Double Toughie No 100007
Enigma Variations by Elgar
Friends Dropping Round for Christmas
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment *****
Season’s Greetings from a wet Warrington! Merry Christmas to you all and here’s Elgar’s annual seasonal offering which is probably one of his more accessible puzzles. It’s a lovely puzzle and don’t be put off by the preamble. It’s designed to help you.
We’re not going to spoil things too much but if you are really stuck, there’s a spoiler at the very end. Highlight it to reveal a really big hint! Clues with definitions will have it underlined, so anything without underlining is a themed clue, and is shown in green!
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12a Redeal my cards and his at the present time (9,3)
CHRISTMAS DAY : We start with an anagram (redeal) of MY CARDS and HIS AT to give a topical date,
14a Gangly agent describes bumpy ride (7)
SPIDERY: A word for an agent goes round (describes) an anagram (bumpy) of RIDE. This gives a word meaning gangly or very thin.
15a Training in Paris, Elgar comes across Prometheus (9)
PETITJEAN: An abbreviation for (school) training and what Prometheus was in Greek mythology goes round the first person in French to give our first themed answer.
17a/39a In great difficulty, I refuse to be beaten by pupil in French exam (6-4)
ELEVEN PLUS: A word meaning in great difficulty or describing someone stone-faced needs to lose (to be beaten) a small word meaning I refuse ll preceded by the Frech word for a pupil
18a Part of beastly female apt to shake a lot in extremes of joy? (5)
UDDER: A word meaning apt to shake is found by putting a word J and Y round something that means a part of a cow.
19a What pollsters seek that is locked in German cars (5)
VIEW: The Latin abbreviation for ‘that is to say’ goes inside a shortened name for some German cars to give you what pollsters ask you for.
20a Place in Dorset Division 5 at group stage? (5)
POOLE: The question mark indicates something a bit out of the ordinary. In a sporting tournament Group or Division 5 may be called this. If Group 1 was Pool A, then Group 5 would be…
21a South Pacific part’s a success, it turns out (6)
TAHITI: Inside the reverse of IT goes A + something that means a success to give a country in the South Pacific.
22a Recently delivered ‘light’ element in place of aluminium (8)
NEONATAL: A word that means just after giving birth is found by taking the name of an element that could be a type of light, adding something that means in a place and the chemical symbol for aluminium .
24a Activity of green stick closely follows topless action (9)
RECYCLING: Something that a person with ecologically sound tendencies does is made up by a word meaning to stick closely to someone after the name of a famous French battle minus its first letter.
25a Something with which to stimulate Fred’s partner (6)
GINGER: One half of a Toughie blogging partner (or Fred’s dancing partner) means the same as to stimulate someone or something.
26a Island in possession of the Dutch down to the French looking the other way? (4)
SABA: The name of a Dutch-owned island is the French expression down reversed.
29a Start to play with new protein (5)
ACTIN: A type of protein is revealed by taking a shortened version of the first part of play and adding N for new.
30a Extremely cruel type in uniform sent for correction (9)
UNKINDEST: Proverbially, the type of cut that is the worst. Something that means a type or sort goes inside U (uniform) and an anagram of SENT.
33a A footballing legend’s time rejected by your nonsensical communication (9)
TELEPATHY: A plus the name of a famous (Brazilian) footballer and T (for time) is reversed and an old word for your is added to reveal a way of communicating psychically.
34a Sci-fi author rejecting Mercury sources (5)
WELLS: The name of a famous sci-fi author who wrote The War of the Worlds needs to lose his first two initials, which is the chemical symbol for mercury, to give you a word meaning sources or springs.
39a See 17 Across
41a Married in Cape Town, perhaps, cuts cake (6)
BUSMAN: M (married) goes inside the abbreviation for the country where Cape Town is, and all goes inside a type of cake to get a theme word.
42a Lopped branches show blooms in bud or flourishing (9)
BRUSHWOOD: The name for a type of tree growth is an anagram (blooms) of SHOW inside an anagram (flourishing) of BUD OR.
44a There are no more harsh than this bird film during opening scenes (8)
STARKEST: The name of a film about a famous bird goes inside something that means the opening of something.:
47a Lifeboat will capsize if so shaped? (6)
OBLATE : This is a compound anagram clue that only appears in the more challenging puzzles. Basically, if you add a word meaning shaped to IF, you get the word LIFEBOAT. The whole clue provides a sort of cryptic definition.
48a Date? Go out with filly, finally a new girl on the scene! (5)
DEBBY: After D (date) goes a word meaning to flow out as in water and add the final letter of FILLY to get a girl’s name (maybe one making her first appearance in society)
49a Something that soothes following bedroom disturbance (5)
BROIL: A word for a disturbance (or to grill) is found by taking BR (BedRoom) and adding a liquid that soothes and calms.
50a Goddess of The Night — fine philosopher’s retrospective (5)
FREYA: The Norse goddess of the night can be found by taking F and adding the surname of a philosopher (who was known by his initials AJ) backwards.
51a A mob restless with a king visiting African capital (6)
BAMAKO: A and K (king) inside an anagram of A MOB gives the name of an African capital.
53a Invokes bad memories of old artist — then revokes, distressed (5,4)
RAKES OVER: A phrase meaning to invoke is found by taking the abbreviation for an artist and adding an anagram (distressed) of REVOKES.
54a Make-up of bone is involved with reshaping of nooses (7)
OSSEINS: A component of bone is an anagram of IS and NOOSES.
55a Track service length introduced by new crematorium (8,4)
COMMUTER RAIL: An anagram of CREMATORIUM and L (length) gives the name for a type of train company.
1d Difficult for you to discover our long-suffering leader! (4)
PHIL: A themed answer. A word meaning the course you take when things are tough, needs to lose its first and last letters to get the boss of all the other themed answers.
2d American serving poached eggs in pub (8)
GIOVANNI: An abbreviation for a American serviceman takes inside a word for a pub and inside that something meaning eggs to give a themed answer.
3d Stretch of coast and townships alert for attack (5-2)
STAND-TO: Hidden in coast and townships is a word for an attack alert.
4d Union occupying identical line (6)
SAMUEL: A themed answer. Inside a word meaning the same goes U (union) and add L for line.
5d When solving, identify print chums I “drew” (4d words)
MY FRIENDS [PICTURED WITHIN]: : An anagram of IDENTIFY PRINT CHUMS I DREW gives you the dedication of the title of the puzzle and of this puzzle’s theme. However, it won’t all fit in and you may need dome more down spaces nearby to accommodate it. The clue as a whole gives a guide to the theme.
6d Lively young woman giving heart to official in match (7)
FIREFLY: Another themed answer. A word for a young woman needs to swap its middle letter for a short word for an official in sport.
7d American nicking new spell from Nemesis (8)
MESSINAE: Another themed answer. Take NEMESIS with A (American) and rejiggle it.
8d Peter’s middle sister’s nursing her tail (5)
MYOPS: The middle of Peter Rabbit’s sisters needs to move the last letter of her name inside to give another themed answer.
9d Bananas that Glen fully extended (2,6)
AT LENGTH: A word that means fully extended is an anagram (bananas) of THAT GLEN.
10d Having no doubt pretentious stuff will dilate standing (7)
STATURE: Inside a word meaning having no doubt goes a word meaning pretentious stuff
11d Sort of case that’s soft with hot filling (6)
CEPHAS: Another themed. An anagram of CASE with P (soft) and H inside.
13d I do — and I am one on — one mile marches! (4)
DADA: Take I DO AND I AM and drop (marches) I (one) ON I (one) and M(ile) to get another themed answer.
14d Playing lead in Othello perhaps encapsulates theatre (5)
SAVOY: The name of a London theatre best known for G&S is found by taking a word meaning perhaps, or for example and inserting V (playing, versus) and O (first letter of Othello).
15d The two characters used in simple game that are written in first (8)
PROXIMAL: Another themed answer. Inside a word meaning first go the two symbols in the game of noughts and crosses.
16d “Drink up!” (No one is) (9)
NOTABILIS: A word for a drink in Ancient Rome needs to lose I (one) and reversed. Add IS to get a themed answer.
23d First wife’s suitability comes across in audition (9)
EXCALIBUR: The word for a former partner takes a homophone for a word for suitability to give another themed answer.
27d I cry like a crow from 16/11 onward? (8)
MICAWBER: Another themed answer found by taking I and the noise of a crow and putting it inside what is cryptically defined as after the 16th of the 11th month, i.e. the second half of that month.
28d I broadcast likely conditions — as Torvill & Dean did socially? (3,6)
MET OFFICE: How the skaters gathered away from where they worked (3,3,3) is a way of saying the name of the place to get a weather forecast.
31d Not quite the last of the dwarfs? Frost perhaps arrested sharp decline (4,4)
NOSE DIVE: The rank of the policeman called Frost goes inside the cryptic way of describing the last of the dwarfs, minus its last letter.
32d Is admitted to mobile hospital, wound causing visual problem (8)
STRABISM: A rather obscure word for a problem with eyesight is found by taking M (mobile) and the short name of a London hospital, reversing it (wound) and inserting IS.
35d Energy Leone primarily put into revolutionary new version of old film (8)
ELKAMERE: A themed answer. E (energy) goes inside the name for a reworking of a film with L (first letter of Leone) inside, all reversed.
36d Heading for Bethlehem, royals principally following a (wrong?) direction side by side (7)
ABREAST: A word meaning side-by-side is found by taking B and R (first letter of Bethlehem and royals) and putting it inside A and the opposite direction whence they travelled in the Bible.
37d Help is required to engage Master following First from Oxford (7)
OSMOSIS: A themed answer. After O (first letter of Oxford) goes a distress signal with M inside and IS,
38d Upset Rod and Aleem, initially split on pad-first dismissal (7)
WARBLER: Another themed answer, a short word meaning on or about, plus a way of getting out in cricket with R and A (first letters of Rod and Aleem). Reverse it all.
40d Odds on Marrakesh losing them? (6)
SPARKS: The abbreviation for odds in betting takes the even letters of MARRAKESH to give a themed answer.
43d Selection offered by pub in support of West Country (5)
WALES: After W (west) goes what a pub sells to give the name of a country.
44d Order librarian’s given to make people laugh endlessly (6)
SHAMUS: What a librarian often says to maintain normality at work takes to make people laugh minus its last letter for another themed answer.
45d “S-one me!”? (5)
MYNOT: A themed answer. If the expression was complete it would mean this plus what it is at the moment!
46d Initially bearing West, heading North (4)
BEAM: B (first letter of bearing) plus the reverse of an actress named West gives another themed answer.
52d “Gold ____”: The Minstermen’s midfield over the years (4)
KCIT: We finish with another themed answer. The football team known as the Minstermen, needs to have removed two Y’s (years) and Or (gold) and you’re left with the final themed answer.
A splendid puzzle from Elgar and I am sure you’ll enjoy persevering with it.
Here’s the solution:
The dedication for the musical work known as the Enigma Variations by the other Elgar is subtitled “To All My Friends Pictured Within”. Here we have all Elgar’s fellow Toughie setters as the answers without definitions and Phil, the Editor. 5 down is entered with the first two words, with the last two concealed in the unchecked answers in two rows to the right.
Thanks to Elgar for his annual festive workout!