Toughie 2904 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2904

Toughie No 2904 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Today Elgar gives us a pangram with lots of lovely clues. Four all-in-ones in across

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8a    Animals replaced in launcher by ex-POTUS’s granny (8)

BABUSHKA: Replace a 3-letter collection of animals in a 7-letter word for a hand-held missile launcher with an ex-American president

9a    I, the Reaper, caught one frozen in suspense (6)

ICICLE: I from the clue plus a homophone (caught) of a tool that is a reaper

10a    Rust on surface – will nothing stop it? (3)

ROT: The outer letters (on surface) of RusT are stopped by the letter that looks like nothing or zero

11a    On wheels, lout taking a spin (3,5)

BOY RACER: A reversal (taking a spin) of a short word meaning on or concerning, a set of wheels, and a lout

12a    Literary outsiders thwart cruel trap (6)

HAZARD: The alphabetical extremes (literary outsiders) go inside (thwart, as in obstruct) a word that can mean cruel

13a    “I” put in CATHOLIC with “I” put in IN (8,7)

ELECTRIC CURRENT: A verb meaning to vote in (put in), the abbreviation for Roman Catholic containing an “I” (with … put in), and a 7-letter word meaning ‘in’.

15a/20d    Volatile sort, as lady keenly joining hadj? (1,6,3,4)

A JEKYLL AND HYDE: An anagram of LADY KEENLY + HADJ. The “as” serves to use the definition as the anagram indicator

18a    See 4d

21a    Under review then, for a few, the onset of change? (9,5)

HAWTHORNE EFFECT: An anagram (under review) of THEN FOR A FEW THE +C(hange – the onset of change). The answer describes the behaviour of a group of people who aware they are being studied – it’s in Chambers!

24a    Muscles are adversely affected, it’s said, after one? (6)

ABSEIL: The stomach muscles plus a homophone (it’s said) of a word meaning “are adversely affected”

25a    Sadly what monarch losing crown got in (3,5)

HOT WATER: An anagram (sadly) of WHAT plus the abbreviation for our monarch contains (g)OT from the clue without the first letter (losing crown)

26a    Her mirror image cherished by Henry VIII (3)

IVY: Reverse hidden (mirror image cherished by … ). And yes, it actually is a mirror image!

27a    Fat chap’s clutched back part (6)

BEHALF: The reversal (back) of some bodily fat containing a male pronoun

28a    Favourite in nursery has nobbled Ebor ringer (8)

DOORBELL: A favourite child’s toy contains (has) an anagram (nobbled) of EBOR


1d    Climbing large tree? Pack good old anorak (6)

KAGOOL: Reversal (climbing) of the abbreviation for large and a 3-letter tree to contain (pack) the abbreviations for good and old. One of several acceptable spellings

2d     Trustworthy sort not entirely following rugby’s code of conduct? (6)

RUBRIC: A 5-letter word for a ‘trustworthy sort’ without the last letter (not entirely) comes after (following) an abbreviation for rugby

3d    “With this ring … as long as we both …”? (3,6,2,4)

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: The answer is a philosophical ring where the end is also a beginning etc. Wedding vows include the phrase ‘until death us do part’, i.e., as long as we both stay alive

4d/18a        Grounds for drilling sandbank shelf – 9 & 25? (7,7)

BARRACK SQUARES: A 3-letter sandbank, a 4-letter shelf, and numbers like 9 & 25

5d     Undoubtedly this examinee’s at a loss!

WITHOUT QUESTION: This situation would make it hard for the examinee to provide an answer!

6d    Italian passing over 0-0 is 1-0 up – ace! (8)

PIZZERIA: A 4-letter word for nought minus the letter O (“-0”) has passing over it a reversal (up) of the Roman numeral for 1 plus a 3-letter word for nought. Then, finally, the card abbreviation for ace.

7d    Barrier protecting my city (8)

FLORENCE: A 5-letter barrier goes around (protecting) an interjection meaning “my!”

14d    I run through Devon base by base (3)

EXE: The base of natural logarithms, the symbol that means (multiplied) by, and the base of natural logarithms again.

16d    Singer of folk jazz organised a beano for Azed in the auditorium? (4,4)

JOAN BAEZ: JAZZ from the clue in which an anagram (organised) of A BEANO replaces a homophone (in the auditorium) of ‘Azed’

17d     Receive a thousand extra thanks for turning up at waterway (8)

KATTEGAT: A reversal (for turning up) of a 3-letter word for receive plus an abbreviation for a thousand outside (extra, as a preposition, see Chambers) a short word for thanks, plus AT from the clue. This waterway is by Denmark

19d Gentleman of the road reported bitter whisky (3)

RYE: Two definitions and a homophone (reported) of a 3-letter word meaning bitter or twisted. The first definition is a gypsy gentleman.

20d    See 15a

22d     Traditionally plated karahi gosht, perhaps, served fiery hot? (6)

FLAMBE: The meat denoted by gosht is contained in (plated) a chemical symbol (the material of a traditional karahi!)

23d    Regularly curse folly with a touch of explicit language (6)

CREOLE: The odd letters (regularly) of ‘curse folly’ plus the first letter (a touch) of explicit

I enjoyed the all-in-ones, and I particularly liked the reaper, the lout on wheels, the karahi gosht, the singer, the granny, and many more. Which were your favourite clues?

12 comments on “Toughie 2904

  1. Another Elgar crossword where he was definitely wearing his hob-nailed boots rather than his holiday flip-flops

    Spotting the pangram helped a lot but I took a lot longer than my ‘usual’ 5* and needed a sit in the shade when I’d finished

    Lots to enjoy so thank you to Elgar and Dutch

  2. Strangely, I found this slightly easier than the usual Elgar – I think this is the first one for a long time where I haven’t needed help with parsing (though please don’t think I’m ungrateful, Dutch, for your wonderful efforts). I thought there might be a Nina that I had missed – spotted the pangram fairly early. No more obscure album covers?

    Predictably, 13a was my favourite, but so many brilliant clues. A thousand thanks to Elgar for a lovely start to the day.

    1. 11a was my first in but I had it as Joy Rider. Managed about half of the rest but as usual Elgar was slightly above my pay grade ! (Long time reader,first time blog)

      1. Welcome to the blog, Gary.
        Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

  3. I found this a bit trickier than the usual Elgar, mainly because of 4/18 and 21a. I managed to parse and then look up the former but the latter took me an age even with all the checkers in place – I’ve never heard of the answer.
    I noticed the pangram but I was expecting Dutch to reveal a theme or Nina – so apparently there is none.
    Thanks to Elgar for the struggle and to Dutch for the review.
    Top clues for me were 8a, 9a and 27a.

  4. Well that was 5d a proper all-out Toughie with which to end the week, and I needed Dutch’s help to understand why I had nearly half a dozen of the answers.

    While I had already parsed the answer in 24a, I still don’t understand what it has to do with “after one”! Presumably the capital letters in 13a are a shoal of red herring? 21a new to me but clear from the anagram. A few odd surfaces, but that seems to be par for the course.

    5 * / 3.5*

    Many thanks to Elgar and of course – posisbly even more so – to Dutch

  5. Parsing 6d made my brain hurt and I’m blaming that for coming up short on 17d which I have never heard of. Favourite was 13a. Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

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