Toughie 2299 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2299

Toughie No 2299 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Another great puzzle from Donnybrook. The answer to 11a reminded me of an anecdote, recounted below, from a job in Glasgow some 25 years ago – we stayed in a hotel in East Kilbride (Glasgow’s equivalent of Milton Keynes) as our usual hotel (The Pond, now the Leonardo Inn, at Anniesland) was fully booked.

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1a    One responsible for moving scenes observed in theatre? (9)
STAGEHAND: cryptic definition of a person who moves scenery in a theatre – Chambers, unlike Collins and the Oxford Dictionary of English, gives the enumeration as (5,4)

8a    Certain animal — cuckoo from Brazil? (5,8)
LATIN AMERICAN: an anagram (cuckoo) of CERTAIN ANIMAL

11a    Bill sent back hot and oddly lush Indian food (5)
DAHLS: which two-letter bill is to be reversed (sent back)? – it’s the publicity not the account! – then add H(ot) and the odd letters of LuSh. I am reminded of a conversation in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow where a colleague asked what was in the soup, “Lentils” came the reply from an Indian waiter with a broad Glasgow accent; “Ah, but what kind of lentils?” to which the waiter replied “Heinz”.

12a    Remaining quietly hidden takes trouble and effort (5)
DOGGO: a three-letter word meaning trouble followed by a two-letter word meaning effort

13a    Saw an American lawyer for example rebuffed (5)
ADAGE: an American lawyer (1,2) followed by the reversal (rebuffed) of the Latin abbreviation of “for example”

16a    Moderate happening not long ago to change party (6)
RELENT: start with a word meaning happening not long ago and change the party from C(onservative) to one that lost its way many years ago

17a    Officer having penned song becomes stockholder? (6)
LARIAT: the two-letter abbreviation for an officer around (penned) an operatic song gives a rope that holds stock (cattle)

18a    Dwarf rudely abrupt (5)
SHORT: two definitions

19a    Struggle when river invades Cornish town endlessly (6)
STRIVE: R(iver) inside (invades) most of (endlessly) a Cornish town (2,4)

20a    Gore moved ahead in Portland region (6)
OREGON: an anagram (moved) of GORE followed by a two-letter word meaning ahead – although the answer is obvious I cant quite make this one work – does “moved ahead” mean moving the first letter, in which case do the last two letters of the answer come from “in”?

21a    Item with Oedipal strings attached? (5)
APRON: tied to the answer followed by strings means ruled by and dependent on a woman, especially one’s mother, hence the Oedipus reference

24a    Run to leave tenant key (5)
ENTER: drop (to leave) the R(un) from a tenant to get a key on the computer keyboard

26a    Device ultimately used to finish wooden strip? (5)
LATHE: in this all-in-one clue, the final letter (ultimately) of [devic]E goes after (used to finish) a wooden strip

27a    Uncompromising approach in ‘Enduring Love’? (4,9)
ZERO TOLERANCE: this phrase could (but doesn’t) mean the endurance of love

28a    Politicians say involving me in partnership (9)
STATESMEN: the kind of politicians that are sadly lacking from parliament these days are derived from a verb meaning to say followed by ME inside some bridge partners


2d    Small branches ultimately first and second to stock syrup (5)
TWIGS: the final letter (ultimately again!) of [firs]T and the abbreviation for S(econd) around (to stock) an item for which the Cockney rhyming slang is syrup

3d    Looked angrily about — happy to be taken outside (6)
GLARED: a two-letter word meaning about inside (to be taken outside) a word meaning happy

4d    German individual stops sheep scratching at soil (6)
HOEING: the German for one (individual) inside a male yearling sheep

5d    Martial artist from South filled with excellent spirit in spring (5)
NAIAD: the reversal (from South in a down clue) of a level of proficiency in a martial art around (filled with) a two-letter word meaning excellent


6d    Celebrate host dancing for girls in New York? (13)
BACHELORETTES: an anagram (Celebrate host dancing) of CELEBRATE HOST gives an American (in New York) word for (single) girls

7d    Ragged person in Comedy Store? (8,5)
LAUGHING STOCK: ragged here means “made fun of” – a word meaning comedy is followed by a verb meaning to store

9d    Count up notes and visit official receiver? (9)
ADDRESSEE: a 3; verb meaning to count up followed by some notes of the scale in sol-fa notation and a verb meaning to visit gives the official recipient (receiver) of a letter

10d    Carried on working unnoticed (9)
CONTINUED: a cleverly concealed anagram (working) of unnoticed

13d    Bewildered? Worse things can happen here! (2,3)
AT SEA: the phrase “worse things can happen ** ***” means “things are not as bad as they seem”

14d    American to regret curtailed affair (5)
AMOUR: A(merican) followed by most of (curtailed) a five-letter verb meaning to regret

15d    John might follow this student in exclusive institution (5)
ELTON: the first name of an entertainer whose surname id John is derived by putting the letter that indicates a student inside an exclusive school

22d    Stuff one has to leave in place (3,3)
PIG OUT: I (one) and a two-letter verb meaning to leave inside a verb meaning to place

23d    Haunt of drunken bosses (6)
OBSESS: an anagram (drunken) of BOSSES

25d    Aussie bouncers? Opener in terror bats here! (5)
ROOST: some Australian marsupials, known for leaping (bouncing), followed by the initial letter (opener) of T[error]

26d    Will takes canoe at last into Wash (5)
LEAVE: this verb meaning to dispose of by means of a will comes from the final letter (at last) of [cano]E inside an archaic verb meaning to wash

Enjoyable as ever. I wonder if the duplication of “ultimately” resulted from a late change, as is often the case.


17 comments on “Toughie 2299

  1. Another splendid puzzle from one of my favourite setters (whichever nom-de-setter he is using) – there’s always a lot of fun and some splendid d’oh moments to be had while solving, eg the stockholder in 17a and the syrup in 2d. Oh.. and it was in what I’d call the Toughie spectrum (the easier end) too which makes me a happy solver

    In answer to BD’s question about 20a, I wondered if the last two letters came from ‘ahead’ as they can mean in advance/forward

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD

  2. I liked this a lot. Well, except for 27A. Several ticks on my page today…12A, 26A, 7D and 10D. In 20A, I assumed ‘on’ meant ‘ahead’ too. Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  3. I enjoyed this very much, although it was a good deal more than ** in difficulty for me. Last in was the 2d/11a combo – I didn’t know the Indian food or anything about the slang in 2d. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  4. didn’t like 4d,answer was clear with the checkers in but still had to google the sheep, of all the online dictionaries i looked at only Chambers had that definition. Fortunately no other obscurities in this otherwise fine puzzle. Favourite was 17a which made me smile remembering the line in Blazing Saddles.

  5. Couldn’t get to this until later than usual in the day so I’m blaming my struggle on either the late start or the flu jab!
    Can’t quite accept either 20a or 27a but I really liked 22d once the penny dropped.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review.

  6. Luckily we remembered the rhyming slang needed for 2d from an earlier crossword, so not held up there, but we did have a hesitation with 16a where we tried to substitute the first letter which was making a mess of the 6d anagram.
    A real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  7. Knew the cockney rhyming slang but failed on both 26s.
    Incidentally we are bang in the season of the fig down here. They are gorgeous and they go well with so many things
    Thanks to the setter and to BD for the review.

    1. Love figs but the trees – at least the one my neighbour has – stink like cat pee when the sun shines on the leaves!

    1. Welcome to the blog Katie

      Chambers gives dal, daal, dahl or dhal and says it can also be spelt dholl. As it is a phonetic translation of a Hindi word ( ढल ) there is no correct way to spell it. Likewise bhaji, bhajee or bhagee ( भाजी ).

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