Toughie 2984 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View comments 

Toughie 2984

Toughie No 2984 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This enjoyable puzzle from Elgar will keep you on your toes for a bit during the festive season and has a few simpler clues to get you going. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Norman eyes material woven in black as sample museum piece (6,8)

BAYEUX TAPESTRY: The French (Norman) for eyes and a 4-letter ‘material woven’ go inside (in) the chess abbreviation for black, AS from the clue, and a word meaning to sample

9    A lost young man finally needing something like this when out of uni? (5,5)

AGONY UNCLE: A from the clue, an anagram (lost) of YOUNG, the last letter (finally) of man, then something like this (i.e., 9a) but without (when out of) the abbreviation for university

11    Section of verse from William Blake (4)

IAMB: Hidden (from …)

12     Glen Campbell’s intro with backing from Wham! (3)

CWM: The first letter (intro) of Campbell, the abbreviation for with, and the last letter (backing) of (wha)M

13    Flier, first of several, describing Great Yarmouth’s last race (4,6)

SONG THRUSH: The first letter of several, a short word meaning ‘describing’, an abbreviation for great, the last letter of Yarmouth, and a word meaning race

16    Nothing but love shown at intervals in play (4)

ONLY: The letter that looks like a tennis score of love, then the even letters (shown at intervals) in ‘in play’

17    Intensely desirous of clubs, like the people in them? (7)

CRAVING: The abbreviation of clubs and what people are doing in them

18    Is supportive of what Oliver requested (7)

SECONDS: Two meanings, the second a reference to a Dickens novel

20    Thump a square-cut (4)

BANG: Two meanings, the second a hairstyle feature

21    Indecisive 22, no-hoper, reversing over officer’s hat in road (10)

IRRESOLUTE: The answer to 22, then a reversing ‘no-hoper’ replaces the first letter (hat) of officer in a 5-letter word for road.

23    Perhaps captain’s right to head Jumbo carrier? (3)

ROC: An abbreviation for someone like a captain, with the abbreviation for right coming first (to head). The definition refers to the legendary strength of the answer

24    Return fare well out of date, I’m surprised to say (4)

ODSO: The reversal (return) of a short verb meaning fare, plus a short word that can mean ‘well?’. The answer is an obsolete expression, hence ‘out of date’

25    Style of architecture that’s reconditioned at the rear from square 22 (10)

ROMANESQUE: An anagram (reconditioned) of the last letter (at the rear) of froM + SQUARE + the answer to 22

28    Rahm’s the skill finally to crack sparkling Open now? If so, by a stroke (2,3,4,5)

IN ONE FELL SWOOP: Spanish (Rahm’s; Rahm is a Spanish golfer) for ‘the’ plus the last letter (finally) of skill go inside (to crack) an anagram (sparkling) of OPEN NOW IF SO


1    Go in a pub and order Yorkshire’s premier brew: come again? (1,3,4,6)

I BEG YOUR PARDON: An anagram (brew) of GO IN A PUB + ORDER Y(orkshire’s premier)

2    With which holy men express their souls? (4)

HYMN: ‘Holy men’ with central letters (souls) removed (expressed)

3    Martial art, without weapons, loses its charm (2-2)

JU-JU: A (2-5) weaponless martial art without (loses) ITS from the clue

4    Were Turpin and King’s victims so superior? (5-2)

STUCK-UP: Turpin and King were highwaymen, and so their victims were … (5,2)

5    I’ll be very surprised if this orator’s so ill prepared (10)

SPEECHLESS: An orator ‘so’ would be very poorly prepared indeed

6    Complete turnaround involves Kim or Ollie making sizeable contribution (6,4)

ESKIMO ROLL: Hidden (… making sizeable contribution)

8    Discovered visitor from afar is carrying food north of the border (14)

RUMBLEDETHUMPS: A 7-letter word for discovered, a 2-letter abbreviation for a visitor from afar, and a word that can mean ‘is carrying’

10    Deadeye toxopholite keeping still (3)

YET: Hidden (… keeping)

14    Back off Joe, delivering greengroceries? (4,6)

GIVE GROUND: A 2-letter abbreviation for a soldier Joe on (being a down clue) a (3,5) would see him ‘delivering greengroceries’

15    Articles of pottery, in fact, hard to fashion (10)

HANDICRAFT: An anagram (to fashion) of IN FACT HARD

19    Three times as many male parts all aquiver (7)

TREMBLY: The abbreviation for male goes inside (parts) a word that means three times as many (be sure to match the part of speech with the adverbial definition)

22    16’s partner agreed (3)

ONE: This answer ‘AND’ the answer to 16 form an expression

26    In which, so niftily, this food is knocked up (4)

NOSH: Reverse hidden (In … is knocked up)

27    Heart aflutter, I see game go! (4)

SHOO: A huntsman’s expression for ‘I see game’ with the central characters swapped (heart aflutter)

Plenty to like again. I was intrigued with the food north of the border. My favourite, perhaps not surprisingly, is the Yorkshire premier brew. Which clues did you like?

23 comments on “Toughie 2984
Leave your own comment 

  1. Good that, some superb clues. Liked 8d, just for the great sound of the answer. It’s a shame there wasn’t a double toughie from Elgar this Christmas, I used to look forward to that; never mind though, thanks for the blog and the crossword.

    1. There is an Elgar Double Toughie, it just wasn’t posted on the Toryrag website.

      John posted on twitter that it’s on Jane’s website. Go to and proceed from there. (sorry, twitter doesn’t seem to allow you to copy links in full)

      1. That’s fantastic! Thanks so much, I wouldn’t have found that in a century of looking. That’s Hogmanay & probably New Year’s day wrecked now, but so be it. Cheers!

      2. John’s Double Toughie will also be published here in online and PDF format at midnight on Saturday as our first puzzle of 2023, with a solution blog by crypticsue to follow a week later.

  2. I watched a BBC4 documentary on the French embroidery in the last couple of days, but I still spelled it incorrectly. Otherwise solved and parsed by 14.05, my personal best for an Elgar.

  3. Completed bar 24a [ never heard of it ! ] so felt a bit cheated . However , either Elgar is getting a bit easier or I’m getting a bit better – hopefully the latter . Very enjoyable as one winkled them out , particularly 8d , not only the clue but the word itself – great ! ****/*****

    1. 13d was my favourite amongst many outstanding clues, but I agree with Simon+North about 24a, which I couldn’t find in Chambers BRB or most of my usual internet sites which I access if I can’t find any word which might fit, e.g. WordHippo, which has many interesting expressions for “I’m surprised !” I only found one reference, on the Merriam-Webster site, which described the answer as a ‘euphemism for obsolete Godso, by folk etymology from Italian cazzo, literally, penis.’ Therefore the answer was not a word I’d usually expect to find in a DT crossword, as apparently it’s used as vulgar American slang. Apart from that I enjoyed this Elgar offering as usual. May I wish all setters and bloggers a very Happy New Year, and hope that Big Dave’s health will improve, too.

      1. Strangely, I did find it in my 1972 BRB as an expression of surprise. It states that it is ‘For gadso’. Under ‘gadso’, it is again an expression of surprise and it gives the etymology as from the Italian ‘gazzo’ meaning ‘penis’. However, it goes on to say that it is assimilated to ‘gad’, which is a minced form of ‘God’.

        1. Thanks for your observations. Mac. There are plenty of amusing expressions of surprise which clergy etc use in order to avoid mild blasphemy, such as Jeepers, Gadzooks, and the intriguing Ye Gods and Little Fishes !

    2. Late picking this up (rarely do I get anywhere with Mr. Enigma), but like you I persevered to a completion less 24a.
      HNY to all.

  4. What an enjoyable solve, I needed help(and lots of it!) but afterward, I found myself saying why did I make that so hard, I always feel if you learn something new from a crossword someone has put money in your pocket.

    Stay safe and keep on solving


  5. A real Toughie but not fiendishly so. The four long clues helped establish a bridgehead, then everything else except for three four letter words flowed nicely. 14d, once parsed, became my favourite although I do have a soft spot for 8d, a cracking word.

    My thanks to Elgar for the considerable challenge, and to Dutch.

  6. Really enjoyed this, although 8 d was totally new to me but clued so it had to be what is was. Happy New year to everyone. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch

  7. A dank day in Kent and I noticed that an Elgar Toughie was in play so set to…
    Unusually for an Elgar I did finish this in one sitting, albeit it was a long sitting. Some great cluing, with the usual misleading wordplay, which makes Elgar’s puzzles so satisfying to solve and so much fun to unravel. I hadn’t heard of 8d, but am glad I have now! 24a was also new to me and was LOI after a failed first attempt. My answer for 23a was right for the wrong reasons – I guessed there might be a captain orc in some book or game and google reinforced my guesswork… Thanks, Dutch, for providing a much more rational explanation! My favourites were 12a, 5d and 14d, with special mention to 6d for being a well-disguised lurker.
    Thank you, Elgar, for the challenge, and to Dutch for the nicely illustrated review.

  8. I want to thank all my loyal commenters and I wish you the very best for 2023.

    I also hope that in the new year we can encourage many more people to contribute to comments. Comments are loved by all (including setters). We want to help you have a positive experience. Ask anything you want in the comments

  9. For your enjoyment then, Dutch:-
    Just as you say, a few easy ones, solved on the first reading. Almost never happens with Elgar, so I was thinking it may be another setter (don’t get the setter’s name in my app). Then another handful before stalling completely.
    Having slept on it, I finished it on Saturday morning.
    As I have written here before, I’ve long since given up expecting to fully solve and parse a Friday Toughie straight out of my head. What you don’t know, you don’t know. Only one or two this time that I was still struggling to parse even after discovering the obscurities in Chambers.
    So thanks to Dutch for the clarification and to Elgar for the entertainment and education. Just such a shame that I know I’ll forget half of the vocabulary I’ve learnt before I have any further use for it.
    Looking forward to more of the same in 2023.
    Seasons best to all the Toughie setter’s and bloggers.

  10. Needed a partial google for the Scottish food, no idea on 24a, and had tremble instead of trembly… Took a while, but good fun. Thanks, and looking forward to trying the double toughie when that’s available here.

  11. Can’t say that I found this as enjoyable as others did – too many obscurities (I didn’t know the Scottish food, the expression of surprise or the hunting cry) and others that I couldn’t (or couldn’t be bothered to) parse. Will anyone join me in admitting that they spent some time (not to long) trying to work ‘Eskimo Nell’ into 6d before deciding that it was probably a bit too outre for the DT?

  12. Loved this, despite the “impossible” 24a. It took days to get going, the Scottish food was Google-assisted, and some of my parsing (notably 7a) was awry. Thanks Elgar for the entertainment, and Dutch for the enlightenment.

Join the Conversation, Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.