Toughie 2568 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2568

Toughie No 2568 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A nicely themed and not-insanely-difficult puzzle for today, including a Nina confirming Elgar’s state of mind. I wish every one of you the very best for 2021

Definitions are underlined in the clues below. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answer by clicking on the HAPPY NEW YEAR! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how got on and what you thought, or just to say hi


This Libya-Ireland passage? (2,3)

BY AIR: Hidden (… passage)


10a     Time to reject Old Year – insert this by end of date (6-3)

TWENTY-ONE: The abbreviation for time, a reversal (to reject) of a (3,3) phrase meaning old (by negating the opposite) with the abbreviation for year inserted (insert this), by the last letter (end) of date


11a     Some time, this compiler’s beginnings in Hatfield perhaps, looking back (7)

STRETCH: The first letters (beginnings) of this compiler go inside (in) a reversal (looking back) of the county where Hatfield is located (Elgar did his first degree at Hatfield Poly!)

12a     Cart-horse bureaucracy, up to a point? (7)

TAPERED: A (3,4) phrase for bureaucracy, but with the cart before the horse, as they say


13a     This man features in weird sleep (5)

RHEUM: A pronoun meaning this man goes inside (features in) another word for weird. The definition refers to a discharge

14a     It’s tied up with restrictions of cuisine (9)

DIETECTICS: An anagram (up) of IT’S TIED + C+E, the outer letters (restrictions) of cuisine

16a     Welcome 20 10, did you say? Enter here to make merry with wine and no end of beer (3,2,3,3,4)

SEE IN THE NEW YEAR: An anagram (to make merry) of SAY ENTE(r) HERE + WINE, without the last letter (no end) of beer (10 of course is 10a, hence the space). It took me a while to see the right anagram fodder!


19a     Slow glacier moving round this is not detected (9)

LETHARGIC: An anagram (moving) of GLACIER goes round TH(is) from the clue without the IS (not detected)

21a     Received summons notice with some style! (5)

RITZY: A homophone (received) of a noun meaning summons and a verb meaning to notice

23a     NZ resident clipped car reversing back over something suspicious (7)

TUATARA: A reversal (reversing) of 4-letter word for car without the last letter (clipped), then a reversal (back over) of something suspicious (1,3)


25a     Out-door clothes dope’s pressing (7)

EXIGENT: The out-door would be the ****, and this goes around (clothes) another word for dope or information

27a     Manipulating sort thought a poet’s odes retro features (9)

OSTEOPATH: reverse hidden ( … retro features)



28a     What’s left of energy after twelve, and who’s got any? (2-3)

NO-ONE: The left letter of energy follows (after) another word for twelve or midday (though the definition, of course, asks who has any energy after midnight on new year’s eve?)



The Times unmentioned in Tit-bits flyer (4)

IBIS: Remove all abbreviations for time from Tit-bits



2d     Something enchanting from poet in steps of rare praise (6)

FAERIE: A poetic spelling found using regular letters (in steps … )



3d     In which, fixated by notable date, am I not deluded about love? (10)

EROTOMANIA: A notable date or time period covering (fixated by) an anagram (deluded) of I AM NOT, around the letter that looks like a zero (love in tennis)

4d     Cut a slice of Somerset (or Dorset??) Cheddar (6)

ETCHED: Hidden in (a slice of) Somerset Cheddar or equally Dorset Cheddar

5d     Receive news about article made of tanned hide (8)

LEATHERN: A verb meaning to receive news goes about the definite article


6d     More than 50% of the letters above (4)

ATOP: Split (1,2,1) the answer is clearly more than 50% of the letters


7d     A fall in teaching of old French region (8)

LORRAINE: A fall or some precipitation goes inside ‘teaching of old’

8d     Take once-a-year drinker out, maybe to the Stars in Ely, getting tiddly (4,6)

LEAD ASTRAY: A Latin (2,5) phrase meaning ‘to the stars’ goes inside an anagram (tiddly) of ELY

13d     Have you just made one on your completed grid? (10)

RESOLUTION: A short word meaning on or concerning, then a word for the completed grid

15d     Counteracting unfair treatment, Jolson leaves Ross early 20thC collection (10)

EDWARDIANA: A reversal of a (3,4) phrase meaning unfair treatment from which the first name of Mr Jolson has been removed, plus the first name of Ms Ross

17d     Music centre at which ____’s played? (8)

ENTR’ACTE: CENTRE AT is an anagram (played) of the fill-the-blank answer

18d     Meanly keep mum – no time to 16! (8)

HOGMANAY: A (3,2) informal phrase that would mean to meanly keep mum, plus a 3-letter word for no


20d     A bit of Christmas cheer’s unusual around nursery (6)

CRECHE: The first letter (a bit) of Christmas has an anagram (unusual) of CHEER around it


22d     Shake what took over a day to build right up (6)

TREMOR: A reversal (up) of a city that wasn’t built in a day and the 2-letter abbreviation for right

24d     Justify what one’s done with eggs on the turn? (4)

AVOW: A reversal (on the turn) of the abbreviation for with and another word for eggs

26d     Official figures hot parts still rising (4)

THEY: The abbreviation for hot splits (parts) a reversal (rising) of a word meaning still. As in **** say rain is on the way, or **** orta fix the damn potholes!



Lots of great clues! I liked the clever reverse hidden, I thought 3d was genius (though I had to check the answer in Chambers), and I also particularly liked 13d. Have you made one?

19 comments on “Toughie 2568

  1. An enjoyable, not too difficult for an Elgar, themed crossword Hard to pick a favourite although for crossword-testing reasons, 20d made me smile

    Although this grey and gloomy day doesn’t make me agree with the Nina, Happy New Year to Elgar, Jane and Tess x

  2. HNY to all. A rare finish of an Elgar for me which adds pleasure to what was as usual an outstanding contribution from him. Had to use a lot of electronic help but got it done. New creature to me in 23a. Too many enjoyable clues to mention one. I even spotted the Nina for once but this one is difficult to miss.
    Thanks to Dutch and as always to Elgar.

  3. Had to check a few things like the sleep in 13a and the official figures in 26d as the parsing led me to the correct answers without understanding the definitions.
    Another Elgar that I managed to finish. Joy.
    Liked the construction of 15d and favourite is 19a.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

  4. Got within 3 clues of finishing unaided, but they fell once I’d read the hints. 3d last one in. 22d my COTD. Still beaten by Elgar though, but pleased to have nearly made it. Thanks to him and to Dutch for the help.
    Happy new year

  5. I thought that this was par for the course for an Elgar Toughie, i.e. pretty tough but very enjoyable. The last clue that I managed to parse was 16a where I struggled to identify the correct anagram fodder.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.
    The clues I liked best were 12a, 6d and 22d.

  6. Anyone who got even close to finishing this is much brighter than me!! Happy new year everyone!

  7. Finished it, spotted the NINA and parsed all but 10a – must have been an easy one! Favourites were 14a and 3d. Only Elgar would complicate a perfectly decent clue [4d] just for the sake of it. Thanks to him and Dutch and a HNY to one and all.

  8. Can’t say I found it easy, but with some help from Chambers I completed it, and spotted the nina, but not in time for it to have helped me.
    As usual, a few unparsed, viz 10a, 16a, and a little bit of 14a.
    Happy New Year to everyone.

  9. Ooh a new year day that has a nice easy(ish) back pager and only a slight hangover allows me to tackle an Elgar toughie.
    Lo and behold 1a and 9d fly off my pencil and all of a sudden I feel like an invincible cruciverbalist. I soon hit the buffers but with Dutch’s excellent help I was able to get across the line.
    Of the ones I managed myself 13d and 27a were my faves today
    I am glad that John feels new yeary and took pity on us mere mortals, and I am in awe of Dutch’s ability to solve and hint these time after time.
    All the best for the New Year and I will be raising a glass of Talisker to all soon

  10. I’m afraid my 13 d will be to continue to avoid wasting time on an Elgar! I was fooled by the easy 4 in the NW corner and that was that. Of course, I still cannot see the Nina but what’s new?
    Happy New Year to one and all

    1. The Nina comes from the letters across the top and bottom of the grid which reveal “I feel all new yeary”

  11. Finished this in one session yesterday and two today, with a couple of forays into Chambers to follow hunches. I had 8d in mind but could not relate the last letter to 21a. I thought of all sorts of styles until the penny dropped with a groan. Does anyone pronounce ‘see’ to rhyme with the American ‘Z’? My out-and-out favourite was 12a.

  12. completed all unaided. what a new year present. As usual i did not correctly parse all the clues. In this regard i needed Dutch’s help with 23a and despite Dutch’s guidance I still do not see what rheum has to do with sleep in 13a. though the answer was obvious. my COTD 12a, the clue and the answer made me smile. Thanks Dutch for your help with parsing the clues where I was deficient and thanks to Elgar for an enjoyable time. A happy new year to you all

  13. I think this is the first Elgar I have completed, although it took a few sittings!

    For some obscure reason, 26d was last in for me despite having two out of the four letters. Then light dawned this morning!

    As a native English speaker, I remain in awe of Dutch’s ability to regularly complete these Elgar efforts. And of course to the setter himself: so thanks to both.

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