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Toughie 562

Toughie No 562 by Elgar

Be scared! Be very very scared!

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

It’s that day of the month, when ladders are left alone and black cats are encouraged to go walking, and we have a cracking themed puzzle from Elgar to celebrate the day and its number.

Lots of amusing clues and presumably the Telegraph lawyers felt comfortable with 10 across 1 down (the numbering on the web print is wrong, by the way). I prefer Hammer Films to the modern gory trend of horror films so had to Google a couple of the answers to check them out. And any excuse to play one of my favourite singers’ version of a certain song is fine by me! Thanks to Elgar for one of his best-ever Toughies, although I suspect solvers abroad may not agree with me.

Favourite 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.


6a    Recently stolen jumper secreted in timber-built apartment 17? Unlikely (5,4)
{HOTEL ROOM} If something is freshly-stolen, for example property, then it is described thus. Add to it the slang name for an animal noted for jumping which goes inside a type of wood, and you will reveal something that you will not find bearing the answer at 17.

7a & 22a    Wetherspoon’s unspoilt clubs anticipating a brawl, admitting posh 19 supper guest 17 (5,8)
{JUDAS ISCARIOT} The initials of the pub chain (a regular haunt of one of our bloggers, by the way!) has AS IS (unspoilt) and C (clubs) add to this A and a word meaning punch-up. Once you have inserted a U (posh) you will reveal the name of a famous traitor who was a guest at a famous supper party.

9a    End of arm set in plaster cast, 21 the 17th our downfall (8)
{TEMPLARS} The last letter of ARM goes inside an anagram (indicated by “cast”) of PLASTER to reveal a group of knights for whom the date had fatal consequence. Indeed, it’s seen by some as one of the reasons that the date is considered to have unfortunate connotations.

10a & 1d    Fred Goodwin and co are asleep — pension’s finally misplaced 17 (6,5)
{BAKER’S DOZEN} Due to superinjunction reasons, I cannot possibly use a word that describes the employment history of Mr F Goodwin, suffice it to say it begins with a B not a W! If they were asleep they may be so described, and if you move the N (pension‘s final letter), you get a bingo caller’s description of our number.

11a    Miss lunch today? Ruefully, she will — so it requires rescheduling (4)
{OTIS} A splendid cryptic definition with an anagram of SO IT refers to a musical lady made famous by Cole Porter. And any excuse to play the amazing Kirsty MacColl’s version is fine by me.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    French writer with a very poor green eye (8)
{JEALOUSY} Sometimes seen in crosswords “the writer” can refer to I or ME and with a logical extension here French writer can mean the equivalent First person pronoun in that language, hence JE. Add to this A and a word meaning rotten, very poor and you get the name of the green-eyed monster.

15a    Repack! All my acts murderous (in 21 the 17th) (4,7,4)
{CAMP CRYSTAL LAKE} An nice all-in one clue. An anagram (indicated by “murderous”) of REPACK ALL MY ACTS gives the location for some of the action in the film that bears the day’s title.

17a    Neither temperature would get you in here, in two ways — that is unfortunate (8)
{THIRTEEN} A remarkably clever clue that gives you two anagrams An anagram of NEITHER T (temperature) and TT (temperature in two) IN HERE both lead to a number with unfortunate connotations. Shame this clue wasn’t elsewhere in the grid, but that’s me being ultra picky!

19a    See out model, on foot (4)
{LAST} A double definition clue: one a definition of “see out” and the other a model of a foot used by a cobbler.

21a    Defoe’s Man for all Seasons? 17 of me in each case (6)
{FRIDAY} Another double definition. A character with the prefix MAN, found in Robinson Crusoe, while the other definition relates to the number of these in a season.

22a    See 7 across

24a    See 25 across

25a & 24a    The original unfed bird’s in for it — this 21 snack her downfall (9,5)
{FORBIDDEN FRUIT} An anagram of UNFED BIRD goes inside FOR IT to get the snack that caused all the upset in the Garden of Eden, with the first part a loose cryptic definition of Eve as the “original bird”. Please address your letters directly to Elgar, Behind Hot Water Pipes , Third Cubicle Along, Victoria Station.

1d See 10a

2d Continue with one’s own domestic animals, rearing 50% (4,4)
{KEEP STEP} “Continue with one” is your definition here, with the definition of “own domestic animals” needing the second half reversed, i.e. 50% reared. Clever!

3d Sphere of Caesarean section (4)
{AREA} Hidden inside the word “Caesarean” is a word meaning “sphere of”. In one of my first ever compilations which was handwritten, I wrote the clue “Song of Caesarian section” (4) and was rather embarrassed to have a friend point out that I couldn’t spell!

4d Bandleader’s failure to secure any points (4)
{LOSS} A double definition, the surname of a famous bandleader called Joe and what you have suffered in soccer if you didn’t get any League points.

5d Mad announcer of Alpine Time? (6)
{CUCKOO} Another double definition clue. A word meaning “mad” is also the same of what often chimes the hours in Switzerland!

8d Force into having relations — endless amusement on a cold evening! (5-3)
{APRES SKI} If you force something you do this, and put it inside a word meaning relations without its last letter, you get the name of a drink to be consumed after a day on the Piste.

10d It’s a bore, prosecutor breaking up fisticuffs (7)
{BRADAWL} Surprised to see a word used in another clue as part of an answer. However a word meaning a punch-up has inside it the abbreviation for the US equivalent of a Crown Prosecutor. This gives you a tool that can make holes.

12d The magic of the church that I didn’t mean to suppress (7)
{SORCERY} A kind of magic can be find by inserting the abbreviation for the Church of England inside an apology (cleverly shown by the use of “suppress”)

13d Appropriately-numbered golden retriever plunging into the appropriate water (5)
{JASON} A double definition. The evil central character of the film that bears the theme in its title has the same name as a fictional fleece-hunter. I am disappointed that Elgar didn’t manage to work in the name of the famous Blue Peter Siamese cat!

Anyway enjoy this:-

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d It’s done in fish collector (8)
{GATHERER} The expression you use to say something is done, or you use twice to commiserate with someone goes inside the name of a fish that Only Appears in Crosswords (We should have a nickname for words like this!)

16d Inspector Doyle introduced in case that’s variously read (8)
{LESTRADE} A famous detective created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who as I found out in researching for a quiz the other night played both cricket for the MCC and as goalkeeper for Portsmouth AFC in the late 19th century and in 1908 helped an Italian runner over the winning line in the Olympic Marathon who was subsequently disqualified. An old word used to mean “in case” is added to an anagram (variously) of the word “read” to give the name.

18d Flintstone’s head drops, finding one rook in tree (3,3)
{RED FIR} The name of a tree is found by taking the name of the “Yabba Dabba Doo” man and moving (head drops) its first letter. Add to this I R (one rook, as in chess) to complete the clue.

20d 17 purveyors of 12 attempt to flee Midlands city (5)
{COVEN} Take the name of a Midlands City whose footy team play at the Ricoh Stadium and remove a word meaning “attempt” to get a gathering of evil ladies (not the WI!)

22d Privy to first of orgies behind hotel’s closed doors? (2,2)
{IN ON} O (first of orgies) goes inside INN (hotel). I was a bit unsure about the use of behind closed doors here, but I suspect it means INN has “trapped” O.

23d Die to get a couple to apres-ski? (4)
{CUBE} This is extremely clever, so clever that I believe King Clever of Cleverland gave up on this! A word meaning a die can also be found by the method to make 2 (a couple) to become the location for the word Apres-ski in this puzzle.

I know Elgar is a chum of mine but this was a supremely brilliant puzzle, and there is so much to enjoy in this. Thanks to him for a great puzzle.

Incidentally, if you haven’t done so, take a look at the site each Saturday and try the NTSPP puzzle. This is where aspiring (and experienced) setters let you have a sample of their wares and bring you an enjoyable and pleasant and usually none-too-taxing challenge. Tomorrow’s is by a new setter called Hieroglyph and I had the pleasure of test-solving this. It’s a nice enjoyable solve. Give it a whirl! See you next week.

22 comments on “Toughie 562

  1. WOW!!!!!
    Would you believe it? I’ve completed my first ever Elgar Toughie without the hints or other aids, and on a day when Tilsit gives it 5* for difficulty!!!!!!!!
    Had to use Wiki to check the connection between the theme and 9a but otherwise ‘All my own work’! I’ll be insufferably big headed for the next few days – or at least until next Tuesday’s Toughie upends me.
    Many thanks to Elgar for a geat puzzle and Tilsit for the review.

    1. Fully agree with Pommers…. I too did it without recourse to assistance… whereas Good Friday’s Toughie took me about three weeks!

    2. No big headedness allowed pommers! “Get on with making the dinner” she cries – should bring you back down to earth!

  2. Fabulous crossword from Elgar, a true toughie with a very clever theme. Far too many great clues to single one out. Many thanks Elgar and Tilsit.

  3. Tremendous stuff from Elgar – thanks to Tilsit for the review (especially for the wonderful Kirsty MacColl clip).
    I’m still struggling to understand what the 25/24a snack has got to do with 21. Anyone got any ideas?

        1. Thanks for that Tilsit.
          The thought that eating of said 25/24a may have taken place on 21a had occured to me but I couldn’t find a reference anywhere.

  4. It would help if I had any idea of the date !! doh … However after a lot of blankness did finish in reasonable time . Will still need the downs for an explanation of 23d .Loved the last supper bit , guessed a couple of anagrams ‘cos they fitted . Great crossword and revue .

    1. For 23d think of 2 (a couple) and the clue number for which apres-ski is the answer and the mathematical relationship between the two numbers. Only Elgar could dream up a clue like that.

  5. Superb stuff. I think someone is going to have to add another star to the enjoyment rating. Thinking back over the clues during the morning, kept me smiling for ages. Thanks to Elgar for another stunning crossword and to Tilsit for the review.

    We may all want to continue to be scared as Elgar did indicate that most of his upcoming offerings had been compiled with what I always refer to as ‘that wicked glint in his eye’! If they are all as good as this morning, I can’t wait :)

  6. Not done the puzzle – I can’t even start an Elgar – but I always read the blog.
    Tilsit – wonderful allusion with “it begins with a B not a W!”

    When I worked in the banking industry it was always known to me that a collection term for saib B’s was a “WUNCH”

    As in “A Wunch of Bankers”

  7. 7a is an awful clue … far too convoluted .. the use of unspoilt to mean ‘as is’ should be in the answer is awful as well

    1. Couldn’t disagree more.

      It is convoluted, but perfectly fair. Unspoilt for “as-is” seems fine to me. I think it’s a very good clue.

  8. It’s no wonder I couldn’t do 9 across. I put Love(Geoff) as the band leader, which is also a failure to secure any points.

  9. Needed hints for a couple, this has taken me an age but proves although the cluing is tough and can appear complicated, a little more persevating than normal and you realise just how fair , do-able and immensely clever these clues are. Fantastic offering. Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit.

  10. 15a and 16d – far too obscure for me – well, I’ve never heard of them.

    Being the Dunce of Cleverland, it’s taken me ages to finally understand 23d despite the hints and tips from both Tilsit and Gazza. Thanks to both!

    Not my Lucky Day!

  11. Stunning stuff from Elgar today – many thank to him for the challenge and for his crossword in the Independent. Thanks too to Tilsit for the review.

  12. Brilliant. I should say I managed about half of this myself and the other half with Tilsit’s hints. I’m not sure I’ll ever be competent enough to solve something of this standard unaided but I’ll keep plugging away.

    This was so good I don’t really have a favourite but if pushed it would be a toss up between 5d and 23d. In fact 23d should be framed and placed in the Tate. It’s a thing of beauty.

    Thanks Tilsit and Elgar.

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