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Toughie 2600

Toughie No 2600 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

An easier (relatively speaking) puzzle from Elgar today with particularly clever references to Joe Root and Gareth Southgate. No Nina.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Olympic host city (US): gamble on Klammer’s lead over mountain backfired? (4,6)
LAKE PLACID: A US city, then a reversal (backfired) of a word meaning to gamble plus the first letter (lead) of Klammer containing (over) a mountain

6a    Shut crystal box (4)
SPAR: Three meanings, the last as in fight

9a/10a    Big pubs around Cairo busted by officers detecting chemical compound (10,4)
PHOSPHORIC ACID: An abbreviation for big has an abbreviation for pub on either side of it (pubs around), then an anagram (busted) of CAIRO and some police officers

12a    Pie, counterintuitively, for each working cafe — OK? (1,5,2,4)
A PIECE OF CAKE: A 6-letter word meaning ‘for each’ plus an anagram (working) of CAFE OK

15a    Detective Sergeant so pressed for attachment to Feds? (4-2)
IRON-ON: The abbreviation for Detective Sergeant needs the answer to become FEDS. It’s hard to isolate the exact definition since it’s so beautifully intertwined with the cryptic instruction: I had first imagined ‘so pressed for attachment’

16a    Better liquor at this location in Bavaria? (8)
WORTHIER: Malt in fermentation, and a German word (in Bavaria?) for ‘at this location’

18a    At barbie, Jack becomes mine (8)
TURNSPIT: A 5-letter word for becomes and a 3-letter mine

19a    Legendary source of magic flier (6)
MERLIN: Two meanings, the first a legendary character, the second a bird

21a    Private and seaman in double act, ditching uniform and tux (6,6)
DINNER JACKET: A 5-letter word for private and a 4-letter seaman go inside a 4-letter word for a double vocal act, but without (ditching) the letter that has the radio code uniform

24a/25a So Scrooge was ‘spirited’ on occasion? (4,4,2,4)
FROM TIME TO TIME: The answer is a reference to how Scrooge was ‘spirited’ thrice the night before Christmas

26a    Dad is had with this bribe (4)
DASH: ‘With this=answer’ split (1,2,1), ‘dad’ is ‘had’

27a    Saint, being otherworldly, heralded with pizzazz (10)
ETHELDREDA: An abbreviation for a being otherworldly, plus an anagram (with pizzazz) of HERALDED


1d    European driver, inexperienced adult, double parking (4)
LAPP: Abbreviations for an inexperienced driver, adult, and 2 x parking

2d/14d Have the expertise to tell Welsh and Spanish apart? (4,4,6)
KNOW YOUR ONIONS: Welsh and Spanish are two types of bulb, making the whole clue a literal interpretation of the answer

3d    Supplier of hot meal or, post-prandially, the father of the bride? (3-2,7)
POP-UP TOASTER: After the wedding meal, ‘dad’ gets ‘up’, doesn’t he, to tap his glass with his knife for attention?

4d    Group spotted in the North Atlantic when rowers shouted out (6)
AZORES: A homophone (shouted out) of a word for when and a word for rowers

5d    Here‘s Joe, very short of runs in India, dismissed short of ton (1,4,3)
I GIVE YOU: Joe as in American soldier, VERY from the clue but short of R(uns), all inside the letter with the radio code India together with a 3-letter word meaning dismissed, but without (short of) the abbreviation for ton

7d/22d     What links Southgate to Arsenal — training ground in idyllic place (10,4)
PICADILLY LINE: When ‘training’, the link is an anagram (ground) of IN IDYLLIC PLACE

8d    Lure agitated herd astray (3,7)
RED HERRING: An anagram (agitated) of HERD and a word meaning astray

11d    Not making final track listing unpublishable? (3-3-6)
OFF-THE-RECORD: This could describe a song that didn’t make it to the final album

13d    Arty festivities Defoe did a different way on either side of street (10)
EISTEDDFOD: An anagram (a different way) of DEFOE DID goes around (on either side of) the abbreviation for street

14d    See 2d

17d    ‘Coxa‘ — the place to hang out! (3,5)
HIP JOINT: The answer could also be a trendy venue

20d    Deutsche Messe’s sequence arrangement (6)
SCHEME: Hidden ( …’s sequence)

22d    See 7d

23d    Partook of fine, rounded cheese (4)
FETA: A word meaning consumed or ‘partook of’ plus the abbreviation for fine, all reversed (rounded)

My favourite today was 7d/22d, not just because of the excellent Gareth Southgate mislead, but also the impressive way that ‘training ground’ is worked into the clue and the rather pleasing anagram. Which clues did you like?

38 comments on “Toughie 2600

  1. Elgar seems to be continuing his more approachable style although I had dish for 26a. A very enjoyable end to toughie week. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  2. Early this morning, someone said to me that Elgar was obviously still being held kept captive somewhere and an imposter is setting easier crosswords on his behalf. I replied to say that I thought we were witnessing a previously unknown side effect of gout medication producing easier Elgar Toughies for us to enjoy

    I did enjoy this one very much so thank you to Elgar and Dutch

  3. Elgar does seem to be mellowing but the enjoyment factor is as high as ever. Thanks to him and Dutch.
    I was held up down the LH side by writing in ‘ones’ as part of 2/14d and then having to overwrite it when the crossing clues proved troublesome.
    I liked the appropriate 5d, 7/22d and 17d but my gold medal went to 3d.

    1. I would have expected “know one’s onions” rather than “your” to appear in a crossword too. I’ve not seen pizzazz as an anagram indicator before either.

    2. I’ve been caught like that before so I never write the middle word in until I have checking letter

  4. Loved this and it was definitely more “mellow” as CS and Gazza say. Lots of humour as well, with the two sporting stars, and the soldier and the sailor doing a double act, for example. How did he know what the the test match result would be?

    Looking for a nina I couldn’t see anything (apart from bits of acid, music and magic) and so assumed Saint Ethel must be it, on her own! Patron saint of gout perhaps?

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch. So many great clues it’s impossible to pick a favourite but 1a, 9a, 12a, 21a, 24/25 and 5d and 7d are all up there!

    Back to the garden now to enjoy the wonderful sunshine (reminds me of being back home) which I hope we can all enjoy this weekend.😎

  5. What joy – a benevolent Elgar that even I could manage, barring a few bits of parsing. I was short of one of the definitions for 6a and couldn’t quite see how 26a & 5d worked so thank you for your help with those, Dutch.
    My favourite was 3d and I also liked 17d.

    Thanks to Elgar for coming out of the stratosphere and thanks to Dutch for the excellent review.

  6. I really enjoyed this, even a few of what my wife describes as crossword laughs. I thought 3d was brilliant. I needed the hints for a few to explain where I went wrong but I achieved far more than usual with a toughie. Thanks to all

  7. I enjoyed this a lot, which for me is a prime criterion for a crossword, irrespective of difficulty. I’d have said, though, that an off-the-record briefing is unattributable rather than unpublishable, after all it’s a way to make information public anonymously.

  8. Thanks to Elgar. Please don’t listen to those who found it easier than usual. It is so much more fun for solvers to nearly finish than to be totally flummoxed. Someone commented recently that they would be giving the Friday toughie a miss as it was too far beyond them. I always have a go and apart from 16 and 27 ac and being stuck with Joe Root making 5d hopeless, it was ideal. Oh, and I had the wrong vowel in 26ac too and didn’t parse 15ac….so hardly a total success.
    Thanks to Dutch, as always…how do you do it?

    1. you can’t for the back pager except by guessing from style

      For the toughie, there’s a list – go to the miscellaneous tab / toughie setters and scroll down to the end – or just past the calendar where you get a separate list of the remaining setters for this week

  9. As I have managed the last three Elgar compositions I am certainly in the camp that believes he has become more benevolent. And I enjoyed it, which was not the case a few months ago. No longer impenetrable, merely difficult, which pleases this solver. The 7d/22d combo has to take first place I think, ahead of the very neat 15a.

    Many thanks to you, Elgar, for the considerable challenge, and to Dutch.

  10. About as well probably as I’ll ever do with the brilliant Elgar. I bunged-in ‘iron-on’ but had no idea why (other than ‘pressed’ in the clue), and had ‘dish’ and ‘I like you’ (for ‘dash’ and ‘I give you’), nor did I know about ‘wort’ in brewing and those onions! (Know your onions, Bobby!). So except for those bungles, I did quite well, thoroughly enjoying the newfound generosity of this master cluesman. I was overjoyed to remember 13d and 7/22d. My favourite is probably 9a, but I loved ’em all. And yes, you may call me Bobby. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

    1. You may call me Terry, you may call me Timmy
      You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
      You may call me R.C, you may call me Ray
      You may call me anything but no matter what you say

      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes
      Indeed you’re gonna have to serve somebody
      Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
      But you’re gonna have to serve somebody

      1. did you remember those lyrics or have to check? I remember bobby and zimmy (obviously), but not terry/timmy or rc/ray. For some reason, my mind’s been playing dylan lyrics to me at night. Maybe it’s my medication.

        1. I think MP knows every word of every song the man ever performed.

          Medication – Bourbon or Bordeaux?

          Robert, I will call you Bobby from now on. You can call me Wah.

      2. did you remember those lyrics or have to check? I remember bobby and zimmy (obviously), but not terry/timmy or rc/ray. For some reason, my mind’s been playing dylan lyrics to me at night. Maybe it’s my medication.

      3. It was

        “You may call me RJ, you may call me Ray”

        It was at the time of Dallas, so the assumption was that it’s a reference to JR [Ewing]

    2. Sorry, but the best contribution I can make is – I can call you Betty……….you can call me Al.

  11. Pleased to have got within 4 clues of finishing this great puzzle. 5d my favourite, but several others came close. I had ones instead of your, and dish instead of dash. Never heard of dash as meaning bribe. Thought it was a lurker, but too easy for this setter! If I’d got 2 / 14d right, I’d have been pretty well there.
    Thanks to Elgar (maybe I’ll win next time!) And to Dutch

  12. We’re very pleased that we delayed writing in the middle word for 2/14 until we had a checker. Very nice to have a more accessible Elgar puzzle that we could solve and enjoy. Bet we are not the only ones who needed Google help with 27a.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

    1. Anglo Saxon lady saints with splendid names are one of my specialist subjects, so she just wrote herself in when I saw the anagram fodder

      1. I remember you on Mastermind Sue. Specialist subject Anglo Saxon Lady Saints With Splendid Names.

  13. Started this after dinner, and finished it already. Under an hour for an Elgar? Last in for me was 26a, which I only got because it appeared in the Inquisitor less than 2 weeks ago.

  14. Hallelujah. A completed Elgar. Who’d ‘ave thunk it?
    Looked at this shortly after midnight thinking the usual 15mins of staring blankly at this will have the desired effect on the eyelids but much to my surprise this was doable. Had 2 left to finish this morning – 5d was a bung in (one of many) leaving 16a where I revealed the 1st letter. Must admit to not overly worrying about fully parsing a number, occasional use of the reveal mistakes function (ones instead of your was my only correction) & Mr G for confirmation but as close to an unaided finish as I’m likely to ever get.
    Favourite was 3d.
    Thanks to Elgar & to Dutch – will now read your review to understand how I got there.

  15. An enjoyable Elgar. Many thanks for that. I was short of three answers when i turned to Dutch. I still do not see how adding DS which is i assume the abbreviation to iron-on gets to something that is to do with Feds?. 16a i thought the clue required a totally German word so i never got there and 5d is the sort of clue i usually have trouble with. Thanks to Dutch for the explanations. 3d was my COTD

  16. Beaten by 6d, 16a (couldn’t get away from BIER as the ending, given how mellow many of the other clues were (for Elgar) and also 26a which I still don’t follow even with the hint. But I still enjoyed the experience, and I can only say that when Elgar comes down a notch, so thanks to him (and Gazza for clearing almost everything else up)

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