Toughie No 382 by Elgar
An eruption of pleasure
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
The sight of all those 1ac references in (mostly) the down clues made me concentrate on that clue first. I couldn’t see the answer immediately but the enumeration was helpful, so I moved on to the first reference at 11a, trying to find 9-letter anagrams including the letters of BRISTOL. Of those I found, one seemed very likely as fitting a theme (it also matched the wordplay) and that made 1a much easier. Identifying the theme was by no means a guarantee of an easy ride and there were quite a few tough clues to crack, but the first run-through elicited 14 answers and the only real headaches beyond that were awkwardly spelt (or, for me, unknown) members of the theme set.
This was good entertainment as ever from Elgar, perhaps without the usual degree of naughtiness and LOL moments, but the enjoyment factor was kept aloft by a number of witty definitions and wordplay indicators. My favourite clues are highlighted in blue.
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[Today I am trying out a new idea – if you hover over a clue the background changes to grey and you should be able to see the answer. Let me know what you think – particularly if you are using an iPhone or similar. BD]