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Toughie 2166

Toughie No 2166 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This is Elgar’s 131st Telegraph Toughie, but that is not relevant today. There is a far more important occasion to celebrate as revealed by an eight-word Nina. The Nina definitely helped me to complete the puzzle!

The definitions are underlined as always. The hints are intended to help you work through the wordplay, and you can reveal the answers by clicking on the largely fat = big! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.


7a    Out to burn, perhaps, is short of good gear in summer? (7)
BIKINIS: Depending on whether you use a motorised vehicle or not, burn could refer to speed or calories. Either way, ‘out to burn’ or going for a ride plus IS from the clue, without the G (short of good)

8a    Compositions produced by a lad at a gate to Shropshire (7)
SONATAS: Another word for lad, AT A from the clue and the first letter of (gate to) Shropshire

10a    Bud Street’s included in A to Z book (10)
STATOBLAST: The abbreviation for street, then included in A TO from the clue and the position of Z in the alphabet, we have the abbreviation for book

11a    What’s left in Toughie diagram? I can help (4)
AIDE: Reverse hidden (What’s left in … , for an across clue)

12a    Untried name crossword enthusiasts should put about (8)
UNSOUGHT: The abbreviation for name, with a pronoun referring to crossword enthusiasts and another word for should put about it

14a    What setter must check for with son (6)
PROOFS: a word meaning for or in favour of, a preposition that can mean with (definition 12 in BRB) and the abbreviation for son

15a    A possible cause of death on board, CS tackled in manoeuvres (11)
CANDLESTICK: An anagram (manoeuvres) of CS TACKLED IN

19a    Being set back essentially involved a couple cutting out air conditioner (6)
PAVLOV: A reversal (being set back) of the central (essentially) letters in ‘involved’, and another way of saying ‘a couple’ without the letters ‘air’ (cutting out air)

20a    I felt that service should be included in credit for fellow blogger, perhaps (2-6)
CO-WRITER: An exclamation meaning ‘I felt that!’ plus a service or liturgy go inside (should be included in) the abbreviation for credit

22a    Pairs of performers look to be missing Dutch city (4)
OSLO: A 4-letter plural meaning pairs of performers plus a short word meaning look or behold, without (to be missing) the 2-letter abbreviation for Dutch (of which I wasn’t aware!)

23a    By which to ‘largely’ advertise one working out last of down answers? (4,6)
NEON LIGHTS: An anagram (working out) of ONE, the last letter of down, and crosswordese for the grid squares that contain the answers

25a    What painter’s used for gold one little chap’s endlessly taken aback about (7)
MOORING: This painter is a rope. The heraldic colour gold plus the Roman numeral for one covered by the reversal (taken aback about) of a little chap in the garden without his last letter (endlessly)

26a    An eye for an eye, say — not for turning (7)
REVENGE: Reversal (for turning) of an abbreviation meaning say and another word for not


1d    Space in pool for frolicking (7)
KITTENY: A printer’s space goes inside (in) another word for pool or common fund

2d    A dash within, the clue within (4)
HINT: Hidden (… clue within). And there is a clue within, making clue an extra definition.

3d    Story, tall one condensed? (6)
LIEBIG: The answer is a laboratory condenser, named after a German chemist. Another word for story or fabrication, and another word for tall or large

4d    Weakness in the end solvers frequently see (4,4)
SOFT SPOT: The last letter (in the end) of solvers, another word for frequently, and another word for see

5d    Toy you shouldn’t have received having broken the speed of sound (10)
TAMAGOTCHI: A 2-letter expression of gratitude (you shouldn’t have) and a 3-letter word meaning received go inside (having broken) a (4,1) measure corresponding to the speed of sound

6d    Leader of military uprising, I add in basic info on website, possibly … (7)
QADDAFI: The uprising is helping the definition but here means a reversal of: I, then ADD from the clue inside (in) the abbreviation for a list of typical questions on a website, for example

9d    … where things happen unmoderated, ‘fat’ creator’s sacked (4,7)
FAST REACTOR: An anagram (sacked) of FAT CREATOR’S

13d    Maybe crawling from south of plain, bear with a cut (2,3,5)
ON ALL FOURS: A reversal (from south, in a down clue) of OF from the clue plus a South American plain, then the Latin word for bear (as in the constellations) without the final a (with a cut)

16d    In singularly drink-induced disorder, welcome bread for Laureate (8)
DAVENANT: This is a Poet Laureate. A word meaning welcome or hail plus an Indian bread go inside (in) a singular form of the normally plural abbreviation of a symptom of alcohol withdrawal

17d    Evidence someone’s talking about me being out of it? (7)
EARSHOT: Strictly I imagine the definition has to be “it”, though the whole clue is involved in alluding to the answer. Split (4,3), the answer would be evidence someone is talking about you, which presumably happens only when you are ‘out of’ {answer}

18d    2 veg — with which, regularly, meat is served up? (7)
VESTIGE: The definition is the answer to 2d. An anagram (served up) of VEG, regularly mEaT and IS

21d    Love beginning to solve cryptic with pre-eminent team (6)
WOLVES: An anagram (cryptic) of LOVE plus the first letter (beginning) of S[olve], then the abbreviation for with goes at the top (pre-eminent)

24d    Move on — without husband, it’s clarified (4)
GHEE: An instruction (to a horse) to move on goes around (without) the abbreviation for husband


The clues I liked most today are 19a and 5d. Which clues did you like?

24 comments on “Toughie 2166

  1. A right proper Friday Toughie and no mistake. The RH side was ‘easier’ than the left but I got there in the end.

    I’m having a good week for spotting Ninas and didn’t miss this nice one either.

    Lots to enjoy but obviously I’ll have to award ‘my’ clue as my Across favourite and out of many, I think I’ll go for 17d for the Down favourite because it took me so long to see the blooming obvious

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  2. An outstanding Toughie with a very apposite theme (though I’m not sure I’ve got the theme totally correct since I’ve got more than eight words!).
    I struggled with my last few clues in the SW corner and revealed a couple of letters otherwise I’d still be working at it.
    Top clues for me were 7a, 5d and 25a (the one which gave me most trouble – I was led up the garden path by the painter).
    Many thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

      1. All sorted , now I wonder if missed something else, Kitty, CS, Gnom(e) Dutch… Anyway a tour de force . As with Gazza 25a caused the most head scratching. Cheers to Dutch and Elgar

  3. Note to self: don’t ever attempt another Elgar puzzle. I bet the four answers I’ve struggled to get are the same as Andy’s.

    I do hope that something else which is more accessible to us mortals is published in the next day or so to celebrate the very special anniversary of this wonderful site.

    Respect to Elgar and congratulations to Dutch for unravelling it all.

    1. Well done for getting four!! Zero answers/zero enjoyment for me after successfully finishing the last ten or so Toughies!!!

    2. Actually RD I did complete it, it’s that I can only see 4 words that make the (As Dutch implies in the Intro) eight word Nina. As I still haven’t parsed everything I entered will post later to see if I completed it correctly

  4. …I was so grumpy I cut myself off – so 3d, 5d,16d,10a I’ve never heard of . Add to this 1d, and the convoluted wordplay . I need a stiff G &T. or two .

    Thanks for the hints – most of them were necessary – even to explain the clues I’d managed !!

  5. pps – so where’s the nina ? I’m truly terrible at spotting them at the best of times…

        1. The picture that Jetdoc presented to me yesterday has nine words in the Nina – the one easily omitted is the first two letters of column 10.

  6. I know when I am beaten and I was today. Got about half of them but needed the blog to fill the rest in. I can never see the Nina’s and even though it would be unfair to publish it here I would really appreciate mail to help me see it? Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for getting my empty half filled.

  7. Far too hard for me I’m afraid. It’s hard to spot a Nina with only 5 entries. I’m sorry not to be able to enjoy this, and kudos to those who can. Thanks to all.

  8. Very tough indeed – I couldn’t finish it without help. Absolutely brilliant, loved the challenge but quite a few I just didn’t know and couldn’t work out. Elgar is tough enough for words I do know, never mind me trying to make up words.

    I can’t remember the score but I think Elgar is probably winning. Many thanks to him and to Dutch for sorting it all out.

  9. Thank God I’m not alone – I began to worry that I was becoming dim in my dotage, lol.

  10. Looking at this in the cold early morning light, I am overcome with admiration for anyone who solved this. My sole contribution was 24d. I really feel there were too many obscure words, over complicated clues and,as for the ridiculous (sorry Kitty!) 1d…..! I’m all for a challenge but, reading the comments, I see I am not alone in feeling frustrated.

  11. Gosh! What a struggle! We’re very pleased to have finally put it to rest with the help of only four hints (not answers!). A good 7 meals worth of entertainmrmt. Many thanks to Elgar and ‘DU’.

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