Toughie 2059 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2059

Toughie No 2059 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Congratulations Elkamere! A Nina explains why we have a special puzzle today. We also have a pangram, which put me on the right track for 22d. Quite a few new words for me here, but they are all meticulously and fairly clued. We have the usual share of clever misleads and precise clueing.

The definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the word play, but you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the across the word breaks in all the odd rows buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Ornamental shape of rings edging small book (5)
OVOLO: Place a ring-shaped letter either side of (edging) an abbreviation (small) for a book

4a    Mister Blue Rinse minced (9)
NEBULISER: An anagram (minced) of BLUE RINSE

9a    Old man circling church to avoid dog (9)
DACHSHUND: A 3-letter old man or father goes around (circling) both an abbreviation for church and a verb meaning to avoid

10a    On the left, almost any basic defence (5)
REDAN: A political description of someone on the left, plus the first two letters (almost) of AN(y)

11a    One kind of pressure is too much, oddly treated (7)
OSMOTIC: An anagram (treated) of IS TOO M(u)C(h) (oddly)

12a    Icy water swelled around ship first of all (4,3)
ROSS SEA: A 4-letter verb meaning swelled goes around an abbreviation for ship plus the first letter of all

13a    Times news, for example (6)
BYWORD: A 2-letter word meaning times in an arithmetic sense, plus a noun meaning news or tidings

15a    Swell, as pipe full of potatoes? (8)
SMASHING: Swell is an adjective here. A verb meaning to pipe vocally contains (full of) the kind of potatoes that goes well with bangers

18a    Again drink in bar, sober, surprisingly (8)
REABSORB: An anagram (surprisingly) of BAR SOBER

20a    Couple, at heart, also peasants (6)
YOKELS: A verb meaning to couple or join together as you might with oxen plus the central letters (at heart) of also

23a    Mark? Mark? Or forget to mark? (7)
ANTONYM: The first Mark is Cleopatra’s lover, the second is an abbreviation for old German currency. The answer describes what the word ‘forget’ is to ‘mark’ as a verb meaning to take particular notice

24a    Return key with one caught opening drawer (7)
ENTICER: Another word used for the return key on your keyboard contains (with … opening) the Roman numeral for one plus the cricket abbreviation for caught

26a    Sharp object to wrap with string (5)
TWINE: A sharp object, e.g. the prong of a fork, goes around (to wrap) the abbreviation for with

27a    Crack troops trapped by alien plant? (9)
EQUIPMENT: A crack or joke plus another word for troops or  soldiers go inside (trapped by) an abbreviation for alien

28a    Soldier on a grave (9)
PERSEVERE: A 3-letter word meaning ‘a’ and an adjective meaning grave

29a    A way to be accepted by Soviet hostages (5)
ETHOS: Hidden (accepted by …)


1d    Can one do work, even? (3-6)
ODD-JOBBER: A whimsical clue playing on even/odd

2d    Computer company rejected man associated with razor (5)
OCCAM: Reversal (rejected) of an Apple computer and the abbreviation for company

3d    Fish — er, supporting big band (7)
OSSETER: ER from the clue goes underneath (supporting, in a down clue) a 2-letter abbreviation meaning very big plus another word for band or group, not necessarily musical. 

4d    Indian dance fan grabs a companion (6)
NAUTCH: A 3-letter fan, or someone with an obsessive interest, goes around (grabs) A from the clue, then add the abbreviation for companion

5d    Live with lady keeping French boudoir item (8)
BEDFRAME: A 2-letter verb meaning live, then another word for lady containing (keeping) the abbreviation for French

6d    Lion regularly rears small animals (7)
LORISES: The odd letters (regularly) in lion plus a verb meaning rears, as a horse might

7d    Facelift after cut and blow? (9)
SIDESWIPE: Face lift after cut gives you face and lift. Another word for face (e.g. of a cube) and an informal word meaning to lift or steal

8d    Golf club carried by veteran Daly (1,3,1)
R AND A: Hidden (carried by …)

14d    With more bread being white, real crackers (9)
WEALTHIER: An anagram (crackers) of WHITE REAL

16d    Wind is following mostly common stomach ailment (9)
GASTRITIS: Another word for wind, then the IS from the clue comes after (following) another word for common, or hackneyed, without the last letter (mostly)

17d    Show one empire in ruins? Rome’s out of order! (8)
PREMIERE: An anagram (in ruins) of EMPIRE plus R(om)E from the clue without the abbreviation for Order of Merit (out of order)

19d    Not affected as engineers (7)
SINCERE: A 5-letter word meaning as plus the abbreviation for army engineers

21d    Conservative in EU plot sacked by 8 (7)
OCTUPLE: The abbreviation for Conservative goes inside (in) an anagram (sacked) of EU PLOT

22d    Choice of light with river crossing (2,4)
DELUXE: Choice here is an adjective. A unit of light goes inside (with … crossing) a river (found both in Wales and in Scotland)

23d    Carry on Camping’s start hidden by a sheep (3,2)
ACT UP: The first letter (start) of Camping goes inside (hidden by) A from the clue and another word for sheep or ram

25d    A European vet talking (5)
CZECH: A homophone (talking) of a verb meaning to vet

I enjoyed Mister Blue Rinse (4a), pipe full of potatoes (15a), Again drink in bar (18a), and the Golf club carried by veteran Daly (8d). I particular liked 28a (Soldier on a grave) and my favourite has to be 21a, which seems topical. Which clues did you like?

27 comments on “Toughie 2059

  1. Just looking at the NW corner, I don’t know the moulding at 1a, the 14th century philosopher at 2d or the fish at 3d. (I had GROUPER)

    I have completed eight others, but I can’t be ploughing on through this.

    It’s not been a good week, crossworldy speaking, let’s hope for a return to normality next week.

    Thanks to all.

    1. I had grouper too – but it didn’t fit the checkers. I hadn’t heard of the other fish, needed brb

  2. Great toughie thanks.
    My favourite setter.
    Thanks to Dutch for brilliant illustrations.

  3. I must admit that I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much as I normally do when the setter is Elkamere. I put this down to the frustrations of the NW corner where there were three tightly grouped words I didn’t know and had to check out – the kind of pressure, the fish and the Indian dance (the last of which even Mrs Bradford doesn’t seem to have heard of). That said I found plenty to enjoy elsewhere in the puzzle.
    I did notice the pangram but had no idea there was a Nina – thanks to Dutch for his sterling work in finding it and pointing it out and many congratulations to Elkamere for reaching the milestone and for all the pleasure he’s given us solvers during that time.
    The clues which took the medals for me were 28a, 7d and 17d.

  4. Better than yesterday. Almost finished it. Couldn’t parse 25a and was looking for something more exotic than 5d. Stupid.
    Thank you blogger and setter. 100 today. Just one quibble, could have done without the illustration to 3d. What an ugly beast!

  5. Ow. It certainly has been a Toughie week of two halves. Tired after a hard one yesterday, I enlisted more help today. Some stuff I didn’t know in this (was going to say stuff learned, but my brain does not feel very retentive at the moment, so …).

    Was amused by 4a and 7d and also really liked 13a and 28a.

    Thanks and congratulations Elkamere, and thanks Dutch.

  6. Well, it’s good stuff. Only thing I’d say is that unusual words up the toughness just through being what they are, not by any other agency such as evil cluing! And as Elkamere is evil anyway, well, yes, another proper Toughie after yesterday’s beast.

    Enjoyed the style however, a nicely-made crossword.

  7. I”m hopeless with Ninas. Have looked until I’m cross eyed to no avail. Help please!

    1. You’ve appended an ‘a’ to your email address which is forcing your comments into moderation.
      Look at the bridging words in rows 1,3,5,7,9,11.

      1. Thanks for help. I’ll look at both puzzle and email address. I find I can have problems with my i-pad. At times it feels it knows better than me. Technology!
        P.S. Found the Nina. I always thought it was made up from letters in the spaces so didn’t think to look at the answers. I’ll know better next time.

      2. and add rows 13 and 15. It’s MEEEEE!

        this was explained behind the “click me” in the preamble

        1. Sorry to be really thick cos I’m new to the Toughies but I can’t see anything running over the line breaks in line 13 and 15. Please explain x

          1. Welcome to the blog Stephen

            I think Dutch meant was to add after line 11 [antonyM Enticer]

            Line 13 [twinE Equipment] and line 15 [perseverE Ethos]

            making ME EE EE i.e. MEEEEE

  8. Dean has clearly borrowed Mr Manley’s Book of Obscure Words For Crossword Setters for this one. A bit unfair to put so many in one corner I thought. A lot more enjoyable than yesterday’s though – I’m afraid Artix has fallen foul of my three strikes and you’re out rule and has joined the (short) list of setters that I will steer clear of in future.
    28a my clue of the day for the wonderfully deceptive definition hiding in plain sight.

    1. Here the obscurities are to accommodate the Nina. Manley just likes including a few obscurities

  9. Sorry to poor cold water on the celebrations. but Elkamere continues the practise, endemic with Telegraph Toughie setters, of prematurely claiming a century of Toughies.

    Today brings the total to 98, with 1 onlne-only Toughie. While it is still an achievement, let’s wait and celebrate the next but one!

    For the record, the next centurion is likely to be MynoT, currently on 95.

  10. Five unknowns in the top half of the grid certainly dampened my enthusiasm but things improved a lot further down the grid.

    Needed Dutch’s help to fully parse 23a & 7d and also to appreciate the Nina – probably wouldn’t have found that on my own!

    Favourite by a mile was 28a, very nicely done.

    Thanks to Elkamere/Dean for however many puzzles and grateful thanks to Dutch for the helping hand.

  11. Well, my favourite setter hasn’t let me down no matter how many toughies he”s done. Although, I can’t say that I can remember the last time I saw him so verbose in his clueing
    Not a criticism, just an observation :smile:

    The NW corner took longer to do than the rest of the puzzle (nearly) but was worth it. I will probably never see those answers again.

    Pangram …..yes. Nina……no – as usual.

    Thanks to the guitarist for the fun and his erstwhile accompanist for the review

    Have a good weekend all.

  12. Thanks for the great blog, Dutch.
    I feel pretty sure this is 100, but in truth the only reference I have is file numbers which have always been in sequence. According to what I’ve got, this should be 100, and even if a puzzle had been rejected for some reason (can’t remember that ever happening) I’d replace it with one with the same number. Oh well. Looks like I may get two centenaries then.

    1. If you would like to check, here they all are!

      592 – 06 Jul 11
      609 – 04 Aug 11
      624 – 31 Aug 11
      641 – 29 Sep 11
      653 – 20 Oct 11
      667 – 15 Nov 11
      686 – 16 Dec 11
      697 – 05 Jan 12
      708 – 25 Jan 12
      724 – 22 Feb 12
      740 – 21 Mar 12
      757 – 19 Apr 12
      768 – 09 May 12
      784 – 06 Jun 12
      797 – 28 Jun 12
      813 – 26 Jul 12
      828 – 22 Aug 12
      842 – 14 Sep 12
      860 – 17 Oct 12
      874 – 09 Nov 12
      886 – 30 Nov 12
      896 – 19 Dec 12
      909 – 11 Jan 13
      921 – 01 Feb 13
      933 – 22 Feb 13
      949 – 22 Mar 13
      965 – 19 Apr 13
      977 – 10 May 13
      987 – 29 May 13
      1003 – 26 Jun 13
      1008 – 04 Jul 13
      1023 – 31 Jul 13
      1036 – 22 Aug 13
      1048 – 12 Sep 13
      1063 – 09 Oct 13
      1081 – 08 Nov 13
      1095 – 04 Dec 13
      1111 – 01 Jan 14
      1129 – 31 Jan 14
      1137 – 14 Feb 14
      1151 – 12 Mar 14
      1164 – 03 Apr 14
      1175 – 23 Apr 14
      1191 – 21 May 14
      1207 – 18 Jun 14
      1219 – 09 Jul 14
      1237 – 08 Aug 14
      1252 – 04 Sep 14
      1269 – 03 Oct 14
      1283 – 29 Oct 14
      1301 – 28 Nov 14
      1313 – 19 Dec 14
      1330 – 21 Jan 15
      1343 – 12 Feb 15
      1363 – 19 Mar 15
      1376 – 10 Apr 15
      1392 – 08 May 15
      1406 – 03 Jun 15
      1422 – 01 Jul 15
      1436 – 24 Jul 15
      1456 – 28 Aug 15
      1470 – 23 Sep 15
      1486 – 21 Oct 15
      1502 – 18 Nov 15
      1522 – 23 Dec 15
      1531 – 08 Jan 16
      1547 – 05 Feb 16
      1561 – 02 Mar 16
      1579 – 01 Apr 16
      1599 – 06 May 16
      1615 – 03 Jun 16
      1635 – 08 Jul 16
      1651 – 05 Aug 16
      1665 – 31 Aug 16
      1683 – 30 Sep 16
      1695 – 21 Oct 16
      1707 – 11 Nov 16
      1721 – 07 Dec 16
      1731 – 23 Dec 16
      1745 – 18 Jan 17
      1763 – 17 Feb 17
      1777 – 15 Mar 17
      1793 – 12 Apr 17
      1807 – 05 May 17
      1827 – 09 Jun 17
      1843 – 07 Jul 17
      1857 – 02 Aug 17
      1875 – 01 Sep 17
      1891 – 29 Sep 17
      1907 – 27 Oct 17
      1927 – 01 Dec 17
      1941 – 27 Dec 17
      1959 – 26 Jan 18
      1979 – 02 Mar 18
      2001 – 11 Apr 18
      2023 – 18 May 18
      2039 – 15 Jun 18
      2059 – 20 Jul 18

      100006 – 25 Dec 14 (online only

      1. Thanks BD. I’m wondering if the one I did for Rufus’s 80th Birthday was an extra that wasn’t officially a Toughie? I can’t remember.

        1. That’s only one – no other setter has claimed online-only puzzles in their total – if they did the Elgar would have been the first to 100, not Giovanni.

  13. Pretty tough, and I needed a little help in the SW corner, but got there in the end. Nina? Well, I would never have spotted that. :-) Thanks Elkamere for a good Toughie to end the week, 100 puzzles or not.

  14. Like last week, having made a complete mess of Thursday’s toughie, I came to Friday’s toughie with a degree of trepidation, but again like last week, I was able to complete this puzzle. My enjoyment of it was diminished by having to search, like others, for a large number of words I had never heard of, especially in the NW corner. However, I do agree with Dutch in that the the puzzle was beautifully clued. I missed the pangram (again), and as for the Nina . . . . . . Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  15. Annoyed with myself for getting 15a wrong but otherwise this was much less of a struggle than yesterday’s, in which there were two that completely floored me. True, there were some unfamiliar words but the clueing was such that it was possible to work out what the answer probably was and then go to BRB for confirmation.

  16. In Beaumaris passing the time with Mrs B.
    What a toughie, took ages but got there in the end. Eventually found the Nina.
    Thanks all.

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