Toughie 736

Toughie No 736 by Elgar

Thrice Welcome

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

Elgar doesn’t often stray from Fridays into midweek territory so this excellent puzzle is exceedingly welcome. It’s not as fearsome as some of his but brilliantly entertaining and full of d’oh moments. It also (and I don’t know how he manages to construct a puzzle like it) has a pattern round the outside, which, once you’ve twigged what’s going on, does make it a bit easier.
Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and click on one of the stars below to record your enjoyment factor.

Across Clues

1a  Film trilogy showing artistic dedication? (4,4,4)
{TORA TORA TORA} – the title of a 1970 film about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour could be a trilogy of dedications to the Royal Academy.

8a  Listmaker’s daughter initially not a brass? (5)
{LLOYD} – Schindler obviously doesn’t fit so we want the name of the journal of shipping news published daily in London (the title being —–‘s List). D(aughter) is preceded (initially) by what brass is an example of without the leading A (not a).

9a  One golfer caught another in knockout in half the time (9)
{MICKELSON} – the surname of Phil, the American golfer, comes from inserting C(aught) then the surname of a South African golfer inside KO all inside the first half of a short period of time.

11a  ESP theory invalidated — it’s magic! (3,6)
{HEY PRESTO} – an anagram (invalidated) of ESP THEORY.

12a  Knight knowing about dress fabric (5)
{NINON} – start with the chess abbreviation for knight and add a phrase meaning knowing about (2,2) to get a lightweight silk dress fabric.

13a  2K ringmaster’s invested in in port makes double (9)
{LOOKALIKE} – 2k means just that – two occurrences of the letter K. Between them (invested in) put the name of the self-styled greatest ringmaster, then insert all that in a Cornish fishing port to make a double. The surface is not terribly smooth.

16a  The Apostles practise Buddhism (5)
{DOZEN} – the number of apostles in the New Testament comes from a verb to practise followed by a school of Buddhism.

18a  Wood is painful when rear is switched (5)
{HURST} – I didn’t know this word for a small wood. Start with a verb meaning is painful and reverse the last two letters.

19a  One with the necessary courage to claim heart of Clytemnestra — and no turning back (9)
{AGAMEMNON} – this is a lovely all-in-one clue, the answer being the king in Greek legend who married Clytemnestra. Start with A (one), then add an adjective meaning unafraid (with the necessary courage) and the middle two letters (heart) of the queen’s name. Finally reverse (turning back) NO.

20a  Broadcast impersonating a space-dog (5)
{LAIKA} – I can remember the excitement in 1957 when the Soviet Union launched the first living creature into space. The dog’s name sounds like (broadcast) a synonym for impersonating plus A.

22a  Complaint may be a bother, a nuisance, an irritation, a bane, a scourge to Spooner (5,4)
{CHEST PAIN} – this medical complaint could be rendered by Spooner as pest chain, i.e. a series of annoyances.

25a  Destructive types dodgy-dealing in gasohol (9)
{HOOLIGANS} – gasohol is, apparently, a portmanteau word in the US for a mixture of petrol and alcohol used as a fuel. These destructive types are an anagram (dodgy-dealing) of IN GASOHOL.

26a  Managed to bottle the same gas (5)
{RADON} – a verb meaning managed contains (to bottle) an abbreviation meaning the same as before or likewise.

27a  My thoroughly healthy mineral source (4,4,4)
{WELL WELL WELL} – this expression of surprise (My!) comes from a) a synonym of thoroughly, b) another word for healthy and c) a source of water.

Down Clues

1d  It’s said some would front up Yes, following through series of gigs (3-2-4)
{TWO BY FOUR} – the answer here sounds like (it’s said) “some would” of a specific dimension (available from all good DIY stores). Reverse (up) the front of a ship and follow that with abbreviations for Y(es) and F(ollowing), then insert (through) all that in a series of gigs that Yes (or any other band) may undertake in different locations.

2d  One getting up an additional clause (5)
{RIDER} – double definition.

3d  Jewish descendant’s cut up by this operation (5)
{TIMES} – reverse (up) a member of any of the peoples (including the Jews) who were said in the Old Testament to be descendants of Shem, with the final E cut off. The result is an arithmetical operation. Superb surface which probably has all male solvers crossing their legs!

4d  Maybe Tommy Cooper, king of sorts, absent after run (4,5)
{ROCK OPERA} – a bit of lifting and separating is needed here. The definition is “maybe Tommy” so we want something that Tommy is an example of. Make an anagram (of sorts) of K(ing) and COOPER and follow it with A(bsent), then put all that after R(un).

5d  One way to colour dependability, bad blip going unnoticed (3-3-3)
{TIE-AND-DYE} – this is apparently a method of hand-colouring textiles. It’s an anagram (bad) of DE(p)ENDA(bil)ITY with the letters of blip being sidelined (unnoticed). I think that “going” here is the indication that the letters of blip are not contiguous in the fodder.

6d  It may be integral to sap to go wrong again and again (5)
{RESIN} – double definition.

7d  It’s so good to dip into British Library book by Henry Bishop, delving into the reverse of legally prescriptive baloney (4,4,4)
{BLAH BLAH BLAH} – the definition is baloney. An interjection expressing joy (it’s so good!) goes between (dip into) the abbreviation for British Library and B(ook). Next insert H(enry) and B(ishop) into the reversal of the way of slaughtering animals that is prescribed by Islamic Law.

10d  Emergency number and name that is repeated with breaking news (4,4,4)
{NINE NINE NINE} – N(ame) and the abbreviation for “that is” get repeated with N(ew)s inserted (breaking) in each occurrence. This was the answer that I got early on and which made me look at the other peripheral clues in a new light.

14d  Look skyward, in real risk-assessing? (9)
{ACTUARIAL} – a look is reversed (skyward) inside a synonym of real to get a description of the assessment of risks in the insurance industry.

15d  Up against it, one having damaged pancreas (2,1,6)
{IN A SCRAPE} – start with I (one) then add an anagram (damaged) of PANCREAS.

17d  The last youngster, time wasted, guided up wine (9)
{ZINFANDEL} – a Californian wine is fermented from a) the last letter of the alphabet, b) a very young child without its final T (time wasted) and c) a reversal (up) of a verb meaning guided.

21d  See 24d

23d  Women headed off treacherous person, making stand (5)
{EASEL} – remove the leading W (headed off) from a metaphor for a sly or treacherous person.

24d/21d  Here, oddly, it turns up on the outside — nothing economical! (5,2,3)
{THREE IN ONE} – the definition here is economical and it describes the way the outside answers in the puzzle are economical in their usage of words by the employment of repetition. Oddly does not, as I first thought, mean use the odd letters but signals an anagram. So make an anagram (oddly) of HERE and reverse (turns up) IT around that, then add a synonym of nothing.

To pick just a few of the clues that I really liked, how about 19a, 1d, 3d and 4d? I’m sure that you’ll have your own favourites.


  1. Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I don’t normally get far into Elgar puzzles (rarely on his wavelength) but this was brilliant. Of course it helped when I picked up the theme of the outer square. Many thanks!

  2. crypticsue
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I got onto Elgar’s wavelength straight away with this one and solved it all in a 2 – 2.5 start difficulty time. Definitely 5* enjoyment all the way through. Thanks to him for a lovely crossword and to Gazza for the equally lovely review. Too many favourites to list.

  3. Jezza
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Once I had solved two of the long clues around the perimeter, I realised what was going on, which made it easier to complete the puzzle. Despite finishing it, I missed more than one correct parsing of the clues. Definitely more accessible than some of Elgar’s Toughies, and for me, much more enjoyable.
    Thanks to Elgar, and to gazza for the write-up, and for the explanations of those which eluded me.

  4. Posted March 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Ditto the above – a very nice Elgar-lite puzzle where the outside helped. 7d was my favourite. Thanks to gazza and Elgar

  5. BigBoab
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the foregoing remarks about enjoyment but as far as difficulty is concerned I found this at least 4*. Many thanks to Elgar and to Gazza.

    • Jezza
      Posted March 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on the difficulty – I rarely complete an Elgar puzzle, and although I managed to today (with help), I found some of it pretty tough.

  6. pegasus
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyed this one as others have said once you twig the outside it makes it more accessible. Favourites were 1d 4d and 22a thanks to Elgar and to Gazza for the dissection.

  7. Patsyann
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    If I were not so ignorant of the names of golfers, this would have been the first time I’ve ever completed an Elgar without help! 9a was the only one that defeated me. Absolutely brilliant crossword. Many thanks – more like this please!

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Remember the three-letter South African golfer, he has appeared many times before and chances are he will be back again soon :)

  8. Roland
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    To tough for me I’m afraid. Needed to cheat and look up the hints/answers on 4 or 5 of them. I don’t usualy do the Toughie, and maybe that’s partly why. I would imagine that after doing them on a regular basis you probably start to get on to the wavelength of the setters, which seem to be very different to the back page wavelengths. Thanks to Elgar and Gazza.

  9. Roland
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Oops – TOO tough……..Oops – usuaLLy

  10. Posted March 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    This was my sort of Toughie! Very challenging but doable with a bit of perservation :smile:

    Thanks to Elgar and Gazza – perhaps I won’t need the toddy mentioned in my blog after all, but I think I might have one anyway :grin:

  11. Elizeac
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Only recently started doing the Toughies regularly & had just thought I had really got their measure. Then pow, today’s hit me. It was tough. Spouse walked off and resumed gardening and I’ve ony completed it with help from the blog and internet (for factual things on films and golfers!). Thanks to the help from this blog, I shall persevere & hope not to be defeated by Elgar again.

    • gazza
      Posted March 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi Elizeac – welcome to the blog.
      The good news is that many Toughies are less tricky than this one; the bad news is that Elgar (especially on Fridays) can be a lot more difficult than this. Good luck – keep us in touch with how you’re getting on!

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Before I discovered this blog, I once took on and off until Saturday afternoon to sort out a Friday Elgar Toughie. Have another go tomorrow, it’s a Warbler and they are always very nice.

      • Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        Yay Warbler!

      • Posted March 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

        My favourite!

        • upthecreek
          Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

          After the Lord Mayor’s show ……………..

          • Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

            Now, now UTC – Warbler’s never disappointed me yet!

            • upthecreek
              Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

              Our wavelengths are diametrically opposite!

              • Posted March 15, 2012 at 12:46 am | Permalink

                Such is life :smile: I like Jay, Giovanni and Virgilius but pommette loves Rufus – what can a man do?

                • upthecreek
                  Posted March 15, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

                  I have made a boob of gigantic proportions. I mistook this lady for our other Toughie settress. I have solved today’s Toughie and found it to be absolutely charming [and quite hair raising!]. If Warbler reads the blog I can only offer my sincere apologies.

  12. upthecreek
    Posted March 14, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Permalink

    I approached this one with trepidation when I saw who the setter was but it was quite easy once I cottoned on to the peripheral theme. Lots of good clues of which I thought 4 13 and 22 were best. I remembered 20 but I can imagine a few of the younger posters crying foul. Thanks to Elgar for an interesting puzzle with a nice theme.