Toughie 2640 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2640

Toughie No 2640 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A thoroughly enjoyable crossword with a few tricky parsings, and a tribute in 23d.

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8a    Start from here? Lexicographer wouldn’t! (3,4,2)
THE WORD GO: Someone writing a dictionary wouldn’t start from this start

10a/26a Missing from agenda, so bad news for Mr Sneeze? (3,2,5)
NOT AT ISSUE: Split (3,1,6), the answer would be bad news for someone sneezing

11a    A short cut’s how he zippily gets home (10,5)
CHATSWORTH HOUSE: An anagram (zippily) of A SHORT CUT’S HOW HE

12a/13a Right dodgy deals sealed in poultry pen (7,7)
CHARLES DICKENS: The abbreviation for right is contained (sealed) by an anagram (dodgy) of DEALS, all inside (in) some poultry

13a    See 12a

15a    Motto for League success of goalkeeper on subs’ bench? (6,2,1,2,4)
THERE’S NO I IN TEAM: Split (3,3,2,1,2,4), the answer refers to the goalkeeper on the subs’ bench

19a/22a Sort of policy, ‘habit-forming’ perhaps, that tailors laziness to life? (3-4-4-3)
ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL: An anagram of (that tailors) LAZINESS TO LIFE

22a    See 19a

24a    Wake one. Cease to produce one! (4,2,1,4,4)
COME TO A FULL STOP: A (4,2) phrasal verb meaning to wake, another word for one, and the punctuation spelled out. The exclamation mark is because the second ‘one’ cleverly refers to the other meaning of wake, e.g., as produced by a boat.

26a    See 10a

27a    Out of which object of fans’ ire beginning to restore order? (9)
THEREFROM: The (3,3) object of fans’ ire (typically because he’s blind), the first letter (beginning) to restore, and an order or medal


1d    Mark receiving trim around the ears (4)
OTIC: A 6-letter word meaning to mark or pay heed to, with the outer letters removed (receiving trim)

2d    One of the dainties … dash between first and second! (6)
MORSEL: Split (5,1), the answer describes what you get when you put a dash between the first and second dot in the ellipsis

3d    Right of church to promise to come between archbishop’s first daughter and her brother (8)
ADVOWSON: A 3-letter promise comes between the first letter of archbishop plus the abbreviation for daughter and the daughter’s brother

4d    As letters must be, coming out of Dorset (6)
SORTED: The letters are mail in the definition but characters in the (full-clue) wordplay. An anagram of DORSET where the answer is the anagram indicator

5d    Jailed, but ready for release? (2,3,3)
IN THE CAN: Two meanings, the second referring to film production

6d    Physician lets invalid outside our home? (2,4)
ST LUKE: An anagram (invalid) of LETS goes outside the country where we live. The answer is the patron saint of artists, physicians and surgeons and apparently was a doctor himself

7d    Scheme of Belloc, say, missing mass to be in Paris (4)
ETRE: With Belloc being a poet, the answer is a 5-letter scheme he might use, without (missing) the physics abbreviation for mass

9d    Issue Out of This World, a title for launching (7)
EMANATE: A reversal (for launching, in a down clue) of: an abbreviation meaning ‘out of this world’, A from the clue, and another word for title

12d    Switch shot for sizeable slasher (5)
CUTTO: Split (3,2), the answer is a cinematography instruction to ‘switch shot for’ e.g. the love scene

14d    Be excused from playing sublime matches, coincidentally (5)
SIMUL: An anagram (playing) of SUBLIME from which BE is removed (excused)

16d    Presbyter disheartened to receive letter written by St Paul? (8)
EPISTLER: A 5-letter word for a Presbyter without the central letter (disheartened) contains (to receive) a Greek letter plus (written by, i.e., next to) ST from the clue

17d    Some light sundry fines will maintain river mouths? (8)
INFLUXES: An anagram (sundry) of FINES contains (will maintain) a unit of light

18d    Strict claimant who’s presumably now permanently resting? (7)
EXACTOR: Luvvies like to say they are ‘resting’ between jobs. Split (2,5), the answer suggests this one is resting more permanently

20d    Get involved in open game as — oh! — everything in first half quite forgettable (6)
ENMESH: Remove the first halves of 4 words in the clue ( … everything in the first half quite forgettable)

21d    Cards traded in this position on floor (6)
ECARTE: Two meanings – the first a card game, the second a ballet term

23d    He counts as a bank employee (6)
TELLER: Two meanings. This is not an Elgar clue but a tribute. The editor kindly allowed Elgar to include a verbatim copy of a clue by the late CG Rishikesh – widely known in the crossword community as “Rishi” and who compiled over 1000 crosswords for The Hindu as Gridman. I’ve known Rishi as a regular contributor to Fifteensquared and DIYCOW, where he seemed to exude a kind camaraderie that invited gentle banter. It felt to me like he cared about every single individual. RIP

24d    Punch in the area of cheek (4)
CLIP: A Latin abbreviation for ‘in the area of’ or around, and a word meaning cheek or sauciness

25d    Fruity goddess’s no longer needed on a piano show, which is great! (4)
POMP: The 6-letter Goddess of Fruit without (no longer needed) ON A from the clue, plus the abbreviation for piano

A wonderful set of across clues today and I enjoyed them all, particularly 24a. Which were your favourites?


28 comments on “Toughie 2640

  1. This was pretty tough, even for Elgar – thanks to him and to Dutch.

    I now see that I got 24d wrong (‘chin’ seemed to work at the time of solving even though the clue seemed to be too easy).

    It’s good to see the tribute to Rishi although it’s hard to know how any solvers who haven’t got access to Dutch’s blog have any way of recognising 23d as such.

    The clues I liked best were 15a, 24a and 2d.

    1. Oddly, I found this much more straightforward than usual Elgars. A couple of unfamiliar words, two I couldn’t parse but got by guesswork but all round a result. Really enjoyable, thanks to all

  2. I thought that Elgar had provided some very helpful clues in this proper Toughie so it could have been a lot tougher than it was. My favourites were 8a, 15a, 24a, 18d and 25d.Nice to have a tribute to Rishi even if no-one would know it was there,.

    Thanks to Elgar for a very nice accompaniment to breakfast, even if I got so involved that, sadly, the last quarter inch of my mug of tea went cold :(

  3. I did not find this as terrifying as some of Elgar’s compositions but it was still a stiff challenge, albeit an enjoyable one. I agree that some of the across clues, particularly the combos, were truly excellent, with 24 and 15 also standing out. Perhaps not surprisingly I was left with a handful of down clues to solve as a result with two or three blanks to guess at in each.

    My grateful thanks to Elgar for the tussle and to Dutch.

  4. Didn’t struggle as much as usual for some reason
    Nice to see Elgar’s tribute to Rishi – though I wouldn’t have known that but for Dutch
    Thanks to both

  5. Elgar asked me, of course, to mention this little tribute in the blog.

    I’m glad he did

  6. I shall be interested to see how many people finish this puzzle. I’m afraid I still belong to the “too clever by half” brigade. I don’t begrudge the Elgar devotees their fun but week after week of getting nowhere is very dispiriting .

  7. Well, my successful week came to a grinding halt today!! A real Toughie for me and although I got down to eight left unsolved, needless to say, my breakfast drink had been stone cold for hours!! 5*/3* for me and no real favourites.

  8. Looked impossible on first pass through but perseverance brought us successfully to the end. Some v clever clues. Our collective brains still aching…

  9. The top half seemed straightforward but the bottom wasn’t.
    I also had chin for 24ac, failed on 21d, 27ac and 25d.
    Still I’m making much more progress than in the days when Elgar was a non starter.
    Thanks to him and I’m glad he communicates with you Dutch, as I can’t recall his commenting on this site. It is appreciated when the setter pops in!
    Thanks to Dutch as always.
    *****/**** (‘cos I didn’t like 15ac.)

  10. I did endeavour. Managed to answer eight correctly. Realised once again that Elgar was supreme. Thanks to him for the Rishi tribute, and to Dutch for his brilliant review, and to Elgar for the Everest to climb.

  11. Took a while to cotton on but managed to finish.
    Didn’t know the card game in 21d and thought it was about tarot as the person who takes the challenge picks up 6 cards and exchange them for 6 cards from his or her pack called the Ecart.
    Hesitated in 2d as I thought that the last letter should be n as it stands between m and o.
    That helped me get 12a which made me laugh.
    Loved the object of fans’ ire. Another good laugh and pdm.
    Last ones in were 13d and 15d thinking it would start with eleven.
    Oh. Forgot to say that I knew 25d very well as our main veg supplier is Pomona Terrazur.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great workout and to Dutch for the review.

  12. Beaten by 21d but othewise a slow but steady solve. Need to brush up on my card games and ballet.

    Thanks all.

    1. Me to. If I had thought to go to Mrs Bradford’s lists all would have been revealed. Logged in for future reference.

  13. Dogged determination managed to see us get to the finishing line but we did use some electronic assistance along the way.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  14. Thanks for the tribute to Rishi Elgar. A wonderful nod to a veteran and prolific setter who has inspired many. The toughie was quite tough for me and Thanks to Dutch for the explanations. Sheer genius. My favorite is 12a/13a.

  15. Oh my. That was hard. That was really hard. I puzzled over it in the bath until the water was cold, then in bed instead of reading my book, now sleepless in the kitchen I finally got a break through. I had done about 8 but the others seemed completely beyond me then12a suddenly came to me, closely followed by 11a. I have a list of a few new words to look up in the morning! I salute you clever folk who finished it ‘all by your own’. After 3d and 6d then 16d I thought, oops- Brian won’t like this!
    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch. 🧠

  16. As soon as I see Elgar’s name at the top. I don’t appreciate crosswords that require constant reference to a huge dictionary to grope for a word such as ADVOWSON! (Mine gives CUTTOE btw)
    Even then I cant accept the viability of some of the clues i.e 9d & 12d.
    I gave up after that so have no idea what the tribute thing is!

  17. I always like to take on Elgar’s challenges, even if I don’t always enjoy the experience. However, this one was beyond a joke. I got a couple wrong, although I had the checkers, and there were several that I couldn’t parse. My big hold-up was 15a, the answer to which makes no sense to me – a very poor clue, in my opinion.

  18. Managed 20 on my own & the remainder bar 2 with Dutch’s expert guidance. Had to reveal the ballet/card game & the ecclesiastical word. Half the tea caddy used & countless cups went cold. Elgar remains (apart from once) impossibly out of reach….
    Thanks anyway.

  19. Having done a good job on Saturday’s prize puzzle, I thought I would come back and try to play with the big boys. After an hour’s heavy cogitating I had managed only one clue – 23D. I come here only to find that 23D is, exceptionally, a clue provided by a different compiler! My only consolation is that Big Dave rated this puzzle ***** for difficulty.

    1. the Friday toughies tend to be harder and Elgar tends to be hardest of these! You may find the rest of the toughie week (tues-thurs) more tractable. Congratulations for trying, we’re here to help, don’t give up!

      1. Thank you for the encouragement, Dutch. I certainly will come back and try some easier toughies. Your hints certainly opened my eyes to new ways of thinking – I don’t know how the toughie bloggers like you do it!

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