Toughie 2680 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2680

Toughie No 2680 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

We have a Nina today in all of the unchecked perimeter (including top and bottom). We realise the puzzle is in honour of a gentleman who died last month, RIP.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought


4a Potted up? (2,6)
IN POCKET: Two meanings, the first related to snooker, the second to financial well-being

8a Woolly goat obscuring turn in road (6)
LANATE: (go)AT from the clue without (obscuring) a turn, inside (in) a kind of road

9a Gently stroke an individual’s back during church memorial (8)
CENOTAPH: A reversal (back) of a 3-letter word meaning gently stroke plus another 3-letter word meaning individual go inside (during) an abbreviation for church

10a Rapid sequencing of notes in comic opera rocked gig (8)
ARPEGGIO: An anagram (rocked) of GIG goes inside (in) an anagram (comic) of OPERA

11a As Thisbe, wanting in essence to be embraced by Pyramus? (6)
HETERO: This is a sexual orientation clue. Pyramus was the protagonist in Metamorpheses by Ovid. Bit of a star. We want Thisbe, without her middle letters (wanting in essence) to be surrounded (to be embraced) by the character type represented by Pyramus.

12a Superficially add nitrates to iron, comprising 25% of diet (3-5)
TOP-DRESS: TO from the clue, then a word meaning to iron or de-crease contains 25% of the word ‘diet’

13a Recruitment message on US poster: ‘Way in’ (and out another way) (1,4,3)
I WANT YOU: An anagram (another way) of WAY IN + OUT

16a Dropping by, carry fake receiver (8)
EARPHONE: We need to remove (dropping) the letters in ‘BY’ from a 4-letter word meaning carry plus a 6-letter word meaning fake

19a Where Latin grammar documents conjugation? (8)
RELATING: Hidden ( … documents)

21a Line dancing done before and after maybe reading some poetry (6)
RONDEL: The abbreviation for line has before it an anagram (dancing) of DONE, all after the letter associated with reading(, writing and arithmetic – a definition by example, requiring the ‘maybe’)

23a A mass of stuff stuck in the new drier (3,5)
TEA CLOTH: A from the clue plus a ‘mass of stuff’ (often associated with congealed blood) goes inside (in) an anagram (new) of THE

24a Distribute perks, as I do in Alpine lodge? (5-3)
APRES-SKI: An anagram (distribute, as an imperitive) of PERKS AS I

25a That’s quite a bit of fighting for a cross (6)
THWART: This needs to be read as: THAT has ‘quite a bit of fighting’ replacing ‘A’

26a Receive knowledge about article of tanner’s making? (8)
LEATHERN: A word meaning to receive new knowledge goes around (about) the definite article


1d With tips to swap, might cross hospital lounge? (3,4)
DAY ROOM: An auxiliary verb meaning might plus another word for a cross, then swap the first letter of the first with the last letter of the second (with tips to swap)

2d Listen in shed: The Lady Vanishes, Rope and The Birds on a loop (9)
EAVESDROP: Combine (she)D without SHE (the lady vanishes), ROPE, and a 4-letter word for the birds as a class of vertebrates, then loop the last 5 letters to the front

3d Biologists initially shoot two under naturalist’s ship (6)
BEAGLE: The first letter (initially) of biologists plus a golfing term for ‘shoot two under’

4d Cool trick helping to channel lateral thinking? No (15)
INCONSIDERATION: A 2-letter word for cool or trendy, a 3-letter trick, then a word meaning helping, all containing (to channel) a word meaning lateral. A nod to the NINA.

5d Rising GBH can get higher, but lower with one? (5-3)
PUNCH-BAG: A reversal (rising) of GBH, CAN, and a 2-letter verb meaning ‘get higher’, but then move lower an article meaning ‘one’

6d Succeed in hearing Bye Bye Birdie ? (3,2)
CUT IT: Split (1,1,3), the answer gives you bye bye, when spelled out (in hearing) plus a birdie.

7d Producer of paper‘s got rap several upcoming mentions (7)
ESPARTO: Reverse hidden ( … upcoming mentions)

14d Given all-clear in air left contaminated with sulphur in urban area (4-5)
TEST-FLOWN: An anagram (contaminated) of LEFT +S(ulphur) goes inside (in) an urban area

15d Class including Baron and Earl – or aron and arl? (8)
NOBLESSE: Split (2,1,4,1), the answer explains the first letter removals

17d Novel, the fourth from Truman Capote, on account (1,6)
A COMPTE: An anagram (novel) of the fourth letter of (Tru)M(an)+CAPOTE

18d Neither first nor last of little eggs developing naturally (2,5)
IN UTERO: Combine a word that means little with a word for eggs (think fish), then remove the first and last letters

20d Took the advice of Prospero about a shed? (4-2)
LEAN-TO: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be …”. Someone who took this advice would have (4, 1), where the second letter looks like nothing. This needs to go about A from the clue

22d Abode that is let out in Berlin daily (5)
DWELT: Abode is the past tense of a verb. Remove (let out) the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’ from a (3,4) Berlin newspaper

I thought Thisbe (11a), the Latin grammar (8) and the Hitchcock clue (2d) were clever, but my favourite (along with the long down clue related to the nina) is 15d. Which clues did you like?



20 comments on “Toughie 2680

  1. For 20d, wasn’t it Polonius in Hamlet who said that, rather than Prospero in the Tempest?

    1. Yes, you are correct – unless Prospero said something similar but I don’t think he did.

    2. It threw me until I thoght “B-this, I’m putting that answer in anyway!”

  2. Another excellent Elgar puzzle – thanks to him and Dutch.
    I only noticed the vertical bits of the Nina but had no idea that the gentleman in question had died. He was quite famous many years ago.
    I parsed 11a slightly differently to Dutch – my middle letters came from the outer letters of ‘To bE’ but Dutch’s interpretation is probably what Elgar intended.
    I totally missed the Prospero/Polonius mix-up.
    My podium selections were 3d, 6d and 22d.

  3. Another excellent Toughie from Elgar – even allowing for the Shakespearean confusion. I did spot the Nina and my favourite is 6d

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  4. Too tough for me.
    Was doing better recently with Elgar but this had too many clues with bits and pieces moving round and resulting in only filling about half the grid….plus the usual obscurities.
    The lunch time beer may not have helped but was essential.
    No fun at all.

  5. Forgive me, not related to this puzzle or The Telegraph, but apparently ‘ the i’ features one of my crosswords today. I haven’t seen it yet

  6. Gave this a bit if a go but I don’t know why I bother. A crossword should be entertaining and Elgar doesn’t know the meaning of the word! But it was entertaining to realise he’d confused Polonius and Prospero. Even Homer nods!
    I hadn’t realised Edward de Bono had died. A real voice from the past.

        1. Ah, old version. You have to highlight the bit between brackets to make it visible

  7. Well I finished after a fair old tussle. Only a few of the parsings escaped me, so I was pretty pleased, then found I had missed a Nina, as per usual. Should have used some lateral thinking. This was pretty challenging and worthy of the ratings given.

    My thanks to Elgar for the challenge and Dutch.

  8. Done, but having put “get it” for 6d (bunged-in homophone of “buy, buy” “small bird” : “ge(t)tit”) I was stumped by 4a and eventually needed Dutch’s tip to sort myself out, so huge thanks to Dutch for the review.

    Enjoyment and pleasure are not words I usually associate with these fortnightly puzzles, merely relief if – even with the occasional hint – I end up with a completed grid. And that goes for this one, too. Would have missed the Nina without this blog, certainly missed the theme, but thought this was a more accessible and slightly less dated puzzle.

    My COTD was 15d: definitely a chuckle there, once I’d got Courts and tube stations out of my mind!

    My thanks to Elgar & especially to Dutch.

  9. The usual 5/5* from Dutch and rightly so, we also put in got it until we twigged the correct answer near the end which of course enabled us to get the 1a definition.
    Myself and Mrs B usually join forces for Mr Elgar as without help I would still be solving! Favourite 12a
    Anyway cracking puzzle, many thanks to setter and Dutch

  10. Well now! I came to the blog having for the first time ever completed an Elgar Toughie unaided, fully expecting comments along the lines of “Elgar in a benevolent mood today” etc etc.
    Very pleased to see none of that and after such a high recommendation, I shall attempt (if it’s still available) CS’s all time favourite 770.
    I am beginning to understand what JH meant when he said that he ‘did not set out to be difficult, just thinks differently’.
    No B less E is such a fine example of that.

    Thanks all

  11. Wow! I did actually manage to solve ten on my own, then went electronic and got a couple more. I ended up with ‘hit it’, even though I was supposed to be saying farewell to the little avian thing! In class one day, I managed to confuse Yorick with Horatio, thus drawing the collective wrath and scorn of my darlings, so I forgive Elgar for the understandable mixup. I did solve that one, regardless. (And one that still haunts me: confusing Tutu with Mandela, when I had a South African in the class!) Although I failed to solve 15d, it has to be my favourite in this wealth of Elgar treasures. Thanks very much to Dutch for the review and to Elgar for keeping me up very late last night.

  12. I would need more than six thinking hats to complete this crossword…but I did cheat and look at the answers to discover the Nina. Very clever! I heard him give a lecture many years back and thought he had some interesting ideas.

  13. I had trouble with the NE corner, but got there eventually with 6d and 11a only pencilled in lightly.
    Failed to spot the nina, having looked for one when I was only half way through. It would have helped me had I spotted it.
    I’m pretty sure I have one of De Bono’s books upstairs from about 50 years ago, plus a couple of pages ripped out of a Sunday supplement around the same time.
    If I remember correctly, it was Lateral Thinking, but of course that wouldn’t have fitted into the grid.

  14. Solved about three quarters but totally stumped by the rest. Recent form with Elgar has been better so this was a very nice check on complacency.

    Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

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