Toughie No 3101 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 3101

Toughie No 3101 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by StephenL

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

Hello everyone from a sunny South Devon coast.  I’m back, still not 100% but missing the blogging. Thanks to Gazza and Sue for standing in for me.

Fan favourite Donnybrook kicks off this week’s exercise in lateral thinking with a typically clever and fun puzzle.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a Obsession shown in hunting bird with cavalry (5-5)
HOBBY HORSE: A type of hawk and a synonym of cavalry.

6a Sweet German wine endlessly served by clubs (4)
CHOC: The abbreviation for Clubs and a German white wine without its last letter.

10a Fanatical attack stopped by British (5)
RABID: An insertion (stopped by) of the abbreviation for British into an attack or assault.

11a Game for four players is on TV — fee should be revised (4,5)
ETON FIVES: Anagram (should be revised) of the preceding four words.

12a Courteous worker faced with bitterness (7)
GALLANT: Precede (faced with) a working insect with a synonym of bitterness or rancour.

13a Lassitude, as Lennon put it, seen occasionally (5)
ENNUI: The occasional or alternate letters of LEnNoN pUt It.

15a Golfer falling back must absorb sharp shock (7)
STARTLE: A reversal (falling back) of the South African golfer pictured around a synonym of sharp or tangy.

17a Captured again: in revolution, more convenient to incarcerate king (7)
RETAKEN: A reversal (in revolution) of a synonym of more convenient in the sense of practical around an abbreviation for King

19a Supporting union, not broken, having involved sides in dispute (7)
FEDERAL: I think this is a synonym of not broken in the sense of untamed placed around the outside letters of DisputE.

21a Creature might ultimately do leap when developed (7)
TADPOLE: Anagram (when developed) of mighT DO LEAP giving a very clever extended definition.

22a Grind away before sealing arrangement with bank? (5)
ERODE: Place a dated or literary synonym of before around (sealing) an abbreviated overdraft.

24a Windward island bans that French cocktail Bond drinks (7)
MARTINI: Remove (bans)) a French word for that from the end of a Caribbean island.

27a Gamble little in hostelry — is it Halfway House? (2-7)
IN-BETWEEN: A synonym of gamble plus one of little or tiny placed inside a hostelry or public house.

28a & 5d Transport nerd works as craft instructor? (5,7)
TRAIN SPOTTER: If we split the solution (someone you may see at a railway station) 6,6 we can see the wordplay.

29a Back away from moving in Italian town (4)
ASTI: Remove the final letter (back away from) a synonym of moving or roused.

30a Boss one recently expending energy in small dwelling (6,4)
STUDIO FLAT: Start with a synonym of boss or a raised knob. Add the letter representing one and a phrase (2,4) meaning recently after the abbreviation for energy has been removed.


1d Servant to Aphrodite in the room (4)
HERO: Hidden

2d In rotten times, senior female producing instrument (4,5)
BABY GRAND: Place a synonym of rotten around both a synonym of times and a casual name for a “senior” female relative.

3d Hey Derek! Make an off-peak call? (5)
YODEL: A two-letter exclamation and an informal “Derek”. Oh dear….but “off peak call”… very clever.

4d Not totally unrestricted speed in run (7)
OPERATE: A synonym of unrestricted loses its last letter (not totally) and is followed by a synonym of speed.

5d See 28a

7d Own name used in safe location (5)
HAVEN: A synonym of own and the abbreviation for Name.

8d Water recycled as in space area (7,3)
CASPIAN SEA: Anagram (recycled) of AS IN SPACE A(rea).

9d Moved camp (8)
AFFECTED: Double definition, one referring to emotion, the other a synonym of effeminate.

14d Like a diet of nuts with a spice (10)
ASAFOETIDA: A two-letter synonym of like, plus an anagram (nuts) of A DIET OF plus A from the clue.

16d Sought help from tutor, failing to restrain Scots hooligan (6,2)
TURNED TO: Anagram (failing) of TUTOR placed around a Scottish term for a hooligan.

18d Smug sort without delay packing gear for both sides (4-2-3)
KNOW-IT-ALL: Place a synonym of without delay or immediately inside (packing) some gear or equipment and add a word that could mean for both sides. Here’s my favourite Stevie Wonder song

20d Keen to receive book shedding some light (7)
LAMBENT: A synonym of keen in the sense of mourn around (to receive) an abbreviation for Book.

21d Firm when keeping personnel majestically seated? (7)
THRONED: Place a synonym of firm as your body might be if you go to the gym around (when keeping) an abbreviation for a personnel department.

23d Gold coin in circulation? (5)
ORBIT: The heraldic symbol of gold plus an informal name for a coin.

25d Opener enthusiastic about collecting runs (5)
INTRO: Place a common term for enthusiastic about around the abbreviation for Runs.

26d Charlie on the phone? Connect (4)
KNIT: A homophone (on the phone) of a charlie or fool.

Thanks Donny. My winners are plus 3&21d. Which ones floated your boat?

20 comments on “Toughie No 3101

  1. DYBK in fine form for an ideal start of the Toughie Week challenge – 2.5*/4*

    However, and I think it has been said before, it must be time for the 15a golfer to be ‘retired.’ Although. I suspect that his three ‘friendly’ letters make him popular with setters. If he stays, there should be a campaign to have Grace as guess the cricketer.

    I would probably prefer not to see 14d again – it sounds most unappetising and must surely be a candidate for ‘THE LIST.’

    Candidates for favourite – 17a, 27a, 3d, and 21d – and the winner is 3d.

    Thanks to DYBK and StephenL – welcome back!

    1. The 15a golfer was playing in the Open up to Friday so he cannot be ‘retired’ just yet!

  2. A perfect Tuesday Toughie with, as is usual with all this setter’s crosswords, lots to enjoy. My particular favourite is 21a

    I can remember the fuss last time 14d appeared and it ending up on the shouty List – for a week or so after I’d blogged the puzzle with the smelly spice, every time I went on the internet or looked at Amazon, I would be offered the opportunity to buy the stuff. I’ll be interested to learn whether the same thing happens to Stephen

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL

    1. That sort of thing happens all the time Sue. There’s not much your smart device doesn’t know about you. Advantages and disadvantages I guess!

  3. A very entertaining puzzle (as is always the case with this setter) – thanks to Donnybrook and thanks (and welcome back) to SL.
    My pick of the crop included 19a, 21a, 30a, 3d and 21d.

  4. The smiles and LOLs came quickly with this lovely puzzle. 2d and 3d share the honours with 21a and 24a. I’m all for keeping that golfer – he’s the only one I find memorable.
    Thanks to Donnybrook and SL [good to see you back].

  5. Never heard of the spice but a jiggle round with the fodder got it right in the end. I know it has been seen before but it hardly a memorable word. That was the only blemish to an otherwise delightful and nicely balanced puzzle, with 11a my favourite ahead of the humorous 3d.

    My thanks to Donnybrook and SL.

  6. Lots of great clues … but 21a leapfrogged all the other contenders to secure first position on the podium.

  7. I agree with Senf that the time must have come for the South African golfer to fade away from crosswords. We also saw Ian Botham mentioned in the back page puzzle. Oddly both are now involved in wine businesses so perhaps either could appear defined as a vintner rather than a sportsman in future puzzles!

    I was a bit apprehensive starting this Donnybrook puzzle as I associate his puzzles with a high level of general knowledge (I have not knowingly tried one for some years). This one seemed reasonably free of GK – although I had not the faintest idea of the name of Aphrodite’s servant and I would sympathize with younger solvers uninterested in the history of golf!

    Some of the parsing was a touch tricky but guessing the definition mostly fairly straightforward. A nicer puzzle than I had expected. Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL

  8. A DNF as I needed the hint for 29a as I had convinced myself that it was hidden in the clue / anagram or whatever.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.

  9. Obviously not heard of the spice or 5a for that matter but to be fair they were anagrams. 20d was also a new word for me but I solved and parsed it and 24a remained unparsed as I didn’t know the French word for ‘that’, but it had to be what is was. Having said all that I enjoyed the challenge with some excellent clues 21a being my favourite. Thanks to Donnybrook and SL.

  10. This provided an excellent start to the Toughie week with ticks aplenty. My podium comprises 21a, 24a & 3d.

    Not too sure about “failing” in 16d as an anagram indicator.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to SL. Good to see you back in the blogging chair.

  11. As Senf remarked, the very name of 14d would dissuade you from trying it although I understand that, once cooked, it has a flavour similar to that of the garlic/onion family. Quite interesting to read that it is used as a substitute for those items by adherents of religions which forbid the use of members of the onion family. Must admit, there have been times when I’ve wished the person sitting next to me hadn’t eaten quite so much garlic!
    Enjoyed solving this one and handed out podium places to 21,22&24a plus the simple but effective 9d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Stephen for the review – pleased to learn that you are well on the road to recovery.

  12. 14 d is an ingredient in the concoction prepared by Mississippi (James Caan) to help return J. P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) to sobriety in “El Dorado”.

  13. Good evening
    One of my infrequent attempts at the Tougheroonie; I have to say I’m quite pleased with today’s effort: technically a DNF on the grounds that, although I’d written 19a and 21d in the margin, I hadn’t entered them because I couldn’t parse them. 29a required a Hint from Stephen L, whom I thank along with Donnybrook.

  14. Hello. Sorry I didn’t get in yesterday. Crazy busy as I was (and still am) working on a ‘newsy’ puzzle for a certain other publication. As stories break, you have to try and accommodate them, which can be a bit of a pain in the asafoetida :D

    Thanks StephenL, have you been under the weather? IN that case GWS and thanks for the blog. Thanks also to all who commented.

    1. Thanks for popping in Donny and for another super puzzle. Yes I’ve had a few problems health-wise so ta for the good wishes too, much appreciated.

  15. 2*/4* …
    liked 21A “Creature might ultimately do leap when developed (7)”

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