Toughie 2561 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2561

Toughie No 2561 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I think you’ll enjoy this ‘slightly gentler’ Elgar. I incorrectly guessed the ending of the Nina which messed up my SE corner a bit, but soon fixed. Lesson learnt.


Look round racecourse to follow developments (4,5)

KEEP TRACK: A reversal (round) of a word meaning look, plus another word for racecourse

10a     Narcotic one’s cutting up, about to fill order (5)

OPIUM: The Roman numeral for one goes inside (cutting) a reversal (about) of UP from the clue, all inside (to fill) the abbreviation of an order or medal

11a     More than one dream destination resembles the Flying Dutchman? (5-5,5)

NEVER-NEVER LANDS: The Flying Dutchman is a legendary ghost-ship that was said not able to make port and doomed to sail the oceans forever


12a     Islamic college recycled drama with it (7)

MADRASA:     DRAMA is recycled (last 2 letters moved to front) plus an abbreviation meaning ‘it”, as in appeal

13a     Second rogue caught in one rapid movement (7)

SACCADE:     The abbreviation for second and a word for rogue goes inside a word meaning one (in cards)

15a     Go to M&S and enter skirmishes here? (10,5)

DEPARTMENT STORE: A verb meaning go plus an anagram (skirmishes) of TO M+S + ENTER

19a     Hearty chap, rather comical – not today’s leading light? (7)

CARDIAC: A 4-letter chap who is a bit of a joker. And then the clue number of what is usually the leading light in the grid (just not today – today it’s 9ac)

22a     Loaded up, sternward through southern strait, then heading off (7)

OPULENT: A reversal (sternward) of UP from the clue goes inside (through) a 6-letter southern UK strait, without its first letter (then heading off)

24a     Wrongly attended a baddie (5,3,7)


26a     Please exercise duck (5)

DOUSE: A (2,3) expression that would mean please exercise

27a    V, when displayed in Europe, aces ignored (5,4)

PEACE SIGN: Hidden (in ….)




Hide 80% of bust (4)

SKIN: The first 4 letters (80%) of a 5-letter word meaning bust or penniless

2d     Eagerly anticipating afters, always very inspired rolls (6-2)

REVVED-UP: A reversal (rolls) of a contracted word for afters plus another word for always containing (inspired) the abbreviation for very


3d     Zhivago’s man, missing dad, initially keeps bones (6)

STERNA: The author of Doctor Zhivago, without both a 2-letter word for dad and the first letter (initially) of keeps

4d     See, then bribe, fruit supplier (4,4)

DATE PALM: A verb meaning to see and a verb meaning to bribe


5d     Up they go in summer, down they come in winter (6)

SKIERS: Two meanings, the first referring to balls

6d     Pulling strings, Republicans join the jet set (2,6)

GO PLACES: A 3-letter abbreviation for the Republican party is pulling behind it some strings that can be tied

7d     Waiving fine if champion racer orbits earth (6)

SIENNA: A Brazilian racing driver contains (orbits) IF from the clue, but waiving the abbreviation for fine

8d     When Mother’s prodded by son and Father appears, see 1 Diagonal (4)

XMAS: A short word for mother goes in between (prodded) a letter used for BY (as in multiplied by) and the abbreviation for son – and a nod to the Nina

12d     Red Sea Commander (5)

MEDOC: A 3-letter contraction for a sea, plus a 2-letter abbreviation for a commander

14d     Throw out Conservative stowed in the back of the plane (5)

EJECT: The abbreviation for Conservative goes inside the last letter (back) of THE from the clue plus a type of plane

16d     Present drawers? (8):

REINDEER: A seasonal cryptic definition

17d     Recently delivered feeding line on a talk-show? (8)

NEONATAL: Hidden (feeding …)

18d     Elbow grease? That’s evident! (8)

OVERTOIL: Split (5,3), evidently we have some (elbow) grease

20d     With element detailed, Curies finally spoke (6)

RADIUS: A radioactive element discovered by the Curies without its last letter (detailed), plus the last letter (finally) of Curies

21d     Ape’s grabbed an awning (6)

CANOPY: A verb meaning to ape contains (grabbed) AN from the clue



23d     Newsgroup inductees energetically screening CID out (6)

USENET: An anagram (energetically) of INDUCTEES without the letters of CID (screening … out)

24     Opera’s eponymous character the driving force in Carmen? (4)

AIDA: The 2-letter basic driving force in psychoanalysis goes inside a 2-letter abbreviation for some Carmen, of the road assistance kind


25 The old lizard‘s in love, subservient to daughter (4)

DINO: IN from the clue plus the letter that looks like a tennis score of love come underneath (subservient to) the abbreviation for daughter



Today I particularly enjoyed the Hidden clues – very clever. Which clues were your favourites?

25 comments on “Toughie 2561

  1. Thank you to Elgar for a lovely Nina in a lovely seasonally-themed crossword – and at the ‘gentler’ end of the Elgar spectrum too. Lots of clues I really liked especially 5d and 8d

  2. I do prefer Elgar in this (slightly) less fiendish mode that he’s adopted recently and I enjoyed this puzzle. I was helped to finish off the SE corner by the advertised Nina.
    With the initial M in place I wrote in Moses for 12d which required a rethink when 15a and 19a proved stubborn.
    Isn’t grease in 18d doing double duty?
    My podium selections were 19a, 24a and 24d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    1. As always a great challenge to we intermediate solvers but when it’s pouring with rain I don’t feel I should be doing something else. I must say I like the new bold hints above. Makes it easier for those of us with weaker sight.
      Thanks as always to Elgar and Dutch.
      The Ninas are rarely something I find. Still raining so not feeling guilty looking.

        1. I’m ashamed to say that I am totally dyslexic to Ninas. Despite staring at 1 diagonal I still see nothing. Oh well for once I can be proud to have finished an Elgar.

          1. The Nina is along the diagonal going South-East from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. So the first two letters are SE and the last two are GO.

            1. Oh dear me having Served Up for 2 down scuppered my chances of following the obvious. I should have worked my way backwards at least then I would have discovered my early incorrect shoe in. Many thanks Gazza i can sleep now.

    2. Me too. I raced thro the top half, confident that Moses was a shoo in for 12d then spent a while wondering which 5 letter word can follow “supersmart”

  3. A more friendly Elgar. I managed three quarters before grinding to a halt. I got 13a by deduction but it was a new word to me

    COTD has to be 11a as I feel we are living in one.

  4. I must be missing something Dutch. What has balls got to do with 5d please?

    I just took it as a reference to the motion of what happens on water, usually in summer, when they start off. Must be being thick again.

    Very enjoyable. Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  5. This took a while as befits an Elgar Toughie but even the few bung-ins were fairly easy to parse. Naturally I missed the Nina, but the whole grid was fun to complete, and, reading the blog I can now see the hidden message. Very clever. My favourite clue was16d with an honourable mention to 24d and 20d.

    Thanks to Elgar for the challenge and to Dutch.

  6. Well I never thought that the day would arrive when I gave a ****/***** to my Nemesis Elgar’s crossword, on the grounds that it was not quite as difficult as usual and it was still daylight when this excellent puzzle was completed.
    What really pleased me that I remembered the ‘old lizard in 25d !
    Last in were 24d and 8d, I had to wait until the checking letters arrived.
    Thanks Dutch for the pics, favourite was 11a, the D’oh moment arrived when I twigged the plural.

  7. Like Gazza we had confidently written in MOSES for 12d and thought it such a brilliant clue that we were reluctant to change it. Eventually we had to. Getting the Nina when we about half way through was a help with checkers in the bottom half of the grid.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

    1. I was looking for a Soviet admiral, Kursk maybe, until 19a fell. Thought I had floaters in my eyes again when I dropped in to read the blog!!

  8. I came close to finishing my first Elgar–i.e., finishing an Elgar for the first time–but failed to solve 6d, 7d, 13a, 22a & 23d. But what a terrific challenge this was, and I enjoyed every minute of my marathon effort last night. Had never heard of or simply forgot 13a; otherwise, the fault, dear Elgar, lies within me (not the stars), that I am the underling. I particularly relished 11a, 3d, 16d, 18d, and 24a. (Got 24d right but it was really a bung-in; missed the ‘car men’.) BTW, I prefer the Kiwis’ answer to 12d! Many thanks to Dutch and to the elegant Elgar.

    I found the Nina.

  9. This wonderful crossword followed me around all day while Xmas shopping.
    The Nina did help enormously in the SE.
    Finished with the NE after checking the acronym for the Republicans which I had forgotten about and 13a and 7d fell in nicely to complete the puzzle.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great fun and to Dutch for the review.

  10. Got there and spotted the Nina (mainly thanks to 8d) so feeling well chuffed. Still a jolly good work out but Elgar appears to have attended some inclusiveness training. Was a bit puzzled by the parsing of 5d but guessed correctly that it was cricket related. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  11. Another who had MOSES in 12d for a while. Once that was corrected, 15a, 16d, and 19a completed the grid. I can’t say spotted the nina helped in any way.

  12. Great crossword. I found myself laughing out loud at the clever distractions – especially ‘Carmen’! Genius!

  13. I have to say that MOSES never even occurred to me for 12d. Couldn’t parse 3d, although the answer had to be what it was. I only needed help with 13a, never having come across the word, but, as soon as I saw it in a crossword finder, I knew that that was the answer. I even saw the nina, although it was so clearly signposted that it was hard to miss.

  14. Like many correspondents above I put in Moses for twelve down. That held me up for quite a while until i gave up and put in department store. Once that was done the rest fell into place. Pity about Moses but otherwise Elgar gave us an enjoyable puzzle, Thank you Dutch for your excellent guidance as to the parsing which i freely admit i did not bother with for Aida as it is the only eponymous opera I know of four letters.
    Favourites were 11a and 7d it would have been 12d if it was Moses!

Comments are closed.