Toughie 2505 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2505

Toughie No 2505 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This is Elgar’s 157th Toughie. I managed to get the right hand side first, then NW, and ended up struggling in the SW corner, wanting badly to enter SLIPPERY for 17d. You may be quick to notice a familiar entry in row 12, and spot another familiar word across the entries in row 14. As we then look at the rows above (except the central row) we find that there is a personal Nina. So, nothing to do with 157 today, and our sincere condolences Elgar. It would seem a fascination with crosswords runs in the family

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8a    With enthusiasm, display a half-time burger and pint? (7)
FANFARE: Split (3,4), this could be what a football enthusiast consumes

10a    Successfully getting away with plenty of dosh (4-3)
WELL-OFF: A word for successfully and a word for away

11a    Spot oversight, arresting knight in seedy club (9)
CARBUNCLE: A 4-letter word meaning oversight or responsibility contains an anagram (seedy) of CLUB which in turn contains the chess abbreviation for knight

12a    This poet‘s through to listeners (5)
DONNE: A homophone (to listeners) of a word meaning through or finished

13a    One takes time; he receives one fine (5)
THIEF: The abbreviation for time, then HE from the clue containing (receives) the Roman numeral one, plus the abbreviation for fine

14a    Fellows from the East captivated by superb flower (7)
ANEMONE: The reversal (from the East) of a 3-letter word meaning fellows goes inside (captivated by) what is normally a 2-character combination for superb except here the second character is spelled out, making it (1-3)

17a    Clinician‘s letter included in editing of these chapters? (6,9)
SPEECH THERAPIST: A Greek letter goes inside (included in) an anagram of (editing of) THESE CHAPTERS

19a    For poetical work on reflection, an author here performs parts (2,3,2)
IN AID OF: A poetical work by Kipling is parted by a reversal (on reflection) of AN plus a (1,2) phrase that translates to ‘author here performs’, where here refers to this crossword

21a    Another man’s warmth? (5)
THERM: Hidden (… ‘s)

24a    Food outlet is changing hands on a regular basis (5)
DAILY: A food outlet for milk, butter, cheese etc with L(eft) changed to R(ight) (is changing hands)

26a    On charge, having cut the high wire (9)
TELEGRAPH: A cricket term meaning on plus a 3-letter word for charge go inside (cut) an anagram (high) of THE

27a    Go back over Charity Bar Day (7)
RECROSS: A (3,5) Charity to exclude (bar) the abbreviation for day

28a    United eliminate medic that hurt back, creating problem filling vacancies (7)
WORDOKU: A reversal (back) of the abbreviation for united, a 2-letter abbreviation meaning to eliminate (as in a competition), an abbreviation for a medical title, and an interjection that means ‘that hurt’


1d    Spare bit of paper to wrap small portions of chips up (6)
OFFCUT: OF from the clue, then a 2-letter newspaper containing (to wrap) the first letters (small portions) of chips and up

2d    Give life for one man in Nouvion revolutionary is sheltering (8)
ENERGISE: A reversal (revolutionary) of a 2-letter abbreviation meaning for one plus a French Christian name (man in Nouvion), containing (sheltering) IS from the clue. A reference to Café (Rene) Artois in Nouvion in ‘Allo ‘Allo

3d    Hypocritical fan getting splattered with sauce in Wetherspoon? (5-5)
JANUS-FACED: An anagram (getting splattered) of FAN+SAUCE inside JD (for JD Wetherspoon)

4d    Earliest of talents, ‘Little Princess’, growing up? (9)
TWEENAGER: An all-in-on referring to a (potentially exasperating) certain age group. The first letter (earliest) of talents, a Scottish word for little, and the reversal (growing up) of a princess in Shakespeare’s King Lear

5d    Bright flower, in short, giving pleasure (4)
GLAD: Two meanings

6d    Carried over huge Asian island (6)
BORNEO: At over three times the size of UK, I guess it is huge. A verb meaning carried plus the cricket abbreviation for over

7d    Celebration of love, perhaps, involving five couples most commonly (8)
OFTENEST: A (1,4) construction that could whimsically mean a celebration of love includes (involving) a 3-letter number that could be represented by five couples

9d    Eat out in La Gavroche, and see who’s inside? (4)
ETCH: The French (in La Gavroche) for ‘and’, the letter that is spelled by ‘see’ (see Chambers), and the central (inside) letter of who

15d    Incredible female tiger is all for playing! (10)
ELASTIGIRL: This female member of The Incredibles is an anagram (for playing) of TIGER IS ALL

16d    Post-mortem examination for trial? (5,4)
STIFF TEST: The answer meaning trial or ordeal could also whimsically mean a post-mortem examination

17d    Treacherous cunning Huffman’s brainchild nearly kept up (8)
SLIDDERY: Steve Huffman is the CEO and founder of the social news and discussion website REDDIT. A 3-letter word for cunning contains a reversal (up) of the first 5 letters (nearly) of Steve Huffman’s brainchild

18d    Make oceanic manoeuvre, most frequent in Ville de Quebec (3-5)
ICE-CANOE: An all-in-one referring to a popular sport in Quebec city. An anagram (manoeuvre) of OCEANIC plus the most frequent (letter) in ‘Ville de Quebec’

20d    Each one comprehending what’s easy? (6)
APIECE: The one in cards contains (comprehending) a bakery product that is said to be easy

22d    Male dismissed after I see how big his charges are! (6)
MAHOUT: The abbreviation for Male, then a word meaning dismissed comes after an interjection meaning ‘I see’

23d    Mrs Capp joining Women’s Movement (4)
FLOW: The first name of Andy Capp’s wife plus the abbreviation for women

25d    Fall — but presumably not rise — of young people (4)
YOOF: Take a (2-2) verb meaning to fall and rise (like a 2-2) but omit the rise part, then add OF from the clue. Not a word I knew existed, but there it is in Chambers

The biggest smile today came from the Incredible female (15d). Which clues were your favourites?

28 comments on “Toughie 2505

  1. I enjoyed disentangling the wordplay here. What I didn’t enjoy was having to use Google extensively to find out who on earth Huffman (plus brainchild) and the incredible female were – perhaps I’m living in a bubble but I’ve never heard of either. Is it absolutely necessary to include such (to me anyway) obscure GK?

    My ticks went to 26a, 4d and 20d with my favourite being 22d.

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    1. I think The incredible female is ok because it is a very well signposted anagram so you just need to use your imagination.
      The other I thought was absurd. GK combined with partial reversal is just not on. Especially compounded by the likelihood of a much more common word being correct . (See Dutch’s comment in the intro)

    2. I prefer crosswords that don’t require general knowledge, especially of children’s films. There are plenty of GK crosswords if that is one’s preference.

  2. Yes, we agree with Gazza. Luckily we had 17ac or might have given up and we, too, had no clue about Huffman’s brainchild or the incredible female or 28ac where we had to use resources to produce answers. I am sure Cryptic Sue will shorty be saying that this was a ‘real Toughie’ – it certainly was for us.

  3. With at least 4 words I have never heard of and knowing my inability to understand an Elgar puzzle, I’m glad I just sat down and enjoyed Dutch’s hard work. Clever man. No doubt someone will reveal the Nina.

      1. I almost got there. Somehow I thought a Nina would be across or down, a whole column. This was more a pick and mix! Anyway, thank you.
        Have you tried this game called wordoku?

  4. I surprised myself for knowing the name of Andy Capp’s wife. As for 17d, I’d never heard of Huffman either but I notice that the exact same clue has been used in a crossword before, as an internet search will reveal. Perhaps Elgar set that one too.

    1. i’m wondering if your internet search found this puzzle? I’d be surprised if the exact same clue occurred elsewhere

  5. I was waiting for someone to say this was easy for an Elgar, simply because I got at least seven answers ‘all by my own self’!
    As for the rest – I didn’t know about Mr Huffman or the incredible female and haven’t previously encountered either 28a or 17d so it was down to Dutch to sort those out for me and give me a toe-hold to assist with the remainder.

    Thanks to Elgar – nice tribute to your uncle – and gratitude to Dutch for guiding me along the way.

    1. the incredible female is fair, i think, as part of popular culture. If you haven’t seen the Incredibles movies, they are really quite good and very funny.

  6. I gave up early on but there were some easy ones which I might have got if I had persevered. I take issue with spot for a carbuncle and clinician for speech therapist. Apart from the already mentioned 17d, most clues were fair if a tad stretched at times.

  7. Sorry, but really, no. We managed five clues, between us. We started looking at Dutch’ s very helpful comments but after working out 1 d, 8a and 12a realised that doing the rest, if we managed it, would give us no pleasure. Waaaaay beyond our pay grade. 😥😥

  8. Hardest one we’ve ever done. Many of the clues were just bung ins which we could not parse without the hints. Thanks for those! Still, satisfying to get it out.

  9. Enjoyed that immensely, especially the Incredible female. I found it much more forgiving than Elgar’s recent efforts, and was just starting to rejoice that I might actually finish this one when I walked face-first into 9d. After staring at it fruitlessly for a while I resigned myself to defeat and revealed a letter, then bunged in the answer and limped over here to see how it parses – d’oh! So you win this round Elgar, but I’ll get you next time. Thanks to him – always a worthy adversary – and to Dutch for helping me parse a couple.

  10. Just finished. Cheated on 15d [having failed to parse the Swazi currency] and 28a. Clearly I must keep up more or stop wasting a lot of time every other Friday. Tonight’s glorious Prom is some consolation.

  11. I had nearly all of the RHS completed before I got anything on the left. Then I worked my way down the left and finished in the SW.
    All correct, but definitely not all parsed. I’ve gone back and counted five – 19a, 1d, 9d, 20d, and 25d. Having now seen the wordplay, thanks Dutch, I should have managed most of them.
    Lots of complaints, yet again, about Elgar’s puzzle, but as was pointed out last time, it is supposed to be a Toughie. If I have to look up Hoffman, and check Elastigirl actually exists, I don’t mind. I just think it is my GK that is lacking.
    Spotted most of the nina, but of course I didn’t know who Uncle Don was.

  12. Hello, all. I’m here at last, having slept the afternoon away. Last night, and then again this morning, I actually managed to answer 10 clues correctly–the NE and four elsewhere, including 3d. And then, pffft. This is about as well as I’ve ever done with an Elgar, and so there we are. Many thanks to Dutch for his brilliance and perseverance, and to the others of you who have added to the discussion above. And of course, thanks to Elgar for his erudition and chicanery. Enjoy your weekend.

  13. Too much reliance on popular and youth culture, takes the enjoyment out of the process when you read a string of answers one would never have got! So why bother. What audience is this crossword aimed at? Probably not telegraph readers.

    1. Welcome to the blog Martin

      The clue is in the name of the puzzle – Toughie! I did complete this puzzle, but in greater than ***** time. Keep trying and eventually you will get there.

  14. Even harder than Elgar’s last puzzle a fortnight ago, which I moaned about ! After solving 11 clues I was stuck for a very long time before completing the final ones after midnight. However many of these were amusing and ingenious, such as 16d and 8a. 3d and 28a were new to me, with 3d being my favourite clue. Brilliant as ever Mr Elgar.

  15. I tried. I failed. I turned the paper over & wrote a shopping list. Nuff said. Thankfully the fT was more forgiving & it looks like a belter in this week’s The Week magazine.

  16. This was a stinker for me – after much headscratching I had managed 8 clues. Never heard of Reddit or Huffman, don’t watch children’s films. I don’t do well on fragmented clues which involve a lot of lateral thinking., and never heard of wordoku or the word sliddery. All this diminishes my enthusiasm for trying to complete future ‘Toughies’ – in the past I have completed all four in a week, but not for a while now.

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