Toughie No 1679 by Elgar
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty ***** – Enjoyment *****
This is Toughie no. 112 for Elgar – that may give you a clue for the Nina, which hopefully won’t be too hard to find (once you’ve done the puzzle, that is!) – but see the end of the review if you get stuck. I didn’t manage to use it during the solve – a pity because it might have been quite helpful, particularly in SE. It will be no surprise to most of you that this puzzle is perhaps on the trickier side of our Toughie offerings, and yes, it took me a little longer – but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. It is well worth a go – do try, you always have the hints if you need them.
Half the battle is finding the definitions – in the clues below, the definitions are underlined, which should help you a lot. If that plus the hint still doesn’t quite get you there, you can click on the SPOILER button to reveal the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.
7a Not blab about grain-store sacking on comeback campaign (9)
GALLIPOLI: Take a word for grain-store plus a word for sacking (as in plundering), then remove a 4-letter word for blab or confess secrets from the outskirts (no blab about), then reverse the lot (on comeback) to give you a military campaign
8a For which a little room’s needed near front of orchestra? (5)
CELLO: Another word for a little room plus the first letter (front) of O(rchestra). A semi all-in-one.
10a Asian tree‘s great size reduced after tight squeeze (6)
JAMBUL: A 4-letter word for great size without its final letter (reduced) follows a tight squeeze or a crowded standstill (as in traffic). A new tree for me
11a Front-runner, perhaps holding off Germany, and it’s gold for France! (8)
ANCESTOR: AND from the clue without the abbreviation for Germany, plus the French for “it’s gold”.
12a Kermit and Emu together, in it? (6)
TANDEM: This is quite clever – it’s a hidden, and the hidden indicator comes close to doubling as the definition – When you’re in (the answer), you’re together. Hope that makes sense!
14a 60s motoring icon after right to produce copy? (6)
RETYPE: The abbreviation for R(ight) is followed by an iconic 60s model of Jaguar.
16a Career work of Kipling giving new heart to literature (4)
LIFE: A famous Kipling poem replaces the internal letters of (giving new heart to) L(iteratur)E
17a Contemporary poet could take a break, not mark time (5)
AYRES: Find a (3,4) phrase that would mean ‘could take a break’ and remove the abbreviations for M(ark) and T(ime)
18a Sports club’s apparently empty vessel (4)
BOAT: A sports club used in cricket contains nothing, or zero (apparently empty)
19a Native Californian stir-fried rice’s left to cool (3,3)
RED FIR: This native Californian is a tree. An anagram (stir) of FRIED R(ice) – without (left) ‘to cool’
21a The last of fifty cents’ change put in bag in person (6)
ENCYST: Anagram (change) of the last letter in (fift)Y+CENTS
24a Front a small firm in the Home Counties? (3,5)
SEA COAST: ‘A’ from the clue plus an abbreviation (small) of a firm or company goes inside a (1,4) description of the part of England corresponding to the Home Counties
26a What picks up 5 in the real name of Magic (6)
EARVIN: A 3-letter organ that ‘picks up’, the roman numeral for 5, and IN from the clue. The definition does tell you exactly what is wanted: the real name of someone nick-named Magic
27a Perhaps speed will return, having swallowed a watch? (5)
GUARD: The reversal of a word of which speed is a specific example contains the letter A from the clue
28a Ban these sleepers playing in brass section! (5,4)
CROSS TIES: An anagram (playing) of BAN + (the answer = these sleepers) could produce BRASS SECTION. Chambers and Collins have the answer as one word, though it is (5,4) according to Oxford
1d Spanish fare preferred to Italian fare when cycling (5)
TAPAS: Take a typical Italian fare and ‘cycle’ it to get a typical Spanish fare
2d Side perhaps putting beginnings of faith and charity after Britain in this? (4-4)
CLUB-FACE: Place the first letters of ‘Faith And Charity’ after the abbreviation for B(ritain) inside a 4-letter word described by ‘this’ (i.e., 2d).
3d With a stake in Southern mansion, died (6)
SPILED: The abbreviation for S(outhern), a word for a big mansion, and the abbreviation for D(ied)
4d Army presence, could it be, spaced out in Dublin Bay? (4)
ULNA: Even letters (spaced out) in Dublin Bay. Army – get it?
5d Regular users of aeroplane black box (3,3)
JET SET: Another word for black and another word for box or TV
6d Lecturer absorbed by Twin Peaks, uplifting new plot for story (5,4)
FLOOR PLAN: Reversal (uplifting) of two types of peaks going around the abbreviation for L(ecturer), then add the abbreviation for N(ew).
9d At least 40 goals (6)
SCORES: Since the answer is plural, there are at least two of them, which means we have at least 40
13d What motorways often do during summer getaways (5)
MERGE: Hidden in (during) the last two words of the clue
15d Priest’s newly unveiled superior given a kick? (7,2)
LIVENED UP: The abbreviation for P(riest) has an anagram (newly) of UNVEILED above it (superior)
17d Take on board train an erk (6)
AIRMAN: The Latin abbreviation for take (Recipe) goes inside (on board) a 3-letter word for train or direct, followed by AN from the clue. Yes, I had to look up erk…
18d How much interest, so far, in censure? (4,4)
BASE RATE: A 2-leter word that can mean ‘so far’ (definition 5 in brb) goes inside a verb meaning to censure or reprove
20d Fellow, scientific expert’s in sudden difficulties (6)
FACERS: The abbreviation for a Fellow of the Royal Society (fellow, scientific) contains a 3-letter expert (expert is in)
22d Cracking break, I want (Spain is cracking break) (6)
CUEIST: The International Vehicle Registration for Spain plus IS from the clue go inside (cracking) a word meaning break or sever
23d Like a game of Risk on at least two levels? (5)
DICEY: The board game Risk involves armies fighting for each other’s territories using die rolls (sigh – if only). The answer describes Risk in two ways.
25d Mediterranean port, totally restorative for vacation (4)
TYRE: This Lebanese port is found by vacating (removing inner letters) from two words in the clue
With every clue a lovely challenge in its own right, I find it hard to pick a favourite. I like the clean compound anagram in 28a. I also like 5d and 9d, they read nicely. I liked 4d because it was possibly my main duh-moment, having toyed with the answer for an embarrassingly long time before I realised the definition worked. Which were your favourite clues?
As promised, here is a spoiler button which will reveal the Nina in a completed grid – so be careful, this contains ALL the answers: