Double Toughie 100005

Double Toughie No 100005 by Elgar

Just lovely!

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

Season’s Greetings from the Calder Valley! One of the joys of Christmas is that the Telegraph continues to treat its subscribers with top-class puzzles throughout the festive season and we are spoiled this year with a Dada Toughie and the usual Rufus Cryptic and Elgar’s Double Toughie.

If you haven’t seen it. Stop now and go and print it off from here.

Quite simply, this is a breath-taking puzzle and one that may have you reaching for a hanky. Don’t let the preamble spoil things for you, this is a most amazingly clever grid construct by Elgar and is a fine tribute to one of the events that affected the crossword community towards the end of the year.

Basically with the exception of the clues to 1 ac / 13 ac which is a definition of the two entries at 24 ac and 47 ac, either of the two words at 1 ac / 13 ac may provide a definition for each half of each double across clue. So as you can imagine this is a brilliant grid construct and it does mean a couple of the down answers are a little more obscure, but those clues are fairly straightforward to get. In each across clue – I’ll define the across answers as either 1 ac or 13ac. I have shown the divide in each clue with a red slash.

Oh and of course last Saturday saw the celebration of the Centenary of the Crossword with a lovely gathering at Penderel’s Oak in Holborn, London. Lots of your favourite setters were there including Rufus, Giovanni, Hypnos, Notabilis, and Micawber as well as Phil McNeill, the hard-working Puzzles Editor. The whole event was organised by the amazing Jane Teather and of course Elgar (John Henderson). As you can see from the pics a few of your bloggers were there. I took a pic of all the Indy compilers there, but missed getting the Telegraph guys together, however some are in this picture. It was nice to meet some of the regular solvers as well!

The Village Elders

Don Manley (aka Giovanni) holds forth

The Lady Bloggers’ Masonic Lodge

Tom Reynolds (Kruger), Roger Squires (Rufus), Anna Squires and solver Daniel Peake (of 2500 Clue Challenge fame)

Crypticsue, Don Manley (Giovanni) and Peter Chamberlain (Cephas)

The Independent Crossword Setters (Telegraph setting names in brackets)

Quixote (Giovanni), Nestor (Notabilis) Nimrod (Elgar), Hieroglyph, Tees, external, Mike Hutchinson [Editor – Eimi], Quaiteaux, Jambazi, Donk, Alchemi, Lato, Morph (Micawber), Rorschach, Hypnos (Shamus)

The Guardian setter Qaos and a sort of crossword person.

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.


1a/13a    A 24 Across, this is 47 to remember (6,6)
{MONKEY PUZZLE} This is the common name for the solutions at 24 ac and 47 ac.

4a/9a    Top class feature, / piece that’s boring? (8;8)
{CAPUCHIN ; MANDRILL} Both clues here are defined by 1 ac and are wordsums. A word for a top or a lid plus a one word definition of class as defined by Nancy Mitford is then added to a facial feature. In the second half of the clue the name for a piece in a game like chess is added to something that bores holes.

13a    See 1

17a/20a    It fixes promotion with a / new piercing vibrant image (6;6)
{GELADA ; ENIGMA} Here the two clues are defined as 1ac and the second half 13 ac. The first clue take something that fixes your hair, for example, attach a short word meaning publicity or promotion and add A. This gives one of the more obscure 1 acrosses, certainly one I hadn’t heard of and sent me running for the Big Red Book. The second half of the clue is a defined by 13 ac. It’s an anagram (VIBRANT) of IMAGE with N for New inside.

18a/19a    Constantly worry striker following a / Plymouth runner in (7;7)
{ANAGRAM ; TAMARIN} One of each definition here. Firstly a type of 13 ac, after A goes a short word meaning to constantly worry plus a medieval striking tool that used to batter doors down. The second half is a 1 ac and is the name of a river (cryptically defined here as a runner – see Banker and Flower) found in Plymouth, followed by the word IN.

20a    See 17

23a/26a    Tank nearly having broken agreement, / stones shortly consuming wild bucks (10;6,4)
{CHIMPANZEE ; RUBIK’S CUBE} Now we get into the slightly more complicated workings of Elgar’s mind. Inside a word that means agreement or concord goes the name of a famous German tank, minus its last letter. This gives you a 1ac. The second half comprises the name of precious stones associated with a 40th wedding anniversary minus the last letter (shortly) with an anagram (wild) of BUCKS inside to get a 13 ac.

24a    See preamble & 1 Across 13 (5,4)
{CHILE PINE} This is an alternative name for 47.

26a    See 23

27a/34a    Unknown Parisian who heads / uncovered with astonishment (4;4)
[QUIZ ; MAZE] Two forms of 13 ac provide the definitions here. The first is a letter used to denote a mathematical/scientific unknown which goes after the French word for ‘who?’. The second half of the clue is a word meaning ‘with astonishment’ minus its first and last letters (uncovered).

28a/31a    Adverse news / for MD touring Channel Islands (9;9)
{CROSSWORD ; PROBOSCIS} A simple word sum for the first half, which is a 13 ac, a word mean adverse or against goes before a synonym for news (think news in the Bible??). The second half is a 1 ac and is found by taking a pronoun meaning for, adding a word for a Managing Director and inserting CI (Channel Islands)

34a    See 27

36a/41a Don’t/Do signs briefly introduced by a / doctor with inclination to bandage limb (8;8)
{ACROSTIC ; MARMOSET} Here we have a 13 ac firstly, The signs for do not and do are placed together both without their last letter, preceded by A. The second half is a 1 ac and is an abbreviation for a doctor and a word meaning inclination or penchant which is placed around (bandaged) one of the body’s limbs.

38a/40a    Winnings changing sides / on way back across the pond — take too much (6;6)
{VERVET ; SUDOKU} A 1 ac first this time, a slang word for winnings or gains has its L swapped for R (changes sides), while for the second half take the abbreviations for the two countries either side of the pond, place an abbreviation meaning to take too much inside and reverse the lot.

41a    See 36

45a/48a    Make public see other side: mass / crowds hear rioting (10;4,6)
{CRYPTOGRAM ; WORD SEARCH} Two types of 13 ac. A wordsum for the first half. To make something public + an abbreviation meaning look at the other side of the page + a unit of mass. The second half is an anagram (rioting) of CROWDS HEAR.

47a    See preamble & 1 Across 13 (9)
{ARAUCARIA} – the genus of 1 ac 13 ac.

48a    See 45

53a/57a    A little Canadian animal / that feeds upon gorse (5;5)
{DIANA ; PONGO} Two types of 1ac here. Each is a hidden answer: CanaDIAN Animal and uPON

54a/55a    Sister tucking into fish with spirit, / or famous old panda loading belly (9;5-4)
{CONUNDRUM ; ORANG-UTAN} One of each theme here, 13 ac first half and 1 ac for the second. The word for a religious sister goes inside (tucking into) a popular edible fish and add the name of a type of drinkable spirit. The second half is OR + the name of a famous old panda (think Chi Chi’s boyfriend) and inside (loading) a word for the belly.

57a    See 53

58a/61a    To administer a fast beating pulse, / urge massaging right out of old book (7;7)
{TANGRAM ; GUEREZA} A type of 13 ac followed by a 1 ac. If you give someone a rapid beating you do this and add a word for a type of pulse that can be made into a flour. In the second half, make an anagram (massaging) of URGE and then take the name of an old Testament book and remove an R (right out)

59a/60a    Giant and Jack both twisting / handle off hot plate (6;6)
{GIBBON ; RIDDLE} A type of 1 ac followed by a 13 ac. Something that means giant, and a slang term for the Jack in a game of cribbage are each reversed. The second half is the (American) name for a hot plate minus its first letter (handle off).

61a    See 58


1d Sorcery protected Joe against the elements? (5)
{MAGIC} A synonym for sorcery is found by taking the name of a famous American Joe and putting it inside (protecting ) with something useful against inclement weather.

2d Agent cancelling rising charge I put on energy during journey northwards (9)
{NULLIFIER} Now we run into the more evil incarnation of Elgar. A word for something that cancels a thing is revealed by taking E (energy) and adding I and a word meaning put, reversing it all (rising) and then placing it inside the reversal (northwards) of a word for journey.

3d Ultimately become Mia? (3,2)
{END UP} This is one of those double definition clues where one half is normal and the other cryptic. A phrase meaning eventually is the same as how you might view the word MIA if you looked back at it.

5d Now B is Boris, then … with son dropping, springs into being (7)
{AWAKENS} This is another typical Elgar clever challenge. If you said NOW B is Boris (Johnson), you might compare it by saying that THEN the one before in each case could appear as…… {A WAS KEN} (Highlight the previous box if you are still baffled) and move the S to the end of the clue (Son dropping). This reveals a word meaning springs into being.

6d A poisoner afoot, to whatever extent (4)
[UPAS} The name of a famous mythological tree from Java that poisoned everything for miles around it is found by taking a word meaning afoot and adding another short word meaning to whatever extent.

7d Severe mess into which you’ve run (5)
{HARSH} Back to more sedate ground with a word for a mess with R (run) goes inside, giving you something that means severe.

8d Will maybe performing stand-up see to wit? (6)
{NAMELY} What someone called Will is invariably likely to be is reversed and added to the crossword favourite three letter word which is a location of a see in a religious sense. This gives you the meaning of the expression viz, or to wit.

9d Generally, one’s mug leads writer to drink regularly (6)
{METOPE} A word which is a description of a face, not one I’d heard of, is found by taking a way of saying Elgar, as the author of the clue, and add to it something that means to drink heavily.

10d Disagreeable fellow poet identified with a territorial detachment? (2-3)
{NO-MAN} A word uttered when you disagree is added to one meaning a fellow to give an expression that a famous poet used to allude to an island.

11d Especially good  underdone (4)
{RARE} Two definitions here, meaning especially good and also underdone, especially with steaks.

12d Witness tests deceptively spun lie (4-3)
{LINE-UPS} Another name for identity parades is an anagram (deceptively) of SPUN LIE


14d ____ Goth’s broken in violent onslaught? (5)
{ULNAS} This is a rare outing for one of those clues known as an compound anagram. The clue asks you to say what goes with GOTH to make an anagram of the word ONSLAUGHT. Find the missing letters and rearrange them to get this. Here you start with the answer and work back, and the word needed is not defined.

15d Artist’s outward determination supporting new line in templetowers (9)
{ZIGGURATS} A word meaning a new line or direction goes before a word meaning determination or courage with the abbreviation for an artist inside it. This all leads you to a type of religious tower, there was a famous one at UR, another famous crossworder’s holiday resort.



16d On Kindle, might you read it up to raise the spirits? (5)
{ELATE} Another devious gem.. What is the short definition of a Kindle? What would you read on it in a similar fashion? This should be reversed (up) to give a word meaning to raise the spirits.

21d Dead-eye executed gunner missing middle part of target (8)
{UNERRING} You have to read this a certain way, otherwise the clue doesn’t work. You take the first letter off gunner (executing) and then remove the middle letter. Add to this a description of part of an archery target to reveal a word meaning dead-eye.

22d Angry, I damn ‘third party’ muscling in (8)
{MILIBAND} BD and I disagreed over this clue, and it would be interesting to hear your opinion of this. I think it’s rather clever, one of those where it seems to be a clue without a definition, but the whole thing defines it. Maybe putting the whole thing in quotation marks would make it a bit more clear. Inside an anagram (angry) of I DAMN and insert the name of the third party in British politics (currently pretending to be the second party). Now who would possible say this whole remark? That well-known Wallace look-a-like.

 24d Chilled roast waterfowl? When all neatly trimmed, it’s surprising! (3)
{COO} Three four letter words meaning chilled, roast and a type of waterfowl all need to lose their last letter to give an expression of surprise.

25d Writer who’s green … (3)
{ECO} The surname of a famous Italian author (Think The Name of the Rose) is also a prefix that means green or environmentally-friendly.

 27d … as in equality (3)
{QUA} The Latin word for as is hidden in the word eQUAlity.

29d Women upset the appetizer (4)
{WHET} A word for an appetizer is revealed by taking W (women) and adding an anagram (upset) of THE.

30d Water-dweller’s ridge crossed by uncushioned hovercraft (5,4)
{RIVER CRAB} A creature found in a body of water is revealed by taking hovercraft and removing the first two and last two letters (uncushioned) and putting it inside the name for a ridge.

32d Bath’s decoration occupant of hide put up with (3,6)
{RED RIBAND} A type of decoration associated with the Order of the Bath is found by reversing (put up) the slang name for an ornithologist and adding a word meaning “and”

33d Take a ride out of Nairobi, Kenya (4)
{BIKE} A word meaning to ride is hidden inside NairoBI KEnya

35d Time-delayed meal to consume (3)
{EAT} Take the name of a daily meal and move the letter ‘T’ (delayed time) to give a word meaning to consume.

37d The whole group’s just looking good (3,4)
{SET FAIR} An expression meaning looking good, often found on barometer faces, is found by taking the name for a group and adding something that means just.

39d English bowler skittled team, with assistance from run out (7)
{TRUEMAN} A lovely clue, one of my personal favourites, it’s a clever double anagram of TEAM and RUN each having its own indicator to help the surface reading, and this leads you to famous England bowler.

40d Past being taken in by visionary mariner (7)
{SEAGOER} The name for a sailor is revealed by putting a word associated with the past inside a clairvoyant or visionary.

42d Go outside the ring infiltrating spy group (1,6)
{M PEOPLE} A pop group is found by taking a word meaning go, vigour or vim and hiding it inside a type of spy, placing it around O (outside the ring). Time for a tune….

43d/44d Tossing/turning happening to preserve sleep — that’s sweet! (5,5)
{PANNA COTTA} A type of Italian dessert is found by finding a small word meaning happening, adding TO and two words meaning to preserve and sleep. Reverse the lot (tossing/turning) and you have the dessert.

45d Trainee college, one having what’s owed to listeners (5)
{CADET} After C (college) and A goes a homophone of something that’s owed to another and gives the name for a trainee.

46d Long time national … (5)
{YEARN} A period of time has N (national) added to give a word meaning to long.

49d … limits, oddest between streets (5)
{RANGE} This asks you to put a word meaning limits of something into two short abbreviations for street to give something that means oddest.

50d It surprises me in hospital, a song and dance (3-2)
{HOO-HA} Inside H (hospital) and A goes an expression of surprise to reveal the song and dance

51d Books in first-class 10 (4)
{ANTI} Books in Crosswordland tends to be the abbreviation for one of the two halves of the Bible, and so it is here. Put it inside an expression meaning first class (think Lloyd’s) and you get an allusion to the answer at 10.

52d Of the same value to Shakespearean Tate Gallery exhibits (4)
{EGAL} A Shakespearean way of saying ‘of the same value’ is hidden inside TatE GALlery.

54d Not having quite reached the academic stream (3)
{CAM} The name for a river in one of our main academic cities is revealed by a word meaning reached and removing the last letter.

56d Find fault with  inferior horse (3)
{NAG} A double definition, the name for a knackered gee-gee is also a verb meaning to be picky with someone.

Phew! We got there. Hope you enjoyed this beautifully-crafted and amazing puzzle as much as I did; one of my favourites of the year set by one of my favourite setters. Please let us know your thoughts with a post or a star-rating below. Enjoy the rest of the holidays. The lovely Crypticsue is looking after the Friday Toughie this week and I hope to be back next week. Or next year! Happy holidays!


  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    One of the nice things about having grown up children is that it leaves plenty of time for Mr CS and I to indulge ourselves – not only do we have all the Christmas food treats to enjoy, I can concentrate on the double toughie and he has his annual battle with a large jigsaw.

    The main thing I took note of in the preamble was the fact that Down clues were ‘normal’ so I worked on them until I had enough letters to realise what the two themes were. Another wonderful double toughie from young Elgar – I had great fun working out both the monkeys and the puzzles. An excellent tribute too – particularly as if you had never heard of Araucaria the setter (not sure how but…) , the tree references worked as part of a ‘normal’ themed crossword.

    Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit too.

  2. Hieroglyph
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    What a brilliant puzzle, a real treat for Christmas. Thanks to Elgar & Tilsit for the review.

  3. Jon88
    Posted December 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Wow. Just … wow. Thanks to Tilsit for the various bits of enlightenment.

  4. Helen Ougham
    Posted December 27, 2013 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely lovely puzzle, and a perfect Christmas Day treat. Very many thanks to Elgar and Tilsit.

    • Posted December 27, 2013 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Helen

      Great to see you again last Saturday.

      [Helen is the one on the left in The Lady Bloggers’ Masonic Lodge.]

  5. Outnumbered
    Posted December 28, 2013 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    I plugged away at this for a while over a couple of days. More use of the Dictionary than I normally need, and I was defeated by the alternative name for the theme tree, Boris and the Italian dessert. Pleased to have done most of it though! *****/***** for me.