Toughie 2954 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2954

Toughie No 2954 by Donnybrook

Hints and Tips by crypticsue

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

A big thank you to Donnybrook for an extremely enjoyable proper Toughie with quite a large touch of the (mostly Greek) mythologicals about it. As usual with one of his crosswords, there was lots to make you smile, eg the definition in 22a

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


7a    Saw Frenchman moved to the end with a new seat (7)
OTTOMAN Move the abbreviated Frenchman from the start of a saying (saw) and add A (from the clue) and the abbreviation for new

8a    Large, in having put on weight, but less curvaceous? (7)
FLATTER The abbreviation for Large inserted into what you’d be if you’d put on weight

10a    See 15 Across

11a    Ham could fill this part for broadcast (4)
ROLL A homophone (for broadcast) of a part played by an actor

12a    Flood defence god with hammer will breach (8)
PLETHORA The Norse god of war (nearly always seen with his hammer Mjolnir) inserted into (will breach) a legal defence

14a    He was known to Odysseus for an old windbag (6)
AEOLUS Odysseus would have known of this legendary ruler of the winds, known for a type of harp played by the wind

15a    , 10 Across & 26 Across Yes, J. Hunt uses inverted commas as poorly in a non-ministerial department (3,8,7,3,7)
HIS MAJESTYS REVENUE AND CUSTOMS I feel that only Donnybrook would be able to come up with such a splendid anagram (poorly) of YES J HUNT USES INVERTED COMMAS AS to result in a non-ministerial department

19a    Side with Mourinho initially bad (6)
MALIGN A verb meaning to agree with (side) goes after the initial letter of Mourinho

20a    This — invariably lethal — used for starters in fight? (8)
STILETTO The ‘starters’ of This Invariably Lethal inserted into a fight or argument

22a    One does associate with poachers at last catching game (4)
STAG A brilliant definition if ever there was one – the last letter of poachers and a children’s catching game

23a    Mythological beast in Antler Club misbehaving (6,4)
CRETAN BULL An anagram (misbehaving) of ANTLER CLUB

25a    Brazier exploded — that’s unusual (7)
BIZARRE – An anagram (exploded) of BRAZIER

26a    See 15 Across


1d    Pressure strong metal base absorbs in tower (7)
STEEPLE Some strong metal ‘absorbs’ the abbreviation for pressure, the letter that is the base of the natural system of logarithms then added at the end

2d    What alcohol addict must do to exercise? (4)
TOPE TO (from the clue) and some abbreviated school exercise

3d    Praise singer not half entertaining us — an opera legend (6)
CARUSO The first half of a singer who sings songs of praise ‘entertaining’ US (from the clue)

4d    Laggards dressed in their best? (4,4)
GLAD RAGS An anagram (dressed) of LAGGARDS

5d    Player going over letters in pigeonhole (10)
STEREOTYPE A music player going over (in a Down solution) some letters

6d    Having relinquished power, explain betrayal (4-3)
SELL-OUT Remove (having relinquished) the abbreviation for power from a way of being extremely specific in explaining something

9d    Socially inept mummy’s boy recently seen with news boss (11)
MALADJUSTED An informal name for a mummy, a boy, an adverb meaning recently seen and an abbreviated newspaper boss

13d    Confused until a girl becomes something of a polyglot? (10)
TRILINGUAL An anagram (confused) of UNTIL A GIRL

16d    Handy treatment uses wild flower in Yorkshire (8)
MANICURE Wild in the sense of wild deranged excitement and a Yorkshire river

17d    Might dog do this in welcoming garden visitor? (7)
WAGTAIL This garden-visiting bird might, if split 3,4, be what a dog would do to welcome a visitor (or its tea!)

18d    Macedonian general, dismissing soldiers from employment, shot (7)
PTOLEMY An anagram (shot) of EMPLOYmenT once you have ‘dismissed’ the soldiers. I bet I wasn’t the only one who thought “surely he was Egyptian”, but apparently, he was a Macedonian general who went on to become an Egyptian Pharaoh

21d    3 finally disappearing under current: Aegean claimed him (6)
ICARUS Remove the final letter from your solution to 3d and put what remains under (in a Down solution) the abbreviation for electrical current

24d    Very eccentric vampires? (4)
BATS The final clue brings another chance to smile – a double definition: an informal adjective meaning very eccentric or some flying mammals, one type of which are known as vampires

19 comments on “Toughie 2954
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  1. Not sure about this. I felt I had too many visits to the online encyclopaedia. 15/10/26 became a bung in. After a trip to Norway, 12a was a doddle and my COTD. What did anyone else think?

  2. Took 13d to remind me to covert to the new possessive pronoun of 15a. 14a required a bit of research.

    11a was my favourite with honourable mentions to 16d and 17d.

    Thanks to Donnybrook and CS

  3. Normally associate this setter with */** fare but this was way tougher . Never particularly like ” compendium” clues like 15a,one minute you have nothing and then suddenly you’ve got virtually everything. But there were lots of fun clues elsewhere 13a,9d,16d my faves . Agree enjoyment rating, thanks to all .

  4. I thought this was a most enjoyable and nicely testing Toughie that needed some teasing out. I was particularly pleased to get the classical references, and my top clue was the excellent anagram at 15a etc. Great fun.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook for the challenge and to CS.

  5. An enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Donnybrook and CS.
    I don’t much like very long anagrams, and 28 letters is very long, because it’s usually possible to get the answer from a handful of checkers (in this case the M, J and Y in the second word were sufficient) so that you don’t need to bother checking that the anagram works (unless you’re the blogger!).
    My ticks went to 11a, 6d and 17d.

  6. Very enjoyable if decidedly tricky little number that I can’t claim to have finished totally “sans e-help”.
    Happy to let our blogger work out the whys and wherefores of 15a etc I basically got it from 26 and worked backwards!.
    Plenty of smiles throughout the grid, the biggest being 17d, I also liked 7&12a plus 6d but my favourite was 11a.
    Many thanks to Donnybrook and Cryptic Sue.

  7. Had to look up Odysseus’s acquaintance, too many decades ago since I read it to remember! Otherwise no problems.
    Thanks all

  8. This was right on the cusp for me for toughness, but persistence paid off in the end and I enjoyed the challenge.

    I liked the various classical references and 14a was particularly clever. Aeolus, the ruler of the winds, gave Odysseus a present of a favourable wind so that he and his crew could return home safely. He also gave them a bag containing all the other winds. However, when they were almost home, his crew opened the (wind)bag thinking it must be full of treasure and they were blown back to where they had started from.

    11a & 17d made it onto my podium in addition to 14a.

    Many thanks to Donnybrook and to CS.

  9. I didn’t know that 15a etc. was non-ministerial but I do now. Very difficult in places but that adds to the pleasure of completion. 6d my last in. Favourite was 14a as I remembered him. Thanks to Donnybrook and CS.

  10. Loved and quickly solved all of the classical clues, naturally, and thought this a crackerjack Toughie. I just now saw the light on my bung-in at 22a: ‘Does’ as pronounced DOZE! The long anagram took me forever to untangle, but I finally managed it last night. Thanks to CS for the review and to Donnybrook for a splendid puzzle.

  11. Super crossword , and I’m usually no fan of heavily themed puzzles or clues spread hither and thither about the grid.

    Generally brilliant surfaces and the 15a et al anagram was most impressive. 7a and 21d my picks, but there could have been many more.

    Thank you to DKNY and CS

  12. Really good stuff. I simply could not figure out the parsing of 22a even after I had it – ‘does’! Brilliant.

  13. Not a quick solve but it held our interest all the way through. All became much easier once the long anagram was sorted.
    Thanks Donnybrook and CS.

  14. Brilliant puzzle again from NYDK. Quite a tough Toughie with lots of references and misdirection, so up my street really. Lots of great clues but I’ll choose 22a for the definition alone.

    The long anagram I didn’t mind, and it was a good one in any case, as I cut my teeth doing those Guardian puzzles of old, perhaps an Araucaria here or a Bunthorne there, and usually an anag of some length was present in those wonderful submissions. We don’t see it as much today, even in said organ, which to me is a shame, whilst OTOH of course when you crack such a clue, you do fill half of your grid!

  15. Many thanks to all for comments, and to CS for an excellent blog.

    When this crossie was penned, dear old Liz (RIP) yet roamed the Earth (or some of it at any rate), so we had ‘HER Majesty’s’ etc. That caused a bit of a grid rejig I can tell you, and a total revamp of the anagram. And in that regard thank goodness — and I never thought I’d find myself saying this — for Jeremy Hunt :D


  16. Threw the towel in & sought help 3 shy of an unaided finish. Couldn’t see 1d or 7a until revealing the T checker & immediately got both – poor show. 14a completely beyond me as I remember very little of it. Most disappointingly 22a (COTD undoubtedly) was a total bung in having twigged neither the wordplay nor the definition. Still to accentuate the positive as the song goes pleased to get so close as thought it pretty tough. Other ticks in a thoroughly enjoyable puzzle – 11,12&20a plus 16,17&18d & I suppose a 28 letter anagram deserves a tick
    Thanks to Donny & CS

  17. I’ve always enjoyed Donnybrook Toughies, and have completed them in a reasonable length of time, but this was much more challenging. It required half-forgotten classical knowledge and working out some very clever parsing, which was nevertheless extremely fair. I could select at least a dozen very strong clues, including 1a, 1d, 22a, 11a and 5d. I don’t mind the occasional 28-letter clue, and this anagram was a delightful one; it reminds me of playing Hangman with my aunt, involving long phrases. Many thanks indeed to Donnybrook (and crypticsue)

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