Toughie 2920 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2920

Toughie No 2920 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another most enjoyable and clever puzzle by Elgar.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    East European collects bill for drinking

POTABLE: An East European goes around (collects) a 3-letter bill

5a    Jabber disjointly, yes – about nothing, apparently (7)

SYRINGE: An anagram (disjointly) of YES goes about a word that can describe the shape of the figure zero (nothing, apparently)

9a    Fed with line, not like anything in a Coward play (7,8)

PRESENT LAUGHTER: The abbreviation for line is in inserted between (fed with) a verb meaning ‘not like’ and a word meaning ‘anything’, then the whole lot goes inside a 3-letter word meaning ‘a’

10a    Provocatively dance tango with airman (5)

TWERK: The letter with radio code Tango, the abbreviation for with, and a word meaning airman

11a    Sheeran takes offence with support accommodating beguiling musician (4,5)

PIED PIPER: Sheeran’s first name plus an informal word for offence or disgust goes inside (with … accommodating) a 4-letter support structure

12a    Blues defenders all at sea (5,4)

ROYAL NAVY: Two kinds of blue

14a    Artist’s mother and child eye detail on arrivals board (5)

PIETA: Abbreviations for a private eye and some information on the arrivals board at an airport or station

15a    Shilling for good kid (5)

SPROG: The abbreviation for shilling, another word meaning ‘for’, and the abbreviation for ‘good’

16a    Queen‘s gallery exhibits a Constable retrospective, entertaining stars

CLEOPATRA: A reversal (retrospective) of a 3-letter word for ‘gallery exhibits’, A from the clue and the abbreviation for a police constable containing (entertaining) some stars

18a     Original in album that group playing has taken time to pen? (9)

AUTOGRAPH: An anagram (playing) of THA(t) GROUP but without (has taken) the abbreviation for time contains (to pen) the first (original) letter of album

21a    Treat endlessly knocked back – can it lead to indigestion? (5)

SUSHI: Reversal (knocked back) of a 3-letter verb that can mean treat but without the last letter (endlessly), an interjection meaning ‘can it’ or ‘be quiet’, and the first letter (lead) of indigestion

22a    I asked questions, being worried about warning given by energy firm (6,9)

BAMBER GASCOIGNE: An anagram (worried) of BEING goes around the warning colour on a traffic light and a (3,2) energy firm

23a    Attacker from above strikes Trelawney’s heart (7)

KESTREL: Hidden ( … ‘s heart)

24a    With a change of sides built in (7)

ELECTED: A word meaning built has ‘a change of sides‘ (i.e., change the abbreviation for right to that for left)


1d    Pistols rating success in the charts (3,4)

POP STAR: A slang word for pistols and another word for rating or sailor

2d    Know they’re upset by daily (3,3,4,5)

THE NEW YORK TIMES: An anagram (upset) of KNOW THEY’RE, plus the letter that is also a symbol for (multiplied) by

3d    Good luck playing Akela, bizarrely, in production of 1984? (5,1,3)

BREAK A LEG: An anagram (bizarrely) of AKELA goes inside a (1,3) feature of a car produced in 1984

4d    Put restriction in place as lawyer goes to prove cases (5)

ESTOP: Hidden ( … cases)

5d    Ace, retired, brought in to keep watch on flat? Get me! (5,4)

SPARE TYRE: The abbreviations for ace and retired go inside (brought into) a 3-letter verb meaning ‘keep watch’, then a short word meaning ‘on’ or concerning

6d    On debut, girl unfortunately appears in split dress (3,2)

RIG UP:    The first letters (on debut …) of two words in the clue go inside (appears in) a word meaning split or tear

7d    Seeing it sickens, I politely decline rather large number (3,1,6,5)

NOT A PRETTY SIGHT: A (2,2) phrase meaning ‘I politely decline’, another word for rather, and an informal word for a large number

8d    Regulars departing better hurry in an ancient part of Italy (7)

ETRURIA: Regular letters departing in ‘better hurry in an’

13d    Titular changeling has accepted being divine (9)

ARCHANGEL: Being is a noun in the definition. Hidden ( … has accepted)

14d    Father and son see badly cooked goose, in the end (5,4)

POPE’S NOSE: An informal word for father and an anagram (badly) of SON SEE

15d    Chief of Staff overseeing post, greenlight whip in Cape Town (7)

SJAMBOK: The first letter (chief) of Staff, a 4-letter door post, and a 2-letter informal word meaning greenlight

17d    Flavouring also stays with you! (7)

ANISEED: A word meaning ‘with’ contains (stays) a (1,3) way of saying ‘with you!’

19d    Author now showing advanced years? Not one of them (5)

GREER: Take a 6-letter word meaning ‘now showing advanced years’, and remove the abbreviation for one of said years

20d     As the hour’s moved on, you’ll have to run to make it (5)

HASTE: AS THE from the clue with the abbreviation for hour moved on

So many good clues. My favourites today are the all-in-one treat in 21a and the questioner in 22a. Which clues did you like?

10 comments on “Toughie 2920

  1. I, too, was a fan of 22a although there were, in truth, so many clever and very devious clues that picking a favourite was almost heretical. I thought our setter was being fairly friendly, for him, as I had very few bung-ins that were unexplained. Tough, but fair, and rewardingly enjoyable.

    Many thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  2. A bit of trouble in SE, but a couple of Dutch’s hints put me back on track. I liked 5a and 22a, but 15d favourite.
    Thanks Dutch and Elgar

  3. Lots of smiles today. I thought slightly gentle for an Elgar, though he was very clever in concealing many of his definitions. Couldn’t quite parse 7d or 19d, though as soon as I saw Dutch’s hints the pennies dropped and I couldn’t think why I hadn’t seen them. Very many thanks to Elgar and Dutch, and – if it’s not too political – God save the King.

  4. The friendliest Elgar yet? I agree with F&R [above] about the cleverly disguised definitions. I particularly liked flat? get me in 5d and the beguiling musician at 11a. Also “can it” in 21a was a blinder.
    Thanks Elgar and Dutch.

  5. Really enjoyed this Elgar Toughie at lunchtime, and like F R above (edit: and Halcyon), I thought E was in a rather benign mood with this challenge. Having said that I still very much needed Dutch’s help to understand why I had come to some of my answers! Annoyingly I was certain of the answer to 4d when the NW corner was entirely blank but did not enter it – unparsed even then – until much nearer the end of the solve: I didn’t see the blasted lurker, so well hidden that it was. Rather more familiar with that end of the roast fowl being known by a rather less senior cleric.

    So many excellent clues it seems unfair to highlight any in particular, but HMs nonetheless for 5a, 16a, 22a, 2d, 7d & 15d (which I was very pleased to remember!).

    Many thanks indeed to Elgar & to Dutch

    1. I think that, while geese pertain to the episcopate, parsons eat chickens. On that logic, one supposes that a poor friar would have to make do with a sparrow or something. Whereas in fact we do eat quite a lot of chicken, if anyone’s interested.

      1. A dog’s nose over a parson’s nose any time: I was most surprised, and not ungrateful, when during a walk a few years ago my working spaniels each appeared with retrieved chickens and proudly presented them to me. We were nowhere near any houses or a farm to which they could be returned, so a little later we ate well and the dogs received well-earned rewards.

  6. Pretty tough indeed, gave me a headache but perseverance paid off after a very long struggle. Some i did not understand and even after the explanations from double dutch it was still complex, quite a challenge many thanks

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