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Toughie 1352

Toughie No 1352 by Elgar


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

As Elgar puzzles go, this was a tad on the easy side, probably because once you have unravelled 11 Across you are well on your way to solving the two related clues.

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8a    When papering over Mark’s done with overall (2,7)
ON BALANCE: a four-letter word meaning when around (papering over) the two-letter abbreviation for mark well and a preposition, used in cookery, meaning “done with”

10a    Artist‘s reduced application to face (5)
LIPPI: drop the final letter from a colloquial word for a cosmetic applied to the face

11a    Intriguing technique, for me, leads to narrative’s denouement (3,5,2,5)
THE QUEEN OF CRIME: an anagram (intriguing) of TECHNIQUE FOR ME followed by the final letter (outcome / dénouement) of [narrativ]E

12a    Members bandy: ‘Super? Finger? Salad?’ (3,4)
BOW LEGS: members here are limbs – split the answer as (4,3) and the second part indicates that Super, finger and salad are examples of the first

13a    One examining an employer (7)
PERUSER: the three-letter usual suspect for a/an followed by an employer

15a    My tolerable first wife Maureen’s accepted folio following impasse (7,8)
MEXICAN STANDOFF: put a phrase that could mean Elgar’s first wife is tolerable (2,1,3,5) inside the two-letter abbreviated for of Maureen and the add F(olio) F(ollowing)

19a    With Mark ‘O’ losing it, seeing this? (7)
SCARRED: the letter which represents O in the NATO Phonetic alphabet without (losing) the O and followed by what one might be seeing when losing “it” (one’s temper)

22a    11 sped manically around stationary cars (1,1,5)
P D JAMES: an example of an 11 Across is derived from an anagram (manically) of SPED around a word that describes stationary cars on, say, a motorway

24a    Poetry about knights errant needs song parts restrained (8,2,5)
CHANSONS DE GESTE: these old French epic poems celebrating the exploits of knights are derived by putting an anagram (errant) of NEEDS SONG inside (parts) an adjective meaning restrained or modest

26a    Spiritual leader had upset across the main road (5)
MAHDI: this spiritual Muslim leader comes from an anagram (upset) of HAD inside the UK’s premier motorway / main road

27a    In retrospect, failure to find a laptop is always this (3,6)
SIC PASSIM: the reversal (In retrospect) of a four-letter failure, the A from the clue, a two-letter abbreviation for a laptop computer and IS gives a Latin phrase used to indicate that a word, spelling, etc. has been printed in the same form throughout in, for example, a book


1d & 24d    Big name in oil, perhaps Aberdonian, too uppity to enter military unit (4,4)
BOOT CAMP: put the two-letter abbreviation for one of the world’s largest oil companies around the reversal (uppity in a down clue) of the three-letter word for a Scotsman (perhaps Aberdonian) and TOO

2d    Name for Fascist the compiler clued as an anagram (2,4)
Newspaper clue “Name for Fascist Elgar clued as an anagram (2,4)”
IL DUCE: the first person subjective pronoun (the compiler / Elgar) followed by an anagram of CLUED

3d    Marine’s passing through party to mellow (2,6)
IN SEASON: a three-letter adjective meaning marine and the S from ‘S inside (through) a phrase meaning “party to” or “aware of”

4d    Make good, repairing halves of heart that’s broken up (6)
RECOUP: start with a four-letter word meaning the heart or nucleus, split it into two and then put the halves back together in the opposite order then add UP from the clue

5d & 6d    In analysis of stone circle, choose particle science (8,6)
ELECTRON OPTICS: an anagram (analysis) of STONE CIRCLE with a three-letter verb meaning to choose inserted (the “in” at the start of the clue)

6d    See 5 Down

7d & 25d    Linesmen spraying part of Wandsworth (4,4)
NINE ELMS: an anagram (spraying) of LINESMEN – easy for me as I used go past the cold storage building in this part of Wandsworth each morning for several years,
on the train into Waterloo Station

9d    Polish Tintagel composer carries earls south-west (7)
BEESWAX: the surname of the composer of Tintagel around (carries) E(arl) E(arl) and S(outh-)W(est)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12d    In vehicle, promoted Cameron’s birthday routine (5)
BUMPS: inside a public service vehicle put the reversal (promoted in a down clue) of Cameron’s job title

14d    King William‘s almost certain to stitch university fellow up (5)
RUFUS: the name by which King William II is known is derived from most of an adjective meaning certain around (to stitch) U(niversity) and F(ellow) all reversed (up in a down clue)

16d    See 20 Down

17d    Drive northwards to yield power to king (4,4)
TAPE DECK: this drive used to be part of a hi-fi system – the reversal (northwards in a down clue) of a four-letter verb meaning to yield, P(ower) and a preposition meaning “to” is followed by K(ing)

18d    With heat this biochemical process may imbalance homeostasis (7)
OSMOSIS: HOMEOSTASIS is an anagram (imbalance) of HEAT with this biochemical process

20d & 16d    A charge that is ‘fabricated’, I admitted (11) (6,8)
AGATHA CHRISTIE: an anagram (fabricated) of A CHARGE THAT IS into which “I” is inserted (admitted) gives our second 11 Across

21d    A new meal’s presented without pastry (6)
DANISH: the A from the clue and N(ew) with a meal around the outside (presented without) gives a type of pastry

23d    Big cat fit — all bar tail — into grate (6)
JAGUAR: most of a shivering fit inside a verb meaning to grate or irritate

24d    See 1 Down

25d    See 7 Down

Excellent stuff.

19 comments on “Toughie 1352

  1. I strayed over the border into 5* time because I had to scratch my head over a couple of bits of wordplay after I had the answer. Definitely 5*+ enjoyment – I will keep Kath happy and say that my favourite was 12a but Elgar might guess that I may have had several more than that one!

    Thanks to Elgar – what a joy to have a proper (and enjoyable) Toughie – and to BD too.

  2. Another magnificent toughie from the maestro of mean. I was feeling inordinately proud of myself for finishing this until I read BD’s preamble saying this was a bit easy. In all honesty – as I finished it before the Archers it must be on the fluffier end of the Elgar footwear spectrum. Many thanks to BD for the explanations and bravo to Elgar for such an enjoyable brain workout. Fav clue has to be 15 ac.

  3. I can’t believe it!
    This is the first Elgar I managed entirely on my own.
    From the nickname of William II to the Latin expression, nothing was impossible to parse.
    I’m starting to appreciate the way his mind works.
    My first one in was 24a and therefore my favourite. Along with 9d, 12a, and all the rest, come to think of it.
    Only just noticed that BD did the review, so thanks to him and to Elgar again.

  4. I found this puzzle to be a masterclass of what a toughie should be. Having read through the clues twice, I finally managed to get a toe hold in the NE corner and from there on in every other answer had to be coaxed and teased out. Lots and lots of diamonds but I will settle for 15a as the ‘Kohinoor’ amongst them. Thanks to Elgar for a wonderful puzzle and BD for his review to check on my parsing.

  5. 14, 18 & 23 happened a lot by accident; as far as I know they are will be absent friends at a certain gathering in a certain Northern hotel tomorrow evening. Which hotel? There’s a big clue in the puzzle.

    Whodunnit indeed! Cheers BD and commenters thus far.


    1. The hotel allusion certainly passed me by on the other side of the road!

      Try putting the answer to 20/16 and “disappearance” into your favourite search engine.

  6. OK, it’s on the easy side for Elgar but I still failed to parse 1a or 12a so thanks in particular for those BD. Now I see it clearly 12a is a rather fine clue. Others were 15a [my tolerable first wife is rather nice] and the elegant 21d.
    Thanks to Elgar for the challenge.

  7. Like the dodger, I was feeling rather proud of myself for finishing my first Elgar – until I read in the review this was an easier one.

    I did need the review to clarify some parsing in 8a and 3d.

    This started with a lot of staring. First one in was 9d after I had looked up the Tintagel composer. It was slow going, and I almost gave up thinking there were also other things I hoped to achieve today. But after a break, with renewed determination, the puzzle slowly gained momentum and eventually completed.

    Lots of nice clues, but I especially liked 12a (members bandy), 15a (my tolerable first wife..) and 2d (Fascist Elgar).

    Many thanks Elgar and Big Dave

  8. Too hot for me, l’m afraid, although l managed a bit more than half before peeking at the hints. I was nowhere near wavelength, which serves me right for preening myself over a 1* completion of the back-pager! Verily doth pride come before a fall. Still, l made a significant hole in this, so thank both Elgar and BD for pointing out the distance l still have to make up on the rest of you.

  9. We ended up with a correctly filled grid but there were a couple that we had not fully parsed. To our shame, seeing that we were part of the word play, 8a was one of these. 7d, 25d was a total mystery to us but a bit of judicious Googling got it sorted. It all took us, between many interruptions, a very long time and we did use electronic assistance. Very clever, very challenging.
    Thanks Elgar and BD.

  10. My experience was much the same as the 2Kiwis. I guess I have passed through Wandsworth more often than they have but I also needed Google. Some tricky vocabulary / general knowledge left me needing a dictionary six times but at least the word play was good enough to give me something to look up. For that I would say it was a 5*/5* puzzle – we don’t want to provoke him too much with a mere 4*!

    It seemed ominous when my first word in was 1d – a type of footwear associated with our tormentor! Probably not an accident

    With thanks to Elgar and BD

  11. Another outstanding challenge from Elgar. I needed to Google a few clues to complete it, and couldn’t parse 8a or 19a even though the answers were clear. Favourites were 18d, 20/16d and 3d. Thanks to Elgar, and also Big Dave for his explanations.

  12. Avoiding looking at the review just yet. I have had almost zero time for crosswords today (haven’t even looked at the cryptic yet). I did get a dozen answers filled in (including 11A and thus 22A) in the early hours before dawn, but the rest will have to wait to be tackled late tonight or tomorrow.

    1. Hi Chris – you’re doing far better than me. I’ve got 8 I’m reasonably sure of and another two or three possibles. 11a does not feature in either of those two categories!
      Think I’ll keep on trying over the weekend but am sensing failure in the long run.

  13. I also needed to check a few of the general knowledge items but got the rest of it after a very enjoyable struggle.


  14. Damn and blast – finally gave up but am slightly mollified upon discovering that two of the answers (24&27a) have never passed my way before.
    Thanks for the fight, Elgar – particularly enjoyed 15a (first one in and favourite by far). Also, many thanks to BD – even though your intro did make me think I was in with half a chance!
    By the way – I haven’t worked out the hotel yet. Perhaps you’ll let us know once it’s too late for the maestros to be besieged by admiring fans.

  15. If you are still mystified about the hotel….just back from ‘Arr-a-gaaaate….

    Thanks, all! Next Elgar is #100 and it will be nice and easy.

    1. Shame I can’t see if there’s a wicked glint in your eye because I’m not entirely sure I believe you.

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