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Toughie 470

Toughie No 470 by Elgar


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

Tilsit is having a bad day today so I have taken over the blogging responsibility.

After twenty minutes I was staring at a puzzle with four answers filled in, then suddenly it all fell into place. Many Telegraph solvers struggle with Elgar puzzles, probably because his setting style is Libertarian rather than the more-usual Ximenian. This allows him to take “liberties” with some of the clues. I don’t want to go into more detail here, but will try to get something added to the FAQ.

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1a    Reason, maybe, for being voted Masterchef? One could gamble on it (6,6)
Visitor to Mecca’s reason for being voted Masterchef? (6,6) [Newspaper version]
{SPREAD BETTER} – the first part is a cryptic definition of the answer, although it would, perhaps, be more appropriate to someone who makes sandwiches in a café – the definition is someone who gambles on, to quote Chambers, “whether the numerical outcome of an event will be higher or lower than a stated amount”.  In the newspaper version, the definition refers to Mecca as in gambling websites (and Bingo halls)

8a    Head-puncher: what two things smack does to Spooner (4,3)
{NAIL SET} – a tool for punching the head of a metal spike below or flush with the surface could, if you swap the initial letters, be two things that apply to a fishing smack

9a    Probably not the vehicle of choice for organised crusade (4,3)
{USED CAR} – this pre-owned vehicle is an anagram (organised) of crusade

11a    Was sensible waiter in receipt of this from the contented writer? (4,3)
{FELT TIP} – a rather strange thing for a waiter to do with his gratuity! – a charade of “was sensible” and “waiter in receipt of this from the contented” is a writing implement

12a    Smart Aleck and Kelvin — unlike Hadrian? (4-3)
{KNOW-ALL} – this smart Aleck is constructed from K(elvin) and a phrase that could describe someone, unlike Hadrian,
does not have a particular feature named after him

13a    Elevation’s good during journey (5)
{RIDGE} – an elevation or raised strip is built by putting G(ood) inside a journey in a car or on a horse

14a    Lane intercepting street — it’s elevated composer (9)
{SCARLATTI} – Lane is cunningly placed at the start of this clue as it is the surname of the writer of many TV sitcoms – put her first name inside the abbreviation for street and add IT reversed (elevated – more of a down-clue construct) to get either of two Italian brothers who composed music in the eighteenth century

16a    During function, feature a part of Asia (4-5)
{INDO-CHINA} – a charade of a two-letter word meaning during, a function, a facial feature and A gives the south-eastern peninsula of Asia

19a    Twig betting swindle (5)
{SPRIG} – another name for a twig is a charade of the odds used for most horse=racing bets with a verb or noun meaning swindle

21a    For viewing this heavenly body, withdraw to compose state of mind (7)
{NEPTUNE} – this heavenly body is built up by reversing (withdraw) a word meaning to compose and following it with a state of mind

23a    She’s not given to startle the sweet wee thing! (7)
{TARTLET] – remove SHE (she’s not given) from “startle the” and you are left with a sweet wee thing – I thought at first this was a hidden word, but the wordplay is clear

24a    Prominent characters sick in bank (7)
{BRAILLE} – the prominent characters are those that enable the blind to read – put a word meaning sick inside a Scottish bank (and I don’t mean RBS!)

25a    Abnormally positioned subject of the City? (7)
{ECTOPIC} – a word meaning abnormally positioned, usually seen in connection with a pregnancy in which the fetus is outside the womb, is built from a subject preceded by (of indicating an adjective) the postcode of the City of London

26a    Original/well-timed act (12)
{MASTERSTROKE} – a well-timed act is a charade of original, as in an original key to a door, and the “/”


1d           Having slipped on orbital, youngster wants motor insurance (4,3)
{SKID LID} – put a word meaning having slipped around (on orbital) a youngster to get “insurance” or protection for a motor cyclist (or perhaps an F1 driver)

2d           Colours engrained in memory (7)
{ROSETTE} – here colours means a knot of radiating loops of ribbon or the like in concentric arrangement, especially worn as a badge showing affiliation to a sports club or political party, and you get there by putting a synonym for engrained inside a memory or repetition

3d           For the future, presumably, I’ll get hors d’oeuvres (9)
{ANTIPASTI} – start with words that mean the opposite of for and future – “presumably” here warns you that if you are for something you are not necessarily against the opposite, like in the saying “my enemy’s enemy is not necessarily my friend” – then add I to get some Italian hors d’oeuvres (if you can mix countries like that!)

4d           Decline from top of table (5)
{BAULK} – a word meaning to decline from is also the area at the top of a snooker table

5d           Plant whistle-blower in work (7)
{TREFOIL} – this three-leafed clover is generated by putting the person who blows the whistle in a football match inside a synonym for work

6d           Forthright translator cut charm (7)
{ENCHANT} – take a word meaning forthright or incisive and remove the initial TR (cut the abbreviation of translator) to get a verb meaning to charm

7d           Fracture of shinbone — or a blow on the head? (3,3,3,3)
{ONE FOR HIS NOB} – an anagram (fracture) of OF SHINBONE OR gives a blow on the head – both Tilsit and I thought “a blow on the head” was a cryptic definition, but it is given in Chambers; the more usual definition is a way of scoring one in cribbage

10d         Online supply providing rich gravy ingredient (7,5)
{ROLLING STOCK} – this supply runs on a railway line and is a charade of a colloquial word or rich and an gravy ingredient of gravy – I always put some of the chicken variety in my Chicken Tikka Masala

15d         Painters dividing up fitting for flat (9)
{APARTMENT} – these painters are (3,3) – put them inside (dividing up) a word meaning fitting or suitable to get a flat or similar living accomodation

17d         Do a fastener up to secure a takeaway? (7)
{DOPIAZA} – DO is followed by A and a type of fastener reversed (up) and around the other A to get an Indian dish of meat cooked with onions

18d         Two or one little 26? (7)
{COUPLET} – two successive lines of verse could be, but isn’t, a diminutive form of a synonym for the answer to 26 across

19d         What finally breaks carnivores up? Answer quickly follows here (7)
{STRETTO} – put T (whaT finally) inside (breaks) some aquatic carnivores reversed (up) to get a part of a fugue in which subject and answer are brought closely together

20d         Train has no room for one going uphill and going back downhill (7)
{RELAPSE} – take a word meaning to train a tree across a latticework, drop the I (has no room for one) and reverse (going uphill) what is left to get a word meaning a going back downhill, particularly with regard to health

22d         One of the Chieftains compere’s run out of clubs (5)
{EMEER} – this Islamic chieftain is created by taking a phonetic representation (5) of the abbreviation for a Master of Ceremonies, adding R(un) and dropping the C (out of Clubs)

Thanks to Tilsit and Gazza for their help in unravelling several of the wordplays.  A lot of good clues, but my particular favourites are highlighted in blue.

27 comments on “Toughie 470

  1. Just finished, somewhat to my surprise, but will have to look at Big Dave’s tips to fully appreciate some of the reasons why. There really were some excellent clues here, too many to mention, and I thought this was an excellent puzzle all round.

    Thanks to Elgar for the enjoyment and BD for the light I am sure he is going to shed for me on some of the clues.

  2. A lovely hard puzzle to end theToughie week – thanks Elgar.
    Plenty of top notch and devious clues. I solved this over the course the morning comparing notes with Crypticsue. She was a bit muffed that I got over the line first! :-)
    Thanks again ti Elgar and BD

  3. A very enjoyable puzzle, apart from a different 1a to the one here, same answer granted, but good allround.

    1. They are hidden in the brackets at the start of each hint (just move your mouse over the top)

  4. Yes, 1A in my paper paper reads, “Visitor to Mecca’s reason for being voted Masterchef? (6,6)”

    However, this was a very good puzzle. One or two clues stretched fairness a tad, but very enjoyable.

  5. As with Honestjohn (post 1) I have finished, but definetely have some words in because I can see no alternative that I’ll need to check why, and of course if they’re correct. . Got in a mess with 12a originally as tried merging Aleck and Kelvin then taking out the letters l,i,k,e (unlike) and trying to fathom an anagram. Once foolishness disregarded and correct answer inserted the NE sorted itself out . Many thanks Elgar and BD

  6. I think the clue for 1a is better in the paper, leading one to go off into tangents of pilgrimages to both Saudia Arabia and the bingo hall! Well it did me anyway. :)

    THe bottom half fell into place quite easily but the top was vintage wicked glint Elgar. Also had a lot of fun comparing how well I was solving compared with the Gnome (considering I was also working at the same time, while he was on a bacon sarnie eating/tea drinking snow day, I wasn’t that far behind him!)

    Thanks to Elgar, BD and the Gnome for their parts in what was a most enjoyable Friday Toughie tussle.

  7. Took me most of the afternoon, off and on. An entertaining solve… still waiting for some explanations though!

  8. Thanks BD – I now understand the two I wasn’t clear on – 8a (a new one on me) and 7d (which was also only known to me as a cribbage term).

    I agree that 1a was harder in the paper and was held up on this for quite a time.

  9. Thanks for the puzzle and explanations – 8 ac especially . Only just finished – 19 &22 d took me forever .

  10. This was a fine puzzle that took me hours to work out. Luckily, in this weather there’s not much else to do so it filled the time in nicely. I was stuck in the NW corner although I cracked it I was not very happy with 1a or 8a. I would have thought that a masterchef would have better things to do! I suppose they must exist but I have never heard of 8a. There were lots of good clues of which 10 was favourite for the misdirection. Also liked 1d 3 9 12 14 16 24 and 26. Thanks Elgar for making my day.

    1. I think that 1a is saying that the Masterchef (laid on) a spread better, not that he/she was good at buttering sandwiches.

      1. Looks like my joke backfired.

        What I was saying is that the interpretation of buttering sandwiches would have been better than the intended “lay on a spread better” interpretation.

        1. I looked at this for ages, along with several alternatives but the use of ‘spread’ as a noun never occurred to me. I didn’t read your hint before I posted so that is a coincidence really.

  11. Got to this late as my daughter had driven up from Manchester to be with us for a long weekend, enjoyed the crossword but found some of it very difficult indeed. I particularly enjoyed 12a and 1d. Thanks Elgar and BD. I hope I am not too inebriated to finish this post.

  12. Thanks to Big Dave for stepping in at the last minute for me. Still not feeling bright and am waiting for a visit from an out-of-hours GP.

    A challenging and fine puzzle from Elgar, a really tough solve which was rewarding to finish. I hadn’t heard of the alternative meaning for “one for his nob”.

    The physical “stroke” in 26a had me baffled, and kicking myself and I was thinking of stroke as in “timing” of an engine when analysing how it worked.

  13. Thank you, Big Dave.
    Usually do Daily Mail CR fairly quickly (a bit lazy and short of time) but couldn’t get it due to the weather/short deliveries.
    Haven’t done a DT CR for ages and got stuck after about 5 clues. Can’t stand to leave it unfinished (OCD!) and your prompts enabled me to complete it. Nice to have a challenge. Thanks again!

  14. A vary late posting for a Friday puzzle.
    What’s gone wrong! I actually completed all but 5 clues of an Elgarian puzzle without resort to the blog!
    Just needed to get a grip on 1a. I think the newspaper clue was harder than the on-line clue. Once I had that, it fell into place. Just needed confirmation on a couple in the SE corner. Wow!

  15. Hi Again,
    Thank you for the warm welcome to the crossword blog.

    How often is the Toughie crossword in the Telegraph please?

    I can’t find one in todays paper.

    Jnay xxx

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