Toughie 828

Toughie No 828 by Elkamere

‘ighly ‘umorous

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We may have the reason why MynoT’s ‘G Spot’ puzzle was scheduled yesterday in this very entertaining Elkamere offering, because this one features the next letter in the alphabet. If you haven’t noticed just run your eye down the outer columns of the grid (as hinted at in 5d). At the time of posting the Telegraph on-line site is showing Elkamere as being tomorrow’s setter as well, so I wonder if that will be ‘I-spy’ day (or it could just be an error!). [Update: Elkamere has now been removed as tomorrow’s setter so it probably was an error]
Do let us know how you got on and please take the time to rate the puzzle for enjoyment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Keep on filling 13 (6)
{HONOUR} – ON goes inside the answer to 13a to make a verb meaning to keep (a promise, say).

5a  Mail box shortly found in dump (8)
{DISPATCH} – insert a verb to box in training mode, without its final R (shortly), inside a verb to dump or cast aside.

9a  Bluish flower that man returned to Labour guy (10)
{HELIOTROPE} – string together a) the subjective form of a masculine pronoun (that man), b) a verb to labour reversed (returned) and c) the sort of guy that may hold up your tent.

10a  Wrong hotel function (4)
{SINH} – this is a mathematical function (don’t ask!). A synonym for wrong is followed by what hotel is the codeword for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

11a  Racing driver goes around before adding nothing to this time (8)
{HEREUNTO} – the surname of an old English world champion racing driver (whose name rhymes with shunt) goes around a poetic word for before. Finally add O (zero, nothing).

12a  Stand to get dressing in pub (6)
{PLINTH} – the sort of stand that a statue may be placed on comes from inserting a type of medical dressing inside the abbreviation (as seen on OS maps, but not, I found out yesterday, in the BRB) for a public house.

13a  Endless suffering will stop over time (4)
{HOUR} – a synonym for suffering without its final T (endless) contains (will stop) O(ver).

15a  Engineer happier about good inscription (8)
{EPIGRAPH} – an anagram (engineer) of HAPPIER goes around G(ood).

18a  Save one acre east of woman’s dried plant collections (8)
{HERBARIA} – a preposition meaning save or except for, I (one) and A(cre) all go to the right (east) of a female objective pronoun (woman).

19a  Square blocks hold back torrent (4)
{GUSH} – the abbreviation for square goes inside (blocks) a verb to hold or embrace reversed (back).

21a  Sprint is complete with X (6)
{HASTEN} – a verb meaning possesses or comes complete with is followed by what X is in Roman numerals. I don’t understand what the surface is saying.

23a  After outing they emptied church altarpiece (8)
{TRIPTYCH} – this is a set of three paintings hinged together as an altarpiece. Start with an outing or excursion and add the outer (emptied) letters of T(he)Y and an abbreviation for church.

25a  Every second of this will skip gentle increase (4)
{HIKE} – ‘every second’ tells you to pick out the second letters of four consecutive words in the clue.

26a  Forget what ‘sexy’ is about? The will to get excited (2,4,4)
{TO HELL WITH} – this is a slang expression expressing one’s scorn or lack of concern for someone or something. Reverse (about) an informal adjective meaning sexually attractive (what ‘sexy’ is) and follow that with an anagram (to get excited) of THE WILL.

27a  They don’t believe you have to cook chickens (8)
{HEATHENS} – an instruction to cook is followed by a synonym of chickens.

28a  Capital city regularly crossed by hard ground (6)
{RIYADH} – the even (regularly) letters of city are contained in (crossed by) an anagram (ground) of HARD.

Down Clues

2d  These bodies, full of revolting fat (5)
{OBESE} – .. hidden (full of) and reversed (revolting) in the clue.

3d  Local monster of rampant shade of green (5,4)
{OLIVE DRAB} – this shade of green is used for some military uniforms. String together a word for a local or pub, a synonym for monster or beast and the abbreviation for ‘of’ (as used in Besses o’ th’ Barn, for example). Then reverse (rampant) the lot.

4d  Sailor called to hold this, oddly (6)
{RATING} – a verb meaning called or telephoned goes round (to hold) the odd letters of this.

5d  In loose prose can ‘e do this? (4,4,7)
{DROP ONE’S AITCHES} – a lovely all-in-one clue – an anagram (loose) of PROSE CAN ‘E DO THIS. It’s also a pointer to what can be seen tumbling down the outside columns of the grid.

6d  Vessel extending some way down? Spooner (and farmer!) would say so (5,3)
{SHEEP DIP} – the starting point (vessel extending some way down) is deep ship.

7d  Some cantatas said to be very musical (5)
{ASSAI} – hidden (some) in the clue is a musical instruction.

8d  Specially chosen guards make use of monuments (9)
{CENOTAPHS} – an anagram (specially) of CHOSEN contains (guards) a verb meaning to make use of or exploit (a resource, say).

14d  Spy runs through videotape, cutting date out (9)
{OPERATIVE} – insert R(uns) into an anagram (out) of VI(d)EOTAPE from which D(ate) has been cut out.

16d  Author and press may be heard now (5,4)
{RIGHT AWAY} – homophones (may be heard) of a) another word for author and b) a verb to press down on.

17d  To catch wearing stupid hair colour (8)
{BRUNETTE} – a verb to catch (a wild animal, perhaps) is contained within (wearing) an adjective meaning stupid or crude.

20d  Level crossing not good, but perhaps standard? (6)
{PILLAR} – a word meaning level (used a lot in golf to mean the expected number of strokes) contains (crossing) an adjective meaning not good or not well. One of the meanings of standard is an upright post.

22d  Ultimately, what takes little time to post? (5)
{TWEET} – the ultimate letter of (wha)T is followed by an adjective meaning little and T(ime). Superb semi-all-in-one clue.

24d  The evidence initially hidden by detectives is mentioned (5)
{CITED} – the initial letters of T(he) E(vidence) go inside the investigation branch of a UK police force.

I liked 26a and 8d but my joint top clues are 5d and 22d. Let us know what you liked.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Even if I didn’t notice the outside letters (I do have a problem with one of my eyes at the moment, which isn’t really an excuse as I don’t spot that sort of thing when my vision is working well), I did enjoy solving this toughie 3*/4* for me too. Having only done O level maths, and having to take that twice, I hadn’t heard of a 10a, but the wordplay was very obvious. Same favourites as gazza – now there’s a surprise!

    Thanks to Elkamere and gazza too – looking forward to I-Spy tomorrow!

  2. pommers
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t notice the H’s either, d’oh!

    Splendid fun and I agree with Gazza’s favourites and also liked 11a. I had the second E as the only checker so wasted some time trying to do something with a reversal od SENNA at the beginning. :smile:

    Thanks to Elkamere and Gazza.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      I actually met the driver in 11a which helped.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I can’t understand how two compilers using very similar themes ( MynoT yesterday and Elkamere today ) can come up with such dissimilar outcomes. I really enjoyed this crossword but disliked yesterdays. Apologies to MynoT and thanks to Elkamere and Gazza. I loved the simplicity of 5d.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable offering from todays setter, Favourites for me were 3d 5d 8d and 22d thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza for the comments.

  5. phercott
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Regulars – every second – oddly. So many of my tired old pet hates.
    Plus the silly same letter game. Please, could we have original thought and crosswords without gimmicks

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    We had to work really Hard to finish this one. Did eventually notice the H’s down the sides which helped getting 11a which was our last in. Perhaps the driver is not so famous in NZ. Overall a challenging and rewarding solve. Too many good clues to pick a favourite. Thanks Elkamere and Gazza

    • pommers
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

      Hi guys

      Re 11a. James Hunt, FI World Champion in1976 driving a McLaren M23 and widely known as “Hunt the Shunt” due to his record of accidents in his early years! Beat Nikki Lauda to the title in the last race of the season at a rain-soaked Sazuka in Japan. All very exciting stuff which I remember very well :smile: Went on to become a BBC TV pundit and is famed for consuming two bottles of red wine during his first race commentary. Died of heart attack in 1993. Last UK world champion before Nigel Mansell did it in, I think, 1991.
      Sorry, bit of a “Petrol Head”, as you will know if you’ve been looking at my blogs – who else would illustrate a lotus flower with a racing car? :smile:

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted August 22, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Pommers. At least NZ gets a look in as James Hunt was driving a McLaren. We do enjoy your reviews and comments. Cheers.

        • pommers
          Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

          Don’t forget Denny Hulme – F1 champion in 1967 and a Kiwi :grin: There may be more but I don’t think so.

  7. gnomethang
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    THanks Elkamere – that was a fun solve. I finished it late (with a couple of floral hints required) after a long day. CSue emailed regarding 10a – I got it straight away as I did the Hyperbolics at Further Maths A-Level. It also turns out that I cannot spell Riyahd!. Sue hinted at the Nina so that helped as well. Just checked the DT Website and it is Giovanni tomorrow so I suspect that was a Typo.
    The other feature that they have added (in the Knowledge/Inside Puzzles link is the daily Quick Crossword Puns (of which yesterday’s was superb!. Night All!

    • gnomethang
      Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      …and all that without actually thanking Elkamere and gazza!. Thanks guys!

  8. alan
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Permalink


    • Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m sure the setter will take on board your constructive criticism of his puzzle.

      Please don’t comment again unless you have something interesting to say.

  9. anax
    Posted August 22, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    To use the Internet vernacular, Dave, LOL!

    Thanks to Gazza for a super review and to all for your comments. One thing that goes with the territory – it’s impossible to please everyone; all we can do as setters is have as much fun as we can and hope others will share that fun, but different solvers have different giggle points and we can’t massage them all at once.

    To Phercott I can only say this: those devices you mention are just part of the (surprisingly limited) arsenal we have. Some solvers hate the same things you do, others hate cryptic definitions, others hate double meanings, others hate… well, you see what I’m getting at. The setter’s job can only be to mix up the various techniques on offer and provide as much variety as possible (and gimmicks come into that), but it will never be possible to make everyone happy.

    • pommers
      Posted August 23, 2012 at 12:10 am | Permalink

      Well said Anax – keep up the good work (please)! Missed the H’s today, but that’s just me, and the grid must have been a bugger to fill. I’ve no problem with ‘jokey’ bits like today but what I realy dislike are themed puzzles where they’re either very easy or impossibly difficult depending on knowledge of the theme .
      Love your puzzles so don’t listen too much to the knockers.

  10. asterix
    Posted August 24, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I came to this one only today, and solved very few of the clues, as I’m still finding the Toughies a challenge, and whichever bit of the brain deals with anagrams and synonyms wasn’t working too well today. So I used Gazza’s hints and the clue constructions as enjoyable tutorial. I loved 5d and 22d.
    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Gazza.