Toughie 2936 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2936

Toughie No 2936 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

This Elgar puzzle seemed slightly(!) easier than usual, though I had to check a cricket reference and use my Chambers. I still had a few left to parse after filling the grid, pushing me towards 5* time. Enjoy!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Extremely good for son, Whitehaven seance has lifted hearts and discharged energy (4,1,9)

WITH A VENGEANCE: Take WHITEHAVEN SEANCE from the clue, exchange the abbreviations of good and son, and remove (has lifted; discharged) the first occurrence of the abbreviations for hearts and energy

9a    Well, now police vehicle attends attack on uniform (2,3,5)

UP AND ABOUT: A 5-letter police vehicle and an attack or fit follow (on) the letter with code word Uniform

11a    Great Australian skipper dismisses opener Amiss (4)

AWRY: A 5-letter Australian cricket captain (1961-1971) without the first letter (dismisses opener)

12a    Not completely headstrong prince (3)

RAS: A 4-letter word for headstrong without the last letter (not completely)

13a:    One originally rather dedicated to take music etc in a different direction? (10)

STRADIVARI: A reversal (in a different direction) of the Roman numeral for one, the first letter (originally) of rather, another word for dedicated, and the discipline that includes music etc

16a    Shot out of rough clubs with it? (4)

CHIP: The abbreviation for clubs and a word that means ‘with it’

17a    Joke about commercial one’s making outside court (3,4)

ACT DIDO: A (2,1,2) phrase that would mean ‘commercial one’s making’ goes outside the abbreviation for court. Not an expression I knew, but there it is in Chambers

18a    Twelve months later, the Cambridge Five bouncing back? (7)

SPRINGY: Take a (3,4) expression that describes the Cambridge Five, then move the abbreviation for a 12-month period to the end (later)

20a    Boyfriend’s not a man? (4)

FELL: Take a 5-letter informal word for a boyfriend, and remove (not) the final A from the clue. This kind of man is not a person.

21a    Post official time for the USA’s stirring closing run (5,5)

AFTER HOURS: An anagram (stirring) of FOR THE USA containing (closing) the abbreviation for run

23a    Lovelorn French city girl (3)

LYN: Take a 4-letter French city and remove the love tennis-score O (lovelorn)

24a    With one lacking in emotion, sadly fail to perform (4)

OMIT: An anagram (sadly) of EMOTION once the letters in ONE have been removed (with … lacking)

25a    Inside of cinematic image is a little flat (10)

MAISONETTE: A 5-letter word for a masked cinematic image (allowing part of another image to be superposed) contains (inside of …) IS from the clue and another word for ‘a’. Must improve my cinematography

28a    Routine learned in guest house, say? (5-3-6)

BREAD-AND-BUTTER: A word meaning ‘learned’ or ‘studied’ goes inside a (1,3,1) guest house, plus a word meaning ‘say’


1d    Adapt to Worcestor MP, a source of disturbance in Victoria station bar? (3-3,8)

TWO-POT SCREAMER: An anagram (adapt, as an imperative) of TO WORCESTER MP A. The answer is an Australian expression, hence Victoria station!

2d    School allowed boarders to go capless (4)

ETON:    Take a (3,2) expression that means ‘allowed boarders’ (e.g., for a train or boat) and remove the first letter (to go capless)

3d    The joke is on a slightly crazy Lady of stage and screen (4)

GAGA: A joke plus A from the clue. The “Lady” is significant of course, hence the capital.

4d    Those engaged in Çeşme, now armed? (3-1-3)

MEN-O-WAR: Hidden (in … )

5d    “A show-off” – what locals never said about 1880s Whitechapel detective? (3-7)

EGO-TRIPPER: Split (‘1,3,6) is what no Cockneys (locals) ever said about 1880s Whitechapel detective

6d     Feature infusing “Wild Aromas” liqueur (10)

MARASCHINO: A facial feature is inserted into an anagram (wild) of AROMAS

8d    Cab home? It used to get one down in the pool (8,6)

CARRIAGE RETURN: The answer suggests a cab ride back. Oh, a typing pool!

10d     What’s damaged when the sorcerer goes pop (3)

DAD: Remove a word for sorcerer from ‘damaged’

14d     Carrier of personal information getting upset – especially with everything else (3,3,4)

AND ALL THAT: A reversal (getting upset) of a molecule that carries your personal information plus a (3,4) expression that means ‘especially’ or ‘so’

15d    Spelling it out, order “9A” – a mild curry (6,4)

INDIAN MEAL: An anagram (order, as an imperative) of NINE A A MILD (spelling out the 9)

19d    Diverse talk is about Scotland’s last nature reserve (2,5)

ST KILDA: An anagram (diverse) of TALK IS goes about the last letter in Scotland

22d    Rare for one to have teeth featured in the news (3)

HEN: Hidden (featured in … )

26d    Telegraph-funded task (4)

ONUS: Split (2,2), the answer suggests the Telegraph (our paper) pays

27d    Painter Jack’s fallen of the pier (4)

ETTY: Take a 5-letter word for pier, and remove (fallen off) the initial card abbreviation for Jack

As always, I enjoy the all-in-ones (Elgar is great at those), especially 13a. I also enjoy the disguised definitions like “goes pop” and “a mild curry”. I liked the surface of 24a, and the Whitechapel detective is my favourite today. Which clues did you like?

13 comments on “Toughie 2936
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  1. Great puzzle, with a couple of unparsed bung ins.

    I particularly liked 18a, 28a and 8d.

    Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  2. Another “quickie”! from Elgar which defeated me at 17a – but I managed to parse all the rest. Favourites were 18a and the cute little 22d.
    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch.

  3. Agree, a gentle one from Elgar. Favourite clue 26d. Nice to see an underappreciated artist get a mention too in 27d.

  4. Yes, relatively easy for an Elgar – agree with Dutch’s 4.5*… To be more precise, much easier to make a start than his usual, though still plenty of head-scratchers. After completing the grid, my parsing was defeated by the ‘man’ in 20a, the cinematic term in 25a, and exactly how 15d worked, though I could sort of grasp my way towards it. Much to enjoy as always. Have we missed a Nina?

  5. A super puzzle from Elgar …for the most part, quite accessible by Elgar’s standards! Didn’t know 11a’s Aussie cricketer, the 20a man, the 1d drinker, or the 27d painter … but all ultimately gettable with a little help! 24a was particularly interesting, as there’s no secondary anagram indicator – I think this works fine, but often a secondary indicator is deemed necessary – thoughts? Difficult to isolate an overall favourite from such a great bunch, loved Dutch’s selections but for me top spot goes to 18a. Can’t see any themes but I’m sure there must be something lurking! Many thanks to Dutch for the blog, and again to Elgar for another cracking puzzle.

  6. Not heard of 17a, but it had to be that from the wordplay. A very rare finish of an Elgar puzzle for me. 5d and 8d my favourites.
    Thanks all

  7. Rather Australian themed puzzle today. Defeated by 17a, but otherwise yes, a very slightly easier Elgar than usual despite first appearances to the contrary and a fair few biffed answers for the parsing of which I am extrememly grateful to Dutch. I do keep getting the feeling that I’m about 30 years too young for his puzzles, though – this one felt very dated despite the appearance of the over-rated lady in 3d.

    Had never heard of the Australian cricketer from more than 50 years ago, but the answer was an easy biff; still don’t get 20a reference to Man – is there a hill called Man somewhere, maybe on the Isle of Man? 8d – typing pools had ceased to be a thing some time before I started work, but I presume “used to get one down” refers to the “carriage return” bar/handle that sent the typist to the beginning of the next line?

    5d COTD.

    4.5* / 2.5*

    Thank you to Elgar and to Dutch.

  8. Also failed to get the man definition and had never heard of 17a or the cricketer. In the old days of programming, NL gave you a new line and CR took you back to the beginning of the line – the last remnant of the typewriter.

    Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  9. I 20a at the last, which was 20a….

    Maybe I need a new Chambers, because I couldn’t find “act Dido” in it, not under act anyway?

  10. Out Friday and Saturday, so didn’t get round to Elgar until today. Didn’t know 1d, 17a, and MATTE. Last in was FELL, parsed but couldn’t see how it was equivalent to MAN.
    Liked 18a, 28a, and 10d.

  11. Very late (as usual) on toughies, however I have to report a victory! Yes, I’ve finished an Elgar labyrinth, unaided if you discount the use of several electronic gizmos, the BRB and lots of reverse parsing.
    Not for the first time, I have to express my awe at this setter’s ability to confuse and amuse the solver, the intricacy of the wordplay for many simple answers is definitely an art, not easy to achieve.
    I thought 8d especially clever here, and where do you start to find the likes of 1d and 17a when clueing a grid, as well as the obscure definition for 20a?
    My thanks to the setter for the workout and Dutch for confirming my guesses.

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