Toughie 2856 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2856

Toughie No 2856 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Some of you may have noticed answers with a common 2-letter abbreviation, e.g. 20/23 (and 3 more examples). Now you can guess which number Telegraph Toughie this is for our setter! Congratulations, Elgar!


9a     Who’s made most prominent of offices by degrees? (5)

OBAMA: The first (most prominent) letter of offices and two university degrees

10a    Canary Yellow fanzine periodically on the counter, delayed in circulation? (9)

LANZAROTE: A reversal (on the counter) of the heraldic yellow colour plus the odd letters (periodically) in ‘fanzine’, all surrounded by (in circulation) another word for delayed

11a    In ceremony, call notes of credit “iffy” … (7)

DUBIOUS: To call, or give a name to (in a ceremony) plus an abbreviation for notes of credit (remembering the plural ‘S’)

12a    … after which, did you hear Hoy maybe do one in honour? (7)

CIRCUIT: And after such a ceremony, Chris Hoy (racing driver and also olympian cyclist) would have a title. We have a homophone (did you hear) of his title and the nickname associated with Chris.

13a    Rubbish hill-workers deposited at back of tip (5)

PANTS: Some 6-legged hill-workers placed after the last letter (back) of ‘tip’

14a    It’s odd, on reflection, Lord North’s not so grasping (9)

DROLLNESS: A reversal (on reflection) of ‘lord’, then the abbreviation for North has a word meaning ‘not so’ (as in not as much) grasping it

16a     Fresh but eccentric crossword compiler repeated pumps up the volume (5,10)

CUBIC CENTIMETRE: An anagram (fresh) of BUT ECCENTRIC has two personal pronouns (1,2) that refer to the current crossword compiler inserted (pumps up)

19a    I confirm you will be charged over constant scrounging (9)

PARASITIC: A reversal (over) of a confirmatory statement that you will be charged (2,2,1,3) plus the mathematical abbreviation for constant

21a    Credit store’s spring cut is operating like clockwork (5)

TICKS: A (4,4) expression for a retail outlet where goods are given on credit (see Chambers) from the end of which a 3-letter word meaning spring or jump is removed (cut)

23a     Senior soldier has hooks in governors (7)

COUNCIL: The abbreviation for a senior soldier contains (hasin) a 4-letter Latin-derived word meaning hooks

25a: Penny Shylock’s taken – by force, I assume (7)

USURPER: Assume as in take. A 6-letter word for a shylock or unscrupulous money lender contains the abbreviation for penny

27a    Before he’s quit The Archers, Bert’s first made final provision (9)

ENDOWMENT: T(he) from clue without the ‘he’ (he’s quit), but first (before) we have a 6-letter word meaning archers, in which the first letter of Bert is replaced by a 3-letter word meaning final (Bert’s first made final)

28a    Newspaper plagiarism? (5)

THEFT: Split (3,1,1) we have the abbreviated name of a newspaper


1d    Quick chat with GP about keeping one’s head (4)

WORD: The abbreviation for ‘with’ and the reversal (about) of another abbreviation for GP contains (keeping) the first letter (head) of one

2d    Opposed to admitting disorderly bar element (6)

CARBON: A word meaning ‘opposed to’ contains (admitting) an anagram (disorderly) of BAR

3d    So there you may see shifts as busy cook (2-3,5)

YA-BOO SUCKS: An anagram (shifts) of AS BUSY COOK

4d    To come off worse, let in 400 (6)

CLOSED: A verb meaning ‘come off worse’ goes inside (let in) the Roman numeral for 400

5d    Stunning punch from below fair? Nose bust in two places (8)

KNOCKOUT: A reversal (from below) of a 2-letter word for fair plus a slang word for nose, then two of the letters from ‘bust’ (in two places)

6d    Two homophones for “cut” and “fruit” (4)

PAIR: The answer is a homophone of a word meaning cut and also of a fruit

7d    Team members breaking the same shot record (8)

DOCUMENT: A 3-letter word for team members goes inside (breaks) the abbreviation of a word meaning ‘the same’ plus a way of hitting the ball in sports (e.g., golf, snooker, cricket)

8d    People sampling leaves dug daisies? (3,7)

TEA TASTERS: Took me a while to realise that ‘dug’ can mean a nipple or breast. Another word for dug and another word used for daisy flowers

13d    Wire mark on skin doing what scab does?

PICKPOCKET: A mark on skin “is doing what scab does”, i.e., crosses or breaks (as in goes inside) a ******

15d    It‘s not all fruit juice loading on the wagon – what’s in keg? (2,3,5)

LE MOT JUSTE: A 5-letter sour fruit without the last letter (not all), then a 3-letter word for juice is inserting into (loading) an abbreviation for ‘on the wagon’, and finally the letter found inside ‘keg’

17d    Red part of Manchester belting Arsenal, with number 4 coming off Ødegaard’s butt (8)

BURGUNDY: A 4-letter part of Manchester contains (belting) the weapons in an arsenal but removing the plural-indicating fourth letter (with number 4 coming off), plus the last letter (butt) in Ødegaard

18d    Was ringer once given a eulogy? (8)

EXTOLLED: Split (2,6), the answer would suggest having once been a ringer

20d    Number 2022? Down? (6)

COUNTY: A 5-letter word meaning number plus an abbreviation for a time period such as 2022

22d    Manages to suppress patient’s heart issues (6)

COPIES: A word meaning ‘manages’ contains (to suppress) the central letter (heart) of patient

24d    Who will stay up late to track Capone’s #1 hood? (4)

COWL: A bird used to describe a night-person follows (to track) the first letter (#1) of Capone

26d    Pity old book was about her (4)

RUTH: Two meanings, the second referring to a biblical book

Lots to like. It took a long time for the penny to drop for 10a (Canary Yellow). Also, it took me a while to see the definition in the clever 15d. Those two are my favourites today. Which clues did you like?


15 comments on “Toughie 2856

  1. The most difficult Toughie for a long time, Elgar or otherwise. I did enjoy the battle with a crossword where the more tricky clues befuddled the brain so that I couldn’t see the blooming obvious ones. My particular favourites were 6d and the linked 11/12a

    Thanks very much to Elgar for the extreme brain mangling and to Dutch for the blog

  2. An enjoyable struggle as always from Elgar – thanks to him and Dutch.
    Top clues for me were 12a, 8d and 16a (which I thought was a brilliant description of the compiler pumping up the volume of his Toughies to reach the abbreviation for the answer. Congratulations to Elgar).

  3. Beyond me.
    Managed 12 answers and then gave up.
    Thanks for the blog which put me out of my misery.

  4. Agree with CS. Very very difficult and took all morning on and off in between overseeing some plumbing repairs. 6 clues not fully parsed so thanks to Dutch and of course thanks and congratulations to Elgar

  5. I tackled this almost by default, thinking it was the back pager, getting halfway through it before realising (much to my relief!) that it wasn’t.
    Returned later and got to within 15d of solving it (with copious electronic help).
    Quite a few I’ve yet to parse so my favourite could change but 16a is looking a good bet. Thanks to Elgar (three words I’ve never entered on this blog before) and Dutch for the workout

  6. Thanks Elgar, greater thanks to Dutch for assisting me over the line. A real brain strainer, I agree with CS, far more difficult (but perfectly fair) than many recent offerings. I suppose not revealing any of the freebies is a win in itself… 4* / 3* (‘cos I needed some Dutch explanations…)
    As for those seeing the free-to-play puzzle on the web, their hearts must sink when they read who the author is!

  7. Excellent Toughie, very tough indeed, but as NogBad notes, they were all perfectly fair, and it was a very satisfying grid to complete. LOI the Canary, and just could not parse it until reading Dutch’s explanation (ditto 21a, 23a). Wire was new to me but otherwise they all gradually made sense. Podium places to 12a (groaned loudly at that one!), 27a (he was such a well-acted character in The Archers), 7d and 20d, with COTD to 13d.

    5* / 4*

    Very many thanks to Elgar and congratulations on the milestone. Thank you so much to Dutch for making it all so clear afterwards!

  8. Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch Was a long afternoon but got there with a little help Very enjoyable solve Prizes go to 19a, 17d and 20d

  9. Just done my usual Friday Toughie trick of reading through the puzzle and filling in the blanks from the answers given by the clever Dutch. I have a simple mind! It was quite a stretch from the vulgar 3d to the erudite 15d. I am amazed, as always, at the aficionados who can not only solve but actually enjoy an Elgar puzzle. At least it didn’t matter this time that the answers were in plain sight!

  10. Two sessions required and all correct, but a few not fully parsed. After reading the above, I can now see Carbon Copies, County Council, Closed Circuit, and Cubic Centimetre, but I’d lost count a long time ago so I failed to spot them.

    Congratulations to Elgar on the milestone, and thanks to Dutch for the parsing of 21a, 23a, 5d, and 15d.

  11. Several sessions yielded very few answers, and the hints confirmed it’s unlikely I’d have got many more unaided! Will try again with CCI…

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