Toughie No 1037 by Elgar
(or Never Decreasing Circles)
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment *****
Greetings from the Calder Valley. Just when you think you can relax and sleep easy, over the hill comes the tramping of hobnailed boots, and Elgar’s back to drive you berserk. And it’s probably my favourite puzzle this year, I think. This time, our Evil Genius is undoubtedly at his most devious. I like cross-referential puzzles; at one time the Guardian used to feature one most weeks, usually by Araucaria, but now you don’t see them as often. This is a thing of beauty to be treasured. We should be giving out badges saying “I cracked Toughie 1037”
A mind-bending mixture of evil word play and that little extra to have you going round in circles. I’m not going to spoil the fun at the moment, but just ask you to persevere and stretch your brain a little. Even BD was stretched formatting this beast to go here as well. After starting by solving the anagram at 17d/28, I went off looking for the categories associated with the phrase. Wrong!
Because of the nature of the puzzle, some of the answers make up the clues so where they appear in the blog, they have been set so that they have to be highlighted as well, so it doesn’t spoil your solving.