Toughie 2721 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2721

Toughie no 2721 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Tuesdays puzzles seem to have become tougher of late. Donnybrook has tested my resolve today. As usual checkers came to the rescue, or was it wavelength? No it’s checkers. Always checkers


Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a        Booted out rival here and there in ancient region (7)
BOEOTIA: It is always a nice feeling when the first across clue writes itself in and gives a feeling of confidence for a speedy solve. I will have to wait until another day for that feeling though. This was my last one in today.

The alternate letters of the first three words in the clue will lead you to your answer. The word out is not an anagram indicator in this clue so there is not a letter D left over from the wordplay which puzzled me for a while. According to Wikipedia the answer is home to the third largest pasta factory in Europe

8a        Sneering scars a distressed maiden (7)
SARCASM: An anagram (distressed) of SCARS A plus the abbreviation used in cricket for a maiden over

10a      Communications device to signal unwittingly (9)
TELEGRAPH: A double definition, the first more obvious than the second

11a      Point secured in contest, throwing weapon (5)
SPEAR: A word meaning to argue (without malice) or contest something contains one of the points of the compass

12a      Polish people news boss brings in (5)
EMEND: Our usual newspaper boss contains some people, blokes or fellows

13a      Speciation theory right — success lies in restraint (9)
DARWINISM: The abbreviation for right, a synonym of a success or victory and a word meaning lies or exists all sit inside a type of restraint which prevents the flow of water

15a      One sinking after bounding with confident gait (7)
SWAGGER:  To sink or to sag? One who sags surrounding the abbreviation for with. Here is the only song I know that contains the answer within the lyrics. Thanks to CrypticSue for sorting out the wordplay here

17a      Creature carried by Nepalese as luggage (3,4)
SEA SLUG: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the words carried by

18a      White after black seen with daisy-like plant? (9)
ALABASTER: Begin with an informal preposition 1,2 meaning after, or in the style of. Add the abbreviation for black. Add a large daisy like flower typically having pink or purple petals

20a, 17 Down & 6 Down Betray nothing in tower with a uniform vertical aspect (4,1,8,4)
KEEP A STRAIGHT FACE:  Begin with a tower usually found within the walls of a castle. Use the letter A from the clue. Add a synonym for the word uniform. Add a vertical aspect of a building or geographical feature

21a      Worldly hold-up man eventually scratching back (5)
ATLAS: Split 2,4 a term that means eventually needs its last letter removing

23a      Stocking vino with a revised list: might oenophile see this expanded? (9)
WAISTLINE: The English word for vino contains (stocking) the letter A from the clue and an anagram (revised) of LIST

24a      When announced, money only divided region (7)
KASHMIR: This region in the region of India (possibly) is made up from a homophone (announced) of a term for ready money and another word meaning only

25a      Greek in underworld, Leander seen regularly (7)
HELLENE:  The underworld opposite of heaven is followed by the alternate letters of the word Leander


1d        Famed musician naked — is ale involved? (4,6)
NEIL SEDAKA: Anagram (involved) of NAKED IS ALE. Unlike 1 across this one did write itself in

2d        Put on stone, advanced in years (6)
STAGED: The abbreviation for a stone in weight is followed by a word meaning advanced in years

3d        Pirate scattered armed guard, out of bounds (8)
MARAUDER: An anagram (scattered) of ARMED and GUARD minus the outer letters of guard

4d        Book of Baudelaire’s is at this point abridged (6)
ESTHER: The way that French poet Charles Baudelaire might say the word is, followed by a word meaning in this place minus its last letter. The odd symbols in the subscription version can be replaced with an apostrophe as above

5d        Swede for one needing money initially in current account (8)
BRASSICA:  A slang term for money is followed by the letter that looks like the number one and the abbreviation for current account

6d  FACE:  See 20 across

7d        Green space — excited ape seen within repeatedly beats chest (9,4)
BATTERSEA PARK: A word (plural) meaning repeatedly beats is followed by an anagram (excited) of APE and a chest of the type said to contain the holy grail

9d        Get saint from anagram (medley that needs rearrangement) (4,9)
MARY MAGDALENE: Anagram (that needs rearrangement) of ANAGRAM MEDLEY

14d      Misfortune braved, admits leader of Nouvelle Vague (3-7)
ILL DEFINED: Two rather laboured synonyms are required here. A three-letter synonym of misfortune and a six-letter synonym of braved. The initial letter of the word nouvelle needs to be inserted somewhere amongst what you have

16d      Happy to have boys travel around with me (8)
GLADSOME: A four-letter word meaning boys is surrounded by a verb meaning to travel. The word me from the clue rounds things off

17d  STRAIGHT: See 20 across

19d      The endless growth in snooker? (6)
THWART: Begin with the word the from the clue. Remove its last letter. Add a small hard benign growth on the skin

20d      Whistler, perhaps confined by police, disposing of diamonds (6)
KETTLE:  A word meaning (of a crowd) to have been forced by the police into a predetermined area (and held without charge) by the blocking off of alternative exits needs to have the abbreviation for diamonds removed

22d      Cat in wood lake submerges? (4)
LASH: A type of wood comes after the abbreviation for lake. The cat is not one of flesh and blood but one that might inflict pain when used as a barbaric punishment


24 comments on “Toughie 2721

  1. A nice Tuesday Toughie from Donnybrook. I too was taken in by the word ‘out’ in 7a until I didn’t know what to do with the spare D. I did smile at 17a as you can imagine the Nepalese trying to explain what such a creature was doing in their hand luggage!

    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP

  2. 1d and 7a were new to me but fairly clued. I googled the former whilst Mrs Jonners confirmed the latter. Otherwise pretty much plain sailing now that I’m getting used to thinking of Swede as a 5d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  3. My COTD was 23a but that’s because it was one of the very few clues I managed to solve.
    I was interested to see a repeat of 5d as the last time it appeared I queried how a root vegetable could be a member of the cabbage family. I still find it surprising.
    This was a difficult puzzle. Far harder than the expected Tuesday offfering,

  4. Also spent ages on the d in 7ac but penny eventually dropped.
    I was waiting for the blog to explain 15ac but remain unclear as the BRB has no mention of it.

      1. That’s suddenly so obvious….thank you.
        I missed the W as part of the wordplay.
        I now think it’s rather clever.

  5. A very elegantly-clued and hugely enjoyable Toughie for a soaking wet Tuesday. 7a was also my final entry. 17a was a great example of a lurker, but my top clue was 20d. I am sure I wasn’t alone in trying to fit something to do with an artist, or his mother, into the grid.

    My thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

    1. Should be boracic. Pronunciation has slipped into brassic over the years. Who uses boracic lint these days, or even knows what it is!. A bit like tow rag becoming toe-rag

  6. I really enjoyed this nice Toughie last night and finished all on my own, though 22d was a bung-in and I still don’t understand the connection with ‘cat’. 13a my COTD with lots of runners-up. Thanks to MP and to Donnybrook.

          1. I originally had “basa” (a type of catfish) for this from “balsa” (wood) minus the abbreviation for lake.

            Once I’d realised what 21a was, I changed it.

  7. I struggled for ages with 20a, 14d and 20d but once I realised that 24d didn’t mean misfortune it all came together quickly so it becomes my favourite. For once i managed to parse everything. Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  8. Just beaten by 7a. Worked it out from the wordplay but it looked such a ridiculous set of letters that I didn’t even bother to check Google. ☹

  9. This took three seperate visits and for quite a while I found it a frustrating exercise, then voila, it was like someone had turned a light on and it all came together quite nicely. In the end both satisfying and enjoyable, my ticks go to the 20,21&23a plus 20d.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to MP for the top notch entertainment.

  10. Another great puzzle from Donnybrook.

    I didn’t know 7a but worked it out ok. Favourites were 13a and 20d.

    Thanks too to MP.

  11. We spent ages wondering what to do with our extra D in 7a too.
    Lots of fun with this one and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Donnybrook and MP.

  12. Enjoyable challenge, helped by tuning into Donnybrook’s wavelength from the off. A good Tuesday grid. Some elegant cluing and misdirection, and erroneously trying to get one of Baudelaire’s published works to fit the checking letters resulted in 4d being my LOI. Had a couple of bung-ins for which I needed the blog afterwards – thank you MP for the review

    No particular favourite, but Hon. Mentions to 25a, 3d, 19d and 20d.

    1.5* / 2.5*

    Many thanks to Donnybrook & MP.

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