Double Toughie 100009 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Double Toughie 100009

Double Toughie No 100009
Behind You! Behind You!!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This puzzle can be found on the puzzles site as Giant General Knowledge No. 100,009 and its solution as Giant General Knowledge number 1,100,009.  This information can be found in the message titled “2017 Christmas Day puzzles and closing dates”.  BD

Season’s Greetings! Christmas brings the annual Double Toughie from The Fiendish One. As usual we have a suitably festive theme and this time it’s the theatrical entertainments associated with this time of year. However, seeing as it’s an Elgar puzzle, nothing is straight-forward. The theme is built around a catchphrase associated with these entertainments.

As usual it’s terribly complicated putting things together but one of those that spurs you on to do it.

Inside the grid are eleven examples of the puzzle that are literally connected by the answers at 24 (in every example) and 60 (in most examples). Taking the theme statement, the first half of the example is clued and the second half of the statement means that these are not clued, and you’ll have to find them from intersecting letters.

The whole thing has taken a little longer than usual to put together and I’m sorry for the delay. Sadly, one or two things got in the way of finishing it, but it’s here now.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.    I have made a few slight changes to explanations, and these are shown in red.


1a    (5)
BEAST:    This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 1 down

4a    Jesting ties in with this noisy hoot (2,3,2,2,2,2,2,4)
OH YES, IT IS; OH NO, IT ISN’T:    The clue itself is an ‘all-in-one’ loose definition, but is also an anagram (jesting) of TIES IN and THIS NOISY HOOT.

14a    Middlesbrough’s first half, in retrospect, says nothing (5)
MIMES:        M (first letter of Middlesbrough) + a word meaning half reversed gives something meaning says nothing.

17a    Line one has to incorporate (7)
ALADDIN:    This is the clued first half of a themed phrase. L (line) + A (one) inside a phrase meaning to incorporate.

18a    PI Watt, not out 100? (4,11)
DICK WHITTINGTON:    Another first half of a themed phrase. Another slang word for what a P.I. is, plus W (watt) and a cryptic way of saying what you are doing if you are not out for 100 in a cricket match (indicated by the question mark).

19a    Writer of ballads, among other things (3,4)
ALI BABA:    Another first half of a themed phrase. Inside the Latin word for other things (a legal word) goes the name of a famous ballad writer, a pseudonym of WS Gilbert.

20a/23a    (5,5)
THREE BEARS:    This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 22 down.

22a    (6)
GRETEL:        This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 64 across.

23a    See 20a

27a    Do turn introducing a new show (5)
PANTO:        The shortened name for the theme of the puzzle, a type of show. The abbreviation that instructs you to move forward in a book has A + N (new) inside.

30a    Greyhound, say, swallowing something round and large — this? (5)
BOLUS:    What a Greyhound is in the USA has O (round) + L (large) inside – and this gives something that is also round a large (and can be a weapon).

32a    (5,6)
SEVEN DWARFS:        This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 38 across.

35a/57a    (5,7)
FORTY THIEVES:        This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 19 across.

38a    Now holiday’s upon us, we are both going topless (4,5)
SNOW WHITE:    A first half of a themed phrase. Inside US and WE, without their first letters goes NOW and WHIT (holiday).

39a    (9)
BEANSTALK:    This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 49 across

40a    Nick’s unrecognisable? (5,4)
ROBIN HOOD:    A first half of a themed phrase. A word meaning to nick and then add a cryptic phrase you might use to describe someone who cannot be recognised.

42a    “Arable area” describes it (3)
LEA:    A hidden answer where the answer is concealed inside the definition!

44a    Understand the responsibility of a bishop (3)
SEE:    Double definition – a word meaning to understand and the territory looked after by a bishop.

45a    Shilling oil bottles sucker procures for the rest (9)
FOOTSTOOL:    Something you may use when you relax is revealed by putting S (shilling) inside a type of oil (usually spelt ATTAR) this is all surrounded by a word for a sucker.

47a    (4)
LAMP:    This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 17 across.

49a    Athletic Club representing Queen in run (4)
JACK:    A first half of a themed phrase. Take the run of three cards following a ten, and swap AC (Athletic Club) for the middle card (Queen).

51a    Could it be Oscar Elliott’s friend breaking the law? (9)
STATUETTE:    An example of what an Oscar is your definition. Inside a word for law goes the name of Elliott’s little out-of-this world friend in film.

55a    Fool wants climber to crack nuts (7)
BERSERK:    Inside a word for a fool goes a climber (the name for bitter vetches, I am reliably told) to give something meaning nuts or insane.

56a/59a    (5,2,3,4)
BABES IN THE WOOD:    Not often seen as a full title with 40 across, usually it stands alone as one, is this unclued second half to the clue answer at 40 across.

57a    See 35a    

59a    See 56a    

60a    See preamble
THE:    A word to be deduced from the preamble.

61a    (6)
DRAGON:   This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 62 across.

62a    Time to stop returning farm produce, bringing in equivalent from 58? (2,6)
ST GEORGE:     A first half of a themed phrase. Inside the name of some animal produce you can buy on a farm goes T (time) and the reverse of the maritime equivalent of the produce.

63a    Char one’s decanted into a mug (5,3)
PETER PAN:    A first half of a themed phrase. A word meaning char, minus its last letter (one decanted) goes inside a word meaning a, as in the phrase miles an hour, plus a word meaning mug or face.

64a    Brahms and Liszt heal North and South divide (6)
HANSEL:        A first half of a themed phrase. Inside an anagram (Brahms and Liszt) of HEAL goes N/S.


1d    Measurability so complex — this similar? (6)
BEAUTY:        A first half of a themed phrase. This is a type of clue known as a compound anagram. Basically, an anagram of the clue answer + SIMILAR = MEASURABILITY.

2d    Undercover modification of air research centre’s admitted (1,5)
A L’ABRI:    A French phrase meaning under cover or sheltered is found by taking the name for a scientific research place and putting it in an anagram (modification) of AIR

3d    A small amount you shouldn’t have drunk at opening (3)
TAD:    When someone says ‘You shouldn’t have’, they mean this. Add to it D (first letter of DRUNK) and you get a small word for a small thing.

4d    Have to admit it hurt Newton (3)
OWN:    There are two definitions here, and an indication of what you say when it hurts, plus N (Newton)

5d    In cathedral perform scales — that demonstrates the range of one’s voice — and vice versa? (5)
YODLE:    Inside the name of a famous cathedral (in E Anglia) goes a word meaning to perform. This is all reversed (scales) and gives an alternative spelling for the way some people test their vocal skills when singing.

6d    Vocal exchange could make PA damn and blast? (7)
SUCCESS:    If you made a PA swear you would have made a SEC CUSS. Swap the vocal sounds and you get…. I wondered where the definition was until I realised that the cuss was just the damn and the definition was blast as in “it’s a blast”.

7d    Ipswich or Huddersfield — their aim on pitch? One will come to grief (4)
TOWN:        The sobriquets attached to these towns’ soccer teams is found by taking what they both strive to do and removing the I.

8d    Father accepting parking’s something of a dream in Oxford? (5)
SPIRE:    Inside to father something goes P and gives an object that’s said to be dreaming in the city nickname of Oxford.    

9d    I don’t like half-hearted milliner (5)
HATER:    Take the name for a milliner and remove 50% of the middle two letters to give someone who doesn’t like things.

10d    Now sanction limits farmyard noise (4)
OINK:    Inside an abbreviation that means to sanction goes a word meaning now or trendy. This gives an animal noise.

11d    What gossip-monger wants so much love’s lost for it (7)
TITBITS:         Take a two-word expression meaning so much as in “I love him….” And swap IT for O to give the name for little pieces of salacious information.

12d    Hedgehog is chilling with covers off (5)
SONIC:        The name for a famous hedgehog is found by taking a three word expression meaning something is chilling (or has been postponed) and removing the first and last letters.

13d    Refresher of late afternoon? (3)
TEA:    Hidden answer gives you something that allegedly refreshes you but I can’t stand to drink, or even smell.

14d    The Rise of Man affected me (3)
MOI:    An affected way of saying ‘Me!” is found by reversing the abbreviation for the island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

15d    Married again, sadly — the kids will make such a noise (6)
MAAING:    M (Married) + an anagram (sadly) of AGAIN gives you the noise made by baby goats.

16d    One’s misspelling includes, e.g., “Summer salt“? (6)
SEASON:    An anagram of ONE’S with another short word meaning e.g., inside gives a word that can either refer to summer or to salt something.

21d    England’s opener, trapped in front, bags duck, gets this? (5)
ELBOW:        E (first letter of England) plus the abbreviation in cricket when you are ‘trapped in front’ has O (duck) inside to give what you might get for that sort of performance.

22d    Twisted record of events Conservative secreted in old ski pants (10)
GOLDILOCKS:    A first half of a themed phrase. A word for a record is reversed (twisted). Add to this an anagram (pants) of OLD SKI with C (conservative) hidden inside.

24d    See preamble

26d    Cryptic setter entertaining bishop managed bores facetiously (10)
TEREBRANTS:    Inside an anagram(cryptic) of SETTER goes B (bishop) and a word meaning managed. This gives a facetious name for bores (according to the Big Red Book)

27d    Quietly approaches Sir Billy for one deposit (3,2)
PAY IN:    The musical abbreviation for quietly is followed the way Sir Billy Conn0lly or someone else from north of the border might be described (1,3) – Sir Billy is usually known as the Big ***

28d    Critical write-up exposed woman (4)
EVIE:    A girl’s name is found by taking the word for a critical article and removing the first and last letters.

29d    Exam not really taken on a regular basis (4)
ORAL:    A word for a type of exam is found by taking the alternate letters (on a regular basis) of NOT REALLY.

31d    Letter by letter, read out a magic formula (5)
SPELL:    Two definitions here.

33d    Name forming part of a hidden crossword message (4)
NINA:    The name for the device of hiding a message in the grid of a crossword is found by taking N (name) + IN (forming part of) + A.

34d    Humour is missing from his understanding (4)
WITH:    A word meaning understanding is found by taking something that means humour and adding HIS, minus IS.

35d    Cashiers type line up (5)
FIRES:    A meaning of the verb cashiers is found by reversing the name of a type.

36d    Zone enclosed by high fence? Flip each pole over the top of it (2-2,4)
NO-GO AREA: Placed over, i.e. inside the word for (egg) flip + the abbreviation of EA(ch) goes the name of a type of pole.

37d    (4,4)
LOST BOYS: This clue is an unclued second half to the clue answer at 63 across

38d    Wizard does wobbly without somewhere to relax (4,3)
SOFA BED:    Inside an anagram (wobbly) of DOES goes a short word meaning Wizard or terrific.

41d    Top 20 in Berlin guided north (7)
DREIDEL:    Bit devious! A word for a type of top is found by taking the answer at 20 in German and adding a word meaning guided reversed (north, OK as it’s a down clue).

43d    Nourishing beer Liberal gets stuck into (6)
ALIBLE:        Something that means nourishing is found by taking a word meaning beer and inserting a short name for the politician in the clue.

44d    One dodges travel in winter so nearly (6)
SKIVER:    A word for someone who dodges (work) is found by taking a way to travel in wintertime and adding most of a word that means so, in comparison.

46d    Badly written notes for US typist (5)
STENO:    An anagram (badly-written) of NOTES gives what the Americans call a typist.

48d    Money is the beginning and the end for Ebenezer Scrooge (5)
MISER:    The first letter of money + IS + the first and last letters of EBENEZER gives what Scrooge is.

50d    Acclaimed hospital is threatening nurses (1-4)
A-LIST:    A neologism meaning acclaimed or very well-known is hidden (nurses) inside HOSPITAL IS THREATENING.

52d    Crestfallen runner needing support from a body of theologians (5)
ULEMA:    The name for a (drug) runner needs its first letter shunted to the end (crestfallen) and add A to reveal the name for a group of Muslim scholars.

53d    A love letter, in brief, omits payment (4)
ANTE:    This needs to be read as ‘A’ + Brief letter – love (O) to give a word for a payment.

54d    Duchess and Lady perhaps up for a little walk? (4)
STEP:    What Duchess and Lady were in Disney films reversed, gives the name for a very short walk.

56d    A little coin took effect (3)
BIT:     Three definitions.

58d    Marine Corps finally make out with the Navy! (3)
SEA :   A word meaning marine is revealed by taking S (last letter of CORPS) and adding a word meaning to make (money) and removing the abbreviation for the Royal Navy.

So, when all is said and done, you should have the following: –

The SEASON (16) of the PANTO/MIMES (27ac/14ac)

AND = 24 / THE =60



OH NO, IT ISN’T (Undefined)


































Hope you managed to wade through it all. If it spurred you to try other more difficult challenges, you can try the Enigmatic Variations in the Sunday Telegraph; The IQ puzzle in the i-paper each Saturday; or the Listener Crossword in the Saturday Times. There’s also Azed in the Observer and Mephisto in the Sunday Times. All of these look daunting (and occasionally are) but given a little thought (read the instructions!) and you can tackle them!

See you next year!

18 comments on “Double Toughie 100009

  1. It seems a long time ago now when No 2 son looked over my shoulder and said ‘that’s a big crossword’. So I explained that it was the Elgar Christmas special. He read the ‘structions and then, like the rest of us, had a little lie down, before I showed him that I always ignore the instructions to start with and see what clues I can solve, after which time the instructions would probably make more sense

    This was indeed the case and I made steady progress once I’d seen the very nice seasonal theme and the phrase in 4a. Given that the Elgar Double probably has its own difficulty spectrum, based on the struggles I’ve had in previous years, I’d definitely give this one 4* for difficulty and 5+* for enjoyment. I marked several clues with stars but would particularly single out 14d and 27d. Only one disappointment – it was a shame there was no room for “He’s behind you!!”

    Thank you and Happy New Year to Elgar, Jane and Tilsit too

  2. I see that 27d is missing half its explanation.

    After the musical instruction for quietly goes the way Sir Billy Connelly or someone else from north of the border might say ‘one’

      1. I know it’s a bit nit-picking but surely he was known as The Big Yin rather than The Big One? Also, I think his surname is spelled Connolly – same as my maternal grandparents.

          1. Sorry, BD, – I should have realised that some folk have possibly only just got around to solving this one. Please feel free to delete my comment, I’d hate to spoil anyone’s enjoyment.

            1. I always regard the comments as being covered by caveat emptor – if you don’t want to know any of the answers then don’t read them.

  3. This took a very leisurely three cups of coffee and a lot of bung-ins to solve. I must have enjoyed it because I kept going!

  4. Many thanks for all the enlightenment, Tilsit. With a great deal of help from Mr Google, I’d managed to fathom out most of the parsing although I failed miserably with the 19a ballad writer and the 55a climber. I did recollect Billy Connolly’s nickname but hadn’t really given any thought to the actual meaning of ‘The Big Yin’.
    I was very surprised to see the coupling of Robin Hood with the Babes in the Wood – not something I had previously come across.

    Elgar’s puzzles are invariably too difficult for me which detracts from the pleasure but I certainly appreciate his expertise – not to mention the brainpower of those who tackle his offerings with aplomb! Three cups of coffee, Bufo? – I could have emptied several jars of coffee in the time it took me!

  5. It seems like several yonks ago but I remember some time spent sparsely peppering the grid (where the three-letter words were a great help) followed by the big reveal moment in the NW, after which progress was better than any Elgar I’ve ever done, thanks in no small part to all the 4a’s.

    Difficulty: not Elgar at his worst. Enjoyment: close to Elgar at his best.

    Many thanks Elgar for the fun and thanks to Tilsit for battling circumstances to bring us the review.

  6. Thanks to Elgar and to Tilsit. I saw 30a as a nice semi-all-in-one, because the answer is a large pill given to animals (or a single dose of medicine such as IV contrast agent, which is how I know it).

  7. Where is this crossword published – it is not in the paper or on the Telegraph puzzle site?

    1. I have added a prologue where I point out that the information is given in a message titled “2017 Christmas Day puzzles and closing dates” – it’s always worth reading the messages, they don’t come that often!

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