Toughie No 3177 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Toughie No 3177

Toughie No 3177 by Donnybrook

Hints and tips by StephenL

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***

Hello everyone from a pleasantly mild and  bright South Devon coast

Donnybrook kicks off proceedings this week with a typically witty puzzle containing a few of his usual cultural references.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


9a Stop being animated after eating fungus (9)
FRUSTRATE: Anagram (being animated) of AFTER placed around (eating ) a plant fungus.

10a Garlic sauce Danilo Alvim had regularly? (5)
AIOLI: Alternate letters (had regularly) of Danilo Alvim. (An ex Brazilian footballer apparently).

11a Brain perhaps working — there’s logic to this (7)
ORGANON: Something of which the brain is an example (the heart is another) and the usual two-letter adverb meaning working, giving a means of reasoning or a system of logic.

12a Wrath associated with posh doctor giving offence (7)
UMBRAGE: A charade of the single-letter abbreviation for posh, an abbreviated Bachelor of Medicine and a synonym of wrath or anger.

13a Persecuted hill folk shake out hay (9)
TORMENTED: Put together a hill or rocky peak, some male folk and a verb meaning to turn over and spread out grass, hay, or straw

15a Metrical patterns in book one friend abroad carries (5)
IAMBI: Start with the letter that looks like the number one and add a French friend into which is inserted the single-letter abbreviation for Book.

There are very few songwriters that I admire more than Neil Finn, and his band are still producing great music.

17a One behind, pull goal back after ball lost (7)
LAGGARD: A synonym of pull and goal from the clue minus the letter resembling a ball all reversed.

19a Ready with foil, almost completed wrapping cloth round (2,5)
EN GARDE: A verb meaning completed without its final letter containing (wrapping) a reversal (round) of a cloth typically used for messy jobs.

20a Mackerel-catcher Romeo drawn into petty quarrel (5)
SPRAT: Insert the single-letter abbreviation for Romeo into a petty quarrel or tiff. The solution I think is bait.

21a Irritable having mislaid pencil-set (9)
SPLENETIC: Anagram (having mislaid) of PENCIL-SET.

24a Criminal type exchanging medium for large shellfish (7)
LOBSTER: Change the first letter of a member of a group of criminals from the abbreviation for Medium to that for Large.

26a Endless magical event engages worker, like some mysticism (7)
TANTRIC: An insertion of crosswordland’s favourite working insect into a magical event (think pulling a rabbit out of a hat maybe) without its last letter.

28a Portuguese saint necking fifty-five shots (5)
SALVO: The Portuguese word for saint around fifty five in Roman numerals. Bit of an ambitious surface read!

29a Wine boxes, duty free, providing educational experience? (4,5)
CASE STUDY: Some large boxes plus an anagram (free) of DUTY.


1d A change in store at sea? (6)
AFLOAT: A from the clue plus an amount of cash a shop keeps to give as change. In an increasingly cash-free society this will have fallen out of use in ten years or so I suspect. Well disguised definition and good clue.

2d One moving perhaps around Baltic capital sees parakeet (10)
BUDGERIGAR: How whimsically one could describe someone making a very small movement placed around one of the three Baltic capitals.

3d Enthusiasts taking lift to floor (4)
STUN: A reversal (taking lift) of some informal enthusiasts.

4d Attractive piece in periodical to take home? (6)
MAGNET: An informal or abbreviated periodical plus a word meaning to take home in the sense of after tax.

5d Confuse dub feel arranged to involve introduction to Dumbo (8)
BEFUDDLE: Anagram (arranged) of DUB FEEL including the initial letter of Dumbo. Lovely word.

6d Talk idly about costume — worry’s over knitted undies (10)
BALBRIGGAN: A charade of a reversal of a verb meaning talk indiscreetly, a synonym of costume or gear followed by a reversal of worry or trouble.

7d Hoax brought to a satisfactory ending (4)
CODA: A hoax or jest plus A from the clue.

8d Cat dropping on cat — here’s escape option (8)
LIFELINE: A (big) cat without (dropping) the word “on” plus a term for any animal that belongs to the cat family

14d Chopper’s up — film director coming into London for larks (10)
EXALTATION: A reversal of a chopper (used for wood perhaps) plus an insertion of a 1960’s French film director into an abbreviated LONdon.

16d Stay quiet, taking in speaker and this writer? (10)
MORATORIUM: A three-letter synonym of quiet placed around a formal speaker and a first person pronoun. Very smart.

17d Sluggish time kept by Marseillaise composer’s son (8)
LISTLESS: An insertion of the single-letter abbreviation for Time into a French composer (born 1760) plus the possessive S from the clue and the abbreviation for Son.

18d Shame of French importing spoilt cigars (8)
DISGRACE: The French word for OF placed around (importing) an anagram of CIGARS.

22d Passionate longing to embrace rising Italian musician (6)
LUTIST: Place a passionate longing or sexual desire around a reversal of ITalian.

23d Angle on figure you’d say? Bony thing (6)
COCCYX: Homophones (you’d say) of angle or tilt and a number between one and ten.

25d Poor to welcome Liberal found wanting in Barnet? (4)
BALD: A synonym of poor goes around the abbreviation for Liberal. Barnet here is not a London borough.

27d Machine-gun placed here in comfortable retreat (4)
NEST: Double definition


Thanks Donny. Lots to enjoy in this but I’ll opt for 17a plus 1&16d as worthy of special mention. Which ones did you think stood out?



24 comments on “Toughie No 3177
Leave your own comment 

  1. A good cranial workout to start the Toughie week from Dybk – ***/****

    Candidates for favourite – 12a, 20a, 5d, 8d, and 16d – and the winner could be any one of the five – some delightful words – but 12a just has the edge.

    Thanks to Mr Bringloe and StephenL.

  2. Never having heard of the town or knitted items led me to grind to a halt in the NE, while I had to look up the composer to confirm why my answer was what it was; I had 11a from the second n but had not heard of it – fortunately it was very fairly clued, and the checkers confirmed. Good fun for a lunchtime challenge, with podium places to 13a and 8d. A few odd readings but a good Toughie overall.

    3 / 3

    Many thanks to NYDK and Stephen

  3. A very entertaining puzzle – thanks to Mr Doorknob and SL.
    Both 11a and the 6d knitted undies were new words for me but very fairly clued.
    My awards were presented to 12a, 20a, 1d and 16d.

  4. Trickier than I expected for a Tuesday Toughie but the usual Donnybrook fun

    My favourites were the ones relating to seafood. There’s an expression about setting a 20a to catch a mackerel relating to make a small expenditure or take a small risk in the hope of a significant gain

    Thanks to Donnybrook and Stephen

  5. 6d was my only unknown from this very fairly clued and most entertaining puzzle. 16d was an excellent clue and my favourite. A special mention too, for 2d.

    My thanks to Donny and SL.

  6. Glad of Mr G’s help with a few references – often the way with this setter’s Toughies.
    Emerged triumphant, if a little shaken out, and awarded rosettes to 29a plus 1&9d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and to Stephen for the review.

  7. 11a, 21a and 6d were all new words for me. I hadn’t heard of the expression for turning over hay before and I’ve lived in the countryside all my life. Hey ho. The rest I found fairly difficult in places. Favourite was 8d. Thanks to Donnybrook and SL.

  8. A fine puzzle from DNYK today. Some new words learnt too! Some post-solve parsing required for a couple of bung-ins.

    Should 6d be plural? Certainly that’s how John Wayne referred to them.

    Lots of great clues though. 8d gets my top spot.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and StephenL.

      1. John Wayne can be heard, in some of his westerns, referring to having to “put his balbriggans on”.when it got chilly 👍

  9. An enjoyable tussle. Have never come across either 6d or 11a before & unfortunately the former, which was my last in, took a couple of stabs to sort out so can’t claim an entirely unaided finish. Top 3 for me in no particular order were 21a as it’s such an evocative word plus 8&16d.
    Thanks to Donny & to Stephen.

  10. Must confess my ignorance of knitted undies but it was a fair clue guv. My favourites were the cleverly constructed 9a and the equally clever “change in store” at 1d.
    Thanks to DB and Stephen – isn’t 27d a sort of reverse all-in one too?

  11. Very enjoyable. 8d and 16 were especially tight. But surely I can’t be the only one whose online 5d had, incorrectly, Dirty Dancing, not Dumbo? Glad that got changed as that certainly had me puzzled. Thanks to Donnybrook and SL, of course.

      1. Cheers Gazza – thought I was going mad! Dancing is probably a smarter indicator than “arranged” but it certainly doesn’t need both and it’s a very odd surface either way!

  12. We had to check in Google that the answer we had worked out for 6d was correct as it was new to us.
    Our favourite was 14d.
    Thanks Donnybrook and SL.

  13. Hi all. Thx StephenL for the blog, and to each for the comments.

    I sent in 5d with the double-indicator problem, mea culpa, but realised when the proof came back, and changed it. Some e-shenanigans here methinks, but glad it got to print with the right clue. If you’re interested, I would have gone with ‘Confuse dub feel with introduction to Dirty Dancing’ or something, but DT style prevents this, as single letters can’t be lumped in with the anagrist as they can with some other papers. So Dumbo was summoned.

    Glad you enjoyed it.


    1. Thank you for the clarification and it mattered not one jot to the fun. Shame about that Telegraph rule though as your preferred wording would have been a winner. Rules, eh? Pah!

  14. Failed on 6d as I didn’t know the answer and couldn’t parse it properly.
    Had to check 11a and the first meaning in 27d.
    No problem with 1d though as I have been dealing with tills for the whole of my working life.
    Our current float is only 100€ so no point in trying to come and rob Le Jardin.
    Thanks to Donnybrook for the challenge and to StephenL for the review.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.