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Toughie 170

Toughie No 170 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Greetings from the top floor of Calderdale Hospital where I am currently holidaying as a guest of the NHS.  It’s 1am and it’s rather warm in here, since they seem to have forgotten to install air-conditioning.  However one of the lovely nurses has brought me a nice cold glass of orange Juice.  Thank you for all the kind wishes and I hope to be home sometime over the next few days.

After two fairly gentle puzzles so far this week, this really made me ramp up the thought processes, and we were treated to superlative stuff from Notabilis today.  One or two of the clues (e.g. 1 across and down)  were utterly fiendish and took me a while to decipher.

As usual, I welcome your thoughts and observations. New posters please note that there may be a  slight delay  before you see it; this is because we check new posts to protect you (and the site) from spammers.

Off we go…..


1a Means to copy something Atkins banned in theory? (6,5)
{CARBON PAPER} A tough start today, though the definition is fairly obvious.  It breaks down as a word-sum with “something Atkins banned” referring to the famous diet.  Hence CARB.  Add to this an expression that means “in theory” – ON PAPER.

7a Barrister’s function, getting around judge (7)
{RUMPOLE} John Mortimer’s legal creation, here we have UMP (abbreviation for Umpire, referee, judge) inside ROLE (function).

8a Good at insulating room in time to repair (7)
{THERMAL} Time to repair (T + HEAL) with RM inside.

10a The thing brought in as a hint should be an aid to understanding words (8)
{SUBTITLE} IT (the thing) inside SUBTLE (a hint)

11a Brawls overheard and put into words (6)
{PHRASE} Sounds like FRAYS.

13a Hoax brought to a conclusion (4)
{CODA} If something is fake / false, it is said to be COD. Add an A to it to make something that concludes.

14a A few getting drunk with geezer in reaction to credit crunch? (4,6)
{WAGE FREEZE}  An anagram of A FEW, plus GEEZER brings about one of the first effects on business when money is tight.

16a Dramatist’s country valley edged by Italian river (10)
{PIRANDELLO} IRAN + DELL (country valley) inside PO.  Luigi P. wrote the work Six Characters in Search of an Author.

18a Reject tall bird with loud exhalation (4)
{FUME}  Reverse of EMU + F.  In Crosswordland, loud is usually represented by F (forte).

21a Bachelor introduced to ordeal of extended family groups (6)
{TRIBAL} B (for Bachelor) inside TRIAL.

22a Treatment for wrinkles reversed appearance of line, in fact (4-4)
{FACE LIFT} FILE (as in Single or Crocodile….) reversed and put inside FACT.

24a US leader left pub nursing a depression (7)
{LINCOLN}  COL (a depression) inside L + INN.

25a Cupholder receives one with less modesty  (7)
{SAUCIER} I inside SAUCER gives you a word meaning cheekier.

26a To scrub reverse of sink in amateur construction is bad manners (11)
{DISCOURTESY}  SCOUR (scrub)  + reverse of  SET (sink – See Chambers) inside D I Y.


1d Ming dynasty, perhaps losing final lines, had temporary place to sleep (4,3)
{CAMP BED} Here our devious setter uses CAMPBELL (Menzies aka Ming, Liberal politician).  Take away LL (final lines) and add ‘D to represent “had”.

2d Cheat that is someone without experience (6)
{ROOKIE} To ROOK is a verb meaning deceive.  Add to this, I.E. for “that is”.

3d Wretched characters in Eldorado’ve piled too much on (10)
{OVERLOADED} An anagram of ELDORADO’VE.  Ahh…. Memories of the Beeb’s turkey of a soap opera, where the acting was more wooden than the sets.

4d Sorrow full of meaning after loss of husband (4)
{PITY}  PITHY (full of meaning) minus H.

5d Too much god in prayer (8)
{PLETHORA} Another gem of a clue.  THOR inside PLEA.

6d Root Mum cooked in anger (7)
{RUMMAGE} An anagram of MUM inside RAGE.

7d Frontless self-assembly unit gentleman set up to hold one’s invested money (4,7)
{RISK CAPITAL} (F)LAT PACK (Self-assembly furniture) + SIR all reversed with I  (for one) inside.

9d German songs including moving octet which hopes to reveal invention (3,8)
{LIE DETECTOR} Songs from Germany are called “LIEDER”, and inside place an anagram of OCTET.

12d Who has real relish in chaos? (10)
{HELLRAISER} A fine example of a clue where the definition is the whole clue.  An anagram of REAL RELISH.

15d Data on all people traps a male with a bad reputation (8)
{INFAMOUS} A M (A male) inside INFO + US

17d Acquiescent, forgetting son was in control (7)
{REIGNED}  Resigned = acquiescent, minus S (for son)

19d Following this public service would be pointlessness (7)
(UTILITY).  Here Notabilis is saying to us “Add F (for following) to a word meaning public service and you’ll get a word meaning pointlessness, so the required answer is UTILITY.

20d Expose Home Office with due reshuffling (6)
{DENUDE} Another fine clue.  Home Office = DEN + an anagram of DUE.

23d Ruin section of Nessun Dorma (4)
{UNDO}   No need to look for a part of this famous aria that might be faulty (unless you are listening to Paul Potts’ version – in fact Pol Pot would have done a better version!).  It’s hidden in NessUN DOrma.  In fact the best version I have ever heard was Dennis O’Neill singing at a concert in Liverpool a few years back.

Thanks to Notabilis for a splendid challenge today.  And now back to unwelding the top off this hospital pie……

[I’m sure that, like me, you wish Tilsit a speedy recovery.  He is automatically notified, by email, of any comments left on this post. BD]

8 comments on “Toughie 170

  1. I can rarely do the Toughie but read the hints and have seen that you haven’t been well. But reading your comments from your hospital bed put a big smile on my face. I wish you all the very best and I hope the lovely nurses are taking good care of you.

  2. Could somebody edit this post and adjust the title to be the correct Toughie No. i.e. 170 and not 166.

  3. Loved this one especially 1a & 1d, really enjoyed it. Glad your sounding so chipper Tilsit, best wishes from North of the Border.

  4. Get Well Soon, Tilsit!
    Nothing wrong with your brain anyway.
    1d. I’d never have thought of Ming Campbell, although I could see the answer was ‘camp bed’

  5. Hi Tilsit – hope the escape plans are progressing well!
    I loved this one. The increasing difficulty of the Toughies over this week makes me wonder whether there is a new policy to bring the Toughies in line with the other puzzles (e.g. Sudoku) on the same page, i.e. gentle at the start of the week, then becoming harder, to reach “diabolical” by Friday. 8)

  6. Get Well, Tilsit – I somehow missed the news of your illness!
    Finally got to grips with a Spanish Dongle and we are now online out here, at least for some of the time. Enjoyed today’s crossword, just got stuck on 7a, so thanks very much. Adios

  7. This seems about the ideal level for a Toughie – hard enough to satisfy the difficulty brief, but not so hard that it becomes a grim struggle even for war-torn veterans. I’ll admit to missing the wordplay for 1D completely, so well done Dave. Understanding the wordplay for 7D was one of the best moments. The worst was trying to make sense of the SE corner with a careless SHOWIER at 25.

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