram (worked out) of MATHS followed by a top grade

3d    Sauce from Irish county girl raised in north-east (10)
MAYONNAISE: an Irish county followed by the reversal (raised) of a girl’s name inside the abbreviation for north-east

4d    Bird losing wing and crest (5)
RIDGE: start with a nine-letter bird and drop the four-letter word meaning a wing or sector

5d    Instrument‘s first-rate hoist absorbing doubled force (9)
AFFIDAVIT: a legal instrument or declaration is derived from the two-letter indication of first-rate and a hoist used on a ship for lowering a boat around F(orce) doubled

6d    Donnybrook’s rich source (4)
MINE: two definitions – belonging to the setter and a rich source of minerals

7d    A club with rising revelry? It might make a killing (8)
ABATTOIR: the A from the clue and a club used in some sports is followed by the reversal (rising) of some boisterous revelry

8d    Set off from school in time (8)
DETONATE: a school for posh boys (who don’t know the price of milk!) inside a time

13d    Morgan dead, butchered in final battle (10)
ARMAGEDDON: an anagram (butchered) of MORGAN DEAD

15d    Energy to limit velocity when rocketing in void (4,5)
DEEP SPACE: E(nergy) followed by a verb meaning to limit and velocity, all reversed (when rocketing in a down clue)

16d    Photograph cracks (8)
SNAPSHOT: until the penny dropped I thought that something was missing from the clue – split as (4,4) the answer gives two different cracks, a breakage and an attempt

17d    Fruit centre in pod crane ripped apart (8)
ENDOCARP: the second new-to-me word of the puzzle is an anagram (ripped apart) of POD CRANE

19d    Beat time welcoming Rugby School skipper (6)
TRUANT: a verb meaning to beat and T(me) around the abbreviation for one of the codes of Rugby – brilliant definition!

20d    Mate’s going north, skirting constant danger to shipping (6)
SCYLLA: the reversal (going north in a down clue) of a mate or pal with the S from ‘S around C(onstant) gives a six-headed monster who sat over a dangerous rock on the Italian side of the Straits of Messina

23d    Legendary king married princess to son (5)
MIDAS: M(arried) followed by the princess from Gilbert & Sullivan opera and S(on)

24d    German managed, escaping Walpole’s castle (4)
OTTO: this German name is what remains after RAN (managed) is dropped (escaping) from the castle in the novel by Horace Walpole

A superb puzzle, especially for a Tuesday!


12 comments on “Toughie 2251

  1. Excellent crossword, started slow but after the first 1/3 of answers were in we cantered home although 17D was new to me. COFD 3D ***/****

  2. Very enjoyable puzzle which augurs well for the rest of the week – thanks to Dannybrook and BD (I’m sure that the setter had another reviewer in mind with 9a).
    The 27a pin and the 17d fruit centre were new words for me and I had to consult Mr Google for Walpole’s castle.
    The clues vying for top place on my podium were 5a, 16d and 19d.

  3. I think this is the first puzzle by Donnybrook I have tried. I found it most enjoyable with 19d being an outstanding clue. I almost finished without having to resort to electronic assistance but I found the SW corner a bit tricky. I had never heard of the answer to 27a nor the pin. This crossed with the Walpole’s castle which I had never come across before – I just wrote in the German name as I think it must be at least the third time I have seen it recently in a crossword. I did conjecture that the former PM might have lived in a castle of the correct name. I assumed 16d had to be the actual answer but could not see why. 17d required some trawling out of the depths of memory. So the SW corner was guessed but confirmed by Google. I also had to check Donnybrook had nothing to do with mint as a possible alternative to 6d

    I look forward to the next puzzle by Donnybrook and many thanks for BD’s explanation of 16d

  4. I too enjoyed this puzzle. with 3d my favourite. If I may just comment on Patch’s reply, the author Horace Walpole although an MP, was never PM. That was his father Robert.

  5. I found this a very enjoyable puzzle. There were few things I was not aware of – especially in SW corner. However, my last in was 6d – I had no idea who the setter was until I turned to the review. I like the skipper in 19d and the sauce in 3d. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  6. Most enjoyable. Our favourite, which we actually solved very quickly, was 16d but there were plenty of others we could have chosen..
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  7. A rare attempt at the Toughie for me, usually just a back pager. I completed this, though had to confirm a couple of bung-ins.
    Thanks to setter and for the hints.


  8. A very enjoyable crossword in many ways though I do have a quibble .
    I did the puzzle on line and the name of the setter is not given . “Donnybrook ” has two meanings for me , firstly it is a suburb of Dublin and it also means brawls or street fighting .So I never got it .
    My favourite is 9a .
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave .

  9. Tricky for a Tuesday I thought, but very enjoyable to boot.

    Thanks to BD for some parsing problems here and there and thanks to DB for a fine puzzle.

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