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Toughie 207

Toughie No 207 by Elgar

The Toughest Toughie yet?

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

I always look forward to a puzzle when I see that Elgar is the setter.  This one was extremely tough and maybe, for some of you, too tough.  I did manage to complete all but the 20a/23d clues in the printed version but needed trial and error on CluedUp to complete the job.  The review will take a little while to prepare (and a gallon of coffee as well!) so I have provided all of the answers in the interim.

Feel free to discuss, via the comments, your views on this puzzle.  Unlike a certain other website, (did I say what when multiplied by itself gives 225?) we are happy to take all of your comments, on or off topic, as we regard this as a forum not an academy for the elite.  You don’t need a degree in gobbledygook here!

1a Knock back a shot with backspin, achieving a curve (8)
{PARABOLA} – RAP (knock) reversed (back) with A LOB (a shot) also reversed (with backspin) around (achieving) A gives one of the conic sections (curve) – the others being ellipses and hyperbolae, the circle being a special case of the ellipse

5a The Messiah at first reluctant to engage cleaner (1-5)
{J-CLOTH} – J(esus) C(hrist) (the Messiah, at first) is followed by LOTH (reluctant) – the first time I have seen this cleaning cloth in a crossword!

9a Square x (5)
{TIMES} – a double definition – note how being put first disguises the fact that Times Square needs capitalisation!

10a R. Smythe’s baby Fitzgerald performed without accompaniment (1,8)
{A CAPPELLA} – Reg Smythe created A(ndy) CAPP; follow this with ELLA Fitzgerald

12a Class ‘A’: good parts — and bad (10)
{GASTROPODA} – an anagram of A GOOD PARTS gives this class of molluscs – to find out more follow the link to, a site run by fellow Bristol Mathematics graduate Ed Hardy, in the sidebar

13a & 6d This criminal can’t argue with getting year: I’ll come back clean and corrected (4,4)
{FAIR COPY} – take FAIR COP (this criminal can’t argue) and add Y(ear)

15a Poor dad’s so broke it might come in useful (7,4)
{ADDRESS BOOK} – the anagram indicator here is poor (not broke) and the fodder is DAD’S SO BROKE

16a Strike’s success (3)
{HIT} – a double definition which is one of the key clues for getting into this puzzle

17a Patient’s conclusion following City ‘treatment’? (3)
(ECT} – put T (patienT‘s conclusion) after EC (the post code of the City of London) to get ElectroConvulsive Therapy

18a Polygraph’s electrode might need tightening with it (3,8)
{LIE DETECTOR} – an anagram of ELECTRODE and IT – the anagram indicator is buried in the fodder!

20a & 23d Nanny’s quickly turned over Viz feature about foremost of sexists (4,4)
{SPIT SPOT} – the expression used by Mary Poppins to mean quickly comes from TOP TIPS (Viz feature) reversed (turned over) around S (foremost of Sexists – itself an allusion to Sid the Sexist from Viz) – not being a fan of either Mary Poppins or Viz put me at somewhat of a disadvantage here and I needed Tilsit to bail me out!

“Well, don’t stand there staring. Best foot forward. Spit spot!”

21a We maidens love scheming (5,5)
{IDEAS WOMEN} – this all-in-one clue is an anagram (scheming) of WE MAIDENS O (love)

24a Unscrupulously put forward and back, I left secure banks (7-2)
{TRUMPED UP} – a rather awkward sequence of wordplay has T(I)ED UP (secure) without the I (I left) around (banks) RUMP (back)

26a Just like the Piggy-wig, the Turkey tied it! (5)
{NOOSE} – put the ring (O) in the NOSE – I thought it had to be at the end rather than the middle!


The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
‘O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!’


Pussy said to the Owl, ‘You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?’
They sailed away, for a year and a day,
To the land where the Bong-tree grows
And there in a wood a Piggy-wig stood
With a ring at the end of his nose,
His nose,
His nose,
With a ring at the end of his nose.


‘Dear pig, are you willing to sell for one shilling
Your ring?’ Said the Piggy, ‘I will.’
So they took it away, and were married next day
By the Turkey who lives on the hill.
They dined on mince, and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
The moon,
The moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.

27a Quite 13 (6)
{PRETTY} – read this as “quite fair” and then it’s a single or a double definition

28a Heinz’s bar order is ‘Genius’? (8)
{EINSTEIN} – Elgar may think he has invented this clue, but EIN STEIN has been used before!

1d Throw up, perhaps, after having two thirds of spud soup (6)
{POTAGE} – EG (for example / perhaps) reversed (throw up as it’s a down clue) after POTA(TO) (having two thirds of spud) makes this thick soup

2d Legendary twin birds grounded after first shot of rifleman (5)
{REMUS} – Romulus’s legendary twin brother is derived from EMUS after R(ifleman)

3d First past the post would surely have been this! (10)
{BESTRIDDEN} – the past tense of to bestride looks a lot like BEST RIDDEN

4d Discharge the Pope? (3)
{ARC} – an electrical discharge or A Roman Catholic

6d See 13 across (4)

7d Craft of court organisation a pig to swallow? (3,6)
{OIL TANKER} – this large floating craft comes from the odd combination of LTA (Lawn Tennis Association / court organisation) inside (to swallow) OINKER (a pig)

8d Help to Miss Whiplash’s excitement getting out of short one-piece (8)
{HEADREST} – don’t be fooled by the capital letters! – read the definition as “a help to miss whiplash injury” and the wordplay as HEAT (excitement) getting outside of DRES(S) (short one-piece)

10d Got caught (11)
{APPREHENDED} – a double definition

11d PAs having a bad day leave without giving notice (5-2-4)
{AIDES-DE-CAMP} – these Personal Assistants are a charade of A then IDES (bad day – beware the Ides of March!) and DECAMP

14d Openers batting after lunch? Supporting the flipping game, one had Duckworth-Lewis discounted (5,5)
{FORTY WINKS} – to get this after-lunch snooze it looks like FOR (supporting) and T(IDDL)Y WINKS (the flipping game) without (discounted) the I’D (I had) and DL (Duckworth-Lewis) – but is there something else missing from the clue or am I missing something? Thanks for filling in the gaps, iSkiapod (the last three words of the clue were missing from the online version)

I represented Bristol University in two different ganes.  Not cricket and Rugby, but Bridge and Tiddly Winks.  Not a lot of people knew that!

15d In my own time, I adapted this for retail use (2,7)
{AT LEISURE} – an anagram of RETAIL USE

16d Ring around to engage thatcher to write off Teri’s roof (8)
{HOUSETOP} – here you need to put a HOOP (ring) around USE (to engage) and T (thatcher without Teri Hatcher) to get a roof

19d Confine broadcasts sequentially (6)
{INTERN} – sounds like (broadcast) in turn (sequentially)

22d Love in extra’s heart for actress (5)
{MOORE} – O (love) inside MORE (extra) – the extra has nothing whatsoever to do with cricket this time!

23d See 20 across (4)

25d Yorkshire banker going after 4dn 16ac 17ac in buildings? (3)
{URE} – ARC HIT ECT URE – Gazza said today that if a river wasn’t the Dee then it was the Exe, but he forgot this one which is particularly popular with Telegraph setters!

23 comments on “Toughie 207

  1. If Big Dave found this the toughest Toughie yet, I’m pleased to have completed it. Have to admit to some guesswork though, and I had ‘ideal woman’ instead of ‘ideas women’ which was careless.

  2. What a pleasure compared to yesterdays for me a horror crossword. Loved 20a/23d, 28a has to be one of the best for me. Started off with intercepted for 10d, till 15a forced me to rethink.Also had T-cloth for 5a where J- cloth is the answer,silly me!

  3. too tough for me.
    Thanks for your website though – I used to take days to do the cryptic and after seeing how it was done via your site, I can finish them in under an hour without having to refer to you! Being now way too bigheaded I though I could try the Toughies (yesterday and today) Did I come back down to earth in a hurry!!
    Thanks again

    1. those two are particularly hard, i think, there are days – odd ones – that even I can complete a toughie… so don’t stop trying :)

  4. Dave,
    One of the hardest in a long while, took me ages to get through this one. I tackled it in short pieces during gaps at work. I know what 20a and 23d is now (like you I found the answer via trial and error). But I still have a problem :-) I understand the definition (I googled it – Mary Poppins). But I cannot work out the wordplay. The only sexist I know from Viz is Sid, and that doesn’t seem to fit at all. Waiting to be enlightened.

    1. Viz is not a magazine for my generation, but Tilsit tells me that TOP TIPS are a feature. Reverse them around S(exists) and you have the Mary Poppins reference

    2. libellule,
      Apparently there’s a feature in Viz called “top tips”, example:
      WORRIED that your teeth will be stained after a heavy night drinking red wine? Drink a bottle of white wine before going to bed, to remove the stains.

  5. ha ha is Elgar havin a laf???
    Couldn’t hack it today, Big Dave should be canonished!!!

    1. Welcome to the blog jan and ken

      Believe you me, there were times when I felt like checking the blog for the answers, then realised I hadn’t written them yet!

  6. Phew! Feeling very smug after doing the Cryptic without too much trouble then bang down to earth with this one! Didn’t really get to grips with it at all, maybe its just Friday after a hard day at work! Looking forward to your explanations BD, but loved 5a just because it made us laugh!

  7. Best toughie for ages but I couldn’t get 20/23 never having read Viz so thanks yet again Dave, you and the guys are great.

  8. This was really hard and i had to rely on this blog to complete. I think that 25d is very clever.

  9. 24a was a real toughie. Would never have solved that if it weren’t for your clues Dave. Well done!

    1. Welcome Fletch

      I think had you refreshed before posting you would have had the answer! But then we wouldn’t have tempted you out into the open.

  10. Thank you so much for this site. Working these out from your hints is so much better than having someone simply give the answers.

    BTW the something missing from your review of 14d is the DL abbreviation of the Duckworth-Lewis rule for determining the result of a rain shortened cricket match.

    1. Thank you and welcome iSkiapod

      I’m still puzzled – does the newspaper version have something that’s not in the online version?

      1. It would seem so, The full clue in the paper is:

        Openers batting after lunch? Supporting the flipping game, one had Duckworth-Lewis dIscounted.

        And I thought I was being so clever, but you had one hand behind your back :)

  11. Two days of ferocious puzzles, I am absolutely drained after those two Toughies. The difference with todays was that there was a lot in there that made me smile, where yesterdays was a brutal slog.

    1. Today’s took me about three times as long as yesterday’s!

      It is important to point out that both of these have been difficult and if you struggled, please don’t give up. A year ago I probably would not have finished either of these.

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