Toughie 1795

Toughie No 1795 by Elgar

Board Meeting

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

It’s that time again! Good Friday and a holiday weekend beckons, giving you extra solving time for today’s fiendish challenge. The Prince of Darkness is here to set the Easter weekend off with a Toughie that more than justifies the word. In truth, it’s probably one that you should persevere with; you can make quite a bit of headway once you have a few answers. If I am honest, I found the last one frustrating and disappointing, but here he is back on fine form, which pleases me immensely.

Given that’s it’s mentioned in the clues, we have a darts theme today, so many clues and answers contain references to scores or terms in the game.

In reading the blogs on various setters’ puzzles, it’s noticeable that some solvers love clues that contain cross references, while others absolutely despise them and want almost every clue to stand alone. Members of the latter group will no doubt be tearing their hair out, but for the former’s members this is a feast with the added bonus that because of the theme of the puzzle, some of the numbers don’t refer to clues. A bonus challenge of sorting the wheat from the ears of corn!

If you are still hopelessly lost as to the theme, the choice of music should offer a suitable clue. It’s one of the more amusing clips from the show, when the image at the back wasn’t quite the right one!

For those who follow such things, there is a Nina related to the number of Elgar’s Toughie puzzle (his 117th) and the theme. There will be a hidden explanation at the end of the blog.

Thanks to the Maestro for today’s challenge.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. Definitions are highlighted and in bold.


1a & 4a    Fine-looking year ahead (6,6)
TWENTY TWENTY:     If your vision is perfect, it may be said to be this and the name of an upcoming Olympic year.

8a    Covering pages one and two regularly irritated rival (8)
OPPONENT:    A word for a rival is revealed by taking the abbreviation for page twice, adding one and placing it all inside an anagram (irritated) of the alternate letters of AND TWO.

10a    Across verges of rockery river stopped flowing (3,3)
RAN DRY:    If you take the first and last letters of ROCKERY and include the word ‘and’, then insert R for river, you get what happens when something stopped flowing.

11a    Line of 25 flipping hot green bottles! (4)
OCHE:    The name for the line that throwers play from is found by taking a three-letter term for Green or environmentally-friendly, reversing (flipping) it, and placing it around (bottles) H (hot).

12a    Device Ian’s submitting to Jacob’s brother’s relish (5,5)
APPLE SAUCE:    One of those clues I worked out the answer and then went back and scratched my head a lot to work out how it read and I needed a spiritual guide. Take the name for a device (Zanussi were this of science!) and switch IAN for the name of Jacob’s brother in the Bible. This gives you a relish that is popular with some meats.

13a    After two interruptions, what is 144 for one? (7,5)
CRICKET SCORE:        This was another that caused head-scratching after solving. I wasn’t helped by a bridge chum telling me that 144 in cricket is a Grocer’s Score, however I couldn’t find any reference to this on line, and it doesn’t fit the checking letters, so decided to go for the more obvious answer. If you split up 144 once you get 1 4 4 – The answers to 1 and 4 give a type of CRICKET and 4 on its own may be referred to as a SCORE. And of course 144 for 1 may be seen to be a ….

16a    High-up intent on firing her, tip failing to charge new format for Flog It! (7,5)
FIGHTER PILOT:        Someone who’s job is to fire from on high is revealed by making an anagram, (failing) of HER TIP and placing it inside (to charge) an anagram of FLOG IT.

20a    On board 12 interrupts progress from this routine (4‑2‑4)
NINE-TO-FIVE:    If you were going round a dartboard the name of the two numbers that are separated by 12 is also the name for a type of workaday routine.

21a    8 of South going after apprentice 8? (4)
CUBE:    Here there are different uses of the number 8, After a word for an apprentice (think reporter) goes the abbreviation for one of the 8’s (the answer to 8 across) to South over a bridge table. This gives what the number 8 is an example of mathematically. Brain hurting?

22a    Boy soprano‘s nothing like this? (6)
TREBLE:    O (nothing) occurs like this in bOy sOpranO

23a    Unrestricted contract covers new fertility symbols (5,3)
GREEN MEN:    I think we should say this is an example of what Crypticsue calls “an Indirect Take a Bit Off”. Take a word for a contract and remove the first and last letters (unrestricted); insert (covers) an N and you should get what are seen as fertility symbols in sculpture.

24a    Cause to see red, initially, amber and green in new combination (6)
ENRAGE:    Inside an anagram of GREEN goes A (first letter of AMBER) to give something that means to see red.

25a    Local game not the origin of pub brawls (6)
ARROWS:    A slang name for the game featured here and played in pubs (local) is a word for a pub (or part of it) minus its first letter and add a word for brawls or punch ups.


1d    From the 11: double 4, then bullseye and … one hundred and eighty! (3,5)
TOP SCORE:    11 is the answer to 11 across and sets the scene for the clue. In the game, a score of double 1ac or 4ac is known as this, add a word for the bullseye of something and you get what 180 is in darts.

2d    ‘E’, I think, winds up ‘effuse‘ (5)
[Newspaper: E for Elgar, Elevated and Effuse (5)]
EMOTE:    Take the E from the clue followed by a phrase meaning I think (2,2) and reverse it (winds up) [take what E means to Elgar (1,2,2) and reverse it (elevated)], to get a word meaning to effuse over something.

3d    Like 1ac and 4, you’ll find it in dartboard (3,4)
THE SAME:    How you might view the answers to 1ac and 4 is the abbreviation for what IT may be seen to be, as in The IT Girl, and this goes inside what the dartboard is in this puzzle.

5d    Endless blitzing of 25 he thwarted? (3,4)
WAR HERO:    The whole clue defines the sort of person you are looking for, and if you take the answer to 25 Across, minus its last letter (endless), rearrange what’s left (blitzing) and then put it across (thwarted) HE you’ll get the answer needed here.

6d    The setter’s pa joins grandma climbing mountain (5,4)
[Newspaper: Elgar’s pa joins grandma climbing mountain (5,4)]
NANDA DEVI:    The name for a more obscure Himalayan peak, the second highest in India, is found by taking I’VE (the setter’s [Elgar’s]) added another name for pa and grandma and reversing the lot.

7d    The Jester I see put down as entry for Ebor (6)
YORICK:    Inside the city known as Ebor to the Romans (and home to Elgar) goes I and C (sounds like / put down see) to give a Shakespearean Jester who had a non-speaking part in Hamlet.

9d    The sort of guy who compiles crosswords? Ralph may make it difficult (11)
TYPESETTING:    After a word for a sort goes one which means compiling crosswords. This gives the name for the industry for whom Ralph is the slang name for a mistake, Ralph being the imp of mischief in a printing house.

14d    Buffet measuring meat served up in carriage? (6,3)
COFFEE BAR:    The name for a buffet or café is revealed by taking a word meaning measuring, adding the name of a meat reversed and placing the lot inside a type of vehicle.

15d    Overtures from Wagner which blues duo restyled? (6-2)
DOUBLE US:    If you took the first letters (overtures) of Wagner and Which, you would have these, an anagram of BLUES DUO.

17d    With no initial form run announced horse in nursery stakes? Super! (4,3)
GOOD EGG:    An expression meaning Super! (I have never used it in this way) is revealed by taking a word for run or move, and the name for a horse as spoken by a resident of a nursery. These two words enclose (stake) something that means form or type or way, minus its first letter.

18d    Brute came to us by boat, caught from Billingsgate? (3,4)
ROE DEER:    The name for an animal is a homophone for how someone arrived by boat, or at least how someone from Billingsgate would say it (i.e. a Cockney).

19d    Rib position reinforced by Emergency Room (6)
LIERNE:    I spent ages looking for the names of the human ribs only for it to be pointed out that it’s the name for an architectural rib. The abbreviation for the Emergency Room of a hospital goes inside something that means a position or tack taken by someone.

21d    Alternative to bottle party? It’s possible (3,2)
CAN DO:    A phrase that means something is possible might be what you would have if you had a party that didn’t used bottled alcohol, but stuff with ring pulls.

Phew! Did you get there? Hope the above hints and explanations helped, I needed to check a couple of things with my fellow bloggers so thanks to them.

Have some music:-

Some bright spark at Top of the Pops put a picture of Jocky Wilson the darts player, rather than the singer of Reet Petite and Higher and Higher! Whoops!

The Nina to the puzzle from the number of his puzzle (his 117th):

If you needed to finish your game of darts with a score of 117, there are a couple of ways of doing it. However, you could do it by scoring TREBLE NINETEEN (BOTTOM LEFT CORNER- as it is on a dartboard), DOUBLE TEN (as it is on a dartboard, right-hand corner) and DOUBLE TWENTY (Top of puzzle and dartboard)!

See you all soon!



  1. crypticsue
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A proper toughie and no mistake. What I know about darts and dartboards could be written on a very small piece of paper and still leave room to spare but I knew enough to get most of this, although the Nina escaped me.

    I enjoyed this a lot more than the last one – I finished it for a start off. My particular favourites are 1/4a 2d, 7d and the lovely simple, yet smile-inducing, 21d

    Thanks to Elgar for wearing out my brain and to Tilsit for the explanations I couldn’t see the wordplay workings for the life of me.

  2. Liverpool Mike
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Finally finished with 23a in *****plus time. Nina passed me by even if I had known this was Elgar’s 117th Toughie. Favourite clue was 20a for its misdirection.
    Thanks to Elgar and the Board Meeting.

  3. dave lawes
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I actually completed the answers relatively quickly , however I needed the above hints to find out why. 12a and 13a particularly . Never heard of 19d, had to look up 6d, I also read 2d as e then to then the setter ,all reversed. Oh ,and I had the wrong answer for 3d – so all told a worthy toughie.
    Thanks Elgar and Tilsit

  4. Gazza
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Elgar for the challenge (and the headache) and to Tilsit for the explanations (especially that of 3d which I couldn’t parse). I did use to play darts so that helped. I liked 1/4a, 11a, 22a, 15d and 21d but my favourite is 20a.
    From past experience of Elgar’s puzzles I didn’t even look for the Nina – just as well, since I’d never have twigged it (and I still can’t find the ‘nineteen’).

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:34 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Seeing how 3d worked was one of my big D’oh moments

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

        How almost every clue worked was a Doh moment for me.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted April 14, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      The ‘nineteen’ – does it start at the 20a square, perhaps? There’s a circular route, or a ‘7’ shape.
      Unsurprisingly, pretty quiet around here today!

  5. Miffypops
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Elgar 1 – 0 MP.

  6. baerchen
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A tad on the tricky side and not quite finished, alas. Nina v clever but way out of my league so thanks for pointing that out.
    Incidentally Dave, your intro brings to mind the legendary Ted “The Count” Hankey who went by the sobriquet “The Prince of Dartness”

  7. spindrift
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    One to solve in doses over the weekend methinks in between playing with grandson Henry.

    Incidentally the city which appears as part of the clue in 7d was also my home town for the first 32 years of my life & where most of my family still live, including the Aged P.

  8. Robin Hill
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Outstanding and very entertaining. I did finish it within reasonable time, but couldn’t parse several answers; thanks to Tilsit for the explanations. I didn’t work out the Nina either, although I suspected that one existed. 20a, 23a, 6d and 11a were among many favourites here.

  9. LetterboxRoy
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 3:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My head hurts. 20a close second, 18d favourite. Thanks Tilsit. Thanks Elgar, I think…

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Was left with 13a and 3d only.
    Thought it might be bracket score in 13a (brackets being the two interruptions) but could’nt make it work. Would not have got 3d in a million years.
    Elgar seems to spend a lot of time in pubs. So thanks to him for sharing his knowledge about darts.
    Didn’t see the Nina either.
    Thanks for the usual great fun and thanks to Tilsit for the review.

  11. the_toff
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    White flag for me with several unparsed and 3 unsolved in the South. Never heard of dear Ralph or the fertility symbols not to mention the rib. Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit for the elucidation.

  12. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We had to reveal a few letters to eventually end up with a completed correct grid but there were still several where we could not work out all the wordplay.
    Thanks Elgar for the challenge and Tilsit for the explanations.

  13. dutch
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Many Thanks Tilsit, excellent review.

    The mess the DT gets into by not having the setter’s name appear with the online puzzle (2d, 6d).

    managed to fill the grid (slow & steady), and was desperately looking for a 3-dart finish. I found a few inventive ways to reach 117, but not quite right. I saw the double ten but missed the much needed nineteen, even though I was looking for it, and in the right place – just didn’t see the bend – it seems obvious now. The positioning is a lovely touch.

    I hadn’t heard of Ralph. and I’d forgotten the type of cricket game, so those two were not completely parsed.

    Brilliant puzzle, many thanks Elgar as always

  14. Verlaine
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 8:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I really enjoyed this despite needing the excellent blogger’s help to fully parse a few of the clues (3d, 13a, 17d). I couldn’t have workee out the Nina even if you’d told me it was something to do with darts scoring.

    Elgar puzzles are really a highlight of my Telegraph Toughie experience (Toughies genuinely worthy of the appellation!) so many thanks setter and blogger.

  15. Deep Threat
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The rib in 19d is the sort of word I might expect to have to dig out of the BRB if doing the Enigmatic Variations on a sunday, but I’m not convinced it’s entirely fair in a weekday Toughie, especially when you only get the vowels as checking letters.

    Apart from that, a substantial workout from the master setter. Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit for the explanations.

  16. jane
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

    OK – I got 21d quite easily, guessed at 1d from the enumeration and bunged in the second word of 12a based on the chap’s name and the reference to ‘relish’. That was it – sum total of my efforts.
    Have now read through the hints and clicked on the answers which prove that I wouldn’t have got much further between now and 1/4a.

    Elgar, you astound me and I am full of admiration for those who can actually solve your puzzles. Tilsit – I think you deserve a stiff drink and a long rest in a darkened room!

  17. Robin Newman
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks to Elgar and Tilsit -hints certainly needed for this one.

    Any elucidations for the following would be most appreciated:
    where the nineteen in the nine is in the grid
    10A-where does “and” come from
    1D-180 is 3 triple 20’s
    3D-do not understand how “as” is clued

    • Posted April 14, 2017 at 11:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

       L F
       E E
       N A
       E R
      10a – verges of rockery = R AND Y
      1d – one hundred and eighty is the definition of TOP SCORE
      3d – not sure where you get AS – “it” is SA (sex appeal) which is inserted into THEME (dartboard)

      • Robin Newman
        Posted April 15, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink | Reply

        nina-I think nineteen must come from:
        NINET from 20A, then diagonally down from the T
        which forms a 7

        10A-now understood, Thanks
        1D-still confused-double 4A is 40 and bullseye is 50 which makes 90, not 180 ?
        3D-of course !

        Thanks for the help.

        • Posted April 15, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink | Reply

          It’s TREBLE NINETEEN – as per the letters underlined in my earlier comment, although I had discounted using the first E in trEble, but either way works.

          1d – TOPS (double twenty (4 Across) is known as tops) + CORE (bullseye) – this was explained in Tilsit’s hint

          • Robin Newman
            Posted April 16, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink | Reply


  18. LetterboxRoy
    Posted April 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great puzzle, but hard work.
    Thanks all.

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