Toughie 2518 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2518

Toughie No 2518 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ****

I thoroughly enjoyed this Donnybrook Toughie, all the more so after writing the review. Standout favourite has to be penny-drop moment when 24a fell into place and I realised it had nothing to do with cricket!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Absurd sketch Rothko initially disowned (4)
DAFT: a sketch from which the initial letter of R[othko] has been dropped (disowned)

3a    Line taken with infant making incomprehensible sounds (5)
BABEL: L(ine) preceded by (taken with) an infant

6a    American journey without end lacking interest (4)
ARID: A(merican) followed by a journey without its final letter (end)

8a    Award one in Drake’s ship’s exchanged for a fish (6,9)
GOLDEN HANDSHAKE: start with Drake’s ship (6,4) and the S from ‘S, replace (exchanged for) the I (one) with the A from the clue and add a fish

9a    Cricketing pair seen outside harbour town and city (6)
OPORTO: put a pair in cricket (two ducks) around a harbour town

10a    Spice Girl appears in rank undergarments (8)
LINGERIE: put the first name of Ginger Spice inside a rank

11a    Meet wayward son in shelter I need to check (3,2,3)
LET ME SEE: an anagram (wayward) of MEET and S(on) inside some shelter

13a    Wince in embarrassment where church welcomes cartel (6)
CRINGE: the Church of England around (welcomes) a cartel

15a    Publish that American author (6)
RUNYON: a three-letter verb meaning to publish followed by a poetic word meaning that

17a    Wander around with mum before books launch (8)
MOONSHOT: a charade of a four-letter verb meaning to wander around followed by an exhortation to keep mum (quiet) and some books of the bible

19a    Loaded a firearm at the front — easy (8)
AFFLUENT: the A from the clue followed by the initial letter (at the front) of firearm and an adjective meaning easy or smooth

21a    Start with alcohol and Jack on about bloomers! (6)
ERRATA: the A from the clue, a jack or sailor and a word meaning on all reversed (about)

22a    Though a smart cookie, also involved in drunken nights (15)
NOTWITHSTANDING: a smart cookie (2,4) followed by a word meaning also inside an anagram (drunken) of NIGHTS

23a    Large body will need tons crammed into short dress (4)
STAR: T(ons) inside most of (short) an Asian dress

24a    Super Kent player always around to conserve energy (5)
REEVE: the surname of the actor who played Superman (aka Clark Kent) is derived by reversing a word meaning always around (to conserve) E(nergy)

25a    My word once accepted by renegade (4)
EGAD: an old-fashioned word meaning my is hidden (accepted by) inside the final word of the clue


1d    Lord, being risen, Bacon cut for band of clergy (3,6)
DOG COLLAR: the Lord reversed (being risen) followed by a cut of bacon

2d    Leave military formation in radioactive dust cloud (7)
FALLOUT: as (4,4) this means to leave a military formation

3d    Dramatist in France good about orders I ignored (3,6)
BEN JONSON: the French for good surrounds (about) a verb meaning orders or demands without (ignored) the I from the clue

4d    By it one develops feeling for character (7)
BRAILLE: a cryptic definition of a character that can be “read” by the blind

5d    Tricked 500 in Spanish city (3,2)
LED ON: the Roman numeral for 500 inside a Spanish city

6d    Castle hit — destroyed for sport (9)
ATHLETICS: an anagram (destroyed) of CASTLE HIT

7d    Sounding bell after time’s gone is hint (7)
INKLING: drop the T(ime) from the sounding of a bell

12d    Tree bark used by settlers (9)
MAYFLOWER: two definitions – in the second a bark is a ship

13d    Famous boxer had to work hand in glove (2-7)
CO-OPERATE: the surname of a famous British boxer followed by a verb meaning had or consumed

14d    Redesigned garden set apart (9)
ESTRANGED: an anagram (redesigned) of GARDEN SET

16d    Plain‘s high point with river feeding reservoir (7)
UPFRONT: a high point followed by a R(iver) inside a reservoir found in a church

17d    Friend coming round is first to see painter (7)
MATISSE: a friend around the IS from the clue and the initial letter of (first to) S[ee]

18d    Legal process shows sense (7)
HEARING: two definitions

20d    Key frequently used to get in (5)
ENTER: two more definitions

Tougher than the average Tuesday Toughie, but still solvable.


17 comments on “Toughie 2518

  1. Needed some online help but this was most enjoyable. I loved the cluing and learned quite a bit about how they are constructed. I loved 8a and the simplicity of 18d.

    Grateful thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave for the hints, which I will now read.

  2. I had 24a correct but assumed he was yet another cricketer I’ve never heard of. Many thanks BD for helping the penny on its downward path. I also liked 22a.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to DB for the fun solve.

  3. Enjoyable and quite tough I thought – thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

    17a is a reminder of Boris’s aspirations for a zillion Covid tests per day (assuming that the testers abandon their old version of Excel).

    I ticked 10a (very amusing), 22a (I loved ‘a smart cookie’), 4d and 7d.

  4. Absolutely loved this one. Like our blogger, the moment of realisation for 24a made it my COTD by a mile. I also liked 8a for a runner-up. Now the Toughie is on the iPad Edition I find my solving times for this and the Cryptic are coming down a notch as I improve my knowledge base. Great fun.

    Thanks to BD and DB.

  5. I look forward to the Tuesday Toughies as they are usually not too difficult and most enjoyable, I concur with BD’s ***/****..
    Excellent puzzle, and making the whole SW quadrant as my favourite as top cluing all round with the outstanding 24a and 12d.
    A special mention also for 4d for the surface.
    Thanks to our setter and BD for the pics-watched the excellent Guys and Dolls again a couple of weeks ago’

  6. Think I enjoyed this one more in retrospect than at the time of solving, funny how that can happen.
    Sometimes a lack of cricket knowledge pays off – 24a was one of the first to fall here – and the 25a expression always makes me smile.
    Very clever clues on display but it was the tree bark and the famous boxer who topped my leader- board.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review.

  7. 24a was among my last in – add me to those who were chasing (in my case unknown) cricketers until the penny dropped. My favourite was the smart cookie in 22a. I thought this was a cracking good puzzle and hugely enjoyable. Many thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  8. I too loved this Donnybrook Toughie, which I finished last night, all by myself, before doing the Cryptic. 24a was one of my first ones in, but it was that SW corner which held out the longest, with 16d and 19a my last two in. Lots of favourites, but 8a, 11a, and 7d are the crème de la crème. Thanks to Big Dave for helping me parse 22a (‘no twit’ am I now) and to Donnybrook for an excellent puzzle. *** / *****

  9. Solved first thing this morning and so enjoyed it that I was tempted to write a review and send it to BD but sound reasonings got the better of me. Perfect Tuesday Toughie. Thanks to all

  10. Lots of clever original clues so good fun to solve. A real penny-drop moment when we twigged what was going on in 8a.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  11. I always tend to like a Donnybrook puzzle for elegant, clever clues without the need for very esoteric knowledge (or googling). Today’s was no exception. Thanks!

  12. Solved this one earlier today after the back pager & really enjoyed it. Chuffed to bits that Gazza thought it quite tough & BD gives it *** stars. 75% went in steadily but the remainder was like pulling teeth with 3a&d plus 4d the chief stumbling blocks. Anyway delighted to chalk off an unaided completion in just over ***** time & must say that I much preferred it to the back pager. My first in was 8a which I thought a great clue & wasn’t beaten.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook & to BD whose review I shall read while having a good soak in the tub after a round of golf at the rather swanky Centurion golf club just outside of St Albans where the weather was thankfully better than that forecast.

  13. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very nice puzzle, enjoyed what I could do. Needed 6 hints to finish. Favourite was 24a.

Comments are closed.