Toughie 2394 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2394

Toughie No 2394 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

The only (small) difficulty was in spotting the anagram fodder for several of the clues – the rest was plain sailing.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Keep barrier in harbour — copper is checking lines (10)
PORTCULLIS: a harbour followed by the chemical symbol for copper and IS from the clue around (checking) two L(ine)s

8a    Has drink in hostelries up street (4)
SUPS: hidden (in) inside the clue

9a    Unconscious in car (9)
AUTOMATIC: two definitions – the car is one which changes gear without using a gear lever

11a    Cunning leader vanishing in demo (4)
ARCH: drop (vanishing) the initial letter (leader) from a demo

12a    One’s mad having lost this cleaning cloth (3)
RAG: losing this is a phrase meaning mad

13a    It would make stay with British hosts healthy one (9)
WHALEBONE: this constituent part of a pair of stays is derived from W(ith) and B(ritish) around an adjective meaning healthy and followed by ONE from the clue

16a    Warm through hearts and enjoy meal (4)
HEAT: H(earts) followed by a verb meaning to enjoy a meal

17a    Evidently ashamed by record in protracted bureaucracy (3,4)
RED TAPE: showing signs (evidently) of being ashamed followed by a verb meaning to record

18a    Coal stored here in sink deliberately (7)
SCUTTLE: two definitions – the second being to deliberately sink a ship, as the Captain of the Admiral Graf Spee did

20a    Cold beer first — one Guinness so handled (4)
ALEC: C(old) preceded by a beer gives the first name (handle) of an actor

21a    Flower seeds lie all over the place with cutting (9)
EDELWEISS: an anagram (all over the place) of SEEDS LIE around (cutting) W(ith)

23a    Knock successful song (3)
HIT: two definitions

24a    Very hard getting round London district (4)
SOHO: a charade of a two-letter word meaning very, H(ard) and the round letter

25a    Combine to replant giant tree (9)
INTEGRATE: an anagram (to replant) of GIANT TREE

29a    Italian agreement reversed by the French in Corsica? (4)
ISLE: the reversal of the Italian for yes (agreement) followed by the French definite article

30a    In the end, still reckon Posh should be involved (10)
EVENTUALLY: a four-letter word meaning still followed by a verb meaning to reckon around (should be involved) the letter used to represent posh


1d    Music to end sonata — last bits? (4)
CODA: the final letters of four words in the clue

2d    Cancel changes in South Vietnamese celebration (4)
STET: S(outh) followed by a Vietnamese celebration, remembered for the offensive that started on the day of the 1968 festival

3d    Island being ace, stick around (4)
GUAM: A(ce) inside a verb meaning to stick or glue

4d    Philosopher working for company division (7)
PLATOON: a Greek philosopher followed by a two-letter word meaning working – the company in question is a military one

5d    What might make us see better shows? (10)
SPECTACLES: two definitions – easy to get when you separate the definitions correctly

7d    Institution seen as above criticism, but lower in religion? (6,3)
SACRED COW: could be a religious lower (animal that lows)

8d    Complex road junction? One following path gets lost (9)
SPAGHETTI: I (one) preceded by (following) an anagram (lost) of PATH GETS

10d    Creature swooping near ground takes line downwards (3)
OWL: start with an adjective meaning near to the ground and move the L(ine) to the end of the word

13d    Shelter given to one conning trader? (10)
WHEELHOUSE: a cryptic definition of of the shelter given to someone steering a ship, such as a trader

14d    Food item, good for male to eat, delivered by lorry (9)
ARTICHOKE: a two-letter word meaning good or alright inside the male pronoun and preceded by a type of lorry

15d    Telex VIP sent with ultimately vile obscenity (9)
EXPLETIVE: an anagram (sent) of TELEX VIP followed by the final letter of (ultimately) [vil]E

19d    Hide article tragic hero’s penned (7)
LEATHER: the definite article inside Shakespeare’s tragic king

22d    Intrinsic to Satie, a rare musical gift (3)
EAR: hidden (Intrinsic to) inside the clue

26d    Girl in black perhaps secured husband (4)
GOTH: a verb meaning secured or obtained followed by H(usband)

27d    Atomic container slightly open (4)
AJAR: A(tomic) followed by a glass container

28d    Remove head from despicable person’s fish (4)
EELS: drop (remove) the initial letter (head) from a despicable person then add the S from ‘S – remember that fish can be singular or plural

Just right for a Tuesday.


27 comments on “Toughie 2394

  1. As you say BD, just right. Nicely crafted clues – altho’ I wasn’t sure if 13d was just a cryptic definition until you said it was!

    Particularly impressed with the disguised defs in 13a and 20a.
    Thanks for the blog and to DB for the quickie.

    1. 13d is a superb example of a cryptic definition where the initial surface reading leads the solver in entirely the wrong direction at first. Too many intended CDs fail this simple test.

      1. I agree – I wasn’t knocking it! It was cryptic enough to make me wonder if there was more to it. I think the combination of conning and trader was what threw me.

  2. I found the NW corner markedly tougher than the other three corners, but overall this was nicely challenging and a lot of fun.

    There were plenty of possible candidates as favourite and my podium line-up is 6a, 13a (great definition!) and 29a with the last of these taking the gold medal.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  3. A perfect complement to the back pager completed at a Toughie gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 6a, 13a (which took a while before the penny dropped), and 5d – and the winner is 6a.
    Thanks to DB and BD.

  4. We seem to have reverted to ‘fluffy Tuesdays’ – I enjoyed this one but it posed fewer problems than the back-pager. Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.
    My ticks went to 6a, 13a and 7d.

  5. Just what I wanted whilst being distracted by my two year old grandson. Some great clues and a quick steady solve. Thanks to DB for the puzzle and BD for the hints.

  6. Despite all the potential wee stinkers in the grid (12 x 4-letter answers) and (4 x 3-letter answers) I found this quite easy to solve.

    Enjoyed it! Favourite: The girl in black.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  7. Second good puzzle of the day although I did struggle to find the anagram fodder in 8d. Obvious answer but complete dimness on my part when it came to the wordplay.
    Top three for me were 13&30a plus 2d, with 13a taking the trophy.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review.

  8. I suppose if we have to resign ourselves and accept that the Tuesday ‘toughie’ is going to take less time than many a back pager (including today’s) then it is good if and when they are as enjoyable as this Donnybrook crossword. Lots to enjoy but my particular favourite was 20a

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD

    1. We rarely disagree with you, CS, but we found the back pager very easy, easier than the fluffy Toughie. We know we aren’t allowed to give times, so let’s just say the back pager took us around 66% of the time the Toughie took, and the Toughie was done quite quickly.

  9. Very enjoyable puzzle, probably put this and the back pager at the same degree of difficulty but the Toughie was definitely more enjoyable and noticeably more clever clueing.

    My COTD was 13d, went off on completely the wrong tack!

    Thanks to DB for creating a very enjoyable challenge and BD for the hints.

  10. I think the Telegraph’s choice of name for the mid-paper puzzle was a little unfortunate although the word “Toughie” is almost always accurate on a Friday. Today’s puzzle was a fine puzzle that was indistinguishable, difficulty-wise, from a back page puzzle. I also found today’s back pager the harder of the two and the clue “Shy of 135 degrees” seemed more appropriate to a Toughie. Both of today’s Telegraph puzzles were fun to solve so no complaints.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD

  11. Felt so pleased with myself for finishing this in 1* (for a Toughie) time, until I read the other comments! Oh well. Time to settle down with a cuppa and turn to the back page. Very enjoyable solve. */****. Thanks DB&BD.

  12. Gentle but very enjoyable.
    I thought that 13d was referring to a wheeler dealer for the conning trader but couldn’t make the connection with a shelter.
    Thanks to BD for the explanation.
    Thanks also to Donnybrook for the pleasant crossword.

  13. I loved it , I finished it in backpage time.
    I liked 7d and 13a in particular.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  14. A real pleasure to solve despite the plethora of pesky 4 letter answers. 13d our favourite.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  15. I really enjoyed this one and unlike many others I didn’t find it that easy.

    Favourites were 13a, 20a, 2d and 7d with podium for 13a.

    13d gave me the most head-scratching…..

    Thanks to Donnybrook for the enjoyment and to Big Dave for the blog.

  16. Straightforward but very enjoyable in the doing.

    26d made me think – are there such things as male goths?

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  17. The tricky 4 letter clues are usually my bugbear but today (with the exception of 2d) they seemed to go in with no trouble, giving enough checkers to get a decent foothold. I still found it more difficult than the back pager but just as enjoyable. My favourite was the beautifully constructed 20a with 13a runner up.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Big Dave for the explanations.

  18. Yes, much easier than many back pagers, but I still enjoyed it very much, Zipped through it too quickly though for a Toughie.

  19. Liked it! I found it a good boost for my ego after my struggle with Elgar on Friday. Doable but not overly easy and nice clueing I thought.

  20. Right up my street – thanks Donnybrook, most enjoyable. Thanks BD too.

  21. Meant to comment earlier. I really enjoyed this puzzle, many smiles. By contrast I just couldn’t get a handle on the back page. It quite defeated me.

  22. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, not too tricky. I must’ve been on the right wavelength, just went right through it, until I was left with the 13’s. Got the across first, which was my favourite. Was 2*/4* for me.

  23. I thought the right hand side was as easy as I’ve ever known a Toughie to be but the left distinctly less so. Both 13a & d stalled me for a while but the solve was a wee bit quicker than today’s back pager. Agree with others that of the two this was the better clued. 20a was my favourite. I once had the pleasure of briefly talking to the great man & as you would expect he was utterly charming.
    Thanks to all.

  24. 1*/5*…..v. entertaining
    liked 20A ” cold beer first — one Guinness so handled (4) ”
    Brings to mind “Ice cold in Alex”, although the great man was not involved in that film.

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