Toughie No 1795 by Elgar
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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!