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Toughie 458

Toughie No 458 by Elgar

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

Greetings from my recliner in the Calder Valley! Surprisingly, and contrary to most people’s expectations, I was sent home after five days! I am so grateful to everyone at Huddersfield Hospital for their care, and especially the fantastic Mr Ainslie, my surgeon, who has been simply amazing. Thank you also, to everyone from the blog for the kind wishes and thoughts.

On to today’s gem from Elgar. As usual, we are treated to a mixture of the clever and witty. For those daunted by Elgar there are a couple of nice ways to get into the puzzle today. Lots of musical references in today’s clues, which nicely mislead, and there are the usual wickedly humorous clues, such as 4 down and 26 across (methinks BD will like this!). As well as these, other favourite clues include 2down and the delicious 14 down.

The answers are hidden between the squiggly graphics written with Big Dave’s special invisible ink made from the finest Malvern Onion harvest. To reveal them, highlight the space with your mouse.

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1a    As demonstrated by Gilbert the Balladeer in winter footwear to toe-curling effect? (8)
{BABINSKI}    We start today with a rather difficult word sum. You’ll need the name of a collection of Ballads written by WS Gilbert of G&S fame (we encountered them in Toughie 173 and in other puzzles, I think). Add to this IN + a type of winter footwear give the name of a practice that is cute with babies and probably erotic in adults!

5a    Lipstick, Powder and Paint heading for No 1? Excellent! (4-2)
{SLAP-UP) A nickname for the aforementioned items is added to a phrase meaning something in the Top Twenty is going towards No 1, giving a phrase meaning Excellent, terrific, etc. Perhaps Elgar is a Shakin’ Stevens fan, as LP&P is one of his hits.

Tilsit’s choice is followed by mine (a genuine sixties hit)! BD

ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Having contract insurance, psychoanalysis ineffectual? (6-9)
{SHRINK-RESISTANT} A clever double definition clue, where there’s a sort of cryptic element to each. A phrase often found on clothing, it refers to the fact they won’t go smaller. The other refers to being averse to psychotherapists.

11a    Less tense, I detect suspect needs a refresher (4,3)
{ICED TEA} An anagram of I DETECT minus T and then add an A to reveal something refreshing in the summer. Allegedly.

12a    A twit touring North European city (7)
{ANTWERP} A word for a fool or twit goes around (touring) N (for North) and it leaves you with a city in Belgium.

13a    Check trouble at party, discovering joint (8)
{DOVETAIL} If you check something for mistakes, you do this and add a word meaning to trouble someone. All this should be placed “at” a word meaning party. The result will test your woodworking knowledge!

15a    The barbecue beat? (5)
{OUTDO} The question mark should tell you there is something slightly unusual about this clue, and the first part is a cryptic definition of a barbecue event and where they are usually held. The other part of this clue is another definition of the word, which is to beat someone in a contest.

18a    It looks from over the hedge, does it, to be a flower — or a bird? (2-3)
{OX-EYE} Similarly here, except we have three

20a    (From which Eminem may?) con recording (3,5)
{RAP SHEET} A double (more like one and a half) definition with the whole sentence providing a cryptic definition and then the second half being another definition. A method of recording crime is the shorter one.

23a    Elgar and Heath, or Jonathan and Buster? (7)
{EDWARDS) The aforementioned first names, and the latter half’s surnames collectively give your answer.

25a    Undivided attention for visitors not about to cover area (3,4)
{ALL EARS} A word meaning visitors, which is missing its first letter, an abbreviation for about, is placed around A(rea). This gives us a phrase meaning undivided attention.

26a    Very, very broad in the beam, rich Arab’s got hit (5,5,5)
{HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE} If you are rather “broad in the beam” you are a little ample round the waist and the use of two “verys” means it should be repeated and then added to a homophone (“got”) for a word meaning a rich Arab. This takes you back to a hit song from the Sixties

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    John’s projected to the audience (6)
{THRONE} A homophone of the word for projected or hurled gives you a word for something known in the US as a John.

28a    Token of affection from baker to keep ‘his’ heart in destiny (4-4)
{LOVE KNOT} K = heart of baker, goes inside a word for something that bakes. All of this is put inside a word meaning destiny. This reveals a symbolic gift between two lovers in days of yore.

Back with the Downs after my puréed Pea and Ham Soup…..


1d           Tragic old performance heard in London Tube stations? (6)
{BUSKIN}  A double definition of the name for an original performance of a play like Hamlet and the name given to what a Cockney may hear in the Underground from a man with a guitar.

2d           Minimum distance of separation from porbeagle, perhaps? (9)
{BARGEPOLE}  A nice amusing clue that is an anagram (indicated by perhaps) of PORBEAGLE and reveals the minimum length you should be from one of these nasty voracious beasts.

3d           Does she help to get tenants upstairs? (7)
{NANETTE}  A hidden reversal (indicated by upstairs, since it’s a down clue) from “to get tenants” reveals a girl’s name.

4d           Inevitable consequences: one goes out for duck curry! (5)
{KORMA}  One of the laugh-out loud clues from its surface reading.  Think of a word for destiny, inevitable consequences, and swap A for O (duck) to get a type of mild pleasant curry.

6d           Country hotel, unfit in this condition to inhabit (7)
{LESOTHO}  A word for an African country is found by placing SO ( a description of the last half of the clue, i.e.  if it were “so”, i.e. unfit, it would be unfit to inhabit) inside (to inhabit) an anagram of HOTEL.  Unfit is also the anagram indicator.  Elgar at his most devious!

7d           Stage in growth is worry for auditor (5)
{PHASE}  A homophone of a word meaning to worry also gives one meaning a stage in something.

8d           Scam for which scaffolder may be held responsible? (3-2,3)
{PUT-UP JOB} A nice cryptic definition which refers to a type of con or scam, which could be applied to a scaffolder, or even, a decorator.

9d           Bid cracking model to sit up and show curves (8)
{ESCALLOP} A word meaning bid, or ring, goes inside (i.e. cracking), a reversal (up) of the word for to sit for an artist. This leads you to a word meaning covered with curved shells.

14d         A compiler’s ruse of simply taking initial characters? (8)
{ACROSTIC}   Probably my favourite clue today.  A nice amusing take on a device used by setters in many puzzles.  What do the initial letters spell?

16d         The divine snake of Indian home, to look at it another way… (4,5)
{THEN AGAIN}  After THE you may need to Google the name of an Indian snake god and finally add a word meaning home, to get a word meaning “to look at it another way”.

17d         …does it matter, constricting compiler a bit? (8)
{SOME WHAT}    An expression meaning “does it matter?” and this harbours (constricting) ME(often indicated by the word setter in a puzzle).   A bit is the definition.

19d         Relation of Lear enters a long time before breakfast? (5,2)
{EARLY ON}  More Googling needed here.  This time of Edward Lear’s works: “Oh my aged Uncle….” And the Uncle’s name goes inside a word for a very long time ( or a pretty inept power company!) to reveal a description of the dawn each day.

21d         Galilee, did you say — or Rome? (4,3)
{HOLY SEE} A homophone of what Galilee is in The Bible gives a description of the Archdiocese of Rome.

22d         Delivered without opening, it’s agreed (6)
{ASSENT}  If a letter arrives without being opened, it gives an expression which when stitched into one word means agreed.

24d         International players taking on a moving conductor (5)
{WIPER}  What looks like a musical clue here is completely the opposite.  The  “International Players” leads to an abbreviation for a cricketing team.  Add this to a word meaning ON which will give you an electrical term for a moving conductor, or something found on you the bonnet of your car.

25d         On this there’s no obligation to buy quintet of cheap provisions (5)
{APPRO} To finish today, a hidden answer of five letters, also confirmed by the use of “quintet”.  Five letters from “cheap provisions” gives the definition contained in the first  half of the clue.

Thank you to Elgar for a really lovely puzzle and I hope to see you next Friday.

12 comments on “Toughie 458

    1. Dear Elgar, (I can’t say Dear John because that’s an entirely different sort of letter!)

      No you haven’t ruined it, just added to the fun of what is turning out to be a really great day, thank you. I spent a couple of hours on this excellent crossword this morning and found it great fun, definitely not quite wicked glint standard, but up there with the best. I had four left to fill in when our eldest son was the chauffeur for me and Mr CS to an excellent three course lunch. I don’t know whether it was the couple of glasses of rose wine that did the trick but I filled in the missing when I got back. Cogitation works every time.

      Lots of ‘favourites’ but 26a made me smile the most.

      Welcome back Tilsit and thanks for the review.

      Love Suex

  1. Dear Elgar – or should I say 23a? A cracker – I had “Three Piece Suite” for 26a, but couldn’t see quite why. After Tilsit’s help, and having listened to the link, everything became clear (ish). Some great clues, from which 14d stood out for me (see Tilsit’s title for this revue). I expect that CS will get round to comment once the effects of her Lunchtime O’Booze have worn off!?

  2. Enjoying this crossword, but just stopped by to say that I noticed you were reviewing and wanted to say that it’s good to see you back!

  3. And a happy Birthday to crypticsue from me, enjoy the pink sparkling….Am still persevating on with the toughie but thoroughly enjoying it

  4. Welcome back, Tilsit and thanks to Elgar for a hugely enjoyable puzzle. My favourites were 23a, 2d and 17d.

  5. An initial trawl looking for the ‘easy’ clues yielded just two answers and a maybe! However, as usual with Elgar, extra concentration paid dividends and it gradually all came together.
    Another hugely enjoyable puzzle with too many favourite clues to mention.

  6. Had to put this to one side for the journey home. Gradually the final handful fell info place though I am still scratching my head over 1a. Great fun from Elgar, for which many thanks and welcome back to Tilsit.

    Favourite clues were 26a,14d, 4d…..and 10a

  7. Welcome back Tilsit hope you are as well as you sound. Great crossword from Elgar today, I found it very difficult to get started but once I did, everything just fell into place. Loved 10a and loved the Brook Brothers. Thanks Elgar and Tilsit.

  8. I had a great sense of achievement when I finally cracked this one after much head scratching. Struggled with NW corner and had to guess 1a from down clues and ski! Thanks to Elgar for providing the fun. Too many good clues to name them all.

  9. 1a completely stumped me. Not familiar with the effect or my namesake’s ballads.

    Satisfying nonetheless.

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