Toughie 2434 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2434

Toughie No 2434 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Reynard The Fox

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Good Afternoon which is just about when our paperboy/man turns up. This is just how I like a Tuesday Toughie. Tough enough to make me think but doable after a little bit of thought. A couple of ‘Help! How does this work?’ clues like 27 across are also most welcome.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Leader in Rome closer to Spanish Pope (7)
HADRIAN: A Roman emperor can be found by using the last letter (closer to) of the word Spanish followed by one of a long list of Popes who were not Spanish. Possibly the one born in 1100 at Abbott’s Langley

5a Black cat runs for ball pitched short (7)
BOUNCER: A three-part charade. The abbreviation for black. A regular crosswordland cat. The cricket abbreviation for runs

9a Graduate adopting single feature creates fine porcelain (4,5)
BONE CHINA: A Bachelor of Arts contains a single number or unit and a facial feature apparently unique to humans

10a Marine animal takes fuel right inside (5)
CORAL: A Black fossil fuel contains the abbreviation for right.

11a Changed later broadcast by news boss (7)
ALTERED: An anagram (broadcast) of LATER is followed by the boss of a news delivery media

12a Glance the French love (4,3)
LEAD ORE: The masculine word for the in French is followed by a word meaning to love, respect venerate or worship. A glance here is noun meaning a shiny black or grey sulphide ore of lead, copper, or other metal. I never knew that.

13a School dunces wanting these for geometry? (9)
COMPASSES: The abbreviation of a large mixed ability school is followed by our usual dunces or donkeys

16a Mad son to be released? That’s pointless (5)
INANE: A word meaning mad or of unsound mind needs the abbreviation for son to be removed.

17a One renewed after cuts put an end to by Labour (5)
HYDRA: This multi headed monster of mythology grew another head if one was cut off. To kill this monster was one of the labours of Hercules

18a Warplane circling about cargo ship (9)
FREIGHTER: An example of what a warplane might be described as surrounds the two-lettered substitute for about in Crosswordland

21a Enormous creature in gym on steroids (7)
MONSTER: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue. The word in suggests as much

22a Pigs going outside had tails (7)
SHADOWS: Female pigs sit outside the word had which is a gift from our setter today

25a One being taught French you support on course (5)
TUTEE: The intimate French word for you is followed by the support used on a golf course to steady the golf ball

26a Host returned to assist worker on farm (9)
DAIRYMAID: A host or a countless or extremely great number of people or things is reversed and placed before a verb meaning to assist

27a Likes of Apollo warmly received in such a corridor (2-5)
RE-ENTRY: Apollo is the name of a series of spaceships that heat up to extreme temperatures when passing from space into the earth’s atmosphere

28a Rev with beer finds an edge at sea (7)
GUNWALE: A verb meaning to cause an engine to race is followed by the abbreviation for with and a type of beer.


1d Goddess in charge inspires book relating to Israelites (7)
HEBRAIC: The goddess of woman, marriage, family and childbirth sits around the abbreviation of book. This is followed by the abbreviation of in charge

2d Daughter on time to entertain adult film star (5)
DONAT: A four-part charade for a five-letter answer. 1 The abbreviation for daughter 2 The word on from the clue 3 the abbreviation for time 4 the abbreviation for adult which is placed between steps 2 and 3. The answer is the lead actor in Hitchcock’s The Thirty-Nine Steps. He died in 1958. Just saying

3d Hot dog makes you suffer (5)
INCUR: A word meaning hot as in popular is followed by an aggressive or unkempt dog

4d Nymphs in car heading north across main road (7)
NAIADES: A type of car is reversed (heads north in a down clue) and surrounds the main road from London to Edinburgh. The car is usually black and contains those wanted by the police

5d Fabulous quartet without rhythm? Not entirely (7)
BEATLES: A word meaning without tempo or rhythm needs to have its last letter removed (not entirely)

6d Continuous relaxation after new clubs opened by university (9)
UNCEASING: A continuous relaxing of rules like those of the lockdown follow the abbreviations for university, new, and clubs

7d Bird, huge one, climbing moment before storm (9)
CORMORANT: A fabulous mythological bird is reversed (climbing) This is followed by a shortened moment and a storm of angry words or a tirade

8d Help Resistance woman tempted to conceal priest (7)
RELIEVE: The abbreviation for resistance, the woman tempted in the garden of Eden and a biblical priest must be placed in the order suggested by the clue

14d Nice worker in motorway eatery? (9)
MIDINETTE: Our usual motorway is followed by a small eating area to find a seamstress working in the French town of Nice.

15d Cunning fellows housed in suitable accommodation (9)
APARTMENT: Find two words 3,3 that mean cunning fellows and place them inside a word meaning appropriate or suitable in the circumstances

17d Starr reportedly had taste for this meat back in short supply (7)
HAMSTER: This small mammal was said to have been eaten by Freddie Starr. He consists of a type of cured meat followed by the back or rear of something minus its last letter. Having seen the answer for 5 down I rather hoped the Starr in question would be Ringo. Altogether a much nicer chap

18d Scientist, absent-minded, departs for West (7)
FARADAY: A word meaning absent minded needs the abbreviation for west changing to the abbreviation for departs

19d Having slap-up meal but missing first course (7)
EASTING: this bearing or course can be found by losing the first letter from a word that describes the partaking of lots of delicious food

20d Perverse desire to inter upper-class remains (7)
RESIDUE: Our second anagram (perverse) of DESIRE sits around the letter denoting upper class

23d An Irishman seen in racial category (5)
ARYAN: Begin with a letter A and add an Irish name to get those of German looks.

24d Spiritual symbol I see in American city (5)
OMAHA: a mystic syllable, considered the most sacred mantra in Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism is followed by an expression of understanding favoured by Alan Partridge


29 comments on “Toughie 2434

  1. Tuesdays definitely seem to be the new ‘Toughie’ day as I took a reasonable toughie level time to solve this one and enjoyed myself thoroughly while doing so. I even learnt a new meaning for glance which I’ve filed away for future use. Hard to pick just one favourite but I did smile a lot at 13a because it reminded me of teaching small boys to spell/read by splitting longer words into two smaller ones

    Thanks to Donnybrook for the crossword and MP for the blog (remind me that next time I think I should arm-wrestle with you because I’ve always wanted to blog a Donnybrook crossword, to actual do some virtual arm-wrestling and swap with you – Silvanus should note, however, that I’m looking forward to blogging his crossword on Thursday too)

  2. I enjoyed this. A nice step up from the backpager. Today’s resolution is to learn my nymphs; once again I had to check whether we were talking A1 or M1. Loved 13a. Thanks to Miffypops and Donnybrook. p.s. 12a is masculine

    1. Now sorted Jonners. A lady in moderation alerted me to it. If I knew how I would release her.

  3. I had to give up on 12 across after finding the rest not too much of a challenge. By the way surely it’s the masculine form of the French for “the” in lead ore?

    1. Well spotted Miriam. I cannot read my own handwriting. This would never happen if The Daily Telegraph Subscription included The Toughie. Thanks for pointing it out.

  4. Found this a bit of a slog.with words like 19d and 25a feeling ungainly. I did wonder at the inclusion of 17d – fact or fiction? No COTD this time.

  5. A bit held up in the SE, not helped by writing Asian in 23d even though I thought Sian was unusual for an Irish bloke.
    Remembered that front page in 17d. Made me laugh.
    The stone in 12a was new to me and I always thought 14d were Parisian.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for the great fun and to MP for the review.

    1. Our setter placed our 14 down in Nice Jean-Luc. I cannot repatriate her

      1. Commas are used to avoid misreading… ‘ask Sue’ and ‘Nice Jean-Luc”, however, give a wholly new dimension to their characters, eh Reynard? (‘eh, Reynard’). Just having fun.

  6. Loved every bit of this except the answer to 25a, a neologism I hate with a vengeance. I was a tutor and my charges were pupils. If someone feels hectored, does that make them a hectee? Rant over. One new word & one new meaning for me today, so thank you Donnybrook. 3* brainwork, 4.5* enjoyment (lost half a point for you-know-what).

  7. I thought this a proper Toughie, and there was a lot of GK I would never in a trillion years have solved, especially that dratted rodent, about which I knew nothing at all (even after Googling ‘starr hamster’…nothing coherent came up at all) and that nice little Nice seamstress, nor did I know that galena is also glance. When I hit bottom (of the puzzle, not in life), my funk from the Cryptic just deepened. Nothing daunted, though, I really enjoyed the two hours I spent on this Donnybrook (very apt!) last night (Instead of the terrific PDJames mystery I’ve been reading). Nothing like this to scare the horses! I thought most of this was just brilliant, however, especially 17a, 28a, and 18d, none of which I got on my own. Thanks MP and DBrook! ***** / ****

  8. 17d spoiled what was otherwise a very enjoyable and challenging crossword. (I had never heard of the Starr in question, nor (of course) the apparent incident). In general a lot harder than ** in difficulty for me. Thanks to Donnybrook and Reynard The Fox.

  9. I enjoyed this offering from Donnybrook although, I agree with Nogbad regarding 25a. Anyway, the “pupils” I teach are very much adult and I don’t think they would take kindly to being known by the word. They are delegates.
    I did like quite a number of clues including 13a and 26a. It took quite while for me to find the host in the latter.

    May thanks to Donnybrook and to Reynard the Fox(whom I now realise is Miffypops) for the hints.

    1. Reynard The Fox could not see the host in 26 across either. He did notice the letters that make up the word ARMY were there and an anagram of AID at the beginning. Otherwise, the foxy one had a completed blog and no idea about how 26 across worked. In the end he went slowly through the clue word by word and the answer letter by letter. That always works

    2. Miffypops has no idea why he invited Reynard The Fox to do the blog. He stinks, absolutely. And he spent most of his time here eying up our eleven happy chickens.

      1. Oh, yes! How foxes do stink, pong and smell absolutely obnoxious!
        They also kill chickens for pleasure. They could be forgiven if it were for food.
        I think you should send Reynard back to Earth, Miffypops, 🤣🤣

          1. A farmer friend had a run filled with exotic fowl. He went to feed them one morning and found the whole lot lying dead. I think foxes are the only animals that kill for pleasure.

  10. Our stumbling block was 17d where the GK was totally new to us. Eventually worked out a possible answer from the wordplay and checkers and used Google from there to confirm that we were right.
    Thanks Donnybrook and MP.

  11. I was always taught that one used a pair of compasses in geometry class whereas compasses were used in navigation. Should 13a have been ‘school dunces wanting these for geography’ ?

  12. Crikey that was tough. You can add on a couple of ** MP as far as I’m concerned.
    Started very late last night & nearly finished (4d, 23d & 28a required the hints) on my own steam this morning.
    What I found most pleasing is that I’m beginning to sort them from the wordplay which is enabling me to solve clues (12a & 14d) where I’m not familiar with the word but Mr G tells me it’s correct.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for a thoroughly entertaining crossword & to MP for the review

  13. Funnily enough had never seen 28 ac spelled without the ‘h’. Shoul have got it anyway- doh.

  14. Very belatedly sending in this post as I was totally stumped on 17d and 14a.

    Otherwise a splendid time was guaranteed for all.

    Thanks for the enlightenment, Reynard, and to Donnybrook for the puzzle.

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