Toughie 1476

Toughie No 1476 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I found today’s Elgar a very satisfying solve. Some wonderful anagrams, plenty of fun and as always some exciting word play. Most clues took a little while, still overall it didn’t take a whole lot longer than other toughies, so I would recommend having a go. First ones in were 6a and 12a, then a few anagrams (3d, 14a, 15d), and before long I realised I had all the components needed for 10/11.

I thought 1a might have special significance and wasn’t far off, you just need to include 6a as well.

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 Under orders to come in on what day? It may be Frimley Green’s call (3,7)
ONE HUNDRED: Anagram (orders) of UNDER inside (to come in) “on” from the clue, a 2-letter interjection meaning “what?” and the abbreviation for D(ay). The answer might be heard in Frimley Green, where the darts championships are held

6a Boundary of backward old city (4)
FOUR: reversal (backward) of “of” followed by an ancient city gives this cricket score

10a & 11a Total class 14 17 = 1ac and 22 6? (5,9)
GROSS STUPIDITY: Well, you just need to do the substitutions and all will be clear. This is a cryptic definition suggesting extreme foolishness.

11a See 10

12a Lean and bony antelope turns head in near-terror (7)
ANGULAR: A three-letter antelope in which the first 2 letters are switched (turns head – hence not an anagram, which would have been indirect) is inside a 5 letter word for terror or panic with the last letter removed (near-)

13a Piggy dashing around at home (7)
SWINISH: Piggy is an adjective here. A 5-letter word for dashing or stylishly smart around the usual preposition meaning “at home”

14a Clientele in shambles, divided by ‘good’ news (12)
INTELLIGENCE: Anagram (shambles) of CLIENTELE IN into which is inserted the abbreviation for G(ood)

18a Domestic manager employs weakling to take a turn in store (5-7)
HOUSE-STEWARD: a 4-letter verb meaning employs, followed by the reversal (to take a turn) of an informal term for weakling or ineffectual person, all inside a 5-letter verb meaning store

21a Very much  like a bigger drink? (3,4)
NOT HALF: A double definition

23a This writer exhausts himself running over old professors (7)
EMERITI: How the writer (or “Elgar” in the newspaper version of the puzzle) might claim, using the first person, that he exhausts himself (1,4,2), all reversed (running over)

24a Avenger catches Liberal with odd instrument (5,4)
STEEL DRUM: Surname of one of the Avengers (60’s cult tv programme) around (catches) the abbreviation for L(iberal), plus a 3-letter word meaning odd or strange

25a ‘Charters’ very well-defined (5)
HIRES: The answer when split (2-3) refers to a greater number of pixels in videos etc.

26a Sporadic hothead rejected this early payment (4)
ANTE: Reversal (rejected) of a volcano (sporadic hothead)

27a Pine, maybe, for return from reps on my grievance cases (10)
GYMNOSPERM: Hidden (cases) backwards (for return) in from reps on my grievance. Yes, I had to look it up as well.

1d Noisy celebratory free-for-all — time to grab a drink! (6)
ORGEAT: A homophone (noisy) of a four-letter celebratory free-for-all or (very) wild party, followed by the abbreviation for Time, around (to grab) “a” from the clue – this drink is made from sugar and almonds according to brb

2d This’ll do for one — and three noughts! (6)
ENOUGH: This is hidden in the clue – to be read as this will do (suffice) for one, and it will also do (provide) for three noughts

3d Not a chip off ‘this’ old block roaming peninsular belt! (14)

4d Puzzle Editor’s in muddle! (9)
DISORIENT: Anagram (puzzle) of EDITORS IN.

5d Play + Film = Uranium – Aluminium (5)
EQUUS: Take the arithmetic sign (the one after Film) and add the chemical symbol for Uranium at the expense of that for Aluminium.

7d They’re known by expert to include just over 3 views (8)
OPINIONS: Take the edible bulbs that are said to be well-known by experts and insert (to include) the Greek letter name of a constant of value 3.14159 (just over 3)

8d Road orbiting Cinque Port clips motorway with a recurrent pattern (8)
RHYTHMED: The standard 2-letter abbreviation for road goes around (orbiting) one (since we have a singular Cinque Port) of the 5 harbour towns in Kent/Sussex known as Cinque Ports, all around (clips) the abbreviation for M(otorway).

9d Up gear here, describing junky? (6,8)

15d Elgar now struggling to comprehend Monsieur’s language (3,6)
LOW GERMAN: Anagram (struggling) of ELGAR NOW, all around (to comprehend) the abbreviation for M(onsieur)

16d This much in, as Eastern harbours? (5,3)
CHINA SEA: A semi-all-in-one with the answer hidden (harbours) in much in as eastern

17d Result of division not quite resolved (8)
QUOTIENT: Anagram (resolved) of NOT QUITE

19d Having to bandage radius: bit pink (6)
PIERCE: Pink here is a verb. A five-letter word for bit goes around (having to bandage) the abbreviation for r(adius)

20d Clue 10 and 11, for starters? (3,3)
DIM SUM: These Chinese starters may also describe 10 & 11 across

22d When life begins to assume an (alphabetical?) order (5)
FORTY: A cryptic definition referring to the age where life really begins (normally claimed by those already of that age) as well as to the fact that this number has its letters in alphabetical order (the only number for which that is true, apparently)

There were lots of fun clues today but the one that rounded of the puzzle beautifully for me was 20d. Please let us know what you thought and which clues you liked.


  1. Hanni
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink



    Things hurt.

    Just so very clever, the crossword, not me. The bottom half went in fairly smoothly, including the 14a/17d and 20d combo.

    Twigged to the 10/11 link then.

    1a..goodness me. I know a ridiculous amount of stuff about bloomin Frimley Green now. For example did you know there are 13 houses for sale there and that the name derives from the Saxon Fremma’s Lea? Didn’t help solving the clue until I read about some club.

    27a was new and took me awhile to spot. 1d was a guess with the definition needing checking.

    Gosh. Brilliantly tricky.

    Favourite goes to the whole 10/11/14/17/20 theme. Deliciously fun.

    Many thanks to Elgar for one hell of a challenge and to Dutch for blogging. Wonderful stuff.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Well it took me a proper toughie 5* time and was 5* entertainment too

    Thanks to Elgar – don’t leave it so long next time – and to Dutch too

  3. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Great Friday toughie.
    Sometimes I had the answer without understanding the parsing and other times getting the parsing without understanding the answer.
    Didn’t know you used 1d, with Pastis it’s a Mauresque.
    20d made me laugh.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for the review.

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    A right tricksy offering from Elgar with lots of hidden meanings in it that I’ve probably missed. The only clue that I didn’t like was 1a, getable from the word play but required knowledge of ‘Frimley Green’. Like Hanni, I now know too much information about the place – apologies if anyone on the blog lives there. The rest of it was absolutely wonderful and an enjoyable solve.

    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    I hope this posts.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted October 2, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Hurrah – it did.

  5. JonP
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Excellent puzzle – I don’t usually do that well with Elgar but I was able to work through this one albeit with 2 hints. I saw 1ac immediately which kindled my interest and I’m glad I persevered as it was a rewarding experience. Thanks to dutch and Elgar.

  6. Jane
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Wading through the slough of despond over here. Not made it to the halfway stage yet, despite leaving it alone for a few hours to clear the brain.
    Will report back later when I’ve either given up or found a way in!

    • Hanni
      Posted October 2, 2015 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      Keep at it Jane.

      They’ll be a test later on your knowledge of Frimley.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that we did not get was the definition for 1a. We had the right answer and had justified it from the wordplay but the connection with Frimley Green was new knowledge to us. We could not even track it down with Google. It took us a looong time and we did use some electronic assistance along the way. For quite some time we had ‘utter’ as a synonym for total in 10a which really caused problems with the NW corner. A huge challenge and very satisfying to eventually get it all sorted.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted October 2, 2015 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Exactly what I meant about 1a. I thought it was another cricket clue. Never been to a game but I can imagine the umpire shouting ” one hundred” for a century.

  8. andy
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    5* for both ratings, have been kicked with the hobnails for not spotting the hidden answer in 2d, and an honorable mention must go to 25a, Charters being the name of a bar / barge I regularly (hic) drink in after work and solve. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Way above my pay grade and consequently not enjoyable. I managed about 1/4 of the puzzle before I gave up. Too demoralized to read the review, but thanks anyway to Dutch and respect to Elgar.

    • andy
      Posted October 2, 2015 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

      Don’t be daft, look at it again over the next few hours / days / weeks if necessary, cogitate, and some lightbulb moments will occur.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted October 2, 2015 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Already deep-sixed. There are some puzzles that flummox me but there’s something there that makes me want to persevere. This is not one of them. I’m just not invested enough to spend any more time on it. I admire Radler’s skill, but I am not a fan of self-flagellation.

  10. Jane
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m with Chris on this one – managed a little over half but thought some of them definitely a bridge too far. 1a answer would only seem to have made any sense if the answer had been 180 and I thought both 3 & 8d were somewhat dubious words.
    I did like 21a& 20d – best by far was 24a.

    Sorry, Elgar, I’m obviously a way off your wavelength. Much respect to Dutch et al for getting to the other side!

    • Jane
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 12:23 am | Permalink

      Re: comment relating to 8d. The book I’m currently reading has a sentence which begins ‘The sprung-rhythmed poet’ – the author obviously doesn’t concur with my thoughts on the word (although the computer does and keeps drawing my attention to it with a wavy red underscoring)!

      • dutch
        Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        brb has rhythmed (as an adjective) under rhythm

  11. Salty Dog
    Posted October 2, 2015 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Too tough for me, l’m afraid. I managed slightly more than half before coming to the conclusion that l was unlikely to get any more. Perhaps l gave up rather too readily, but l have a burgeoning headache and feel the need of my bed after a day spent strimming Cornwall. Of those l twigged, l rather liked 7d. Thanks to Elgar, and to Dutch for explaining how l might have done better.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted October 2, 2015 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      Agree on 7d. In France we have a great way of remembering the number pi. We just count the letters of the words in:
      Que j’aime à faire connaitre ce nombre utile aux sages.

      • Hanni
        Posted October 2, 2015 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

        That’s brilliant J-L!

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted October 2, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

          Hanni – I have left a recommendation for you on the other side. Nothing from the wine merchant I notice

          • Hanni
            Posted October 3, 2015 at 12:08 am | Permalink

            Hi SL. I have noticed. And…you have helped decide whether it will be a Sainsbury’s or Morrison’s shop tomorrow morning. Big Morrison’s it is. You were talked about recently re wine. I’ve mentioned before that you can get into a rut, and stick with wines you know, something our friends and I do, so I passed on the tips. Explaining I got them from a crossword blog was funny. “A what?”, seemed a popular response.

            As always SL, thank you.

      • dutch
        Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:11 am | Permalink


  12. Chris
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Tackling Elgar whilst half watching ‘Resistance’ (in French with subtitles) on my hard disc recorder. Got to 15 down – looked up – and there in a banner across the screen was the answer (the cast were now speaking Low German!) Hows that for coincidence? Great puzzle..and I managed it, though still not sure why an I.Q. of 144 is Gross Stupidity.= – well I get the gross bit…but at 144 far from stupid surely?

    • dutch
      Posted October 3, 2015 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      when it is the sum total for a class….

  13. Heno
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for the review and hints. Wow, what a fantastic puzzle. I managed quite a bit of it, but just ran out of steam and had to look at the hints. Needed 5 to finish. First in was 1a, lucky I’m a darts fan. Really enjoyed 10&11a and 20d. They were my favourites. Last in was 19d, never heard of that usage. Brilliant entertainment. Was 5*/5* for me.

  14. Grossly stupid
    Posted October 3, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Cannot understand 10across. Explanation for a french person please

    • Posted October 4, 2015 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog Grossly stupid

      I’m afraid it’s the same explanation as that for an English person.

      • Grossly stupid
        Posted October 4, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink


    • dutch
      Posted October 4, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      a gross is a quantity, 12 dozen = 144. Does that help? It also has several other meanings, extreme as in gross stupidity, or offensive as in american slang. Check Chambers dictionary.