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Toughie 2266

Toughie No 2266 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Today we have Elgar’s 134th Telegraph Toughie. I would be most impressed with anyone who realised this is the number of a bus route in London containing the stops in rows 7&9, row 2 (sort of), and more. Full details at the end of the blog. You probably did recognise the row 4 nina relevant to 21a/22d, where I wasn’t familiar with the show but you might well be. I managed to get a full grid after some time, but I struggled with a parsing or two!

The definitions are underlined. The hints and tips aim to help you unravel the wordplay, but you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the  Mornington Crescent, Euston, Tot/ten/ham/court road buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought



1a     Gypsy charlatan’s couches replicate Freud’s practice? (5)
PSYCH: Hidden (… couches)

8a    With a – flowing see Arabesque styles? (5)
BURQA: The answer (that could fit in the dash) with A from the clue and an anagram (flowing) of SEE, gives an anagram (styles) of ARABESQUE

10a     Given word is for medicine bottles (8)
PROMISED: A word meaning for and the 3-letter abbreviation for medicine contains (bottles) IS from the clue

11a     Keenness shown when seeing e.g. Liverpool’s John Moores or Leicester’s de Montfort? (6)
ACUITY: These are examples of  “University in a city”

12a     Wholly enthralled by forward (2,4)
IN TOTO: A 4-letter word meaning enthralled by or enthusiastic about plus a short word that can mean forward

13a     So firmly fixed time line will break a decade hence? We’ll listen out (8)
INTENTLY: The abbreviations for time and line go inside (will break) a (2,3,5) expression for ‘a decade hence’ without the final ‘ears’ (We’ll listen out)

14a     Second call catches knight early (7)
MORNING: A second or short time plus to call by phone contains (catches) the abbreviation for knight

16a     Explosive reports this evening (6)
TONITE: A homophone (reports) of a word meaning this evening

17a     Cashier maintaining Bill’s old cab (6)
FIACRE: To cashier or dismiss going around (maintaining) an abbreviation meaning bill

19a     With nose beginning to signal cold, the hospital fails to jab tip (7)
SCENTED: The first letter (beginning) of signal, the abbreviation for cold, then THE from the clue missing (fails) the abbreviation for hospital goes inside (to jab) a word meaning tip or extremity

21a/22d Your irrational claim? My apologies in advance for making it show (1,6,1,4)
I HAVEN’T A CLUE: The definition is irrational because we clearly have 27 of them. Preceding the answer (in advance) with another way (1’1,5) of saying my apologies (see Nina) will make it a show.

22a     Fields of Bordeaux world-beaters? (6)
CHAMPS: The French (of Bordeaux) word for fields

23a     I’m surprised about member of drug squad once being against laws (6)
ANARCH: An expression of surprise goes around a narcotics agent to give an old word for a promoter of lawlessness

24a     New recruit collects Oscar as advisor for The Queen (8)
COURTIER: An anagram (new) of RECRUIT contains (collects) the letter corresponding to the radio code Oscar

25a     The Sun‘s probing axes Chief of Staff – pictures inside! (1-4)
X-RAYS: I read pictures as a verb here. An Egyptian god identified with The Sun goes in between the axes on a graph, plus the first letter (chief) of Staff

26a     Wide this route is not! (5)
BROAD: Split (1,4), the answer describes a route which is not the answer.


2d     Problem overcoming resistance in a republic (7)
SURINAM: An arithmetic problem contains (overcoming) the abbreviation for resistance plus IN A from the clue

3d     Popular Land Rover’s back on green, so moving old estate (6,8)
COMMON RECOVERY: A 6-letter word for some popular land (a piece of land used by lots of people), the last letter (back) of Rover, another word for green or environmentally friendly, and a word meaning so or extremely

5d     Out of work, subjected to the anguish of ruin (7)
UNDOING: Remove (out of) a unit of work from a 10-letter word meaning ‘subjected to the anguish of’ or enduring

6d     Wingers dropped from squad are its better players (9)
QUARTETTE: Remove outers letters from (wingers dropped from …) 4 words in the clue

7d     Juice provider supplies some boxes (4)
ESSO: Hidden (… boxes)

8d     Means to manufacture tar, so out to shop? (7,7)
TURNING TRAITOR: A reverse reversal. How would you create the word “tar”?

9d     Probe Little Pigs’ holiday home? (6)
STYLET: The answer could be a whimsical diminutive of a home for pigs. The probe is a medical device generally used in patients’ airways

15d     Fixer perhaps in Arctic Ocean’s dismissed over cutting heavenly flower (3,6)
ICE ANCHOR: (o)CEAN from the clue without (dismissed) the abbreviation for over goes inside (cutting) the ethereal fluid that flows instead of blood in the veins of the gods

18d    Home help being sorted (2,4)
IN HAND: A word for home and a word for help

19d    Stuffy place of debauchery in which to take bow (7)
STARCHY: A place of debauchery or a grown-up 9d perhaps contains (in which to take) a word meaning bow or bend

20d    With lower temperature, time flies (7)
DIPTERA: A verb meaning lower, the abbreviation for temperature, and a time or age

22d     See 21a

My favourite clue today was 6d. Which clues did you like?

Elgar’s message about the bus route:

I was on a 134 bus in London one day putting together an Only Connect question about the route, as you do, reason being that one of the stops is Mornington Crescent (see rows 7&9). Given the awful selection of grids at my disposal, I wasn’t able as I’d wish to get from North Finchley to Tottenham Court Road via MC, so I had to make do with the rather shorter trip from a sort of Euston  (row 2) to TOT/TEN/HAM/COURT/ROAD via the circuitous route (all acrosses) of12/13/22/24/26. You can probably see various remnants of FINCHLEY, ARCHWAY etc….



24 comments on “Toughie 2266

  1. I thought this was Elgar being kind to us as I finished in about a 4.5* time. I did decide that the number 134 was probably to do with bus routes so didn’t look any further, particularly as I had to go to a meeting to take the notes (and I really should be trying to read my shorthand back now rather than commenting on crosswords!)

    Lots of clues marked as favourites but the top of the list goes to the 21/22 combo with its excellent reference to the Nina. The borrowed repetition radar did bleep when it encountered the second lot of STY

    Thanks to Elgar for the entertainment and Dutch for the explanations which I haven’t got time to read as I really must get back to my notes :(

  2. Ha, utterly beyond me. I won’t waste any more time on it.

    This is one for the professionals.

    Thanks anyway.

    1. I must say, as a DT crossword fan that I am totally baffled by half of this. Perhaps the dementia is kicking in.

  3. Very enjoyable puzzle with a theme related to one of my favourite radio programmes (What, No Samantha? – Perhaps she’s popped over to Prague for a quick check-up).
    I eventually managed to parse all the clues except 8d where I couldn’t (and still can’t) see how the last four letters of the answer fit.
    The clues I liked a lot were 10a, 6d and 20d but top of the pile has to be 21a/22d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    1. To create TAR you are turning RAT, the second part of the solution being a synonym for rat

        1. Hello Dave, rat = traitor so ‘means to make tar’ would be ‘turning (reversing) traitor (rat)’

    2. …same here re.8d – where do the last four letters come from ?
      I found this quite taxing – never heard of 3d , the spelling of 4a and 6d was a bit obscure,and I still can’t make 21a/22d parse properly .
      Thanks nevertheless to Elgar & Dutch

      1. I too spent some time with 8d thinking it was an anagram – but it’s not, it’s a reversal (hence allowing a synonym)
        21a/22d: definition is first 3 words, as underlined. The rest of it (i.e. the wordplay) just says if you put “I’m sorry” in front (in advance) of the answer, you turn it into the name of a show

  4. Like Gazza the Radio show is one of my favourites. The Samantha and Sven introductions are hilarious. The Stop in rows 7 &9 Is one of the most ridiculous games ever invented on the show.

    Anyway this was well into 5* territory for me with many clues marked with a tick. I can only think in 8d rat equates to a traitor, turning traitor leads to Tar, but as usual i’m probably hopelessly off the mark

    Thanks to Dutch and Elgar

  5. Staggered across the finishing line via five unknowns (thank you, Mr Google) but still needed help from Dutch to fully parse five of my answers so can’t really call it a success story!

    Excellent show incorporated into the grid (ah, the lovely Samantha!) and I laughed at the illustrations for 25a & 7d but Elgar is too far out of my league for me to find his puzzles enjoyable.

    Thanks to him anyway and to Dutch for a first rate blog.

  6. Took me an age – not to fill in, but to parse. I could see there was something going on with Ninas etc, but I’m not a Londoner so had no clue as to 134.

    Thanks for the challenge Elgar and thanks to Dutch for one or two explanations I couldn’t quite make work.

  7. Although I finished this correctly in just under 4hrs,I like others still don’t get 8d.Dutch helped explain 19a(I was hung up on ENT for Hospital),25a and 5d Ta for that .

    1. In 8d, the answer is a cryptic instruction to make (means to manufacture) “tar”. This type of clue is called a reverse clue, where the cryptic instruction is in the answer. Furthermore, it is a reversal (not an anagram). The first word in the answer is the reversal indicator, the second word is a synonym of the word to be reversed.

      Many, including myself at first, wrongly interpreted the first word as an anagram indicator, which leads to explaining only the first three letters in the second word.

      Hope that helps

  8. 3/4 of this crossword were solved without too many headaches but the NE corner was only finished with a little help from our Friday blogger.
    Didn’t see the Nina nor the reference to 134. Mind you, I’ve stopped counting a while ago.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

  9. 8d I think is Elgar at his best, beautifullly elegant, yet still requiring some serious thought post solving. Superbly clever. Will also give a nod to the preceding 7d, simply because it made me laugh, and in currently trying to negotiate a contract with said provider leaves one in doubt how they ever continue in business. But I digress; great crossword, cheers to JH & Dutch for the blog.

  10. Solved, eventually, and would give this one ***** for difficulty but only ** for enjoyment.
    You can make things difficult either elegantly or crudely. I don’t call breaking a word down into little pieces and then describing the bits with a meaningless jumble of words “elegant”.

  11. I had visitors yesterday and not time for any crosswords. Today they are off to Cambridge, so giving me a chance to catch up. For people like me with a limited vocabulary the idea of finishing an Elgar unaided is a remote fantasy but oddly his puzzles hide the definitions so well it is quite good fun using my iPad.

    With the important proviso that I was not working unaided, I found this very much at elgar’s easy end of the spectrum. I have finished one faster in the past when I have been lucky enough to get a theme quickly but normally they take a fair bit longer than No. 134. I even spotted the Nina before looking at the blog. That is a first for me! Hopefully the bus theme does not mean we get three Elgar toughies in a row – I need time for normal life as well. Every five weeks or so is perfect

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  12. Thank you so much for explaining this, Dutch, allowing those of us who aren’t (yet?) anywhere near being able solve this sort of thing to share in appreciating Elgar’s craft and the cleverness of this crossword.

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