Toughie 394 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 394

Toughie No 394 by Elgar

Here Comes The Groom

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I have been asked to do today’s blog because Big Dave and several other bloggers are off to London to celebrate Elgar’s wedding. Elgar obviously doesn’t want the rest of us to have an easy time either. I found this very difficult and well worthy of being described as a toughie. In the end I did manage to finish it before having to check a couple of answers in the dictionary. There’s still the odd bit of wordplay that I haven’t quite sorted out and I await enlightenment. And I wonder whether I’ve missed any thematic material.

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2a        End of the week: is plant OK? (12)
{SATISFACTORY} OK is the definition. Take the last day of the week + IS + plant (in the industrial sense)

8a        See 17a

9a        Dwarf writer takes breather after entry to Europe (8)
{NIBELUNG} The organ you breathe with goes after part of a pen + E (entry to Europe) to give a dwarf of German mythology

10a & 15a        Eminence in Vatican City bursting to be arts specialist (2,6,8)
{ST PETER’S BASILICA} An anagram (bursting) of BE ARTS SPECIALIST gives a church in the Vatican City

11a      Let it stand outside Engineers Way (6)
{STREET} A word meaning “let it stand” goes outside RE (Engineers)

12a      No other alternative for Slater? (4,6)
{LAST RESORT} The definition is “no other alternative” (when all else has failed). Take an anagram of SLATER and follow it with a word that might indicate an anagram

13a      Bare one’s soul, as writer in press (4,2)
{OPEN UP} Put something you write with inside the abbreviation of a particular publishing house based in Oxford

16a      Notices more than one location for performances, and stays over (5)
{SPOTS} This clue consists of 2 meanings (notices; more than one location for performances) and a reversal (stays).

17a & 8a          Vessel to indicate the position of snake in no time (6,4)
{NARROW BOAT} The vessel is usually found on a canal. A word meaning “to indicate the position of” + a snake is put inside NO T (time)

18a      With union in lawsuit interminably, he has lots to answer for (10)
{AUCTIONEER} Whose job involves selling lots? It is made up of U (union) inside a word for lawsuit + a word for interminably

21a      Malleable zinc — or jargoon? (6)
{ZIRCON} An anagram (malleable) of OR ZINC

23a      King, say, executed with precision (3-5)
{SET PIECE}The king is part of a chess set. The answer is a carefully planned and executed piece of team-work at a corner or free-kick (that’s how Chambers describes it)

24a      Latvia-Belfast pasta? (8)
{RIGATONI}The capital of Latvia TO the province where Belfast is situated gives a type of pasta

25a      Relief following last touch of the sword (4)
{EPEE} A type of sword is given by E (last touch of THE) + a word meaning “relief”

26a      The old man’s low-down getting through punishment is reincarnation (12)
{PALINGENESIS} One of the ones I had to check. The old man is your father. The low-down is GEN. Put that inside a school punishment and put IS at the end and you get a word meaning “reincarnation”


1d        Pair to marry in haste, and moon! (6)
{PORTIA} This appears to be an anagram of PAIR TO and is an inner moon of Uranus (named after a Shakespearean character)

2d        Desire for one half to put in order for caterers (9)
{STREETCAR} Think Tennessee Williams. Half to = T and put this in an anagram (order) of CATERERS

3d        Appropriate run into box by England winger (6)
{THIEVE} The definition is “to appropriate”. Put a word meaning run (or hasten) inside an abbreviation for the box (that you watch) and finish with E (England winger)

4d        What special time gives a concession out with enemies standing in? (5,2,8)
{SENSE OF OCCASION} An anagram of A CONCESSION contains a four-letter word for enemies which has been reversed

5d        Like top sailor’s material (8)
{ASBESTOS} Like + top + sailor gives a heat-resistant material

6d        A revolting fellow, he leaves the bank after stick-up (5)
{TYLER} Someone who once led a revolt is given by a reversal of T (he leaves the) + a word for stick (but I’m not convinced by this)

7d        Second smuggler in revolt (6-2)
{RUNNER-UP} Who comes behind the winner? It’s made up of smuggler + revolt

14d      Game for no festive dancing (4,5)
{ETON FIVES} An anagram (dancing) of NO FESTIVE

15d      See 10a

16d      Penchant for deconstructing latest work? (4,4)
{SWAN SONG} I can see how the latest work fits in but can someone explain the rest to me? [Gazza informs me that the answer is given by pen chant (pen being a female bird) which has been deconstructed]

19d      Bury and Milan, say, in short, in short (6)
{INTERS} Pluralise a word meaning “bury” and a Milan football team to give the answer. It is made up of IN + a word meaning “short” cut short

20d      A little book — a creation of Milligan (6)
{ECCLES} A character in The Goon Show = a the abbreviation of a book in the Old Testament

22d      Meat-eater wanting lunchtime company? (5)
{COATI} A carnivorous mammal might want company at one

I enjoyed the challenge. Enigmatist, under various guises, has several other celebratory puzzles in today’s papers. I shall attempt them later and hope that they are not all as difficult as this one.

15 comments on “Toughie 394

  1. Fantastic. I jokingly said I might finish this before Christmas. In the end, it was not as bad as I had feared. There is some thematic material in the answers, I think. For example, the reception is being held in the Narrow Boat, St Peter’s Street. I’m sure that other will find the remaining links!

    Many thanks and congratulations to Elgar (and Jane) and thanks to Buffo for the review.

  2. Thanks for the help, Bufo!
    I was wrong on the pasta and missed 10a 15d as a result. I also needed some explanations on a few clues. Favourites were 16d and 9a.
    All the best to John and Jane!
    Regarding thematic material I know that there Is a shindig at the Narrowboat in Islington later and I might take a guess as to the honeymoon location!

      1. Actually I was thinking of Rome but you explained that one. Nothing wrong with Eccles either!

  3. I did think I wasn’t going to finish this until Christmas 2011 but luckily an hour in an office meeting obviously allowed my cryptic brain to cogitate on this very tricky toughie. I would say 4* diffiiculty but perhaps that’s just me. My thoughts on links include: is there a ring with a 21a on Jane’s finger, is one of them an 18a, do they like 24a? A thought I don’t want to have is that perhaps having done all those puzzles, today is Elgar’s 16d! Many congratulations to them both – many they have a long and happy ever after. Thanks to Bufo for the review so that I was able to find out why I had some of the answers. Off to try the other 4 puzzles now.

    1. I have it on impeccable authority that 16d is not part of the theme or any type of veiled reference:). Guess where I have been ;)

      1. So how are the festivities going? Has BD taken advantage of flowing alcohol to recruit any more setters?

    1. I think that Bufo’s reading is correct, despite his reservation. If you RELY on someone you do tend to STICK with them.

    2. Of course bank = rely which is “stuck up”, and that’s how I interpreted it when I solved it. When I wrote the blog I ignored the word “bank” in the clue and then wondered why I didn’t think much of the clue. Oops

  4. 16d – excellent clue -even though I got the answer and still didn’t understand it.
    Very best wishes to the newly-weds! I hope the bride is a crossword fan too.

    1. Anna,
      16d A pen is a female swan, so if you split (deconstruct) penchant to pen chant you get a swan song.
      Jane is definitely a crossword fan and blogs as Jetdoc.

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