Toughie No 3133 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie No 3133

Toughie No 3133 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hello everyone from a very blustery South Devon coast.

It falls to Donnybrook to exercise the old grey matter today and he’s done so with an excellent puzzle. I filled in the grid relatively swiftly but explaining the whys and wherefores was somewhat more challenging.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a African disease is avoided? (6)
BERBER: If we take “is” as meaning two instances of the letter i and remove them from a disease involving a lack of thiamine we have the solution. The question mark here indicates something unusual is going on in the wordplay

5a 25s for example bracing ship faced with small forces (8)
STRESSES: The plural of something of which  25 is an example (in a different context) goes around (braces) the usual abbreviation for a large ship. Add the abbreviation for Small to the start of the word (faced with).

10a Excellent returns shown by two accounts in plant (6)
ACACIA: Follow two abbreviations for ACount with a reversal of a letter and number indicating excellence.

11a Commotion in dictator’s steep ditch (8)
BROUHAHA: A homophone (dictator’s) of a synonym of steep as a verb and a type of ditch. Great word.

12a Search among adult bodies adrift at sea (15)
DISCOMBOBULATED: Insert a synonym of search or scour into an anagram (adrift) of ADULT BODIES. Another great word.

16a Planet almost consumed in flood (8)
SATURATE: All but the last letter of one of the planets and a synonym of consumed.

18a Secret writing on hot image that’s reversed (6)
CIPHER: The usual two-letter preposition meaning on or regarding, the single-letter abbreviation for Hot and an abbreviated or informal image are all reversed.

20a Needlework that liberates husband as well! (6)
TATTOO: Remove the abbreviation for Husband from T(h)AT from the clue and follow with an adverb meaning as well. Not my cup of tea but…

21a Speculator taking time with gold in robbery (8)
THEORIST: The abbreviation for Time followed by an insertion of the heraldic tincture of gold into a robbery or holdup.

22a In which no axe cut yet if so ordered? (4,2,9)
STAY OF EXECUTION: Anagram (ordered) of the preceding six words giving a very good extended definition.

27a Bent coppers ousting first team’s leader from position (8)
APTITUDE: Replace the first instance of the initial letter of Team in a position with that for the abbreviation for coppers or pence. I really like this one.

28a Moral code set out when gathering here in Rome (6)
ETHICS: Anagram of SET around the Latin (in Rome) for here.

29a Retired sleuth visiting Alpine ridge and so on (2,6)
ET CETERA: A reversal (retired )of an Alpine ridge into which is inserted (visiting) a reversal of an abbreviated or informal sleuth.

30a Fuss after Kipling hero backs emperor (6)
MIKADO: A three-letter synonym of fuss or trouble follows a reversal of the title of a Kipling novel.


2d Father abandons French car carrying one dish (9)
ENCHILADA: No point in looking up French cars! Remove an abbreviation for father from frENCH and add a (Russian I think) car. Insert the letter representing one between the two.

3d Liberal deserting Midlands region for more remote one? (4-7)
BACK COUNTRY: A simple removal of the abbreviation for Liberal from the first word of an inexact area covering the West Midlands. The solution, American in origin refers to a sparsely populated area.

4d River near tree bordering a field (5)
REALM: A single-letter abbreviation for River followed by a tree containing (bordering) A from the clue.

6d Beat shy opener for bounce, missing wicket (5)
THROB: A synonym of shy as a verb in the sense of chuck loses the abbreviation for Wicket for the opening letter of Bounce.

7d The same European bird passing over India (5)
EQUAL: The abbreviation for European and a bird pictured missing the abbreviation for India.

8d Hardly any conform to metric system with tonnes (5)
SCANT: A word meaning to conform to a pattern of verse or metre plus the abbreviation for Tonnes

9d Lesbian perhaps seen topless? That’s defamation (7)
SLANDER: Nothing to do with one’s sexual preferences, Lesbian refers to how someone from Lesbos may be termed. We need to remove the first letter (topless).

13d Work too hard in connection with duty (7)
OVERTAX: If we split the solution 4,3 it could mean in regard to duty in a financial sense.

14d Criminal clue about northern pawnbroker (5)
UNCLE: Anagram (criminal) of CLUE and a single-letter abbreviation for Northern

15d A park pitch reconstructed around area — it’s official (11)
APPARATCHIK: Anagram (reconstructed) of the preceding three words containing the abbreviation for Area. The solution is a noun. This one jumped right out at me.

17d Potato in Indian fine, or a pudding served up cold? (5)
ALOOF: A classic Indian side dish (apparently!) made primarily of potatoes is followed by the abbreviation for Fine. The setter has given us two clues in one as the alternative route to the solution is A from the clue followed by a reversal of a type of pudding or dessert.

19d Established measures nearly all acknowledge (9)
ENSCONCED: Some typographic units and all but the last letter to a synonym of acknowledge.

20d Person leaving the demesne — that chap having departed? (7)
TESTATE: Start with THE from the clue, follow it with a synonym of demesne and remove the third-person pronoun meaning that chap from what you have . Another very clever extended definition.

23d Room at the top simple and elegant (5)
ATTIC: Double definition.

24d Maybe G8 leaders to end talks after month? (5)
OCTET: Follow an abbreviated month (the next as it happens) with the initial letters (leaders to) of End Talks. The solution is a musical reference and nothing to do with the hot air emanating from the political get together.

25d Wifeless worker at seam finding ancestor? (5)
ELDER: Remove the abbreviation for Wife from a tradesman working with metal producing a seam.

26d Press covering last letter from George Best (5)
CREAM: A synonym of press in the sense of force around the final letter of George.

Thanks Donnybrook. For sheer audacity I’d like to pick 1a as my favourite but I’ll go with 27a with the 22a plus 20d running it very close. Which ones did you like?



16 comments on “Toughie No 3133

  1. A splendid, just right for a Tuesday, Toughie.

    I really liked 1a, the clever anagram which described the solution to 22a and 9d

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and Stephen

  2. Donnybrook doing what he does best in providing an enjoyably testing cranial workout – 2.5*/4*

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 21a, 3d, and 17d – and the winner is 1a for the ‘clever’ plural identifying the deletion required.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.

  3. A top-notch Tuesday Toughie – many thanks to Donnybrook and SL.
    I was sent on a wild goose chase at 25d because I read the first word of the clue as ‘wireless’. I got as far as checking whether w could be an abbreviation for wire before sense prevailed. I really should have gone to Specsavers!
    I liked 1a, 8d and 20d but my clear favourite was the excellent 22a.

  4. Pretty tricky especially for Tuesday – a good 3* for me, held up in the NE corner.
    Favourite clues were 1a [the 2 is] 27a [first team’s leader] and my last in, 8d [metric system took a while to dawn].
    Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.

  5. Excellent. As Stephen says, it wasn’t overly difficult but it was incredibly clever. The vocab required for 29a was tricksy but fair. And the brilliant 1a device was pleasingly new to me but the peerless 22a and 12a got the biggest ticks. Lovely solve for a Tuesday – bang on the money. Hearty thanks to Donnybrook, and SL, of course.

  6. I really enjoyed this today and actually finished it, which is unusual in itself, with very little help. The pawnbroker and commotion got me started and along with the clever anagram at 22a I had enough checkers to proceed somewhat haphazardly. Difficult to choose a podium but 20d takes top spot, supported by 1a and 11a – lovely word. Thanks to Donnybrook for the pleasure and StephenL for confirming a couple of my parsings.

  7. Excellent – a perfect Tuesday Toughie. 8d was my last one in having to wait for the metric penny to drop finally and 22a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to SL.

  8. Great Tuesday puzzle. Like others have already said, the aptagram of 22a is brilliant and the ‘is avoided’ of 1a was a bit cheeky!

    12a always reminds me of the late, great Ken Dodd, though he didn’t actually invent that word, he coined many others. A plumptious puzzle indeed 😁

    Thanks Donnybrook and SL.

  9. I thought the back-pager was going to be a hard act to follow on the enjoyment front but then along comes our Toughie setter to prove that he’s definitely up for the challenge. 1a went straight onto my tick list where it was joined by 12a – delicious word plus the clever 22a anagram and the departed fellow in 20d. Couple of bits of parsing held me up along the way but the required pennies eventually dropped.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for a great puzzle and to Stephen for the review.

  10. I’m afraid 27a, 29a, 8d and 23d were all bung ins, but I managed to parse the rest which I enjoyed solving. Another vote for 22a as favourite. Thanks to Donnybrook and SL for the much needed parsings.

  11. Our stumbling block was 27a which took us ages to get sorted.
    Lots to enjoy with top spot going to 12a as it is such a wonderful word to say.
    Thanks Donnybrook and SL.

  12. A day late to this but well worth the catching up with. Predictably found it harder than a * star difficulty but all parsed with the exception of 23d’s second meaning. Ticks all over the shop – 1,11,12, 22&27a + 2,3,6&9d
    Thanks to Donny & to Stephen

Comments are closed.