Toughie 2039 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2039

Toughie No 2039 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another delightful puzzle from Elkamere, with impressively short clues. This was a nice challenge without being OTT difficult – though it took me a while to get going, and I needed two sittings to finish. I did have to consult the dictionary for a couple of clues. My laptop is away for repair, and I’m grateful to BD for helping me to get this blog posted.

As always, the definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you make sense of the wordplay, and you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the Independent next wednesday! boxes. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.



1a     Moving up? (3,3,6)
OFF THE GROUND: A lovely double definition, the first meaning started or on the way (e.g. for a project), the second more literal


9a     Air show has them for one hugging boy (5,4)
THEME SONG: THEM from the clue plus an abbreviation for ‘for one’ going around (hugging) another word for boy

10a     Funny Girl’s conclusion, my turn (5)
DROLL: Reversal (turn) of the last letter (conclusion) in Girl plus an exclamation meaning my!

11a     Deceive other half over missing recipe (6)
ENTRAP: The reversal (over) of a 7-letter word meaning other half without the abbreviation for Recipe

12a     Hardy‘s anger about books reflecting decline (8)
INTREPID: A 3-letter word for anger surrounds (about) some biblical books, plus a reversal (reflecting) of another word for decline

13a     Bad murder charge (7)
OFFICE: Charge as in responsibility or duty. A word meaning bad, as in rotten food, plus a slang verb meaning to murder

15a     Scatter food, not hot as such (8)
DISPERSE: A 4-letter word for food without the final H (not hot), plus a (3,2) Latin expression meaning as such, or in itself

18a    Plymouth Brethren member‘s brave to keep next to it (8)
DARBYITE: A verb meaning to brave or to take a risk goes around (to keep) a 2-letter word meaning ‘next to’ plus IT from the clue

19a     Beer with a straw? One might be sent back (6)
WALLOP: The abbreviation for with plus A from the clue, then the reversal (sent back) of a 4-letter word for which ‘straw’ may represent one kind (straw? one might be)


21a     Only wants to capture top gangster (2,6)
AL CAPONE: A 5-letter word meaning only goes around (wants to capture) a verb meaning to top, or maybe top as in bottle top or headgear


23a     German city putting one million into sport (6)
WEIMAR: Put the Roman numeral for one plus the abbreviation for million into a verb meaning to sport

26a     Man with no time to be a hoarder (5)
MISER: Remove the T (with no time) from a 6-letter generic title for a man

27a     Get off me, chimed Kylie? (9)
BOOMERANG: An expression of disapproval (get off), ME from the clue, and a verb meaning chimed. Kylie is a definition by example, as indicated by the question mark. Indeed, according to wikipedia it is a non-returning type of the answer

28a     Fast way to attract attention (6,6)
HUNGER STRIKE: A cryptic definition based on a pun on ‘fast’



1d     Busy part of month, e.g. October (2,3,2)
ON THE GO: Hidden (part of … )

2d     Flying boats (5)
FLEET: Double definition, the first as in rapid


3d     An order to run railway over part of bridge (9)
HIERARCHY: A 3-letter verb meaning to run or hurry, then the abbreviation for railway goes around (over) a part of a bridge

4d     Good argument for progress (4)
GROW: The abbreviation for good plus another word for argument

5d     Newspaper has to pass on material (8)
ORGANDIE: A 5-letter newspaper or media outlet plus a word meaning pass on or expire

6d     All Time Low in North America, free to return (5)
NADIR: The abbreviation for North America plus a reversal (to return) of a verb meaning to free

7d    Officer material (8)
CORPORAL: A double definition, the first being a non-commissioned officer and the second being the opposite of spiritual. And perhaps the NCO is ‘officer material’


8d     Word – plural form of butt (6)
PLEDGE: The 2-letter abbreviation for plural plus a word meaning butt or end

14d     About to enter side of Nottingham that’s divine (8)
FORECAST: A word meaning about or concerning goes inside (to enter) the name of the football side in Nottingham

16d     Almost give Bond’s location (9)
PLACEMENT: Most of a 4-letter word meaning give or leeway plus a verb meaning to bond

17d     A humming insect (5,3)
STINK BUG: A cryptic definition where the humming is not the noisy kind

18d     Attorney about to work against the law (6)
DHARMA: A 2-letter abbreviation for an American attorney goes about a verb meaning to work against or damage. Brb was needed here

20d     Canoe is very good out of control (7)
PIROGUE: That 2-letter word meaning very good plus an adjective meaning out of control, as in a ***** state


22d     Hidden delta in South American country (5)
PERDU: The letter coded by Delta in international radio communication goes inside (in) a South American country

24d     I wound up in US city (5)
MIAMI: A reversal of I from the clue and a verb meaning to wound (severely)


25d     While talking, drag pig (4)
BOAR: A homophone (while talking) of a noun meaning a drag


I quite liked 24a. I also liked 9a because it took me ages to realise ‘has’ was part of the definition. And 27a, where the misdirection was so effective that I was quite convinced  the answer had to be slang for an Australian. Which clues did you like?


21 comments on “Toughie 2039

  1. A perfectly-pitched Toughie from Elkamere so thank you to him, and to Dutch also One of those crosswords where the LH side was nicely filled in and the RH side, particularly the NE corner, took a lot longer to solve

    My particular favourite was 27a

  2. A thoroughly enjoyable puzzle – thanks to Elkamere (who seems to have followed Beam’s example in dispensing with anagrams completely) and to Dutch.
    There were several answers that were new to me (18a, 17d and 18d) and which I had to verify – I did know Kylie from having come across her by accident once in the back pages of the BRB.
    Too many great clues to list them all but I particularly liked 9a, 19a and 14d – my favourite however was the brilliantly disguised lurker in 1d.

  3. I found this difficult. Like Gazza, a few needed looking up but all clued beautifully. No idea what 18a is about.

    Liked the 1d lurker and 27a but 21a stands out for me.

    Many thanks to Elkamere for a proper workout, and Dutch for the decryption

    1. I also had no idea about 18a, but looking up the putative answer in brb was convincing – next step was wikipedia. I was hoping the illustration would be a strong pointer.

  4. I thought this was a wonderfully constructed puzzle, and on the whole great fun. I got 1a early on, and once I had it, I was 1a and running! I thought, like Gazza, that 1d was one of the most ingenious lurkers I have ever seen. I very much liked the cleverness of the very short clues. The only thing that detracted from my enjoyment were the many definitions and references that I had never heard of. I counted 6 in all, with the most delaying being neither aware of the term for beer in 19a, nor the term for canoe in the intersecting 20d. However, eventually I got it all sorted out, but by having spent far more time with Google and dictionaries than I really find enjoyable. Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  5. Achieved half the answers in 5* time (for me!) and then had to concede that I am not on this wavelength. A bit like yesterday as well. Hope I improve next week!!

  6. Only managed a few and when I read the blog I understood why! With answers like 18a and 18d I didn’t stand a chance.
    Isn’t a nonreturning 27a an oxymoron?
    For 17d I had “drone fly’. Perfectly acceptable but wrong.
    Better luck with the back page – I hope!
    Overcome with admiration for Dutch.

    1. I’ve never managed to get one to return, so i don’t know whether its oxymoronic. Hang on, maybe I was having a fling with Kylie?

  7. Failed on 18d unfortunately.
    But the rest of the crossword took less time than it usually does on a Friday.
    Not complaining though.
    Must be a wavelength thing.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch.

  8. Went through this one at quite a reasonable pace and thought that for once I was going to complete an Elkamere challenge without resorting to electronic help. That was before I hit the brick wall with the 18’s and eventually had to seek assistance from our Friday blogger.

    Not overly convinced by the first part of the answer to 27a but everything else as spot on as always from this setter.
    Many thanks to him and to Dutch for the much needed hints – looking forward to next Wednesday!

      1. Of course they are, 2Ks, but you might like to take a peek under the ‘click here’ button in Dutch’s intro for another upcoming highlight!

        1. How disappointing – I’d assumed that you were looking forward to another dose of my purple prose in the Toughie blog! :D

          1. Love your Wednesday Toughie blogs as you well know – with the possible exception of those where you assert that a puzzle I’ve struggled to solve would possibly have been suitable for the back page slot!

  9. We worked out 27a from the wordplay and then wondered about how the definition worked. We should have investigated a bit further as Dutch did. We needed to confirm the gentleman in 18a once we had worked out who it probably had to be. In the picture we found he looked quite a lot grumpier than the one shown here.
    The answers all fell regularly for us, but not rapidly, and a pleasure from start to finish.
    Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

    1. Here I am! Sorry, family visit, was out very late last night.
      Triffic blog as always, and thanks to all for your comments.

  10. Finished over breakfast today. Held up on 12a by an early conviction that ‘Hardy’ was Oliver and that his usual expression of anger (‘Another fine mess you’ve gotten me into!’) involved an anagram of ‘fine’. Fortunately, 7d and 8d led me to the much simpler solution.

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