Toughie 2230 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2230


Toughie No 2230 by Elkamere

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Always a pleasure to blog an Elkamere. The shorter the clues, the shorter the hints! And it’s a pangram! There were a couple of new words for me today.

Definitions are underlined as usual. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay, but you can reveal the answer by clicking on the click here buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


2a    Weapon of old station workers (12)
QUARTERSTAFF: A word for an assigned station or position and a word for workers or employees

8a    Kid given posh pasta sauce (4)
RAGU: To kid or tease and the abbreviation for posh or upper class

9a    Bats and elves trapped? (8)
ENSLAVED: An anagram (bats) of AND ELVES

10a    Dressed in black and very mature (8)
BANDAGED: The abbreviation for black, AND from the clue, and a word meaning very mature

11a    Scottish jury in part of area, perhaps (6)
ASSIZE: A two letter word meaning ‘in part of’, as in the role of, or playing, plus a general word for something measured by area, for example.

12a    Test papers? Test for one cabbie (4-6)
TAXI DRIVER: A verb meaning to test or make demands on, some identification papers, and a geographical feature exemplified by Test

13a    Gangster, better one (6)
CAPONE: A verb meaning to better or top plus ONE from the clue

16a    Ground cover often hides first of leaves (5)
MULCH: A word meaning often, or to a great extent, contains (hides) the first letter of leaves

17a    Putrefaction in a seed plant (6)
PROTEA: A 3-letter word for putrefaction goes inside (in) a green edible seed

18a    Off road, jeep is put at risk (10)
JEOPARDISE: An anagram (off) of ROAD JEEP IS

21a    More than happy with start of board game (6)
BLOTTO: First letter (start) of board plus a game of chance

23a    Tragic hero‘s family belongings left inside (4,4)
KING LEAR: A 3-letter word for family, then a word for belongings has the abbreviation for left inside

24a    Book about one prisoner’s facial expression? (8)
EMOTICON: The reversal (about) of a word meaning book or volume, the Roman numeral for one, and a slang word for prisoner

25a    Nessun Dorma’s concealed release (4)
UNDO: Hidden (… concealed)

26a    See whiskey bottles near wife (4,3,5)
BATH AND WELLS: The best-selling whisky in the UK contains (bottles) a (2,4) phrase meaning near and the abbreviation for wife


1d    Tropical fruit always eaten by dad (6)
PAPAYA: A 2-letter word meaning always goes inside (eaten by) a word for dad (also a Dutch word; it’s what my kids call me)

2d    Argument can end in dismissal, I’m sure (9)
QUODLIBET: A 4-letter slang word for can or prison, the last letter (end) in dismissal, and a (1,3) phrase meaning I’m sure

3d    Sour beer turned into average lager (6)
ALEGAR: Reverse hidden (turned into …). I did try to somehow use the letters in lager

4d    Would they invoke bad for something better? (3,5,3,4)

5d    Investigate crashed cars here (8)
RESEARCH: An anagram (crashed) of CARS HERE

6d    Tidy up old vehicles (5)
TRAMS: A reversal (up) of a word meaning tidy

7d    Like ice, sparkle on the house? (8)
FREEZING: Split (4,4), the answer suggests some informal sparkle at no cost

14d    Suspended writer, awfully loud American (9)
PENDULOUS: A writing implement, an anagram (awfully) of LOUD, and a 2-letter abbreviation meaning American

15d    Quandary — ‘Birdsong’, unfinished novel (8)
TRILEMMA: A 5-letter word meaning a run of birdsong without the last letter (unfinished), and a novel by Jane Austen

16d    Huge prison in Palma? (8)
MAJORCAN: A word meaning huge plus a slang word for prison

19d    Yearbook article in 25 (6)
ANNUAL: An indefinite article is inserted into (in) a word synonymous to the answer of 25

20d    Drink with introverted guards (6)
SHANDY: A word meaning introverted contains (guards) another word for with

22d    One’s very short but ultimately long (5)
TITCH: The last letter (ultimately) in but plus a word meaning to long or yearn

My favourite clue today is the long 4d with its clever anagram that sounds almost like an all-in-one. I also liked the crashed cars and the off road jeep, as well as ‘more than happy’. Which were your favourite clues?


21 comments on “Toughie 2230

  1. Very friendly for a Toughie, especially a Friday Toughie, and for an Elkamere – I remember the days when his Toughie crosswords used to keep me company sat in the back row during long boring meetings

    Thanks to him for the crossword and Dutch blog

  2. Elkamere’s not at his trickiest (and I thought 13a was rather weak) but that’s outweighed by the usual very high enjoyment factor.
    I didn’t know 3d or 17a but the wordplay for both was helpful so no great problem.
    I particularly liked 10a, 12a, 26a and 20d.
    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch (I laughed at the very funny 10a cartoon).

  3. 26a reminded me of one of the all-time great clues – Brian Greer’s “Some job at hand? We’ll soon see (4,3,5)”

  4. I have been looking forward to this all week, and was (as usual) not disappointed.

    A couple of quibbles though (he said hesitantly).

    1. A lot of trams are modern, I’m glad to say.

    2. More importantly, whiskey refers to stuff that is not scotch. Bells is definitely scotch so definitely whisky. Whose fault this undoubted error is is not for me to say.

    1. We had Teachers in a clue recently. I’ve not seen that brand on the supermarket shelves in ages.

    2. Conrad Cork On item 2: Well said. I have been scanning the comments to see whether anybody was going to mention it before I brought it up.

    3. I did wonder about the spelling of whiskey. I was waiting for the comments. And yes, there are some very nice new trams in Manchester, for example.

  5. 2d was difficult as it took me some while to find a meaning that wasn’t musical. It and 15d were new to me. Regarding 15d is there such a thing as a “quadlemma”? The permutations must be endless!

  6. Found this one much more accessible than Elkamere’s can often be. Still came across 3 new words in 2,3&15d but it was just the prison that I couldn’t work out from the wordplay.

    That tropical fruit seems to be flavour of the month!

    Podium places went to 10,12&21a plus 7d.

    Thanks to Elkamere for the puzzle and to Dutch for the well-illustrated blog – not sure that the RSPCA would approve of the 14d pic!

  7. Oops, I should have said thanks to Dutch for the usual excellent blog. Grovel grovel. I owe you a drink.

    Meantime I raise a glass of ‘the old wine of Scotland’ to blogger and setter.

  8. I failed on the “see” clue along the bottom. I had not heard of the diocese and I was not expecting the definition to be a church see. I just assume a see is the same name as the cathedral such as the ever popular Ely. This one sounds more like a parliamentary constituency than a diocese. I thought there must be some significance to the non-Scottish spelling of the spirit but it led me nowhere.

    I find Elkamere puzzles are always very entertaining although I always need my ipad to cope with the abundant GK and unusual words. So a pleasant end to the Toughie week

    Thanks to Elkamere and Dutch

  9. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle. Progress was mighty slow and ground to almost a dead stop in the SW corner. Like Patch, if the see isn’t Ely then I’m in trouble, as I was in this instance. Add to that not knowing the plant in 17a nor the intersecting quandary in 15d (and there are so many novels) I was stuck for a long time. However, I did get there in the end along with great satisfaction in having done so. Many thanks to Elkamere and Dutch.

  10. Didn’t get 2d and 15d even with all the checkers available.
    Both words totally new to me.
    Thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch.

  11. I got started late on this but I’m very glad I decided to give it a go as it was a lot of fun and Elkamere is my hero in terms of brevity of clues. For the most part it was less tough than I would have anticipated although still challenging, but the final few brought me down to earth with a bump.

    This month’s fruit of choice got me off to a flying start and spotting the pangram helped towards the end. I needed electronic help with 2a, 2d & 17a. Why do the difficult clues always seem to be linked?

    I won’t mention the wrong sort of whisky. Oops, I just have.

    There were too many excellent clues to try to pick a single favourite but I particularly liked 10a, 12a, 7d & 16d.

    Many thanks to Elkamere and to Dutch.

  12. Cryptic was happily solved prior to a day’s slog in the garden and then this was a pleasant reward for that exertion. My vocabulary has today been extended by four words. I had similar thoughts as others above re whisky and trams. Think my Fav was probably 12a. Thank you Elkamere and Dutch for a great start to the weekend.

  13. As someone who rarely looks at the Toughie, I’m over the moon to have completed it. I was about to put the paper in the recycling and thought I’d attempt it. Very pleased, as I usually find the backpager enough of a challenge.

    Thanks to setter and for the hints.

  14. Only needed to look up one answer in Dutch’s entertaining hints, pleased to say;
    the cartoon to 10A made me laugh;
    liked 26A (see whiskey bottles near wife), and the alternative clue thereto in Big Dave’s comment number 3.

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