Double Toughie No 100010

Double Toughie No 100010 by Elgar
Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

The puzzle can be found under the Giant General Knowledge menu as No 100,010 and the solution can be found, from Boxing Day, under the Giant General Knowledge menu as No 1,100,010

Merry Christmas everyone!

Here is the annual Elgar Christmas Double Toughie and although it’s not as fiendish as some of his previous ones, it’s no less enjoyable. I did take a little time to get into the puzzle, but bearing in mind the information in the preamble things fell into place fairly quickly. Sometimes with these themed puzzles, as with those like the Listener, IQ and EV puzzles, it’s finding the right way in to get to grips with the theme. The preamble is, as always, key to getting to grips with the puzzle.

This is the preamble:

Eight answers are clued without definition. They are of a kind with six other unclued thematic items which are to be located in the final grid, illustrating the theme — represented elsewhere by both halves of a relevant person’s name.

Today’s puzzle is of a type known as a Theme and Variations; there is a theme, which is to be deduced and then you need to find different ways in which the theme is to be interpreted, Elgar helpfully tells you that eight of the clues don’t have a definition and are similar in one way, which you have to work out. There are also six unclued items that you have to find in the grid, these are connected in another way, but are not clue answers, so you can assume they are hidden in the grid, There is also something else connected in the theme in the form of a name, which you also have to find.

The explanation of the preamble comes at the end of the blog, so if you haven’t fully understood it, you can go back and check it before all is revealed.


1a For one tiger, awfully fierce, it’s restrained (12)     (NO DEFINITION)
CERTIFICATES    What a tiger is goes inside an anagram of FIERCE IT’S.

7a Lynn’s name in lights, take time off vaults? (10)
OVERARCHES    The first name of a famous Dame whose surname is Lynn goes inside a word for types of lights without the abbreviation for time (its first letter). This gives you something meaning going over or vaulting.


13a Call an end (4)
TERM    A double definition. One word that can mean to call something and also an end of something.

16a How I love my wife paying for big mistakes like this! (6)
DEARLY        One of the best clues today! Another double definition: Describing how Mr H loves Mrs H and also when you make a faux-pas, how you sometimes pay for it, so to speak.

17a Roughly it’s between the neighbours we confer about (8)
FENCEROW   A name for an uncultivated strip of land between two houses is an anagram (about) of WE CONFER. This word is not in the Big Red Book, but can be found in Collins and the ODE.

18a Heavenly singing initiated by wait (6)
STARRY        Something meaning heavenly is found by taking the first letter of singing and adding a word meaning to wait.

19a 20 years at least becoming reduced over in America (8)
DECENNIA    An unusual word for periods of over twenty years can be found by taking a word meaning becoming and removing its last letter (reduced). Add to this IN reversed and an abbreviation for America to give the answer.

21a Back-to-front woman with a title for something from the deli (4)
EDAM        At least it’s not the ‘cheese that’s made backwards’ clue that I seem to have seen once a month for the past few years. Take a title associated with women and move the last letter to the front to give something you can buy from a delicatessen.

22a Want less rook destruction (5)
DEATH        Something that means a lack or want for something needs to have R (for rook) removed to give something meaning destruction.

23a He may sell fun items (but, oddly, may not) (6)
TOYMAN    An anagram (oddly) of MAY NOT gives the name for a retailer of things that give pleasure.

24a Blue having support for a horse (5)
STEED        A short word meaning blue or unhappy needs to have the word for a (golf) support replacing A to give the name for a horse. Here’s another famous one.

29a Informal discussion cast aspersions (3,7)
RAP SESSION    Another nice find. A slang word for a non-formal discussion is an anagram of ASPERSIONS

31a For one shilling in Hardy Country rake corrupted women unfairly? (6,3)
WEAKER SEX    Inside the name of the region made famous by Thomas Hardy, you need to replace the first ‘S’ with an anagram of RAKE. This gives you a rather disparaging description of women.

32a Apostolic expression of surprise by Princess Royal in January (9)
JOHANNEAN    A descriptive word for one of the gospel writers can be found by taking a word of exclamation and adding the name of the Princess Royal and placing them inside a short way of saying January.

36a Newly take French queen to entertain 50 followers (9)
REIMAGINE    inside the word for a French queen goes the name of the followers of the answer at 50 down and you have something that means to have a new look on something.

37a Short of a Guardian, is nervously giving round to The Edge (9)
RADIUSING    A term meaning rounding off an edge is an anagram of GUARDIAN IS minus A. This word is not in the Big Red Book, but can be found in Collins and the ODE.

39a Style ornate, united with five gold rings European designs (3,7)
ART NOUVEAU     An anagram of ORNATE plus V (five) and U (united) inside the chemical symbol for gold gives you the name of an artistic movement.

42a Mineral I see to, freed of grass (3,4)
ICE SPAR    The name of a mineral is found by taking I and C and adding the name of a type of grass without TO, its last two letters.

44a Rocked by fine, mum needs love (5)
SHOOK        A word meaning rocked is found by taking a word meaning ‘(keep) mum’, add O (love) and place them both alongside a word for fine.

45a Match date (2,4)
GO WITH    Two definitions for the same expression.

46a Was recently a week without female (2,3)
OF NEW    A word meaning ‘a’ plus the abbreviation for week goes round F (female) to give an archaic expression meaning recently.

48a One given to song and tittle-tattle (4)
CHAT        Two definitions for the same word.

51a Launch sect without a means to dispense beer (8)
CATAPULT    Inside a word for a sect goes another word for a device to serve beer.

53a Flint Hotel buzzing when I entered (6)
EOLITH        An anagram of HOTEL with I inside gives the name of a type of flint.

54a Striking odds for tennis team & ballet performers … (8)
ENSEMBLE    If you remove the odd characters of TENNIS TEAM and BALLET you get the name for a group of performers.

55a … one of whom is employed by mechanical performer to miss intro (6)
OBOIST        Inside the word for an mechanical person, minus its first letter goes IS and this gives the name of a performer,

56a Cake’s case, if this (4)    (NO DEFINITION)
KISS        Literally how the word CAKE becomes CASE.

57a Improving prosecutor appearing in Monterey, surprisingly (10)
EMENDATORY    Inside an anagram (surprisingly) of MONTEREY goes the name of an American prosecuting counsel to give a word meaning improving.

58a Gets these Xmas ___ _____ misbehaving husband sent out? (4,8)
TEXT MESSAGES    A clever clue. You can complete the sentence above with an anagram (misbehaving) of GETS THESE XMAS, minus H (husband).


1d Rent rooms in cold houses (11) (NO DEFINITION)
CHROMOSOMES    Inside the abbreviation for cold and a word meaning houses goes an anagram (rent) of ROOMS

2d New Year’s Day (5)     (NO DEFINITION)
RAYED        An anagram (new) of YEAR plus D for day.

3d Put-up jobs in ground-floor apartment to left of street (10)
INFLATIONS    Something meaning ways of putting things up is found by taking IN and adding the address of a ground-floor apartment (FLAT 1), plus ON and S (the ‘left’ or first letter of STREET).

4d Violet the setter ruined the nina (8)
IANTHINE    A word meaning violet-coloured is an anagram (ruined) of THE NINA after a way of saying ‘the setter’.

5d Miss Scandinavian answer, caught short (6)
ANETTE        A Scandinavian girl’s name is revealed by taking the abbreviation for answer plus a word meaning caught, minus the last letter.

6d Prior to Eden, perhaps accepting rotten compound (5,5)
EPOXY RESIN    A way of saying before and what happened for the first time in the Garden of Eden (with an asp!), allegedly, has a word meaning rotten inside and gives you a compound used round the house.

8d What’s carried over from warehouse to van? (4)     (NO DEFINITION)
VOTE        Hidden backwards inside is the answer.

9d Close to nuclear house: it comes between a blue moon and Hell freezing over? (8)
RARITIES    The last letter of nuclear plus the name of a (zodiac) house has it inside to give how you many describe the two expressions.

10d Traditions of e.g. nursery — or cursory and bursary? (6)
RHYMES    What connects cursory and bursary (and nursery!) are traditional things associated with a nursery.

11d Pelt with ideas? The answer’s trying to! (4)
HIDE        A word meaning a pelt is found inside WITH IDEAS and the indication of this also provides a definition. Clever.

12d In social works gathering I dance (9)
SICILIANO    The name of a dance is found inside an anagram of IN SOCIAL with I inside.

13d Hats off to Edith Nesbit! (3)     (NO DEFINITION)
TEN        The first letters of ‘To Edith Nesbit’.

14d Side from Indian island stuffing the Gunners (5)
RAITA        A side dish associated with an Indian meal is revealed by placing a word for an island in a river inside the abbreviation for the army regiment nicknamed ‘the Gunners’.

15d Nut(shell) (8)
HEADCASE    Another way of saying a nut is also found by taking another definition of nut, and adding another word for shell.

20d What one might have paid old German bookmaker? (4)
MARK        The name for the former currency of Germany is also a name for someone who made a famous book (in the New Testament!).

26d This war ambulance bears messenger: see what must occupy central square (6,5)
GENEVA CROSS        The name for the logo found on wartime ambulances. I’m guessing this relates to a (biological messenger) with the abbreviation for ‘see’ and what you need to put in the (unclued) central square.

27d Compote of nectarines? It won’t last long! (10)
TRANSIENCE    An anagram (compote) of NECTARINES gives a word meaning of short duration.

28d Do they look after candidacy? (10)
CONTENDERS    A word meaning to do (as in to hustle someone), plus a word for people who care or look after others. This gives a word for people who are part of a candidacy (with a question mark in the clue, as it’s a slightly loose definition).

30d Men serving up world power? (9)     (NO DEFINITION)
SIGNATURE    The abbreviation for those people serving in the (US) forces reversed plus something meaning a world force or power.

33d A peasant’s sore foot (8)
ANAPAEST    An anagram (sore) of A PEASANT gives the name for a poetic foot.

34d Joker has roused a long sleeper (5-3)
WAGON-LIT    The name for a sleeper railway car is found by taking the name for a humorous person and inserting an anagram (roused) of A LONG.

35d Solitary buzzer item before end of quiz maybe one’s sadly lost (5,3)
MASON BEE    An anagram (lost) of MAYBE ONE’S minus Y (the letter before the last letter of quiz) gives the name for a type of insect that buzzes a bit.

38d 20 precise location (4)
SPOT        Two definitions. One for a precise location, plus a definition for the word at 20 down.

40d Katherina Minola had little cunning (6)
SHREWD    A word that refers to the Shakespearean character Katherina Minola and an abbreviation for had give something meaning having cunning.

41d Unproductive in the extreme, thesis rewritten (6)
SHIEST        An anagram (rewritten) of THESIS gives a way of saying someone is the most unproductive or unresponsive person.

43d Business lunch when for omnivore? (5)
COATI        The name for a creature is found by taking the abbreviation for company and adding the time for lunch.

47d Inappropriately borrowing missing biro? (5)     (NO DEFINITION)
WRONG    An anagram of BORROWING, minus the letters of BIRO.

49d Nasty eyelid infection? (4)
STYE         Hidden (infection) inside NASTY EYELID is the for something that is just what it says.

50d Asterisk feature in film (4)
STAR        Double definition.

52d He’s not too bright so far south (3)
ASS    Someone not known for knowledge is found by taking a word meaning so far and adding the abbreviation for south,

So, we now have the following:


CERTIFICATES, KISS, CHROMOSOMES, RAYED, VOTE, TEN, SIGNATURE and WRONG are all associated with the symbol in the centre square,

HIDDEN ANSWERS: (concealed diagonally and spelling the symbol)

FACTOR, AXIS, TIMES, CHRIST, EX, UNKNOWN are again all associated with the symbol.


Down the two sides of the puzzle can be seen DERRICK MACNUTT, a legendary crossword compiler whose pen name (Ximenes) was often abbreviated to the symbol in the centre square,

THREE MORE ANSWERS (one a part answer):

MARK, SPOT and CROSS are all associated with the symbol.

The centre square (which completes the diagonal answers as well) is X!

Thanks to Elgar for a suitably challenging thematic tour de force. You really have to admire what goes on in his evil mind to produce such puzzles. Here’s to the next one!

And if you didn’t finish it, here’s a song to encourage you to come back. And yes, it is by Rick Astley, but it’s rather good.

I’ll see you at the weekend for the Crossword Club.


8 Replies to “Double Toughie No 100010”

  1. MAN is also concealed (SW from NE corner) (X-MAN being a superhero)

    Very enjoyable crossword, and clever use of the theme. Thanks, Tilsit, for your excellent blog, in particular for explaining the clue for KISS – this had me foxed!

    Thank you, Elgar, for a real challenge that filled up most of yesterday afternoon.

  2. I tried doing this after a drink or nine yesterday evening and made a right pig’s ear of it. Serves me right.

    What a wonderfully crafted puzzle, remarkable. Thanks Elgar and Tilsit.

  3. Another great Christmas challenge from Elgar – although this one didn’t take me quite as long (relatively speaking you understand) as previous years. Perhaps it was because I got the thematic letter and many of the relevant solutions fairly early on. KISS was my last one in and I did wonder why I hadn’t seen the obvious much earlier

    Thanks and Seasons Greetings to Elgar for my Christmas Day Treat and to Tilsit for the blog

  4. The first Elgar Double toughie I have managed to complete (well almost). this took me most of yesterday, though. Stupidly, I missed the two small central hidden words. The figure is apparent without them. I assumed the central mark was one of the six, and there is a little XMAS at the top of 35d that i thought might be an “i” giving the first two letters of the name. I also spent some time looking for WORD and SETTER in the grid to accompany the central figure.

    silly really, since once i had spotted the theme I had axis and ex in my mind for the rest of the solve.

    Took me a while before I saw the theme,since the only undefined clue i had solved, until very near the end, was 13d. I guess the undefined clues are more difficult to parse. Once I had NW, I had 1d, 2d, 1a as well and that revealed the theme for me. I then spotted the nina which helped me with 56a.

    All great stuff. Luckily my wife was cooking (normally my job, but not on xmas)

    Many thanks Elgar and thank you Tilsit for the blog.

  5. Got to within 10 of a completed grid – a definite win for me where Elgar is concerned! Picked up on the person’s name post-solve but can’t pretend to have sorted out all the thematic items.

    Many thanks for the review, Tilsit, which cleared the cobwebs from the brain and thanks to Elgar for the challenge.

  6. Great sense of achievement even though I didn’t manage to finish.
    Started with the bottom and the Genera Cross fell quite early along with Wrong, the Asterisk and the Kiss. Knew what to expect from then. Incidentally, I just finished the Guardian Maskarade from the weekend which was of that kind.
    Needed the review for the last few.
    Didn’t get the Scandinavian girl in 5d, the Mineral in 42a and the Omnivore in 43d.
    Had I seen the name on the side, I would have probably finished.
    Only two answers were entered without understanding the parsing.
    Didn’t count til 8 for the clues with no def and I should as I read 30d to be power for signature.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great fun and to Tilsit for explaining the loose ends.

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