370 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog

Toughie 370

Toughie No 370 by Elgar

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

If any of you are about to pick your jaws off the floor after seeing a 2-star difficulty rating, let me just say that from time to time it’s possible to be on the setter’s wavelength from clue 1, and for the answers to flood in with barely a pause. It’s quite rare, but it happens. That was certainly the case here, with nine across answers entered almost without thinking, which of course was an ideal start for filling several downs as well. To be honest I could have reduced the rating to 1 star, but while the answers went in quickly there were occasions when unravelling the wordplay wasn’t straightforward, and as I write this I’m still thinking about 24a and 28a.

Easy as the puzzle is, there are some cracking clues as you’d expect from Elgar, 4d being the pick of the bunch, and the odd bit of signature naughtiness. Another Elgar trademark is the occasional strangeness of surface reading – perhaps a few more than usual in this puzzle.

As ever, my favourite clues are in blue.

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