Toughie 2720 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2720

Toughie No 2720 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

We see a bit of the United States today.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


Selfish lead? (6)

FOREGO: Split (3,3), the answer would mean selfish

4 Attach a main element (6)

STAPLE: Two meanings. The first a metal fastener, the second a principal component of diet, etc.

8 Try to understand US game design (2,6)

GO FIGURE: Rabbit Dave should be happy with the indicated Americanism. A 2-letter board game and a word that can mean design or shape

10 & 21 Down Meat pie demolished, alight in New York (6,5)

EMPIRE STATE: A 4-letter word that can mean alight or settle goes inside an anagram (demolished) of MEAT PIE

11 21 Down: ‘That shortest-named Galilean moon has just come to me!’ (4)

OHIO: Split (2,2), the answer sounds like a reply in a pub quiz – another speciality of Elgar

12 Sophisticated date, yes – so I go steady (4,4,2)

EASY DOES IT: An anagram (sophisticated) of DATE YES SO I

13 We have ignition, as conversely happens with meltdown (3,7,2)

ALL SYSTEMS GO: Everything operational – but in meltdown, the last word means something slightly different.

16 This film shot, conversely, in 11 and 15 (5,7)

ROMAN HOLIDAY: An anagram (shot) of the answers to 11 and 15, where this film was not shot! (hence conversely)

20 Growing tissue closed within substitute moon craft (10)

PROTOXYLEM: A 2-letter word meaning closed goes inside a 5-letter word meaning substitute, then add a 3-letter abbreviation for a moon craft

21 Flower of darkness adheres to the ear (4)

STYX: A homophone (to the ear) of a word meaning adheres

22 The humour associated with Old Doc‘s pub on Malta (6)

PHLEGM: A 2-letter abbreviation for pub, the cricket ‘on’ side, and the IVR for Malta

23 Why 8 Out of 10 Cats couldn’t film seed supplier? (8)

CARRAWAY: Split (4,4), this condiment/seed would explain why this tv show could not go ahead (without the presenter)

24 Resting-place of animal lover from East Island, is it? (6)

ASSISI: The 2-letter abbreviation for Island, IS from the clue and a 2-letter abbreviation for “it”. All reversed (from East). The definition refers to the patron saint of animals

25 Notice stuck on back of car in the Strand (6)

THREAD: A 2-letter notice goes behind the last letter (back) of car inserted into THE from the clue.

Like the worst sort of loveless greeting (4,4)

FROM HELL: A word meaning ‘of’ plus a 5-letter greeting without the letter that looks like zero (love in tennis, hence loveless)

2 In Asia and Africa, one may charge intruders money (5)

RHINO: Two meanings – think of a big animal with a horn

3 & 17 Down Surfeit on Atlantic Seaboard saw us sizeable support during session (7,7)

GLUTEUS MAXIMUS: A 4-letter surfeit, the Atlantic seaboard would be the Eastern United States (so abbreviate that), a 5-letter word for a saw or proverb, and US from the clue

5 & 18 Down Time Rome chiefs had gathered inauspiciously (3,4,2,5)

THE IDES OF MARCH: The abbreviation for time plus an anagram (gathered inauspiciously) of ROME CHIEFS HAD

6 Go on pinching a single sausage (9)

PEPPERONI: A 3-letter word for ‘go’ plus ON from the clue contain a 3-letter word meaning ‘a’ (as in 3 quid a person), plus a letter that looks like one (single)

7 Listen in seething rage: women’s group cutting in (6)

EARWIG: An anagram (seething) of RAGE contains (cutting in) the 2-letter abbreviation for a women’s group

9 Countries once dominated fabrication of carbon steel (7,4)

EASTERN BLOC: An anagram (fabrication of) of CARBON STEEL

14 Press misguidedly passing round posh hotel fizz (9)

SPRITZERS: An anagram (misguidedly) of PRESS surrounds a posh hotel

15 Scatty TV presenter’s in a 21 Down (8)

MARYLAND: A 3-letter word for scatty or crazy contains (in) the first name of TV presenter Clark-Neal

17 See 3 Down

18 See 5 Down

19 Member of triad moored up in Brixham harbour (6)

BRAHMA: Reverse hidden (moored up in …)

21 See 10 Across

23d was my favourite today – which clues did you like?


34 comments on “Toughie 2720

  1. Managed OK and was reasonably pacy for an Elgar. I did need google to identify the TV presenter to make sense of 15d and to check the stuff in 20a.

    I still don’t get the parsing of 24a.

    Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

    1. Hi Jonners – read backwards (from East) we have abbr. Island, IS and S(ex) A(ppeal) (IT)
      Think I’ll go for a pint

  2. I do like a challenge and happy to admit defeat occasionally – I could not stumble past my initial confusion
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch, how you sleep on a Thursday night is beyond me

  3. Crikey! Finished an Elgar [and parsed it all] in less than 5* time. In fact, I think Tuesday’s Robyn took me longer. Is this the new, approachable Elgar? The anagrams helped, more of em and more obvious. I needed Google’s confirmation of the 2 TV people for 15d and 23a but no complaints. A fun puzzle – favourite 20a – I’ve heard of it, it’s a crazy word to put in a crossword and writing a decent clue for it is no mean achievement.
    Thanks Elgar and thanks Dutch.

  4. Is it me or is Elgar mellowing a tiny bit?
    I didn’t know the 20a growing tissue and had never heard of the 15d TV presenter so had to Google him.
    My ticks went to 23a, 24a and 3/17d.
    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  5. Multiple linked/cross-referenced clues? Tick
    Long answers split over 2 or more clues? Tick
    Convoluted clues rendering surface reads bizarre or meaningless? Tick
    Very dated film/actor/song references? Tick

    Yup, this had to be an Elgar, though far from his toughest.

    4* / 1*. “They think it’s all over … thank God it is now.” Who is this Clark-Neal TV presenter? And fortunately 23a was an easy bung-in and required no knowledge of the programme or its presenter. COTD 21a.

    Thanks anyway to Elgar, and to Dutch for the review and parsings (I’d enough bungs to supply a home-brew enthusiast!)

  6. I needed electronic help, well, who wouldn’t for words like 20a,? but this was more friendly than usual.
    My COTD was the simple but elegant 21a

  7. A more accessible Elgar with a completed grid in shorter time than usual.
    Electronic assistance required as always and parsing assistance from Dutch with 20ac which was a snorter!
    Thanks Dutch.
    Again I ask does Elgar ever visit this site?

  8. I clicked on this (I do the electronic version) thinking I’d clicked on the back-pager, so got a bit of a shock! Didn’t take me too long to realise my mistake, as it was clearly one of Elgar’s. Not his toughest – finished in 4* time maybe, but had to guess and check 20a and it took me ages to parse that and 24a.

    Bravo to Elgar and Dutch alike.

    1. Definitely Elgar’s easiest to date. It was like a Tuesday Toughie warming up the week. Having said that I enjoyed it immensely. The Eastern half went at pace then slowed down on the West and thought this is a game of two half’s. But then with a bit more application it all went in nicely.
      Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  9. The most accessible and most enjoyable Elgar for a very long time. The combination of the two States and the resulting anagram for the film were sublime clueing as was the posterior clue.

  10. Another fine Friday Toughie, thank you very much Elgar

    Having been surprised to find Ed Sheeran in a DT Crossword yesterday, I was even more surprised to find Mr Clark-Neal here today. If I was going to go for favourites out of so many choices, I’d go for 23a and 2d.

    1. I’m told Mr. Sheeran is an everyday household word. I felt so backward yesterday, totally out of touch.

  11. Probably the best I’ll ever do on an Elgar, though I still have higher hopes. Managed all but 6 this time (1a, 3/17d, 20a, 22a, 23a, 24a) as I worked into the wee hours last night. Loved the interactive American clues, naturally, coupled with the great film. Special ticks go to 8 and 13a. Many thanks to Dutch and to Elgar.

  12. I would agree that this was Elgar in a slightly more benign mood, but that is still setting the bar pretty high. The cross-referencing clues and a few anagrams certainly helped the solving process, and it was a thoroughly rewarding and entertaining challenge.

    My thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

    1. Yes, I thought that – surely only 1 R? But no-one else who’s commented seems bothered so maybe just us!

  13. Got all but four this morning, in record time, but struggled tonight to finish it and revealed them. No excuses, all obvious once you see the solution.
    Tea tray needed after eventually parsing 16a.

    1. You’ve expanded your alias so you comment required moderation. Both versions will work henceforth.
      1a The definition (as underlined by Dutch) is ‘lead’ (i.e. to precede or go before).

  14. I usually do Elgar puzzles in a few sittings over a weekend, as that works much better for me than a single attempt.

    I think it’s a pity that so many people seem to throw up their hands at the sight of Elgar’s name. There are usually a few easy ones to get you started, and the interlinked clues (whether themed or not) often give you another way in, in my experience. Yes, there are usually a couple of clues that are very hard to parse, but he has quite a few tropes as well, so you can look for those once you’ve done a few puzzles.

    I finished this with just a couple of online verifications needed, and enjoyed it very much.

  15. I do “throw up [my] hands at the sight of Elgar’s name”
    Its not that they’re too difficult – I can often finish them eventually – its that the process of doing so doesn’t provide enough enjoyment to make the effort worthwhile.
    There’s a parallel with “professional” scrabble where it seems that any combination of letters means something, somewhere.
    I have no objection at all to them being set on Fridays (mostly) but excuse me if I just turn the page.

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