Toughie 2330 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2330

Toughie No 2330 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This is Elgar’s 137th Telegraph Toughie. I hope you still have your disco shoes. The long entry, part of the theme, is the link to the number 137. You knew that, right?

As always, the definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the Psalm 137 buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


8a    What distinguishes ginger nuts as hardier? (3,4)
RED HAIR: The answer can be anagrammed (nuts) as HARDIER

10a    Educated hairdresser about moving in near East African location (7)
ERITREA: The educated hairdresser movie character, with a short word meaning ‘about’ inside it (moving in), is next to (near) the abbreviation for East

11a    Eggs smashed in a lot of big hands? (9)
OVATIONAL: A 3-letter word meaning eggs plus an anagram (smashed) of IN A LOT

12a    Stopped Blue Peter broadcast short of brewing beer (3,2)
LET UP: An anagram (broadcast) of BLUE PETER without the letters (short of) in an anagram (brewing) of BEER

13a    Top of the Pops? (5)
DADDY: Slang for top or best (13a/23d)

14a    Rocky tables bearing fine port (7)
BELFAST: An anagram (rocky) of TABLES includes (bearing) the abbreviation for fine

17a    ‘Biblical flowers‘ deciphered by brain of solver (6,2,7)
RIVERS OF BABYLON: An anagram (deciphered) of BY BRAIN OF SOLVER

19a    A piece of cake to keep large women in trim?! (2,5)
NO SWEAT: A 2-letter abbreviation for large plus the abbreviation for women go inside (to keep … in) a word meaning trim

21a/27a As veteran cast of Mousetrap finally revealed? (2,3,4,3)
IN THE LONG RUN: Given Mousetrap’s claim to fame, a veteran cast member could be said to be this

24a    Little brother has to have toast (5)
BROWN: The abbreviation (little) of brother plus a verb meaning to have (24a/5d/21a/9d)

26a    Rocker seized by one looking to influence opinions? (9)
SLOGANEER: A 5-letter rocking stone goes inside (seized by) a noun meaning one looking

27a/see 21a

28d    It normally shows you’ve more than one mail (7)
LETTERS: Split the answer (6,1) to understand the first part of the clue


1d    A service provided by aging poet (6)
ARNOLD: A from the clue, an abbreviation for a military service, and an adjective meaning aging

2d    Attraction to see when rounding up King of England (6,2)
EDWARD IV: The reversal (up) of a word meaning attraction covered by (when rounding) a Latin word meaning to see

3d    ‘Fly Emirates’ pilots at terminal missing revised map of descent (6,4)
FAMILY TREE: An anagram (revised) of FLY EMIRATE(S) without (missing) the last letter (at terminal) of pilots

4d    Sweet jar bottomless, holding breadbasket on cycle in reserve (5,4)
JELLY BABY: JA(r) from the clue, without the last letter (bottomless), goes around (holding) another word for the slang meaning of bread basket, in which the first letter is moved to the end (on cycle), plus a 2-letter word meaning ‘in reserve’ (meaning 5 as an adverb in Chambers). I had an American colleague who was absolutely horrified we had these sweets!

5d    All right to dress her up? (4)
GIRL: Reverse hidden (… to dress def up, in a down clue)

6d    Resident of South Africa up for a brew? (6)
PROTEA: A word meaning up for, and a brew

7d    Historical debauchee and king, when introduced (8)
RASPUTIN: The Latin abbreviation for king, a short word meaning when, then a (3,2) phrasal verb meaning introduced

9d    Border missing edge of iron band (4)
RING: A 6-letter border missing the outer letters that form the chemical symbol of iron (edge of iron)

15d    Raving lunatics stockpiling 24 oils? (10)
LUBRICANTS: An anagram (raving) of LUNATICS contains the abbreviation for the answer to 24

16d    Anti-inflammatory in heart, with time, is working (9)
CORTISONE: In another word for heart, together with the abbreviation for time, we have IS from the clue plus a short word meaning working

17d    Means to secure enclosure in which you watch boxers escape (8)
RINGBOLT: A word for the enclosure in which you watch boxers, plus a word meaning escape

18d    I’m thinking I’d like to rent out Exeter or Ely, please (3,2,3)
LET ME SEE: A cryptic reference playing on other words for rent and bishopric

20d    London Ranger is given advance short of one old penny (6)
SLOANE: A (2,6) phrase meaning ‘is given advance’ without (short of) the letters ID (1d, one old penny)

22d    Departure, say, top papers ignored (6)
EGRESS: An abbreviation meaning say or for instance, plus a word for papers where the first letter is missing (top … ignored)

23d    Ace character initiated by Connery licensed to kill Blofeld’s Number Two (4)
COOL: The first letter of (character initiated by) Connery, a pair of leters that look like the numerical prefix denoting a licence to kill, plus the second letter (Number Two) of Blofeld

25d    Trainspotter‘s not heading for a road (4)
NERD: A 3-letter word for ‘a’ without the first letter (not heading for …), plus the abbreviation for road

As always, I am in awe of Elgar’s spectacular anagrams, but my favourite today was the reverse hidden 5d. Which clues did you like?

14 comments on “Toughie 2330

  1. The question is ‘what have they done with Elgar and can we have the real one back?’

    Elgar was obviously wearing his fluffiest pinkest slippers when he set this lovely themed crossword (I’ll even forgive him for the ear worms). I’m quite chuffed as, due to my brain’s ability to hold random bits of information, I did know that 137 was linked to 17a

    Too many favourites to list – 3*/5* for me – thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  2. Spent all day singing Boney M but must admit that I didn’t see the brown girl in the ring.
    Definitly the gentler side of Elgar.
    Thanks to him and to Dutch for the review.

  3. I rather like this fluffy [relatively] gimmick-free Elgar and enjoyed this as much as his last one, again without having to spend most of the day on it. My only gripe is that horrible construction at 22d. To me “top papers ignored” clues P rather than RESS. “Ignored top papers” – OK [as in 25d]. “Papers ignored top” – obviously fine, ditto “papers top ignored”. As given the surface is smooth [of course] but the wordplay lousy.

    As for Boney M – a bit too cruise ship for me. And what’s with 137? Grumble, grumble.

    Oh yes, thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for a fine review.

  4. I thought I was going to have more trouble with this than I did. Just about the right level of difficulty for me to provide a decent challenge. Apart from that rocking stone which defeated me. 17a was the first in, which helped a lot. I don’t know what the relevance of 137 is unless it’s its place in some chart somewhere.

    I didn’t pick up on brown girl in the ring.

  5. We knew what we were looking for but didn’t see it. However, we do like Elgar fluffies and it didn’t take long to solve. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  6. Elgar’s being uncharacteristically merciful today. The clues that I liked best were 19a and 28a.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  7. Merciful? Fluffy? Oh dear, I was completely beaten. Not having much luck with the back page either. My little grey cells have just gone walkabout! Time to put the kettle on and find a good book to relax with.

  8. The rocker in 26a was new to us and we enlisted electronic help with that one. Everything else went together in a satisfactory and satisfying manner for and was completed within a reasonable time. 23a was our last one to get the wordplay sorted.
    A pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  9. My main stumbling block was, as with 2Kiwis, trying for a considerable time , yet futile attempt to parse the rocker in 26a. As is usual I found the 4 letter words took me the longest, but cap is doffed to the reversal in 5d. Spotted the theme which helped. Thanks as always to to Dutch and Elgar

  10. I did half of it over a couple of hours. Rocking stone still beats me. I like to get as far as I can without electronic or BRB help, then I look to the hints on this blog; if no lights on after this, then I expose the answer!
    Thanks to all

    1. Logan, I believe, is a Cornish term for a large stone that rocks. There is an outcrop with a no-longer rocking stone called Logan Rock at Porthcurno in west Cornwall, on the other side of the bay from the Minack theatre. But even knowing that I still struggled with that corner of the puzzle.

  11. Thanks John for making my day by allowing me to finish one of yours unaided. Thanks to Dutch too for a couple of parsings. No more thanks in case people start mistaking this for another site!

    Very pleased with myself for remembering the famous rocker Kenny Logan, only to discover he played rugby for Scotland…

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