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Toughie 1380

Toughie No 1380 by Elgar

100 not out!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Congratulations – this is Elgar’s 100th Toughie. In today’s Telegraph it says “Congratulations to Elgar on his 100th Toughie in The Daily Telegraph (plus another six Christmas Day special Toughies on the Telegraph Puzzles website).” and once again they have got it wrong. There are three Christmas Day Toughies, numbered 10,000, 100,001 and 100,002 along with four Christmas Day Double Toughies, numbered 100,003, 100,004, 100,005 and 100,006 which I make add up to seven. In addition there was a 13×13 Toughie, published on 20th August 2011, but I have been unable to find this on Telegraph Puzzles.

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 With revision, Fine Art & Lit gradually sink in (10)
INFILTRATE: an anagram (with revision) of FINE ART & LIT

6a The ultimate in class combined with the worst kind of people (4)
SCUM: the final letter (ultimate) of [clas]S followed by a preposition meaning “combined with”

9a & 10a Greendale’s Mrs Goggins, or Bloomsbury’s Mrs Woolf? (5,2,7)
WOMAN OF LETTERS: a pair of cryptic definitions: Greendale’s Mrs Goggins is the postmistress in Postman Pat and Bloomsbury’s Mrs Woolf is the famous author Virginia

Mrs Goggins

10a See 9

12a Refuse resolutely, then force and energy act unconditionally (3,8,2)
LET YOURSELF GO: an anagram (re-fuse) of RESOLUTELY followed by F(orce) and a two-letter word meaning energy

14a Relapsing, what in the end rogue breaking in does to get censored (8)
REDACTED: the reversal (relapsing) of the final letter of [wha]T and a three-letter rogue inside (breaking in) some does of the cervine type

15a Together they could make you a little crook (6)
BANDIT: split the answer as (1,3,2) and you can make a word meaning a little

17a It’s pity that saved one swimming pool worker (6)
TYPIST: an anagram (swimming) of [I]T’S PITY without (saved) an I (one)

19a One fixes plateful in Barkin’ greasy spoon? (5,3)
PANEL PIN: split the answer as (3,’5′), i.e. drop the initial H and the final G, and you have a plateful in an East End (Barking) café (greasy spoon)

21a Foully 1ac 26ac with 6ac? That could do it for 8 and 16 (5,8)
SPELL DISASTER: an anagram (foully) of 1ac 26ac with 6ac gives the answers to 8dn and 16dn, each of which are types of the second word in the answer – too complicated? It took me a while to get my head round it

24a Some town-planning for which Spooner’s cut the chat (4,3)
ROAD MAP: swap, Spooner style, the initial letters of a word that sounds like cut the grass and a chat or informal discussion

25a The writer’s composition of old is being held in great admiration (7)
IDOLISM: put “the writer’s / writer is” into the first person (1’1) and insert (being held) an anagram (composition) of OLD IS

26a You’ll find it in the Emerald Isle  dressing (4)
MAYO: two definitions – a county in the Republic of Ireland, and a shortened form of a salad dressing

County Mayo

27a Underestimated, at first, poison deadly bats possess (6,4)
PLAYED DOWN: the initial letter (at first) of P(oison) followed by an anagram (bats) of DEADLY and a verb meaning to possess


1d Independence: it hurt one US state (4)
IOWA: a charade of I(ndependence), a two-letter word meaning it hurt and A (one)

2d Perhaps failed to catch Facebook exchange to bottom left (7)
FUMBLED: start with words meaning bottom or rear and left or departed, the exchange the letters that make up the abbreviation for F(ace)B(ook)

3d Agitating, in sum, actually causes bedlam (7,6)
LUNATIC ASYLUM: an anagram (agitating) of IN SUM ACTUALLY gives a “bedlam” – so named because of the priory St Mary of Bethlehem in London, which, as Bethlehem Royal Hospital, became a madhouse

4d What Martinez or Ferguson have bottled is put back on ice again! (8)
REFROZEN: hidden (what … have bottled) and reversed (put back) inside the clue

5d Revolting man‘s time winding up bank (5)
TYLER: to get this leader of the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381, start with T(ime) and then add the reversal (winding up) of a verb meaning to bank or depend

7d Worked in kitchen — as did Ramsay, unhappy after brief check? (7)
CHEFFED: what Gordon Ramsey famously did when unhappy preceded by the abbreviation for CH(eck)

8d Spymaster favours melody that could 21 (10)
MISFORTUNE: The spymaster who was James Bond’s boss followed by a phrase meaning favours (2,3) and a melody

11d Cheers! Couple will upstage one in third best fashion (3,6,4)
THE LATEST WORD: a verb meaning cheers or exhilarates and the number that make up a couple replace (upstage) the I (one) in TH[I}RD

13d Abusing her? Mrs Tutu means to get whoppers out (5,5)
TRUTH SERUM: an anagram (abusing) of HER MRS TUTU – whoppers here are lies

16d A strike in business centre could 21 (8)
CALAMITY: the A from the clue and a three-letter verb meaning to strike inside how the business centre of London is colloquially know

18d Bishops yet to be upbraided? (7)
PRELACY: split as (3-4) this could mean before being made of braid or fabric

20d A number of columns sensationalised police court overlooking new clue (7)
PORTICO: an anagram (sensationalised) of PO[L]I[CE] CO[U]RT from which the assorted (new) letters of CLUE have been removed


22d Spur on back of heel that is carrying mountie over the top (5)
IMPEL: the Latin abbreviation for that is” and the final letter (back) of [hee]L around (carrying … over the top) the abbreviation for Mounted Police

23d Religiously 11, as here (4)
AMEN: two definitions – what comes at the end of a prayer and 11 down describes where this answer is in this puzzle

I note that some early commenters have rated this as easy by Elgar’s usual standards, but please note that the difficulty rating that I have given includes resolving all of the wordplay, not just “bunging in” the answers.

29 comments on “Toughie 1380

  1. I’ve got to pass the paper to Mr CS as he’s keen to get on with the number puzzles so I’ll comment now and read the review later.

    One of the easiest Elgar Toughies ever – 3*/5* from me – Lots to like and I’m going to dare all and pick two of my marked ‘liked clues’ for joint gold medal spot – 9/10a – one of my sons was a huge fan of Mrs Goggins when he was a toddler – and 15a, just because it made me smile. I’m not going to list the rest in case Kath comes back in from the garden.

    Congratulations to Elgar and thank you to BD.

  2. Yes, this has to be easier than many for me to complete it. Not without some troubles though.

    I had no idea who Mrs Goggles was so did have to do a bit of research to find out. It also took me a while to understand the theme of all the linked clues.- but even then did not understand the wordplay of 21a, but figured out what it must be from the cross check letters, then that helped me with all the other links. I am not sure whether the answer I put in for 7d is a word – but it made sense to me!

    So feeling a bit chuffed that I made it through. I have no idea what rating to give it as I don’t have many to compare to so 3*/4* works for me.

    1. So reading the hints above – no wonder 21a made so little sense. Thanks BD – I have deep respect!

      1. Me too George.

        Having corrected my mistake for 20d, I ‘guessed’ at the answer because of 8 and 16d. The first part of the clue was lost on me.

        Great blog BD.

  3. Congratulations Elgar!

    What fun. Having a few biggish anagrams set the ball rolling well. I did have to look up who on earth Mrs Goggins was (our child type things never watched), but that confirmed my answer, very clever. 21a caused me a few problems mostly because I got 20d wrong for quite a bit.

    I still can’t parse 5d…will need BD’s help there. Pencilled in 4d correctly but it wasn’t until I finished did I see the hidden bit. I’m forever missing the ‘back’ bit.

    Sorry for going on, I’m just so happy to complete an Elgar without pulling my hair out.

    So many thanks to the man himself, I hope you celebrate well tonight. And thank you in advance to BD. And a quick mention to CS also.

    I do believe it’s almost Pimms o’clock.

    EDIT…favourite clue is 25a with 15a a close second.

  4. Congrats to my chum on the Century!

    A fine puzzle and hopefully one which lots of people will try. Definitely at the fluffier end of things, but no less fun!

    Was hoping to blog but am back and forth to my holiday home for more antibiotics…..

  5. ****/**** for me, with some anagrams and the first few D clues being a bit simpler, providing a nice start. Then it got a bit harder ! Once I’d had a flash of inspiration on 21A, the rest was quicker to complete A very enjoyable challenge, with plenty of wit. Thanks to Elgar.

  6. Cheers for 5d BD Gosh my history is woeful. Probably on a par with my crosswording theory some days. I had the answer but just couldn’t justify why!

  7. Did about 75% of this and then gave up. I hate crosswords where the clues refer to other clues and unless you solve those you are sunk! Didn’t enjoy this one bit and even reading some of the answers some didn’t make sense to me! (Too many to number) Well it’s back to the back pager for me I guess and have another go at the Toughie next week……and it all started off so well…….. Thanks to BD for the hints which I did need to use a bit…….. ****/* for me today

  8. I agree with Big Dave: “banging in the answers” is easy; working out the word play is far, far harder.

    I absolutely loathed 24a. I HATE Spoonerisms and this was particularly naff. Oh that Spooner had never been born! In contrast 8d is simple and elegant.

    Congratlulations to Elgar. Isn’t it time for a burst of “Pomp and Circumstance” or something else equally celebratory and stirring?

  9. So close, but so far away – 11d my downfall even though I had all the cross letters – must have had a senior moment. Many thanks and congratulations to Elgar and thanks to BD for putting me out of my misery.

    1. If you make an anagram (foully) of the answers to 1a, 26a and 6a you get Misfortune (8d) and Calamity (16) so what you are doing by working out the anagram is to SPELL (synonyms of) DISASTER.

      1. I was nowhere near the explanation even though I had the answer. I got everything except 19 a, but several i couldn’t parse 14,a 21a, 2d,11d and 18d. 9/10 was the favourite.

  10. Well I ended up with a full correct grid but, despite a lot of effort, failed to fully parse 19a, 21a (of course), 2d and 11d. So certainly not ‘fluffy’ for me. Admire the cleverness and appreciated the challenge but concede a victory to the setter.
    Thanks Elgar and BD.

  11. Congrats to Elgar and BD thanks for review, but why oh why cannot I parse 19a, get the elpin bit but where does the pan come in? 9&10 lovely closely followed by 15a

  12. The usual Elgar mix of some horribly contrived clues [especially 19a and 21a] and some rather fine clues – especially 15a, 17a [the cunning swimming/pool worker] and 27a [lovely deadly bats].

    Thanks to Elgar and BD.

  13. Didn’t get a chance to post until now despite managing to finish my first Elgar ever before lunch.
    The good amount of anagrams helped a lot .
    I also knew what I was looking for in 21a before I could parse it.
    Same with 9/10. Google does help enormously as I obviously didn’t know that postmistress. Nor anything about the peasant revolt. But the clues were so well written it was a real pleasure to unravel the answers.
    I particularly liked the ” Overlooking New ” as an indicator in 20d and the B&IT in 15a.
    Thanks to Elgar and to BD for the review.

  14. I do enjoy Elgar at his most cunning and I congratulate him on his 100th (plus?) Toughie – well done! However, I’m with Halcyon that there were too many contrived clues – 2d for example. When and where did Facebook (that horrible online facility for telling everyone that you live a very interesting life) become an abbreviation ‘fb’? I haven’t seen it in the BRB, but maybe I’m wrong. I also LOATHE Spoonerism’s – they are just like Dingbats and have no place in cryptic crosswords.

    Having said that, I thought the puzzle was great fun and I loved the 9/10a combination and 13d/

    Again, congrats to Elgar on his first ‘Toughie’ century. I hope you have many more (than the England cricket team seem to have achieved). Also thanks to BD for helping me get my head round 21a

  15. Quite a few late comments today so another from me.

    Elgar up to 100. I started Toughies somewhat late and have perhaps have attempted the more recent 50 Elgars. At first an Elgar puzzle was a likely embarrassment – I had the problem of people wandering about the office at lunchtime and noting I have been peering at the blank grid for *****??*** and still not started. And it was true – but little did they know these were not just cryptic crosswords. After a while I came to realise he does actually provide a few solvable clues that provide an entry. Eventually I lost my fear of trying and found they were soluble with determination, then grew to enjoy the challenge and I am now bold enough to say I prefer puzzles where I have a very realistic probability of failing to finish

    I was amazed with today’s puzzle that I managed to get my first ten or so answers in really quickly (never done this before with an Elgar puzzle). Then a slow down until I eventually filled the grid. Then a further assessment and I managed to understand all but one. Overall it took 4* toughie time but the experience felt much gentler than previous soft shoe ones
    Absolutely what I like. And the 100th anniversary has pointed out to me that there are about 50 Elgar puzzles sitting there on the web site that I have not tried before – I think I will print off a few in case of emergency

    Many thanks to Elgar for his very original and unique style of clues and to BD for the blog

  16. Thanks BD for the review ,some of the wordplay was either beyond me (likely) or would have taken more time than I had available (improbable) I do now enjoy the challenge of Elgars puzzles and look forward to the next 100 particularly as he seems to have got his sense of humour back and despite the Spoonerism which for me at least emphasised the lack of merit in such clues but 15a and 17a more than made up for that in a fun puzzle .
    Grateful as always to both

  17. I should know better than to try. Elgar is my bête noir. I’m a linear kind of person and just can’t get my head around the way he thinks. After a struggle and half the puzzle done, I reluctantly conceded defeat. Thanks to BD for the enlightening review and congrats to all who not only competed this but actually understood the whys and wherefores.

    P.S. For me, this was about as fluffy as a barbed wire fence.

  18. Thought I might actually get there but only made it about halfway without using the hints. Couple of ‘bung ins’ and an absolute wild guess at 21a – based on two checking letters and using ‘that could do it’ as the clue!
    Strangely enough I really enjoyed this one despite being well and truly beaten. Loved 17&27a plus 13d.

    Thanks and congratulations to Elgar and deepest respect to BD for the masterful dissection.

  19. Top stuff. Not the usual struggle but a worthy 100th.

    Sorry to disagree with others above but I love:

    Groanworthy Spoonerisms
    Cross-referenced clues
    Mega-crunchy wordplays

    except of course when they beat me – then I hate the lot.

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