Toughie 2131 with different spoilers – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2131 with different spoilers

Toughie No 2131 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This post is a version of the regular Toughie 2131 post that is using a different approach to the spoilers.  Please leave a comment outlining your experience with these spoilers – did they work?, what platform are you using (machine, operating system and browser)?  Please don’t comment on the puzzle itself – use the main post for that.

This is Elgar’s 130th Telegraph Toughie, and that number features in a ghost theme. I did think that one-thirty sounded like a time, and I noticed the bottom row, but I had to phone a friend to put it all together (thanks Elgar). Most of you will probably recognise it straight away. The click-here buttons at the end of the blog reveal the themed entries. A clever puzzle.

This was a slow and steady solve for me. As usual, things started speeding up a bit as more checkers appeared. The subtractive anagrams were a helpful start (though hard to do in your head). My last clue was the spoonerism where I struggled because I didn’t know my riots.

There seems to be a discrepancy between the paper and online versions today. No doubt this will be fixed soon, but in case you have solved the online version, I will mention the differences. It only affects 6 clues, and of those, 4 are fairly minor changes. It is the paper version which is “correct”.

The definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the word play, and usually you can click on the blurred text [zzspoiler]watch with 8d![/zzspoiler] to reveal the answers


1a Stage managers with New Order leaving en masse for Pulp’s ‘Common People‘ (6)
[zzspoiler]RAGTAG[/zzspoiler]: Remove (leaving, as in leaving behind) an anagram (for Pulp) of EN MASSE from an anagram (with New Order) of STAGE MANAGERS

5a See 24d

10a What courage aunt shows with regular donation … of this? (5)
[zzspoiler]ORGAN[/zzspoiler]: Even letters (what … shows with regular donation). The whole clue contributes to the definition. (The online version lacks the last two words)

11a Most scared-looking soldiers hiding a training-ground (9)
[zzspoiler]PALAESTRA[/zzspoiler]: A word meaning most scared looking plus an abbreviation for a type of soldiers go around (hiding) A from the clue. (The online version has ‘lightly coloured’ instead of ‘scared-looking’, same parsing)

12a Part-time screw grass has got in awful flap (4,3)
[zzspoiler]HALF PAY[/zzspoiler]: A word for dried grass contains (has got in) an anagram (awful) of FLAP

13a Niff given off by one bulging man of literature (7)
[zzspoiler]BOSWELL[/zzspoiler]: An abbreviation for ‘Niff given off by one’ and a noun meaning bulging

14a Without any trained oarsmen for protection, Caesar may have blown it (5,4)
[zzspoiler]ROMAN NOSE[/zzspoiler]: A 2-letter word meaning ‘without any’ is protected by an anagram (trained) of OARSMEN

17a See 19a

18a Sweet cicely leaves, when drawn (5)
[zzspoiler]CANDY[/zzspoiler]: The two letters that are left (leaves) when C[icel]Y is drawn, i.e., emptied. (The online version has ‘perforated’ instead of ‘when drawn’, same parsing)

19a/17a Name scratched from Open, one shot down, could get this? (3,6,5)
[zzspoiler]THE WOODEN SPOON[/zzspoiler]: An anagram (could get) of OPE[n] ONE SHOT DOWN from which the abbreviation for Name is scratched. The whole clue contributes to the definition.

Online version: “One down, hopes to dodge it (3,6,5)”, an all-in-one with an anagram (dodge it) of ONE DOWN HOPES TO

21a Whiter than white, it drifts in with cold snap (7)
[zzspoiler]PICTURE[/zzspoiler]: IT from the clue and an abbreviation for C are drifting (together as an anagram) into (in) an adjective meaning ‘whiter than white’

23a Refrain from Carmen keeping our time now (7)
[zzspoiler]ABSTAIN[/zzspoiler]: Car men (!), as in roadside assistance, containing (keeping) an abbreviation for the time in UK, plus a short word meaning now or trendy

25a Models of perfection Spock set out pricked by McCoy’s latest disapproving reaction (9)
[zzspoiler]COPYBOOKS[/zzspoiler]: An anagram (set out) of SPOCK contains (pricked by) the last letter of McCoy plus an expression of disapproval

26a Half the ground covered by old poet (5)
[zzspoiler]ODIST[/zzspoiler]: Place the first half of an 8-letter word meaning ‘the ground covered’ after (by) the abbreviation for old

27a Briefly fluid, I must repay Blossom (6)
[zzspoiler]FLOWER[/zzspoiler]: The 2-letter abbreviation for fluid and what we call someone who must repay

28a ‘Not quite empty!’: no work for them (6)
[zzspoiler]POTMEN[/zzspoiler]: An anagram (work) of the first four letters (not quite) of EMPT[y]+NO gives these bar staff


2d Strangely, this spirit‘s bottled (5)
[zzspoiler]ANGEL[/zzspoiler]: Hidden (bottled) – and an example of a definition that is not at either end of the clue

3d Spooner having offered £25, Miss Daisy riots here (9)
[zzspoiler]TONYPANDY[/zzspoiler]: A spoonerism of the slang word for £25 plus the surname of Jessica, the eponymous star of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ gives a Welsh mining town (my wife winced at my pronunciation) famous for 1910 and 1911 riots

4d Good — it’s jettisoned by arrogant swimmer (5)
[zzspoiler]GUPPY[/zzspoiler]: The abbreviation for Good, then a 6-letter word for arrogant from which IT from the clue is jettisoned

5d Each slow song, similarly endless, uplifting with increased speed (4,5)
[zzspoiler]ALLA BREVE[/zzspoiler]: Another word for each and another word for a slow song, both without their last letter (similarly endless), all reversed (uplifting)

6d Refuse cars from ’66 and ’86? (5)
[zzspoiler]DREGS[/zzspoiler]: How might you refer to such cars in terms of their license plate?

7d Travelling in front, hero advances (2,3,4)
[zzspoiler]ON THE ROAD[/zzspoiler]: Hidden (in …)

8d Minute remaining, matron! (6)
[zzspoiler]MOTHER[/zzspoiler]: The abbreviation for minute and another word for remaining

9d A lot in dancing join at the back (4,2)
[zzspoiler]TAIL ON[/zzspoiler]: An anagram (dancing) of A LOT IN

15d Terribly undiplomatic, releasing rebellious Democrat to community (9)
[zzspoiler]MUNICIPAL[/zzspoiler]: Community is used as an adjective here. An anagram (terribly) of UNDIPLOMATIC minus (releasing) an anagram (rebellious) of the abbreviation of Democrat +TO from the clue

16d Regularly I’m amused that doing gigs is captivating (2,3,4)
[zzspoiler]ON THE HOUR[/zzspoiler]: A 3-letter informal expression that means I’m amused (chuckle), goes inside (that … is captivating) a (2,4) phrase that means doing gigs while 7d.

Online version: “What of us under May, perhaps, without leadership at particular intervals? (2,3,4)” An interjection meaning ‘what’ and a pronoun meaning ‘of us’ go under a period of time exemplified by May, without the first letter (without leadership)

17d Champion boxers, perhaps when cycling, suddenly halt (4,5)
[zzspoiler]STOP SHORT[/zzspoiler]: A 3-letter adjective meaning champion plus something of which boxers are an example (perhaps) – then cycle the last letter around to the front

18d E.g. Putin’s token record for rolling in the hay (6)
[zzspoiler]COPECK[/zzspoiler]: The abbreviation for a kind of vinyl record is reversed inside (rolling in) a word that surprisingly means a pile of hay, which I think we have seen before

20d ‘Century, ten inferior’ about nails it (6)
[zzspoiler]NINETY[/zzspoiler]: Reverse hidden (… about nails it)

22d In finales from Rameau to Flotow, lead violin may make this (5)
[zzspoiler]UPBOW[/zzspoiler]: Into (in) the last letters (finales) of Rameau, to, and Flotow, place the chemical symbol for lead

23d For this storyteller, the tide’s turning on theatre work (5)
[zzspoiler]AESOP[/zzspoiler]: A body of water described by ‘the tide’ is reversed (turning), and some work you might have done in a theatre (not the dramatic kind)

24d/5a Cryptographic couple vexed an old cabbie (5,3,3)
[zzspoiler]ALICE AND BOB[/zzspoiler]: An anagram (vexed) of AN OLD CABBIE. Instead of “A sends a message to B”, these names are used to increase readability in cryptology. Apparently there are more, Eve for eavesdropper, etc. (The online version had ‘vexing’.)


The definition of 14a made me laugh. I liked the smooth hidden at 7d. I had come across Carmen before, but it still took a while for the penny to drop. But my favourite today is the brilliant 20d. Which were you favourite clues?

The theme:

[zzspoiler]The original cycle of the Children’s BBC program “Watch With MOTHER (8d)”, shown at 1:30 pm every weekday afternoon. Monday PICTURE BOOK, Tuesday ANDY PANDY, Wednesday FLOWER POT MEN, Thursday RAG, TAG, and BOBTAIL, Friday THE WOODENTOPS.[/zzspoiler]

Grid highlighting themed entries:


19 comments on “Toughie 2131 with different spoilers

  1. Home PC Windows 10 Microsoft Edge

    Solutions or theme information not hidden – the highlighted grid was blurry but in the time it took to pop and get my tablet, it cleared to show the full grid

    Acer tablet using Google Chrome – blurry spoilers (as opposed to Click Here) but work when I touch them. Theme and highlighted grid also work when touched

    The ‘ordinary’ version of Dutch’s blog behaved perfectly at work – PC Windows 7 Internet Explorer

  2. All the spoilers are a greyish blur rather than ‘Click here’ but when clicked on they do show the correct information. When clicked on again they revert to a greyish blur.
    (Windows 10, Firefox)
    I had no problems with Dutch’s original blog on either Windows 7 (Chrome) or Windows 10 (firefox).

  3. PC Windows 10:
    Internet Explorer 11: Answers visible with no action when clicked
    Edge: Answers visible with no action when clicked
    Firefox 63.01: Answers blurred and revealed with a click

    iPhone iOS 12.1 and Safari: Answers blurred and revealed with a click
    Android 5.0.1 and Android browser: Answers blurred and revealed with a click

  4. PC Vista Chrome – original page all worked as normal. This page still work fine, but blurred as above. Same behaviour on Android phone.

    I don’t know if it is relevant, but there is a known issue with using prototype.js and jquery.js – jquery.noConflict has to be employed.

    Forgive my ignorance if that is irrelevant.

  5. Bother. My first post disappeared. Here goes again:

    PC Windows 10. IE 11. Answers visible with no action when clicked.
    Android 7.0. Google Chrome 70. Answers blurred and revealed with a click.

  6. PC Windows 7 Internet Explorer
    No spoilers on this page but the main post is now working fine here.

  7. PC Windows 10 Home, Firefox 56.0.2: Answers blurred and revealed with a click.
    PC Windows 10 Home, Edge: Answers visible with no action when clicked.
    PC Windows 10 Home, IE 11: Answers visible with no action when clicked.

    Android 5.1 phone, Chrome 69: Answers blurred and revealed with a click.

  8. iPad spoilers blurred but work when tapped
    Home Pc Windows 10 Firefox. Also blurred but work when clicked on
    Home Pc Windows 10 Chrome. Also blurred but work when clicked
    IPhone. Spoilers blurred but work when tapped

  9. Thanks for the feedback so far – but keep it coming.

    I’m not worried about Internet Explorer which is an obsolete pile of something unpleasant, but Edge is a different thing (they don’t work for me on Edge either).

  10. PC Windows 10 + Firefox: blurred answers revealed when clicked. Ditto with Android phone running Samsung internet.

    Both platforms also worked perfectly well with the original post by Dutch.

  11. blurred and revealed on click. To me, doesn’t “feel” as nice as “Click here”. The spoiler for the grid at the end is also blurred, but it gives away rather a lot. That’s on my MacBook air with OS X Yosemite

  12. Windows 10, Microsoft Edge – no problems with the ‘original’ 2131, all answers visible with this version!

  13. Samsung android firefox
    Blurred as intended and clear to reveal answer ok. When clicked again they revert to a weaker blur that doesn’t conceal the spoilers. I don’t think it is a problem as once you have clicked the spoiler you can’t pretend you haven’t peeked. The grid blurred the answers but coloured highlighting was visible.

    Blue progress bar still stalls about 3/4 of the way when loading.

  14. Mainframe: Windows XP with Firefox, spoilers, theme and solution grid blurry but appear when clicking.
    Windows XP with Explorer, no spoilers at all.
    Windows Phone: Windows 8 and explorer, no spoilers at all

  15. Mixed results:
    PC running Windows 10 v.1803 build 17134.407, Chrome browser v.70.0.3538.102 – blurred spoilers appeared OK initially, cleared and reblurred OK. Spoilers also OK on DT 28904.

    Samsung Galaxy Tab A6 running Android 7.0.0; SM-T580 Build/NRD90M, Chrome browser v.70.0.3538.80 – – blurred spoilers appeared OK initially, cleared and reblurred OK. Spoilers NOT working on DT 28904 (appear as thin vertical bar, not responsive to touch).

    Samsung Galaxy Tab A6 running Android 7.0.0; SM-T580 Build/NRD90M, Samsung Internet browser v. – – blurred spoilers appeared OK initially, cleared and reblurred OK. Spoilers also OK on DT 28904. opened tonight at correct date for the first time in several weeks. I’m hoping this continues! I’ve been able to google for the current day’s puzzle, but that’s not ideal.

  16. Greyish blur. Answers revealed when clicked. Reverts to greyish blur when clicked again. This goes for both of the below:

    iPad IOS 10.3.3. Safari

    Windows 10. Firefox 63.0.3 (64-bit)

  17. Probably my first and last comment on a five star toughie :-)
    PC windows 10 chrome
    Spoilers in plain sight when the page first opens, but they blur after 30 seconds or so and then reveal when clicked.
    Hope this helps.

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