Toughie 2864 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2864

Toughie No 2864 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

An appropriate theme with a touch of anarchy – and not super hard, enjoy!


1a/9a    This country air refreshes, even as he quoted with golf (3,4,3,5)
GOD SAVE OUR QUEEN: An anagram of (refreshes) EVEN AS HE QUOTED + G(olf)

10a/12a Reasoning preposterously, man-eating shark will swim in it? (7,6)
VICIOUS CIRCLE: A shark swims in this before attacking prey

11a    Dispatched rubbish back through grating (8)
STRIDENT: A reversal (back) of a word meaning rubbish goes inside (through) a word meaning dispatched

13a    Draining spirit bottles order provided in past (10)
ZOMBIFYING: A 4-letter word meaning spirit or vitality contains: a 2-letter order or medal plus a short word meaning provided that is itself contained in a short word meaning past

15a     A joint rolled furtively by greenkeeper (4)
KNEE: Reverse hidden (rolled furtively by … )

16a     This Landlord may have free merlot too! (4,2,3)
ROOM TO LET: An anagram (free) of MERLOT TOO

21a    Questions that will test PM now, presumably (4)
EXAM: Split (2,2), the answer suggests we must now be in the PM.

22a     Episcopalianism sadly has no place for instruction of organists?
PIANISSIMO: An anagram (sadly) of EPISCOPALIANISM without the letters of PLACE

25a    In which we raise a glass to a hustler’s crowning moment? (8)
TOASTING: Split (2,1,5), the answer reveals TO A ‘hustler’s crowning moment’

27a    Line of underground humour not new in summer month (7)
JUBILEE: A humour or temperament replaces the abbreviation for new in a summer month

28a     Boring choice, doing home steely grey (8)
PLATINUM: A short word that can mean ‘doing’  (e.g., ** it) plus a word meaning ‘home’ go inside (boring) a word for choice or first-class

29a     One’s parting not so easy to endure (7)
SEVERER: Two meanings, the first is one who is parting or cutting


2d    What experts are said to know about religious beliefs (8)
OPINIONS: The vegetables that experts are said to know about a 2-letter word for ‘religious’

3d    Discontented seaman who constantly wants grass? (8)
SNITCHER: S(eama)N without the inner letters (dis-contented) plus a person who constantly wants or yearns

4d    Hit one’s head in a stuck-up pet and tear away from meeting (6-4)
VOULEZ-VOUS: The first letter (head) of ‘one’ goes inside the reversal (stuck-up) of a 3-letter word meaning pet (term of endearment), then remove a word meaning ‘tear’ from the front of a 10-letter meeting

5d    Only a very little feast! (4)
WHIT: Two meanings, the second related to Pentecost

6d    Well-oiled forelocks, the last as topknot? (6)
SQUIFF: A word for forelocks (plural) of hair brushed up, with the last letter moved to the top (topknot)

7d    As is happens, society newbie’s over worry
BEDEVIL: A reversal (over) of a 4-letter word meaning ‘as it happens’ and a ‘society newbie’

8d    Performing party engaged by 9 herself (2-5)
ON-STAGE: A men-only party is contained (engaged by) a 3-letter pronoun used by 9 to refer to herself

11d/24a Very much a bad egg? (9,6)
SOMETHING ROTTEN: A bad egg exemplifies the answer

14d    24 fell in tour, exemplifying this? (3,7)
ILL FORTUNE: An anagram (24) of FELL IN TOUR

17d    Exit left after processing data collection (4,4)
TEXT FILE: An anagram (after processing) of EXIT LEFT

18d    In doing a turn as before, it’s boring me too (4,4)
SAME HERE: In a reversal (doing a turn) of AS plus a 3-letter word meaning ‘before’, we have an interjection that means “it’s boring”

19d    Inverted hearts and crown containing letter’s last words (7)
EPITAPH: A reversal (inverted) of the abbreviation for hearts and a word meaning crown or top of head containing a Greek letter

20d One noble and virtuous festive occasion enjoyed (7)
GALAHAD: A 4-letter festive occasion plus a verb that can mean ‘enjoyed’

23d    Pre-analytically know about Tuesday being successful (6)
INTUIT: A (2,2) expression for being successful surrounds (about) the 2-letter abbreviation for Tuesday

26d     What Dear John letter tells me, any more talent? (4)
NOUS: Split (2,2), the answer delivers to me the sad ‘Dear John’ message of what there is any more


My favourites are 15a (joint rolled furtively) and 16a (free merlot), also liked 26d (Dear John). Which clues did you like?


19 comments on “Toughie 2864

  1. Very enjoyable and good to see Sid and Johnny putting in an appearance. 2d was my favourite. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  2. Elgar in friendlier mode than some weeks – an enjoyable pangram with references to the Jubilee, and as Dutch says a bit of anarchy too. Lots of clues made the short list but I think my top two were 8d and 26a

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  3. Another fine “doable in less than all day” puzzle from Elgar – and topical too. I failed to parse16d despite the appearance of the same 3-letter word only a couple of days ago. Favourites were 2d and 8d, plus 22a for its surreal surface.
    Thanks to Elgar and to Dutch for the blog.

  4. I know that we’re expected to say that we enjoyed the puzzle very much and that it was a very good puzzle but, personally, I don’t like it when a setter inflicts his personal views on solvers. This crossword would have been much better off in the Guardian. Thanks to Dutch for the explanations.

    1. Are you talking about the sex pistols? It’s just fact, they had a 1/9 record, so relevant. Or are you offended by ABBA?

      1. No. Some of the answers (eg 7d, 11a, 29a, 3d, 14d) as well those musicians I think were chosen to give a rather sour note to the whole thing. Each of them was innocent by itself but it all added up to a negative mood.

        Then the clues: boring, very much a bad egg, it’s boring me too. I don’t think it’s all coincidence and others here who approve of the crossword have noted an irreverant tone so I don’t think I’m being over sensitive. A sneering puzzle overall and, as such, ungracious.

  5. This took me easily into 5* time – I’m a bit out of practice, having been away a lot recently. But so many (eventual) penny-drop moments, it’s hard to pick a favourite. Maybe 4d for the clever construction. I’ve noticed the three letter interjection in the middle of 18d has started to crop up a good bit recently, and I’m not sure I entirely like it. Well, you can’t please many of the people much of the time, can you?

    Meanwhile, 1a 9a! Ad multos annos! Vivat! And a very happy 28a 27a celebration to everyone.

  6. Great stuff with a welcome touch of irreverence – thanks to Elgar and Dutch.
    My ‘honourable mentions’ were 8d, 11d and 26d.

  7. I enjoyed the puzzle very much, it was a very good puzzle. But would have been better off in the Guardian … as the lack of a secondary anagram indicator in 22a had my blood boiling!

    (Only joking, sorry!)

    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch, top stuff.

  8. Far and away the best I’ve ever done on an Elgar. Needed all 5 of my online letter allotment and two of Dutch’s hints to finish, but finish I did. Hooray! Also needed considerable help parsing. I agree with Gazza about the welcome touch of irreverence, which seemed rather minor to me. It seems rather chinchy of me to pick two 4-letter words as my favourites but otherwise I’d be here all day: 26d, 21a. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  9. Anyone notice from 23d that Tuesday won the Oaks at Epsom at 4.30 ? Will Elgar be doing the Racing Column next week?

  10. Saw an Elgar was in play so left my trek through the DT archive to take a peek. Never a dull moment with an Elgar, although there may be long periods of apparent inactivity during the solving (if indeed it gets solved)! The 1a/9a/28a/27a theme helped establish a foothold from which to eventually complete the grid and, after reading the comments above, I’m going to give Elgar the benefit of the doubt and enjoy the positives. Favourites were 1/9a, 10/12a, 21a, 22a, 2d, 4d and 14d. Thanks to Dutch for the review and completing the explanation of 18d for me – an interjection that I have encountered but which didn’t come to mind. Thanks, Elgar, for the challenge – always an enjoyable tussle (well, almost always!).

  11. I only got round to doing this puzzle on Sunday afternoon but it was worth the wait. Not sure I agree with those who felt the irreverence was misplaced or left of centre. Some people will always look for ways to be insulted. Enjoyable, clever and challenging. Favourite clue 22a.

    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  12. Managed several (10, actually) last night after finishing the Inquisitor, and came back this afternoon to finish it.
    Failed to parse 4d (I was looking at the wrong ‘O’ for ‘ones head’) and 13a (I just had the ‘O’ and the ‘IF’)
    Didn’t have a problem with certain words being included in the grid. To me they are just words to fit in with the crossers. I vaguely remember someone complaining about ‘SIRLOIN’ in a grid because the person was a vegan.
    Thanks to Dutch for the parsing of the two mentioned above and to JH for the tussle.

  13. As usual, very late commenting on a Friday toughie, especially an Elgar which I usually find to be way above my pay grade. Surprise surprise, with the aid of a few electrons plus a reveal of 8d to unclog the NE I managed a full grid, only the second time ever for an Elgar!
    I tend to agree with NNI, the answers fit the grid, don’t try to find fault with the setter’s considerable ability by reading all sorts of nonsense between the lines (or perhaps the squares in this case).
    Thanks to the setter for the test and Dutch for parsing my bung-ins.

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