Christmas Double Toughie 100013 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Christmas Double Toughie 100013

Telegraph Double Toughie No 100013

All Dried Up by Elgar

Hints and tips by crypticsue

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This puzzle is dedicated to a person born 250 years ago today whose name is spelled by the letters in the silvered cells. The 19 main members of a thematic set appear – all dried up – across the grid; three of them form full answers and have no definition

As Elgar’s preambles go, this one was very helpful. There aren’t that many famous people born on Christmas day 1771 so it was a fairly easy search to find the one featured in an anagram of the letters in the silver cells. Once you have the name, it is worth writing the letters out on a piece of paper and crossing off the silvered letters as they appear in the solved clues as I found that when I only had a few solutions/letters left to get, knowing what might fit in the gaps helped to solve the remaining clues.

Knowing where the person, and her more famous brother, spent quite a lot of time should give you a fair idea, particularly when you’ve solved one of the Down clues, as to what the thematic set would be. Some of them were fairly obvious straight away but Elgar certainly made a very good job of hiding some of the lesser-known ones in the solutions. I thought the reference to ‘all dried up’ was really clever, once I’d realized what he was on about, and knowing this certainly helped me solve some of the clues where a member of the ‘set’ was hiding.

Many thanks to Elgar for another festive feast of cruciverbal brain-mangling. I’ve listed the themed set at the bottom of the review

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1 Obligation: write this missing final Variation of Elgar? (8)
THIRLAGE The second word of the clue without its final letter and an anagram (variation) of ELGAR

6 Opening live broadcast, what I added to agreement (13)
BASSENTHWAITE Insert into a synonym of live, firstly an agreement and then an anagram (broadcast) of WHAT I

13 Bit forgotten by Tate, rearrangements failing to accommodate minute figurines (8)
TANAGRAS Remove (forgotten) the synonym for bit from Tate and then add some rearrangements of letters to form new words without (failing to accommodate) the abbreviation for Minute

17 Yellow flowers, say, clubs and pubs arranged to box (10)
BUTTERCUPS An anagram (arranged) of PUBS to ‘box’ a verb meaning to say and the abbreviation for Clubs

18 Pantomime dame’s taken aback as horse one actor short? (1,4)
A DEMI Hidden in reverse in pantomIME DAme – a pantomime horse one actor short would be A DEMI a half a horse!

19 I’ll move on after exposure to gale in area to west of torrential Ure (10)
AUTOWINDER Start with the abbreviation for Area, add an anagram (torrential) of URE into which is inserted TO (from the clue) and another word for gale

20 Peak of Helvellyn fills folk with wonderment (5)
HAWES The first letter (peak) of Helvellyn followed by fills with wonderment

23 Head of Roedean recalled Ms Creighton-Ward, for one (5)
RYDAL The ‘head’ of Roedean and a reversal of a member of the gentry, the example in the clue being a Thunderbird puppet!

26 Port to the east of Oslo, west of Tallinn (9)
LOWESTOFT A port on the east coast is found in osLO WEST OF Tallinn

28 Hospital sign, the fifth carried by messenger from wing to wing (6,5)
GENEVA CROSS The Roman number for five is carried by or inserted into a hereditary messenger, the result followed by a simple way of saying ‘from wing to wing’

29 Turned nasty, having to house big city bore (9)
UNDERWENT An anagram (nasty) of TURNED into which is inserted (having to house) a name for an enormous congested city, London is often referred to as the Great xxx

31 One’s thus partly ‘North European’ (4)
ESTH Someone from Estonia is hidden in part of onES THus

33 Meeting place switched by caroller enjoying table service? (6,2)
WAITED ON A member of a band of Christmas carollers and a reversal (switched) of a meeting place

36 Written invitation from the Bard spelt ‘he’ oddly with ‘a’ (8)
PLEASETH An anagram (oddly) of SPELT HE with A

38 Just one affirmative – or several? (4)
AYES Split this plural word of agreement 1,3 and you’ll have just one affirmative

39 & 41 Down ‘Extra’ call made by intelligence agent from kiosk? (4,3,5,2)
READ ALL ABOUT IT A cry made by someone selling ‘intelligence’ when a new edition of a newspaper appears in their kiosk

40 Refuse to fill them, recycling tin for certain cutter (5,4)
WASTE BINS A reversal (recycling) of the chemical symbol for tin, a two-word phrase meaning ‘for certain’ and a tool that cuts

43 Peaceful periods following noise? They’ll bring in page (4,5)
BELL PULLS Some peaceful periods following a level of sound, into which is inserted the abbreviation for Page

46 A limit’s so extraordinarily high? Very! (9)
ALTISSIMO An anagram (extraordinarily) of A LIMITS SO produces a musical term for very high

48 Brief shift in authority a non-starter, transferred back (4)
DEVO I had the checking letters in this solution but, after staring at the clue for some time, I only realised what the solution had to be while looking at a list of the ‘thematic set’ as these four letters and the first two of 50a combine to give a lesser-known member of the set. The first four letters (brief) of a delegation of powers (shift in authority) comes from a reversal (back) of a synonym for transferred without its first letter (a non-starter)

50 In essence, fifty-three weeks to rebuild city (3,4)
KEY WEST An anagram (to rebuild) of the essential letters of fiftYThree and WEEKS

51 Turning point with regular vanishing of public spirit (7)
FULCRUM The even letters (regular vanishing) of oF pUbLiC plus an alcoholic spirit

52 Sham event’s host blending in well? (4)
MOCK Blend together an event’s host and an informal word meaning ‘well’

54 Scandinavian driving from London: M1/M2 choice? (5)
NORSE Your choice when driving from London would be to set off to visit our setter by starting in the direction taken by the MI OR go down the M2 to visit me

57 Tips from the faithful Kermit for Miss Piggy? (3)
ELT The ‘tips’ from thE faithfuL and kermiT produce a word for a young sow (miss piggy)

58 Regular champ of course devious types will pursue in case of backsliding (5,3)
ERNIE ELS Some devious types follow (will pursue) a reversal of a Latin expression meaning ‘in the case of’

59 What gamers may roll to go (3)
DIE What gamers may roll or a verb meaning to go

60 Radios at last uncover weird masonic lodges (8)
MARCONIS An anagram (weird) of MASONIC ‘lodges’ the last letter of uncoveR

61 One hundred and 14 letters? Only 25, on reflection (3)
TON A (2,1) way of describing the first fourteen letters of the alphabet, or reversed on reflection) also split 2,1 a way of saying that you only have 25 of them

62 Spirit Elgar’s shown on piano (3)
IMP How our setter might say he was followed by (shown on) the letter used to abbreviate the musical instruction ‘piano’

63 I’ll take a few steps back to review the situation (5)
RECAP A reversal (back) of someone who’d take a few steps

64 Article that her other brother – with ease – repeatedly steals? (3)
THE Hidden repeatedly in thaTHER, oTHEr broTHEr wiTH Ease

65 Pumpernickel, maybe, from Bäckerei? It’s black with decay (4)
BROT The German (as indicated by their word for a bakery) word for bread such as pumpernickel, maybe, – the abbreviation for Black and some decay

66 The woman doubling up on candy? The last from that confectioner (7)
HERSHEY Two ways of saying ‘the woman’ and the last letter of candY

67 Who’s earning, one wad woefully short? Pass (7)
BRENNER Remove I (one) and WAD (woefully telling you the letters aren’t in that order from someone who’s earning

68 Owner of staccato voice wasted backing Slade? (4)
DALE An owner of a staccato voice (an enemy of Doctor Who) without its final letter (wasted backing) produces a small valley which, I didn’t know until I looked in the BRB, is also known as a slade!


2 With effort draw down variable rho value (4,4)
HAUL OVER An anagram (variable) of RHO VALUE

3 Withdraw present for the second time (7)
RETREAT Hyphenated; this might be a way of saying that you gave someone a present for the second time

4 Early doors, educated hairdresser finds the drink heavenly (6)
AMRITA The Latin abbreviation for the morning (early doors) and the name of the hairdresser who was ‘educated’ in the well-known film

5 Sizeable avian Science Museum exhibits (3)
EMU Hidden in (exhibits) sciencE MUseum

6 Burt’s hurt with this heavy blow (4)
BASH If you change the word ‘hurt’ to ‘Burt’ you are using a B AS H

7 Now co-ed public school is to welcome screens (5)
STOWE Hidden in (screens) iS TO WElcome

8 Thus to remove ‘I’; what could be easier? (5)
ERASE An anagram of EASiER where the I has been removed

9 Fancy athletic treks? I would, climbing in _________! (3,4,8)
THE LAKE DISTRICT The home of the thematic set is an anagram (fancy) of ATHLETIC TREKS into which is inserted a reversal (climbing) of ID (I would)

10 Humming sound used to be audible to some (5)
WHIRR How some people might pronounce a homophone (audible to some) of part of a verb meaning used to be

11 Home is bottling tablets (5)
IPADS IS (from the clue) ‘bottling’ a slang term for a home

12 Zinc, possibly – but not lead and others (2,2)
ET AL A substance such as zinc without its first letter, split 2,2 produces a Latin term meaning ‘and others’

13 Odd regulars from 44 will leave a dram (3)
TOT Once you’ve solved 44d, the odd letters from your solution will give you another word for a dram

14 Househusbands, maybe needing no introductions, recognised sign (3,3)
NEW MEN Synonyms for recognised and a sign without their first letters (needing no introductions)

15 This is dull silver; looking up, good parts coming through! (7)
GANGWAY An interjection meaning to make room to pass (coming through!) is obtained by reversing (looking up) an involuntary reaction to something boring (this is dull) and the chemical symbol for silver, between, the abbreviation for Good being inserted (parts) into the reaction

16 Property, is it, of fine wine regions? Send e.g. Anjou cases north! (8)
AGEDNESS Hidden in reverse (cases north in a Down clue) in regionS SEND EG Anjou

21 Someone invited in off street shivers (4)
AGUE Someone invited in (1,5) without (off) the abbreviation for street

22 Timeless items angler carries over the moon on film (5)
ENDOR Not being a Star Wars fan, I had to investigoogle the film once I’d solved the clue – a reversal (over) of two items carried by an angler, the second one losing its T (time less)

24 The solver is going to Christmas broadcast (5)
YOU’LL A homophone (broadcast) of an old or dialect word for the season or feast of Christmas

25 Home for e.g. Chinese like first flat in street? (4)
ASIA This continent which is home to, for example, the Chinese, could if split 2,2 refer to the first flat in a street

27 Show fine doctor caring for father cradling son? (11)
FLAMBOYANCE The abbreviation for Fine and a verb meaning to doctor or add an ingredient to something to increase its strength into which is inserted a synonym for father which itself is ‘cradling’ a son

30 Result of mutating RNA in a tangelo? That’s dubious (5,6)
NATAL ORANGE An anagram (mutating) of RNA in another (that’s dubious) of A TANGELO

32 The Gentleman’s greetings? (3)
HIS Belonging to a gentleman or some informal greetings

34 Leaderless ascetics clear rising anxiety (9)
TENSENESS A reversal (rising) of some ancient Jews leading ascetic lives without the first letter (leaderless) and an adjective meaning clear of all deductions

35 Force acting on something inert, carrying weight (6)
NEWTON The SI Unit of Force is obtained from inserting (carrying) an abbreviation for weight into an inert gas

36 Component of special pleading coming to the surface? Normally it wouldn’t (6)
PLAICE Hidden in reverse (coming to the surface in part (a component) of spECIAL Pleading

37 Some time maybe one knight denied Jack Straw (9)
SPELLICAN A Jack Straw forms part of a game where a small piece of wood has to be picked out from a heap without disturbing the others – Some time spent in prison might be a SPELL IN CAN, the first appearance of the chess abbreviation for knight should be removed (denied)

38 ‘It’s boring!’, the world and his wife cried out (3)
AWL A small tool used for boring is a homophone (cried out) of a word meaning everyone (the world and his wife)

41 See 39

42 Slyly pocketed CD – which, in this case, shouldn’t be! (2,4)
TO KEEP An compound anagram (slyly) of the solution plus CD produces the word ‘pocketed’

44 25% deducted from sum total dashed extreme (6)
UTMOST An anagram (dashed) of SUM TOTal, 25% deducted referring to the need to ignore the last two letters of the eight-letter anagram fodder

45 Pittance is restricted by cap (7)
LIMITED A sum of money of very small value (pittance) inserted into (restricted by) a cap or top

46 Line used for personnel visiting at 3 PM (6)
ATTLEE One of Crosswordland’s most used Prime Ministers – this time he’s obtained by writing ‘at 3’ out in words and then replacing the abbreviation for the personnel department with that for Line

47 Not broadcasting from trade show (3-3)
OFF-AIR A preposition meaning from and a trade show, combined and then split 3-3

49 Geometer has no longer got splintered ruler (5)
EMEER Remove the letters G O T (has no longer got) from gEoMEtER

53 Will Jolson be able to groove? (5)
CANAL Split 3,2 your solution could be a question as to whether Mr Jolson will be able to do something

55 Some poetry, outstanding when recited (3)
ODE A homophone (when recited) of a word meaning outstanding in the sense of being indebted

56 Marine life ultimately found in it? (3)
SEA The ultimate letter of lifE found in the abbreviation a crossword setter uses to mean sexual intercourse (it being the other one)

The letters in the silvered cells are: W D R T W O S T D O O R H O H Y R which rearrange to reveal DOROTHY WORDSWORTH

The thematic set all relate to places in 9d – their names normally include a reference to some sort of watery feature which has been omitted when the names are entered into the grid as they are ‘all dried up’

Starting at the top left we have

THIRLmere; BASSENTHWAITE lake; GRASmere; BUTTERmere; WINDERmere; HAWESwater Reservoir; RYDAL Water; LOWESwater; DERWENTwater; ESTHWAITEwater; HAYESwater; WASTwater; ULLSwater; DEVOKE Water; CRUMMOCK Water; ELTER Water; CONISTON Water; BROTHERSwater; ENNERDALE Water

22 comments on “Christmas Double Toughie 100013

  1. I assumed the geezer with the birthday was The geezer who gets the mention at 35 down. The greatest Englishman ever to have lived (No it’s not Jeremy Clarkson). The classy lassie with the unfortunate birthday is buried in the same graveyard as the reverend William Spooner. How many of you have visited that churchyard to view the poets graves but missed out on seeing Spooners? Thanks to CS for sorting this puzzle out and thanks to Elgar for creating it. Unfortunately/fortunately I didn’t get this with my online newspaper so I haven’t tackled it

    1. I have been to the Wordsworth graves on many occasions and have never noticed the Rev Spooner’s grave! I will next time!
      Dorothy was quite some woman and should be more widely celebrated.

  2. As MP says this puzzle is not available online so I assume it’s in the dead wood version only. Please would someone confirm. Thanks in advance.

    1. The puzzle is available on the Telegraph Puzzles site – it is found under ‘Enigmatic Variations’ but as there is a new one of those day, you’ll have to search under All Puzzles Enigmatic Variations to find it.

      1. got it although with my eyesight i might struggle to read the clues never mind solving the b#ggers!

    2. A puzzles subscription is about 17 pence a day and you don’t get the rest of the paper. To buy a puzzles subscription would cost me £4,615 in total for the rest of my life according to my death clock. It’s not going to happen

        1. I think you’ve got the decimal point in the wrong place. I think the puzzles subscription is pretty good value.

  3. Just two short from completion.
    Never got 48a nor 68a.
    But quite pleased with myself as it is the first time in at least 10 years that I get so far with the Elgar double Xmas toughie.
    The NE corner was the hardest to get into and took forever to spot the lurker in 16d. Thought the wine property was something ending in rnose with the Anjou rosé casing n for north.
    Didn’t spot any of the other lakes.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great fun and to CS for all the explanations.

  4. could some kind soul tell me where to find the christmas toughie 100013, i can see all the solutions etc but i have failed to find the actual puzzle, many thanks in anticipation

    1. If you get the telegraph app, scroll across the headers at the top to puzzles, click on it, then select 100,013. Took me ages to find. In the app there is a Christmas Day paper, which is where it is

  5. Finally got a complete grid. Many thanks to cryptic sue for explaining so many that I was unable to parse.
    Many thanks to Elgar for the numerous opportunities to learn. As well as 19 thematic entries I have 19 other web pages open for research but happy to do so while Mama Bee watches cheesy films.

  6. A chap living in Tunbridge Wells
    Likes his puzzles – but seldom excels.
    What! Double Toughie complete?
    That’s a remarkable feat!
    Sound the trumpet and ring out the bells!!

    Well, I may have completed the grid correctly but still needed CS’s excellent review to dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s in 9 of the clues. And I’m still mystified by the ‘maybe’ in 37d… Without the ‘thematic set’, and using a process of elimination, I might have drawn a blank in the NE corner; but spotting the helpful symmetry in the grid hauled me over the line. I don’t count ticks beside Elgar’s clues – only question marks! Finding favourites would be like stopping to admire the view whilst climbing a sheer cliff face without a rope.

    Thank you, Elgar, for a first-rate, edifying challenge – but thank goodness there’s only one of these each year!

    1. It was under Enigmatic Variations as explained in several of the comments above

      To save time I have emailed you a pdf of the crossword

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