Toughie 2486 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2486

Toughie No 2486 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

I usually enjoy Donnybrook’s puzzles, but this one was the exception.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Ancient German king embracing devout Mozart symphony (7)
JUPITER: an ancient German and the Latin abbreviation for a king around (embracing) an adjective meaning devout

8a    Snake-haired creatures from Ireland: the old south (7)
ERINYES: a poetic term for Ireland is followed by an old word for the and S(outh)

10a    Wreck of commercial vehicle is dumped in valley (9)
VANDALISE: a commercial vehicle followed by the IS from the clue inside (dumped in) a valley

11a    Ruse from beastly female taking in broadcasting boss (5)
DODGE: a female animal around the two-letter abbreviation for the head of the BBC

12a    No sound that comes from animal (5)
NEIGH: sounds like a word meaning no – it looks like “sound” could be doing double duty here

13a    Soon to have despicable person round as lover (9)
INAMORATO: a phrase meaning soon (2,1,2) followed by a despicable person and the round letter

15a    Girl drinking coffee holding news boss back (7)
LADETTE: a girl who likes to act as a boy is derived by putting a popular coffee around (holding) the reversal (back) of a two-letter newspaper boss

17a    Man on the lookout in passing out (7)
SERVANT: an adjective meaning on the lookout somehow loses its first two letters, but I can’t see how apart from the fact that those two letters are an abbreviation for obiit (he died or passed away) (out) ob. (obiter, by the way, in passing) [thanks Gazza]

18a    Husband quits like a rotter, knowing this can bite (6,3)
CADDIS FLY: drop (quits) the H(usband) from an adjective meaning like a rotter and add a three-letter word meaning knowing

20a    Dull discussion flower power introduces (5)
PROSE: a flower preceded by (introduces) P(ower)

21a    Something nasty afoot has leader deserting alliance (5)
UNION: drop (deserting) the initial letter (leader) from something nasty that grows on a foot

23a    Officer getting a rough ride on ship (9)
BRIGADIER: the A from the clue and an anagram (rough) of RIDE preceded by (on in an across clue) a ship

24a    Slaughter tiger that’s disembowelled smaller cat (7)
TROUNCE: drop the inner letters (that’s disembowelled) from T[ige]R and add a member of the cat family that is smaller than a tiger

25a    Buoy, made with clay, but hard at first (7)
HEARTEN: start with an adjective meaning made with clay and then move the H(ard) to the beginning


1d    Unbiased old author raised objections (4-6)
OPEN-MINDED: O(ld) is followed by a verb meaning to author and one meaning raised objections

2d    Hot cakes served up in Scots valley (6)
STRATH: H(ot) and some cakes, all reversed (served up)

3d    Card the man leaves if diamonds needed for some tricks? (8)
ARTIFICE: Drop HE (the man) from a playing card, add IF from the clue and a three-letter word meaning diamonds

4d    Old bit in gym and some games area (6)
PESETA: gym or Physical Exercise followed by a group of games in tennis and A(rea)

5d    Furious with nothing inside except strong meat (4,4)
WILD BOAR: an adjective meaning furious followed by O (nothing) inside a word meaning except

6d    Nymph in woods evicting river couple (4)
DYAD: drop the R(iver) from a wood nymph

7d    Kids brought up here? Mum and dad wouldn’t wish it (8,5)
JUVENILE COURT: no parent wants to see their kids here

9d    Consult rail timetable and watch detailed departures? (3,3,4,3)
SEE HOW THEY RUN: two definitions – the second referring to the nursery rhyme Three Blind Mice

14d    Experts on bodies converting to Satanism (10)
ANATOMISTS: an anagram (converting) of TO SATANISM

16d    Nearly all the time you’ll see batter going runny (8)
THINNING: nearly all of TH[e] is followed by the time one might see a “batter”

17d    Window of modest size in evidence around Kentucky (8)
SKYLIGHT: an adjective meaning f modest size around K[entuck]Y

19d    Perhaps like Sinbad, sailor put inside escaped (6)
FABLED: a sailor inside a verb meaning escaped

20d    Flat design principal dispenses with central heating (6)
PLANAR: a design is followed by an adjective meaning principal without C(entral) H(eating)

22d    Club represented by extremists in Falange? (4)
IRON: the outer letters (extremists) of F[alang]e are the chemical symbol for this element

I found this a tad tougher than the usual Tuesday fare.


29 comments on “Toughie 2486

  1. I agree that this was a bit tougher than our usual Tuesday fare but there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The removed ‘ob’ in 17a is an abbreviation for the Latin word obiter meaning incidentally or ‘in passing’.

    My podium contenders were 9d, 16d and 22d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  2. I found this quite tricky in places. I finished it, but needed the help of Google in a couple of instances.
    I stared at 4d for a while before I understood the reference to ‘old bit’.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  3. I thought perhaps it was just me and the hot weather that made this feel like a slog. Then BD allows me to think that it in fact was a slog. I usually enjoy Donnybrook but not this time. Thanks to DB and BD

  4. Knew I was going to have trouble when I had to ‘investigoogle’ the definitions of the first two across clues, not to mention 6d.
    Think I enjoyed this one more in retrospect – quite a battle at the time.
    Top three for different reasons were 10a plus 3&9d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD – plus Gazza for the explanation of 17a.

  5. Yes, a bit harder than the usual Tuesday fare but I found it quite enjoyable. I failed to parse 17a [Thanks Gazza] but liked 13a [soon] 14d [anagram nicely done] and 16d [are both words truncated?]. I think 12a works well enough as a single cryptic definition.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    1. The second bit of 16d doesn’t need to be truncated – it works in the singular (but in baseball rather than cricket, I think).

      1. Spot on, Gazza. “Inning” in baseball is analogous to “innings” in cricket. In fact the term “batter” originated in baseball but is being increasingly used in cricket as a gender neutral term for a batsman.

        1. I bow to your knowledge. I had no idea of the distinction [inning/innings] but I am more convinced by batter vs batsman as evidence that the Setter might have had baseball in mind. Even if he hadn’t the clue works perfectly well if “nearly all” applies to “inningS” and well as “the”.

        2. Are we too lazy to say batswoman. I should have seen the US reference here. It is becoming the norm in the toughie.

  6. I was interested to read this in the Puzzles Newsletter saying that the Toughies are “designed to be more difficult than the back-page Telegraph Crossword, ranging from ‘slightly more difficult than the Telegraph Crossword’ each Tuesday, to ‘much more difficult’ each Friday. ”

    Well I enjoyed this Donnybrook offering even if it only just loitered on the border between a Friday back-page and a Tuesday Toughie. As usual, he always makes you smile at certain of his clues – I’ll even forgive him the inclusion of that perishing small cat as I really liked 16d

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD

  7. I started off very slowly but quickened as I progressed around the grid.
    17a unparsed and not convinced by BD,s explanation, the rest were OK.
    Going for a ***/*** .
    13a my favourite once I had it ending in O not A .followed by 18a, overall a pleasant solve in the sunshine.

  8. Delightful use of “detailed” in 9d. Other nice touches. 4d held me up for a while – cleverly constructed.
    A bit demanding for Tuesday, but I would give it at least *** for enjoyment.

  9. I enjoyed this on the whole and found most of it just about standard difficulty for a Tuesday Toughie but finishing off the last few and failing to parse 17a (thanks for the explanation, Gazza) ramped up the hardness level significantly.

    9d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  10. Clever but tricky puzzle , especially some of the downs, such as 6d and 16d.
    Kicking myself for not getting 22d.Very clever clue.
    I liked 9d and 10a, 15a and 21a among others.
    22d gets my COTD because 9d should have been “See how they run”, but that would have messed up 13a for the setter.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

    1. That’s exactly what was the answer to 9d, Una, did you perhaps get the wrong ending for 13a?

      1. I wrote “See can they run” and the online version accepted it .
        As far as I can remember 13a was inamorata.

  11. Really enjoyed this even though there were two that flummoxed me. 9d and 18a my favourites.

  12. I found this quite tricky, especially in the NE corner where I did not know the snake-haired creature (and the word play was such that it only became evident (for me) after the event) – and I did not know the couple reference in the intersecting 6d. However, I got it all sorted out eventually and was pleased to have been able to finish. I think my favourite is 13a where (again) the word play came long after the definition, but was well worth it when the penny dropped. Thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  13. I found this difficult and, with the heat, lost the will to complete it. Rather a lot of GK too. I have never heard of 8a, I only knew Medusa, though oddly this was one of the few clues I managed to unravel. I did like 7d.
    Here’s hoping ‘it’s easier, and cooler, tomorrow!

  14. This was my first attempt at a Toughie. Probably not the best one to start with. i only got 3 in then read all the across hints and got a few more. Then the down hints and got down to the last3. I then revealed one answer to help me and managed to finish it.
    Very pleased with my effort.

  15. We romped through this enjoyable toughie, unusually in a single short sitting this morning! We filled the grid in an anti-clockwise direction starting in the NW corner – LOI 3d. Pretty sure that 18a do not bite. Some familiar and recent cryptic definitions in 24a, 6d and 13a. Couldn’t fully work out the parsing of 17a. COTD – 9d. A good start to the day – * / ***

  16. By the grace of Google, and a bit by electronic hook and by crook, I did manage to finish this quite tough Donnybrook, over a period of two days–started last night, slept some, read some of my mystery novel, ate lunch, and then returned to the puzzle. I had never heard of that fly, nor did I know the Scots valley, nor the BBC initials, and so I found myself in a deep hole for starters. But I did know 8a and that helped me break the ice in that corner. I especially liked 9d, 7a, 17d, and 19d. Thanks to Big Dave and Gazza for parsing 17a and to Donnybrook. 5* / 4.5*

  17. Glad it weren’t my week to blog. Did alright but needed help at the end. Thanks Donnybrook and Big Dave

  18. We certainly had to work haarder than we usually do on a Tuesday but did end up getting it all sorted except for some of the parsing for 17a.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  19. I found this enjoyable and suitably taxing for a Tuesday Toughie. I look forward to Donnybrook’s puzzles, which have plenty of clever, original clues. 2d, 17d, 5d, 10a and several others were notably top quality today. Definitely above the level of a back-pager.

  20. Thanks all for comments. It’s always edifying, not to mention instructive, to read what you think. Yes baseball, btw.

    It occurs to me that it’s been a while since I’ve had the opportunity to buy Big Dave a pint, and that’s something that needs to be remedied ASAP in my view, as I thought I’d be in for a clubbing today having got off to an inauspicious start with his introductory remarks. However it seems I was rescued as the thread progressed. FYI I definitely do GK, but hopefully this is offset by the cluey bit. I do understand that in barred puzzles for example, a lot of the time the difficulty is centred on the obscurity of the entries, rather than arcane cluing, so I do hear you.

    What’s up Sue? Ounces your bugbear perhaps? I think we should be told.


  21. Couldn’t finish this one yesterday and still had a couple not done today when I decided to read the blog (and thanks for that Big Dave!). Not sure I would ever have got 17a.

    As far as I know, 18a doesn’t bite as they don’t live long enough except to mate. However, they are mimicked in fly-fishing when the angler’s hope of course is for a “bite”.

    I got 9d but didn’t get the “de-tailed”…..I thought perhaps it was something to do with Lady Madonna.

    Thanks to Donnybrook for getting me to exercise my brain in this heat.

  22. Fell 4 shy of a finish after a number of revisits – determined to celebrate the debut of the Toughie on the iPad.
    Found it hard going & pretty difficult.
    Thanks BD for helping me over the line & Donnybrook for the brain ache

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