Toughie 2761 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2761

Toughie No 2761 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A Toughie on the easier side of difficulty today. Quite enjoyable while it lasted. Just right for those feeling brave enough to start tackling toughies. Good luck to them

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a        Want rider sending spades back for port worker (12)
LONGSHOREMAN:  Begin with a simple synonym of the word want. Now add a male rider of equine creatures. Move the single letter abbreviation of the word spades back until it slots into place making a port worker or docker. Terry Mallory perhaps

8a        Rock and roller after work briefly proved alluring (7)
TEMPTED: A British rock and roller from the early days of rock and roll follows a verb meaning to be employed for a short period of time

9a        Endure endlessly monstrous and uncomfortable embrace (4,3)
BEAR HUG: Two similes required here.  A verb meaning to endure and a noun meaning monstrous or just very large. The second simile needs to lose its last letter

11a      Hound upstanding character for money (7)
AFGHANI:   A breed of dog is followed by the most upstanding of letters to make the currency of a particular country. Obscure without checkers. Obvious with checkers

12a      Looking back, notice painting showing cover on bed (7)
TOPSOIL: Reverse a word meaning to notice or see something. Add a type of painting named after the medium it is painted in

13a      In Yorkshire river and lake one sees bird (5)
OUSEL:  Attach the abbreviation for lake onto one of Yorkshire’s twenty-five major rivers

14a      Firm, beset by safe crackers, not hearing a thing (5-4)
STONE DEAF: Begin with a word meaning (of muscles) firm. Surround this with an anagram (crackers) of the word SAFE

16a      Vegetarian food and beer with no head? (5,4)
PINTO BEAN: A three part charade. The answer is in this order. 1 A liquid measure of beer. 2 The letter that looks like the number nothing or zero. 3 A synonym for ones head

19a      Composer hit with bottle (5)
GLASS: A composer shares his name with the material that bottles are made from

21a      Turn over as e-books deteriorate (7)
ENTRUST: Begin with the abbreviation for Electronic. Add the abbreviation for the books that form the second half of The Holy Bible. Add a word that means to deteriorate, especially steel

23a      Unscripted talk in theatre   stems from garden (7)
RHUBARB: The word supposedly used by actors in a crowd scene is also a plant with edible stems

24a      Stand before entrance doing twirl (7)
ETAGERE: The poetic form of before together with the entrance to your garden is all reversed

25a      Cutting article from writer seen as mediocre and dated (7)
HACKSAW: A dull and dated writer is followed by the simple past indicative of the word seen the explanation given by Fez at comment 3. Thank you Fez

26a      What might provide recent magazine feature? (6,6)
CENTRE SPREAD: A reverse anagram based upon the word RECENT. Your answer comprises of an anagram of the word RECENT and a word that would serve very well as an anagram indicator


1d        Alkaline substances holding up attempt to make porcelain (7)
LIMOGES:  The plural of an alkali used by gardeners surrounds the reverse of a short word meaning an attempt

2d        Mistress Gwynne about to be announced for sport (7)
NETBALL:  Miss Gwynn’s first name surrounds the abbreviation for estimated time of arrival

3d        Teams take action about one minor concern (4,5)
SIDE ISSUE: A synonym for teams and and a word meaning to take legal action sit around the Roman numeral for the number one

4d        Passing remarks around Republican circle (5)
ORBIT: The shortened form of the passing notices known as obituaries sits rather comfortably around the abbreviation for Republican

5d        Specimen from partner that was large (7)
EXAMPLE: Begin with a two letter word meaning a ‘partner that was’ add an adjective that can mean enough, more than enough or in this case plentiful

6d        Hat manufactured only in Shannon town (7)
ATHLONE:  An anagram (manufactured) of HAT is followed by a word meaning only

7d        Travelling to stars: reduced pressure in this place? (12)
STRATOSPHERE: An anagram (travelling) of TO STARS is followed by the abbreviation for pressure and a word meaning in this place

10d      Good angle to enclose ancient stadium where there’s no privacy (8,4)
GOLDFISH BOWL: A four part charade. 1 The abbreviation for Good. 2 A verb meaning to angle 3 A synonym of the word ancient 4 Another word for an arena. Arrange to suit the wording of the clue

15d      Attribute evident when one has a certain something? (9)
OWNERSHIP: A cryptic definition of the state of possession

17d      Dangerous person overturning barrel and wine box (7)
NUTCASE:  Reverse a large barrel and attach the usual container for a number of bottles of wine

18d      Work with uranium, fast becoming rich (7)
OPULENT: Begin with our usual abbreviation for work. Add the chemical symbol for Uranium. Add the name of the fasting period before Easter

19d      Leave university over a revolutionary painting technique (7)
GOUACHE:  A four part charade in this order. 1 A word meaning to leave. 2 The abbreviation for University 3 The letter A from the clue 4 The only revolutionary character known to crossword setters who is much overused and really deserves a peaceful retirement

20d      Gathered together as dames dancing around (7)
AMASSED: Anagram (dancing around) of AS DAMES

22d      Leitmotiv Keith Emerson embodies (5)
THEME: The answer lies hidden within the words of the clue as indicated by the word embodies


41 comments on “Toughie 2761

  1. I thought this was just right for a Tuesday.

    Thanks to MP for the blog and Donnybrook for the enjoyable crossword – hope you are starting to feel better – the advice I read in the paper about dealing with the blooming virus is not to fight it, just give in and rest until it goes away.

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable Toughie from one of my favourite setters to cheer up a miserable morning. 26a was clever and my top clue, although I also appreciated 19d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  3. Many thanks Donnybrook and Miffypops – although for me, this was a little tougher than you’ve implied! Very enjoyable though, 7d favourite.

    Just a couple of observations re the hints: in 19a, I think the composer shares his name with a quite nasty verb meaning to “hit with bottle”, rather than the bottle’s material; and, in 25a, I’d say it’s a “writer seen as mediocre” plus a word meaning “dated”, romantically.

    1. Thank you. 25 across puzzled me so I went with writing something in the hope that someone would see something I couldn’t and help me out. I’ll have a go at correcting it but I’m in the pub and only have my mobile phone

  4. Can’t say that I paid much attention to parsing the answers but a completed grid in a record Toughie time for me so it must have been on the gentle side. Very enjoyable & pleased to remember the furniture item at 24a.
    Thanks to Donny & Miffs – will look at your review once I’ve tried to parse ‘em after golf.

    1. Good luck with golf in this howling gale! We’re playing tomorrow when it should be calmer/drier!

      1. Jules
        From his previous posts H may be in sunnier climes, if they have let him in that is…

  5. Very enjoyable though no stroll in the park for me, took me quite a while to get a decent foothold, then as ever checkers and inspiration came to my rescue. Used some electronic help for 1a (never heard of it) to get me on my way, otherwise all my own work.
    Favourites 9&26a plus 7d.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and MP for an entertaining puzzle and blog.

  6. Excellent stuff! Just right for the Tuesday spot.
    All so well clued that the few new words (19d & 21ac) and composer were all accessible.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and as always to MP.

  7. I would unite my voice with the general consensus – this just tipped over into 2* time for me, largely because of some cleverly phrased definitions: 12a, 23a being my favourite examples, and I very much enjoyed ‘partner that was’. Exactly where we want to be for a Tuesday. Huge thanks to Donnybrook and as always to Miffypops for her (?) clear and enjoyable explanations.

    1. Miffypops is many different things to many different people but a ‘her’ he most definitely is not!

        1. Miffy the cute bunny has an arsehole that is exactly the same as her nose. Have a look. One of my very young employees told me that. As for my gender. How has it ever been in doubt? Had I been luckier then Miffy would have been the number plate on my car instead of this

          1. I feel I know you so much better now. I love your suit. One day I hope to buy you a pint while you’re wearing it. I’ll be, I’m sorry to say, far more monochromatic.

  8. Good fun. I’ll have to venture out to get a Times though, to fill the evening up!
    Thanks MP and DB

  9. Another terrific Toughie from Donnybrook. So much to admire, especially 19d and 1a (it’s Terry ‘Malloy’, not Mallory; his first Oscar too), but also many others. The SW ultimately bested me because I simply didn’t know what to do with ‘twirl’ in 24a and had to hire a couple letters, at which point I kicked myself all the way to Savannah again. (I have several of those exotic stands throughout my pandemic-cluttered house, so I knew the word.) Thanks to MP and Donnybrook for the total delight.

    1. From Google “Terry Mallory runs errands for Johnny Friendly who is a gang lord and is involved in illegal activities. He meets the sister of a man who was killed by Johnny’s man and decides to revolt against him” No wonder the misinformation thrives

  10. Sound start to the week from Mr D, an enjoyable way of spending a rainy day in Cheshire.
    Last in was 6d,needed the checking letters then I remembered the town.
    Lots of friendly charades as per 7d, 24a was new but the cluig was clear.
    Like others going for a **/****.
    Favourite was 26a;
    Thanks to setter and MP, nice to see Mr Brando again-a watchable film.

  11. Thanks to Miffypops and NYDoorknob for a not as floughie as it appeared today.
    I tried to cram Stevedore into 1a for too long. I would have put a Zed in the bird but the China and a trip to BRB showed the alternative spelling. I also tried to justify RURAL for 13a (R for river + a big lake for how a lot of Yorkshire appears.) Why I ignored the river up the road in York is beyond me. I tend to agree that our favourite revolutionary is overused but he is boon to setters.
    Thanks all – Wind and rain increasing with maybe a hint of sleet here.

  12. Not as easy for me as MP indicated. Needed a few hints, 1ac (although I did know it) and 11ac (not heard of it) but all-in-all a good challenge.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

    PS your answer for 24ac is missing a letter!

    1. And so it is. Who knows why? It’s going to stay that way too unless somebody changes it. Well spotted. Lots of fun.

  13. This took me far too long but finish it I did.
    I have to point out that the reveal for 24a is missing an “e” but let’s let MP finish his well earned pint.
    I did like 26a and 10d.
    Barra doesn’t seem too bad here but it’s good to have an excuse to light the fire

  14. I started and finished this wonderful puzzle speedily, but the middle 50% was an entirely different story, and overall I found this tremendous puzzle a considerable challenge.

    But what a grid! The more I look at the completed clues, the more I enjoy their construction, wit, and finesse, albeit there were a (very) few odd surface readings. Some super red herrings, and I could pick any of a dozen clues as being HMs, let alone CsOTD. Re 1a – on the one hand if you move the S to the beginning of the word, is it not going forward? On the other, going from L to R, it is going backwards. Ho hum.

    3.5* / 4*

    Many thanks indeed to Donnybrook for a great Toughie, and to MP for the review.

    1. Consider a swimmer doing backstroke and considered to be travelling backwards. Turn him or her over and change the stroke to breaststroke and they will be considered to be going forwards. Both are travelling in the same direction. Somebody far cleverer than me needs to explain this

      1. Simple MP,. For the backstroke your back is lowest in the water for the breast stroke it’s your breasts.
        However why the fastest stroke is called the crawl I can’t explain.

          1. You have to imagine a word as a train reversing from L to R in your vision. The front end of the train (the steam loco) is to the left and the rear of the train is to the right – all moving forwards (albeit in reverse) from L to R. If you move something on the train from R to L (a letter S for example) your are moving it BACKWARDS (against the flow) towards the FRONT end of the train (or word). Hope that explains.

  15. Speedy solve, just needed to check my Irish town. 16a gets my vote.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  16. After reading MP’s intro decided to have a go and, amazingly, I finished it so really chuffed. Thanks to all.

  17. Very enjoyable time spent with this over the afternoon. My 9th completed Toughie.

    21A & 23A were the last in. I never seem to remember the name of this stand even though I think it has appeared recently.

    Favourite clue was 26A. I never would have got it had this structure not been explained in the hints for a previous Toughie.

    Thanks to Donnybrook for a great Toughie, and to MP for the review.

  18. Took two visits and a lot of time but another Tuesday Toughie sorted. Really enjoyable, and for me satisfying.
    10d my COTD
    Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  19. A brief note on the parsing of 2d. It’s Mistress Gwynne’s first name around the initial letters of To Be Announced, not Estimated Time of Arrival.

  20. Appreciated the hints to parse several clues;
    liked 9A ” Endure endlessly monstrous and uncomfortable embrace (4,3) “

  21. Thanks all. I am a week late to this due to gig in Leicester-lurgee(non-SARS-2)-gig in London sequence. I mean, of all the things to pick up these days I choose the common cold. Anyway we raised enough money at the London gig (‘Prog the Forest’) to save 15 acres of rainforest, so that’s gotta be something. Anyway thanks muchly for blog and comments.

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