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Toughie 247

Toughie No 247 by Elgar

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

Tackling this one at 1am was possibly not a great idea – a bit of a struggle. Finally slotted the last bits, then went back to see what had held me up. Mostly it was instances of implied double meanings and puns whose grammar didn’t seem to stack up, but I suppose when the intention is to raise a few smiles – which, in fairness, they did – the setter deserves to be given some latitude.


8 & 9 Arresting one East German star getting out of order (8,2,4)
{SERGEANT AT ARMS} “Arresting one” refers to a person who can make arrests; interestingly my Chambers has this answer hyphenated, not separate words. The anagram fodder is EAST GERMAN STAR.


10 5.25 days? I’m scared! (3)
{EEK} 5.25 days is three quarters of a week, so you need to remove one quarter of that word to give the answer to “I’m scared!”


11 Unpleasant condition king prepared with extremists of Arabia (4-4)
{KALA-AZAR} A new one for me. The unpleasant condition is a (usually fatal) tropical disease, and the charade wordplay is pretty lethal too. King = K, a dish prepared in a particular way is “A LA”, the extremists referred to are the extreme (first and last) letters of the alphabet, and finally the 2-letter abbreviation for Arabia.

12 Former lover in audition from a foreign country (6)
{EXOTIC} A former lover is an EX and to that we add a word meaning “of the ear” (in audition) to get “from a foreign country”.

13 The jury’s out on the Body Worlds exhibition? (7,2,2,4)
{REMAINS TO BE SEEN} Not entirely sure this makes sense; the definition is “the jury’s out” but the phrase answer would normally be preceded by “it” or “that”. The phrase suggests one could be looking at dead bodies so “Body Worlds exhibition” doesn’t quite cut it for me.

15 Leave quietly, relieved of female underwear (4,3)
{SLIP OFF} This had me fooled for some time as I was trying to remove the letter F (female) from something. Instead we want a phrase meaning “leave quietly” that suggests the removal of a piece of ladies’ underwear.

18 Holt-dweller not quite over ECT treatment group (7)
{OCTETTE} An OTTER lives in a holt, and this is shortened by one letter then placed around (over) an anagram (treatment) of ECT.


21 Reply to “I don’t fancy yours much!”? I don’t believe it (4,3,5,3)
{PULL THE OTHER ONE} He he! Nice double meaning idea here; blokey types who go out for the night are often on the ___. It starts with P and has nothing to do with beer – let’s just say that to ___ is a casual way of saying to meet up with a new partner for reasons of intimacy.


24 Task anticipating a nervous condition (6)
{CHOREA} In front of A, a word for a usually mundane task. The nervous condition has versions named Huntington’s and Sydenham’s.

25 Emotional pain a thing of the past for this optimist? (8)
{PANGLOSS} Readers of Voltaire’s Candide may get this quickly as it’s the name of the ever-cheerful doctor in that book. Something that’s become a thing of the past is a LOSS, and an emotional pain is a PANG.


26 Confusion that is easy (3)
{PIE} Easy double meaning. A confused arrangement of things, and something that’s as easy as ___ (3)

27 & 28 As irrelevant as decimal place #1? (6,3,5)
{BESIDE THE POINT} Another witty pun. Meaning “irrelevant”, this could also describe the position of 4 in the number 28.4119.


1 Cave worker admits fighting (6)
{BEWARE} A tough one to crack, especially because “cave” means “look out!” The “worker” is a honey-making insect which is placed around (admits) a word for fighting/conflict on a large scale.

2 Follower of a Jul 31 rising is a lizard (6)
{IGUANA} What follows “a July 31st” would logically by “an August 1st” but this needs to be abbreviated to fit the clue’s style. It also needs to be reversed (rising) to produce the lizard.


3 Swinger on a trapeze shaft coming to grief? (6,2,3,4)
{TARZAN OF THE APES} “Coming to grief” is the anagram indicator for ON A TRAPEZE SHAFT.



4 Learned to dodge Latin repeat (7)
{ITERATE} Easy when you see it, frustrating until you get there. “Learned” here means clever, erudite, in particular able to read and write, and you have to chop off the first letter L (Latin) to give a word meaning to repeat.

5 Accept bribe to continue rallying? (4,1,10)
{TAKE A BACKHANDER} In tennis, to continue a rally you might receive a forehand shot or a ___. Our pukka definition here is “accept bribe”.



6 Green-eyed one puts down electronic shutter (8)
{JALOUSIE} Tough one, this, as you don’t often see E as “electronic”. A “green-eyed one” would be a JEALOUS ONE (or I) but you need to move the E to the end.

7 ‘Neither shy nor outgoing’, expressed verbatim (8)
{AMBIVERT} A very unusual anagram indicator here – “expressed”. The fodder is VERBATIM.

14 Second/first person expressed pretension! (3)
{MOI} Lovely charade construction using “second” in the “I’ll be with you in a second” sense, followed by the single-letter word meaning “first person”. Pretentious? ___?

16 Man’s gone off crime, which causes hilarity (8)
{LAUGHTER} The crime involved here is what you might call murder-lite, from which MANS has to be removed from the beginning.

17 Old pro I fancy carries a picture (8)
{POLAROID} Anagram of OLD PRO I around A, to give one type of photograph (picture).



19 Couple at work rejecting rescue vehicle (3)
{TWO} Another subtraction clue but this time all of the letters are shown in the fodder, in AT WORK. Remove the cleverly indicated “rescue vehicle” (into which the animals went ___ by ___).

20 Turn up with e.g. dog in race (7)
{COMPETE} This very nice container clue has a word for “turn up” (arrive) outside a domesticated animal such as a dog or cat, to produce a verb meaning to (take part in a) race or other competition.

22 Hurry up with a ball application (4-2)
{ROLL-ON} Slightly oblique use of double definition here. If you say “___ ___ Summer” you’re saying you hope Summer arrives soon, so in that sense “hurry up” works. The ball application refers to something such as a deodorant.



23 On the sniff? Please don’t serenade me! (6)
{NOSING} After solving this I rather wished Elgar might have gone all non-PC and introduced an “Engrish” reading. “On the sniff?” means using one’s NOSE to sniff something out. Another possible interpretation might be a plea to not sing!


10 comments on “Toughie 247

  1. Really tough one today, Elgar has once again caused me more problems than any other compiler. I loved 1d and 3d and also 21a. I did not get 11a or 25a until I peeked at your hints, thankyou Anax, cracking blog. (especially the pic. for 21a.)

  2. I didnt find this the toughest this week for some reason even though i failed on 11a.
    Very enjoyable nonetheless. I particularly liked 13, 21 and 27/28a but favourites were 6d and 7d.

  3. This was very satisfying to do. Getting the several long ones made it easier to fill in the blanks. My favourite was 6d – had to confirm that it was the right word. I agree with gnomethang regarding 12,21 and27/28a – they were good ones.

    Thanks Elgar for a good Toughie and thank you Anax for your review.

    1. Re: 6d – I got it quite quickly because we are currently working in some high-end residential fit outs (think recently disgraced and kicked out of motorsport italian with fruity wife!) and this is one of the interior designers’ favourite words.

  4. Excellent – we did 3/4 0f the puzzle – which is good 4 US. Thank you all for the remainder and most all for the explanations

  5. Great stuff from Elgar. On the basis that I am still smiling at it, 21a has to be my favourite. I loved 10a too. 11a stumped me – thanks for the heads up on that one and I had not come across 6d before.

  6. About 13a.

    Wasn’t the ‘Body Worlds exhibition’ that touring display of rather flayed corpses put together by a weird German doctor quite recently?

    If so, it would seem to fit the answer extremely well.

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