Toughie 2800 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2800

Toughie No 2800 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Lovely clues and a clever Nina indicated by 15d.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.

Change down, perhaps, having gone through it? (5,5)
SPEED LIMIT: A 4-letter word meaning ‘change down’ or ‘become less’ containing (having … through) a word meaning gone or went, plus IT from the clue

8 Robots dancing to this 80s band? (4)
BROS: ROBOTS is an anagram (dancing) of TO + the answer

9 Raving again? Pretty flagrant, in _____? (9)
PARTYGATE: An anagram (raving) of AGAIN PRETTY is also an anagram (flagrant) of IN + the answer, with the whole clue as a definition (should be underlined, but that would hide the underscoring already in the clue)

11 Some power here – dictator’s come again? (4)
WATT: A unit of power and a homophone (dictator’s) of a word meaning ‘come again?’

12 Move by craftspeople to scrap series (3)
ROW: Three meanings. A move that boatmen might make, to scrap or bicker, and a series

13 Person on receiving end dreads criminal court (9)
ADDRESSEE: An anagram (criminal) of dreads plus a word meaning to court or date

16 Island‘s revolutionary example of chart-topping single? (4)
IONA: A reversal (revolutionary) of a (1,2,1) phrase for a hit single

17 Other ways in? One’s not working at all (7)
ANYWISE: An anagram (other) of WAYS IN, then (on)E from the clue without a short word meaning working

18 British pair at 2016 Olympics, maybe viewed from back room (7)
BOUDOIR: The abbreviation for British, then the reversal of a (3,3) phrase that could mean a pair at the 2016 Olympics

20 This little squealer’s 80 per cent of total (4)
RUNT: The answer has 4 of the 5 letters (80%) of a (3,2) phrasal verb meaning to total

21 Have a pleasant time when on holiday (5,4)
WHILE AWAY: As in ‘(5,4) the hours’, a word meaning ‘when’ and a word meaning ‘on holidays’

23 That’s nice!‘ (Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobe scratches head) (3)
OOH: The long word ironically means someone who fears long words, like piglet’s friend – from whom we remove the first letter (scratches head)

24 The reflection of Madame Cholet (4)
ECHO: Hidden (of …)

25 Musk worn by teens used regularly for arousing heir (6,3)
ELDEST SON: The first name of that Tesla guy goes around (worn by) an anagram (for arousing) of the odd letters (regularly) of ‘teens used’

29 Irritated about focal point of circus? (4)
EROS: A reversal (about) of a word meaning irritated

30 Picture attached to report, will interviewee make it? (3,7)
EYE CONTACT: A homophone (to report) of a picture or symbol and a word meaning attached or nailed


1 Each one’s intro is written into brief program (1,3)
A POP: The first letter (intro) of one is inserted (written into) a brief program you might have on your phone

2 Brand new satire extracting it? (4)
SEAR: An anagram of SA(ti)RE after removing (extracting) ‘it’

3 Steadily work to pen a drama (4)
PLAY: A 3-letter word meaning to work steadily goes around (to pen) A from the clue

4 In which parties refuse to move the setter’s old hat … (7)
IMPASSE: How Elgar might say ‘the setter is’ (1,1) plus a word for old hat

5 & 13 Down … ? Next show up, they tell us (10,10)
CONTINUITY ANNOUNCERS: The answer is also the function of ellipses!

7 One blowing whistle? Alternatively 24, then? (9)
THEREFORE: The person blowing the whistle is (3,3), then a short word meaning alternatively and a letter coded by the answer to 24

8 Doggie at front of display in it? (3,6)
BOW WINDOW: A childish word for doggie contains (in it) a 2-letter word that can mean ‘at’ (def 2 in Chambers) and the first letter (front) of display

10 Common salt distillate? (3)
TAR: Two meanings, the first a sailor. I did wonder if this might be three meanings but could not find any evidence

13 See 5

14 Strike the fault of old Lowry? (4,5)
DOWN TOOLS: A (4,2) phrase meaning ‘the fault of’, the abbreviation for old and the initials for Lowry

15 Wordle peripherally solved at intervals around this grid – or in another place? (9)
ELSWHERE: The clue that very nicely indicates the Nina. The outer (peripherally) letters of Wordle plus the odd (at intervals) letters of solved, all reversed (around) plus a word that could mean this grid, or this place.

19 Ahead of phone-call Elliott does it this way, I think (7)
MINDSET: A reference to a Spielberg film: Split (5,2), this is what Elliott does before an alien phones home.

22 Crew discussed island on the river (3)
AIT: A homophone (discussed) of a rowing crew

26 Black uniform crumpled in the middle (4)
SLOE: A word that can mean uniform (definition 8 in 3rd meaning in Chambers) has its central two letters reversed (crumpled in the middle)

27 Top class botanical structure? (4)
SETA: A top class could be (3,1)

28 Take Beelzebub or Mephisto for such a name? (4)
NICK: A type of casual name, perhaps, that literally refers to the likes of Beezlebub and Mephisto

Loads to like today. I thought the 15d Nina indicator was very clever and Elgaresque, I liked the device in 5/13d, the little squealer took me far too long, I liked 28d and my favourite has to be the 9a flagrant raving. Which clues did you enjoy?

22 comments on “Toughie 2800

  1. Thought 19d was a stretch, even for Elgar (thank you anyway)! Didn’t know 27d but it was what it had to be. Finally, thanks to Dutch for parsing 28d. 4*/4*

      1. I couldn’t agree more. Two meanings hidden well down in the lists of definitions was always going to be hard, and ‘crumpled’ for reverse two letters doesn’t work for me. I wouldn’t mind so much if I hadn’t solved all the rest. Then again you don’t come to Elgar for a walk in the park.

  2. Thanks to Elgar for a most enjoyable proper Toughie and to Dutch for the blog

    I presume the Nina has to do with the word game that seems to be taking over the comments in this crossword blog – if so, as a non-player, it passed me by!

    1. you don’t have to be a player to see the Nina. But it’s fun to work out the order, and Wordle is basically the 6-letter game “cows & bulls” we used to play in the 70’s

  3. Thanks to Elgar for another enjoyable and devious puzzle and to Dutch for the blog.
    I noticed the 5-letter words round the periphery but I don’t see how they ‘solve’ Wordle.
    On my podium are 5d, 14d and 19d.

    1. Guess there isn’t enough info to know whether wordle is solved, but the only order for playing the words that made sense to me was top, left, right, bottom – that could of course be a natural intended order

  4. Definitely 5* for difficulty, and for me Elgar is always 5* for enjoyability. I must confess to a DNF, as I had to cheat and reveal a letter for 26d. I’m inclined to agree with NogBad on that one. 19d is my clue of the day for the brilliantly hidden definition, and 9a raised a smile. I failed to parse 14d and wasn’t quite there with 25a. Anyway, joyous, and huge thanks to both Elgar and Dutch. Oh, and on the Nina (which I forgot to look for despite Elgar telling us there was one, and which would have helped me with 26d), I’ve never seen the alternative spelling of the Indian garment before. You learn something every day.

  5. Had television announcers for 5/13 down which threw me off track. Thanks Dutch for sorting me out.

  6. I have been enjoying myself doing a “read and write” on this one……..reading the clues, the hints and the answers and then completing the grid! I’m overcome with admiration for those who actually solved the puzzle without help.
    Out of interest, what is the answer to 26d? The hint is incomplete

        1. That was the one that held me up longest by far – didn’t know the necessary meanings/senses of either the solution or the “uniform”, the Chambers app had to work overtime.

  7. Really didn’t enjoy this very much at all. One knows what to expect with an Elgar, and I’ve slowly got used to them, but this really didn’t do it for me. Too much assistance required to complete let alone parse my grid, and I felt too many clues were reliant on the abstruse and arcane. Or a reversion to childhood.

    Thank you anyway to Elgar, and thank you to Dutch.

    5* / –

  8. Finally got there although several bung ins which I required the hints to appreciate (mostly) the parsing. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  9. Failed only on 26d, and although I put in MINDSET, I couldn’t parse it and had no idea who Elliott was.
    I thought there must be something going on around the grid, but couldn’t make head nor tail of it.
    I’m still a novice at Wordle, but I don’t see how you would try START having got S, A, and E (and definitely no R) from the first 2 guesses. I would have tried SEDAN for guess 3.

  10. Was going to try and finish the last 5 this morning, to give me my first unaided finish for an Elgar. Unfortunately I burnt the paper lighting the fire ! Really enjoyed it though.
    Thanks all

  11. Having “the window” for 8d meant I was never going to finish anyway, but also needed a few other hints.
    Anyone who spotted unaided that the Nina is related to Wordle has my greatest respect.

  12. So why the double p? Sesquipedal. Spielberg, Nina and Wordle combined don’t help me with that one.

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