Toughie 530 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 530

Toughie No 530 by Elgar

Fatal Distraction!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley! We finish an absolutely brilliant week of puzzles with one of Elgar’s crackers. I thought that following the dazzling Dada debut would be tough, but Elgar has managed it with a puzzle that contains lots of really fine clues. Because there are two long answers that spread round the perimeter, they provide you with quite a solving foot in the door. There’s also a sort of sub-theme with a lot of the answers being of a Gallic nature.

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. Favourite clues, and there are a few are highlighted in blue.


1a & 26a    Ignoring Chief of Police, it’s M. Dupin here re gruesome truth to be outed {3,7,2,3,3,6)
{THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE} One of my very favourite crossword setters was the late Bunthorne from the Guardian, and he produced some of the most amusing and challenging puzzles which often had a big, appropriate and amusing anagram. This clue echoes Bunthorne in that it’s a splendid appropriate anagram. Remove P (Chief of Police) from Dupin and anagram (outed) M DUIN HERE RE GRUESOME TRUTH and you will get a famous story that featured the detective Auguste Dupin.
8a    Crazy Spooner’s slower route to Scotland? (7)
{HAYWIRE} Clues with the word Spooner in usually mean that you have a cryptic definition that needs to be Spoonerised to get the answer. So a slower route to Scotland would be a “WAY HIGHER” (think of the song Loch Lomond). Spoonerise this and you get a word meaning loopy, or crazy.

9a    Pay half fare from Rotterdam? (2,5)
{GO DUTCH} If you share the cost of something, you are said to do this, and “from Rotterdam” qualifies the answer.

11a    Lbw, say, hitting pad at high speed (4,3)
{FLAT OUT} A word for a type of pad, in the accommodation sense is followed by what the cricketing term LBW indicates. Put them together to get a word meaning very fast, at high speed.

12a    Second person in Paris to catch early bird (7)
{TINAMOU} In French, if you conjugate a verb, the second person singular, i.e. “you”, has a pronoun which you need to find. Inside this goes an informal expression meaning early. This will lead you to a type of bird.

13a    Border city tail removed by Australian paceman (5)
{LILLE} A city on the Belgium/France border is found by taking the name of a very famous Australian bowler and removing the last letter (“tail removed”).

14a    The cupholder’s a little restaurant I promoted (9)
{BRASSIERE} If you take the name for a type of French restaurant and move the letter I up you will get a garment that has a couple of cups. Lovely witty clue, typical Elgar!

16a    Scrabble letters do this the London way (3,6)
{OLD STREET} An anagram (indicated by “scrabble”) of LETTERS DO give the name of a London thoroughfare

19a    Looked around for a hot drink (5)
{DECAF} One of those clues I really dislike. Two definitions connected by a reversal indicator (around) but which do you enter? Obviously if you get the first or last letter, you can work it out, but I do feel these are a bit unfair.

21a    17 might get caught on this slogan (3,4)
{TAG LINE} A word for a slogan is also something that may catch the solution to 17. It says here: “it is a line which is attached to the halyard near the release clip on the outrigger”. Er yes.

23a    Essentially American hero (7)
{PERSEUS} A two word Latin phrase that means “essentially” is added to an abbreviation that means American to give the name of a famous mythological hero.

24a    One dispossessing Echo V? (7)
{EVICTOR} A word for someone who deprives you of your above is found by adding together what “Echo” means in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and what the letter V indicates.

25a    Elegantly-dressed female’s self-confidence runs over throughout function (7)
{SOIGNÉE} A typical Elgar devious clue. Reverse a word for self-confidence and then “put it on top”, i.e. space it out within the name of a mathematical function. This gives you a word for a lady dressed to the nines.

26a    See 1a


1d           What’s composed by a lyrist for a member of the wind ensemble? (7)
{TRYSAIL}  An anagram of A LYRIST gives an word  that is part of the kit that deals with the wind on a ship.  Nice misleading surface reading.

2d           Fine example one’s entered in old record book (7)
{EPITOME}  I (one) goes inside an old record abbreviation (think of Twist and Shout by the Beatles) plus a word for a weighty book.  This gives you a word meaning a shining example.

3d           Foxes dapper sailor with rubber clothing (9)
{UNEATABLE}    Hmmm.   Probably the most contentious clue.  A word meaning dapper plus the abbreviation for a sailor goes inside a word for a tree that yields a latex-type solution.  This gives you a word that in a famous quotation from Oscar Wilde, described the animals that are being hunted.   I feel that the “foxes” should have been qualified somehow.  I know it would really mess up the surface reading though.

4d           A finger’s needed to poke it (5)
{DIGIT}  A word for a finger is made up from a word meaning to jab or poke added to IT.

5d           Divisions Three down South and up North (7)
{RIDINGS} I  really ought to solve this clue given where I live!  This is a cryptic definition of the word for the old divisions in Yorkshire, of which there were three, a North, West and East, but no South (although Winifred Holtby would have us believe otherwise!).  Hence the down in the clue refers to lacking.

6d           Adult eventually insulates interior layers (7)
{INTIMAE}  A (adult) goes inside  a phrase meaning eventually and leads to a medical terms for the inner walls of organs, etc.

7d &10d               Frequently he goes to bingo in autumn with our girl, so the story goes (3,4,2,3,5,2,5)
{THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER}  No big anagram here! A PhD Wordsum as follows:

(Frequently + HE + what the Americans shout when they have filled the card in the numbers drawing game) inside the phrase the Americans use for autumn +  a two word phrase that defines our + HER

10d         See 7d

15d         Starter and piston broke — he’s left the AA dealing with it (9)
{ANTIPASTO}  An anagram of PISTON AA and T (he’s left the) gives a starter you will find in your local trattoria.

17d         Shark’s good, if rising in capital? (7)
{DOGFISH}  Not a capital here, but a word which means capital, i.e. money.  Inside this goes G plus IF reversed to give the name of an aquatic creature.

18d         Chubby player wanting another card causes a storm (7)
{TWISTER}  A Triple definition.  Think of someone who had one of the biggest hits of the 1960’s which concerned a dance craze.  Another meaning is someone in Pontoon who wants another card and a third definition is a nickname for a violent storm, often found in the US.

19d         J.M.’s family favourite (7)
{DARLING}  A double definition.  The family in a famous book by JM (Barrie) is another word for a favourite person.

20d         Tends to enter church free from guilt (7)
{CLEANSE}  A word that means “tends or inclines” goes inside CE (The Church) to produce a word that means to free from guilt or absolve.

22d         Fearful ogre ultimately plunged into lake (5)
{EERIE} Inside the name of a famous American lake often found in standard crosswords goes E (the last letter of OGRE) to reveal a word that means fearful, or describes the book at 7, 10d.

Thank you to Elgar for a splendid challenge and I hope you agree on the excellent clues.  See you next Friday.

22 comments on “Toughie 530

  1. Another nice Toughie to end the week with some very nice clues and a few laughs.

    Easier than some Elgar puzzles because of the long and relatively straightforward answers in the perimeter.

    I’m glad that Tilsit has used proper enumeration for 1A/26A rather than the silly way that it seems to be done on the DT site.

    1. Whoever wrote the software for Telegraph Puzzles knew more about design than about crosswords. As well as the enumeration it can only cope with one type of apostrophe (they both look the same!) and can’t handle italics etc.

      1. You Screwed Up Brigade should revert to good old-fashioned paper, where the enumeration is just fine. Then you can make spills with it and light the fire.

  2. I think this must have been easier than usual for an Elgar because I whizzed along for most of it – that is until grinding to a halt on 6d. I think that one took longer to solve than all the rest put together. Anyway another very enjoyable puzzle – we have been really spoilt this week. Favourite clues were 14a and 15d but others were good too.

    Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for the review.

  3. Enjoyable and not too tough toughie from Elgar Alan Poe today. Many thanks Elgar and Tilsit (good luck with the leg lagging Dave)

  4. All good fun and a great way to end the week. 1/26a and 14a were favourites amongst many candidates. Thanks to Tilsit and to Elgar.

  5. I do love a Friday Elgar. Great fun with lots of clues with dots by them in my paper indicating that I had more favourites than non-favourites. Nice to see Mrs Nubian making a return too :)

    Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit for a lovely finish to the week.

  6. A great end to a excellent week of Toughies some really nice clues, the stand out for me was 3d I think Oscar Wilde would have enjoyed that one. Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for his comments.

  7. Thanks for the hints (so far) Gazza. 19a works for me – if you take it from left to right, “A around = B”

  8. Nice one , although I have the answer to 6d I really don’t understand the clue . Loved25a

    1. 6D Adult eventually insulates interior layers (7)

      Eventually = IN TIME
      Adult = A

      IN TIME goes around (“insulates”) A to give the plural of a word meaning the inner layer, or lining, of an organ.

      1. Thanks , for some reason I was fixated on adult eventually being”t” consequentially in(t)imae was a stretch for me .

  9. The Downs will be up soon. The Boss had an appointment with a sultry lady.

    A for adult goes inside a phrase that means “eventually”.

  10. 3d – How about ‘Foxes pursued by the unspeakable dapper sailor with rubber clothing’

    1. Foxes (as described by Oscar Wilde – I think – commenting on foxhunting) comes from a word for dapper an abbreviation for a sailor inside ULE (rubber – according to Chambers)

  11. 15d – An anagram of PISTON AA and IT ? Isn’t there too much fodder in the trattoria.

      1. Now updated.

        Compare Elgar’s “he’s left the”, which works well, with “he disposed of the” in a previous Toughie.

  12. Wow, this was a hard as it gets. Never heard of 1a etc or 16 so lots of perservation was required. Did not like 8 or 25 which .were concocted. However the rest were OK. Best clue by a mile was 14 which gave me a laugh. Not one of Elgar’s best.

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