Toughie 2366 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2366

Toughie No 2366 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Measured as a Toughie, I found this to be fairly easy. Less experienced solvers may think differently if they haven’t previously seen constructs like shopper = one who shops or betrays (13a), near meaning tight or miserly (1d), and splitting the answer to 9d as (3-11).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    On the whole Butch embodies upright character (6)
MAINLY: an adjective meaning butch (ignore the false capitalisation) around the upright letter

4a    Being insane mostly helps pub staff (8)
BARMAIDS: most of a five-letter adjective meaning being insane followed by a verb meaning helps

10a    Tutor in break makes check (9)
RESTRAIN: a verb meaning to tutor goes inside a break or period in which no work is performed

11a    Drinker wanting best beer — just half (5)
TOPER: an adjective meaning the best followed by the second half of [be]ER

12a    Retired cover girl in Catch-22 (7)
DILEMMA: the reversal (retired) of a cover followed by a girl’s name – in spite of the many dreadful portrayals of Miss Woodhouse in recent films, she remains my favourite Jane Austen character!

13a    Slip where shopper gets in oriental drink? (7)
ERRATUM: put someone who shops or betrays inside a letter for oriental or eastern and an alcoholic drink

14a    Bug PA with no starter (5)
ANNOY: a Public Address system without its initial letter (no starter)

15a    Illusion deceptive PM has about worker (8)
PHANTASM: an anagram (deceptive) of PM HAS around a worker insect

18a    Russian aircraft drops explosives initially in attack (8)
MIGRAINE: our usual Russian fighter aircraft is followed by some drops of water and the initial letter of E[xplosives]

20a    Crush a Muslim dignitary (5)
PASHA: this crush is an adolescent infatuation – just add the A from the clue

23a    Does it securely fasten curled hair to head? (7)
LOCKNUT: a curl of hair followed by a colloquial word for the head

25a    Silver bullet having struck bottom (7)
AGROUND: the chemical symbol for silver is followed by another word for a bullet

26a    Appropriate planting kiss on Queen? (5)
ANNEX: the letter used to indicate a kiss is preceded by the name of the last Stuart monarch (1702-1714)

27a    Romeo befuddled without line to submit in play (5-4)
ELBOW-ROOM: an anagram (befuddled) of ROMEO around L(ine) and a verb meaning to submit or acquiesce

28a    Time in entirety, possibly (8)
ETERNITY: an anagram (possibly) of ENTIRETY

29a    Revolutionary Indian instrument good for nothing (6)
GRATIS: the reversal (revolutionary) of an Indian instrument and G(ood) – usually the construct “good for nothing” would indicate replacing an O (nothing / zero) with a G(ood), but not today!


1d    Peak in clear — one near borders (8)
MERIDIAN: a verb meaning to clear and I (one) inside (borders) an adjective meaning near or miserly

2d    Hormone abuse endlessly popular (7)
INSULIN: most of a word meaning abuse followed by a two-letter word meaning popular

3d    Dignitary has to praise horse in speech (4,5)
LORD MAYOR: sounds like (in speech) a verb meaning to praise and a female horse

5d    Accordingly open and shut? (2,3,4,3,2)
AS THE CASE MAY BE: this phrase can suggest what may be opened and then shut?

6d    Space to reverse round front of traction engine (5)
MOTOR: a space reversed around the initial letter (front) of T[raction]

7d    Donnybrook’s personal nurse regularly provides motivation (7)
IMPETUS: “Donnybrook / the setter is” followed by an adjective meaning personal, as in a personal project, and the even letters (regularly) of nUrSe

8d    Little person stays cold, not hot, to make economies (6)
SCRIMP: start with a little person and change its H(ot) for C(old)

9d    Sadness caused by sacking? (14)
DISAPPOINTMENT: split the answer as (3-11) and it could mean to dismiss someone from their job

16d    High-class prizes coming up (3-6)
TOP-DRAWER: know your semordnilaps! –  two prizes (6 and 3) reversed (coming up)

17d    Legal order from fellow to block American (8)
MANDAMUS: I didn’t know this writ or command issued by a higher court to a lower, but it’s simply a charade of a fellow, a verb meaning to block and a two-letter abbreviation for American

19d    Might it possibly do this to a Low Churchman? (7)
INCENSE: a cryptic definition of what these fragrant fumes used in a High Church might do to one in a Low Church

21d    Appeal involving trade union overturned and excluded (4,3)
SHUT OUT: an appeal or request around the reversal (overturned) of the abbreviation for Trade Union

22d    Asleep when roused in delight (6)
PLEASE: an anagram (when roused) of ASLEEP

24d    President with nothing doing! (5)
NIXON: a three-letter word meaning nothing followed by a word meaning doing

Thanks to Donnybrook for a satisfying puzzle that didn’t frighten any of the horses!


25 comments on “Toughie 2366

  1. Agree, more of an end of the week back pager perhaps. A **/**** for me. As to the two you mention BD, the shopper came straight into mind because of 13d in the back pager but to parse my answer I needed Roget’s to get “near” in 1d, (there through parsimonious) so must remember that one. Is it archaic as I cannot imagine what its roots are.

    Lots to like but favourite is probably one of five across clues – 13, 18, 23, 27 and 29.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    1. Forgive me for trying this, as an afterthought. If near has a derivative: “Even Mr Cowell has debts, nearly” (11). Its such a lovely word.

  2. Just right for me for a Tuesday Toughie – very good fun and reasonably but not over-taxing.

    I was mildly surprised to look up the crush in 20a and find it in the BRB. I think the synonym for near in 1d was new for me (the BRB says it is archaic), and I also needed to look up the answer to 17d. I’ll pass quickly over the girl in 12a because the surface was so good.

    Podium places go to 4a, 5d & 9d.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  3. Just a comment, you need, in your intro, to split the answer to 9d.
    I didn’t think I’d ever do this but, surprisingly, after cracking 12a, it became a steady solve.
    I think COTD is 24d
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave

  4. I don’t very often manage to do the Toughie but was encouraged to have a go today by Big Dave’s comments, so thanks for that tip BD.

    Compared to back pagers, the Toughie definitely needs a lot more thought even if seasoned Toughie addicts manage to sail through, but at least this one was a good intro to Toughie territory for the likes of me and was not fiendishly unsolvable.

    Favourites were 3d and 9d, both made me smile. Never heard of 17d but the clueing was so good it could not have been anything else!

    24d seems to pop up occasionally in many puzzles and is good for a “Doh” moment.

    Thanks Donnybrook and BD, very enjoyable!

  5. I’ve been hopelessly behind with the toughies recently but having been house bound with the flu for the last week and a half, unbelievably I’ve caught up. Just right for a Tuesday, lots to like and cotd is just taken by 3d. I had to look up 17d but who didn’t? Many thanks to Donneybrook and BD. Now for something to eat and the back pager.

    1. Re 17d. Easier when one is a lawyer – certainly compared with all you scientists and all those tricky clues!

  6. Kezzy sums up my thoughts on this offering perfectly. Really enjoyed this and just about struggled to a sort of unaided finish (occasional use of the submit button to ascertain correct input). Whilst this was a walk in the park compared to last Friday’s Elgar I still found it very challenging.
    Many thanks to BD for the review & to Donnybrook

    1. Re Fridays Elgar I got 4 answers and decided it was beyond me so I went straight to the hints. I still struggled to finish it even then.

  7. For some reason that makes no sense now, 5d resisted until the very end when I had all the checkers in place. Very often a long multi-word answer gives a readily solvable starting point for us but not so with this one. Needed to check in BRB that the answer I had worked out for 17d did exist.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  8. I had a few tricky moments with parsing 27a &1d, was unsure about the ending of 15a and had to look up 17d – beyond those it was fine!
    Plenty of podium places awarded – 4,18&23a plus 9d – and I can’t resist a mention for 12a despite the random girl.

    Thanks to Donybrook and to BD for the review.

  9. Enjoyable straightforward solve today. Does anyone share a slight difficulty; how would I know who Donnybrook is as I print the puzzle off the website and no reference is made as to the setter?

    1. Yes, had the same problem, so came here to find where the IM came from. Out of chaos? Duh!
      Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

      1. Just under the telegraph header on the website is a row of things to click on. Click on The Knowledge and one of the things you can then click on is Toughie setters. Alternatively BD shows the week’s Toughie setters on the right hand side of the blog page on a PC or at the bottom of the page on a tablet

        1. Thanks CS! But the trick is knowing when you need it! But next time I see a strange I’m or my that’s another avenue to explore!
          Thanks again.

  10. I needed a bit of electronic help and three of BD’s excellent hints to almost complete this very enjoyable puzzle. That left me with 5d (I’m pleased I’m in good company!) which I must have stared at for 20 minutes before, with an almighty clang the penny hit the floor.
    I really liked 4a, 12a (at least the name is contemporary and fitted seamlessly into the surface) and 29a, along with 5 and 21d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the entertainment.

  11. Really enjoyed this one: after a slow start all went well.

    Podium for 27a.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  12. An avid follower of the DT. Managed to finish 29.259 yesterday without any help from my mentor, FlyingFox. Most enjoyable. More please. First time I’ve EVER finished one.
    Looking forward to today’s.

      1. Thank You Big Dave. Another one complete today. 3D really had me going, convinced it was Gigot! Most enjoyable XW.

  13. Enjoyable Tuesday Toughie. I think easier than the back pager. I was defeated by 1a and 5d though. No excuse for 1d, but even with all the checkers 5d eluded me. Not a good clue, in my opinion.

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