Toughie 2378 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2378

Toughie No 2378 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

Donnybrook makes it simple today with a mix of easy clues with even easier ones, with 10a being the only clue that would have been out-of-place in a backpage puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    FM broadcast with time for transitory things (8)
EPHEMERA: what sounds like (broadcast) FM is followed by a long period of time

9a    Stupid amount needed for Chinese dish (3,3)
DIM SUM: a bit of a gimme! – an adjective meaning stupid and an amount

10a    Donnybrook, apparently relaxed, situated in middle? (6)
MEDIAL: the 1st person objective pronoun – frequently misused as the subjective pronoun – is followed by the result of applying a phrase (4,4) meaning apparently relaxed

11a    Butchers in group combined talents (5,3)
SKILL SET: a verb meaning butchers or slays (not, as I first thought, rhyming slang for look) goes inside a three-letter group

12a    Troubles among ladies and gents? (14)
INCONVENIENCES: split the answer (2,12) and it could mean among ladies and gents toilets!

15a    Get small branch (4)
TWIG: this double definition is another gimme

17a    Coming in starkers, good way to get attention? (5)
NUDGE: G(ood) inside an adjective meaning starkers or with no clothes

19a    Character is gem but no saint (4)
TONE: drop the S(aint) from a gem

20a    Consumer needs analysis, having abused car makers there (6,8)
MARKET RESEARCH: an anagram (having abused) of CAR MAKERS THERE

23a    Inappropriate manoeuvring drawn out (8)
UNTOWARD: an anagram (manoeuvring) of DRAWN OUT

25a    Clean house again (6)
HOOVER: a proprietary brand that has become synonymous with cleaning is derived from HO(use) and a word meaning again

27a    Headbanging music on Radio Heart (6)
METTLE: sounds like (on radio) headbanging music

28a    City where devil misses English in school (8)
EDMONTON: drop the E(nglish) from a five-letter devil and insert what’s left inside an English school


1d    Eastern Europeans holding power in sports event? (4)
ÉPÉE: E(astern) and two E(uropean)s around (holding) P(ower)

2d    Wizard dispenses with fifty old sheep (6)
MERINO: an Arthurian wizard without (dispenses with) the Roman numeral for fifty is then followed by O(ld)

3d    Parliament’s not wanting Liberal to make stand (4)
DAIS: drop the L(iberal) from the lower house of the Irish parliament and add the S from ‘S

4d    Alpha male held in very serious respect (6)
ADMIRE: A(lpha) followed by M(ale) inside (held in) an adjective meaning very serious

5d    Complete rascal not breaking law (8)
IMPLICIT: a rascal is followed by an adjective meaning not breaking the law

6d    Like Concorde thus carrying posh individual (10)
SUPERSONIC: the three-letter Latin word for thus / so around (carrying) the letter that represents posh and an individual

8d    Wake up in French quarter — outside as it happens (7)
ENLIVEN: the two-letter French word for inand a compass quarter around (outside) an adjective meaning as it / an event happens

13d    Reporter‘s son grew angry with men (10)
NEWSMONGER: an anagram (angry) of SON GREW with MEN

14d    Lowest point for some in a dirigible (5)
NADIR: hidden (some) inside the clue

16d    Would Stranglers perform hits with such an instrument? (8)
GARROTTE: a cryptic definition of an instrument used to hit / strangle someone

18d    Wanting starter, monster given meat in London district (4,3)
EAST HAM: a monster without (wanting) its initial letter (starter) followed by some meat – if you were wondering how end related to meat, you had the district of which the answer is part!

21d    Our leading lady as herself — in rubber? (6)
ERASER: the regnal cipher of our Queen (leading lady), AS from the clue and then the same regnal cipher

22d    Have riches perhaps in American vault (6)
ABOUND: A(merican) followed by a vault or leap

24d    Sea bass (4)
DEEP: two definitions

26d    Champion lacking in height succeeded in love (4)
EROS: start with a champion, drop (lacking) the H(eight) and add S(ucceeded)

It may have been easy, but I enjoyed it.


27 comments on “Toughie 2378

  1. It was just as easy as today’s 1* backpager but as usual with Donnybrook you can’t fail to end up smiling however short a time it takes to solve

    My particular Across favourite was 10a for the ‘apparently relaxed’ and 21d

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD

  2. I found this straightforward except for 27a. I tried every word I could think of given I had all the cross check letters but none seemed to be any better than any of the others! I have no idea what Headbanging music is!

  3. I found this very straightforward for a Toughie with the only hold up due to 27a & 28a, my last two in. My problem with 27a is that I never refer to that genre of music without prefacing it with “heavy” and I spent some time trying to work out if “centre”, which fits the checkers and definition, could have been the answer.

    I can’t see that 5d is synonymous with “complete”.

    I did enjoy it and 10a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    1. Yes, I had ‘centre’ in for 27a for a while, but could not see that it really made enough sense.

  4. Gentle and enjoyable but I did have to parse 10a after the event, for a “D’oh” moment. Nice one.

    Agree with RD re 5d (but no doubt those of you with a BRB will confirm it) and 27a usually/always? being preceded by heavy.

    I was tempted (for a moment) wondering if “a best end of meat” made any sense – until 25a went in quickly.

    Overall,I would have thought this a great Toughie for those that are sometimes not tempted to try one.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    1. I checked my BRB before commenting about 5d, so there’s no enlightenment to be had from that source. However, I’ve just looked it up in Collins on-line and, lo and behold, “complete” is given there as one of the meanings.

      1. I checked it in Chambers Thesaurus:

        1 implied, inferred, deducible, insinuated, suggested, hinted, indirect, unsaid, unspoken, unexpressed, unstated, tacit, understood, inherent, hidden, latent
        2 implicit belief
        unquestioning, unhesitating, utter, total, full, entire, complete, absolute, perfect, sheer, positive, unqualified, unreserved, unconditional, steadfast, wholehearted

      2. And that’s the problem with (only) using the BRB, which is supposed to be the primary reference source for setting DT cryptics (but, thank goodness, the setters don’t always adhere to that stipulation). Quite often, definitions/synonyms used in the clues/answer are not listed in the BRB but can be found in other sources, usually the LRB or Collins online dictionary and thesaurus.

  5. Definitely the soft pedal from our setter today but still a lot of fun.
    As RD already commented, I wasn’t very convinced by 5d.
    Podium places going for humour today – 9,12&17a plus 21d (with apologies to the great lady).

    Thanks to Donnybrook for the enjoyment and to BD for the review.

  6. A couple of clues that should not appear in the Toughie!
    Fun though so thanks Donnybrook and BD

    PS – Death Metal, Folk Metal, Pop Metal, Glam Metal…

  7. I, too, was defeated by 27a and wanted to put in “centre” . Very topical having a Canadian city for 28a if not a very well known one.
    Was very taken with 7a and I think that will be my COTD.

  8. Having read BD’s remark “Donnybrook makes it simple today with a mix of easy clues with even easier ones” and being relatively new to the Toughie I approached this puzzle with relish.

    However I found it a bit of a plod with little to light up my afternoon. 12a was the only clue to raise a smile, 10a was the “Doh” moment.

    For me this was more **/**

    BTW Should the hint for 25a not be “Ho” for House rather than Fo or am I missing an even deeper meaning somewhere?

    As always, huge respect to the setters of this Toughie puzzle, best mental workout going!

    Thanks BD for the hints and also for the photos of the Birthday Bash – interesting to put faces to some well kent names.

  9. My only hold-up was my last answer (27a) where the checkers were pointing to ‘centre’ and I wondered whether that was a homophone of something to do with headbanging. I eventually got it but, like RD, I’ve never heard of that type of music without it being prefixed by ‘heavy’ or similar.
    My favourite clue was 10a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    1. Looking at LbR’s comment at 6 above about various types of “metal” music, it doesn’t sound as if we have missed much.

      1. There is no genre of music I don’t like (*edit* ah, except plastic boy bands and such like, which isn’t even music – just a cash cow) and anyway, didn’t you say once that you liked the mighty Iron Maiden? :grin:

        1. I too very much like most types of music, definitely including Heavy Metal. I’ve never heard of the other types of Metal you refer to, it’s just that the names don’t sound particularly appealing.

  10. There was I thinking how clever I was to solve a Donnybrook toughie only to find everyone else seemed to find really easy, hey ho I guess there’s a way for me to go yet. Obviously 10a was the outstanding clue. Many thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  11. Add me to those who expected ‘heavy’ to be involved in 27a in order to make it convincing. I was also held up in the NW corner – partly in that I was reluctant to enter 1d thinking it was more a piece of sports equipment rather than a sports event? However, I certainly did enjoy this and thank you to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  12. We also spend time on 27a where we equated HEART with CENTRE and then tried to justify the wordplay. Eventually the penny dropped.
    Good fun to solve.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  13. Took me ages to get the Laid back in 10a.
    The vault in 22d slowed me down too.
    Apart from that, it was plain sailing.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  14. Had HONEST for 25a, given that this is a Toughie (and the use of brands as a generic term without some proper indicator should be a no-no!) so messed the SE corner. Took a long time to parse 10a even with the hint, but it had to be. But good fun all the same!

  15. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Big Dave for the review and hints. It’s been ages since I completed a Toughie. So hooray! But I thought there would be a “catch”. When I read the blog I saw it was one star difficulty, no matter, a completion is a completion! The whole puzzle was a joy. So much humour. Favourite was 9a. Needless to say, I needed the hints to parse 10a,even though I noticed that the last four letters were “laid” back, it went straight over my head. Was 1*/4* for me.

  16. Well I am so thick that I didn’t realise Donnybrook was the name of the setter. I had Kappar from the middle if the first two words as the answer, thinking Donnybrook must be some strange product! It was the only clue that foiled me! Not epee, no pun intended!

  17. Well I am so thick that I didn’t realise Donnybrook was the name of the setter. I had Kappar from the middle of the first two words as the answer, thinking Donnybrook must be some strange product! It was the only clue that foiled me! Not epee, no pun intended!

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