Toughie 2872 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2872

Toughie No 2872 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Clever and not as hard as the last one, enjoy!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1     In fall from on high, jewellery found in belly-button fluff? (8,4)

TUMBLING DOWN: A whimsical (3-5) expression for ‘jewellery found in belly-button’, plus some fluff

8    Was boat’s steersman persuaded to ditch Cambridge’s number 2? (5)

COXED: A 6-letter word for persuaded without (to ditch) the second letter in Cambridge

9    Biplane beginning to counter firing shot from behind (5,4)

TIGER MOTH: A 4-letter for a beginning plus the reversal (counter) of TO from the clue goes inside (firing) another word for shot that is reversed (from behind)

11    Amount, perhaps, he’s left over? (3,3,3)

ODD MAN OUT: A reverse anagram, the answer contains a cryptic clue for AMOUNT

12    Coaster emptied fish basket (5)

CREEL: C(oaste)R without the inner letters (emptied) and a fish

13    It was punishing, and therefore secures flat with lock (9)

STRAPPADO: A 2-letter word meaning therefore contains a word for lock and a casual word for apartment (with can imply either order)

16    A tracker who underuses traps (5)

HOUND: Hidden ( … traps)

18    Personnel recruiting Observer
writer (5)

HEYER: A 2-letter abbreviation for a personnel department containing (recruiting) an observer

19    Like a short? No, like a shot (5,4)

RIGHT AWAY: The answer highlights the difference between short and shot

20    A stroke of flawed genius (5)

WEDGE: Hidden ( of … )

22    Describing Albania’s embargo? There are other examples (5,4)

INTER ALIA: The answer describes where an embargo is found in ‘Albania’

25    Year when Earless Sturgeon pampered the bairn? (9)

YOUNGSTER: Y(ear) from the clue without the last 3 letters (when Earless) plus an anagram (pampered) of STURGEON

26    Block road nearby (5)

CLOSE: Three meanings

27    Our building with scintillating elements one’s introduced? (3,2,7)

SON ET LUMIERE: An anagram (building) of OUR and (scintillating) ELEMENTS into which the Roman numeral for one is introduced


1    Extra puzzling, papers mining the setter’s art (9)

TAXIDERMY: An anagram (puzzling) of EXTRA that has some papers inserted (mining), plus a pronoun meaning “the setter’s”

2    Jason’s enchanting wife – and what he says she holds? (5)

MEDEA: Think Greek mythology and golden fleece: The answer is a homophone (he says) of a (2,4) phrase expressing, well, what he says she holds!

3    Where American may park beside house (5)

LOTTO: An American area for parking and a preposition that can mean ‘beside’

4    Nothing roused guards left gold bar of yore from dusk to dawn (9)

NIGHTLONG: An anagram (roused) of NOTHING contains (guards) the abbreviation for left, plus G(old) without (bar) a word meaning ‘of yore’

5    Plan and execute successful film shot … (6,3)

DIRECT HIT: A kind of shot which is also a phrase that means to plan / execute a movie that will be successful

6    … complete with opening (5)

WHOLE: The abbreviation for with and an opening

7    Opposite angles initially oblique – how? (6,3,3)

ACROSS THE WAY: The first letter (initially) of angles, another word for oblique, and a (3,3) phrase that can mean ‘how’ (as in “is *** *** to lose support” )

10    Punch catches offensive stranger on beach? (12)

HOLIDAYMAKER: An 8-letter punch contains (catches) a word meaning offensive

14    Vulnerable swimmer bargepole walloped (9)

PORBEAGLE: An anagram (walloped) of BARGEPOLE

15    Spiritedly, inspirational Nina’s taken enthusiast’s arm (3,6)

AIR PISTOL: An anagram (spiritedly) of INSPIRATIONAL without the letters of NINA (‘s taken)

17    Misguided clue involving women bringing displeasure (9)

UNWELCOME: An anagram (misguided) of CLUE + WOMEN

21    Function that entertains the Telegraph’s banker (5)

DOURO: A 2-letter function contains (entertains) a possessive pronoun alluded to by “the Telegraph’s”

23    Some repetition heard here? Proops’s completed minute (5)

THRUM: An American (Proops’s) informal word for completed plus the abbreviation for minute ( a reference to ‘Just a Minute’)

24    Survey park from the north and from the south, 19 (5)

RECCE: A 3-letter park written forwards and backwards (from the north and from the south), with a single-letter deletion (19)

My favourites are the misguided clue about women (17d – I like clues about setting) and Albania’s embargo (22a). Which clues did you like?

20 comments on “Toughie 2872
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  1. Yes! Yes! Yes! An unassisted Elgar knocked off! Two new words for me – the torture instrument and the offensive bit of 10d. And having read Dutch’s no doubt excellent parsing of 9a, I am still in the dark. Thanks both, 2*/5*

    Ah. The coin has fallen. Thanks Dutch.

    1. sorry, a missing word, literally. A 4-letter word for an origin or beginning (think a seed shoot or an inkling of a new idea, plus OT (TO backwards), all inside a reversed sports shot or stroke on a ball

      Any better?

  2. Another fabulous Elgar, many thanks – and to Dutch for review (needed the 9a parsing). As usual too many good clues to go picking favourites. There’s a “Nina” in the clues, a NINA at the end of row 8 … but is there a Nina? I can’t help feeling I’m missing something here :-/

    1. On the subject of a Nina, one wonders if Elgar knows a lady called Ethel Ash? Which also happen to be the runes (conjoined) oe and ae respectively. A bit of a stretch, admittedly, but knowing Elgar’s devious ways…

  3. My first ever finished Elgar. I started off with the usual despondency but soon found a couple of anagrams and lurkers which gave me a foot hold. I’m delighted that Dutch paid us the complement of five stars for difficulty but I think he must be feeling generous.
    Many thanks to Elgar (never been able to say that before) for a doable test and to Dutch for his five star complement and for filling in one or two needing parsing.

  4. Elgar is a bit easier than usual but still as enjoyable as ever – thanks to him and Dutch,
    Like Fez I was looking for a Nina after 15d and seeing the word itself in row 8 but nothing else was to be found (by me anyway).
    My top clues were 8a, 19a, 22a and 3d.

  5. Like others I was stunned and grateful to have completed this in good time.
    Thanks to Dutch for some parsing assistance and the dictionary helped with the instrument of torture.
    I’ve not known Elgar to contribute to the site but was reassured that the setters do read our comments…..if that’s the case then thank you Elgar for an excellent puzzle.

  6. I really enjoy these quicker [it’s all relative] Elgar puzzles and even wondered if this would be scored only 4* for difficulty. There are some lovely clues, my favourites are 1a [belly-button fluff indeed] the clever 19a, 22a [where I struggled to parse it using Mr Alia – a former head honcho- before the penny dropped] and 27a. I’m still not sure about Proops in 23d – why is it a “US” indicator? And what is “vulnerable” doing in 16d? Isn’t it just a shark?
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  7. Superb, as always. 1a went in fairly quickly and raised a chuckle – that plus a few others that were fairly readily solvable left me only just into 5* time. One day I’ll do an Elgar in 4* time, and then … well, I suppose I’ll feel like Alexander the Great, with no more worlds to conquer. But I did, like others, need help parsing 9a. And I’m not convinced that 4d’s surface meaning actually makes sense, does it? Also looking in vain for a Nina, because of its appearance in a clue, but maybe that’s just Elgar being a tease. Anyway, huge thanks as always to him and to Dutch for having the courage to blog today!

  8. My first crossword since Wednesday 8th and so it was nice to find that Elgar was being kind to us today.

    I did mark my favourites on my piece of paper but that’s downstairs and I’m too tired to go all the way down and look for it.

    Thanks to Elgar for a great crossword and to Dutch for the blog

  9. Shucks. Another failure–for me, not Elgar, who is as brilliant as ever. I did as well as I have ever done with an Elgar (maybe a bit better than ever?), but I was still a ‘proopslong’ (just coined!) distance away from finishing. I still believe that it’s possible for an American to finish an Elgar without having to use the online option of 5 letters, say, or anything else for that matter. But I begin to fear that this (almost) 84-yr-old American may not be the one to do it. Never say die, though.

    Especially loved 22a (like Dutch, geography clues are big with me, this one esp.). Never heard of ‘proops’ over here, by the way. But the whole grid is just quite magical, and my Friday is still full of great hope for the future. Thanks to Dutch & Elgar.

  10. Really enjoyed this surprisingly benign Elgar challenge, very satisfying to complete, with all bar a few clues parsed and fully understood – the number of hopeful bung-ins is slowly reducing, week by week, as familiarity breeds respect and dawning “lights”. Tried to convince myselt that LITHO would work for 3d (landed/parked=lit), and couldn’t understand what the bar of yore was doing; trap for lock is fair but had me scratching my head, and couldn’t see why the R disappeared in 24d … only to realise I hadn’t read the full clue. Harrrrumph.

    Hon Mentions to 1a & 11a with COTD 22a

    4.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to Elgar, and of course to Dutch, too.

  11. 10d – I see the answer, but still don’t see how? (Even with bigdave!… can someone give me more hints please? (I didn’t like 13a or 21 down…)

  12. ok thanks, though I still had to google “A wild swinging punch” and the resultant “foul-smelling” word. So, today I learnt 4 new words from DT and bigdave!

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