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Toughie 2952

Toughie No 2952 by Elgar

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I very much enjoyed the Sloggers and Betters get-together in York last weekend, meeting up with old friends – many from Rookie Corner who are now setters for the dailies – as well as meeting new friends. Our team even won the quiz (no thanks to me!) after a 3-way tie breaker. Today’s puzzle is not one of Elgar’s most fiendish, so enjoy.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    See an island reminding one of Madeira? (5)

CAKEY: The letter see, and a (1,3) version of ‘an island’

4a    Odd risk to run over a way to move timber (4,4)

SKID ROAD: An anagram (to run) of ODD RISK goes over A from the clue

10a     Connected cast to the audience (7)

THROUGH: A homophone (to the audience) of a 5-letter word meaning cast

11a    Unable to resist Scottish Isle? (It’s annoying having to share hotel) (2,5)

IN CHECK: A 4-letter Scottish isle and a 4-letter word meaning ‘It’s annoying’ share the abbreviation for hotel

12/13/14a    A number of the Beatles controversially snub heartsick fans


17a    It’s a surprise they are up over the optics

RAISED EYEBROWS: Figurative and literal meanings

19a    Artist’s device which is shifty the forger’s in on? (14)


22/23/24a    The common origin of Cinderella and Snow White? (4,4,1,4)

ONCE UPON A TIME: Cryptic definition: a common beginning to these stories

27a    ZZ Top from early on slide after double shaving maybe? (4-3)

SHUT-EYE: The first letter (top) of ‘early’ follows (on) a 5-letter word for a slide, just after double shaving (i.e., removing pairs of outer letters from) the word ‘maybe’

28a    Ultimately son not good in producing dried fruit (7)

RAISINS: Swap the last letter in a 7-letter word meaning producing to an abbreviation of son instead of an abbreviation of good (ultimately son not good)

29a    Written work about doing daily series when cycling (8)

TREATISE: A short word meaning about or concerning, a preposition that can mean doing, a 1-letter newspaper daily, and a 3-letter set – then cycle the last letter to the front

30a    This sexologist would be awfully unpleasant in two hospitals (5)

ELLIS: Put the answer between two abbreviations for hospital, and we see a 7-letter word meaning ‘awfully unpleasant’


1d     The enrobing bishop is, in short, a shirker (8)

CUTHBERT: THE from the clue containing the abbreviation for bishop goes inside (is in) a word meaning short

2d    Port and the smallest amount of cumin introduced to dish (7)

KARACHI: The first letter (smallest amount) of cumin is introduced to an Indian serving dish

3/15/25d    Be very involved with sell-out – we can’t ask for more than this (4,5,4)

YOUR LEVEL BEST: An anagram ( … involved with …) of BE VERY + SELL-OUT

5d    Knowledge principally within reach of earth, go seeking adventure (6,8)

KNIGHT ERRANTRY: The first letter (principally) of knowledge, a 4-letter word meaning ‘within reach’ or ‘close by’, a 6-letter word meaning ‘of earth’, and a word for a ‘go’ or ‘attempt’

6/16/26d    Avoided transporting Engels or Nietzsche, both in the end lacking fare (4,5,4)

DUCK FRIED RICE: A 6-letter word for avoided contains (transported) the first name of Engels or Nietzsche, however both elements are missing the last letter (both in the end lacking)

7d    Disregarded spare tool (7)

OVERSAW: A word for spare or remaining, and a cutting tool

8d    African city medic has alias (5)

DAKAR: A two letter abbreviation for a medic contains (has) an abbreviation for alias

9d    We can’t decide on remote French retailers we patronise (7-7)

CHANNEL HOPPERS: Two meanings, the first related to tv

18d    No longer concerned with maintaining a favourable image, moves on man-eaters (8)

OGRESSES: Take a 10-letter word meaning ‘moves on’ and remove (no longer) the initial 2-letter abbreviation that means ‘concerned with maintaining a favourable image’

20d    Only child we hear Elgar’s worked on close up (7)

OCCLUDE: The abbreviation for ‘only child’, then a homophone of a 5-letter word that means ‘Elgar’s worked on’ in terms of putting together a puzzle

21d    Cop fired after politician forged sanction (7)

INITIAL: An anagram (forged) of (po)LITI(c)CIAN without (fired) the letters in COP

22d     Inception filmed here? (5)

ONSET: Split (2,3), the answer describes a filming location

I think my favourite was the snubbing Beatles. Which clues did you like?

10 comments on “Toughie 2952

  1. As you say, Dutch, not one of the most fiendish, but obscurities (5d, 1d, 30a), a dish I’ve never heard of (6d) and a quite unfamiliar usage of 11a (though I had the parsing very early) kept it firmly in the Toughie 5* category for me. Beatles song was my first in and a “write first parse later” clue, with its clever surface/anagram, but 22a was a lovely penny-dropper, sharing the top step for me with 18d.

    5* / 4*

    Thank you to Elgar and to Dutch

  2. I enjoyed this enormously, and did think it was – for Elgar – on the easier side, though definitely a real challenge. Couldn’t quite figure out the parsing of 27a, and had never heard of the meaning of 1d, but you live and learn. Many thanks as ever to Elgar and to Dutch for the clarifications.

  3. What is easier from Elgar is still pretty awkward, although, given time, I did manage to complete it with the usual caveat that there were one or two unparsed bung-ins. 17a and 9d shared my top spot.

    My thanks to Elgar for a terrific tussle, and to Dutch for deciphering the unparsed clues.

  4. Not fiendish? You have to be joking! I’ve just done my usual “read and write”, which is the only way I’ll ever understand an Elgar offering.

    1. :) Being fair to Dutch he didn’t say the puzzle was “not fiendish”, but rather, “not one of Elgar’s most fiendish”, and that’s certainly how I saw it, too!

  5. I didn’t think I was going to get far with this at first, but it all fell in at the end. I had never heard of the waterless log flume, despite having worked in forestry in my youth. It isn’t in my 1998 BRB but it had to be so I wrote it in before I googled it. Thanks to Elgar and Dutch for another joyously wasted Friday.

  6. Finished it with a wee bit of help from Dutch, along the way, so technically a DNF but very enjoyable indeed. Never heard of 1d and still can’t find an exact online reference anywhere. Any help out there on 1d? I was surprised, however, at much I was able to solve on my own. These days, I seldom even attempt an Elgar. Like Dutch, I really liked the Beatles number, my third one in (after 8 & 22d). 17a a special delight and quite the ‘surprise’! Thanks to Dutch and Elgar.

  7. Managed about 25% before admitting defeat, which is much worse than normal for me. The multiple combined clues didn’t help, as I just couldn’t get enough checkers to make more progress.

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