Toughie 195 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 195

Toughie No 195 by Notabilis

Elegance exemplified

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

If you don’t understand the wordplay in one of the Toughies from Notabilis, then keep looking.  As ever the clues are faultless, and the puzzle is correspondingly enjoyable.


1a Science’s beginning to analyse lacking density (6)
{SPARSE} – S (1a Science’s beginning) and PARSE (to analyse) combine to give a word meaning lacking density

4a Sin that’s very unfashionable, mostly among Parisians (8)
{TRESPASS} – this sin is TRES PASSÉ (very unfashionable in French / among Parisians) without the final letter (mostly) – if Google is anything to go by, it seems to be used more by the English than the French, but it’s still a good clue

9a Source of rumours in government is not only exposing the leaders (6)
{ORIGIN} – to get this source just take the initial letters (only exposing the leaders) from Of Rumours In Government Is Not

10a Somewhat faint and emotional, working together (2,6)
{IN TANDEM} – hidden (somewhat) inside faINT AND Emotional is a synonym for working together

11a Medium for computer data to misplace or leak? (8)
{DISCLOSE} – a charade of DISC (medium for computer data) and LOSE (to misplace) gives a word meaning to leak information – the best charades, like this one, split the target word into parts that are unrelated to the answer: DIS and CLOSE would not have been as good

13a Man who breathes on cold windows? (6)
{MISTER} –  this man is cryptically defined as one who mists up cold windows

15a Mash or vinaigrette? Say when (13)
{INTERROGATIVE} – an anagram (mash) of OR VINAIGRETTE gives a word which means denoting a question, like “When?”

18a Commanders clean up old literature and answer cultured people (13)
{COSMOPOLITANS} – a wonderful charade of COS (Commanding Officers) MOP (clean up) O(ld) LIT(erature) and ANS(wer) gives these allegedly cultured people

22a Increase compassion with self-importance (6)
{UPPITY} – I don’t mind two consecutive charades if they are as good as this – UP (increase) and PITY (compassion) give a word meaning with self-importance

24a Ancient language translated from tiny page (8)
{EGYPTIAN} – good surface reading for this anagram (translated) of TINY PAGE

26a Patchy harvests holding princess back (8)
{SPORADIC} – a word meaning patchy that comes from CROPS (harvests) around (holding) Princess IDA all reversed (back) – did you waste time trying to fit the wrong Princess in here?

27a Self-righteous, missing an appointment? He ceremoniously disclaimed responsibility (6)
{PILATE} – a charade of PI (self-righteous) and LATE (missing an appointment) leads to Pontius PILATE, who ceremoniously disclaimed responsibility

28a Sluggish? Wanting answer, get a conservative on the phone (8)
{DILATORY} – a synonym for sluggish is derived by removing the first A (wanting Answer) from DIAL A TORY (get a conservative on the phone)

29a In a gamble, the man is bidding (6)
{BEHEST} – inside BET (gamble) put HE’S (he is / the man is) to get this bidding


1d Rough rum in sling (6)
{SHODDY} – ODD (rum) inside SHY (sling

2d PM said his inferior might be next to the helm (9)
{AMIDSHIPS} – an anagram of PM SAID HIS is signalled by inferior (or is it inferior might be?) – Chambers gives the following definition of inferior: poor or poorer in quality which makes it only marginally better than material that we met twice last week – I had forgotten about this one when I wrote the prologue!

3d Abilities required for job after losing a second saucepan (7)
{SKILLET} – take SKILL (S)ET (abilities required for job) and remove the second S (after losing a Second) to get a saucepan

5d Try to escape? Good step (4)
{RUNG} – RUN (try to escape) and G(ood) combine to get a step on a ladder

6d Carotene derivative has succeeded for six showing endurance (7)
{STAMINA} – start with (VI)TAMIN A (carotene derivative) and put S (Succeeded) instead of VI (six) to get a synonym for showing endurance – I probably spent more time on this wordplay than on all the others put together

7d Financial inspection embraced by Saudi throne (5)
{AUDIT} – the much dreaded financial inspection is hidden in (embraced by) SAUDI Throne

8d County offering a little relaxation with a twist just before the end (8)
{SOMERSET} – this county in the South West of England is obtained by combining SOME (a little) and REST (relaxation) with the middle two letters reversed (with a twist just before the end)

12d Lecture’s serious money in equal instalments upfront? (6)
{SERMON} – the lecture is created by taking the first three letters (equal instalments upfront) from SERious and MONey

14d Dull but piercing (6)
{BORING} – a double definition – one of the easier clues in this puzzle

16d Start to look into revoking European victory (9)
{INSTIGATE} – a word meaning to start is found by taking IN(VE)STIGATE and removing (revoking) VE (Victory in Europe / European victory)

17d Detestable chapter in abandoned crusade (8)
{ACCURSED} – a word meaning detestable is derived by putting C(hapter) inside an anagram (abandoned) of crusade

19d Survive, having stayed in longest? (7)
{OUTLAST} – a cricket flavour to this cryptic definition (don’t mention the Test Match!) – he who is in longest is OUT LAST

20d Tell knight to rise, replacing fifty of what his arrow hit (7)
{APPRISE} – a word meaning to tell comes from taking the APP(L)E that was hit by William Tell’s arrow and using SIR (knight) reversed (to rise) to replace the L (fifty)

21d Share a complaint with court after dodging fine? (6)
{INFECT} – put CT (court) after an anagram (dodging) of FINE – I’m not sure that the person infected would regard it as sharing, but it’s a superb cryptic definition

23d Stem left as stalk? (5)
{PROWL} – PROW (stem) and L(eft) for a word meaning to stalk

25d Who’s taken to heart in modish stores? (4)
{DIOR} – the founder of modish stores comes from the middle (heart) of moDIsh and stORes

Notabilis has yet to visit the blog, although I did meet him at Sloggers & Betters 5.  Now would be a good time to explain 2 down!

13 comments on “Toughie 195

  1. Hi all, found this site looking for Toughie help at about 179. My thanks to you all.

    2d was easily my favourite but liked 4a and 21d as well!
    I am only lacking 25d and have no idea how to get to what appears to be ‘instigate’ for 16d – could someone 20d me?

    1. Hi gmomethang and welcome to the blog,

      For 25d you need to look at the heart of the last two words
      For 16d take out VE (day, European victory) from another word.

      1. Thanks Gazza!
        I managed to fat finger my iPhone so my online moniker is gnomethang.
        Should really have got those two!

    2. We also got a bit stuck on 25d, and only got the answer from your query as there seems to be a few down clues missing?
      Loved 4a!

      1. Sorry, Nana

        I did them ages ago but managed to ovewrite them with an older version when I updated 2 down. Should be OK now.

        1. Forgiven!! We managed to do it anyway, but just like to check why we get them right

  2. Excellent toughie, liked 4a best but needed your help with 27a & 29a, thanks again BD.

  3. 20d again I’m afraid; please can someone enlighten me?
    Does one presume that the knight, arrow and apple are meant to conjure up the image of William Tell?
    If so, Tell was not a knight nor does a crossbow use an arrow! I believe the ‘poetic’ licence to be a touch woolly.

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