Toughie 2413 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2413

Toughie No 2413 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This is Elgar’s 146th Telegraph Toughie, so it seemed clear that 7d was going to be a key clue related to a theme. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to unravel that one until the end of my solve, but once i did everything was revealed very nicely

As usual, definitions are underlined. The hints aim to guide you through the wordplay, and you can reveal the answers if you like by clicking on the Find 19(!) examples of 7d 5a (10 in the grid and 9 in the clues) buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought of the puzzle


1a    Troop train (6)
SCHOOL: Two meanings, the first as in a group of animals (esp. birds), the second as in to teach

5a    Work I say succeeded, going over fake (8)
SYMPHONY: A reversal (going over) of an exclamation meaning I say! or cor! plus the abbreviation for succeeded, then a word meaning fake

9a    Iron’s dissolving in mercury secure? I missed warning (4,6)
HORN SIGNAL: An anagram (dissolving) of IRON’S goes inside (in) the chemical symbol for mercury, then a 4-letter verb meaning to secure without the I from the clue (I missed)

10a    See reclining seats one’s putting out with them? (4)
YIPS: Think golf. A reversal (reclining) of a verb meaning see contains (seats) the Roman numeral for one

11a    We’re leaving out butterflies (8)
SKIPPERS: Two meanings – the second referring to kinds of butterflies

12a    Don’t stop nursing what athlete’s overstretched? (6)
TENDON: Split (4,2), the answer would mean Carry On Nursing

13a    Showed Island Queen (4)
RANI:     A verb meaning showed (as in a tv programme) plus the abbreviation for island

15a    Leaving do ahead of spring (8)
FAREWELL: A verbal meaning of do (3rd transitive entry in Chambers) plus another word for spring

18a    Like non-standard, occasionally-used, musical expression of praise (8)
ALLELUIA: Take an 8-letter word meaning like or corresponding (PARALLEL) and remove the first 3 letters meaning standard (non-standard), then add the even (occasionally-used) letters in musical

19a    Dimension of centimetre in wall of heart (4)
TIME: This dimension is found inside the word centimetre, contained within (in wall of) a word meaning heart

21d    Here M40 leads Oxford type, say, learner ahead to West (6)
LONDON: A professorial Oxford type, but first (to West) we have the abbreviation for learner plus a 2-letter word meaning ahead (as in moving **)

23a    In dawn run, philosopher’s first to overcome new shock (8)
SURPRISE: Take a 7-letter word for dawn (SUNRISE) and therein (in) insert the abbreviation for run plus the first letter of philosopher to replace (overcome) the abbreviation for new

25a    Carry, as echo in pub (4)
BEAR: Place the letter with the radio code echo inside another word for pub

26a    Amicus inspiring daughter Hannah? (10)
PALINDROME: The question mark indicates a definition by example. Amicus is Latin for friend, which is indicated in the answer as a (3,2,4) phrase (PAL IN ROME), into which we need to insert (inspiring) the abbreviation for daughter

27a    Empress up a street doing U-turn (8)
TSARITSA: A reversal (doing U-turn) of a 5-letter word that means out of bed, up and about (ASTIR), then A from the clue and the abbreviation of street

28a    Original depiction of mother in labour (it’s a boy!)? (6)
MASTER: A “depiction” of a 5-letter mother carrying the abbreviation for male offspring


2d    Strike 19 notice (5)
CLOCK: Triple definition

3d    Work through duck and hen supply, overseeing one article for Paris connoisseur (9)
OENOPHILE: The Latin abbreviation for work goes inside the letter that looks like a duck score in cricket plus an anagram (supply) of HEN, then the Roman numeral for one and a French (for Paris) definite article

4d    Is successful story at Birmingham Weight Watchers this idle? (6)
LOITER: How a Brummie might describe him-/herself after a successful Weight Watchers programme

5d    Vassal’s fun with Viola in play, part of what comes from the heart (5,2,8)
SINUS OF VALSALVA: Think anatomy. The answer is also known as the aortic sinus. An anagram (in play) of VASSAL’S FUN + VIOLA

6d    Soldiers on, breaching target over railroad (8)
MILITARY: A 3-letter word for on (as street lamps might be) goes inside the reversal (over) of a 3-letter target, then the abbreviation for railroad

7d    101 & 45 his, among others here, not comin’ out for listeners? (5)
HAYDN: The key clue indicating the theme. 101 & 45 (=146!) are examples of a 5a from this man, as are other grid entries and mentions in the clues (19 in all). A homophone (for listeners) of a word meaning not comin’ out, i.e., staying out of sight

8d    Am then picking up Scary Spice – it’s easy (2,7)
NO PROBLEM: Am then, where Am. is an abbreviation (for AMATEUR), suggests a (2,3) indication that we do not have the opposite (also abbreviated) (NO PRO). Then we have a reversal (picking up) of the name Scary Spice goes by

14d    Here, everyone (bar one) preparing miracle little solution (3,6)
ALL COMERS: An anagram (preparing) of M(i)RACLE + SOL, the abbreviation (little) for solution, omitting the Roman numeral for one (bar one)

16d    Notifies people to stay true to burst boilers (5,4)
WATER URNS: A 5-letter verb meaning notifies people (in advance of danger) contains (to stay) an anagram (to burst) of TRUE

17d    Rotisserie cooks put in request for vacation with just a hint of sarcasm (8)
TURNSPIT: An anagram (cooks) of PUT IN + R(eques)T + S(arcasm) – request for vacation, just a hint of sarcasm

20d    Checker of movement of renumbered bottles (6)
FRENUM: More anatomy. Hidden (… bottles)

22d    Drumroll occasionally cut short by Royal Engraver (5)
DURER: 3 out of the 4 (cut short) odd letters (occasionally) of Drumroll plus an abbreviation for the Queen

24d    Monsieur bathing in a little French river (5)
SOMME: The abbreviation for Monsieur goes inside (bathing in) a word meaning a little

With plenty to choose from, my favourite clue today is Amicus, one of the thematic entries (26a). Which clues did you like?



7 HAYDN 5 SYMPHONY: Across: 1/28 SCHOOLMASTER, 9 HORNSIGNAL & (clue) MERCURY, 13 (clue) QUEEN, 15 FAREWELL, 18 ALLELUIA, 21 LONDON & (clue) OXFORD, 23 SURPRISE & (clue) PHILOSOPHER, 25 BEAR & (clue) ECHO, 26 PALINDROME. Down: 2 CLOCK, 3 (clue) HEN & PARIS, 6 MILITARY, 14 (clue) MIRACLE, 22 (clue) DRUMROLL.


25 comments on “Toughie 2413

  1. For once I picked up the theme before completing the puzzle but I don’t see any connection between the theme and the number as 146 as I don’t think 7d wrote 146 5a’s. Today’s Elgar was as close as I have known to completion without aids – mainly because I happened to know a few of the obscurities for once. I got started after a while staring at a blank grid by getting 5d and 15a together – from guessing 5d was an anagram and so 15a could start with an F. I had not heard of 20d before but it was a lurker. I knew the names of three of the 7d 5a’s – unfortunately not 9a, which struck me as an odd term when first solved, as it would have been a great help
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for explaining 18a

      1. I was thinking there was something subtle to it but maybe it is just a simple addition – which I actually found a distraction when trying to figure out 7d as 146 does not have anything directly to do with 7d

  2. I had my usual battle with Elgar and very enjoyable it was – thanks to him and Dutch. I’d never heard of 5d and although I knew it was an anagram I eventually used some electronic aid to work it out.
    7d was my last answer (for which I needed all three checkers). I then looked up all his symphonies and was amazed at how many Elgar had managed to include.
    I liked 10a, 4d (LOL) and 8d but my favourite was the excellent 26a.

  3. I didn’t have quite as much of a battle as I could have done with this one – still 5* difficulty but not as almost 6* as some of his crosswords have been. 5* enjoyment – I did know the theme which helped no end and I was amazed to remember 5d – goodness only knows why I stored that one away in the memory banks

    Thanks to Dutch for the blog and Elgar for the great Toughie – my favourite was 26a

  4. I agree with “Roger”!! Blank grid for ages eventually became six solved although I did not understand why three were correct! 21 answers needed the blog for explanation so no enjoyment at all I’m afraid. Loved finishing yesterday’s without help. At least 7*/0* for this one; too obscure for me

  5. I solved 5, never saw the theme, was completely lost, even though I know a goodly number of Papa’s symphonies. Congratulations to crypticsue, Gazza, and Patch! I am so impressed. Hail to thee, Dutch, and many thanks for bursting my smug bubble, Elgar; I had finished three toughies this week, two without any help. Lying down in a dark room now….

  6. I took a couple of runs at this, but sadly I could not find an entry point anywhere. I could not even spot the lurkers, even knowing there was a good possibility of some being there somewhere. A pity because I know something about the theme (for once) – but it’s hard to appreciate a theme with a blank grid in front of you. I am sorry, and I know how revered Elgar is, but I have to be added to those who register a zero * for enjoyment.

    1. Elgar usually provides a few ‘ways in’ to allow you to establish a base camp before the hard climbing starts. Today, for example, we had 12a, 25a and 24d.

  7. In a word – coo! May I give 6* for difficulty? I managed three and a bit on my own, needed Dutch’s help for the rest, all of which (bar 9 & 10) I worked out – WITH help. Thank you Dutch, not sure about thank you Elgar! 5*/4.5*

  8. I’m afraid that, after a quick read through, I just didn’t bother to try to solve this. Elgar is always completely beyond me. I have just spent an interesting 5 minutes reading the hints and answers and, as I thought, I’d never have got past first base. Dutch, you are a genius!

  9. Managed to get a foothold in the bottom and filled in most of it.
    Never succeeded the hard climbing, as Gazza puts it, apart from 6, 8 and 12.
    Thanks to Elgar for the workout and to Dutch for explaining all the missing pieces.

  10. Have to admit that I gave up on Elgar’s crosswords at around the same time as he started marking the numbers of his puzzles.
    Nevertheless, I derive great pleasure from reading through the answers alongside the hints from Dutch and my admiration for him (Dutch) is boundless!

  11. Failed on 10a [altho it does seem vaguely familiar from a previous puzzle] but otherwise not bad for Elgar. Did the top LH corner easily enough and twigged the anagram at 5d. Then, with 3 checkers, decided 5a was either “simulant” or “semblant” [ie fake] so 7d must start with an L. Also had the N from 12a so spent an embarrassingly long time researching Punk history [the 101ers] and trying to fit John Lydon into the 7d clue. Then got 21a to go with 2d and light began to dawn!

    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch, particularly for explaining 18a and 28a [which seems clear as day when you know!]

  12. Had all the time in the world today ,
    and needed it.
    This was a joint effort with Mrs B which took most of the afternoon .
    I thought that it was at least a *****, not sure about the enjoyment.
    Last in was 5d which needed all the checking letters to stand a chance.
    Failed to spot the theme until late on which eventually helped, especially 7d.
    Favourite was 26a, there’s a bottle of petit Chablis cooling nicely-might need two.

  13. Wow! Never finished an Elgar before, and so glad I persisted after ages staring at a blank grid and grumbling about overly verbose clues. However, once I got going, it was great fun. Still needed help with the parsing on some, so thanks to Dutch for the education. No idea about the theme, and it wouldn’t have helped anyway! Clear favourite 26a. And only 4 words, too, ‘nuff said. Thanks to Elgar for the lockdown distraction!

  14. By far and away my longest ever solve, but I gave up on parsing 14 down, and now I’m annoyed with myself because it wasn’t that convoluted. Still always satisfying to get an Elgar correct without recourse to technology.

  15. Just got round to this tonight, already finished Paul, Ferret, Tees, and Mudd in that order, and completed Elgar in one (long) session. All correct, but failed to parse the first bit of 18a (ALLEL) and LOI 28a. Looked up HAYDN 101 (CLOCK) and HAYDN 45 (FAREWELL) in wiki to see what was going on, but would never have spotted the other themesters. Not my cup of Earl Grey, I’m afraid to say.
    Another masterpiece from JH, who I should have been having a pint or two with in the Parcel Yard this afternoon, but it was cancelled about a month ago because of Covid 19.
    Thanks to Dutch also.

  16. Like many above I found this very hard and not the most enjoyable. I had never heard of 5d and 20d. 5d is not in chambers dictionary either. so whilst I could see it was an anagram my attempts to solve it were fruitless.
    The best clue was 26a even here I spent a good half hour trying to think of who Hannah might be until the penny dropped. The theme was lost on me and I have just looked up Haydn’s biographical notes and they tell me he wrote 104 symphonies which is pretty incredible so I do not know where Elgar got 101 from.
    Thank you Dutch for your excellent directions which clarified the answers that I obtained by other means.

  17. Oof! Finally done it, mainly thanks to half a dozen hints from Dutch. Funnily enough the last one in was 13a, despite having lived next door to two on occasion (65+ years ago, is that an excuse?). V many thanks to Elgar and great respect to Dutch!

Comments are closed.