Toughie 268 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 268

Toughie No 268 by Elgar

A trip down memory lane

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

A quick look at the CluedUp leaderboard this morning showed that only a handful of people had finished this puzzle, so I immediately had an idea as to the setter! Today’s answers include references to the fifties, sixties and seventies – making it a bit hard for the youngsters among you, but bringing smiles to the faces of the rest of us.

A lot of favourite clues today, the best of which I have highlighted in blue.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    In court, Connolly will appear in minute and second (6,2)
{LITTLE MO} – one of the most popular women’s tennis champions of all time can be found by combining words meaning minute and second, in the sense of small and a short period of time respectively

5a    Vehicle having run out in a religious spot (6)
{TROIKA} – a Russian vehicle drawn by three horses abreast is constructed from the abbreviation for being run out in cricket inside a religious spot on the forehead of Hindu women

9a    On LSD in the execution of the Light Fantastic (8)
{TRIPPING} – a double definition

10a    A D-day drink makes sense (4,2)
{ADDS UP} – this word sum comprises A D Day and a word meaning to drink – put them together and it makes sense

11a    Frightful time to cut, and hard to swallow (7)
{GRISTLY} – a word meaning frightful is put around T(ime) to get something that is literally hard to swallow

12a    Banger making singers, touring at last, cross (7)
{CHORIZO} – this banger is an Iberian sausage – take a group of singers and reverse the last two letters (touring at last) and then add an animal, found in parts of the Himalayas, that is a cross between the male yak and the common horned cow

13a    Now do debtors dread it? Maybe, and pack in a panic! (7,4)
{PAYBACK TIME} –” I need not mean what I say, but I must say what I mean” [Afrit] – what it means is “now do debtors dread” and “in a panic” tells you that it’s an anagram of IT MAYBE and PACK

16a    The Enemy Within: John, a vagrant, enters resort for bombing (6,5)
{TROJAN HORSE} – ‘beware of Greeks bearing gifts‘, and this is why! – you get there from a double anagram: JOHN A (indicated by vagrant) inside (enters) RESORT (indicated by “for bombing”)

21a    Secretary — poorly-clad example to us all (7)
{PARAGON} – this executive secretary is wearing a tatty item of clothing, but is an example to us all

22a    Surprise bearer of 6, one with information about medic (7)
{ANDREWS} – once you have the main theme clues (2d 15d and 6d) then this one makes sense – the original UK presenter of 2d 15d is constructed by starting with one and then wrapping information around the ubiquitous medic

23a    Caroline’s first capital kiss, and its possible end-point? (6)
{CLIMAX} – combine the first letter of Caroline with the capital of Peru and a kiss to get this end-point

24a    Cambridge college’s redesigned meal menu (8)
{EMMANUEL} – this Cambridge college is an anagram of MEAL MENU

25a    Chemist’s whopper, putting cart before horse? (6)
{LIEBIG} – this German chemist who made major contributions to agricultural and biological chemistry is formed by swapping the order of two words meaning a whopper, in the sense of an gross untruth

26a    My Jo? No longer, by the look of it! (5,3)
{LOVED ONE} – this subject of a poem by Rabbie Burns looks differently when viewed as (4,4)

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo.

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hill thegither;
And mony a cantie day, John,
We’ve had wi’ ane anither:
Now we maun totter down, John,
And hand in hand we’ll go,
And sleep thegither at the foot,
John Anderson, my jo.


1d           Time to split releases (4,2)
{LETS GO} – this is a double definition – time to split / releases – but what makes it interesting is that only the first definition has an apostrophe

2d & 15d History file is being broadcast about you (4,2,4,4)
{THIS IS YOUR LIFE} – this TV program presented the history of a celebrity, after which they were presented with a file in a 6d – I forgot to mention that this all-in-one (&lit) clue is an anagram of HISTORY FILE IS around U, although “broadcast” may be doing double duty as both anagram and homophone indicator

3d           Very much like pupil at Harrow? (3,2,2)
{LAP IT UP} – a phrase meaning to very much like is an anagram (harrow) of PUPIL AT

4d           Circus performers overhead, with big 6 (5,6)
{MONTY PYTHON} – if it had said flying instead of overhead, this would have been so easy!

6d           Spooner has to sleep with black bird in 2&15’s main feature (3,4)
{RED BOOK} – this is what was presented to the featured celebrity in 2d 15d – swap the initial letters and you get what the Rev. William Archibald Spooner might have called it – the definitions for his version are to sleep with and a black bird

7d           Isn’t suffering? (Sauce that’s hot, not half fuelling fire!) (8)
{INSPIRIT} – put an anagram (suffering) of ISN’T around half of a hot sauce (it doesn’t matter which half, they are both the same) and you get a word meaning  to fire with enthusiasm

8d           Useful item for building, outside which surprise bearer of 6 is a plant (8)
{ASPHODEL} – an item used on the building site for carrying bricks or mortar is placed inside the second presenter of 2d 15d to get this plant

12d         Dish of macaroni and ham from author of little 6 (8,3)
{CHAIRMAN MAO} – I don’t recall dish being used as an anagram indicator before, but it is certainly very appropriate – use MACARONI and HAM as the fodder and the result is the author of a one-time best seller in China

14d         Weird new action replay Nero’s not seen (8)
{ATYPICAL} – the definition here is weird – and it’s an anagram, indicated by new, of ACTIon rePLAY, after removing the letters in Nero

15d         See 2d

17d         A foursome getting together in order to secure a new Asian currency (7)
{AFGHANI} – the foursome is four consecutive letters of the alphabet – put them around A N(ew), and don’t forget the initial A, and you have the currency used by troops fighting the War on Terror

18d         Play-mate’s finished it (7)
{ENDGAME} – this final stage of a game of chess could be finished by checkmate or stalemate

19d         Sustained melody with time roused love (6)
{TENUTO} – a musical term meaning a sustained note or chord is built up by taking a melody followed by T(ime), reversing all of it (roused, got up) and then adding a final tennis score of love

20d         Lover of opera ‘an ex-peddler of drugs’, as she confirms (6)
{ISOLDE} – this famous lover of Tristan could be split as (1,4,1)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

A bit of a marathon today, but I hope we all got there in the end.

[By the way – I forgot to set the stars when I first posted the blog, which is why they have now changed.]

11 comments on “Toughie 268

  1. Missed the 1a reference and failed on 25a, 26a as well as 17d, 19d before coming to this blog (usually I admit defeat if I haven’t finished by end of lunch)
    Good puzzle but one to make you think!
    Favourite was 13a but liked 23a and 24a too.

  2. Vintage Elgar and a shock to the system to see him fill the Tuesday Toughie rather than the Friday. I had not come across the chemist in 25a before and missed 19d, otherwise persistence and mulling the clues around meant that the rest of them fell into place. Favourite clue was 12d but lots of other good ones to tease and amuse. Thanks to Elgar and thanks to BD for the Blog – with Spam today!

    1. Actually 12d kicked me off on the theme – the anagram leapt out at me and I started looking for the rest.

      1. It was the Spoonerism that got me started on the theme, which then gave a good number of pegs to hang the answers to the remaining clues.

  3. Very quiet on both blogs today! There is a raunchy offering in today’s Guardian – even has 69 as an answer though the clue is not half as good as the one Elgar proposed.

  4. It was the anagram in 2d &15d that got me started. Nice.

    Spluttered to a halt about a dozen clues later – need more practice on the toughies.

  5. Glad to see the stars have been updated. I thought you were being slightly generous and ungenerous respectively!

  6. Way too tough for me – about half done when I gave up over dinner last night. Should have got the flying circus though, and may well have done if not for the fact that I had gristle insteadof gristly.

    Was rather thrown by 23a – “Caroline” “First” “Capital” and “Kiss” – all radio stations? Well, nearly! Nothing to do with it though – misdirection or coincidence?

  7. Hi Dave,
    Doing this from work as BT have cut off our phone line and internet connection so was completely stuffed last night when trying to relax with a bit of a puzzle after packing all my worldly goods – couldn’t get any help from anywhere and found this really hard! Thank goodness for the Newspaper and my dictionaries etc!

    Anyway, just in case we don’t get any connection before Christmas we’d like to wish you all a very merry time and see you in 2010

    Nana & Hotlips

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