Toughie 2845 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2845

Toughie No 2845 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sunny and warm South Devon coast.
Maybe because I had a few other things to do I found today’s Donnybrook at the trickier end of the Tuesday spectrum, with relatively few gimmes (a paucity of anagrams for example ) but as usual with this setter there were plenty of smiles along the way

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a Some amount of money is creating instability? (8)
NEUROSIS: The abbreviation for an indefinite (N)umber (some amount of) followed by a currency (with the S) and IS from the clue.

9a Whose dogs would drool as meringue cake cut? (6)
PAVLOV: Remove the last letter from a meringue based desert to give the name of someone who demonstrated his learning by association theory by making dogs drool at the sound of a bell

10a Author of 100 Lordless Samurai (6)
CRONIN: 100 in Roman numerals plus a samurai without a leader gives the Scottish author of works such as The Citadel

11a Repeal binding regulation, one originally set in stone (8)
ABROGATE: The initial letters (originally) of the preceding three words go inside an ornamental stone.

12a Adult with cold: sniffer about to receive care and strong tissue? (8,6)
ACHILLES TENDON: Start with the abbreviation for (A)dult. Add a cold. Reverse (about) the protrusion on one’s face used for sniffing and place it around (to receive) a synonym of care

15a Scottish nationalists securing island — bargain! (4)
SNIP: The abbreviation for Sturgeon’s lot goes around (securing) the abbreviation for (I)sland

17a Scandalous information turned round American threesome (5)
TRIAD: Reverse an informal word (often preceded by “dishing the”) for some scandalous talk and place it around the abbreviation for American

19a Gallons knocked back in gruesome binge (4)
ORGY: Take a 4-letter synonym of gruesome and move the abbreviation for G(allons) (knocked back) from the first to third position.

20a Therapeutic technique: trace where car is heading (4-10)
AUTO SUGGESTION: Trace here is a noun in the sense of a little or hint of, and it’s preceded by (is heading) a 4-letter synonym of a car.

23a Horse-drawn carriage cleaner would you say? (8)
BROUGHAM: A homophone (would you say) of a cleaning implement or a mode of transport for a witch!

25a Department advocating matricide? (6)
DOMAIN: If you split the solution 2-2-2 you’ll see the reference to matricide. A real smiler

27a Beware sailors in club at 10 Mathew Street? (6)
CAVERN: A not very obvious (to me anyway) synonym of beware followed by the abbreviation for the Royal Navy, gives an iconic club in Liverpool. Here’s its most famous occupants.

28a Meeting judge: primarily, purpose is to dismiss fine (8)
JUNCTION: The initial letter of judge plus a synonym of purpose with the abbreviation for (F)ine removed from its front.


1d With English and Irish finding river feature (4)
WEIR: Abbreviations for (W)ith, (E)nglish and (IR)ish.

2d Sultanate, British, and a French one (6)
BRUNEI: The abbreviation for BRitish, a French indefinite article and the letter that represents one.

3d LAdIeS’ mAn occasionally rampant where geisha found? (4)
ASIA: The occasional or alternate letters of the first two words of the clue are reversed (rampant or rearing).

4d Scattered boxes on top of everything (6)
SPARSE: Boxes here is a verb in the pugilistic sense. Append the initial letter (top of) the word “everything”.

5d Good eggs coming up road rebuilt for scientist (8)
AVOGADRO: Start with the abbreviation for (G)ood. Add some eggs and reverse the result (coming up). Add an anagram (rebuilt) of ROAD.

6d Mood oddly negative about cardinal, for example — right to visit Balkan nation? (10)
MONTENEGRO: The odd letters of MoOd, followed by a synonym of negative which is placed around a (cardinal) number the shortened “for example” and the abbreviation for Right.

8d Garment, unique, bought at last (7)
SINGLET: A synonym of unique or sole and the last letter of bought

13d Insincere talk by a man (not the Messiah) from Santander? (10)
CANTABRIAN: The man here is not a banker, rather someone from the Spanish region of which Santander is the main city. Some insincere talk is followed by A from the clue and the name of a man (one of our regular contributors as it happens!)  Not the Messiah is a reference to the oratorio in the Monty Python film.

14d Shy having to spill beans about Liberal (5)
SLING: Shy here is a verb (think coconuts). Place a synonym of “spill the beans” around the abbreviation for (L)iberal.

16d Mixed up tofu with a base for casserole (3-2-3)
POT AU FEU: Anagram (mixed) of UP TOFU plus A and a mathematical base.

18d Lair accommodating son taken in Red China (7)
DRESDEN: Insert the abbreviation for (S)on into RED from the clue, the result of which is surrounded by (accommodating) a straightforward synonym of lair.

21d Serious offence outside public house by puzzler (6)
SPHINX: A serious offence or transgression goes around the abbreviation for a public house. Add the letter that represents by or times in a mathematical sense.

22d Fruit from alpha parting two male cats, one Manx? (6)
TOMATO: A (alpha) splits two male cats, the second one of which loses its last letter or tail (Manx).

24d Cocktail eschewing vermouth is magic (4)
MOJO: A well known (and rather yummy) mint and lime cocktail loses “IT” from its centre (eschewing vermouth)

26d Not excluded from some koinonia (2,2)
IN ON: Hidden (some) in the final word of the clue.

Good fun, 12 & 25 across plus 13 down taking the podium places with 22d top spot.


34 comments on “Toughie 2845

  1. Very enjoyable. I did need to confirm a couple of facts to parse the Samurai and Mathew Street.

    Top picks today were 25a, 21d and 22d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Stephen.

  2. Great fun but pretty straightforward – thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.
    25a is amusing but I don’t think it quite works (‘is to advocate’ would be better than ‘advocating’ IMHO).
    I’ve selected 19a, 13d and 21d for my podium.

  3. Very enjoyable puzzle, satisfying to complete, possibly more of a late-week backpager (though that would then probably alarm some contributors to the blog) and reasonably problem-free. Lots to smile about, with some very clever clueing, although not being a cocktail-fan I thought 24 let the side down.

    Hon Mentions to 25a (a real chuckle), 18d and 21d, with COTD to the quite superb 13d.

    2* / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to StephenL

    1. The Puzzles Editor did say once that the Tuesday Toughie should be about the same difficulty as a Friday back-pager, and I think this crossword fits that description

      1. More often than not that is the case, which I think provides a good introduction to Toughies, and the principle of both backpagers and Toughies increasing in difficulty through the week is to be applauded.

        15 months ago I should not have thought I could tackle a Toughie, and now generally complete them all. Similarly, because of their quite different style, with The Times’s backpagers, so my gratitude for the tips from you and the other reviewers in this blog (and the equivalent for The Times) is most sincerely meant!

  4. A most enjoyable, perfectly pitched start of the week Toughie. A new word to learn, although having got this far in life without knowing about samurai without lords, I’m not sure I’m likely to ever use it. I’m also intrigued as to why crossword setters generally suddenly seem to have rediscovered the ‘puzzler’ in 21d.

    Thanks very much to Donnybrook and StephenL – my favourites match yours, although I’d add 9a into the mix

    1. Hi Sue. Will you be travelling to see Hinckley Rugby Club play Canterbury Rugby Club at Hinckley this Saturday? I’ll be there from about half past one

        1. I’ll be very disappointed if you aren’t there cheering Canterbury on Sue. They beat us 30 – 24 on March 12th. So we will be fired up for revenge. Should be a good game

  5. I was about to say ‘yippee’, finished the Toughie unaided but then I started to read the hints (as some were unparsed) and I saw 1a and thought that wasn’t the same answer as I had. So I looked at my tablet – I hadn’t finished at all, I still had 1a to fill in so I am rather gutted to say the least. Anyway thanks to all.

  6. Is it just me but wasn’t this puzzle a trifle heavy on the General Knowledge spectrum ? Like CS I did not know about the samurai for example but had to research them. It then led to an author that I remember from my youth but hadn’t come across recently. Then there was the Beatles venue.I could continue Oh well, I finished it.

    1. I spotted the author, saw the ‘hundred’ and then found the warrior in the BRB

      1. The 1998 film bearing the name of those Lordless Samurai had a stellar cast, and I remembered it sufficiently well that discovering just now it’s nearly 25 years old has come as a huge shock!

        1. May have had a stellar cast but not a patch on the director’s finest work – Birdman of Alcatraz & The Manchurian Candidate. I knew the author & the film but needed Mr G to tell me about lordless samurai..

      2. That was my route as well. I remembered the author from the TV show about Dr Finlay and the redoubtable Janet.

  7. Good fun today, a little tougher than usual for a Tuesday but lots of fun along the way. As usual the checkers bailed me out. I’ve never heard of the Samurai without a master but I knew the author from the telly of my childhood. Thanks to StephenL and Donnybrook

  8. A real beauty, this one. I felt that I was in the grateful audience of one of my old seminarians in post-grad school, with such delightful clues as 5d, 21d, & 10a: you knew that you were being pushed a bit to try harder. Clarkie awards go to the two top CsOTD: 25a & 13d. I did have to double-check 10 Mathew Street, and then I remembered that I’ve been there (August of 1969, the height of my being Fab4-struck)!
    Thanks to StephenL and Donnybrook. Most enjoyable.

  9. Another excellent puzzle from this setter, perfectly-pitched for the first Toughie of the week. Even where the Sunday one is, I suppose, technically the first. Oh well!

    As usual with Donny, too many good ones to assign a podium position. Favourite word used KOINONIA: of course we didn’t need to know the meaning, but it is rather nice. I’d say it’s what we do here, in a way!

    Thanks Donnybrook and StephenL.

    1. Yes, a communion of fellows, a very nice KOINONIA. Thanks for that thought, JV.

  10. Nice, gentle intro to the Toughie week with a cracker of a clue at 13d [I fell of my chair]. Thanks to DB and SL.
    A propos the Lordless Samurai at 10a there’s a great movie of that title starring Robert DeNiro alongside the wonderful Jean Reno. Highly recommended.

  11. A terrific start to the Toughie week with a delightful puzzle by one of my favourite setters. I thought 22d was clever, with a great surface, so that takes my top spot. I wonder if Brian liked 13d?

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for the fun and to SL.

  12. 9a was my favourite.
    I also liked 12a, 20a and 24d.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.

  13. Needed the hints to parse 10a and 23a (I never did know how to pronounce it, l do now) and had to look up the address in 23a and the scientist in 5d. Apart from those I had no real problems. Favourite was 13d closely followed by 25a. Thanks to Donnybrook and SL.

  14. As CS said above, a perfect puzzle for the first Toughie of the week – **/****

    For 10a, I had enough checkers to recognise Dr Finlay’s creator and didn’t go looking for any Samurai.

    Candidates for favourite – 25a, 5d, and 22d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to StephenL.

  15. Very enjoyable indeed & a perfect Tuesday Toughie. Had to check on the club address, the samurai & the scientist but otherwise pleasingly free of head scratching. Not sure the 23a homophone quite works – is the correct pronunciation not brew um ? Difficult to pick a favourite from so many worthy contenders – 9,12&25a plus 13,21&22d all great clues.
    Thanks to Donny & Stephen.

  16. Congratulations, Donnybrook, on setting a Toughie that was definitely tougher than your backpagers. Too tough for me, but arguably if I can do a Toughie then it isn’t tough enough.

    My favourite was 22D, being one of those that I didn’t spot what the answer is till I’d (slightly sceptically) followed the instructions and found a word had popped out.

    Thank you to Stephen for the hints — I probably ended up using more than half of them (and then still found myself trying to remove the first letter from a word for ‘Samurai’, to make it “without a leader”).

    In 4D, does anybody know in what context the abbreviation for ‘everything’ gets used? I’m suffering a lack of imagination in who needs to abbreviate it. Thanks.

    1. The clue was “… on top of everything”, so I parsed the ‘e’ in 4d as being literally that, the first letter of everything, not as it being an abbreviation of everything.

  17. Just finished the puzzle and really enjoyed it, I usually like the Tuesday toughies as they are not too taxing, this one was amusing eg 25a 9a,and right up my street
    Remembered the citadel serial with the main actor from the chariots of fire film, going for a **/**** as per SL

  18. Looks like we followed the samurai in 10a down the same path as many others.
    Our last one in was 7a.
    All good fun.
    Thanks Donnybrook and SL.

  19. Enjoyed the fun in the clues too.
    13d was the one that made me laugh the most.
    Knew of the samurai in 10a as my Japanese hairdresser used to give his English Bulldogs samurai’s names such as Benkei and Hanzo but renamed a few as Ronin when they became disobedient.
    Didn’t need to visit BD”s mine for the carriage and know how to pronounce 23a now.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and to StephenL for the review.

  20. Many thanks all, esp StephenL. Thanks for getting that ‘top of everything’ = E in a down clue, and the others you guys expertly parsed.

    Exhausted now after having seen that old Dutch superband Focus at The Beaverwood (I kid you not, as perhaps any American friends might be a little amazed) tonight, just down the road from where I live. And that’s after seeing Messrs Weckl and Kennedy at Ronnie’s last night. No more booze, or kebabs, for Donnybrook this week. At least not until Friday :)

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