Enigmatic Toughie 100002 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Enigmatic Toughie 100002

Enigmatic Toughie No 100002 by Elgar

A Perimetrical Jigsaw

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Hope you’ve all had a grand holiday and are ready for some serious solving. This will probably sit amongst the toughest of the Toughies and features Elgar at his most devious.

If you have never solved a puzzle like this before, don’t be put off. These have been featured in the Guardian as Prize Puzzles about four or five times a year set by the venerable Araucaria. They usually have answers that start with each letter of the alphabet.

The first thing to remember is that although you are solving all of the clues without any checking letters, the clues are in alphabetical order of their answers, so the early clues are likely to begin with A, B or C and the end clues, probably start with letters from T to Z.

To solve this one, I would suggest solving the seven and ten letter clues, which should allow you to place the solutions in the grid. Once the grid is complete, a quotation will appear round the perimeter. In case you are really stuck, the quote will be placed at the end and you can highlight it.

Answers are, as usual hidden between the squiggly brackets. Highlight the space with your mouse to reveal them. As usual, cracking clues are highlighted in blue.

Please 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.


1 Pip gets a cold across Pond (6)
{ACINUS} A word sum to begin with today. A + C (Cold) plus if something is “across the Pond”, it is said to be here. This gives a word meaning a pip.

2 Plead for or against Commander breaking an appointment (8)
{ADVOCATE} Inside an appointment, goes the abbreviations for against and Commander. This should lead you to a legal word meaning to speak for.

3 Injury in photocopier room exercise doesn’t cover, in summary (6)
{APERCU} The sort of injury you would get in a stationers or a photocopier room needs to lose its first and last letters PT (exercise, not covering) to get a word of French origin for “in summary”.

4 Ammo-carriers with nothing left in round? (10)
{BANDOLEERS} AND O L = with nothing left, goes inside what you get in a round of drinks. You will find a word meaning the weapons holsters often used in films featuring Mexican bandits.

5 Ursine blunder holding attention (7)
{BEARISH} An unusual word meaning blunder or gaffe has EAR (attention) inside to give the meaning of the word “ursine”.

6 Iris treasured by, say, Welsh player (7)
{CELLIST} The word for an Iris (LIS) is inserted into a word describing someone from Wales to get the member of an orchestra.

7 Trouble experienced raising flower (6)
{DAHLIA} Words meaning trouble and experienced are reversed to give the name of a lovely flower (and not a river!).

8 Consternation caused by practice at 0800 hours? (6)
{DISMAY} Another typically Elgar clue that makes you think. Practice (ISM) goes in a third of the way through the day. Please address your letters to Elgar c/o The Home for the Amazingly Genius, next door to the Home for the Terminally Bewildered, London.

9 Not unexpected news given to adult chaperon (6)
{DUENNA} If something is expected, it is said to be this. Add to it N N (news, i.e. plural of new) and add A for adult, which will reveal a Spanish word for a chaperon.

10 Advertising space in the Listener? (8)
{EARPIECE} A double definition where one is cryptic. A way of describing a hearing aid or something to help you listen, is also the name given to advertising space.

11 Free from difficulty and from pestilence, as ever (4)
{EASE} Hidden in the phrase “pestilencE, AS Ever” is a phrase that means the other part of the clue.

12 Doctor of Botany’s book is rather baleful towards the middle (6)
{HERBAL} Another hidden clue – a homeopath’s Bible is hidden in the expression “rather baleful”.

13 Apprehending current, observant one turns over firing sequence (8)
{IGNITION} The scientific abbreviation for current (I) goes inside the reversal of an adjective that means observant and I (one) to give the firing sequence in an engine.

14 Man, say, observable by leaving scene of shooting (4)
{ISLE} The location of the National Shooting Centre (in a sporting not criminal sense!) needs to lose its first and last letter (BY) to give the solution, of which Man is an example in the Irish Sea.

15 Renowned striker involved in secular activities (4)
{LARA} Hidden answer in the phrase “secuLAR Activities” is the name of a striker, not soccer but in the sport in which we are doing rather well at the moment Down Under.

16 Why don’t we service repeats? (4)
{LETS} Double definition. A word which is used as a replacement for “Why don’t we” in expressions also refers to the term for repeats of service in tennis.

17 Not half like corpse on new burial site (10)
{NECROPOLIS} Take 50% of the word “like”, add it to CORPSE and ON . You need to mix it all up (new) to give the name of a traditional site for dead bodies.

18 One in Bible who hunted game with pole (6)
{NIMROD} A famous biblical hunter (and alter-ego of our setter!) who is made up of a traditional Japanese game added to a word meaning a pole.

19 A season in which one is hot? (10)
{PERSPIRING} A sort of all-in-one clue. I (one) goes inside PER SPRING (a season in which).

20 Push forward suspicions of Plum and Library, having got weapon (6)
{PROPEL} A Cluedo allusion. Take the first letters (suspicions) of (Professor) Plum and Library (one of the rooms used) and add one of the traditional weapons from the game. This leads to a word meaning to push forward.

21 Maori furnituremaker seen in Ware twice on a cycle (8)
{REWAREWA} A typical Elgar clue. Take the name of the town “Ware”and write it twice, letting the letters “cycle”. This will give you a word for someone who makes furniture in New Zealand.

22 Embarrassed by guilt, ‘umble servant is taken in by mum (8)
{SHEEPISH} The name of Dickens’ famous character who was “ever so ‘umble” and IS then goes inside SH to give a word meaning embarrassed.

23 Inebriated sirdar to bar in case? (5,3)
{STAIR ROD} An anagram (indicated by “inebriated”) of SIRDAR TO gives a word for a “bar” used on a particular case that goes up and down and holds a carpet in place.

24 Methylene-dioxymethamphetamine tablets, thus identified, produce sudden rush (8)
{STAMPEDE} I bet you googled it (unless you are a chemist!) as I did. The real name of the tablets is much used in Crosswordland nowadays to indicate a particular letter. So if you had some of these tablets, you would presumably identify them because they could be marked thus. This will give you a word meaning a sudden rush (as in the Wild West!). Very clever clue from our genius!

25 Dull, like a mountain lake? (7)
{TARNISH} A word that means dull is a pun. If something is like a fool it could be foolish, so if something looks like a mountain lake, it’s ……..

26 Lawrence the Fourth accepts throne — capital! (3,4)
{TEL AVIV} Probably my favourite clue of the puzzle, and one that comes with a wicked glint in Elgar’s eye! TE (Lawrence of Arabia) IV (the Fourth) has a short word that means a “throne”, “can” or “John” inserted.

27 Being into the converse of Western nature, turning over parts of mosaic (8)
{TESSERAE} The psychological word for “being” goes inside a reversal of the “opposite of Western nature” (Eastern Art!). That gives you a word for tiles that make up a mosaic.

28 Like supply for electronic engineer he preheats disastrously (5-5)
{ THREE-PHASE} An anagram (indicated by disastrously) of HE PREHEATS gives a type of current used by electrical engineers.

Thanks to a certain person for providing a prod on a couple of clues.

If you have the answers, you can fit them into the grid. There are in fact two ways to fit the answers in, one which produces the quote clockwise round the perimeter and the other going anti-clockwise. The preamble says the quote starts with the solution at 16, but doesn’t follow from the answer.

The quote, which is new to me reads: {LET’S BE NAUGHTY AND SAVE SANTA THE TRIP}. (Highlight if you are stuck!)

It’s actually used in a country song by Elliot Yamin and is here, if you can stand it. (I hate most country music!)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

Thanks to Elgar for a splendid challenge and to Phil and his team for giving us the excellent enjoyable Christmas bonuses.

Back later in the week!

Both possible solutions can be seen on Page 2

5 comments on “Enigmatic Toughie 100002

  1. This was the first puzzle of this type that I have solved. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it might be, and I certainly had never heard the quotation before. Nonetheless, it rated about ten stars for difficulty compared with a typical hard Toughie.

  2. I don’t know about Elgar’s wicked glint this time – he probably had Magi turn up on his doorstep thinking it was the Star in the East slightly off course!. I have been looking at this on and off since Christmas morning. I have had some assistance from the Gnome today, thank you to him, and needed Tilsit to enlighten me on a couple of words I still hadn’t got. I got the phrase when I googled the last three words but am still having trouble getting it all the words sorted out to fit the grid and the message. I may struggle on or I may just give in and eat chocolate. Thanks to Elgar, TIlsit, Gnomethang and BD (not forgetting Mr CS who helped a bit too!)

    1. Sorted now. I had two words in the wrong places. Anyone still struggling should note that chocolate is definitely the answer!

  3. I found this a smashing challenge and a good entry to the EV style puzzles if you are not acquainted. The fitting in and solution of the clues is slightly more difficult in the this sort of puzzle as opposed to the usual Toughie.

    Clue of the Day for me was 24 – Excellent! The addition of ‘E’ changes the whole feeling of the word.
    My own filling in story was different to Tilsit’s, I used the four 4 letter words first since thay could only be inserted one way.
    After that I attempted to fill the grid having about 50% of the answers. Having got another few answers I tried again and cleared all but the SW corner. The rest followed.

    Many Thanks to Tilsit for the review, gazza for explaining a couple of wordplays that I didnt suss and most of all Elgar for a right good puzzle.

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