Toughie No 1396 by Elgar
Hints and tips by Tilsit
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ****
Greetings from the Calder Valley!
It’s the King of the Toughies today, the Toughie equivalent of Mark Labbett from The Chase quiz show. I found this a fairly stern challenge and it took me a fair old while to get my head around a couple of the answers, particularly in the bottom right. Having the wrong final word in the long across clue didn’t help this. Still, an elegant and challenging puzzle, just what the Toughie is all about!
Hope to see some of you next Tuesday at the S&B do in London. There should be a number of Toughie setters lurking around so you can say hello to them!
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7a Sharp piece by The Scotsman when reporting Alpine ceilidh? (5-3)
SKEAN-DHU: We start with a trademark Elgar clue, a double cryptic definition. You’re looking for the name of a Scottish weapon, one that is sharp (a piece is slang for a weapon). The other part (which also uses The Scotsman) is how he would describe a party night on the piste!
9a Sanctioned Arthurian knight to open Book of Words (6)
OKAYED: The name of one of King Arthur’s knights (the one with the shortest name) goes inside an abbreviation of a big book of words, not the Big Red One. This gives a word meaning sanctioned or approved.
10a First book live backing groups … (6)
GENERA: The Latin name for groups of things is revealed by taking an abbreviation of the first book of the Bible, followed a word that means live or exist reversed.
11a … the people’s holding account 25 per cent outstanding — it’s not being settled (8)
LABILITY: The name for the common people as opposed to the clergy holds a four letter word meaning account, minus its last letter (25% outstanding). This gives you a word that I hadn’t heard of meaning something that is constantly undergoing change or something that is likely to undergo change.
12a & 20a Doing employee’s job, as mad ogre is seen to be? (7,1,3,3,7,7)
KEEPING A DOG AND BARKING HIMSELF: Another trademark Elgar clue. A way of saying that someone is doing another employee’s job. The expression can be found in two ways. The first part is how you might view the animal hidden in the phrase MAD OGRE and secondly a description of such a person. Not to everyone’s taste and definitely not to be found in a daily 15×15 puzzle.
15a See red ale mixed with spirits … (4)
FLIP: The first of three ‘run-on’ clues, not really connected other than together they could make a sentence. A double definition. A word that means to see red or go off on one is also the name of a drink. Apparently it was made and then served hot by means of inserting a red-hot poker into it. Cheers!
17a … so highly acidic call … (5)
PHONE: A word meaning to call someone is found by thinking how you might know that a liquid was very acidic, i.e. it had a scientific test score.
19a … to cover the inside track (4)
LINE: This is another double definition. A word meaning to cover and to hold the inside track in cycling as to hold this,
20a See 12 Across
23a Sources of wood, good sort initially … (5,3)
FIRST OFF: A phrase that means initially can be split into two (4,4 rather than the required 5,3) to show a word for some types of tree and a word that means an upper-class gent.
25a … until penny drops close (6)
ENDING: Something that means close or finale is a word that means until, minus its first letter which is a P (penny drops).
27a When I choose a woven fabric (2,4)
AT WILL: A phrase that means whenever I choose is A plus the name of a woven fabric used to make blankets and clothing such as jackets and skirts.
28a Refined sharp piece about Government (8)
CUTGLASS: This could also be an expression of five and three letters. A way of saying refined is the name of another weapon (as in 1 across) with G for Government inside.
1d Southern tip to northern tip, this island will get cooler (4)
SKYE: The name of a beautiful Scottish island becomes the Australian name for a cool box (a bit like we call a vacuum cleaner a Hoover) when the final letter (southern tip) is moved to the beginning (northern tip).
2d Cosmetics supplement (4-2)
MAKE-UP: A double definition. A word for cosmetics, and to supplement an item.
3d, 14d & 24d Look down, but don’t push someone over cliff (4,1,4,4)
PULL A LONG FACE: This was one of two clues that I’m still not 100% ok with. Definition is fine, but I think the remainder is word play rather than another cryptic definition. The opposite of push, plus A (someone) + LONG (over) + a word for part of a cliff. I think on reflection – Gazza’s comment below is a correct parsing.
4d Error reports doubly detailed (6)
BOOBOO: A word for an error (or Yogi Bear’s best friend) is found by taking a word for report twice, and removing its last letter(s) twice.
5d Support given by everyone to both halves of afternoon game (4-4)
PALL-MALL: The name of the forerunner to croquet and a card game is revealed by putting a word meaning everything after each letter of the abbreviation for afternoon.
6d Bizarre tale about nutty nudist impersonating a tortoise (10)
TESTUDINAL: The description of something looking like a tortoise, often used when talking about Romans fighting with their shields held above their heads is an anagram of NUDIST inside an anagram of TALE.
8d Stopped The Guardian of Wordplay heading north? (5,2)
DRAWN UP: This is the one I’m definitely not 100% about. An expression meaning stopped is the reverse of a type of wordplay plus a word meaning a Guardian, but I rather think the word needed is someone under the charge of a Guardian.
13d More than one bookplate collector is touring house no end (2-8)
EX-LIBRISTS: The posh name for a group of bookplate collectors is the name of an astrological house (i.e. a sign of the Zodiac) minus its last letter inside a word meaning ‘is’. You can still win a bookplate in the monthly Azed Crossword clue competition!
14d See 3 Down
16d One stowing away aboard ship’s left undying city (4,4)
PORT SAID: The name of a Middle Eastern city is found by taking the word for the left on a ship and a word meaning undying or distressed and inserting I (one).
18d Urgent news stops departure (7)
EXIGENT: A word meaning urgent is found by taking a slang word for news and placing it inside one for departure.
21d Would that old bats fly in circles! (2,4)
IF ONLY: A way of saying if only is revealed by taking O for Old and placing round it an anagram (bats) of FLY IN.
22d If you’re up, what you’ll be in society’s bad (6)
SADDLE: Up is another way of saying on horseback, so something you may need for that is S (society) plus a word meaning to go bad, as with eggs.
24d See 3 Down
26d Dramatic goings-on in Tokyo inspiring trailblazer in sushi cuisine (4)
NOSH: A slang word for cuisine or food is found by taking the name of a type of Japanese theatre and inserting S (first letter, trailblazer of SUSHI).
Thanks to Elgar for today’s challenge. I’d love to see how you found it below. See you again soon!