Double Toughie 100012 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Double Toughie 100012

Christmas Day Double Toughie No 100,012

‘Bubbles’ by Elgar

Hints and Tips by Fred and Ginger


This puzzle was published on Christmas Day 2020

Difficulty ***** Enjoyment *****

Here we go with the 12th annual Elgar Festive Double. Gosh, how time flies! These puzzles are often Elgar in his most playful mood and this one is no exception.

Parts of some of the answers (indicated in the clues) are names of characters associated with the original version of 13 down. This will be covered after the blog, so that if you don’t want to spoil it, or hadn’t realised there was more to it, you can have a look there later

When tackling Elgar puzzles, it does help to have your copy of the BRB handy. You will certainly need it with this one.

We do feel sad that these puzzles don’t get a wider audience. The title of the puzzle refers to a meaning of the word that was more widely known in a different sense as the year progressed.

Thank you to Elgar for a beautifully crafted puzzle that needs a little bit of work to reach the conclusion, but when you are there you can marvel at the effort put into it. Hope to see you next year for another one!

Thematic parts of answers in red

The majority of the Across hints and the introduction were produced by Fred

10     I for one sadly had to shilly-shally (3,3,2)
HUM AND HA    What me, you and Elgar are (despite the rumours) plus an anagram (sadly) of HAD gives a phrase meaning to vacillate

12     One of the original 13 has forged papers, so it’s forecast (9)
SOOTHSAID     You’ll need to take one of the theme names and then add an anagram (FORGED) of HAS, plus the abbreviation for your papers. This all gives an old-fashioned forecast or prediction

14     Take some unshipped cargo a long way round? This might (7-3)
FREIGHT-CAR    The abbreviation for take, as in medication, plus a number (some). Add the word CARGO, minus the name for a type of vessel. All this goes around something meaning a long way. This leads you to something that could be used to do the rest of the clue

19     Mike occupying break from military charges writing game show (2,3,3)
MR AND MRS Take the abbreviation from the military for free time insert M (for Mike) and put that inside the short form for writing or a manuscript. This gives a game show that originally was broadcast in turn from two of the smaller ITV channels, Border and HTV. Invented by the major domo at Border TV, Derek Batey, Fred much preferred Alan Taylor the HTV host, who wore a monocle and seemed more sincere.

20     Our cousins, one of the original 13, in short film musical (5,4)
GREAT APES Inside the name of a famous stage and film musical (shown on BBC1 on Boxing Day), minus its last letter goes another of the original 11 theme names. This gives you a description of some of our near relatives.

21     Fowey, say, wanting new tug (3)
TOW    Something that means tug or pull is what Fowey is, minus the letter N, its last letter

22     Equivalent of 1.5lbs/1 day turned round detective’s organs (8)
RHIZOIDS    If you take the equivalent to the figures quoted (reduce by 24) and reverse it, you get this. Add the abbreviation for a detective in the Police plus an apostrophe s. You’ll then get some plant organs

23     Like the Christmas fowl, as this month’s come round (6)
FORCED    The Professional Masterchef way of describing what you did to the Christmas Turkey. Take a word meaning ‘as’ and then reverse the month we’re in

26     ‘Gorgeous’ – not a word used when opening homework? (5)
DISHY    A short word that means ‘not a word!’ goes inside the abbreviation for jobs you need to do at home. This gives you a word meaning gorgeous or attractive

27     Such a speech’ll have delegates in centre of sky, not in centre of storm (7)
KEYNOTE Take the centre letter of the word SKY and then add something that means the centre of a storm with NOT inside. That’ll give you a type of speech

28     Outside British Consulate, baking St John’s Bread (6,4)
LOCUST BEAN    An alternative name for the Carob bean is St John’s Bread, and this is another name for it. An anagram (baking) of CONSULATE wrapped around an abbreviation for British will give you that name

30     Counter proceeds taken by cashier (6, 4)
RETURN FIRE    A word meaning to counter or respond is revealed by taking something meaning proceeds together with something covered by the slang word ‘cashier’

31     One of the original 13 when describing humble accommodation (9)
BUNGALOWS    A type of accommodation is made up of a name associated with 13, plus a short word meaning ‘when’ around one meaning ‘humble’

33     Mummy’s case, motor’s maximum load (10)
CARTONNAGE    The name for a sarcophagus or mummy case is found by taking the name for a vehicle and the name for its weight load

34     During Prohibition, bag girl’s woolly underclothing (10)
BALBRIGGAN    The name for undergarments is an anagram (woolly) of BAG GIRL inside a word meaning prohibition    

35     Build house up again – and possibly thatch it? (2-5)
RE-EDIFY Something that described rebuilding or tarting up a property could also cryptically be the way to put a new roof on it, with a type of grass. The question mark indicates that something is a bit ‘dodgy’ about this so it’s not a real word as such

37     Eastern literary form which, in regular steps, Shia links up (5)
HAIKU    The name for a type of Eastern verse is the alternate letters of aHiA lInKs Up

38     It’s not real that you see quizzers at Zoom gathering (6)
ERSATZ Hidden in (gathering) quizERS AT Zoom

39     Working back, take Republicans through correspondence – some letters missing from it (8)
LIPOGRAM A reversal (working back) of the letter used to mean take, and the abbreviation for the nickname of the Republican Party in the USA, all inserted into a reversed synonym for correspondence

41     Pétanque just about covers this? (3)
JEU The French word for a game, such as pétanque, is hidden in reverse (about covers) in PétanqUE Just

42     One of the original 13 messing about a lot with a sausage (9)
CHIPOLATA One of the original 13 and an anagram (messing about) of A LOT, followed by A (from the clue)

43     Fashion course in which US fashion house is too confident? (8)
COCKSURE An anagram (fashion) of COURSE into which is inserted the two-letters by which a US fashion house is known

46     Wood recycled to fix boilers (3,7)
TEA KETTLES Some wood and a word meaning to fix which has been ‘cycled’ ie the last letter has been moved to the front

47     The most memorable of features in chap’s Grand Hotel: one of the original 13 (4,5)
HIGH SPOTS Insert into a way of saying the chap’s, the abbreviations for Grand and Hotel, and one of the original 13

48     Image conception compiler had at table? (8)
IDEATING How Elgar (the compiler) might say he had, and what you’d be doing if you were ‘at table’

Down Hints by Ginger

1     One in five of the horses unfettered (4)
QUIN Unfetter or remove the outside letters from an adjective meaning relating to horses

2 & 44     Grease’s musical carnivores (4,4)
PALM CATS A verb meaning to grease and an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical

3     To Spooner, dances signify something juicy (10)
MANGOSTEEN How the dreaded Reverend might say dances tangoes signify mean

4     Unopened stockings work in some branches (6)
OSIERY Omit the first letter (unopened) from some stockings generally

5     Rogue asking to hide (8)
GOATSKIN An anagram (rogue) of ASKING TO

6     The Moor’s Lieutenant Muggins, one introduced to company (6)
CASSIO It helps with this one if you ‘did’ Othello for A-Level – an idiot (muggins) and I (one) introduced to the abbreviation for company

7     Flood of feeling about replacing newspaper chief – with ____ ? (8)
EDITRESS A reversal of a twice-daily flood of water replacing the Latin abbreviation for ‘about’ in an affectionate touch (feeling)

8     See 41 Down
9     See 40 Down

11     One of the original 13 to follow around in feature of square dances (2-2-5)
DO-SE-DOING One of the original 13 and a verb meaning to follow going around IN (from the clue)

13     Traditional gathering of 19 and 45/17 – or Ma, Pa, little Philip and baby Fiona? Yes! (5,8)
HAPPY FAMILIES An anagram (or) of MA PA PHIL (little Philip) FI (baby Fiona) and YES

15     One of the original 13 beginning to tour a feature of the Peak District (9)
GRITSTONE One of the original 13s (the Grocer), the ‘beginning’ to Tour and ONE (a)

16     Some brass horn’s flourishes from below one of the original 13 (9)
TROMBONES A reversal (from below) of flourishes from a hunting horn and one of the original 13s

17     See 45 Down

18     About to enter musical theatre work, over before work in alternative theatre (12)
PREOPERATIVE RE (about) to enter POP (musical) and a reversal (over) of another theatre work

24     Means to secure swimmer one of the original 13 (5-4)
CHUBB-LOCK A fish (swimmer) and one of the original 13

25     A bit of history, a northern one of the original 13 being caught in blast! (9)
DANDIPRAT An old coin (bit) A (from the clue) the abbreviation for Northern and another of the 13 caught in an interjection used to express vexation (blast!)

28     Start of play about Cymbeline’s crown gilded by top preserver (6,4)
LACTIC ACID The first part of a play (xxx x), the two-letter Latin abbreviation meaning about, the ‘crown’ of Cymbeline ‘gilded by’ or covered by a top (of a jar perhaps)

29     Spot one of the original 13 with 10cc in mind (9)
CARBUNCLE Insert into a synonym for mind, one of the original 13 and the abbreviation for a centilitre (10cc)

31     In which two couples travelled naked – it was painful squeezing in (8)
BAROUCHE A carriage with four seats – a way of expressing pain inserted into a synonym for naked

32     One’s being brought up over river in Banbury area…living death for one! (8)
OXYMORON Insert into the abbreviation for the county where Banbury is situated, a reversal of a way of saying belonging to one, and the abbreviations for Over and River

36     Bang up to date after Pence’s laid bare (6)
ENCAGE Put in prison (bang up) – the inside letters (laid bare) of pENCe followed by a verb meaning to determine how old something is (date)

37    Listenership he enthrals catches start of eulogy – after I’ve arrived (6)
HEARSE Insert some parts of your body that listen into HE (from the clue)

40 & 9    Slipper on grass upended resident of Rockies? (4,4)
MULE DEER A type of slipper on a reversal (upended) of a type of grass

41 & 8     Some gravy ‘beefy’; compilers both upset (4,1,3)
JUST A FEW A ‘posh’ word for gravy and reversals (upset) of both how a group of compilers might refer to themselves collectively and a synonym for beefy in the sense of fleshy

44     See 2 Down

45 & 17 Soap ads NHS gets around gathering in an original way (4,3,9)
SONS AND DAUGHTERS An anagram (in an original way) of ADS NHS GETS AROUND


The eleven families in Jaques’ original edition of 13d were: Block, the Barber; Bones, the Butcher; Bun, the Baker; Bung, the Brewer; Chip, the Carpenter; Dip, the Dyer; Dose, the Doctor; Grits, the Grocer; Pots, the Painter; Soot, the Sweep; and Tape, the Tailor

13 comments on “Double Toughie 100012

  1. I loved this puzzle. I always do crosswords at night before sleep. First night: none! Second night: four! Third night: it slowly began to yield! Fourth night: finished! Some very entertaining clues and many, many penny dropping moments. You always have to think outside the box with JH which really gives the brain a good work out. He’s such a clever wordsmith! Thank you for some very enjoyable hours in these dark times. May 2021 bring us all what we wish for most!

  2. Many thanks to Fred and Ginger for the review.

    Just a query about 2/44d: while ‘SAIM’ is indeed a dialect word for ‘grease’, there does not appear to be a carnivore known as a ‘saim cat’. There 9is however a ‘palm cat’, which is a variety of civet according to the BRB, and ‘palm’ is given as ‘bribe’ in the same place – no doubt by extension from ‘grease one’s palm’. PALM is also the answer given in the published solution.

    1. I did wonder about that but couldn’t get the published solution toopen

      Now corrected, thank you

  3. I look forward to all toughies especially this one, i always need help with solving, I really enjoyed this, a happy new year to everyone.


  4. Considered myself lucky as I solved 13d at the start and, with the help of Wiki, wrote down the list of the 11 original families.
    The first to fall were in 12a and 42a which comforted my guess.
    The NW corner was the hardest and could only see Do Si Doing for the square dance and Hum and Haw for 10a. I suppose different spelling is allowed.
    Unlike Deep Threat, I couldn’t find any reference to a Palm Cat but will search further.
    Finished it on the second day after publishing, which is a record for me.
    Enigmatist in the Graun was quite straightforward today too.
    Is our master mellowing or am I becoming an Elgar expert? The latter would surprise me.
    Thanks to him for the fun and to Fred and Ginger for the review even though the solutions and the way they worked appeared yesterday on the DT site.

  5. I don’t think this was available on the Telegraph Puzzles website, to which I am a subscriber. I thought that meant I would get all the puzzles, or perhaps I’m not looking in the right place.

      1. Thanks, crypticsue. It didn’t occur to me to look for a Toughie under the General Knowledge section! I shall know better next time.

          1. Indeed you did, Big Dave, and I must make a resolution to visit this site every day and read it more carefully. Even so, this does not seem like a general knowledge crossword to me.

  6. I was so busy battling with the tricky ones that I didnt check up on the others so not a clean solve. But i got all the themed clues, taking ages over DO SE DOING. Great clues as to be expected. My first take on “the original 13” was American colonies but as I cracked a couple of themers , then the gateway clue, all became clear(er)
    Thanks everyone ,
    (Didnt people used to pay money to have their grey matter rearranged?)

  7. Having at long last completed the grid of an Elgar Double Toughie, I now see I have made 2 errors :-( I had PREOPERATING for 18d and AGA KETTLES for 46a – no wonder I couldn’t parse them! Fred and Ginger have also provided much needed hints for the wordplay in 14a, 26a, 7d and 18d which I struggled with, although I don’t completely follow the given explanations for 7d and 18d..? The answer for 2d may be PALM CATS but I am going to claim FARM CATS as a good alternative, as FARM historically means “a fixed sum paid regularly by a town, county, etc, in lieu of taxes”. Sounds like someone’s palm is getting greased! As for favourites, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts and I heartily thank Elgar for the complete puzzle.

  8. This was my first ever Double Toughie, and I did wonder at the significance of the number 100012. I found the middle third not too difficult, but had to revisit it on 2 more occasions to finish it. As far as I can remember, I failed to parse just one, 7d. Absolutely brilliant, I thought, and very satisfying to have completed it.

Comments are closed.