Toughie 2825 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2825

Toughie No 2825 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by Miffypops

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Chris M Rating – Difficulty * – Enjoyment *****

A  teaser Toughie from Donnybrook, a popular setter who is guaranteed to bring a smile or two when solving his puzzles. He has provided us with some custard with plenty of tea. Thankfully the clueing is more imaginative than the comestibles. What’s not to like here?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Stone initially laid into what might be teak table (7)
TRESTLE: The abbreviation for stone and the initial letter of the word laid sit inside what teak or any wood is when alive and growing

8a Rich source of malevolent spirits causing collapse? (7)
IMPLODE: Split 3,4 a mischievous spirit and a vein of metal ore that could conceivably be a rich source

10a Walk-on parts at times revised: actor extremely restricted! (9)
METATARSI: The extreme letters of the word actor are restricted by an anagram (revised) of AT TIMES

11a Problem for some players affected when covering run (5)
CRAMP: A word meaning affected which might apply to people like Graham Norton surrounds the abbreviation for runs

12a Small animals we love going over dance moves (5)
STEPS: The abbreviation for small is followed by the word given to the domesticated animals some people keep for companionship and amusement

13a Home Office head blocking more than 100 commoners? (3,6)
HOI POLLOI: A three part charade. 1 The abbreviation for the home office 2 A persons head 3 The letters that look like the number one hundred and one. Arrange carefully as instructed by the clue

15a Ship in front needing long time to pass (7)
GALLEON: A synonym of the word front as in cheek or impudence is followed by an indefinite and very long period of time. Possibly a ship of this type might take a long time to pass but I’m not so sure. Google says, Most were four masted ships although some were only three. The stern most mast was known as the bon-adventure mast and was rigged with lanteen sails which gave the ship great maneuverability especially in the wind. For their size, they had great speed

17a Famous daughter chasing copper gives sauce (7)
CUSTARD: A word used to describe someone famous is followed by the abbreviation for daughter. Together they are preceded by the chemical symbol for copper

18a Article about Ireland transformed that’s rousing stuff (9)
ADRENALINE: An anagram (transformed) of IRELAND is surrounded by an article. Which article? I hear you ask. The one used twice in this hint

20a Male going into spasm a slave to the Earl Grey? (5)
THEIC: Place a male pronoun inside a spasm to find a person who drinks excessive amounts of tea

21a Stole lead from Tottenham after United put on first sub (1-4)
U BOAT: A ladies stole sits inside the leading letters of the words United and Tottenham

23a Cleaner drinking tea with second customer (9)
PURCHASER: A word meaning more clean surrounds a term for tea and the abbreviation for second

24a Text manager providing rocks for building (7)
EDIFICE: The shortened name of a person who manages published text is followed by a conjunction meaning providing and a term for rocks as in gemstones such as diamonds

25a Crawlers two mad drivers here and there ignored (7)
TOADIES: The alternate letters (here and there) of several consecutive words in the clue can be ignored. What Is left will provide your answer. Which words? How many words? I hear you ask. Read the clue. ‘Do I ignore the odd or the even letters?’ I hear you ask. Well Suck it and see. One works the other doesn’t


1d Lolita perhaps in worst dungeon, we hear (10)
BESTSELLER: Begin with a lovely synonym of the word worst. Add a homophone of where a dungeon might be located. The answer is a book that flew off the shelves when published on the day that I was born in the middle of the last century

2d Complaint over fliers seen around Italy (6)
OTITIS: When placed in the order suggested by the clue the abbreviations for Over and Italy plus some fliers will lead to your answer. The fliers could be blue, long tailed, coal, marsh, willow or crested

3d Victory protecting the planet to become less convincing (4,4)
WEAR THIN: A victory surrounds the planet we live on.

4d Atoll in which one supports lovingly flexible relations? (6)
BIKINI: A two-letter term amusingly described by our setter as lovingly flexible is followed by one’s family and relations. All rounded off by the letter that looks like the number one

5d Son cherished? Not right, but superficially plausible (8)
SPECIOUS: Begin with the abbreviation for son. Add a synonym of the word cherished minus the abbreviation for right

6d Nine letters here written up, the ninth elsewhere? (4)
IOTA: The first nine letters of our alphabet A to I written in reverse will provide your answer which is the ninth letter of the Greek alphabet. Parsing this marvellous clue has made me smile smugly

7d Guidance drummer may need before going into bars? (4,9)
TIME SIGNATURE: This is a cryptic definition of an indication of rhythm following a clef, generally expressed as a fraction with the denominator defining the beat as a division of a semibreve and the numerator giving the number of beats in each bar which will be needed by a drummer or musician before playing a piece of music. Particularly if they play in a band called The Far Meadow

9d Men with power to stop disrespect spreading? Here’s camaraderie (6,2,5)
ESPRIT DE CORPS: Anagram (spreading) of OR (men or Other Ranks) P (power) and DISRESPECT

14d Top party people are involved with LSD and E, knowing the scene (10)
LEADERSHIP: Begin with an anagram (involved) of ARE LSD and E. solve this and add a word meaning knowing the scene, down and dirty with the kids, trendy or with it

16d Genius stumped when probing articles abroad (8)
EINSTEIN: The cricket abbreviation for stumped sits in between two examples of the word and in a foreign language

17d Substantial clubs on Greek island (8)
CONCRETE: Begin with the abbreviation for clubs. Add the word ON from the clue. A generous gift from today’s setter. Add a Greek island. There are quite a few to choose from but only one works

19d Passed recess in empty land (6)
LAPSED: Place a large semicircular or polygonal recess in a church, arched or with a domed roof and typically at the church’s eastern end inside the outer letters of the word land

20d Come again in coach this writer disembarked in city (6)
TEHRAN: Begin with a word synonymous with coach that can be a verb or a noun. Remove the personal pronoun our setter might use to describe himself. Insert a word used when asking somebody to repeat something

22d Nothing took effect in late news report (4)
OBIT: Begin with the round letter that looks like nothing or zero. Add a word meaning took effect. The late news as reported in the Daily Telegraph appears after the features section and before the business pages


22 comments on “Toughie 2825

  1. A perfect example of what a Tuesday Toughie ought to be, but so often isn’t. This one coming with a clue which made me laugh out loud, the opportunity to learn a new word and an all-round fun-filled solving experience which has left me happy all day (so far).

    Thanks very much to Donnybrook and to MP

  2. Frustratingly beaten by 6d, just couldn’t see it (now I’ve seen the hint I can’t see why!) otherwise all done and dusted in slightly longer than average Tuesday Toughie time.
    2d and 20a new to me but obtainable from checkers and wordplay.
    As ever with this setter lots of smiles including 15&21a plus 14,20&22d but could mention several more. Great stuff.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and MP for a top puzzle and review.

  3. Totally agree with Sue: for me this just tipped over into 2* difficulty, which is what I want on a Tuesday, and it was tremendously entertaining, a steady solve with plenty of smiles… 20a would have stumped me if I hadn’t come across it … was it in a Toughie or in the Sunday Times on a Saturday, I can’t remember. 10a was my last in, and is also my COTD for the very clever misdirection.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to the Miffmeister for his typically enjoyable review.

  4. Brilliant! All over too quickly.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for a great puzzle which was first class for a Tuesday Toughie.
    This had medical, classical and musical references which were all appreciated.
    Also to MP for the blog. I took an unconscionable time to parse 6d and like you felt pleased at the final result.
    I’m also grateful for the galleon info as it makes your efforts worth reading on those rare occasions when parsing help is not required.*/*****

  5. 6d was my final entry and favourite; quite brilliant. This setter never disappoints, and I thought this grid was absolutely top drawer. An intelligent, fun and thought-provoking puzzle.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  6. An absolutely marvellous Tuesday Toughie, easy but brilliantly-done. * or very possibly ** for difficulty, and ***** for enjoyment.

    There were too many good ones to single out a particular example of the setter’s dark arts, so I will refrain. I have a suggestion for 15 across, to wit that the ‘front’ bit needs the ‘long time’ bit literally to pass, i.e. go by, and sit at the end of the word.

    A quite brilliant puzzle and a worthy blog indeed.

  7. 20a was a new word for me but fairly clued and, like others, I needed the hint the parse 6d but I bunged the right answer in. Top crossword though. Favourite was 7a. Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  8. Great start to the week with some lovely clues. Favourite was going to be the very clever 6D but was surpassed, near the end, with the superb 10A. Thanks to the setter. **/***** for me

  9. Like Stephen I was stumped by 6d & am guilty of uttering an expletive when I gave up & read the hint. Can’t say I found it as easy as everyone else seems to have but thoroughly enjoyed it. Discovered that I’m a 20a & never knew it & wasn’t familiar with the ear condition either so both needed confirmation. 10a was my clear favourite with big ticks also for 1,6,14&22d along with 21a
    Thanks to Donny for a cracking puzzle & to MP for his review & the parsing 7a

  10. Thanks to MP (especially for plugging the band!) and to all commenters. I’m glad it was an enjoyable one for you.

    To JV at 6, yes that’s right.


    1. Aha! How clever, JV #6. I struggled a bit with the front bit and left my parsing rather unresolved. Thanks, Donnybrook, for another splendid puzzle.

    2. Many thanks, Donnybrook, for a most enjoyable Toughie, which was great fun from start to finish.

      6d was my favourite with 10a in second place, although many other clues came into contention. 20a was a new word for me and provides a perfect description of Mrs RD.

  11. As good as it gets. Finished all on my own last night, with 3d, 5d, 10a, & 25a leading the parade of winners. 20a appeared recently somewhere and I remembered it! Terrific puzzle from one of my favourite compilers and another enjoyable blog by the irrepressible one-and-only. Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

    1. Have just watched CODA Robert. Slight but pleasant & perfectly enjoyable. The notion that it’s worthy of the best film Oscar is laughable though – another in a long line of duff calls. I’d be interested to see if it’s any better than the original French film on which it’s based.

  12. Sorted most of this out quite quickly, but got bogged down by half a dozen. 6d was one of my early solves, along with the other 4-letter one, bothe excellent, but 6d was COTD. 20a a new word for me. This and 9d could suggest a bit of a French theme! Thanks to Donnybrook and MP

  13. A great toughie that stretched but didn’t break the grey matter. I too had a laugh at one or two and wonder if they were the same as CS. Despite living with a sufferer 20a was a new word from me but easy to build it from the clue. Unlike Mama Bee’s Tea which has exacting specifications if it is not to be dismissed as “cats wee”
    Thanks to Donnybrook and thanks to Miffs for his amusing and well-illustrated blog.

  14. Took me a while but I’m always slower in the evenings. Add me to the 10a and 6d fan club. Thanks to Donnybrook and MP.

  15. Thanks to Donnybrook and to Miffypops for the review and hints. Fantastic puzzle, so entertaining to attempt. Just ran out of steam near the end, and needed the hints for 2,5,6&20d. Favourite was 4d. Was 3* /4* for me.

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