Toughie 2411 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2411

Toughie No 2411 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I hope that you are all taking care and coping in these troubling times. I made my weekly trip to Sainsbury’s this morning and had to queue 50 minutes in a long spaced-out line snaking round the car park before getting into the store – the weather was fine and there was quite a bit of banter exchanged (at a distance) between some of us in the queue so it wasn’t too much of a chore but it wouldn’t be much fun in the rain.

Donnybrook has given us a fun puzzle which didn’t cause many problems – thanks to him.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Place to unburden dreadful lesson of Cain (12)
CONFESSIONAL: an anagram (dreadful) of LESSON OF CAIN.

8a Potential cause of tears involving religious view (7)
OPINION: what may make you cry in the kitchen includes a short adjective meaning religious or sanctimonious.

9a Temperature is uncontrollable: one coming in makes assessments (7)
TRIAGES: join together the abbreviation for temperature and a verb meaning ‘is uncontrollable’ or ‘is turbulent’ containing the Roman numeral for one.

11a Unsettled duck in front of greenery when last rook departs (7)
OVERDUE: the letter resembling a duck at cricket followed by a word for green vegetation without its second and final abbreviation for rook.

12a Play including moon for miniature scene (7)
DIORAMA: another word for a play contains one of the moons of Jupiter.

13a Support given about engaging English poet (5)
YEATS: reverse a verb to support or buttress containing the single-letter abbreviation for English to get this poet.

14a Where midfielder may show skill casually (2,7)
IN PASSING: where a footballing midfielder’s talents may lie.

16a Zest shown by someone disappointing PM once (5,4)
LEMON PEEL: charade of a slang term for someone who’s disappointing or worthless and the name of the 19th century Prime Minister who established the Metropolitan Police.

19a Accessed butter, tonnes having been imported (3,2)
GOT AT: an animal that butts containing the symbol for tonnes. The symbol for tonnes (as opposed to tons) is not in the BRB but it is in Collins.

21a Attire worn by bishop? (7)
BIRETTA: a very neat all-in-one clue. An anagram (worn) of ATTIRE follows the chess abbreviation for bishop.

23a Soldier shot back to cover second-in-command (7)
TROOPER: reverse a shot or bang containing the second letter of cOmmand.

24a Artwork featuring headless parrot inside wire bars (7)
COLLAGE: remove the first letter from a common name for a parrot and insert what’s left into a structure usually made from wire bars.

25a Nuncio upset about king’s mythical creature (7)
UNICORN: an anagram (upset) of NUNCIO contains one of the abbreviations for king.

26a So he prefers a zip — sensible chap (2,5,2,3)
NO FLIES ON HIM: humorous inference that his trousers must have a zip.

Down Clues

1d Lion-headed monster to correspond with hawk-headed god (7)
CHIMERA: charade of a verb to correspond or be in harmony and the hawk-headed god from Egyptian mythology.

2d Nymphs in car heading north across main road (7)
NAIADES: reverse the North American and New Zealand word for a large closed car (which we tend to call a saloon) and insert the designation of the road going from Edinburgh to London.

3d Comic, Eagle, keeping one enlightened (5,4)
ERNIE WISE: bring together the name of a sea eagle containing the Roman numeral for one and an adjective meaning enlightened or knowledgeable to get the name of an English comic and ‘playwright’.

4d Spoken with vision, having been assigned position (5)
SITED: this sounds like ‘having vision’.

5d Ring operator, ringing round, hinting at trouble (7)
OMINOUS: start with the ring-shaped letter and add an arithmetical operator containing something round (and familiar).

6d Answer four consecutive letters about an Asian currency (7)
AFGHANI: bring together an abbreviation for answer and four consecutive letters from the alphabet containing AN.

7d Unexpansive, like John, Paul and George, but not Ringo (12)
MONOSYLLABIC: the answer describes someone who is the opposite of talkative. In pronunciation it applies to the first three names but not to Ringo.

10d Make one joyous sound about another killing (12)
SLAUGHTERING: a verb to make a joyous sound contains a word for joy or jocularity.

15d Drunk bowled in to serve old Soviet executive (9)
POLITBURO: insert a slang word for drunk and the cricket abbreviation for bowled into a verb to serve or decant then finish with the abbreviation for old.

17d Again allow skinned fruit (7)
MORELLO: stick together an adverb meaning again and the inner letters of ‘allow’.

18d Before dance catch game (7)
NETBALL: a formal dance preceded by a verb to catch or capture.

19d Sticky fare perhaps reasonable (7)
GOODISH: split 3,4 this could possibly be something sticky to eat.

20d Thanks for order in bar (7)
TAPROOM: assemble a brief word of thanks, a prefix meaning for or ‘in favour of’ and an order or award.

22d Alpine ridge needs some spare tents (5)
ARÊTE: hidden in the clue.

I liked 8a, 3d and 7d but my favourite was 21a. Which one(s) chimed with you?

The guy sat next to me on the train pulled out a photo of his wife and said, “She’s beautiful, isn’t she?”
I said, “If you think she’s beautiful, you should see my girlfriend.”
He said, “Why? Is she a stunner?”
I said, “No, she’s an optician.”

29 comments on “Toughie 2411
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  1. You can always rely on Donnybrook to cheer up your day and this straightforward Toughie did the job perfectly. My favourite from quite a long list was 16a

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

  2. A perfect complement to the Jay back pager, with just a little head scratching, for completion at a Toughie gallop – **/****.
    Candidates for favourite – 12a (that moon again), 26a, and 6d (getting to be an oldie but goodie) – and the winner is 26a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza.

  3. Enjoyed this Donnybrook offering very much. So thanks to him. Completed except for 4 clues for which I needed Gaza’s hints so many thanks to him. My favourite was 7D. I must say that nowadays I am tending to look forward more to the Toughie than the back page cryptic. Some Toughie clues are still way above me, I suppose the watchword is persevere and give it time. Having retired in September and with lock down I have plenty of that!

  4. A joyous trip last night, this magical Donnybrook Toughie, the first time I’ve finished one of his gems, although it took two visits actually–one before supper, one after (since we get the puzzles at 1900 our time the night before). Maybe it was the beef stew that re-energised me and helped me finish the puzzle–with 19a, 14a, and that real tough one, 9a, my LOI. Without any help! Only once or twice before have I finished a Toughie before the Cryptic. Medals to 26a (COTD),16a, 9a. Thanks Gazza and Donnybrook. **** / ****

    1. Aw shucks, I meant to add something about the great poet William Butler Yeats, whose verse haunts me now more than ever, especially as I am reminded of the end of ‘The Second Coming’: ‘And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’

      1. Tread softly because you tread upon my dreams.
        Just planted nine rows of beans by the beehive
        Dropped a berry in a stream and caught a little silver trout
        I could go on

        1. O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
          How can we know the dancer from the dance?

          Thank you, Mp, for the Dreams and Beans and Trout. I just re-read their poems.

          Couldn’t you really just go on and on, and on?

  5. What a lovely, lovely day in crosswordland with Jay and Donnybrook in the Telegraph and Eccles in the Independent. It doesn’t get much better than that.

    This Toughie was perfectly suited to my taste. Nicely challenging, beautifully clued and great fun. I only needed Gazza’s excellent review to help me parse 5d where I missed the operator.

    The pedant in me can’t resist pointing out that 11a is grammatically incorrect. It should be “latter” not “last”.

    My podium comprises 21a, 26a & 7d (great to see a non-saintly take on John, Paul, George and Ringo).

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza – loved the joke.

  6. I definitely awarded more stars for difficulty than Gazza and other commenters seem to have done – must be the lockdown getting to me. Haven’t seen a soul since my food delivery from No.1 daughter last Thursday.
    Plenty to make me smile in this one – 14,24 & 26a earning podium places along with the quips and pics from our blogger.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza.

  7. Was going to point out 13a was Irish not English but, in time, realised it was the letter E we wanted.
    7d was clever and 26a amusing. Altogether a more enjoyable puzzle than the back page.

  8. It’s funny how some clues can stick to mind.
    Remembered 7d from Virgilius and having looked via the search engine, it was back in Nov 2016.
    Loved the all in one in 21a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Gazza.

  9. Like Jean-Luc I too remembered 7d from somewhere, which gave me a good start, and agree with him that 21a was a top draw clue-my first 12 bore clay gun was also 21a so I always remember the cap!

  10. I was initially alarmed by the double hit of mythology in 1d and 2d but in the end managed to finish without too much difficulty – with successful guesses for the mythological ones.
    I also remembered 7d from somewhere – but it feels more recent than Nov 2016. Getting 1a and 7d pretty well immediately did simplify the puzzle significantly. I had a bit of trouble with 9a as I didn’t know the verb form. Not keen on words like 19d
    Thanks to Donnybrook and Gazza

    1. Like you I got 1a & 7d very quickly, but unlike you I wrote the answer to 7d in the lights for 10d which caused me a few unnecessary problems.

  11. This was tough for me to get on the right wavelength. Stared at 1a completed……………and nothing else, for ages!! A real struggle but completed in the end without help. At least 4* for difficulty and no more than 2* for enjoyment, I’m afraid. 3D was my favourite

  12. 8 solved on the first pass. Four more on the second pass. Twelve more on the third pass. How useful checkers are. Still the last four to go. Re 24 ac. I’m not sure Poll is a parrot, Polly certainly but Poll. Not really. Thanks to Donnybrook who always pleases and thanks to Gazza.

  13. Excellent puzzle. Just the right amount of toughness for me. That’s 2 toughies completed unaided in a row. I expect to crash and burn tomorrow. I, too, remember 7d turning up before somewhere. I rather liked 8a and 26a, but will put 16a on the top step.

  14. ** / **** A very kind grid, some nice surfaces and enjoyable unpicking apart. We didn’t need the blog to help us parse – got the lot! Some answers sprung to mind too easily with a few letters in place, but some took a bit longer to work through. We liked the synonym for unsettled in 11. We didn’t think that 26 worked that well because the answer could refer to the zip in the clue or the other joining together method! Last in was 9. Thank you Donnybrook and Gazza.

        1. Thanks, John. I’ve just checked the BRB – you’re right. I always thought (before today) that flies meant buttons.

  15. Today was a real toughie and like MP I managed a few more with each pass. I had similar doubts about the parrot but decided it was fair to detail as well as behead it. I needed the hints to get the final few. The different use of the Beatles amused but 21a gets my vote today.

  16. I needed four of Gazza’s excellent hints, all in the North to get home in this excellent Donnybrook puzzle, which displayed his trademark humour…though there did seem to be a proliferation of “old, ducks and rings”!
    Podium places go to 3 and 10d along with 14a.
    Many thanks to the aforementioned setter and reviewer.

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