Toughie 2079 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2079

Toughie No 2079 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hi everyone.  I’m standing in for Dutch this week while he’s off on his holidays, and what a treat to have an Elkamere puzzle to blog.  After a little staring at the grid with nothing going in, I spotted 3d which got me started.  Thereafter, progress was slow but steady, with plenty of “aha!”s to keep me entertained.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Nice short hairdo available in black (10)
PERSONABLE:  A curled hairstyle is cut short by having its last letter removed, then a two-letter word meaning available (the example that sprang to my mind was of beer in a pub) is inserted into a heraldic or poetic word for black

6a    Advantage, over two days, small (4)
ODDS:  String together four abbreviations: the one for over, two of the one for day (two days), and the one seen on clothing labels for small

10a   Filly tied with old rope (5)
LASSO:  A young lady and O(ld)

11a   Curses motherland? (9)
DAMNATION:  You have to split the last word of the clue in two, find synonyms, and then join them together again: an animal mother and a land or country.  The ? alerts you to the fact that there may be something funny going on

12a   Baby  alarm (7)
CONCERN:  This is a colloquial meaning of baby, like this crossword is Elkamere’s baby and this blog is BD’s baby.  The second definition is mild alarm.  A great excuse to feature this classic:

13a   Around 50, heart problem (7)
TICKLER:  A slang term for the heart goes around the Roman numeral fifty

14a   A piece of cake, means to keep one sick (5,7)
PLAIN SAILING:  Means or intends containing (to keep) the Roman one, all followed by unwell or in poor health

18a   Artist makes sacred tree sketch (12)
GAINSBOROUGH:  Concatenate makes or acquires, the Buddhist holy tree, and sketch or draft.  The artist who painted the scenes featured above and below

21a   Prayer offered when a new setter joins us (7)
ANGELUS:  To find this prayer, assemble A (from the clue), N(ew), a setting agent (of hair perhaps) and US (also from the clue)

23a   To a man on the farm, highest building? (3,4)
BAR NONE:  This split (4,3) might be the most important farm building, so possibly the highest.  Niftily hidden definition: without exception

24a   Maiden in divine area by lake (9)
INAUGURAL:  A charade of IN (from the clue), a verb to divine or foretell, and abbreviations for area and for lake

25a   Supply an online joke, as it were? (5)
EQUIP:  Split (1-4) this might be an online witticism

26a   River duck last to hibernate (4)
NILE:  Duck here has its crickety meaning of zero; follow a word with that meaning with the end of (last to) hibernate

27a   Sibling in comfortable uniform (10)
CONSISTENT:  A sib that is not a bro is inside comfortable or satisfied



1d    Cut up frozen line (6)
POLICY:  The reversal (… up) of chop or cut (off) followed by an adjective meaning frozen, three letters apiece

2d    Riot gear — wrong parts (6)
RISING:  A wrong (3) parts gear or equipment

3d    Dying criminal seen as long-lost (2,4,4,4)
ON ONE’S LAST LEGS:  An anagram (criminal) of SEEN AS LONG LOST

4d    Quite slow, and pro-acceptance? (9)
ANDANTINO:  Take the AND from the clue and add something (4-2) which could mean pro acceptance, or against denial.  It’s a musical term

5d    Check the author is into informal writing (5)
LIMIT:  Translate “the author is” into the first person, contract it, and (having discarded the unwanted apostrophe) put that into a shortened (informal) word for writing in general

7d    Train snapped — that’s the boring part (5,3)
DRILL BIT:  A charade of train or teach by repeated practice and snapped or nipped

8d    Watch drunken orgy after broadcast (6-2)
SENTRY-GO:  An anagram (drunken) of ORGY goes after broadcast or transmitted

9d    Cards left and right, for example (8,6)
MARCHING ORDERS:  I think the cards are those such as the red ones in football.  What I might be giving you if I shouted “left, right, left …”

15d   Rockets currently do within ship (9)
SNOWBALLS:  Currently (3) and a formal “do” inside our usual abbreviated steamship

16d   Indian city rain disrupted farming? (8)
AGRARIAN:  An Indian city (the one famous for a certain iconic mausoleum) and an anagram (disrupted) of RAIN.  Farming here is an adjective

17d   Call dog a small carnivore (8)
RINGTAIL:  Call on the telephone plus dog in the sense of follow or track.  Picture credit: Mr K

19d   Control for audio  book (6)
VOLUME:  Two definitions which shouldn’t need further elucidation

20d   Tyrant‘s ability to sense breaking point (6)
DESPOT:  Ability to sense beyond the established five senses inside (breaking) a point or small mark

22d   Type of motor found in reservoir (5)
SERVO:  A lurker lurking lurkily in (found in) the final word of the final clue


Thanks Elkamere.  Like the crossword, listing favourites might take a while …  The first couple of across clues were contenders, but the double definition at 12a really stood out for me, and 19d wasn’t too shabby either.  The surface of 21a is delightful, especially since we had a new setter just yesterday.  And am I really not going to mention 8d?  Well, maybe I’d better not.  Over to you!


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


9 comments on “Toughie 2079

  1. As Elkamere Toughies go I thought this was very much on the gentle side (probably because 3d, 14a and 18a all dropped in quickly, giving loads of checkers) but as enjoyable as ever.
    The clues mounting the podium for me were 11a, 23a and 9d.
    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and to Kitty for the blog and the lovely pics of the snowball makers.

  2. This was probably the gentlest Elkamere/Anax I have ever seen (but I don’t see his Toughies very often!). 8d was a new phrase to me but quite guessable from crossers and wordplay.

    Thanks to Kitty and Elkamere

  3. Elkamere definitely in fluffy slippers rather than hob-nailed boots today, but still lots to admire. I hope he doesn’t get paid by the word as I reckon he has averaged just five words per clue or thereabouts.

  4. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle. I’m glad it was no more challenging that it was because it was pretty much right at my limit in difficulty. My entry point was 7d and I worked clockwise through the quadrants. 3d took me far longer than it should have, and the NW corner in general was the last and slowest. 2d was my last in – so clever when the penny dropped! Many thanks to Elkamere and Kitty.

  5. Nice puzzle – relatively gentle for a Toughie, very much helped by an early 3d. Didn’t know the Buddhist holy tree but that didn’t hold me up. Top marks to 9d and 23a for me. 3 Toughies done in a row. It’s been a fairly gentle week. I guess there’s a storm brewing!

  6. We had a somewhat slow start in our usual NW corner, but once we were up and running it all went together in reasonable time for a Friday Toughie. Once again we were impressed by the brevity of the clues where not a single word is wasted. Good fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Elkamere and Kitty.

  7. I’m not sure that snowballs is a good synonym for rockets….Apart from that, very enjoyable.

    1. From Chambers Thesaurus

      Balloon (verb)
      the deficit ballooned to 4 billion dollars
      soar, rocket, increase rapidly, snowball, grow rapidly, escalate, skyrocket

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