Toughie 2784 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2784

Toughie No 2784 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This seemed a fairly accessible puzzle (for an Elgar!) which I managed in a single sitting, though not within 5* time. Elgar gives us some lovely quirky definitions today, which are underlined as usual.

Please leave a comment below telling us how you did and what you thought


In Paris, the first person to anticipate restructuring apt in age? (4,6)

JEAN PIAGET: The 1st person in French plus an anagram (restructuring) of APT IN AGE. The person in question is famous for his work on child development

6 What Arab women may wear down Avignon way? (4)

ABAS: Split (1,3), we see the French (Avignon) way of saying down

10 Perhaps an Athenian’s short suit (5)

AGREE: An Athenian would be (1,5), then lose the last letter (short)

11 Still a quid? I’m going out for a meal! (9)

PICNICKER: Another word for a still or a photo, and another word for a quid. The exclamation mark is for the subtle play on ‘out’

12 Wales-England river must be filling up by now (3,4)

NEW YEAR: The river that runs through Wales and England (and along the border) goes inside (must be filling up) another word for ‘by’

13 Was H. Burns’s film meeting with S. Albright down to her wee producer? (7)

NEPHRON: The initial and surname of the screenwriter for ‘When H met S’

14 Region organised sports at my place (12)

STRATOSPHERE: An anagram (organised) of SPORTS AT, then a word meaning ‘my place’

18 Tempo for Exodus ? A settling standard (3,5,4)

THE GOING RATE: The definition refers to currently acceptable pricing, which will lead you to understand the cryptic indication

21 When screening for Kung Fu Panda’s in respect (7)

APROPOS: A short word meaning when contains (screening) a word meaning ‘for’ and the Kung Fu Panda’s name.

23 Wet, just upfront, would like a little spirit (7)

WIMPISH: The first letter (just upfront) of would, plus a word meaning ‘like a little spirit’

24 Can I hear Test at all? Let me see cycling event (9)

TRIENNIUM: A homophone (can I hear … ) of other words for ‘test’ and ‘at all’, plus an interjection meaning ‘let me see’

25 Minister to open rally (5)

SERVE: Two meanings, to attend to and to initiate a bit of tennis

26 Pass around with draught excluder (4)

COWL: A mountain pass goes around the abbreviation for with

27 After punch to jaw, flip, face turning scarlet (7,3)

CHINESE RED: A 4-letter punch to jaw, then a (3,3) expression that means flip or go mad, in which the first two letters are reversed (face turning)


These days out of stock, treasuring old instrument (6)

JOANNA: These days as in the current month plus an abbreviation meaning ‘out of stock’ contains (treasuring) the abbreviation for old

2 Like those from Bow, thus describing school across London? (6)

ARROWY: The definition refers to a weapon (note the ‘like’). The wordplay alludes to how someone from Bow would thus similarly describe a famous London school

3 These people dispatched two, so they say, earlier (7,7)

PRESENT COMPANY: Split (3-4,7), the answer would mean dispatched two (according to the saying in which three is a crowd) earlier

4 With a lowering look, can relate (9)

APPERTAIN: A word for look plus a word meaning can, then ‘lower‘ the A

5 Ten Green Bottles, new title for Archer? (2-3)

EX-CON: The Roman numeral for ten is bottled by a word for green, plus the abbreviation for new

7 Shifting Es, these businesses would make bill grow (8)

BAKERIES: If you shift the Es in the answer, you get two 4-letter words meaning ‘bill grow’

8 This dog‘s odds double (8)

SPRINGER: A 2-letter abbreviation for odds plus another word for double

9 Thick-skinned types in shot old book collection entertains (14)

HIPPOPOTAMUSES: A 3-letter word meaning in or trendy, a word meaning shot, the abbreviation for a set of old books, and a word meaning entertains

15 For whom, in the absence of blokes, a row’s refreshing? (9)

OARSWOMEN: An anagram (refreshing) of A ROW’S goes inside (in) a (1,3) phrase suggesting the absence of blokes

16 Doctor intact having initially lost Amy Pond (8)

ATLANTIC: An anagram (doctor, as an imperative verb) of INTACT contains (having) the first letters (initially) of lost and Amy

17 & 19 Does motorist observe moon’s reflection in it? (4-4,6)

REAR-VIEW MIRROR: A cryptic definition. Yes, that kind of moon.

20 Nurse what’s caught up in zip after this! (3,3)

THE END: A verb meaning nurse contains a reversal (caught up in) of a short word meaning ‘what’

22 This is what’s wrong with male fashion (5)

SMITH: An anagram ( … is what’s wrong with …) of THIS + M(ale)

My favourite today is the clue with ten green bottles, not least because of the two ways you can read the answer. Dr Who fans will likely have a different favourite. Which clues did you like?

14 comments on “Toughie 2784

  1. Good stuff with lots of laughs – thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    I’ve never heard of the 1a chap (so that needed a bit of Google assistance) or the Kung Fu Panda.

    The most enjoyable clues for me were 13a, 2d, 5d and 17/19d.

  2. As Gazza says, good stuff with lots of laughs. I saw what 17/19 had to be on my way downstairs from the printer, so that was my first one in. One of those crosswords that revealed its brilliance corner by corner. My favourites were 11a, 15d and 20d (although I know a Rabbit who won’t be happy about part of the clue!)

    Thanks very much to Elgar for the 7*/5* brain exercise and to Dutch for the blog

  3. Super puzzle with lots of laughs, as others have noted. Agree with Dutch’s “fairly accessible” – a single sitting for me is probably a first; there did seem to be more “ways in” than might be expected, though still 5+ for difficulty of course. All great, but favourites were 11a, 13a, 5d & 20d. Many thanks Elgar and Dutch!

  4. 13a is totally outrageous and my absolute favourite (schoolboy humour) and I also appreciated 5d for its wit, although I doubt the man himself would concur. A nod too to 8d as the picture looks just like our long-departed and much-missed friend. Overall this was Elgar in a wily and tricky mood, but it was doable with the usual unparsed bung-ins (thanks Dutch) and some solid application.

    Thanks to both Elgar and Dutch.

  5. Thank you Elgar, DNF – in fact, DN even get close to a F. Exactly zero on the first pass, one on the second, and about ten in total. Even with Dutch’s impeccable assistance, my head remains well and truly scratched, with a few new words for me. I studied Monsieur 1a at college but he still failed to appear on my radar. Oh well, there’s always next week… Thanks both.

  6. As usual with an Elgar I am overcome with admiration for those who not only finish it but enjoy the solve. You are a bracing lot!

  7. I’ve read through the hints and comments, all I can say is “no wonder I don’t attempt the Toughie”, it might as well be written in Sanskrit for all the sense it made.

  8. Very disappointing end to a week in which three Toughies were completed, but not including this one!!! Three on the first pass and only eleven completed in well over ***** time so very little enjoyment at all from my perspective.

  9. Who would have expected 1ac to be in my anagram solver?
    Anyway so much electronic aid required and then parsing explanations (thanks Dutch) that the joy of completion was somewhat dulled.
    Those who can complete his toughies unassisted have better brains than mine.
    I would agree CS star rating for difficulty but not for enjoyment.

  10. Loved this! Finished within 5* time, although the first several minutes were entirely fruitless. Bottom half then came together reasonably fast, but there were some really tricky ones. Big smiles at 11a, 13a and 23a, but I’m afraid a frown at 7d – needed all the checkers and it’s definitely one where the cryptic part of the clue was no help at all.

    I couldn’t parse 1d or 27a – I don’t think I’ve ever seen ‘face’ used like that before – so am most grateful to Dutch for the explanations. And, as always, to the amazing Elgar for a real work out. Now I need to go for a lie down.

  11. Needed help for the couple of unknown words in the top right, even though I had the parsing correct.

    A fun exercise all round.

  12. Solving the week’s crosswords backwards and after finishing Saturday successful, the Friday toughie was left with a couple missing in 27a and 22d.
    Saw there was a Spanish red for 27a but couldn’t parse it.
    Needed the blog to make sure that my answers for 3d and 24a were correct.
    Liked the Harry met Sally clue and the charade in 9d.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for the review.

  13. Managed about half of it on Friday, got a few more on Monday, and finished it off tonight while the News at Ten was on the TV.
    Needed help with lots here, too many to mention, but eventually all done and all parsed. LOI was 6a, when I typed in A BAS into a French to English translator, and was delighted to find the result was DOWN.

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