Toughie 2558 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2558

Toughie No 2558 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

This Donnybrook puzzle put up the usual fight, but eventually conceded!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    Asian rhino comes from arena — an escaping giant (7)
RINGGIT: Crosswordland is probably the only place in which rhino can mean money – this Asian currency is derived from another word for an arena followed by GI[an]T without (escaping) the AN

10a    Something blown over vehicle in America (7)
OCARINA: this strange-looking musical instrument is a charade of O(ver), a vehicle, IN from the clue and A(merica)

11a    Show to Monsieur the writer’s glass pens (9)
PANTOMIME: put TO from the clue, M(onsieur), and an abbreviated form of “the writer is” inside (pens) a sheet of glass

12a    Body recently demoted from place ordered out (5)
PLUTO: to get this heavenly body that was recently demoted into being a dwarf or minor planet, PL(ace) is followed by an anagram (ordered) of OUT

13a    Revolutionary books are an inspiration (5)
ERATO: some books of the bible and ARE from the clue are reversed (revolutionary) to get this Muse of erotic poetry and mime

14a    Universal anger shown about doctor’s offence (7)
UMBRAGE: U(niversal) and some anger around one of those two-letter abbreviations for a doctor

17a    Medicinal plant cultivated in vigneron’s empire (7,8)
EVENING PRIMROSE: an anagram of (cultivated in) VIGNERON’S EMPIRE

19a    Something without sparkle sent back with great force (7)
MEGATON: split as (3,1,3) and then reversed (sent back) this could mean something without sparkle

21a    Invalidate yearbook where second article expunged (5)
ANNUL: drop (expunged) the second A (article) from a yearbook

24a    One wearing black, , whose grief was legendary (5)
NIOBE: put I (one) inside (wearing) a very dark brownish-black colour, then reverse it all (reflective)

26a    Investigator Mike shoots old woman in leg (9)
OMBUDSMAN: put the letter represented by Mike in the NATO Phonetic alphabet, some shoots and the old woman (mother) onside the leg side in cricket

27a    Ordinary to be in credit for a month (7)
OCTOBER: O(rdinary) followed by TO BE from the clue inside CR(edit)

28a    Permit excessive behaviour (7)
LICENCE: two definitions


1d    Complaints: this old one, another about parking (6)
GRIPPE: this old term for influenza comes from a complaint or grumble around P(arking)

2d    One must attend appointment with pigeon in swamp (8)
INUNDATE: a charade of I (one), a type of pigeon and an appointment

3d    Land expert on a rig most awkwardly (10)
AGRONOMIST: an anagram (awkwardly) of ON A RIG MOST

4d    Pike this old defence force employed (4,5)
HOME GUARD: (don’t tell him) Pike was a fictional private employed by this old defence force (I started to write in Dad’s Army until I realised it had insufficient letters)

5d    Grouse, beef and fish (4)
CARP: three definitions

6d    Copper in vain tortured South American native (6)
VICUÑA: the chemical symbol for copper inside an anagram (tortured) of VAIN

7d    Pigment English used in abstract art once (8)
CAROTENE: E(nglish) inside an anagram (abstract) ART ONCE

9d    Work found regularly in two mills (4)
TOIL: the odd letters (regularly) of two words in the clue

15d    Fail always to avoid Indian food (6,4)
BOMBAY DUCK: a verb meaning to fail followed by a poetic word for always and a verb meaning to avoid

16d    Hostile to royal household in battle (9)
AGINCOURT: a colloquial word for “hostile to” followed by a royal household

17d    Day Scottish man opens school in Enfield district (8)
EDMONTON: D(ay) and a Scottish word for man inside (opens) a public school for posh boys who don’t know the price of milk

18d    Turn dress up (8)
ORNAMENT: I got this from the checking letters and the verb “to dress up” and then discovered that ornamental turn was a new-to-me musical term

20d    Crossing river, reached cave (6)
GROTTO: R(iver) inside a phrasal verb meaning reached (3,2)

22d    Singer turned up hiding at football match? (6)
LINNET: this songbird is derived by reversing a score that would be regarded as a hiding in a football match (3,3)

23d    President after James B murdered second son! (4)
ABEL: take the president who followed James B[uchanan] and express his name in the same format (3,1) to get the name of the second son of Adam and Eve who was murdered by his elder brother

25d    German banker resident in Heidelberg (4)
ELBE: this German river (banker) is hidden inside (resident in) the clue

This was a most enjoyable puzzle.


26 comments on “Toughie 2558

  1. Both today’s DT puzzles took me the same time to solve, but I enjoyed this one far more. My favourite across clue was 12a and my favourite down clue 4d, with the latter taking top spot overall

    Thanks to Donnybrook for the fun and BD for the H&T

  2. I enjoyed this a great deal, in spite of not knowing the pigeon or the musical turn, both of which I needed to verify.
    I ticked 12a, 19a, 26a and 4d but my favourite, for the well-disguised hiding, was 22d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  3. Even with my 5 electronic letter-hints, I fell short of finishing because of several in the NW: 1a, 11a, 2d. Also missed the singer in 22d. Like BD, I solved 18d with the checking letters. Still and all, I really enjoyed this clever and witty Donnybrook challenge. So much to like, especially 15d, 16d, and 12a (probably my COTD). Thanks to BD for the hints, a goodly number of which I needed, and to Donnybrook.

  4. What a wonderfully accessible and enjoyable Toughie. Any unknown words were easily derivable from the excellent wordplay, and the quality of the clues was of a high standard throughout. 4 and 22d share my top spot this afternoon.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for the fun and to BD.

  5. Excellent. Just my level.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD for clarifying 2d and 18d.
    I’m one of many who greatly appreciate this site and the work of those who produce it, but haven’t commented for years.

  6. Like Chris M , this is my level of enjoyment ,not too difficult but plenty of head scratching!
    Agree with BD’s ***/****.
    I found the NW quadrant tricky and last in 13a which fell into place when 1d was solved, will try and remember the muse as an inspiration for future use.
    My Chambers confirmed the pigeon in 2d , one 1’d forgotten from the fading memory banks.
    Anyway thanks to Donnybrook for the pleasure.

  7. 8a was sneaky wasn’t it? So chuffed to remember the slang term for money. Is Edmonton near Enfield? I thought it was in Alberta. My uncle was a vicar at Enfield.
    17a is a very clever anagram and my COTD

  8. Excellent! What a first rate Toughie this was, full of inventive ideas and penny drop moments.

    The pigeon in 2d and the native in 6d were new to me, and I struggled for a while to parse 26a, 22d & 23d, the last two of which were my last ones in. I have a nagging feeling that the first word of the clue for 1d ought to be singular but it’s a close run thing :unsure:.

    15d was one of my favourite delicacies until it fell foul of an EC ruling sometime in the 1970s and was banned in Europe. Although a fight for several years against the ban was successful, since then it still doesn’t seem to have been available at all in any Indian restaurants at least in my area of London. :sad:

    22d & 23d were my joint favourites with 8a & 15d close runners-up.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

    1. I suppose 1d encompasses two different types of complaints so think the pluralisation is probably accurate.

  9. For 1d I suppose influenza can mean complaints but I think complaint (singular) would have been fairer.

  10. I needed a little help but mostly this was a very enjoyable puzzle. The NE corner fell very quickly but the rest took some teasing. I have never heard of 8a but it could be nothing else. Also, I tend to forget that in crossword land “body” can mean a planet (or minor planet now). I loved 16d and that has to be my COTD.

    Many thanks, Donnybrook for the challenge and to BD for the hints.

  11. Funny thing with this compiler’s puzzles – either I latch onto his wavelength of the day or I don’t and this was unfortunately one of the latter so it felt a bit like pulling teeth.
    Not to worry – got there in the end and I think I’d agree with Steve C and put 16d at the top of the pile.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review.

  12. Didn’t know the pigeon either but remembered the wooly beast in 6d.
    4d was a bit of a leap of faith and only learned from the blog that Pike was in fact a character in Dad’s Army.
    When first checked, I came across an explanation which quoted Churchill: “Every man must have a weapon of some kind, be it only a mace or pike”. This suited me just fine.
    24a needed a bit of research too.
    Favourite 19a.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

    1. There are certain scenes which are sitcom classics, Del Boy leaning on the bar in Fools and Horses, Four Candles in the Two Ronnies and this one:

  13. I too was thrown by the wording of 1d [but concede it’s OK with the next 3 words] and was unfamiliar with the musical use of “turn” in18d. I too regret the passing of the 15d to the EUreaucrats and I also think 22d is a magnificent clue. The Asian rhino was pretty neat too.
    Thanks to DB and BD

  14. Rather you than me Big Dave. If it were my turn today I’d have opened a strong beer before 9 o clock this morning. This puzzle put up a fight all the way through. Thanks to Donnybrook for the challenge and BD for the answers to the clues I gave up on.

  15. Took me a while to get there and still don’t fully understand 18d. Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  16. I thought this absolutely terrific though very tough for the likes of me. Very nearly threw in the towel early doors but perseverance paid off & got there eventually after a number of revisits without the review or any letter reveals. Wasn’t familiar with the currency & the wordplay was very sneaky & added another (2 if you count the pigeon) to the list of God’s lesser known creatures soon to be forgotten . Thought the downs at 4,16 & 22 all great clues.
    Many thanks Donnybrook & to BD – will need to read the review to parse 26a

  17. Really enjoyed this puzzle as all the answers were gettable one way or another. First one in was 17d as I happen to have been born there! (No offence taken – it was a VERY long time ago and I wouldn’t go back there now either, but I had no choice at the time.) A few unknowns needing Mr G’s help but ashamed of myself for not remembering the musical ‘turn’ as I’ve been a musician all my life! Favourites were 4d for the laughs and the clever 23d. Many thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

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