Toughie 2283 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2283

Toughie No 2283 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

The handful of lesser-known words were clued in such a way they could be worked out then checked in Chambers.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Long to join circle and express view (5)
OPINE: a verb meaning to long preceded by (to join) the circular letter

4a    Shell ready to take over an experimental facility (8)
CALABASH: this shell of a gourd is derived from some ready money around (to take over) A (an) and a place for experimental work or research

10a    Pack animal in tack before grand departure (7)
PASSING: put a three-letter pack animal inside a tack or nail and add G(rand)

11a    Sailor interrupting assassination at home (7)
HABITAT: our usual two-letter sailor inside an assassination and AT from the clue

12a    Bark associated with golden retriever? (4)
ARGO: this bark is a ship and the golden retriever is Jason!

13a    Charge having caught river fish (5)
TROLL: I was surprised that my entry – a charge or invoice around R(iver) to give a fish (BRILL) – was rejected, but the setter is looking for a charge or fee around R(iver) to give a verb meaning to fish with a moving bait

14a    Fourth man went down hard (4)
SETH: Adam, Cain and Abel are the first three! – a verb meaning went down (as the sun does every day) followed by H(ard)

17a    End for development with Horton Heath as alternative (2,3,5,4)
ON THE OTHER HAND: an anagram (for development) of END with HORTON HEATH – Horton Heath is a semi-rural village and forms part of the civil parish of Fair Oak and Horton Heath in the borough of Eastleigh in Hampshire (not a lot of people know that!)

19a    Get cross in game (8,6)
CONTRACT BRIDGE: get, as in to get a disease, followed by a verb meaning to cross, for example, a river

22a    Singer in market releasing right single (4)
ALTO: drop the R(ight) and I (single) from the front of an Italian market

23a    Food item with rocket served first (5)
VIAND: a three-letter word meaning with preceded by (served first) a type of rocket or bomb, powered by a simple jet engine, used by the Germans in the Second World War

24a    Alliance formed when bar not closed (4)
BLOC: an alliance of nations is derived by dropping the final letter (not closed) from a verb meaning to bar

27a    English indeed catching the French unsighted? (7)
EYELESS: E(nglish) and a word meaning indeed or correct around (catching) the three-letter French definite article

28a    Self-inflicted damage to have end (3,4)
OWN GOAL: a verb meaning to have followed by an end or target

29a    Bear left, reaching westerly city borough (8)
BROOKLYN: a verb meaning to bear or endure followed by L(eft) and the reversal (westerly in an across clue) of the two-letter abbreviation for a US city

30a    Such a descent involves underworld (5)
HADES: hidden (involves) inside the clue


1d    Boss, old member, glowers among disciples? (8)
OMPHALOS: this boss on an ancient Greek shield is a charade of O(ld), a member of Parliament and the “glowers” or circles of light seen round the heads of old pictures of Jesus’s disciples

2d    Understanding current things differently (7)
INSIGHT: the symbol for electric current followed by an anagram (differently) of THINGS

3d    Satanic force to be coming from below (4)
EVIL: the reversal (coming from below in an across clue) of a verb meaning to be or exist

5d    Nurse at work with pains located round sick body part (8,6)
ACHILLES’ TENDON: a four-letter verb meaning to nurse and a word meaning at work preceded by some pains around a word meaning sick

6d    Macho man unable to open desk (4)
AMBO: a macho character, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone, without its initial letter (unable to open)

7d    Hunter in exploit over long period (7)
ACTAEON: an exploit or deed followed by the four-letter alternative spelling of a long period

8d    Problem for couple (5)
HITCH: two definitions – , the second being a verb

9d    Composer‘s gravity risks no upset (4,10)

15d    Erica has no longer to conserve energy (5)
HEATH: an old-fashioned (no longer) word meaning has around (to conserve) E(nergy)

16d    Southern runner, sometimes in form, gets cut (5)
SHARE: S(outhern) followed by a fast runner, whose bed is known as a form, gives a cut or quota

18d    Strong man in Lima captivated by womanly signals? (8)
HERCULES: the letter represented by Lima in the NATO Phonetic alphabet inside (captivated by) what could be some womanly signals (3,4)

20d    Busy hospital in Eton botched attempt (2,3,2)
ON THE GO: H(ospital) inside an anagram (botched) of ETON followed by an attempt

21d    Muscle produced when old diet changes (7)
DELTOID: an anagram (changes) of OLD DIET

22d    Great British king swallowed bitter (5)
ACERB: a word meaning “great” or “super” and B(ritish) around (swallowed) the Latin abbreviation for king

25d    Reveal secret national symbol in conversation (4)
LEAK: sounds like (in conversation) a Welsh national symbol

26d    Advance slowly under His roof? (4)
INCH: I don’t like it, but this appears to be an abbreviation meaning under or included followed by the initial letter (roof) of H[is] – do you have a better explanation so there is a better explanationsplit the answer as (2,2) and it could mean under His (the Lord’s) roof where the second part is an abbreviation for a place of worship

Certainly not one of the fluffy Tuesday Toughies of old!


25 comments on “Toughie 2283

  1. I do like this setter’s crosswords – whichever alias he is using – and this one was no exception – as BD says he always clues in a very fair way the things you might not know (today’s were all lurking away in the back of my brain)

    BD 26d has His with a capital H because it is referring to God – in CH (church) so under ‘His roof’

    Lots to pick as favourites but I’ll go for 16d mainly because I had the surprise of finding the ‘runner’ well hidden in a form in a field

    Thanks to Tees for the crossword (not as fluffy as some Tuesdays but could have been a bit more thorny) and to BD for the explanations

  2. As said, I felt a bit cheated that my answer to 13a was not what Donnybrook wanted. Favourites were 9d for its sheer improbability and 29a thanks to all

  3. Very enjoyable with some head scratching required for completion at a Toughie fast canter – ***/****.
    Favourite – a toss-up between 11a and 29a – and the winner is 11a (after I managed to shake off thinking IN for at home).
    I concur wit the parsing of 26d by CS and halcyon and I also got caught by the type of fish rather than the method of fishing in 13a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook (I enjoyed reading his profile in the paper (last Thursday)) and to BD.

  4. So I was not the only one to get the ‘wrong’ fish. I thought that this was certainly a tougher Toughie than we’re used to on Tuesdays and very enjoyable it was.
    At one stage I wondered if there was going to be a mythological theme with Achilles, Hercules and Argo in the grid but there didn’t seem to be anything more.
    My ticks went to 11a, 23a, 29a and 16d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  5. Too much GK for me to like this one. Heavy use of iPad was required. Although I knew the word for 23a it took me ages to get as I would never have deemed a doodlebug to be a rocket. I also put the other fish in for 13a which seems a valid alternative solution. I had not heard of the setter’s solution before

    Thanks to setter and BD

  6. Wrong fish here, too. I really enjoyed this – just tough enough to be satisfying. Liked 11a & 12a, 1d & 6d new to me
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD

  7. I agree re excess of mythology and obscurity.
    Enjoyed most of this but need to revert to googling to confirm answers or even provide them for words/characters i’ve never heard of takes away the gloss for me.
    Obviously education not classical enough!
    Something that will become more of an issue for the next generation of solvers?
    Mostly a good challenge though.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  8. Had this puzzle been the subject of Mr K’s survey, I’d have certainly needed to tick some boxes relating to ‘forms of aid used’!
    As is often the way, it was some of the shorter answers that held me up for a long time and I’m another who had the wrong ‘fish’ entered in 13a. Solving from dead tree version to laptop, I was blissfully unaware of my error until checking the blog.

    19a has to be my favourite as, although I’ve never played the game, I’ve listened to the moans of several friends who do and have often got extremely cross during the playing of same!

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review.

  9. Tees/Donnybrook on consecutive days. A great treat so many thanks to him.

    Thanks also to BD who opted for the wrong fish just like quite a few of us (from what I read above).

    Lots of favourites to choose from but I liked 29a best for its lovely surface.

  10. despite the esoteric answers to 1d and 6d i enjoyed this puzzle.
    like many of the other posters my favourite clue was 11a closely followed by 29a.

  11. Clearly an error not to have a unique solution at 13a. I still failed 1dn, despite having seen it before.😣

    1. Welcome to the blog Andy

      Fortunately alternative answers occur very rarely – usually they involve different checked letters, making the puzzle unsolvable until the answer has been amended.

  12. Pleased to progress to this after sailing through the undemanding Cryptic. I’m another wrong angler. I would never have gotten 1d and 7d without assistance and I wrongly bunged in 16d and ditto 19a due to not sussing get synonym. Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable brainteaser. Thank you to Donnybrook and BD.

  13. Liked this a lot even though we too got the wrong fish (but we’re counting it as right because we don’t have the answer checker). Has Mr K got any info on how often genuinely optional answers occur?

    Favourite clue was 5d.

    Thanks to BD and Donnybrook. Like the new style site.

  14. We got lucky with 13a and had put in the correct answer. With 26d we had parsed it the same way as BD’s (now crossed out) first attempt, but do agree that the correct parsing is much better. The four long answers went in quite readily so this gave us plenty of checkers to work with. A good fun puzzle to solve.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  15. 22a was my last in, bunged in as nothing else would fit. Paradoxically, I had parsed it correctly during my musings but, as I only knew the full word as a bridge, I had rejected that line of reasoning. Needless to say, I was one of the many who had the wrong fish in 13a.

  16. Needed help with the last two in 15d and 23a and the clarity of the review allowed me to finish.
    Checked the parsing of 7d as I couldn’t account for the second A.
    Put Brill in 13a.
    1d was new to me.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  17. Very late as only just pulled this one off the standby pile. I think 13a is ambiguous – I got the fish. I then got hung up on carapace for 4a. Not my finest hour.

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