Double Toughie 100008

Double Toughie No 100008
An Arrangement for 3 and 14 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The puzzle can be found under the Giant General Knowledge menu as No 100,008 and the solution can be found under the Giant General Knowledge menu as No 1,100,008

From clues to the eight answers entered in cells shaded grey, a consecutive arrangement of the (3-7 inclusive) letters of one member of a thematic octet must be removed before solving. Greyed solutions: 50a, 51a, 52a, 5d, 7d, 10d, 12d, 26d. The answer to 1 Across is unlikely to be in a dictionary, and one sees different spellings for two elements of the word. For the second element, we use the spelling of it in Chambers. For the other element, we use a slightly contracted version that might assist the puzzle’s hero (and that fits the grid).

Well, that was a challenge (and that was just the preamble). As usual, Elgar has given us a stern challenge to help digest the festive food.

This was simply a lovely puzzle using a theme he has used before in a slightly different style. However this was no less enjoyable. I’ll give the full explanation after the clues, which will come first.

I have deliberately put this up later than usual, so that more people could enjoy this gem.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    In narrow-minded Scots Royalist’s gibe about South, what about surrealist work’s charm? A justified worry today, perhaps? (31)
HIPPOMONSTROSESQUIPEDALIOPHOBIA:    Possibly the longest word ever to appear in the click box! As the preamble says, it is unlikely to be found in any dictionary and is a word that may describe the affliction that affects the hero of our puzzle. And it’s not an anagram!

Let’s do the wordsum: IN (3) + NARROW-MINDED (2) [think of the expression –faced] + SCOTS ROYALIST’S (9) [the name of a notable Scots Royalist, or a town in Angus] + GIBE (4) [another name for a witty remark]. Insert S (South) into the Scots Royalist. Now add a word meaning WHAT? (2) which goes around the name of a SURREALIST (4) [painter] + a short word meaning WORK (2) + a word for a West indian CHARM (3) + A. When all taken together, it gives a portmanteau (or made-up) word that describes a person who is troubled by polysyllabic grandiloquence.

17a    With cunning ploy, do it in total style, basically (11)
STYLOPODIUM:    An anagram [cunning] of PLOY DO IT goes inside something that means total to give a botanical term for part of a plant sometimes called a style.

18a    Eldest son’s sounding post overseas? (7)
AIRMAIL:    A homophone for the oldest male beneficiary is a word for overseas postal service.

19a    One wound sustained by Mr Yang’s partner’s grand failure (11)
MISCARRYING:    Something that means failure is found by taking I (one) + a word for a WOUND (4), putting inside MR. Add to this the opposite of YANG (3) and G (grand).

20a    170 check-out possible from here (4)
OCHE:    Hidden inside 170 CHEck-out is where the feat could be achieved. Not sure our Sunday setter would be this sneaky!

21a    Power harnessed by chainsaw working with arms display (10)
WAPINSCHAW:    Inside an anagram (working) of CHAINSAW goes P (power) and add to this W to give a word I first met on Call My Bluff in the days of Frank Muir and Patrick Campbell although this is an alternate spelling. It’s a word that means a gathering of troops or arms.

22a    Pour cold water on gramophone record – how long have we been here? (10)
DISCOURAGE:    Something that means to pour cold water on something is revealed by taking a word for a gramophone record and adding a two word phrase meaning how old we are?

23a    In this circus performer is a fantastic finale (4)
FLEA:    This device is more often seen in the more complicated barred puzzles. It’s called a comparative anagram and it comprises a definition of the word needed plus another word or words when scrambled to give a longer word. So here IN + A TYPE OF CIRCUS when mixed together gives the word FINALE. These have to have two anagram indicators to make them work, which can make the seem clunky, so they are not frequently seen in broadsheet puzzles. This one works perfectly well.

25a    Positive vote getting rid of extremists very early (3)
YEA:    Remove the first and last three letters of VERY EARLY (extremists) to give a way of saying affirmative.

28a/30a/35a    Gushing letters in mailbag often demonstrably worried anti-verbal hero (1,2,1,4,2,4,6,5,3,4,5,6,2)
I AM A BEAR OF VERY LITTLE BRAIN AND LONG WORDS BOTHER ME:    An anagram of everything before worried (the indicator) in the clue gives a famous quote by the subject of the puzzle relating to his affliction.

32a    Anger is only partially misdirected (3)
IRE:    Hidden inside MISDIRECTED can be found a word that means the same as anger.

34a    Machine Gun Kelly essentially escaping punishment (6)
GATING:    The name for an early type of machine gun needs to lose L (which I think is the middle/essential letter of KELLY). This gives the name for a type of punishment in schools equivalent to detention.    

35a    See 28 Across

38a    To wit making vocal change, she brought forth Achilles (6)
THETIS:    Another way to saying ‘to wit’ or the abbreviation i.e., needs to change the first vowel (A) for another (E) to give the name for Achilles’ mother.

41a    Is Elgar to fail a friend? (5)
AMIGO:    A foreign word meaning friend is found by taking what Elgar may ask in the first person and adding something that means fail.

42a    Elders validly called from such procedures? (19)
DENDROCHRONOLOGICAL:    A (complex) cryptic definition for a way of dating the trees known as elders, i.e. by counting rings.

49a    Brightness of meadow relieving the soul of gloom (5)
GLEAM:    Something that means brightness is found by taking a word meaning meadow and placing it inside the outer letters (the inside or soul having been relieved or removed) of GLOOM.

50a    “Canoeing”, aka smashing with sushi relish! (6,5)
HOISIN SAUCE:    PREAMBLE CLUE When you solve this clue, you will find some letters that don’t actually belong to the clue, in this case five. When those letters are removed and rearranged you will get the name of one of the friends of the theme of the puzzle. Here it is NGAKA – so without these letters the clue is an anagram of CANOEI + SUSHI to give the name of a relish thatgoes with some Asian food.

51a    Set viewing flash Meteor Eye uses (4-3)
MUST-SEE:    PREAMBLE CLUE A word that means essential viewing on TV is an anagram of MET and USES. EOR and EYE rearrange to another name.

52a    Violations early in plot triggering changes with liaison (8,3)
ORIGINAL SIN:    PREAMBLE CLUE The definition here refers to the naughtiness in the Garden of Eden (the early plot) An anagram of RING and LIAISON will give you the answer needed, plus TRIGGE is an anagram of another friend.

53a    Quite unwell, absorbing books with info on alternative adult treatment (15)
RONTGENOTHERAPY:    The name for a type of medical treatment involving X Rays and named for the person who pioneered work in the field. [This is I think the alternative spelling in the preamble as in most translations he has an E at the third letter]. If you feel fairly ill you may be said to feel this (4) and inside this goes the abbreviation for some books (of the bible), add a word for information, plus a word meaning alternative and A.

54a    In revised constitution, “A New Start” for country in shreds, fixes to lose vote? (15)
DISENFRANCHISES:    An anagram [indicated by revised constitution ] of A + N (new) + C (start of country) + IN SHREDS FIXES minus X (loses vote) gives what the government may be seen to do with their latest electoral plans.


1d    Belgian detective is about to catch Greek ace stabbing his/her past master (15)
HISTORIOGRAPHER:    The name for someone who is an expert in the past can be found by taking the name of a famous Belgian detective and reversing it. Inside place GR (greek) and A (ace) and throw the lot inside HIS and HER.

2d    From measurements of personality he draws conclusions that I’m a pyrotechnics fan (15)
PSYCHOMETRICIAN:    An anagram (indiciated by fan) of IM A PYROTECHNICS gives you the name for someone who can measure your personality.

3d    See title (4)
OBOE:    See below.

4d    Elements of simple game in which dad has an answer: Perfume (8)
OPOPANAX:    A type of resin from a tree of the same name used in perfumery {not sure it is a perfume per se). Inside O and X (elements of a simple game) goes a word for a father, add to this AN and A (answer) to give the answer you need.    

5d    Barbitone in sport is at odds with Olympians initially highly animated (9)
SPIRITOSO:    PREAMBLE CLUE A term in music meaning (to play) highly animated(ly) is found by taking I (one) and putting it inside an anagram of SPORT IS and adding O (initial letter of Olympians). From the first word, remove BARBIT, leaving ONE for the I indication in the clue. An anagram of BARBIT gives another friend of the theme character.

6d    Suckled by a she-wolf, I was (to begin with) raised by big birds (5)
REMUS:     One of the twins from Roman myth suckled by a she-wolf is found by taking R (first letter of raised) and adding the name of some large flightless birds.

7d    Knockout trophy “not quite legit”, presiding in changing rooms (9)
SMASHEROO:    PREAMBLE CLUE A slang word meaning ‘knockout’ or excellent is found by taking the name of a famous sporting trophy, minus its last letter (not quite) and then placing it (residing in) inside an anagram of ROOMS. LEGIT +P here is removed and rearranged to give another friend of the hero.

8d    Perhaps team supplanting a cuckoo? (6)
SCREWY:    Inside a three-letter word meaning perhaps or for example the middle letter (A) is replaced by a word for a team or staff of a ship. This gives a word meaning madcap or bonkers.

9d    Country identifying essential components of sugar? (6)
UGANDA:    Say what you see, the Irish gameshow host used to say, so what are the middle three letters (essential components) of SUGAR – U G AND A – oh look, what that reveals!

10d    Stuck-up independent right about barrels splitting flooring up top (4,5)
POLO SHIRT:    PREAMBLE CLUE Take a word meaning stuck up (4) and place after it I RT (independent right) This all goes round a word meaning fling [and a shot in tennis] (3) minus B (barrels, splitting i.e. leaving). Here you need to remove OOR and rearrange to get another member of the gang

11d    Film medic visiting couple (5)
DUMBO:    the name of a famous Disney film is found by taking an abbreviation for a medical practitioner and putting it inside a word for a couple of people.

12d    While base keeps sides apart below a minute cutting light shaft? (5,4)
LASER BEAM:    PREAMBLE CLUE A word meaning while (2) plus the mathematical symbol for a base (E) go inside L & R (opposite sides). Add BE and A and M (minute) to give a type of energy used as a cutting tool. In this clue, you need to remove LOW and rearrange it for another friend,

13d    Park officer heading off lad outside greenhouse (8)
ORANGERY:    Take the name for someone who looks after a park and outside place a word for a lad minus its first letter (heading off).

14d    See title (4)
HARP:    See below

15d    Sparkling performances in British Isles in error drove Brad north (15)
BRILLIANTNESSES:    A word meaning happenings that shine and sparkle is found by taking BR (British) and adding an anagram of ISLES. Inside this goes a word meaning drove and one meaning what (a) BRAD is (4) both reversed.

16d    CIA, having frustrated raids with G-men, acts to enhance prestige (15)
AGGRANDISEMENTS:    inside a word for the staff of the CIA goes an anagram of RAIDS and G-MEN to give ways in which status can be enhanced,

24d    A report describing Giovanni during desertion (10)
ABANDONING:    The first name of both Giovanni in opera and the setter who uses that pen-name plus a word meaning during (2) go inside A and a word meaning the report or noise made by a gun. This gives a word meaning desertion.

26d    This hot range for catching and burning others discussing pun genius (4)
EARS:    PREAMBLE CLUE This time the theme letters invade the definition. A word that when placed before ‘hot’ gives the distance during which someone can be heard. The letters PUN GENI give the name of a character brought into the coterie as part of this year’s special anniversary rewritten tales. Quite what one of these was doing in there is beyond me.

27d:    Just the end of kiss captured in new Hogarth print (10)
LITHOGRAPH:    This I struggled to parse. I think that you need to take a word for a kiss [or the part of the body that does it] (3). Then you need to add an anagram of HOGARTH but place it around the last letter of the three-letter word. Rather complicated, and probably unnecessarily so.

29d:    Like Very Superior Slob? (3)
VEG:    A slang way of saying a slob [not one I had heard of in this form) is revealed by taking the abbreviation for like (as in for example) and V (very) and reversing them (superior, as it is a down clue).

31d    No more than five letters or one digit? (3)
TOE:    The name for a digit on your body (not on your hand!) is found by saying that something does not comprise anything other than the first fie letters of the alphabet, i.e. __ _ (2,1)

32d    It’s on the cards: ‘Rousing Latin Evening’ in 24 hours’ time (1,4,3)
I DARE SAY:    An expression that is used to mean something is likely to happen in the opinion of the speaker is found by putting the reversal (rousing, getting up in a down clue) of the Italian (Latin) word for evening (which when preceeded by Buona means Good Evening) inside what 24 hours equals (1,3).

33d    Given appearance of dark, one gets into one’s bed uneasily (8)
EBONISED:    Inside an anagram of ONE’S BED goes the numeral for one and this gives a word meaning made dark.

36d/37d    Exclamation of joy that’s rather nice in court (3-3)
WOO-HOO:    A way of saying you are full of joy or happy is revealed by taking a short slang ay saying something is nice and putting it inside a word meaning to court or date.

39d    My Boy’s not even fancied to win (4-2)
ODDS-ON:    If your (male) child was not even, he could be described as this which when hyphenated in a different way is an expression meaning the favourite to win something

40d    Left a life around Northern Britain (6)
ALBION:    The old name for Britain is revealed by taking A and a short word for a lifestory and putting it around L (left) and adding N (Northern).

43d    Sister has time to nurse a relative who’s very old (5)
NAUNT:    An archaic name for a relative is found by taking the name for a religious sister plus T for time and putting it round A.

44d    Steward who told a Tale about perpetrator of 52 (5)
REEVE:    One for the quiz buffs. The name for one of the characters who told a Canterbury Tale is found by taking the short word for about (2) plus the name of the lady who committed the answer to 52 across.

45d    Medium entranced? I signal a break (5)
COMMA:    How you signal a pause in punctuation is found by taking M (medium) and if it was put into a trance or inside this word for a trance.

46d    Championship team is 1-0 up, did someone say? (5)
LEEDS:    The name of a team in the Championship (of Football) and play in West Yorkshire is a homophone of what they are doing when they are ahead in a match.

47d    A complaint developed in audition (5)
GROAN:    A word for a complaint sounds like one that means developed.

48d    Loud message from me: “Pleasure boat has neither one of us on board!” (5)
CRIER:    Someone who used to belt out messages with a bell is the name of a ship minus US.


Here are the setter’s final notes on the theme

3 OBOE and 14 HARP may be arranged to form our hero POOH-BEAR, who made his first appearance 90 years ago this year. His eight jumbled sidekicks (clue order) are KANGA, EEYORE, TIGGER (appeared later), RABBIT, PIGLET, ROO, OWL, PENGUIN (appeared this year in the work to mark the anniversary). Pooh-Bear famously suffered from 1ac, as his quote at 28/30/35 confirms, hence the ironic excess of long words among the answers.

Did you manage to get there? It was certainly a battle but rewarding in the end. Had to rely on a few from checking letters and work back.

Happy New Year, and see you soon!


  1. crypticsue
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    One of those “read the ‘structions, ignore the incomprehensible instructions, and see if you can solve any clues” crosswords.

    I got a solution for every clue in less time than normal for the Elgar DCT, looked at the checking letters for 3d and 14d and knew that Elgar, the musical maestro, not the devilish crossword setter, had indeed composed arrangement for the musical instruments that fitted. I then returned to the ‘structions and worked out where all the hero’s friends had been removed from the wordplay to arrive at the required entries in the grey shaded squares.

    Any puzzle with Eeyore in (or this case ‘out’) is fine by me. I liked several clues including 52a for the definition, 4d for the d’oh moment when I realised what the elements of the simple game were, and 25a where I did like the idea of M for medium in a coma!

    Thanks to Elgar for keeping me occupied on Christmas afternoon and Tilsit for the explanations

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Could an Elgar be anything but clever.
    Actually yes. Very clever comes to mind and this was a prime example.
    Considered myself very lucky to have found a way in and got the long phrase which gave me the character. Thought I saw his donkey friend in 51a and then the marsupial in 50a.
    Never managed to get 7d or 10d or the anagram in 21a.
    The long word in 1a remained desperately empty although I kinda knew the ending from Dali onwards.
    Needed quite a bit of internet help but really enjoyed the challenge.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for explaining it all.

  3. KiwiColin
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I spent a lot of time over a couple of days with considerable electronic help and gradually bit by bit it all started to come together. Eventually with just 1a and a couple of the shorter words left Carol was enlisted to help get over the finishing line which we finally did although we ignored the finer points of some of the parsing. The very last action was discovering the recent addition to the list of characters which was news to us.
    An interesting aside. We get a regular daily email from A.Word.A.Day which we find an absorbing distraction and the word that came up just an hour after we had finished the puzzle was Sesquipedalian. Either that is an amazing coincidence or perhaps Anu Garg is a closet Toughie solver.
    Thanks Elgar and Tilsit for unraveling it all.

  4. Bufo
    Posted December 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    On the First Day of Christmas I solved 4-5 clues. On the Second Day of Christmas I solved half-a-dozen more. On the Third Day of Christmas I spotted the theme and with a bit of electronic aid and a lot of bung-ins I struggled to the end. I must have enjoyed it to keep going. I couldn’t remember a penguin in the Pooh stories so thanks for enlightening me.