Toughie 2677 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2677

Toughie No 2677 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Another excellent Toughie from Donnybrook. All those mentions of food made me feel ready for lunch!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Man, deadly, sitting next to monarch (6)
FELLER: an old-fashioned adjective meaning deadly followed by the queen’s royal cipher

9a    Just have two ends to disentangle (4-6)
EVEN-HANDED: an anagram (to disentangle) of HAVE END END

10a    Put together investment — rum thing generating capital (5,5)
ADDIS ABABA: a verb meaning to put together or supplement followed by a type of investment and the second word in a small cake soaked in rum

11a    Witch covers knight put to death (4)
HANG: a three-letter word for a witch, not hex as I originally tried, around the chess notation for kNight

12a    Liberal placed in sober group ultimately drinks, regrettably (4)
ALAS: L(iberal) inside a “sober group” of reformed drinkers and followed by the final letter (ultimately) of [drink]S

14a    Spoil cotton clothing while making liqueur (10)
MARASCHINO: a three-letter verb meaning to spoil and a strong cotton cloth, typically used for manufacturing trousers, around (clothing) a two-letter word meaning while

17a    Jug French and Spanish needed for meal (4-3)
STIR-FRY: a four-letter word meaning jug or prison followed by FR(ench) and the Spanish word for “and”

18a    Beer guzzling as mentally stimulating? (7)
PIQUANT: a quantity of beer around a Latin word meaning “as” or “in the capacity of”

20a    Road clearer today, parking in Berkshire town (10)
SNOWPLOUGH: an adverb meaning today or at the present time and P(arking) inside the Berkshire town that was so disliked by John Betjeman that he wished “friendly bombs” would fall on it!

21a    Losing face, champion succeeded in love (4)
EROS: a champion without his initial letter (losing face) followed by S(ucceeded)

22a    Who’s enemy finally denied in northern valley? (4)
DALE: the best-known enemy of Dr Who without its final letter (finally denied)

23a    See pottery churning out plate (10)
STEREOTYPE: an anagram (churning out) of SEE POTTERY gives a printing plate

25a    Artist in Baltic state given thanks for opera (2,8)
LA TRAVIATA: our usual artist inside one of the Baltic states and followed by a two-letter word meaning thanks

26a    Endlessly huge mushrooms providing muscle (6)
BICEPS: a three-letter word meaning huge without its final letter (endlessly) followed by some mushrooms


2d    Writer in old Tenby for broadcast (4,6)
ENID BLYTON: an anagram (for broadcast) of IN OLD TENBY

3d    Patriarch against wearing Hawaiian garland (4)
LEVI: a Hebrew patriarch is derived by putting a single-letter meaning against inside (wearing) an Hawaiian garland

4d    Vanessa from Madrid surprisingly encased in concrete (3,7)
RED ADMIRAL: I dint know the alternative name for this butterfly, but the answer was easily derived as an anagram (surprisingly) of MADRID inside (encased in) an adjective meaning concrete or actual

5d    What did you say in loo about port? (2,5)
LE HAVRE: a two-letter interjection meaning “what did you say” inside a loo and followed by a two-letter word meaning about or concerning

6d    When rook comes north, catch sound of larger bird (4)
RHEA: start with a word meaning to catch the sound of and move the chess notation for rook to the beginning (north in a down clue)

7d    Situated as York’s welcoming hotel that’s free! (2,3,5)
ON THE HOUSE: a phrase meaning where the City of York is situated (2,3,4) around H(otel)

8d    Slowly an enlisted American gets into trouble (6)
ADAGIO: the musical notation for slowly is derived by putting the indefinite article and an enlisted American soldier inside a three-letter word meaning trouble

13d    Fruit star trained with food writer Mary (10)
STRAWBERRY: an anagram (trained) of STAR and W(ith) followed by the surname of food writer Mary

15d    Second-class seaman under sheikhs prepared meat dish (5,5)
SHISH KEBAB: the letter that indicates second-class and our usual sailor (seaman) preceded by (under) an anagram (prepared) of SHEIKHS

16d    New earnings docked before river work for Charlie (10)
NINCOMPOOP: a charade of N(ew), most of (docked) some earnings, an Italian river and a musical work

19d    Satirist simply not good person: easily bribed (7)
JUVENAL: a word meaning simply without ST (not good person) followed by an adjective meaning easily bribed

20d    Day daughter occupies Manchester town land (6)
SADDLE: D(ay) and D(aughter) inside (occupies) a town near Manchester

23d    Hang on to bar (4)
SAVE: two definitions

24d    Ornament Celts originally placed under hill (4)
TORC: the initial letter (originally) of C[elts] preceded by (placed under in a down clue) a hill

One of those puzzles where, once finished, you wonder why it took as long as it did.


26 comments on “Toughie 2677

  1. Another very enjoyable cryptic crossword from Donnybrook. Thanks to him and BD

  2. I thought this was just right for a Tuesday Toughie – not too tough and a lot of fun. The only thing I needed to look up was how the first four letters of 1a were clued by “deadly”.

    I had too many ticks for one podium with all of 9a, 10a, 18a, 20a, 22a, 7d & 19d coming into contention.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to BD.

  3. Just about what a Tuesday Toughie should be both in terms of difficulty and enjoyment – **/****.

    I did have a problem with the 19d satirist and needed electronic help to resolve it.

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 17a, and 16d – and the winner is 16d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  4. Amazingly I finished this unaided but again needed the hints to see how I got there with 18a and 19d. Also 1a was a bit of a guess as I couldn’t see the deadly part. Thanks to all.

  5. Needed the hints to parse 23a and 7d, I’ll settle for that. Never heard of the meaning for deadly in 1a or the satirist in 19d but I have now. Favourite was 16d. Thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  6. Donnybrook always provides an enjoyable puzzle and today is no exception. Thanks to him and BD.
    I didn’t know the 4d vanessa or the ‘plate’ meaning of 23a but both were gettable from the wordplay.
    My ticks went to 14a, 20a and 7d.

  7. This was one of those puzzles where the answers sometimes came out of nowhere. For instance, I knew Vanessa was a butterfly and the right butterfly just floated into my head. The same went for 10a, 25a .and 14 a. The wordplay followed later.
    A happy companion to today’s back pager.
    COTD is 16d. Such an unlikely word.

  8. Learned a couple of new things in the shape of the 23a plate and the satirist plus I went awry with 1a thinking that Mr Heller fitted the bill quite nicely! Not to worry, it didn’t interfere with anything else in the grid.
    Medals going to 10&14a plus 7d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to BD for the review and much more plausible evaluation of 1a!

  9. Way too many excellent clues to pick a favourite. This setter never fails to provide top notch entertainment and this was a really enjoyable Toughie.

    My thanks to Donnybrook and BD.

  10. I concur with previous comments. This was a very worthwhile Toughie.
    I have to admit that I was flummoxed briefly by one or two. The answer to 1ac was apparent but I had never heard of that adjectival use I just straightforwardly didn’t know of 19d.

  11. I haven’t had such fun [with a crossword] for such a short time for a long time. My main criticism was it didn’t last long enough. Virtually every clue made me smile but my top picks are 18a, 20a, 4d [the choice of surprisingly for the anagram indicator is inspired] 5d and 16d.
    Ta and bravo to Donnybrook and ta to BD for the blog.

  12. I agree with halcyon: don’t know when I’ve had so much fun solving a crossword; I actually laughed out loud with 16d, but others, like 7d, 10a, and 19d, just gave me a thrill and a few goosebumps too. What brilliance! I did need B.D. to help me parse another couple along the way, so thanks to him and many salutes to Donnybrook for a first-rate puzzle.

  13. Nice Tuesday workout.
    I really enjoy clues like 4d, 23a & 19d where, even though I wasn’t aware of the reason for the answers, the wordplay made them solvable and a check with Mr Google then provided some learning.
    Far better than some toughies that just throw obscurities in to provide the toughiness

  14. Thanks Donnybrook and BD. Struggled with some of the parsing and needed to Google 19d. 23a took a while. I was expecting the Y to come at the end. I tried to justify Heller for 1. Other real toughie for me was 6d as I thought the birds were skua and auks. Of course that did not fit with 9a. Otherwise took less time than some backpagers. Circles round 14 20 and 25a and 7 and 16d.

  15. Some head scratching over 1a and 18a. I did arrive at the correct answer but needed the blog to sort out the parsing. My thanks to BD and Donneybrook.

  16. Great toughie ….thanks to Donnybrook for the enjoyment, though 5d defeated me, and to BD for help in parsing 19d ( which I remembered from Latin lessons in the 60’s). Like others I didn’t know the unusual meaning of “fell” in 1ac nor the Spanish in 17 ac.

  17. I found this a struggle today. Got there but only with a bit of help from google.

    Thanks to BD and Donnybrook.

  18. Lots of fun for us and, for a change, we did know all the GK that was required.
    Thanks Donnybrook and BD.

  19. For me this had a bit of a sting in the tale and like Jonners I needed the help of Mr G to get over the line and BD to parse a couple, all after setting off lime the proverbial train. Still, I enjoyed it, Donnybrook is such a clever setter I feel. Podium contenders aplenty but I’ve gone for 5,7&16d.
    Many thanks to the aforementioned Donnybrook and BD.

  20. Tackled this straight after the back pager this morning & flew through it (rare for a Donny puzzle though didn’t know it was his while solving) only to suffer a last fence refusal at 19d. I shall resist the review & have a look at it again before lights out as I’m sure it’s a satirist I’m looking for. Won’t even attempt to pick out a favourite as there’s not a duffer in there or at least not among those I’m happy I’ve parsed correctly – happy to admit to a few bung ins.
    Thanks Donny & in advance to BD

    1. Nope. Never heard of the fella & missed the wordplay. Thanks also for explaining 5d & 10a both of which I really ought to have parsed – great clues.

  21. Always enjoy a Donnybrook Toughie and today’s certainly didn’t disappoint.

    Failed on 1a, 18a and 19d (a new word for me).

    Favourite clues were 20a, 23a, 4d, 7d, and 16d…..and more. In fact all were good and well-constructed. Thanks to Donnybrook and Big Dave.

  22. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I’m glad I had a stab at this puzzle, it was most enjoyable. I liked 17,20, 22,25a but my favourite was 9a. Needed the hints for 18a & 5,6,19d, and to parse 10a. Have never heard of 19d, didn’t know the Latin in 18a. Also 7d was very clever too. Was 3* / 5* for me.

  23. Hello Big Dave and all, many thanks for this blog and encouraging comments.

    Sorry I’m late to say ta, but it’s been a bit of a Wickes job this week, as I’ve decided that I’m a handyman with enough skills to put up some heavy-ish mirrors. Daily mirrors, as I’ll be doing another tomorrow. Aren’t cordless drills fun?!

    Can we meet up to have a drink yet? Boris?

    Cheers, Noddybrook.

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