Toughie 2752 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2752

Toughie No 2752 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable and not-overly-difficult puzzle from Elgar today.

Half the fun in Elgar’s puzzles is identifying the definitions. They are underlined for you, as usual. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


Make out, staying in, you finally try fast food (6,5)

MINUTE STEAK: An anagram (out) of MAKE contains (staying) IN, the last letter (finally) of you, and another word for try

8a OK, now pass through tight doors with furniture item (2,3,2,4)

SO FAR SO GOOD: A 2-letter verb meaning ‘pass’ goes inside (through) an anagram (tight, as in drunk) of DOORS, alongside (with) a 4-letter furniture item

11a Perform turns because of God (4)

ODIN: A 2-letter verb for perform is reversed (turns), plus a preposition that can mean ‘because of’ (definition 9 in Chambers)

12a In our array, there’s nothing even or odd for Napier (4)

ORRA: Napier was a Scottish mathematician: the definition asks for a Scottish word for odd, which is found by removing the even letters from ‘our array’

13a Boy who’s collared ain’t one for caning (7)

ETONIAN: An anagram (for caning) of AIN’T ONE. The collar is part of his school uniform (for juniors, apparently, to distinguish from seniors), and became a type of collar in its own right

15a Wally and Alfred going for a cycle (7)

HALFWIT: Find a (4,3) way of saying ‘and Alfred’ and cycle the first 3 letters to the back

16a Hotel with not much custom (5)

HABIT: The abbreviation for hotel plus a (1,3) expression for ‘not much’

17a Plot raising a section of 7 Down (4)

BREW: A reverse hidden (raising a section of … ) in the answer of 7d

18a Review criticises game of little skill (4)

SNAP: A reversal (review) of a word that means ‘criticises’

19a Remove nitrous oxide, say, from impressionist (5)

DEGAS: A verb meaning to remove, for example, nitrous oxide (or oxygen, nitrogen, CO2, etc) is also the name of a famous painter

21a First enjoying success, it all evens out (7)

INITIAL: A (2,2) phrase meaning ‘enjoying success’ plus ‘it all’ with the even letters removed

22a Nasty slur withdrawn from soul brother playing instrument (7)

THEORBO: Remove an anagram (nasty) of SLUR from an anagram (playing) of SOUL BROTHER

23a Welshwoman second of agents subverted (4)

GWEN: A (1-3) word for FBI agents with the second letter overturned (subverted)

26a I think this work’s very heavy (4)

TOME: Split (2,2), the answer could mean ‘I think’

27a Counter saw beside horse sizable negative for Mary (5,6)

SOGGY BOTTOM: A reversal (counter) of a saw or proverb, a short word meaning beside, a child’s expression for horse, and an abbreviation meaning very large

28a Sweetener for tart in bygone days presented in grand rug (6,5)

GOLDEN SYRUP: A word meaning ‘in bygone days’ is contained in (presented in) the abbreviation for grand, plus some rhyming slang for a rug or wig (from ***** of figs)

Party to start from our pub walls (2,2)

IN ON: The first letter of (start from) our is covered (walled) by another word for pub

3d Toff maybe owned up to shilly-shally (2,3,2)

UM AND AH: A (1,3) way of saying a posh bloke (toff) and a reversal (up) of a verb meaning owned

4d Different term for the University of London (4)

ELSE: The last letter (term) of ‘the’, plus a well-known London University attended by Mick Jagger

5d Unerringly squashes bug that’s buzzing around tower (7)

TUGBOAT: A (1,2,1) expression that means unerringly contains (squashes) an anagram (that’s buzzing around) of BUG

6d Where one goes after a curry dish (4)

ALOO: A place where one ‘goes’ comes after A from the clue

7d Modify widget with borer and adjustable spanner (5,6)

TOWER BRIDGE: An anagram (modify) of WIDGET + BORER

8d ‘Resemblances’ contains B just once and ‘balance beam world-beater’ three times (6,5)

SIMONE BILES: Lovely definition. Figures of speech that are ‘resemblances’ containing ‘ONE B’

9d Seduce married man where artist prepares sitter? (7,4)

DRAWING ROOM: A (4,2) phrasal verb meaning seduce, plus the married man at a wedding. And as a second bit of wordplay, a whimsical definition ‘where artist prepares’

10d Low-down on MoMA perhaps protected by a spoiler (5-6)

PARTY-POOPER: A (4,4) whimsical expression that could be the low-down or info (American slang) of a museum of modern art, contained within (protected by) a 3-letter word meaning ‘a’ (as in ‘a head’)

14d Object of gazing a little upon a velarium (5)

NAVEL: Hidden (a little … )

15d Hardy Amies initially struck about clashing part of kit (2-3)

HI-HAT: The first letters of ‘Hardy Amies’ have about them a word meaning struck

19d Sorcerer opens pop with leak in can? (7)

DAMAGED: A 4-letter sorcerer goes inside (opens) another word for pop

20d A little secretive about choice of openers for Headingley Test (7)

SHORTLY: A 3-letter word for secretive goes about a (1,2,1) choice of first letters (openers) for ‘Headingly Test’

24d From underside, cored shallot? That’s forbidden … (2-2)

NO-NO: A reversal (from the underside) of a type of bulb exemplified by shallot, without the central letter (cored)

25d … unlimited port? (4)

OBAN: A Scottish gateway to the isles can be split (1,3) to suggest there are no limitations

26d Removing wrapper, put off frying this? (4)

TOFU: After removing the outer letters (removing wrapper), an anagram (frying) of (p)UT OF(f)

I especially liked the balance beam world-beater (8d) and I laughed at 6d, the curry dish. Which clues did you like?

21 comments on “Toughie 2752

  1. Oh, I think 27a has to be my favourite. Much in here that is brilliant, as expected from Elgar. As you say, on the gentler side for him, so I’d say 4/5 stars is about right. Never heard of 12a before, but Mr Google was able to confirm quickly. I assumed 10d must be as you say, but my notes have ‘poop = info?’. Really?

    Thanks to Elgar for the morning workout, and to Dutch for his usual great job.

  2. A splendid and most enjoyable Toughie – I marked lots of clues I liked but would particularly mention 27a, 28a (which makes me want to start making that particular tart), 6d and 26d (which is almost an all in one as looking at 26a would certainly put me off frying it

    Thanks to Elgar for the great crossword and Dutch for the blog

  3. Managed OK. Had to look up the gymnast and the instrument. Gave up trying to parse 10d. Favourite was 6d. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  4. Is Elgar mellowing? This was certainly at the more straightforward end of his range. I was expecting Dutch to reveal a theme, Nina or some extra bit of cleverness that I’d missed but it seems that there is none.
    I particularly liked 15a, 23a and 3d but my favourite is the LOL 6d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  5. I am in the 6d camp for favourite with 27a my runner-up. Overall this was a very rewarding solve, not impenetrably difficult like some, nor full of cross referencing, but just good honest fun to work through.

    My thanks to Elgar for the challenge and to Dutch for a couple of explanations.

  6. It’s Friday, Malcolm, why did you even bother trying? Go out for a walk before it gets dark.

    1. My thoughts exactly Malcom. Mind you I’m probably daft enough to have another stab at it later.

  7. All good, and for me easier than yesterday and more enjoyable.
    As always needed parsing assistance.
    No indication that 28ac required rhyming slang and 10d was really obscure..
    Thanks to Dutch as always and isn’t it a pity that Elgar doesn’t drop by and see what comments are made by the solvers….or perhaps he does occasionally.

    1. he looks at all the comments – all the setters do even if only a few of them actually comment themselves

  8. Hang out the bunting, pop the corks … celebratory mood chez MG: possibly for the first time completed an Elgar without needing any hints from Dutch (or any other site), and while it was without question for me a 5* for difficulty I actually enjoyed it … which is almost certainly a first! It was worth persevering though I have no doubts I shall stumble mightily with his next challenges.

    OK, so couldn’t parse 10d (or a few other bung-ins) and even reading the blog couldn’t understand the parsing until reaching the first comments, but I’m not grousing at that. Hon Mentions for 15a, 18a and 9d, with COTD to 7d. Had I been able to parse 8d before getting here that would have been on the list, possibly also 23a which elicited a big groan on reading Dutch’s review.

    5* / 4*

    Thank you to Elgar, and of course to Dutch.

  9. I’m in the “couldn’t parse 10d” club but otherwise a remarkably do-able and enjoyable puzzle. Surely adjustable spanner [7d] takes the silly cryptic def of the year prize? 15a made me laugh as well.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  10. Thanks Dutch that is a Pb for me and Elgar. 1 unparsed (10d)and only 3 reveals.
    I learned about 14 string medieval lutes and lots of new to me synonyms too.
    I did like the backwards gutted allium (24d) but 27a gets my COTD today.
    Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  11. All correct, but as per usual a couple of guesses. Couldn’t get past the G in 23a being the “second of aGents”. Also didn’t know that meaning of POOP, and couldn’t get from RUG to SYRUP.
    Always pleased to see Napier mentiones, as I live about 3 miles from Merchiston Tower.
    Favourites were 6d, 8d, and 27a.

  12. With Elgar puzzles I’m reduced to playing the across clues versus the downs before I give up. With this one the downs won 9 to 6 before I succumbed & turned to Dutch to see me home. Ignoring his opening ‘not overly difficult’ assessment as it merely heightened my sense of inadequacy I did note the ‘half the fun is in trying to identify the definition’ observation so tried just to glance at what was underlined rather than read the full hint which got me a further 5 but needed full help for the remainder.
    27a was brilliant with 6d not far behind – neither of which I got under my own steam. Well done to those who mastered this & especially to those achieving Elgar PBs
    Thanks to Elgar & to Dutch.

  13. Great fun and definitely more accessible than usual, because I completed it, hintless. Biggest smile was 6d.

  14. Omg, I actually managed to do some of the clues by myself!! A first… so I must be learning something, right???! 🤪 [👈 how my brain feels now!]

Comments are closed.