Toughie 1847

Toughie No 1847 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another corker from Elgar. This is his 119th Toughie puzzle, and the 15-letter Nina relates to that. I was worried at first when I spent ‘some time’ staring at the grid getting nowhere. Eventually, I saw 4d, 24d and got the long 19a across which helped me bootstrap my way into the puzzle. It all went a bit more smoothly towards the end with the help of checkers – a very satisfying solve.

Finding the definitions is half the battle – they are underlined for you in the clues below. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay, and you can always click on the Diagonal boxes to reveal the answers. Please let us know what you thought and how you got on.

1a     Sick about cutting deal so close to the finishing-line? (9)
TRACKSIDE: An anagram (about) of SICK goes inside (cutting) another word for deal

9a     ‘Morsels‘ could be my word! (6)
CRUMBS: Two meanings

10a     Retrospectively rating band in very important stall (4,2,3)
KEEP AT BAY: Reversal of a rating or sailor and a band or ribbon go inside (in) a 3-letter word meaning very important

11a     See 26

12a     Nasty injury to this person standing in lower position (9)
JUNIORITY: An anagram (nasty) of INJURY TO, including (standing in) the first person pronoun that describes the setter (this person)

13a     Not simply quality stuff for design (6)
TATTOO: Split (3,3), the answer suggests there is rubbish as well

17a     Fat-soluble vitamin supplement would make this 22 move on! (3)
GEE: Adding a letter denoting a fat-soluble vitamin to the end of the answer gives you a synonym for the answer of 22d

19a     Take one person for a ride, then another of some importance (15)
CONSEQUENTIALLY: Split (3,12), the answer would suggest to swindle one person after another

20a     They look to usurp leader, of course (3)
YES: A 4-letter word for things that look, without the first letter (to usurp leader)

21a     Restrict wine in ranks (6)
TIERED: A word meaning restrict plus a type of wine (not white or rosé)

25a     In Clash tape discover backing tracks not widely known? (9)
SIDEPATHS: Reverse hidden (In …. backing)

26a & 11a Hugh’s cross my uphill struggling will split returning compilers up (6-6)
PUSHMI-PULLYU: Hugh is an author. An anagram (struggling) of MY UPHILL goes inside the reversal of both a 2-letter pronoun referring to compilers from Elgar’s perspective and UP from the clue

27a     Before the last of three secure turns, close deposit box (5,4)
NIGHT SAFE: Before the last letter of threE, reverse a 4-letter word meaning secure and add a word meaning close

28a     Head discovered activity behind the bike-shed? (6)
NOGGIN: Remove the first and last letters (dis-covered) of some amorous activity that might take place behind a bike shed. And silly me kept thinking of smoking

29a     Rudeness the reason for Silver’s sober solstice? (9)
INDECORUM: Split (2,3,1,3), the answer suggests a possible reason our one-legged pirate friend might be on the wagon on the shortest day of the year


2d     Take man to discover monkey (6)
RHESUS: The Latin abbreviation for take (Recipe), a male pronoun, and a slang word meaning to find out or discover

3d     Tramp filmed rejecting hospital fish (6)
CAPLIN: The genius who played a lovable tramp in some old comedy movies without the abbreviation for Hospital

4d     Animal magnetism + shape = heavenly body (6)
SATURN: A 2-letter abbreviation meaning animal magnetism or “it”, plus a verb meaning to shape (on a lathe)

5d     Newsagent’s Daily Telegraph finally all going (he had three; he admitted to unlimited supplements) (4,4,7)
DEAD TREE EDITION: To get this paper version, repeatedly remove the final letter in Telegraph from HE HAD THREE HE and put inside (admitted to) a word meaning supplements, with the first and last letters removed (unlimited)

6d     Evergreen song one sings about a Roller? (9)
ARAUCARIA: A vocal composition for one performer (e.g., in opera) goes around a whimsical way (1,1,3) of saying ‘a roller’ (using an abbreviation meaning posh)

7d     Maybe weather pronouncements follow someone around shops? (5,4)
SMALL TALK: A verb meaning to follow someone, obsessively perhaps, goes ‘around’ a shopping area

8d     Handle £25m that banks used suspiciously (9)
PSEUDONYM: The slang word for £25 plus the letter M from the clue goes around (banks) an anagram (suspiciously) of USED

14d     Short sword’s suspended on outside of leg, a feature of the Highlands (5,4)
SCOTS PINE: A 5-letter short sword, plus the ‘S, is reversed (suspended, in a down clue) around (on outside of) a slang word for leg

15d     To make one’s X in voting, is red number up? (9)
UNDERSIGN: Reverse hidden (in …. up)

16d     Give me time to help woman walking the streets? (5,4)
METER MAID: ME from the clue, a stretch of time in school or in prison, plus a 3-letter word meaning help



17d     Stay to poke fun (3)
GUY: Two meanings, the first referring to a rope

18d     The essence of Schopenhauer and Wittgenstein’s being? (3)
ENS: The central 2-letters (essence) are the same in each name, and considering them together as a plural gives the answer

22d     “T” arresting “X” operative in “Q” Division? (6)
TECHIE: How you would spell “T” goes around (arresting)the Greek letter that looks like an “X”

23d     Complete Stage 1: stifling 17ac … so step on it! (4,2)
PASS GO: Going around (stifling) the letter spelled out in 17a we have SO from the clue. Then place a French word meaning dance step first (on it, in a down clue)

24d Doctor dismissing a hateful affliction (3,3)
THE FLU: An anagram (doctor) of H(a)TEFUL but ‘dismissing’ the A

I loved the reverse hiddens, especially 15d. The 26a-11a pair intrigued me no end and I had to solve it before I got the definition. 3d, 13a and 28a all raised a smile, as did much of the rest of the parsing.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A real properly tough toughie – mind you we expect that from Elgar on a Friday.

    5a wasn’t the word I used when I had to stop to start work with only 11 solutions filled in. I worked at it on and off and eventually, helped by the Nina (yes, I did spot it reasonably early enough to be of assistance) , finished it all off in a lot more than 5* Toughie time, and once I’d finished the mighty struggle and read it all through, I’d give it more than 5* enjoyment too.

    Two of the best hidden reversed lurkers I’ve seen for quite a while, the d’oh moments that were 28a and 16d, but I think I’ll award favourite status to 5a as it got me started.

    Thanks to Elgar for a tremendous toughie well worthy of the name on the tin.

  2. Gazza
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This was a real Toughie – thanks to Elgar and to Dutch. For once I found the reference to Elgar’s puzzle number. The clues I liked best were 13a, 28a, 5d and 16d.
    I really wanted to write graveside (close to the finishing line) in 1a but had to think again because I couldn’t parse it!

  3. David Cianfarani
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It was very difficult and I could not do more than half. The main reason was that there were just two “through” clues — the two 15 letter ones. This meant that all four corners had to be more or less solved as separate entities. Dave

    • crypticsue
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog

    • Gazza
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 2:45 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Welcome to the blog, David Cianfarani.

  4. Physicist
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 3:47 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did better than I expected on this, eventually failing on only two: 29a ( I belatedly twigged the significance of Silver, but it didn’t help), and 22d ( I never thought of chi for X). Many thanks to Elgar for the work-out, and Dutch for the elucidation.

  5. Digby
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for the review Dutch (and of course Elgar for the mental torture).
    The answers to 3d and 6d are currently exposed.

    • dutch
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink | Reply

      so they are, will fix immediately

  6. Tony
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Oh dear. I got less than a handful, and sadly, no fun here for me at all.

  7. Verlaine
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 8:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Enjoyed this, despite a few things I needed to check up on (thanks Dutch for the great blog!) everything went in with a fair amount of confidence and I even saw the Nina for a change. Took me my whole journey home from work which is the perfect length for a Toughie, really isn’t it? Many thanks Elgar, even better than usual I reckon!

  8. Sheffieldsy
    Posted July 14, 2017 at 9:55 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wowser, really tough. Can we give it 6 stars?

    We did it but had a deal of electronic help although we used Dutch’s review only to check answers we already felt were right. Some of the parsings are quite extreme, we thought. It’s propbably the hardest Toughie we have ever finished, so we’re justifiably content.

    We couldn’t see the Nina – can anyone point us in the right direction please?

    Lots of great clues, of course, but probably the best for us was 29a once we had the correct parsing.

    Any thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

    • dutch
      Posted July 14, 2017 at 9:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      with pleasure – there was a hint in the “click here” box in the preamble.

      Look at the diagonal from top left to bottom right

      and well done!

  9. LetterboxRoy
    Posted July 15, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Brilliant – except for 26/11 which I couldn’t fathom, not convinced made up words have a place in crosswords.. is it the BRB anybody?
    Many thanks to Elgar for an otherwise fab puzzle – fave 29a. Thanks too, Dutch for the review. ****/*****

  10. JB
    Posted July 16, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    You must all be punch drunk not to notice this is Toughie 1847 not 1845!

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