Toughie No 1297 by Elgar
One small step for Elgar …
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty ***** – Enjoyment *****
…one giant leap in satisfaction for those of us who like to find a proper Toughie in the middle of the paper.
Solving time would indicate a difficulty rating of about 4.5* but if there was such a thing as a blogging difficulty rating, then that would have scored at least 6* as there are four clues that took an awful lot of muttering and head-scratching before the pennies dropped. I know there’ll be muttering from the usual suspects, but I really enjoyed myself, and not just because I get to use one of my favourite pictures!
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8a Dual identity assumed by poor actor’s prompter (5,4)
IDIOT CARD An anagram (poor) of ACTOR inserted into two lots (dual identity) of the abbreviation for identity.
10a Infantryman rolling up full of ‘lubrication’ (5)
POILU An informal term for a French WWI infantryman is obtained by inserting some lubrication into a reversal (rolling) of UP.
11a Departs NW Key, like this wordplay: part above the canal (10,5)
DESCENDING COLON The abbreviation for Departs, the key found at the very top left of your keyboard (NW Key) and how you might describe the finish of ‘this wordplay:’ produces part of the body’s alimentary canal. Interestingly, the second word of the solution is a port found just above the entrance to the Panama Canal!
12a Unceasingly the Barbarian performed out of church (2,3,2)
ON AND ON Remove the abbreviation for the Church of England from the front of the name of a famous Barbarian and the end of part of a verb meaning performed .
13a Writer’s last moving poem is about part-timer (4-3)
SEMI-PRO An anagram (moving) of POEM IS plus an R (writeR’s last).
15a Part of exercise plotting changes (2,3,7-3)
IN THE MELTING-POT A preposition meaning in (part of) and an exercise on a particular subject, followed by an anagram (changes) of PLOTTING.
19a It flies round the edge (7)
LAPWING A bird (it flies) – a round of a racetrack and an edge of something.
22a Basically having a tip cut from number one read on energy (4-3)
PEEP-TOE Another euphemism for urination (number one) an instruction to turn over a page (read on) and the abbreviation for energy.
24a Why let them in too? Cast of actors continue in dressing room (2,4,3,6)
ON WITH THE MOTLEY An anagram (cast) of WHY LET THEM IN TOO – the phrase relates to a type of dress put on by actors preparing for a performance.
26a It’s locked in by the gates to the upper floor (5)
ETAGE Hidden and reversed (to the upper) in thE GATEs is a French word for a floor of a building.
27a Fine organisation in 1st Avenue building ditch, not peculiar (5,2-2)
FUNNY HA-HA The abbreviation for Fine, the abbreviation (4) for the address of an international organisation having its American offices at 405 1st Avenue, New York, and a type of ditch used in landscaping to create a barrier without disturbing the view.
1, 12d & 24d Firm blood-line in doubt? I’ve bad news for you (4,2,3,4)
BIRD OF ILL OMEN An anagram (in doubt) of FIRM BLOOD LINE.
2d Go to someone’s falling-off the-wagon party? (6)
ATTEND – Split 1, 2, 3, this solution might mean one was celebrating no longer being teetotal.
3d Sorry for one ‘Giovanni’ entering state of equality with Elgar (6,2)
PARDON ME A state of equality (quite often used in golf scores), an example (for one) of a famous ‘Giovanni’ and how Elgar would refer to himself.
4d Pop in to line up desirable young man (6)
ADONIS A reversal (to line up) of an American word for fizzy drink (pop) with IN from the clue inserted.
5d Aldrin, say, launching ‘BUZZ’ (sic)? (8)
SPACEMAN Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon is an example (say) of this. ‘BUZZ’ (sic) is his nickNAME [in] CAPS and reversing (launching) this gives us the solution. The real-life astronaut’s nickname was, of course, used for the name of the character in the famous animated film series.
6d One’s other half’s reported boost (6)
FILLIP A lovely homophone clue (reported) – how the Queen might refer to her husband (One’s other half!)
7, 14 & 25 When old and new collide, these people are sadly next to go (4, 2,3,4)
TURN OF THE YEAR How you might say someone was next to go, followed by the pronoun meaning ‘those people’ and an anagram (sadly) of ARE.
9d Second fiddle varying bars (7)
INSTANT The clue I stared at for the longest because the solution was obvious but how did the wordplay work? Looking up ‘varying’ in the thesaurus, all became clear. If you bar an informal word for a fiddle or swindle from another word for varying, you are left with a short period of time (second).
12 See 1
14 See 7
16d St Paul, perhaps, given mauling by reptiles (8)
EPISTLER An anagram (giving mauling by) of REPTILES.
17d Swimmer cramming OU course not worth a great deal (8)
TUPPENNY Insert into a type of fish a degree course involving three different disciplines, usually associated with Oxford University (the OU in the clue).
18d Rice dish in which one’s found shard of turkey bone (7)
PATELLA A Spanish rice dish with the initial letter (shard of) Turkey inserted.
20d ‘I like that pub!’ (Wife takes part in row) (6)
PHWOAR The abbreviation for pub found on Ordnance Survey maps, the abbreviation for Wife, and a noun referring to someone who takes part in rowing a boat.
21d Escape for one up-and-coming gentleman (3,3)
GET OFF – A reversal (up and coming) of the abbreviation meaning for example (for one) and an informal term for a gentleman.
23d Perhaps Peter Pan s growing up … good heavens, no! (6)
EPONYM The name of something derived from a character in it (such as the book Peter Pan) – a reversal of an interjection meaning ‘good heavens’ and an emphatic informal way of saying no!
24 See 1
25 See 7
Before I stagger back to the easier-to-explain world of the day job, I just have time to thank Elgar for providing us with another great Toughie. By the way, I have another ‘favourite’ picture which would perfectly illustrate something to do with ‘hide and seek’ ……..