Toughie 574 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 574

Toughie No 574 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from the sun-kissed Calder Valley. It’s the third Friday, and time for another romp with Elgar, and as usual we are not disappointed. A fair old challenge with a grand batch of clues to make you smile and beat your head against the desk in equal measures.

We also have one of the more unusual grids with four-way symmetry and Elgar has risen to the compiler’s challenge of a pangrammatic set of answers. Thanks to him for a smashing way to start the weekend.

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 are shown in blue.


6a & 30a    One wants kinky clue to accompaniment — but that isn’t required here! (10,10)

{IMMACULATE CONCEPTION} After I (for one) you need to rearrange the letters (indicated by “‘kinky’) of “CLUE TO ACCOMPANIMENT” to reveal a phrase that might be defined by the clue in a cryptic way!
8a    The sound emanating from Barker explains our deserting Court Four (4)
{WOOF} Sadly not a noise from the lovely Sue, but a four-legged Barker. A definition of the word “court” is added to FOUR minus the word OUR.

9a    The reversal of truces changes it (3,6)
{SEX APPEAL} A Latin word that means truces is reversed. Add a word which is what we call that which a bell ringer knows as changes and this will lead you to a word defined as “it”.

11a    Go direct, and change result (4)
{TURN} A clever triple definition. Go, as in a game, to direct and to change result all mean this word.

12a    Carmen? It’s the intro of harp that is so lovely! (3)
{AAH} Nothing to do with opera. “Carmen?” is a cryptic definition of those people in yellow vans that help you after a breakdown (not the ones in in white coats!). Add to this H (the intro of Harp), and you get an expression that mean’s something is delightful.

13a    Do without anagram of lace, following compiler’s own (4,5)
{COME CLEAN} After compiler (ME) goes an anagram of LACE and all this goes inside a word meaning to do someone as in cheat. This gives a word meaning to own or admit to something.

16a    Oik playing havoc, wasting oxygen (4)
{CHAV} If you remove O (wasting oxygen) from HAVOC, and jumble (playing) the letters, you get a word new to most dictionaries in the past few years for The origin of the word is somewhat unclear (

17a    No Scots heading back into overnight accommodation with silver cushion (7)
{BEANBAG} The word for “no” in Scotland is reversed and goes inside B (and) B , ‘overnight accommodation. Add to this Ag (for silver) and you get a type of cushion.

18a    Car hits edge of kerb — hip affected (7)
{MINIKIN} A model of small car takes K (edge of kerb) and IN (hip or trendy) to give an adjective that means affected, as in speech or manner. Think Kenneth Williams.

20a    Nothing on? Crocodile Dundee will entertain over (4)
{NUDE} Hidden backwards in the film title “Crocodile Dundee” is a word that means in the buff, or having nowt on.

21a    Son turns head, meeting mum here? … (9)
{AMSTERDAM} The title given to a young boy or son, switches its first two letters round (turns head) and to this is added a word for an animal mother. This gives the name of a European city.

23a    … and facing the other way completely — rough! (3)
{YOB} When clues start with three dots it usually means that it relates to the previous one (which ends with three dots). Here another word meaning “son” is reversed to give a word meaning one who is obnoxious.

24a    Here in Scotland anything goes? (4)
{OBAN} If anything goes, there are no restrictions or zero banned, hence O BAN. I’ll get Elgar’s hat!

25a    Killer repulsed with refinement: not hard in citadel (9)
{ACROPOLIS} A killer is a type of whale, and another name for this is ORCA. Reverse this and add a word that means style or refinement, but lacking its last letter (H). This gives the name of a famous Greek citadel.

29a    Brown bread, last of ashes disposed perfectly (2,1,1)
{TO A T} An expression that means dead, or “brown bread” needs to lose S (last of ashes) and leads you to a phrase that means fitting perfectly.

30a    See 6 Across


1d Bookmaker, old Indian’s savoury filling (4)
{AMOS} Clever definition. The name of someone who gave their name to a Biblical book. Can be found inside the name of a savoury triangular Indian snack, i.e. SAMOSA

2d Master Valentine’s given this language (4)
{MANX} A word meaning “master” has attached to it an abbreviation for what a Valentine may get on the lips. This gives a language associated with a small island in the Irish Sea.

3d Be the jester, who in Marseille has prankster’s hat (4)
{QUIP} The word for “who” in French takes P (the first letter [hat] of prankster)

4d Relax for a while, then rela… (4,3)
{TAKE TEN} Hmm… being honest, I find this one not quite complete. The idea is that if you wanted to get “rela” from the word “relax” then you remove X, ten in Roman numerals.

5d See 13 Down
7d A bloomer, blowing up before end of England tie? (9)
{EGLANTINE} An anagram of ENGLAN(D) and TIE gives you the name of a flower.

8d Nasty hitch interrupts fantastic bun being baked (4,5)
{WITH CHILD} An anagram of HITCH goes inside a word that means fantastic or amazing to give a word that means pregnant (lovely definition!)

10d The first of my previous wives turns up … with one? (3)
{AXE} Take the word for a previous partner and add A to it to get the first one and then reverse it (turns up). The answer is what an angry one may turn up with if it didn’t end amicably!

13d & 5d Press into paying exorbitantly for this (10,10)
{CHEQUEBOOK JOURNALISM} A lovely cryptic definition for one of Fleet Street’s nastier vices.

14d £500 a head for something to eat (6,3)
{MONKEY NUT} Just as a Pony is a definition for £25, then the definition for £500 is another creature. Add to this a slang word for your noggin to get something edible.

15d Risk reduced, sheikh’s clamped wheels (9)
{CHARABANC} A word for a Sheikh is concealed (clamped) inside a word meaning risk which loses its last letter (reduced).

19d Operatic duo surveying part of Hertfordshire strip, covering little (1-6)
{G-STRING} The abbreviation for a pair of opera composers is added to the name of a place in Hertfordshire (home to soccer referee Graham Poll) to give an item of clothing that would not suit Big Dave or me!

22d Letter delivered to Manor House (3)
{RHO} Hidden in Manor House is a letter from the Greek alphabet

26d Compilers heading back to pub that was very close! (4)
{PHEW} An abbreviation for Public House takes a reversal of how setters see themselves to give an expression uttered after a close shave!

27d Jump about zone, following topless lady of the night (4)
{LUTZ} The name of a jump in ice skating is found by taking Z (for zone) after a word meaning a lady of the night or slapper without its first letter (topless).

28d Silence love with exposure (4)
{SHOW} We finish today with a word meaning exposure and it’s found by taking an expression for “Silence!” adding O (love) and W (with).

Thanks to Elgar for another sterling puzzle that delights, dazzles and baffles. See you next week!

12 comments on “Toughie 574

  1. A lovely end to the Toughie week – I actually got about 14 of these on my first run through which is a personal record I think!. Loved O-Ban and there were plenty of other penny drop moments along the way.
    Thanks to Elgar for the fun and Tilsit for the review.

  2. A superb end to what I think has been a very good week for Toughies. As you say, Elgar has given us an equal amount of laugh out loud moments coupled with a lot of banging one’s head in frustration and a equal sense of 12a and 26d at the end. This was a perservator – by which I mean that I had to look at it on and off while allowing time for cogitation, but the effort was well worth it. Thanks to Elgar for the great crossword (I presume this is another one of the forthcoming crosswords you said were compiled with the ‘wicked glint’) and to Tilsit for the explanations.

    1. Eek, 26d is the only one I’ve not got, or at least what I think it is I cannot justify! Pesky 4 letter answers. No doubt when Tilsit returns later and enlightens I will have to hang my head in embarassment.

      1. Without knowing how long Tilsit will be try this:

        Compilers heading back to pub that was very close! (4)

        The definition is ‘That was very close!’. We need the way that Elgar and his colleagues would refer to themselves collectively, reversed (heading back) after an abbreviation for a Pub.

        1. Thanks Gnomey, misery abated. Had that pencilled in, just couldn’t see why. D’oh.

  3. I’ve only one thing to say about this 26d thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for the review.

  4. This is the first time ever I’ve spotted a pangram. Getting the two 10 10 fairly quickly did help. Held up in SE for a while as put 22d in as ohm for some daft reason, and needed prompting for 26d. So 26d, nearly beer garden o’clock. Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit.

  5. An excellent accompaniment to fish and chips and 2 pints of Black Sheep down the pub. I managed it unaided but I did have to come home and check that minikin is a word.

  6. This was one of those puzzles that are quite easy if you get the long clues early. The key was in 6/30a and 13/5d and having got those the rest fell into place. Favourite was 8d but all the clues were good except 16 which I had never heard of and still can’t find anywhere. It must be newspeak but it was obvious from the clue.

  7. Got to this very late as we were dining alfresco all day with the Grandkids etc. Thoroughly enjoyed it but confess to some electronic assistance ( normal for Elgar) Great fun,loved 8a and 24a. Thanks to Elgar for a superb crossword and to Tilsit for a masterly review.

  8. What I nice day to get back into a bit of crosswording after life had got in the way so often lately.

    PHEW, got there in the end. Managed about 3/4 in a bit of time last night (having finished the excellent DT during Blood Donors) and this lunch time then visited my PinC (currently laid-up) to complete it together. 4d had required some cogitation, as I’d considered TIME OUT (but X is ‘times’, not time), then HANG TEN, before getting it right. I guess Take Five is the version I’m more familiar with, thanks to Dave Brubeck, no doubt.

    Once we finally got 25a and 13d/5d it nearly fell into place. Only thing I couldn’t see was 1d, and wondered if it might have been AMIS instead of our correct first thought. I guess the old refers to the testament, but I hadn’t come up with samosa to explain it.

    Seems there were a few semi-thematic elements – buns in the oven (with child, possibly by immaculate conception), onomatopoeia (woof, aah, phew) or possibly the crossword was a way to COME CLEAN about a trip to AMSTERDAM to see topless sluts sporting a G-STRING or NUDE to SHOW their SEX APPEAL. All that and a pangram too and still ample checking letters to help solvers of my standard to get there in the end plus a couple of hidden words to give us a start.

    Bravo, Elgar! Thoroughly enjoyable, and thanks Tilsit for unravelling it so cleanly in your explanations.

  9. Gosh, I found this pretty taxing. Clearly there are much better brains at work than mine. But thank you to Elgar for the setting – a very good puzzle – and to Tilsit for the hints, without which I’d have been pretty stumped.

Comments are closed.