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Toughie 2381

Toughie No 2381 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This is Elgar’s 142nd Telegraph Toughie. This is the number of a special vehicle featured in a remarkable story, now also a movie, and is referenced by a number of grid entries

As always, finding the definitions is half the battle – these are underlined for you in the clues below. The hints and tips are intended to help you unravel the wordplay, but if that is insufficient you can reveal the answers by clicking on the The true story of 10a 22a and the 16d, written by 17d in the book hidden in row 1 buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a/28a    Too fond of pub profits? (4,3,7)
INTO THE BARGAIN: A 4-letter casual word meaning fond of plus a (3,3,4) phrase that would mean pub profits

5a/27a    Spur-of-the-moment staff-outings? (7,7)
WILDCAT STRIKES: A cryptic definition for unplanned refusals to work

9a    Sense perception essential for catching this when flipped? (5)
CREPE: The whole clue alludes to the answer. A reverse hidden (… essential for catching this when flipped)

10a    The Great Alone, not getting on with parts by leading lady (9)
ALEXANDER: ALONE from the clue without (not getting) ON, the an 3-letter conjunction meaning with goes between (parts) a letter that can be an arithmetic symbol meaning by, plus the Latin abbreviation for the lady who leads our country. The Great Alone is a novel by Kristin Hannah, but is also a descriptor used for Alaska hence related to the theme

11a    Am I bothered lug is lashing crew? (2,8)
ME HEARTIES: A 3-letter slang word meaning ‘Am I bothered’, i.e., expressing indifference, the facial feature known as a lug, and a verb meaning ‘is lashing’ (with a rope)

12a    see 6d

14a    Exemplary policy, Part Two missing wife out (12)
PROTOTYPICAL: An anagram (out) of POLICY PART T(w)O (missing the abbreviation for wife)

18a    For which one flew to launch chequered Aussie career? (3-3,6)
AIR-SEA RESCUE: Launch is a noun here. An anagram (chequered) of AUSSIE CAREER

21a    Drink you’re glugging like some of the black stuff! (4)
INKY: Hidden (… glugging)

22a    Star Trek providing parts for this group of players? (9)
SUPERTRAMP: The first and second parts of the answer are clued by Star and Trek, respectively

25a    Giving in to flu bout, occasionally nasty (9)
BOUNTIFUL: An anagram (nasty) of IN TO FLU B(o)U(t) (bout, occasionally)

26a    Drive back westbound Underground passenger? (5)
REBUT: A reversal (westbound) of a 5-letter “Underground passenger”

27a    see 5a

28a     see 1a


1d    Door, open – so ___? Profit! (6)
INCOME: With an open door, you would normally (4,2) – now reverse the order of these words as indicated by ‘door, open’

2d    Cut in if they’re still rocking! (3,3)
THE WHO: A 3-letter word meaning cut goes inside (in) a 3-letter informal (abbreviated) word meaning if


3d    Woman set about man from the outset, that’s just it! (3,4,3)
THE FAIR SEX: Around (set about) a male pronoun, we have the first letter (from the outset) of that’s, a word meaning just or righteous, and an activity known as ‘it’

4d    Finished what one was doing? (5)
EXACT: Split the answer (2,3) to describe the second half of the clue

5d    In an endless game of tricks, East’s bank set up a valid point (5,2,2)
WHERE IT IS: Inside (in) a card game resembling bridge without the last letter (endless), we have the abbreviation for East plus a reversal (set up) of a word meaning bank

6d/12a    What sounds like ‘Now is the winter of our discontent …’ maybe (4,4)
LEAD LINE: A nautical device used for sounding might also refer to the opening words in a play

7d     Pouch item from the chippy? (8)
CODPIECE: Split (3,5), this might be something to go with your chips

8d     With one reversal, the answer is triple layered (5-3)
THREE-PLY: A (3,5) synonym for ‘the answer’ with one pair of letters reversed

13d    During series a couple of players express rage I could not contain? (10)
SPLUTTERER: Inside (during) the 3-letter abbreviation for series, we have the first two letters (a couple) of PLayers plus a verb meaning to express or say

15d    Suffragette will mobilise e.g. these ‘pious’ types (9)
TARTUFFES: An anagram (will mobilise) of EG plus [the answer] gives SUFFRAGETTES

16d    The sounds one’s into? Swap metal with American track by 2 (5,3)
MAGIC BUS: A (5,3) phrase that would describe the sounds you’re into, then swap the chemical symbol for a precious metal in the second word with the 2-letter abbreviation for American in the first word

17d    Mountaineer treated rare auk nursing its right wing (8)
KRAKAUER: An anagram (treated) of RARE AUK contains (nursing) the rightmost letter of auk (its right wing). This mountaineer is also a writer and wrote the book on the theme (hidden in the first row)

19d    Rocky, perhaps, but ready for Panamanian (6)
BALBOA: Rocky’s surname is also the currency of Panama

20d    Everyone stripped from the waist up? Exactly! (4-2)
SPOT-ON: A reversal (up) of a (2,4) phrase suggesting upper garments are not present

23d    From the collection of Nick Clegg, say? (2,3)
EX LIB: The answer could whimsically refer to Nick Clegg

24d    Doing fine sort of skunk (4)
ATOK: An informal 2-letter word for doing and an informal expression for fine


I liked the band clues 22a and 2d, and also enjoyed the simple 23d. I think my favourite was the chequered Aussie career (18a) with the clever “to launch career”  – which clues did you like?

30 comments on “Toughie 2381

  1. That was a bit difficult, 15d & 17d caused problems in particular
    Thanks Elgar & Dutch

  2. So after three days of crosswords of a level that wouldn’t be out of place on the back page of the paper on a Monday or Tuesday, we get, as expected from Elgar, a stratospheric leap into proper fiendish Toughie difficulty.

    I did enjoy the battle – I learnt a few new things, eg the ‘ready’ in 19d – and I did have to check that the ones I’d put in from the wordplay like 17d were correct. Hard to pick a favourite but I did mark 11a, 1d, 19d and 23d for the short list.

    As I keep saying every time we have an Elgar Toughie, it isn’t necessary to know that we are looking for a particular numbered theme to solve the crossword – I was none the wiser when I’d finished or after I’d clicked to find out Dutch’s enlightenment on the matter

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  3. The top half went in relatively smoothly for me but the bottom half was a different kettle of fish. I wasn’t helped by foolishly writing the Underground passenger into 26a. Having sorted that out I then had to battle with the very obscure 17d and 24d which involved calling on the assistance of Mrs Google.
    I liked 18a (I presume the ‘one’ refers to the princely flier) and I also ticked 9a, 11a and my favourite, 23d.
    Many thanks to Elgar (now appearing every other Friday?) and Dutch.

  4. A slight reversal of the answer given for 18 across. Should be Air Sea Rescue. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch for another very enjoyable challenge.

  5. Your solution to 18A has the first two, hyphened, words in the wrong order…. Your way the answer to 3D does not fit!

  6. Dutch- a slight slip in your notes for 18 a -should be AIR SEA RESCUE. Must say, I had my usual failure with Elgar, only getting 4 or 5 and never spotting the theme.Thanks anyway Dutch and Elgar

    1. Hi, nice to hear from you! well spotted, silly typing error, obviously doesn’t fit the grid, now fixed.

  7. Just managed 2 answers. I’m overcome with admiration for those who finished this.
    The mountaineer was so obscure, do I gather there is a book and film featuring him?
    Thank goodness I managed the back page or I really would feel defeated!

  8. As CS says, three gentle walks in the park and today a dive into the abyss. Didn’t finish it this morning – about 6 outstanding before I had to go – so thanks to you Dutch to explain all of them. The mountaineer, the skunk, the toilet roll?? Blimey.

    I hope RD got his guitar out for a second time this week.

    I now have to go out again – so can you please give me another pointer to 142?

    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

    1. Forgot to say, 5a/27a was favourite – not just for the clue but because it was my first one in!

  9. After three days of entry level Toughies I was beginning to think I was getting the hang of things. And then today……how are the mighty fallen in the midst of battle!

    I managed three or four clues without the hints but it was clearly going to take all day to get anywhere near finishing so resorted to using some help. Even with the hints I struggled to understand some of the logic. The Mountaineer and the Skunk were some GK I had never heard of! So, thanks to Dutch for the help!

    Particularly liked 22a, following on the theme of pop music from Wednesday’s Toughie

    Unlike some Toughie puzzles that are just difficult for the sake of it, I found an elegance in this puzzle that made it a pleasure to persevere with and work through. Thanks to Elgar for the experience.

  10. Well myself and Mrs B have just spent most of the afternoon unravelling this***** toughie.
    As others have said, after the ‘easy’ puzzles this week , this was the black hole!
    Enjoyed the completion and now feel a tad frazzled.
    Hard to pick a favourite but liked 5d and 22a -I do have the initial LP with dreamer on it.
    Look forward to a refreshing beer or two.

  11. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Elgar does it again.
    Great puzzle. I would probably have got there faster if I hadn’t convinced myself that the theme was related to 2d, 16d, looking then to shoehorn all sorts of song titles into any likely looking grid space. Thanks to JH & Dutch.

  12. Didn’t get to this until Saturday morning. 5*/3* for me. Elgar’s usual mix of impossibly difficult and obscure.
    Loved 1a and 25a – one word definitions all too easy to read straight past. 5a and 22a, sneakily lateral.
    Thanks to both E and D

  13. Out of my league. But even with the hints, I cannot see how much if this passes BD’s “Lego” test. The surface reads for most are horrid, even if they are all very clever.

  14. Only failed on the combo 6d/12a.
    Couldn’t see the def and had Lean Time for too long in my mind.
    Had the two first words in 18a the wrong way round for a while.
    Favourites 16d for construction and 11a for the super charade.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great challenge and I look forward to next Friday.
    Thanks to Dutch for all the explanations.

  15. I was not enthralled by this example of Elgar’s skill. I solved about half the clues. I was never going get me hearties for a crew and Krakauer is hardly a well known mountaineer on this side of the Atlantic.
    I could not find the word supertramp in my chambers dictionary. can anyone explain how this is a group of players please.

  16. I also had “Lean Time” and 11a was the last one in and then only with help from Dutch.

    Didn’t start until yesterday afternoon but thanks to Storm Ciara I could spend quite some time on it today. Very difficult, but pretty much got there in the end. I think The Who appeared in a Donnybrook puzzle this week too?

    Favourites were 5a/27a and 18a.

    Thanks to Elgar for a Tough Toughie and to Dutch for the help.

  17. Superb puzzle. Agree with 5 stars for quality, enjoyability etc but if I was able to complete it, it might have to be slightly reduced from 5 stars difficulty.! So many great clues its difficult to single any out.I’d like to hear about bus 142 and many thanks for blog and clip with Rog playing harp. Thanks Dutch and JH.

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