Toughie 2744 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2744

Toughie No 2744 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A theme for today, enjoy.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Divers grab jobs with me – will we take a drop or two in local? (10)
JAGERBOMBS: An anagram (divers) of GRAB JOBS + ME

6a Let me think whether to review cashier (4)
FIRE: Reversal (to review) of an interjection that can mean ‘let me think’ and a short word meaning whether

10a Cowboy clamoured, refusing duel, shot in bar? (5)
CAROM: An anagram (cowboy) of CLAMOURED omitting the letters in DUEL (the definition refers to a billiards shot)

11a Pets might, quite a lot (9)
CANOODLES: A 3-letter word than could mean might, or is able to, and a word meaning ‘quite a lot’

12a Romantic meeting with one novice, say, before flood (8)
INUNDATE: A romantic evening out, but first (before) the Roman numeral for one and a religious novice, perhaps, in a convent

13a Indefinite number heading close to me? I’ll object (5)
NIMBY: The letter symbolizing an indefinite number comes before (heading) a (1’1,2) phrase meaning ‘close to me’

15a Late filing by me may produce one with kisses on (7)
CROSSED: Split (5,2), we have an undesirable situation that might happen if Elgar submits a puzzle late

17a Hardy girl cuddling Mae West – that’ll press the sheets! (7)
SEAMSET: A reversal (west) of a Thomas Hardy heroine containing (cuddling) MAE from the clue

19a Blasted heath on which 1 Downs journey (3,4)
THE HAJJ: An anagram (blasted) of HEATH plus two abbreviations for 1d

21a It may display extremes of virility, essential with trim (7)
VANDYKE: The extremes of virility are * AND *, plus a 3-letter word meaning essential without the last letter (with trim)

22a Excellent try (5)
CRACK: Two meanings

24a Will he be too quick for Aussies to observe ball? (4,4)
MARK WOOD: A word meaning observe plus word used for ball (eg in bowls)

27a Critic, at her ineptest, collars Duchess (9)
CATHERINE: Hidden ( … collars)

28a Maybe wino will leave area for base woman (5)
ELKIE: A 5-letter wino or other drinker, in which the abbreviation for area is replaced by the base of natural logarithms.

29a Talk Radio is holding back secret (4)
DARK: Reverse hidden ( … is holding back)

30a As time allows in a good day, before and after hours (3-7)
AGE-RELATED: Inside (in) A from the clue and the abbreviations for good and day, we have a 3-letter word meaning before and a word meaning ‘after hours’


1d Rating that’s a wind-up for unhappy motorist? (4)
JACK: An unhappy motorist might have to crank this up on the side of a road

2d Wheeling or dealing for a branched chandelier? (9)
GIRANDOLE: An anagram (wheeling) of OR DEALING

3d Novel about knight, upright type (5)
ROMAN: Two meanings, the second a font

4d This may offer choice of fruit or veg (7)
ORCHARD: OR from the clue plus a vegetable

5d Decrepit cars from ’98 catch up (7)
BANGERS: A reversal (up) of a ’98 license plate and 3-letter word for catch or nick

7d Devoted followers that Raducanu has now secured? (5)
ISLAM: Split (1,4), we see a victory that Raducanu now has

8d Head of Science perhaps has Group T rebelling about compositions (10)
ESSAYETTES: The first letter (head)of science plus a word meaning perhaps or for instance has reversed around it (rebelling about) another word for group and the spelled-pit letter T

9d From after ascent, aunt’s become queasy in jet (8)
FOUNTAIN: A reversal (after ascent) of a short word meaning from, an anagram (‘s become queasy) of AUNT, plus IN from the clue

14d Chemical decomposition of cacti about which great papers may be written (6,4)
ACETIC ACID: An anagram (decomposition) of CACTI goes in between (about which … may be written) a word for great and an abbreviation for papers

16d Diamond steeplechaser with odds fixed on run (8)
SPARKLER: A 2-letter abbreviation for odds, an irish racehorse with the highest ranking (died 1970) plus the abbreviation for run

18d Where in Whitechapel you’ll find 5 go through the roof? (9)
SKYROCKET: A double Cockney rhyming slang clue (in Whitechapel). 5d is rhyming slang for cash, which you might typically have in the answer for this clue

20d Lively member has the ego to crack anti-Freudian (7)
JUMPING: A member of the House plus a pronoun to which the ego refers go inside (to crack) a famous anti-Freudian

21d Producer of art, never more surreal, no parts drawn (7)
VERMEER: An anagram (surreal) of NEVER MORE from which the letters (parts) in NO have been omitted (drawn)

23d In circulation, Financial Times, Time and Post (5)
AFTER: FT plus a word for time, with the last letter in circulation to the front

25d I’m having fun with large disc (5)
WHEEL: A 4-letter exclamation that means “I’m having fun” plus the abbreviation for large

26d Chief caught king out (4)
HEAD: A 5-letter word meaning caught or understood without (out) the Latin abbreviation for king

I liked the hidden Duchess and the extremes of virility, and pitied the unhappy motorist. Which clues did you like?

26 comments on “Toughie 2744

  1. The usual battle of minds between Elgar and me – I won in the end but parts of the crossword did take some work to solve and understand – I marked several clues for possible favouritism but in the end went with 7d for top spot

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  2. The SE corner defeated me (apart from 21d) which was such a shame as the rest rattled through.
    My BRB doesn’t have 28ac and cockney slang usually beats me. Indeed I’m not sure I understand it even with Dutch’s aid.
    Thanks to Dutch for putting me out of my misery.

          1. Thanks. I had never heard of her, but that’s true of most non classical musicians.
            Elaine Bookbinder was her name at birth!

    1. bangers (& mash) = cash
      skyrocket = pocket
      In whitechapel, you’d find your bangers in your skyrocket

      (and obviously part of the theme)

  3. Thanks to Elgar for the customary battle and to Dutch for the review (especially for explaining 18d – I’d never heard of either bit of rhyming slang).
    I ticked 24a, 7d and 23d but my favourite was 21a.

  4. Parsing 5d and 18d were both beyond me. Hard struggle but completed just before the Prince of Wales Bridge on my way to Cardiff for tomorrow’s game. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  5. I have found this quite incomprehensible. I only managed 5 and one of those proved to be wrong! There are some very clever people out there.

  6. Definitely well into 5* time. The LHS went in quite quickly apart from 15a and 16d – I’m sorry to say that I know the names of very few horses, and I needed Dutch’s explanation for 15a, which I now really like. RHS much more of a slog, but lots of lovely aha moments. 11a got my biggest smile, and 5d I thought very clever. Never heard of the cricketer (sorry, I’m sure he’s very famous) but I am a big fan of Ms Brooks, so no problem with 28a.

    Can someone clarify the theme?

  7. A terrific tussle was this afternoon that was testing but doable. It was good to see an Elgar that didn’t have lots of cross-referenced clues, and the theme certainly helped unscramble the few that were holding out. Like CS, I thought 7d was the outstanding clue from a very good selection.

    My thanks to Elgar for the great challenge and to Dutch.

  8. Enjoyed, despite it being a phenomenal struggle, needing a hint with 6a, and not being able to parse 5d/18d (which meant absolutely nothing to me even after Dutch’s review until I read his comment at about 2.23pm above. I could get grumpy about those, but “what is point?”). Really enjoyed and welcomed the lack of ping-pong ball / inter-connected clues and answers.

    Thought the theme (I don’t habitually look for one) was going to be islamic, but became evident that was not the case. Did not spot the real theme until reading this blog afterwards!

    Hon Mentions to 1a, 19a & 7d, COTD to the wonderful 20d.

    5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Elgar & Dutch.

  9. A bit more accessible than usual for Elgar but still a brain mangler. Have 17 answers so far (LHS mostly) that are correct (cheated & pressed the check button) & will have another pre bedtime stab at it. No idea yet re any theme. 1a unearthed memories of a vile hangover having been persuaded to get involved when already half cut.
    Thanks Elgar & Dutch

    1. Yes. Frankly, though I love my beer, I’ve never understood people drinking instant hangovers.

    2. Delighted to get within 6 of a finish & spot the themed answers. The hints then got me over the line with others, only 2 of which I’d have expected to get. Needless to say bung ins galore so thanks for the explanations.

  10. In terms of the the theme, hopefully the bangers and skyrocket alerted people to guy fawkes night. We of course also see sparklers, Roman can(oo)dles, jumping Jack(S), Catherine wheel, fire, after dark, and there may be more fireworks for which I don’t know the names. Fountain head? Cross something? Etc. Let me know what else you see.

    1. You know what’s really annoying? I was kept awake all night last night by bangs and flashes, and still didn’t spot the theme. One day, Elgar, one day…

  11. Two weeks ago, I gave up on Elgar, still having a blank grid after 30 minutes.
    Today, I’ve managed to correctly complete the puzzle, although I failed to parse 5d and 18d. Also, failed to spot the theme until I read Dutch’s comment at 2:23pm and took another look at the grid.
    FIRE CRACK(er) may be another.

  12. A few sittings got me to complete minus 3. Two of those I would never have got (8d,21a). I was trying to get “EM” for Emma somewhere into 7d, so that didn’t work either.

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