Toughie 1077

Toughie No 1077 By Elgar

Cracking Crossword Gromit!

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

Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom in Cleethorpes where Ginger and I are tripping the light fantastic with a busload of pensioners and several gigolos named Rex. In between paso doble classes we sat and tackled today’s challenge from the hobnailed booted one.

At last, a toughie that does what it says on the tin. There are one or two easy ones to fill you with a tiny bit of confidence but boy oh boy, Elgar was obviously wearing his hob-nailed boots when he worked on this lovely tricky beast of a thing. Ginger thinks that Fred may be the Mr T in 7d – the theme certainly seems to be centred in the part of the country where Tilsit Towers is situated. The significance for Mr and Mrs E is explained at the end of the review.

Thanks to Jane (Mrs E) for letting us use this picture which she originally called Enigmatist contemplating the clues for his next Guardian puzzle” – She had the contemplation bit right anyway……

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.

Across Hints by Fred

1a & 18a Pitches underfoot kept more than one wet: one fell, then another, then another … (9,5)
{YORKSHIRE DALES} One of the tougher ones to work out was this beast. A word meaning ‘pitches underfoot’ (as in cricket) is added to a word meaning kept or leased. To this is added a word for some alcoholic drinks (wets). This leads to the location of lots of hills and fells and one of my favourite spots on the planet in God’s Own Country, as they say.

8a Commercial vehicle tours N22 perhaps with comic actress (7,6)
{LINDSAY WAGNER} An actress famous for playing the Bionic Woman is revealed by taking the name for a big ship and inserting the abbreviation for North 22 down, together with one meaning perhaps or for example and something that means a wit or comedian.

11a See 21

12a Man seen on roof illuminated again from rear (5)
{TILER} Reverse a word meaning lit again to get the job title for a man who often gets slated.

13a The cream of Wensleydale Elgar has written about here? (5)
{HAWES} A place in 1/18 is found by taking W and E (the cream, i.e. first letters of Wensleydale and Elgar and put them inside HAS.

16a Yale is upgraded with facility (6)
{EASILY} An anagram (upgraded) of YALE IS leads you to an adverb linked to the word facile.

17a Top Nicaraguan men gunning for one in Cheers (6)
{ORTEGA} The name of a famous Nicaraguan, nicknamed Old Pineapple Face, is found by taken an abbreviation for men gunning in the army, the basic soldiers or Other Ranks and inserting the two letters meaning ‘for example’ (for one) into a simple way of saying thank you (cheers).

18 See 1

19a Travelling about, some relief when it’s not cloudy! (2,4)
(ON TOUR}     The name for something often found on a relief map to show height minus C (Cloudy) gives you an expression meaning wandering around, as cricket teams and pop bands are sometimes.

20a The last of the £25 given to Mike, Romeo or Juliet? (6)
{EPONYM} E (last letter of thE) is added to the slang word for twenty-five quid and add M (Mike in the NATO alphabet) gives you something that may describe Romeo or Juliet in the play’s title.

21a & 11a This man projects power and pressure through water (5,5)
{ADAMS APPLE} PP (power and pressure) goes inside a romantic description of water to give something that sticks out in most men (ooer-Mrs!)

24a Personal credit precedes honour (5)
{CROWN} An honour for a member of royalty is found by taking CR (credit) and adding a word meaning personal or possess.

26a Going through Garsdale to 13 Across heading back, journey’s end? (5)
{HOTEL) Somewhere you may end up in at the end of a long journey – If you add your answer to 13a at the end of GARSDALE TO [13 across solution], you should be able to spot the reversed (heading back) hidden word.

27d A hunky dish, Mark, is doing cracking turn in The Caretaker (7,6)
(VENISON BURGER} Crikey this one is complicated! IS ON (is + a word meaning doing) goes inside NB (mark, note well) and add U (turn) placing this all inside the name for a caretaker in a church. This all then leads to a food with a bit of clout.

28a TV celeb‘s energy infused, thanks to brewing (9)
{THEAKSTON} The surname of the TV presenter called Jamie is an anagram (brewing) of THANKS TO with E (energy) inside.

Down Hints by Ginger

2d Veteran fighter getting wings clipped (5)
{OLDIE} Clip the wings, or remove the outer letters from a fighter in the army.

3d In climbing tree, I may overlook sun contributing to good health in Auckland (3-3)
{KIA-ORA} The 2Kiwis certainly won’t have to Google the Maori (in Auckland) interjection meaning ‘good health’ . Insert I from the clue into a reversal (climbing) of a tree and follow with (overlook) the ancient Egyptian sun god.

4d Northern deliverywoman shows the way to stop working (6)
{HOWDIE} Lovely definition for a Scottish midwife. Split 3, 3 this word certainly would show the way to literally stop working.

5d Proper broadcasting ceremony (5)
{RIGHT} A homophone (broadcasting) of a ceremony.

6d Upwardly mobile, it is passed around golf club without having a mind! (13)
{DISPOSITIONED} Insert a reversal (upwardly mobile) of IT IS into an old-fashioned wooden golf club with a slightly hollowed face, and then insert the result into another way of saying passed (as in stopped working in 4d)

7d You won’t convince Elgar with that, let alone Mr T (he’s dubious) (4,2,7)
{TELL ME ANOTHER} An anagram (dubious)of LET ALONE MR T HE.

9d Winds thus will put ace golfer off course (4-5)
{GALE-FORCE} An anagram (off course) of ACE GOLFER.

10d Nasty dream infiltrating work routine (9)
{TREADMILL} Insert (infiltrating) an anagram (nasty) of DREAM into a verb meaning to work (land).

13d Initially high and dry, failing to stop evil (5)
{HYDRA} Insert into the initial letters of High And an anagram (failing) of DRY. Without a capital letter, this word refers to any manifold evil.

14d Top man in show all admired (5)
{WALLA} An alternative spelling of someone in an eminent position in an organisation is hidden in shoW ALL Admired.

15d Calls to help rating popping square pills (5)
{SOSES} Calls for help, especially at sea. The abbreviation for Ordinary Seaman (rating) is inserted (popping) between the abbreviation for square and the abbreviation for Ecstasy pills (note the plural).

22d Sioux basis for drawing conclusions about end of fight (6)
{DAKOTA} A member of the Sioux people living in the northern Mississippi valley. Insert the two letter slang term used to signify the end of a fight (when one boxer has been rendered unconscious) into information used for drawing conclusions.

23d   Scuppered by me as candidates (6)
{MAYBES}   An anagram (scuppered) of BY ME AS.

25d Cry from stable no. 8 slightly muffled (5)
{NEIGH} Follow the single-letter abbreviation for number with the number 8 expressed as a word without its last letter (slightly muffled).

26d Chat-show queen is looking up brother on big screen (5)
{HARPO} A clue that needs careful reading so you reverse the chat-show queen’s name to get the film ‘brother’ rather than the other way round.

And the reason for this themed Toughie:

Elgar says “Our hosts in the YORKSHIRE DALES on our recent honeymoon were LINDSAY and ADAM at the CROWN HOTEL in HAWES, home of the Wensleydale Creamery and close to GA(y)LE MILL. On the food and drink menu were delicious VENISON BURGERs and exceptionally well-kept THEAKSTON ales”.


  1. Joe 90
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    I actually found this not too difficult at all. On the wavelength I guess. A lot of the answers went in but I could not figure for the life of me why they were right! Another glorious waste of time!!

  2. the dodger
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Another tour de force from his nastiness , needed many explanations and a couple of answers, so for me this was a 5* for difficulty and a 5 for the devious delights, many thanks to F+G and congratulations to Mr and Mrs Elgar

  3. halcyon
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    We still have to cut him more slack than any other compiler but this was an excellent workout. Enough giveaways to get started and a theme to help us along. Failed on 8a after spending a while trying to get Wood Green into it [not helped by ignorance of bionic women and the actress in Q]. One really has to admire the mind that can synthesise a clue like 27a, or come up with a definition like 21/11.

    Thanks to Elgar and to F&G for lucid explanations.

  4. Pegasus
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It took me three sittings to complete this one but well worth the perseverance, favourites were 4d 8a and 21&11a thanks to Elgar and to the duo for the dissection.

  5. Physicist
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Certainly agree with the 5*/5* rating. I gave it my best shot but was ultimately defeated by 27a and 6d. Thanks to Elgar for a challenging work-out, and to Fred and Ginger for the elucidation.

  6. JB
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Where is 23d? I assume it is an anagram of by me as?

    • alan
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink


    • crypticsue
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Apologies – goodness knows where that one vanished to when I copied from the puzzle to the blog template. I have added it now.

  7. WhirredPLAY
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I actually did ok today solving 75% (that’s a lot for me) before having to check for hints, but I did not enjoy the puzzle at all. 15d must rank as my least favourite clue of all time – every single element of the clue utilising a single or two letters as an initial to get to each element of the answer, the whole of which in itself is a non-word of initials – definitely not my favourite clue mechanic.

  8. stanXYZ
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    1 & 18 – But a yorker goes under the bat, not the foot! Doesn’t it?

    • steve_the_beard
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

      “A ball bowled so as to pitch on the popping crease”. It will only go under anything that is not grounded!

  9. Heno
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elgar and to Fred & Ginger for the review and hints. I take my hat off to Elgar, what a construction ! I’m also amazed that so many people could actually solve it. Too tough for me, although I was very pleased to solve 11 clues, albeit with the help of some checkers from the hints. Most interesting to see how it was done. was 5*/5* for me. I hope one day, i might be able to have a good try at something like this, but I’m not holding my breath :-) Favourite was 20a, probably because it was one of the few I solved.

    • Kath
      Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

      I agree with all that you’ve said except you managed one more answer than I did! Well done, to both of us! :smile:

  10. gazza
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to E,F and G for another fine puzzle and review. If anyone is still struggling with Elgar/Enigmatist’s special puzzle from last weekend, I added a write-up of it earlier on.

  11. Kath
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn’t normally even attempt this but, on my way past page 28 of the paper, I happened to catch sight of a couple of clues that I could do. That got me going, or at least trying to have a go, and eventually managed ten answers. Pathetic, I know, but it’s the best I’ve ever done with an Elgar Toughie so not feeling remotely discouraged. One day I WILL be able to do these! Just don’t ask me when!
    With thanks to Elgar and Fred and Ginger. Please could someone remind me who this combination is – I do get in a muddle when it’s two people – apologies to both of them, whoever they are!

    • Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

      Tilsit and Crypticsue.

    • andy
      Posted November 2, 2013 at 12:46 am | Permalink

      Ten answers Kath, not Bad at all imho. I needed Fred and Gingers hints for 5 that went in because of the checking letters but for the life of me couldn’t see why. Cap doffed to all concerned

  12. steve_the_beard
    Posted November 1, 2013 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

    I am but an egg. :-)

    A magnificent crossword, and a very fine exposition too.

    Kudos to Elgar, and to Fred and Ginger :-)

  13. Only fools
    Posted November 2, 2013 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Just a duffer who got there in the end , but each to his own ,cannot remember smiling once .Sorry may have missed something along the way but presumably Lindsay and Adam are happy as are Fred and Ginger whose review was much needed by me .
    Thanks to Elgar too for 27a etc .

  14. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    Very late commenting as I, Colin, have been away for the weekend and so had limited time available before I left on Friday. Yes we did enjoy 3d. We ended up being beaten by 4 clues 4d, 8a, 6d and 27a. A really tough challenge, a pity we could not have given it a bit more time.
    Thanks Elgar and the team.

    • Outnumbered
      Posted November 3, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      I picked away at this in a few sittings over the weekend and was left with exactly those four too. I had worked out that 6d probably ended with “positioned” but couldn’t guess the first three letters, and the wordplay was beyond me.

      Thanks to the hinters.

  15. Sue George
    Posted November 3, 2013 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m delighted you gave this five stars for difficulty – it’s taken me nearly all day! I eventually got 11a, but was so thankful to be able to insert an answer I ignored the romanticism of the water. A lovely clue, and 20a and 28a made me smile. Thanks to all you brainboxes, yet again.

  16. Albert Duthie
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Pineapple Face was Noriega of Panama — Daniel Ortega was president of Nicaragua.

    • gazza
      Posted November 4, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Albert.

  17. Catnap
    Posted November 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I knew this was way beyond me, but, encouraged by Heno’s and Kath’s comments, I thought I’d have a try. I managed twelve — nine with certainty, and a further three which I wondered about but which turned out to be correct. Of the ones I did, I liked 20a and 7d best. It was most fascinating to read through Fred and Ginger’s elucidations. Some of Elgar’s clues are on another level of thought!
    Thanks to Elgar, Fred and Ginger.