Toughie No 1281 by Elgar
Chaos is come again
Hints and tips by Fred and Ginger
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment *****
Greetings from the Locarno Ballroom, Rhyl. Your terpsichorean twosome are running a Teach Granny to Dance session. Fred’s really proud of Ginger’s endeavours in the recent Times Crossword Championship, though he suspects she’s struck Notabilis off her Christmas Card list!
Anyway, in between dancing sessions we tackled today’s Elgar and it is a lot tougher than most Toughies seem to be at the moment, though Elgar isn’t in full Toughie mood. Very enjoyable and no detectable theme, although a couple of pairs of answers are connected.
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Across Hints by Fred
1a & 9a For auditor to check its box, diamonds pass dealer here? (6,6)
TICKET OFFICE We start with a phrase that refers to somewhere you’d buy a pass. If something agrees you may be said to check its box, and a homophone of this provides the main body of the answer, plus an American slang word for diamonds.
4a Pedal around quiet branch (8)
OFFSHOOT Here’s Elgar at his most devious. The word pedal does not refer to bicycles, but its Latin meaning, i.e. belonging to one of the extremities of the body (no, not that one, Mrs!) Place this around what you’d say when telling someone to shut up and you get a word for a branch or sub-part of something.
9a See 1a
10a Of use in plot, is it heard from The Laughing Cavalier? (5,3)
DUTCH HOE Something you’d use in a garden is a homophone for what you would hear out of the lips of the Laughing Cavalier, think about where he and the artist come from.
11a Look out to the west, I’m alarmed by women in the area (4,5)
KEEP WATCH A phrase that means to look out is found by taking the noise or sound you make when alarmed, reverse it (to the west) and add the word for an area with W (women) inside.
13a In education, soldiers present and correct (5)
EMEND Inside the abbreviation for education goes the generic name for soldiers to give a word that means to correct.
14a Parker may need to verify credentials of messenger, with talk going about and getting spread (3,3,7)
PAY AND DISPLAY A two-letter word meaning to verify credentials of, the messenger that carries our genes, and a verb meaning to talk in a stupid, noisy way, are all reversed (going about) and then followed with a verb meaning to spread out, and then split 3, 3, 7.
17a Having the edge on, say, Iago ’s house and home, joining excursion (3-10)
OUT-VILLAINING A Shakespearean word is needed here, for someone who is worse than Iago in Othello. Inside the word for a trip goes the name of an (Italian) house plus what you are if you are at home. Ginger chose the apt subtitle for today’s review which is a quotation she remembers from her English A-level studies of said play.
21a Fleece stolen most recently from back row (3-2)
SET-TO Thanks to my glamorous chum who worked out that you need to remove the outside letters (fleece)from an informal way of saying that something is the most recently stolen, and then reverse (from back) the result to give something that means a row or dispute.
23a See 22 Down
24a Height’s the attraction of the Tower of Pisa — people on them will have to go (3,5)
HIT LISTS The name for what an assassin may carry to remind him who to bump off. The abbreviation for height, plus the thing that makes the Leaning Tower of Pisa attractive to tourists.
25a & 27a To make things worse, one’s following subjects around the Sunshine State (3,3,6)
FAN THE FLAMES An expression that means to make a situation worse is found by taking the name for an enthusiast and adding something that means topics or subjects and inserting the abbreviation for the Sunshine State in the USA.
26a Facial hair this man’s put inside urn (3,5)
THE ASHES Inside an abbreviation for facial hair goes round HE (this man) to give the name of a famous sporting urn.
27a See 25a
Down Hints by Ginger
1d Russian vehicle going up a gear, stretched by run out (6)
TROIKA A reversal of A (from the clue) and some gear or equipment, which is then stretched by having the cricketing abbreviation for run out inserted.
2d One may plunge away, sealing leak up in company time (6,3)
COFFEE POT An informal word meaning to urinate (leak being another such) is inserted into a word meaning away, and then all reversed (up in a down clue) between the abbreviation for company and the abbreviation for time.
3d How you may regard mum or dad’s bet (4,3)
EACH WAY A type of bet (for a win and a place) describes how you may regard or read a palindrome such as mum or dad.
5d & 6d After a fix, John may be stimulated by hit (7,4,7)
FLUSHED WITH SUCCESS An expression meaning excited and confident after achieving something , could also be used to mean that the working mechanism of a toilet (John being an American informal term for a lavatory) had been fixed.
7d In the firing line, Rex Brown, rather yellow (5)
OCHRE This brownish-yellow colour can be obtained, here anyway, by inserting the abbreviation for Rex into the name of the line darts players stand behind before throwing their ‘arrows’.
8d Loony stayed with us for periods at regular intervals (8)
TUESDAYS Some days of the week are an anagram (loony) of STAYED and US.
12d & 18d Jauntily playing the Blues? (Hint: Article 4’s involved) (8,3,7)
TINKLING THE IVORIES I originally wrote in a similar informal expression meaning to play the piano, which is probably why it took me an age to get the middle word of 14a! If only I had looked more carefully at the very helpful word play. As indicated by the brackets around the last four words of the clue, the solver must insert into the informal way of referring to Conservatives (the Blues?), a word for a slight hint or suspicion, the definite article and the Roman numeral for four .
15d Lumberjack’s timekeeping under discussion? It shows the necessary power (9)
LOGARITHM This mathematical operation is used to simplify multiplication and division – the BRB explanation is very long but it does mention the word power! The solution is a homophone of [sounds like] (under discussion) a lumberjack and the keeping of time in singing or movement, for example.
16d Tell me the reason for appeal to the men in white coats (4,4)
HOWS THAT An expression meaning tell me the reason for is also used by cricketers on the fielding side to appeal to umpires (the men in white coats – which aren’t quite as long as they used to be!) to give the batsman out.
18d See 12d
19d Swapping couples having ailment to confront that’s inclined to be frigid (3,4)
ICE FALL Moving the last two letters (swapping couples) of two words, the first a general term for an ailment and the second a word meaning confront, and you get a steep broken place in a glacier (that’s inclined to be frigid).
20d Trojan horse finally gains access to a stable when mounted (6)
AENEAS The final letter of horse gains access to or is inserted between a reversal of a word meaning sound in mind (stable) and A (from the clue) gives us a Trojan hero whose exploits were told in a famous work by Virgil.
22d & 23a Quite fancy the end together (2,3,3,6)
TO THE NTH DEGREE An expression meaning to an unlimited extent is an anagram (fancy) of THE END TOGETHER.
Thanks to Elgar for a very nice challenge – if only all Toughies were this brain-stretching!