Toughie 2712 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2712

Toughie No 2712 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

1d was straightforward enough and immediately intriguing. I started thinking alchemy but 12d put me right. Elgar shows his skill; I hope you enjoy

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

About following screening procedure and the mothers-to-be it involved (9)

OBSTETRIC: The 1-letter Latin abbreviation for about is following an anagram (involved) of (mo)(the)RS-TO-BE IT, but hiding (screening) a 2-letter abbreviation for procedure or way of working and ‘the’ from the clue

10 Board agreed in two European languages (5)

OUIJA: Two foreign words for agreed or yes

11 Terror haunt tins minced beefcake and bully (6,3,6)

DENNIS THE MENACE: A 3-letter haunt, an anagram (minced) of TINS, beefcake or muscular blokes and a word meaning bully as in excellent or great

12 With commonest of plebeians engage in naughtiness, long dateless (4,3)

SINE DIE: The most common letter in ‘plebeians’ goes in between (engage in) a word for naughtiness and a word meaning to long (for)

13 Muses say hr/3600 is briefer than brief (7)

SISTERS: The abbreviation for 1/3600th of an hr, IS from the clue, and a word meaning brief without the last letter (is briefer than)

15 2, 21, 23, 3 and 13: 26 22 in 7 by 3? (15)

RUMPELSTILTSKIN: A 4-letter word meaning 2d, a famous 21d, another word for 23d and a word meaning 3 and 13, with an apt definition

19 Flannel cost personnel silver (7)

WASHRAG: Cost (as in: What did you pay for your beer? It *** £6.00!), an abbreviation for personnel, and the chemical symbol for silver

22 See 26 Across

24 Rock digs localise? Apt (7,8)


26 & 22 Across Is Shaw the man you need nudging about? (5-3-4)

WHAT’S HIS NAME: An anagram (you need nudging about) of IS SHAW THE MAN

27 Break from being in French class? (9)

ELEVENSES: A 3-letter word for ‘being’ (that I always forget) goes inside the French word for students (hence ‘in French class’)

Grand antique, 15’s end product (4)

GOLD: The abbreviation for grand and another word for antique

2 In support of apprentice officially receiving pardon? (6)

BEHIND: A 4-letter verb meaning to apprentice officially contains (receiving) an interjection meaning ‘pardon?’

3 Bromine, astatine, fluorine, iodine and chlorine: are they in order? (8)

BROTHERS: The chemical symbol for bromine, then a word meaning the rest (of the halogens)

4 Money for which angels will go topless (6)

ACKERS: Financial angels without the first letter (will go topless)

5 A few runs established cricket county (8)

SOMERSET: A word for ‘a few’, the abbreviation for runs, and a word meaning established or put down

6 No good at sea, I’m up to a little over 3mph? (6)

PIRATE: A Greek letter symbolising a constant a little over 3, and another word for mph or speed

7 What, we’re told, is 2 what we’re told (4)

TALE: A homophone (we’re told) of what is 2d

9 Tunnel is one of mine (7)

SYNONYM: A cryptic definition playing on ‘mine’. A lexical relationship between a tunnel and a mine?

12 Initial material for 15, spinning with skill and craft? (5)

STRAW: A reversal (spinning) of the abbreviation for with and a plural word meaning skill and craft

14 The stuff of champions in centuries past (5)

SINCE: Hidden (the stuff of … )

16 After cycling rush, is arriving before everyone else (8)

EARLIEST: Take A 4-letter word for rush or race plus a word meaning is or is situated, then cycle the first letter to the end

17 Ring applied here, reply to ‘Do you take …’ will receive the female in the fold (1,4,3)

I THEE WED: Two letters become a reply to “Do you take …” when a ring is applied at the end. Into these two letters insert (will receive) THE from the clue plus a female in the fold. The fold is a sheep pen in the wordplay and a church or congregation in the surface

18 Leaders in spirit supply bottomless hip flask (7)

KHALIFS: An anagram (supply) of HI(p) without the last letter (bottomless) + FLASK

20 -hipping rout-? (6)

SEAWAY: Split (2,4) the answer becomes a description of what is missing in the clue

21 One perhaps putting Whistleblower Diaries entry about? (6)

GOLFER: A reversal (about) of a whistleblower on the pitch and an entry or record in a diary

23 As Merton‘s type does in part, Hislop especially (6)

SLOPES: Hidden (in part, … )

24 Something for graduation which is good to have (4)

GOWN: The abbreviation for good and a verb meaning to own

25 Frame this, with wits! (4)

SASH: Reading the answer as a (1,2,1) instruction, witH would be witS

I enjoyed the theme today. I liked the way the easier clues got you hooked and I always appreciate the all-in-one clues, of which Elgar is a master. Which clues did you like?

27 comments on “Toughie 2712

  1. Absolutely 5* brilliance.

    Like you Dutch, with 1d going in first, I looked for a 15 lettered alchemist but 12d rang a bell and then the construction of the component parts of the themed answer came together.

    I could have just stopped there with a big grin (that’s grin not grimm) but I didn’t and whilst i needed a few bung ins (e.g. 26d; thanks for the explanations Dutch) that were accepted online, and some that took longer than they should (e.g. 18d) it all came together, thankfully with some comparatively easy ones along the way. A great way to enjoy some of the morning with no Test Match today.

    Many thanks Elgar.

  2. I was misled by getting the first clue right, then drew a blank. 15 across is still incomprehensible even with the tips.

    1. RUMP from a synonym to 2D + ELS (surname of a man who is a 21D) + TILTS (synonym to 23D) + KIN (what 3D and 13D are)
      Then a second definition asking for the name in a tale by brothers ( the Grimms)

      1. You’ve previously used an alias and just your Christian name when commenting. Using your full name sent you into moderation

  3. An astonishing piece of work from Elgar. I only solved 15a because of the references in 1 and 12d. The whole grid was tough, by any definition, but I got a terrific sense of satisfaction having completed it. 23d was clever, the combinations excellent, but my favourite clue was 20d.

    My thanks to Elgar for a brilliant workout, and congratulations to Dutch for sorting out the parsing, particularly the aforementioned 15a.

  4. Another relentlessly typical Elgar which, nonetheless, I enjoyed a lot. Like others I found the combo of 1d and 12d a giveaway to 15a and the top half. 15a then provided 2 starters [21 and 23] for the lower half and on it went. The parsing of 25d eluded me and my favourite clue was one of the normal human being ones – 14d [the stuff is brilliant].
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for the blog.

  5. Add me to those who got 15a from 1d and 12d. I enjoyed this a lot, not least because there weren’t any obscurities requiring checking. My last to parse was 25d. Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.
    Ticks awarded to 11a, 6d, 20d and 23d.

  6. Could not get stuck into this, a good grounding from Elgar which is no bad thing
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch – blogging an Elgar Toughie would terrify me

  7. A really great crossword from Elgar which I solved in just over a normal time for him while helping our grandson with his own crossword solving and answering questions from our granddaughter – a great bit of multitasking if I say so myself.

    I marked lots of clues with *s as I thought so many of them were really good, but I think the top favourite has to be 15a

    Thanks to Elgar for the entertainment and Dutch for the blog

  8. Completely beaten by this despite getting 10a at first read. I was really cross with 3d. I went to a great deal of trouble to find they were all halogens or elements only to find the answer was a group of monks! What a swizz.
    Perhaps one day I’ll have the time and patience to understand the enigma that is Elgar.

      1. I think what JB is saying is that the second word has eight letters and there are two Ss in the anagram fodder

  9. Found that tough going until enough checkers gave me an idea for 15a without any idea at the time as to the construction of the clue. This then led to a few other pennies dropping and it finally unravelled. 8a and 27a were bung ins although my thinking was broadly in the right direction.

    Thanks to Elgar for a cracking puzzle and to Dutch for the explanations.

  10. Very slow progress with only a few odd answers scattered around the grid until a flash of inspiration gave us 15a. Steady, but still slow, progress eventually got us through.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  11. Took me a while to crack this, which I didn’t mind one bit. My drinking companion on a Friday afternoon has been unavailable for the last 4 weeks having had a hernia and part of his bowel removed.
    A few not fully parsed as per usual. 20d is amazing

  12. Finished this puzzle earlier this morning bar one clue for which I needed Dutch’s help (6d), and while I cannot yet say I have ever enjoyed an Elgar puzzle, I did have a feeling of some satisfaction for having got that far.

    Some quite strange surface reads, rough even. Yoda would have been proud of 6d. I remain no fan of this trademark jumping-around clueing. Couldn’t be bothered to parse 15a or wait until the other clues were solved: life’s too short. Rumpelstiltskin fitted and made sense of 1d & 26a/22a, which was enough for me.

    9d and 20d were my picks of the day.

  13. After 36 hours and about a third randomly completed, I hoped I had enough ideas going on with the others that a good night’s sleep might open a few doors. Not to be! Resorting to hints explained a few, but the rest I had to reveal.
    Elgar, Elgar, one day I’ll get there!
    Thanks nonetheless, and to Dutch, without your hints these impenetrable clues would drive the likes of me insane!

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