Toughie 382

Toughie No 382 by Elgar

An eruption of pleasure

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The sight of all those 1ac references in (mostly) the down clues made me concentrate on that clue first. I couldn’t see the answer immediately but the enumeration was helpful, so I moved on to the first reference at 11a, trying to find 9-letter anagrams including the letters of BRISTOL. Of those I found, one seemed very likely as fitting a theme (it also matched the wordplay) and that made 1a much easier. Identifying the theme was by no means a guarantee of an easy ride and there were quite a few tough clues to crack, but the first run-through elicited 14 answers and the only real headaches beyond that were awkwardly spelt (or, for me, unknown) members of the theme set.

This was good entertainment as ever from Elgar, perhaps without the usual degree of naughtiness and LOL moments, but the enjoyment factor was kept aloft by a number of witty definitions and wordplay indicators. My favourite clues are highlighted in blue.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

[Today I am trying out a new idea – if you hover over a clue the background changes to grey and you should be able to see the answer. Let me know what you think – particularly if you are using an iPhone or similar.  BD]


1a    Seeing red, angry noble holds in the red, red sign (7,4,3)
{BLOWING ONE’S TOP} This key answer has a moderately tough clue – we’d expect no less. Angry noble points to an anagram of NOBLE, which contains (holds) a 5-letter word meaning in the red. Finally add what a red sign often means to give the answer phrase to match seeing red.

8a    Medical chap with 12-inch leeway (5)
{DRIFT} The abbreviation for ‘doctor’ and a shorthand way of saying ‘one foot’ (12-inch) leads to an answer meaning leeway. I had a look at my thesaurus for potentially ruder synonyms of the answer. Without success.

For the first time - one of my own photos!

9a    It’s lovely, this awfully glib roundabout entertainment! (3,5)
{BIG WHEEL} The surface reading is quite odd, but this gets the blue stuff for the lovely lift-and-separate component it’s lovely, this which gives a 4-letter word (a shout of pleasure from someone on e.g. a fairground ride) around which is placed an anagram (awfully) of GLIB. The answer, defined as entertainment, is indeed something you may find at a funfair.

11a    Being busy, Bristol needs to retain order for one 1ac (9)
{STROMBOLI} So, the breakthrough clue. Being busy leads to an anagram of BRISTOL, which is placed around (so it needs to retain) the abbreviation for Order of Merit. This is the first of the theme answers and its location is off the north coast of Sicily.

12a    Plot of ground to set behind house (5)
{LOTTO} Even if the wordplay bits look misleading, part of the pronunciation of plot (which also means plot) and the gimme TO will quickly lead to a game which is also called house.

13a    Why writer won’t write report of Animal Farm? (4)
{OINK} If your biro’s empty it contains zero (or 0) ink, so it won’t write. That should be enough to give you a report (i.e. a sound) you’d hear on a farm.

14a    Painter has a long time in the Fat Duck (8)
{LEONARDO} The painter we want is often erroneously referred to by the rest of his “name” (not his name at all – it’s where he came from; something Dan Brown couldn’t get his head around, the pillock). For the answer take a word meaning a very long time and place it in a type of fat used in cooking, finally adding a letter to represent zero – in cricket, a duck.

17a    A king’s lifeboat turned over to single one 1ac (8)
{KRAKATOA} The bits that need to be turned over (reversed) are A, K(ing) and the biblical craft which could perhaps be described as a lifeboat. Add TO and a word that means single to give another theme answer.

19a    Internet naturally admits this one 1ac (4)
{ETNA} This theme answer is simply hidden inside Internet naturally.

23a    Fabric only broken just before noon (5)
{NYLON} Another easy clue using an anagram (broken) of ONLY placed in front of the abbreviation for noon.

Not one of my own photos

24a    Normally too old to tour North America (2,7)
{ON AVERAGE} A good, smooth surface here for a clue that’s not quite as ready to fall as you’d think; it took a while for me to see it, anyway. Start with a hyphenated word meaning too old and place it around (so it effectively tours) the abbreviation for North America. The answer means normally.

25a    Strong and sturdy, breaking law in the beginning (8)
{STALWART} For the answer, meaning strong and sturdy, put an anagram (breaking) of LAW into a word meaning the beginning (or, as a verb, to begin).

26a    A bit quiet, as you can hear (5)
{PIECE} I can’t believe I haven’t seen this before – it just seems that Elgar has found a neat way of expressing this simple homophone in which the answer, meaning a bit, sounds like another word meaning quiet.

27a    Bad rationing, alas, has nothing to do with the business (14)
{ORGANISATIONAL} A bad (or anagrammed) version of RATIONING ALAS has (contains) O (nothing) giving the answer which means to do with the business. I’m not 100% happy with the wordplay but the last six words of the clue are strung together very neatly.


1d    One function of funeral director’s one-piece attire? (4,8)
{BODY STOCKING} This wryly implied double definition gives me a second opportunity to, er, well, you know…

Is it me or is it getting warm in here?

2d    No distance at all to go for a letter (7)
{OMICRON} The answer here is the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet. The last 6 letters are a very small measure of distance – but no distance at all if you place O in front of it.

3d    When play’s over, eventually (2,4)
{IN TIME} The definition eventually allowed me to solve this without thinking, but on reflection I’m not entirely sure how when play’s over works. I’d initially thought it had something to do with tennis but that doesn’t seem quite right. Any ideas?

4d    Up-and-coming person of wealth acquires large ape (6)
{GIBBON} A person of wealth is sometimes called a NOB. Follow this with a word meaning large and reverse all of it to find the ape.

5d    Flimsy attire, making Elgin lose marbles? Go on! (8)
{NEGLIGEE} For this flimsy attire, Elgar takes a slight liberty with the anagram indicator lose marbles for the letters of ELGIN. After this place an equine utterance which means go on! Many thanks to Elgar for giving me another opportunity…

At last, another of my own photos. No, not really.

6d    One 1ac, less then fresh (2,6)
{ST HELENS} Another theme answer, this one using a nice easy anagram of LESS THEN.

7d    Poor home to row about (3-4)
{ONE-STAR} For the definition poor, think of a low-quality hotel. The wordplay consists of the home of (especially) a bird placed inside a word meaning to row (a boat).

10d    Top people out to capture lion, say, find one 1ac (12)
{POPOCATEPETL} Yes, I did need to look this one up! This theme answer takes an anagram (out) of TOP PEOPLE and places it around (so it will capture) the sort of animal a lion is.

15d    In a trice a fractured ulna has one, one 1ac (5,3)
{MAUNA LOA} I had to double check this as well, but only to confirm that it exists – I’d placed the answer thanks to the wordplay, which uses MO (a trice) inside which is an anagrammed (fractured) version of ULNA. Finally add the same version of one (single) as used in 17a.

16d    Work in cab firm, overriding one 1ac (8)
{COTOPAXI} Amazingly I did know this one, which is just as well because the wordplay arrangement is a little tricky, thanks to the craftily strung together cab firm element. Start with OP (short for ‘opus’ or work) and put it into a word for a cab. The abbreviation for ‘company’ (firm) is overriding this, which is an oblique way of saying it goes at the front.

18d    Lowry who painted over holy table with lots of well-known people (3-4)
{ALL-STAR} This is almost the opposite of 7d! Take the first two initials of the artist Lowry and put them the holy table you’d typically find in a church. The use of over as an insertion indicator doesn’t work for me but it didn’t hold up the solving process.

20d    A good deal of French on Eurostar? (5-2)
{TRADE-IN} With cross-checking letters and give-away enumeration this was very easy; solved cold, I’m not so sure it would be. Take the French word for of and put it inside what Eurostar is an example of.

21d    14, say, endlessly written up in sacred text (6)
{MANTRA} The answer at 14a is a significant name in the world of art – or a significant art name. Take away the last letter of this made-up phrase and reverse it to give a word meaning a sacred text which is often chanted.

22d    Source of good advice gleaned from Prince in Asian capital (6)
{DELPHI} Finally, a single-letter abbreviation for Prince placed inside an Asian
capital city gives us the location mythologically famed for its Oracle.



  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    Oooh – you’re so technical, BD!! Looking forward to doing this tonight when I get back from work.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Really needed assistance with 10d,15d and 16d, thanks Anax, otherwise fairly straightforward and very enjoyable. I especially liked your pictures for 23a,1d and 5d. Thanks Elgar, a true toughie.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    A lovely sunny Friday treat. Like Anax I soon realised there was a theme (all those references to 1a) but didn’t get what it was until I got 16d . A great puzzle. Did anyone else struggle with 10d – I knew vaguely what it was called, had all the letters but struggled to get them in the right places. Thanks Elgar and Anax.

  4. Posted July 2, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Some of you are on my Facebook friends list. I’ve just discovered that while I can access the generic homepage I can’t access my own page, my profile or account – I’m getting a message to say the URL is either out of date or incorrect. This may be just a technical problem with Facebook, but I have to bear in mind that account hacking is a possibility. If any of you receive messages from me today… well, they won’t be from me. Could you let me know if this happens?

    Also, is anyone else having a similar problem?

    • Posted July 2, 2010 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      You are still in my “friends” list, but if I try to access your page I get:

      The page you requested was not found

      You may have clicked an expired link or mistyped the address. Some web addresses are case sensitive.

      * Return home
      * Go back to the previous page

      • Posted July 2, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Same message I’m getting.

        • Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

          It’s working again now – thankfully, then, just a technical problem and nowt sinister.

  5. Prolixic
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Great fun from Elgar today. 19a opened up the theme and apart from the spelling of 20d the only minor diversion was putting in draft instead of drift! Thanks to setter and reviewer. The hover feature does not work on the iPhone or older versions of IE.

  6. Posted July 2, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Re 3d: when I was at school, 4 o’clock was ‘home time’, break was ‘play time’, and the end of play time was ‘in time’

  7. Nubian
    Posted July 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this immensely once more. Im on a very steep learning curve here. I gave myself a big pat on the back when I discovered the 1a theme. It was like panning for gold and finding a boulder.
    Thanks to Elgar (I like his music too)
    Thanks to Anax ( I liked his pictures as well , tee hee)

  8. Posted July 2, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    I am still on a crosswrd hiatus so looked at this for a bit.
    Regarding 13a I had O PEN which was amongst my first mistakes.
    Normal service will be resumed on Tuesday.
    Cheers Anax – Love the holiday snaps……

  9. Dim Dave
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    good puzzle even better review. The heat is certainly getting to people out there in xword land!

  10. Pommers
    Posted July 3, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable puzzle but was it really a toughie once the theme had been spotted? The clues referencing 1a became easier and the checking letters they provided simplified all the others.
    As I said, enjoyable, so thanks to Elgar (I also like your music) but why now? A few weeks ago when that place in Iceland was causing havoc would have been brill!
    Also Anax – that was a great review! Thanks muchly!

  11. Rishi
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    I like this idea of our being able to see the answer even as we hover over a clue.
    Thanks, Dave, for introducing this.

    Of course, we must be prepared to see the full answer.

    Previously, while highlighting a white space, we could stop anywhere so we could guess the rest.

  12. Rishi
    Posted July 5, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink


    I tried to guess the answers from some of the pictures as it gave me a chance to keep staring at them for long!

  13. Peter Biddlecombe
    Posted July 7, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this one the most in my weekly delayed catch-up of toughies. Also puzzled by “over” in 18 but plenty of fun elsewhere, and A level geography nostalgia.