Toughie 2848 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2848

Toughie No 2848 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A few things I needed to look up. There’s a Nina used by 20d/22d, and plenty of quirkiness to keep us on our toes

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a     Estimation of the age of an item? (6)

DATING: If you were an item you would be …

5a     Her words ill-chosen, as for representative cases (8)

MALAPROP: A French (1,2) expression meaning ‘as’ or ‘in the way of’ plus another way of saying ‘for’, then the abbreviation for a political representative goes around all that (cases)

9a    Unfair verdict: grasshopper or locust, maybe? (3,7)

NOT CRICKET: If we have a grasshopper or locust, that wouldn’t be a similar insect

10a    Hats off to all Turners exhibited here (4)

TATE: First letters (Hats off … )

11a    Anorak oddly nailing theoretical position of Australia’s coral? (8)

ANTHOZOA: The odd letters (oddly) of ‘anorak’ containing (nailing) a 3-letter mathematical way of describing an indefinite place in a series or ‘theoretical position’ plus an informal short word for ‘of Australia’

12a    Picture-maker concerned with darker films? (6)

RENOIR: A short word meaning ‘concerned with’ and a genre of darker films

13a     River taken to heart by the real Acton Bell! (4)

EBRO: The central letters (heart) of the real name of Acton Bell

15a    Rigging where service personnel go to change sides? (8)

RATLINES: Take some facilities where service personnel ‘go’, and swap the abbreviations for left and right (to change sides)

18a    Gatecrashers at Oscars after-party will no doubt be dazed (3,5)

SEE STARS: A different interpretation of the answer

19a     This is impossible without oxygen (2-2)

NO-NO: Split (3,1), the answer would mean without oxygen

21a    Harnessing one Russian woman’s fuel (3-3)

OIL-GAS: A Russian woman’s name, plus the ‘S, containing (harnessing) the Roman numeral for one

23a     NIRDLA ZZUB? (8)

SPACEMAN: A reverse clue, perhaps. The answer is a reversal (like the clue) of a (4,4) description of the clue

25a     French scorer‘s wind-down, perhaps, after sapping S&M? (4)

LALO: Take a ‘wind-down’ kind of downhill sport, then remove (sapping) the outer S and M

26a     For one Guillaume Tell artist, good printed info may be read in advance (5,5)

GRAND OPERA: The abbreviation for artist, but first (may be read in advance) the abbreviation for good, a 3-letter verb meaning printed, and another word for info

27a     One is one’s own man, no longer leading Englishmen behind block (4,4)

CUBE ROOT: The cricketer that used to captain for England comes after (behind) a block

28a    Know army pals uncovered standard (6)

NORMAL: Remove outer letters from first 3 words in the clue (uncovered)


2d    This great tree grows from an outside well! (5)

ACORN: AN from the clue goes around (outside) an interjection meaning ‘well!’

3d     Together plotting reaction to superb ‘old people’ gag? (2,7)

IN CAHOOTS: Split (4,5), the answer could be the reaction to a very funny joke about some ancient South American people

4d     Bright guy with books on Zoology’s heading for University (6)

GLITZY: G(u)Y from the clue with the abbreviation for University replaced by a 3-letter word for books and the first letter (heading) of Zoology

5d     After rebuilding, asks farm and theatre to do it? (4,1,5,5)

MAKE A FREASH START: An anagram (after rebuilding) of ASKS FARM + THEATRE

6d    Learned of healthy eating speed? (8)

LITERATE: An adjective describing low calorie food and another word for speed

7d    Worn down? Contrariwise! (3,2)

PUT ON: Two interpretations of contrariwise: A reversal of a (3,2) contrary way of saying down

8d    Dismissed team has batting order reversed? (7,2)

OUTSIDE IN: A 3-letter word for dismissed, another word for team, and a short word meaning batting

14d    Summarily flaunting bum in rave (5,4)

BREVI MANU: An anagram (flaunting) of BUM IN RAVE

16d    Private nurses look up local manager (9)

INNKEEPER: A 5-letter word for private contains (nurses) the reversal (up) of another word for look

17d     Lost lads say, over my dead body, “Go back to the sign” (3,5)

DAL SEGNO: An anagram (lost) of LADS, an abbreviation meaning ‘say’ or ‘for instance’, and a brief answer that means ‘over my dead body’

20d/22d Passing over sweet cryptically represented by end columns

HAND IN GLOVE: A 7-letter word meaning ‘passing over’, and a term of endearment. The definition is provided by the Nina in the end columns

24d     A frameless doorway through which vital commodity is transported (5)

AORTA: A from the clue, then a 6-letter doorway without the outer letters (frameless)

I liked the gatecrashers (18a), the rigging (15a), one is one’s own man (27a) and the quirkiness of many more. Which were your favourite clues?


16 comments on “Toughie 2848

  1. 5 reveals and 2 googles still didn’t do it for me, but I’ll take 27/29 Elgars any day of the week. Should have got 15a (as an ex-naval cadet) but 25a, no chance. Many thanks to Elgar, and to Dutch for the parsings which escaped me.

  2. I enjoyed this. For once I spotted the Nina which finally allowed me to make sense of parsing 20&22d. Hints however required to appreciate the parsing of 23a which escaped me.

    My favourites were 2d and 7d.

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  3. I really enjoying solving this, not quite as difficult as he can be, Elgar Toughie. I marked 9 clues for ‘favouritism’ but I think I’ll select 9a for top spot

    10a was very timely as we didn’t have to go to 10a to see a collection of Turners – there’s a nice curated collection of them currently on show at the Turner in Margate. First time we’ve been there since pre-COVID times and we had a nice lunch out too.

    Thanks to Elgar for the early morning fun and to Dutch for the blog

  4. I was just thinking that Elgar was less tricky than usual when I reached the SW corner and had to call in reinforcements for both 14d and 17d, neither of which I’d heard of.
    A great puzzle with a fine Nina – thanks to Elgar and Dutch.
    Top clues (out of several candidates) for me were 15a, 27a and 3d.

  5. Really enjoyed this tussle – needed two reveals (and one of those only because I just couldn’t believe my answer was correct), my BRB and Mr G to hand, but all present and correct afterwards. Felt Elgar was being slightly more lenient than usual, and I must admit to welcoming the absence of early 20th century films and actors.

    I could not parse the Buzz Aldrin clue for toffee, and while spotting the Nina (the unspoken ‘up’ is a stroke of genius) towards the end helped confirm three final answers, neither could I parse the 20/22d combo. The French composer, 14d and 17d were all new to me, and I rather doubt that when next required I will recall either of the latter two, sadly! Spent ages trying to justify the ancient Chinese sage Chi-Tzu (justifying it as being a chit with Z & U) as being the required “bright guy”, but of course to no avail …

    Could nominate a fair number for special mention but will limit to 15a, 1d, 2d, and 8d, with my COTD being 9a.

    Many thanks indeed to Dutch for the blog and the parsing, and to Elgar for the great puzzle.

  6. Fastest ever solve for an Elgar. It is still daylight and I have finished.
    Got 20/22 after spotting the clever Nina.
    Knew of 14d but 17d was new to me.
    No bung ins for a change. Everything parsed successfully.
    Thanks to Elgar for the fun and to Dutch for the review.

  7. Please please cover up the answers or we may as well use Google !!!!
    Mike Baker

    1. As discussed on the backpage post, this is only happening to some people and we don’t know why

  8. As usual way out of my depth here. I did manage to get within 5 of a finish (without letter reveals) before reading the hints (answers still concealed for me) though largely through a combination of educated guesswork, dogged perseverance & frequent checks with Mr G. Was then able to finish with Dutch’s help. There are just too many things in an Elgar puzzle that I’ve not come across before – 11,15&25a plus 14&17d.
    That said there were some relatively (for Elgar) straightforward ones to at least gain a foothold. 5,9&12a the top 3 for me. Pleased to parse 23a but can’t decide whether I like the clue or not.
    Am sure I’m being thick but don’t get the Nina.
    Thanks to Elgar & Dutch

    1. Column 1 reads UP “Close and”. Coulumn 15 reads Personal. So the whole Nina is “Up close and personal” which is the definition for 20/22d.

      1. Thanks Gazza – saw the personal bit but wasn’t reading close up(wards).
        Needless to say 20/22 was a bung in from the checkers.

  9. Excellent excellent excellent. What a marvellous treat to end the Toughie week. Although it took some teasing out I did not find this as impenetrable as some Elgar compositions; difficult but not impossible.

    My thanks and admiration to both Elgar and Dutch for making sense of it all.

  10. Completed it correctly, but failed to parse 5a and 23a, and 25a, 14d, and 17d were all unknowns for me and needed googling. Not as difficult as I thought it would be.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      There was considerable discussion abut this on the cryptic crossword blog yesterday – it is only happening to some people and we don’t know why

  11. Too clever by half for me however it was most certainly very intellectual, i did latin at school so that came in useful. Hats off to elgar

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