Toughie 233

Toughie No 233 by Elgar

More Repeats than UK Gold

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

When I printed this puzzle off from Clued-Up and scanned the clues, my first reaction was that there had been another cock-up at our favourite site. But no, the apparent errors are all deliberate and part of a theme of repetition, duplication and repetition. I had to go out to buy a paper to find out the name of the setter – I had thought that maybe we had a new one, and I was very surprised to find the name of Elgar, not least because he is normally firmly anchored to the Friday slot. It certainly has a different feel to the usual Elgar puzzles, and I suspect that solvers will either love it or hate it with no fence-sitting – I am firmly in the “love it” camp.
As always we welcome your comments – and please give your opinion of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars at the bottom of the review.

Across Clues

1a  Javed’s lost on Tube, thinking ‘this is familiar…’ (4,2)
{DÉJÀ VU} – an anagram (lost) of JAVED and U(-tube) gives you a feeling of having seen something before.

4a  Gambit is foiled by one mating sneakily? (8 )
{BIGAMIST} – an anagram (foiled) of GAMBIT IS produces a repeat offender, gambling on the triumph of hope over experience.

10a  Have 8/22 vision? (3,6)
{SEE DOUBLE} – you need to have got the answers to 8d and 22d to understand fully why too many drinks may make you do this.

11a  Enchantress has covered the hole in the wall (5)
{ANTRE} – hidden (covered) in the clue is a poetic word for a cave. This is the last answer I got because I was convinced that I was looking for the name of a siren.

12a  Soon with us but hard to forget desire (7)
{ERELONG} – with us is HERE – drop the H (hard to forget) and add LONG (desire).

13a  Hotting up later on (7)
{TONIGHT} – an anagram (up, up?) of HOTTING.

14a  Is with him playing go! (5)
{IMSHI} – this is an anagram (playing) of IS and HIM and it’s a slang word for go away or move along, based on an Arabic word, and normally addressed in the Middle East to an importuning beggar or children trying to sell you some chewing gum.

15a  Here we go again! (4,4) Here we go again! (4,4)
{ONCE MORE} – another repeat!

18a  Ointment for the mouth that’s applied to the head (8 )
{BALMORAL} – a round flat Scottish bonnet with a pompom is made from BALM (ointment) and ORAL (related to the mouth).

20a  One promising firm to sit by sea in Calais (5)
{COMER} – someone showing promise – put together CO (firm) and the French word for sea.

23a  Home of noted lineman I note entering Western Australia (7)
{WICHITA} – put I CHIT (note) inside WA.

25a  I’m enjoying this deception manoeuvre! (7)
{WHEELIE} – WHEE (I’m enjoying this!) plus LIE (deception).

26a  Noodle for game bird (5)
{NODDY} – double treble definition (a simpleton, a card game and a bird) [Thanks to Elgar for the clarification]..

27a  11 dozen raving about dry composer (9)
{DONIZETTI} – the name of this composer is an anagram (raving) of II DOZEN and TT (teetotal, dry).

28a  Nearly go abroad for 12 months (8 )
{YEARLONG} – an anagram (abroad) of NEARLY GO.

29a  Javed’s lost on Tube, thinking ‘this is familiar…’ (4,2)
{DÉJÀ VU} – now where have I seen this clue before?

Down Clues

1d  In which characters have a problem, wanting kinky sex daily (8 )
{DYSLEXIA} – an anagram (kinky) of SEX DAILY leads to a condition in which letters pose a problem.

2d  My occupants of four-wheel-drive? (7)
{JEEPERS} – double definition – an exclamation (my!) and what you might call, cryptically, those riding in a make of four-wheel-drive vehicle.

3d  500 + 50000 = 1000? That’s sorcery! (9)
{VOODOOISM} – start with the Roman numeral for 5 and add two Os (zeroes), then add the Roman numeral for 500 plus two more Os. Finally add IS (equals) and the Roman numeral for 1,000.

5d  Encountering them you might 10 and elicit bad sign (9,5)
{IDENTICAL TWINS} – an anagram (bad) of AND ELICIT is followed by the meaning of the star sign Gemini. The reference to 10 means the answer to 10a.

Twin Cheerleaders

Twin Cheerleaders

6d  What punter wants repeatedly! (5)
{AGAIN} – more repetition!

7d  A whole genre gets crazy with it (7)
{INTEGER} – a positive whole number (like 2, to keep to the puzzle’s theme) is an anagram (gets crazy) of GENRE and IT.

8d  First half of cricket competition, twelve more needed (6)
{TWENTY} – you need to add 12 to the clue number to get the first half (bearing in mind the theme, it might equally well be the second half!) of the name of a successful cricket format (sorry, Lea) introduced in the last few years.

9d  Divers go around by Pier 6? (1,3,4,6)
{I BEG YOUR PARDON} – a phrase requesting 6d is an anagram (divers) of GO AROUND BY PIER.

16d  Crook’s knowledge catches last one breaking into club (9)
{MACKENZIE} – put KEN (knowledge), Z (last letter) and I (one) inside MACE (club) to get the forename of the actor in The Office sit-com.

17d  In storm-hit Peru I pass on desk for prayers (4-4)
{PRIE-DIEU} – an anagram (storm-hit) of PERU plus I DIE (I pass on) with DIE (pass on) inside produces a piece of furniture designed for comfortable kneeling. [Once again thanks to Elgar for the correction].



19d  Rural area rotter’s written into melody (7)
{ARCADIA} – put CAD (rotter) inside ARIA (melody).

21d  Soldiers end up strangling one having landed (7)
{MILITIA} – reverse (up) AIM (end) and put inside (strangling) I and LIT (alighted, landed).

22d  Two more than required score here from second half of cricket competition (6)
{TWENTY} – subtract two from this clue number to get a score and also the second half of the cricket competition started in 8d.

24d  Lazily adjusting feet? Long poem (5)
{IDYLL} – start with IDLY (lazily) and reverse (adjusting) the last two letters (feet) – now add L(ong).

My favourite clues included 1a/29a and 2d, but my clue of the day is 1d. Do you agree or disagree, or do you hate the whole thing? – leave us a comment!


  1. Libellule
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Not the most difficult Toughie I have ever done, but certainly one of the most entertaining!

  2. gnomethang
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Liked the puzzle although I was 9 short of completing. Not sure I like ‘Mackenzie’ as an answer with Crook as a definition.
    18a, 6d and 9d were favourites

    • Kram
      Posted October 14, 2009 at 5:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I also didn’t enthuse about 16d’s answer of mackenzie for Crook, probably the weakest of a thoroughly enjoyable crossword with surprises around the corner!. Hard to pick my favourite, but maybe 3d?!.

  3. Iolanthe
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you for the blog Gazza!

    26ac is a treble, not double definition, see Chambers; the wordplay for PRIE-DIEU is an anag of PERU I containing DIE.


    • gazza
      Posted October 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the clarifications (I’ll update the blog) and for the puzzle which was great fun.

      For those not aware of Elgar’s other aliases, he is Io in the FT.

  4. Prolixic
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    | am firmly in the loved it camp. There were some very clever constructions here. Having originally solved 1d and 4a, I wondered if a different theme was about to emerge! My favourite clues were 1d, 3d and 5d.

    For the full benefit of this crossword, it should be published again tomorrow!

    Must resist the temptation to post this twice.

  5. Anna Gramme
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really enjoyed this one. Had to guess 16d Mackenzie. Favourite clue 1d.

  6. Paul
    Posted October 14, 2009 at 8:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It was an absolute delight only getting half of this one. The most fun I have had not completing a crossword – even if it was partly influenced by doing it with coffee and olives in the sunshine looking over Penzance harbour.

    • gnomethang
      Posted October 15, 2009 at 12:29 am | Permalink | Reply

      My sentiments entirely!

  7. Edi
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 12:17 am | Permalink | Reply

    Another great blog from Gazza, had a good chuckle at this one. Some new words to learn. 15a messed me up, as i tried to stick with the theme but got it all wrong.

  8. Jonathan Richards
    Posted October 15, 2009 at 1:02 am | Permalink | Reply

    Well done! I also enjoyed Weston-super-mud, as we call it. I nearly reached for the atlas to see what other random place names I could find… but decided enough was enough!

  9. Posted October 16, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great stuff – anyone else remember this?


  10. Bob J
    Posted October 24, 2009 at 10:15 am | Permalink | Reply

    I’m normally a Times Crossword man but I’ve just started doing these ‘Toughies’ (courtesy of my mum saving them for me) and they are fantastically full of wit and clever construction. I’ve just finished number 233 and it nearly blew my mind! I think in a crossword like this the easiest clues are often the most difficult to get purely because most of the clues are so obscurely set and brain sapping that you lose the ability to see the obvious.

    Nice to have a site where you can check your answers too as my old mum doesn’t always remember to tear the Toughie out for me !!

    Cheers Big Dave

Leave a Reply, but please read the Comment Etiquette (under Comment on the menu) first. If you are asking a question, please check if it is already answered in the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions).

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