Toughie 2816 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2816

Toughie No 2816 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Today would have been the 70th birthday of a gentleman whose name appears as a Nina. A delightful theme which helped the solve

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7 Instrument adjusted to cut sound off? (7)

MUSETTE: A word meaning adjusted is inserted into (to cut) a word meaning ‘sound off’ (perhaps a button on your remote)

8 A little rhyme, an ingenious expression (7)

MEANING: Hidden (a little…)

10 Two East End sorts funded by the Tories? (5-5)

STATE OWNED: An anagram (sorts) of TWO EAST END

11 President, Republican, taking over from Democrat (4)

FORD: A preposition that can mean ‘taking over from’ or ‘in the place of’, plus the abbreviation for democrat

12 So intimate table seats yet vacant? Thematic solution (5-3)

FORTY-TWO. An intimate table would be a ‘table (3,3)’, which then contains (seats) YeT from the clue without the central letter (vacant)

14 Woman phased out in TARDIS climax (6)

TRICIA: Odd letters (phased out in …)

15 Old doctor’s in shot tending queasy actor (11)

HIPPOCRATIC: Another word for in or trendy, then another word for a shot (by a camera) contains (tending) an anagram (queasy) of ACTOR

19 King in retreat, at last, for a day (6)

ARTHUR: A reversal (in retreat) of the last letter of ‘for’ plus A from the clue, then a 4-letter abbreviation for a day

20 1900 wrongfully assigned to a North Yorkshire poet (8)

MCMILLAN: The Roman numeral for 1900, a 3-letter word meaning wrongfully, A from the clue and the abbreviation for North

22 In which event is female entering ring? (2,2)

IF SO: IS from the clue contains (… entering) the abbreviation for female, plus the letter that looks like a ring

23 Niger’s wingers see back taking a performance-enhancer (10)

NANDROLONE: The outer letters (wingers) of Niger are (1,3,1), then a reversal (back) of a 2-letter word meaning see, and another word for ‘a’

25 Duplex Viz gags excessive for Barker (7)

SCOTTIE: Two (duplex) Latin abbreviations that have the same meaning as the Latin viz, containing (gags) an abbreviation meaning excessive

26 Glassmaker spat some (7)

TIFFANY: A 4-letter spat and another word for some


1 Warn clubs in decline to move lots on (7)

AUCTION: A word meaning warn, then move the initial abbreviation for clubs two spaces further down (in decline)

2 Dales village found enthusiastic hosts (4)

DENT: Hidden (… hosts)

3 No more pervasive feeling than in the beginning (2,4)

AT MOST: A 5-letter shortened form (not in Chambers but in Collins) of a word that means ‘pervasive feeling’ or ‘ambience’, then the first letter (at the beginning) of ‘than’

4 Conclude review you shouldn’t have written about private war (8)

VENDETTA: A 3-letter word meaning conclude has written about it a 3-letter word meaning review or check, and a short word that can mean ‘you shouldn’t have’

5 At Monaco, one of F1’s people’s given up, off the record (10)

UNOFFICIAL: How you would say ‘one’ in Monaco, OF from the clue, the letters that look like F1, then a reversal (given up) of a word meaning people’s, i.e., of the people (vs the clergy)

6 OS zip with clear edges (7)

ANDROID: The letter that looks like zero or zip is flanked by (edges) two words (3,3) that mean ‘with’ and ‘clear’. This OS you might have on your phone

9 What compels nurse to join (11)

ENFORCEMENT: An abbreviation for a nurse, a 3-letter preposition that can mean ‘to’ (definition 17 in Chambers), and a word meaning join

13 Big shot with hotshot legwear (5,5)

THIGH BOOTS: An anagram (shot) of BIG + HOTSHOT

16 Suspicious one boxed by Pandora, perhaps? (8)

PARANOID: The Roman numeral of one is contained (boxed) by an anagram (perhaps) of PANDORA

17 Games on court umpire’s got on monitor? (7)

PREFECT: A 2-letter abbreviation for games or sports lessons at school and the 2-letter abbreviation for court, into which a 3-letter umpire is inserted (got on, as in boarded)

18 Any number admitted to top pub? Quite! (3,4)

BAR NONE: The abbreviation for any number in mathematics is inserted (admitted) into a (3,3) expression that would correspond to a top pub

21 Newer Bible in the charge of principal boy (6)

MARVIN: The abbreviation for Revised Version goes inside another word for principal

25 What’s it all about, Alfie? Topless dancing (4)

LIFE: An anagram (dancing) of (a)LFIE without the first letter (topless)

I liked the play in 18d, also ‘boxed by Pandora’ in 16d. Biggest smile was when the theme gave me 12a. Which were your favourite clues?

18 comments on “Toughie 2816

  1. One of those crosswords where, like building a brick wall, you start at the bottom (left hand side for me) and work your way to the top. Once I’d got 17d and then saw 21d the 16d 6d, I was helped by then knowing which themed items I probably would find in the grid

    Thanks to Elgar for a very enjoyable Friday Toughie – lots to enjoy but I thought the clue for 13d was particularly clever. Thanks also to Dutch

  2. Getting 12a early on and twigging the theme was a major help. Getting so many themed entries in the grid was excellent – thanks to Elgar and Dutch.
    I didn’t notice the author’s name as a Nina or know that today was the anniversary of his birth until I read Dutch’s preamble.
    Top clues for me were 12a, 1d and 4d.

  3. Whew. Finished (sort of) with Dutch’s assistance; at least I didn’t have to reveal any letters / answers. I suppose the most charitable thing I can write about this stinker is, no complaints about clues / parsings! Thanks to the eminent Elgar for the “enjoyment”!

    1. Finally, the Nina helped not a jot, even though I’ve been a fan since the radio days.

  4. I really enjoyed that, despite my knowledge of the theme being skeletal at best. For me also, 12 gave me the theme and I started looking for spots where I could fit those elements that I did remember, leading to 14 being my LOI without knowing it was thematic.

  5. Coincidentally I’ve just finished re-reading the four book trilogy and it’s additional fifth volume. This puzzle certainly wasn’t “mostly harmless” but with so many references to the work in question, I found it a tiny bit more comfortable than previous challenges from the setter. Time for tea at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe, I think. Thanks Elgar and Dutch for all the fish.

  6. Managed all but 12a and have absolutely no idea what the Nina or theme is. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

    1. I’ve got the theme but as usual cannot spot a Nina – Just spotted it. If that counts as a Nina then I’m claiming the PIE spotted by John B in yesterdays cryptic as a Nina also

  7. Thanks Elgar and Dutch, very enjoyable – spotting the theme quite early certainly helped a lot (though I still managed to miss the Nina … and needed Google for the ‘real’ name of one character). It was of course essential for 12a, my favourite. 5d &16d to complete the podium but really excellent throughout. Thanks again!

  8. I’ll forgive Elgar’s idiosyncratic clueing for this lovely tribute to a very great man. I’m assuming the NINA is the right angle at top left but is there any more? I can see 12 thematic solutions but am hunting in vain for Beeblebrox. [Anyone got a clue?] Off theme, I loved 25a who seems to have strayed in from another series.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  9. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch for decoding this puzzle, for me I began to suspect the theme from 2d. but Mama Bee was reminded of the Terrible Knitters of Dent. not Terrible as we know it but terribly productive.
    I did like 7a of the non-themed answers but I have never heard of the musical instrument. The little bags that professional cyclists collect their lunch in is also a Musette. Hanging around the feed zones is a popular spot for spectators to bag a few freebies. Real cycling fans don’t go there as the racing is usually a bit pedestrian as the cyclists restore energy for the challenges ahead.

  10. Defeated by 7a, otherwise a relatively benign challenge from Elgar – though still comfortably 5* for difficulty IMV. 2.5* for enjoyment.

    H2G2 was great 40-odd years ago, but listening to it again recently I felt it had not aged well at all, and would not revisit the books now. Ground breaking in its day, but very much of its day.

    Many thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

  11. Always been a Hitchhikers’ fan.
    All filled and all parsed with a great sense of satisfaction.
    Took me all day though.
    I’m usually good at spotting the anagrams but the one in 16d just passed me by for ages.
    Thanks to Elgar for the great fun and to Dutch for the review.

  12. I’ve just completed my usual Elgar puzzle I by reading the hints and inserting the given answers! How anyone does it unaided astonishes me. I cannot find the Nina but “21d the 16d 6d” must surely give the game away as does “19a 2d”and “11a 12d”. It’s all so clever I just wish I had the competence to work it out for myself!

  13. Phew! Latched on to the theme quite late in the electronic-aided solve of this. Appalled with myself as have recently re-read the books – but even more aghast that my last one in was 14a (my daughter’s name! Doh!) Thanks Halcyon for the position of the NINA – always struggle with those. Thanks also Elgar and Dutch.

  14. Wonderful to get so many entries into the grid, and a rather lovely puzzle. ***/**** for me today.

  15. I had curette for 7ac. A surgical instrument for scraping away diseased tissue, which at a pinch could equate to ‘cut the sound (healthy) off ‘. I couldn’t see how you would adjust a spoon shaped scraper though, so I wasn’t surprised that it was wrong. Never heard of the bagpipes.

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