Toughie 2824 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2824

Toughie No 2824 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I hope the cute 4x (7,3) Nina helped you with this puzzle. I found it a pleasant solve, though as usual a few parsings were not immediately apparent!

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and how you did. Definitions are underlined as usual


5a Malicious desire to cut through (6)

BITCHY: A word for desire is inserted into (to cut) a word meaning through

8a On the other side of boxes reveal rum (8)

OVERLEAF: OF from the clue contains (boxes) an anagram (rum) of REVEAL

9a “East Londoner! Not North East!” (One looks askance.) (7)

COCKEYE: A word for an East-Londoner without (not) the abbreviation for north, then the abbreviation for east

10a So new setters to debut soon? First signs of interference, Notabilis packs up! (2,3)

IN PUP: First letters (signs) of ‘interference, Notabilis, packs’ plus UP from the clue

11a Device filling patisserie twists? (9)

STRATAGEM: A reversal (twists) of some very filling patisserie

13a On a rag, drunk punches floor bouncer? (8)

KANGAROO: An anagram (drunk) of ON A RAG is inserted into (punches) an abbreviation meaning ‘to floor’

14a Discovered wanting eats great quantity! (6)

OODLES: Take an 8-letter word meaning ‘wanting eats’ and remove the outer letters (dis-covered)

17a Secretary beginning to type perfectly (3)

PAT: An abbreviation for secretary and the first letter (beginning) to type

19a A bit of old fish with it? (3)

BOB: Two meanings, an old coin (bit) and an item used to fish with

20a Creative expression feeds my right to torture (6)

MARTYR: A word for ‘creative expression’ is inserted into (feeds) MY from the clue, plus the abbreviation for right

23a What follows cake-maker’s topping in glacé fancy? (8)

ANGELICA: The letter following (what follows) the first letter (topping) in cake-maker, plus an anagram (fancy) of IN GLACE

26a Singer‘s given a funky city room that overlooks it (5,4)

PERRY COMO: A 3-letter word meaning ‘a’, then an anagram (funky) of C(it)Y ROOM but omitting (overlooking) ‘it’

28a Force releases universal order (5)

DRESS: A 6-letter word for force or coercion from which the abbreviation for universal is omitted

29a No stamp? That would rile him (7)

POSTMAN: An anagram (that would rile) of NO STAMP

30a Muffler used by wicked gangster (8)

SCARFACE: A warming cloth to wrap around your neck plus a word meaning wicked or brilliant

31a The Old Sun, is it, accommodating paying guest? (6)

STAYER: An old word for ‘the’ is accommodated by a heavenly body that the sun exemplifies (is it)


1d Brown bear, one captured by photographer? (6)

KODIAK: The Roman numeral for one is contained (captured) by a type of camera (a photograph-er)

2d Action of intruder, maybe, to go and test the system? (7)

PEEPING: A word meaning “to go” and to do a quick test to check if a computer system is working

3d I’m disgusted, mate – raised parts look carelessly executed (4-5)

SLAP-HAPPY: A 3-letter exclamation of disgust (no, not ugh) plus another word for mate or friend, all reversed (raised) and inserted into (parts) another word for look

4d Tragic high-flier over island carried off great singer (6)

CARUSO: A tragic high-flier who got too close to the sun plus the cricket abbreviation for over, and the abbreviation for island removed (carried off)

5d British pairs introducing young woman to dance (8)

BOOGALOO: The abbreviation for British, then two pairs (as in cricket, i.e., twice a pair of ducks) into which another word for a young woman or girl is inserted (introducing)

6d Curried with lamb or chicken heart, some say (5)

TIKKA: A homophone (some say – some, because not everyone pronounces it such) of a slang word for your heart

7d Play, yes, on fine castle walls (3,5)

HAY FEVER: A 2-letter word meaning ‘yes’ plus the abbreviation for fine that a castle in Kent surrounds (walls)

12d Bell the cat? (3)

TOM: Two meanings, the first a name for a big bell

15d A curious entity passed over fast air travellers (5,1’3)

OBJET D’ART. A 2-letter abbreviation that means passed or died, then a 3-letter and a 4-letter fast air traveller

16d Last confidant of three people attending delivery (8)

GATEPOST: A word meaning ‘people attending’ and a delivery. Between you and me and …

18d Supply church with song from the comfort of home (8)

ARMCHAIR: A word meaning to supply (weapons), the abbreviation for church, and another word for song

21d Little boy finally arrives after midnight (3)

SAM: The last letter (finally) in arrives and an abbreviation which would mean after midnight

22d One supplies handle if giving him a lift? (7)

FIREMAN: A reversal (giving him a lift) of someone who gives a handle or monicker plus IF from the clue

23d Her habits apparently unbesmirched ahead of vows? (6)

NOVICE: No, not virgin! Split (2,4), we see that this wearer of habits before taking her vows is apparently unbesmirched.

25d Taken in by Ximeneans, we revealed what to write in (6)

ANSWER: Hidden (Taken in by … )

27d Between tracks, it’s broadcast in splendid style! (5)

RITZY: Inserted into (between) an abbreviation for railway, we have a homophone (broadcast) of it’s

I liked the simpler ones today, the Ximenean hidden, the person who gets riled at no stamp, and the namecheck for Notabilis. Which were your favourite clues?

23 comments on “Toughie 2824

  1. Perhaps it was spotting the easily-found connections but I thought this Elgar production was slightly fluffier than many of his recent brain-stretchers.

    Lots to enjoy – I did like the inclusion of a particularly nice Kent castle – but I bet Gazza looked at 10a and thought, like me, “Nooooo!” – I know we haven’t had a Notabilis Toughie for ages and ages, but I do hope he isn’t packing up as implied by the clue.

    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch

    1. I certainly was concerned at the 10a implication, but I reasoned that Elgar needed a setter’s name beginning with N and he didn’t have much choice among Toughie setters.

  2. Good stuff – thanks to Elgar and Dutch.
    I enjoyed the Ninas although I had to look up the 9/19 one to find out what it means.
    For my podium I’ve selected 10a, 19a and 16d.

    1. I have no idea about cockeyed bob. And Google only produces an Australian word for storm. Can’t see the relevance or what is meant by ‘the cute 4x’.
      Sorry to be dense but help welcomed,

  3. For the first time ever, I have a completed grid of an Elgar Toughie before reading Dutch’s hints…BUT I called upon my lagniappe of 5 letters as well as Google along the way in order to finish. Parsing is another matter. So I finished but certainly not altogether on my ownsome. Still, the best I’ve ever managed an Elgar. (I expect CS will place it on a Cryptic Monday level for toughness. Shucks, there goes my joy.) Loved the whole challenge but my stars go to the two singers, both tenors but stages apart, and the intruder. I wonder what the four three-letter names signify, if anything. I’ll read Dutch’s review now and see what I’ve missed. Thanks to him and Elgar.

    1. I called it slightly fluffier than recent Elgar Toughies but I’d still have given it 5* for both difficulty and enjoyment

  4. Definitely on the fluffy side for Elgar, but still 5* for difficulty, and for me Elgar never fails to be 5* for enjoyment. I entirely failed (as is my custom) to spot the Nina, though Dutch’s cue helped me find it fairly quickly. Like Gazza I had never come across 9/19 before, so we live and learn. For ages I forget the two-letter abbreviation for deceased, so 15d was my last in. 19a is my COTD, with 4d a close second. Bravo!

  5. Great fun and just fiendish enough to keep the solving process going into five star territory. As usual I failed to spot any Ninas but that didn’t detract from the enjoyment. I think 4d gets the favourite nod for the simplicity, although some classical knowledge came in handy.

    Many thanks to Elgar for the challenge and to Dutch.

  6. Beyond me. Finished with Dutch’s assistance but at least I didn’t have to reveal any answers, nor any of the five letters on offer online. So a 5 star dnf, and (when all the 1/12s of 19a dropped) all in all good fun. Thanks Dutch and Elgar.

  7. Help ! do not know what a nina is.Please would, somebody explain very gently what it is and how one finds it. Thank you. .I feel I am missing something.. l love The Toughie and all the comments .There is a camaraderie that reminds me of a college common room.
    Valerie Phelps

  8. Hummmm …. Certainly a 5* for difficulty, but only one letter hint used and nowhere near as hard as I have found many past Elgar (and for that matter Artix) puzzles: I think I need a new Mohs-style scale of cruciverbal ‘hardness’!

    Anyway, v enjoyable, and all parsed bar one. However it was so very dated that I felt I needed to be a good 30 or 40 years older, and I’m no spring chicken to start with. Still can’t work out the Nina – I recollected from somewhere that I may have heard the name Ximenes as being a crossword setter, so thought Notabilis might also have been one, and of course there are the four names in the middle, but that’s as far as I can get with spotting it. Incidentally, Dutch, you’ve accidentally left 12d unhidden.

    5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Elgar and to Dutch.

  9. More like this please. Great fun and didn’t take all day. As always with Elgar the parsing took as long as the solving – I was diverted by noodles in 14a and forgot the 3 confidants for 16d. Loved the surface and the neatness of 9a and the filling patisserie at 11a. Even spotted the NINA.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  10. At last I finished an Elgar without any help at all (from anywhere!) so thanks to Elgar for the slightly easier one this week and thanks to Dutch for all the other Fridays when I have resorted to help here.

    Didn’t spot the Nina, but wish I had, as my conviction that 19a was DAB held me up for ages!

  11. Like Robert Clark and Odrum, I’ve finally managed an Elgar with no help, and all parsed. Very pleased to see it rated as 5* as well. A great end to a very pleasant week. I’ll now read Dutch’s hints, so thanks for them in advance. Thanks to Elgar as well

    1. Good for you, jules, but I had to have help, even though I had a full grid before Dutch’s review.

  12. Another one in the “first Elgar without help” camp here (or maybe it’s my second, it’s such a rare occurrence that it’s hard to remember!). I did for once see the Nina and it helped with 9/19 and 2/12.

  13. Definitely at the easier end of Elgar’s spectrum, but all the more enjoyable for being so. Nina-less as usual, but it wouldn’t have helped anyway. Even after trawling on t’interweb, I still gave no idea about the link between the answer and confidants for 16d, and the commonality between the delivery and 28a worried me as being un-Elgar like. Anyway, still great fun to work through, even if it does take a day or two! Thanks Elgar.

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