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Toughie 2115

Toughie No 2115 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

We have a pangram from Elkamere! I was on the lookout for an X in NW, my last quadrant. A fun and tricky puzzle, where I was repeatedly misled and where I learned to pay attention to the punctuation.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Drink oddly seen in clean house (6)
CHASER: The odd letters in seen go inside a verb meaning to clean house

5a    Just manage to get junk article off eBay? (6,2)
SCRAPE BY: A word for junk, then EBAY from the clue without (off) an indefinite article

9a    A plastic pig is outside the law, miss (10)
PLEXIGLASS: PIG from the clue goes around (is outside) the Latin for law, plus another word for Miss as in young lady

10a    Stop wasting time with a variable pump (4)
QUIZ:     A word meaning stop without (wasting) the final T (time) plus an algebraic variable

11a    Got fine reception with old copper (8)
FATHOMED: The abbreviation for fine, a (2-4) reception held in a person’s own house, and the abbreviation for a penny of old.

12a    Old men gathering on subject of hairstyle (6)
DREADS: Old men, as in fathers, containing (gathering) a short word meaning “on subject of”

13a    The decision of corrupt officials, in part (2,2)
UP TO: Hidden (… in part). It’s THE DECISION OF the referees, It’s ** ** the referees.

15a    Thief fences small dog (8)
PINSCHER: A word for thief goes around (fences) the abbreviation for small

18a    Soldier, number 19 (8)
COMMANDO: The punctuation after soldier, the abbreviation for number, and a synonym for the grid entry in 19a

19a    Slug or shot (4)
BASH: Two meanings, a hit and an attempt

21a    One funny way to block ridicule (6)
JESTER: An abbreviation for a roadway goes inside (blocks) a verb meaning to ridicule

23a    Vision, certainly in place in blindness (8)
EYESIGHT: A 4-letter 3-letter word for certainly goes inside (in) the clue number for the grid entry BLINDNESS

25a    Contend with what 23 allows (4)
VIEW: A 3-letter word for contend plus the abbreviation for with

26a    Blunt end of pencil ____ (5-5)
POINT-BLANK: A word you might use for the end of a pencil, plus the usual description of a missing word indicated by the underlining

27a    Playwright‘s lowest point — what son rejected (8)
SHERIDAN: Reversal of a 5-letter word for lowest point, an exclamation meaning what? and the abbreviation for son

28a    In 21? Wow! (4,2)
WITH IT: Another word for the joker in 21a plus a success (wow)


2d    Mum’s after a computer game (5)
HALMA: A 2-letter Mum follows the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey

3d    Some pupils, by splitting from this, failed (5,4)
SIXTH FORM: The arithmetic symbol meaning by or times goes inside (splitting) an anagram (failed) of FROM THIS

4d    Rule for one that ruler’s upset about (6)
REGIME: the abbreviation of for one, or for example, is covered (about) by the reversal (upset) of an Islamic ruler

5d    Rivers e.g. hold water — guide across channels? (5-2,8)
STAND-UP COMEDIAN: A (5-2) phrase meaning hold water, then a 3-letter verb meaning guide in a nautical sense goes around (across) a word for information channels (tv, radio, press, etc)

6d    Tenant‘s payment to landlord out of hand? (8)
RESIDENT: A 4-letter payment to a landlord goes outside (out of) another word for hand, as in left or right

7d    Look for an audience to wind up (5)
PIQUE: A homophone of another word for look

8d    Not seeing death? That’s new over in heaven (9)
BLINDNESS: A 3-letter word for death plus the abbreviation for new are reversed (over) inside (in) another word for heaven

14d    Square peg out to keep up, too (9)
POOTERISH: a word meaning peg out or die contains (to keep) a reversal (up) of TOO from the clue

16d    Oomph in something like rented vehicle (9)
CABRIOLET: a 4-letter word for oomph or liveliness goes inside (in) a Latin abbreviated for something like, or approximately, and a verb meaning rented

17d    Hardy and Pinter forged papers (8)
INTREPID: An anagram (forged) of PINTER plus an abbreviation for papers

20d    Give old footballer old wife (6)
BESTOW: A late Northern Irish footballer plus the abbreviations for old and wife

22d    Hill shelters people generally keep (5)
TOWER: A 3-letters hill contains (shelters) a pronoun meaning people generally

24d    Language, one that’s back to front (5)
HINDI: The Roman numeral for one, with a word meaning back or rear before it (to front)


I like the punctuation clues 18a and 26a. My last one in was the long down clue, where I was seriously misled. I think my favourites are 2d and 5a. Which were yours?

16 comments on “Toughie 2115

  1. Lovely jubbly from Elkamere once more. I struggled to get going then had a flash of inspiration as to the Rivers in 5d which provided lots of ways in. As is usual for me I didn’t notice the pangram until I had a full grid so it was no help. I didn’t know the 9a plastic.
    My ticks went to 5a, 3d and 14d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

    1. No – a definite fail recorded here, doubt that I even got half way.
      I did particularly like 26a.

      Thanks and apologies to Elkamere and many thanks to Dutch for guiding me through what I should have seen for myself!

  2. Really enjoyed this. Many thanks to the Elk and the Dutchman for, respectively, puzzle and blog – and the parsing of 18a: grrrrrrr and d’oh!

  3. On first glance I thought I was going to have to wave the white flag. It wasn’t until I got to 17d that I was able to make an entry, and it remained rather lonely for a good while after that. Then very slowly, bit by bit, and to my surprise, others emerged until I had the entire bottom half, and continuing, eventually the entire gird. I had heard of the 9a plastic, but not the square in 14d. This was yet another occasion on which I did not recognize the pangram until it Dutch pointed it out (and therefore too late to be helpful in solving) – even though I had 10a relatively early on when I finally began making inroads into the top half. I confess that I got 18a on the basis of the definition and the checkers without realizing the cleverness of the clue. I thought this was a wonderful Friday toughie, and thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  4. As always with Elkamere, finding the definition is the key to success. I got through this in good time for the most part but stalled for a bit in the NE before the excellent 5a unlocked the rest. With extra training in the Sunday Times every third week I feel I am starting to get Dean’s measure at last.
    Wonderfully concise cluing and not a duff one in sight. 18a is my favourite though, if only for proving that ignoring punctuation is not always good advice!

  5. I agree this is a great puzzle.

    The punctuation ideas are not new to me, as in The Guardian in particular one sees these sorts of what I call ‘visual’ jokes. I have seen for example : used in Colonsay, the Scottish island. Maybe even – for ‘dash’! These ‘visual’ ideas extend to word formations too, and to numerical devices.

    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  6. Good stuff, though I’m a good few pennies lighter. 5d took an age to see and I didn’t know the plastic. Like our esteemed blogger, I liked the punctuation clues but my favourite is 5a for the surface.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch

  7. I confess to using crossword solver for 14D – a new word for me. I also had prime for 7D which made 10A impossible. Otherwise, I was not displeased with my effort. Thanks Elkamere and Dutch.

  8. A delight to solve and delighted we didn’t need any help from Dutch.

    We got 10a early and were on pangram alert from then on. Loved 11a, 26a,…in fact most of them. The linking between 23a and 8d was superbly done.

    Dutch – minor blog issue but isn’t the contained word for certainly in 23a just three letters?

    Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  9. A slow start, but as the beer flowed so did the ideas and the answers. We got there eventually and really enjoyed the journey, without any quibbles. Many thanks to Dutch an Elkamere

  10. Completely beaten by this! Even the hints didn’t help. I think Dutch is marvellous to unravel the puzzle.

  11. Very clever. Particularly 5d. I needed your help, Dutch, for the hairstyle because I did not know it could be shortened like that, I dare say I have no street cred!

  12. Oof! What hard work, but we got there in the end! Glad to see it was 5*!
    Thanks to Elkamere for the workout and Dutch, even if it was to only to confirm our parsings.

  13. We finished on the third sitting, having done a few other cryptics in the meantime. Tough but worth it. Not too keen on the easily guessed but dodgy def 13, but otherwise all good.

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