Toughie 570 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 570

Toughie No 570 by Notabilis


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

Greetings from the Calder Valley. Feeling rather under the weather, suffering a nasty dose of cellulitis in my left leg. However, I was cheered when I found that today’s Friday challenge came from Notabilis. We are presented with the usual elegant and mind-bending clues with clever and witty surface readings.

I thought we were in for another Friday pangram but I think we are two letters short.

I’d like to thank everyone who came to the Sloggers and Betters do in London on Tuesday evening. It was an absolutely splendid evening and it was so nice to see so many both from the Blog and the world of crosswords in general. Thanks to the lovely Jane T, John H and Big Dave for their work in organising it. Gossip will be revealed in return for the usual plain brown envelope payments.

Thanks to Notabilis for a really great challenge today. Favourite clues are highlighted in blue.

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

Now back to my sick bed……..


1a    Dangerous driving that might lead you to mirage? (8,7)
{MOTORWAY MADNESS} A cryptic definition to start with today. A phrase that gives a cause for dangerous driving is defined cryptically by saying that this might be caused by seeing a mirage (MI RAGE) when driving (on the M1 perhaps).

9a    Roughly ten to be covered by Henry’s last one? (7)
{PARTNER} Clever stuff. An “all-in-one” clue with an anagram of “ten” placed inside Henry (the Eighth’s) last wife’s surname. This will give you a word meaning “a significant other”.

10a    Lobby containing abandoned baggage (7)
{HOLDALL} A word meaning abandoned (as in ancient) goes inside one meaning “lobby” (as in a hotel one) to give a word for a type of luggage.

11a    Mountain dweller that is cross about bishop (4)
{IBEX} The answer here is one of those words that is often found in puzzles. A word for a four-legged mountain dweller is found by placing B (for bishop in chess) inside I.E. X, “that is (to say), cross”.

12a    Set back a fraction of a pound, invested in wood wind instrument of sorts (5)
{KAZOO} Thanks to BD for help with this! I spent far too long trying to find a word with P (for penny) “a fraction of a pound” inside the reversal of a type of wood. However, it’s actually a pound of weight, rather than money. So a ¹⁄₁₆ of a pound goes inside a type of stout wood and the whole thing reversed. This leads to a type of musical instrument (although some would dispute whether it is actually one!)

13a    Elderly turned to bridge (4)
{SPAN} An archaic way (indicated by “elderly”) of saying “turned” is also a word which means to bridge something as well.

16a    Software suite returned to examine, including card game (7)
{TOOLSET} More trouble for me here, as I first entered “Toolkit” which blocked me from solving 14 down. Oddly I saw the subsidiary indications but just didn’t make connections. Start with a word meaning “examine” and put inside the name of an old card game that is a mixture of trick-taking and gambling and was very popular in the 19th century. When reversed (returned) this brings a word used to indicate a package of software designed for computer operation.

17a    New Age one’s associated with part of India (7)
{GOANESE} An anagram of AGE ONE’S leads you to an adjective that relates to a state of India.

18a    Society after financial capacity sinks (7)
{POCKETS} A cryptic definition of the space for money in your trousers takes S (for society) and leads you to a word meaning sinks (as in a snooker ball).

21a    Mark working in arithmetic for order to appear (7)
{SUMMONS} M ON (Mark working) goes inside a word for arithmetic and will reveal a legal document which requires you to attend court.

23a    Not troubled when wearing enemy’s coat (4)
{EASY} A word meaning “when” goes inside “E Y” ( the coat, i.e. first and last letters of ENEMY ) and gives you a word meaning untroubled”.

24a    First offerings from authors under discussion in Telegraph review of books (5)
{AUDITS} Initial letters from “authors under discussion in Telegraph” reveals a word for a financial review.

25a    Abandoned booze but not Ecstasy or dope (4)
{BOZO} An anagram of BOOZE without E (for Ecstasy) shows up a word meaning a complete wally, or dope. (If you are called Wally, please note the lack of a capital letter in the last sentence)

28a    Water I treated is more than enough for an African state (7)
{ERITREA} Hidden in “Water I treated” is the name of an independent state in Africa.

29a    Reported responsibility with a support framework (7)
{TRUSSED} A homophone of a word for responsibility is a word meaning “with a support frame”.

30a    What could make monarchy turn to new person from Yorkshire, say? (5-10)
{NORTH-COUNTRYMAN} An anagram of MONARCHY TURN TO N (for new) gives you a definition of me, or someone from where I live!

I am going to retire early and leave you in the capable hands of Big Dave for the Downs. Hope to be back next week!


1d           Representative in Brussels, the man’s best man, unproductive and cynical (15)
{MEPHISTOPHELEAN} – a wonderful charade of a Member of the European Parliament, a word meaning “the man’s” (3), best, the male pronoun, and a word meaning unproductive or unfruitful leads to a word meaning cynical or fiendish

2d           Ruin excitement about BBC accent (English) (7)
{TORPEDO} – a word meaning to ruin a plan is created by putting some excitement (2,2) around RP (Received Pronunciation / BBC accent} and E(nglish)

3d           Offensive nobility (4)
{RANK} – a double definition – offensively strong-scented and nobility or aristocracy

4d           Departments that primarily must keep British side by side (7)
{ABREAST} – put some departments and T (That primarily) around (must keep) B(ritish) to get a word meaning side by side

5d           John Hurt enters periodical game (3-4)
{MAH-JONG} – put an anagram (hurt) of JOHN inside a short word for a periodical to get an old Chinese table game for four, played with small painted bricks or ‘tiles’

6d           Iota divided by 50 equals 25 (4)
{DOLT} – put an iota or small amount around the Roman numeral for 50 to get another 25 across

7d           Having large volume at foot of second book case (7)
{EXAMPLE} – put a word meaning having a large volume after the abbreviation of the second book in the Bible to get a case or instance

8d           Warning against rash talk from scold seeing line blurred? (7,2,6)
{SILENCE IS GOLDEN} – this warning against rash talk is an anagram (blurred) of SCOLD SEEING LINE

14d         American woman’s conduct (5)
{USHER} – a charade of an American and the female possessive pronoun (woman’s) gives a word meaning to conduct someone, perhaps to a seat in a theatre

15d         Board game comprehended by Neanderthal man (5)
{HALMA} – this game played on a board of 256 squares, in which the pieces are moved into vacant squares immediately behind an opponent’s pieces is hidden inside (comprehended by) the last two words of the clue

19d         Dismiss written report implicating second bank worker (7)
{CASHIER} – there are three parts to this clue, two definitions and some wordplay – to dismiss from a post, especially in the armed forces, in disgrace / a written report, especially of the proceedings of a meeting, with S(econd) inserted (implicating) / a bank worker

20d         Mona Lisa’s technique thus masks sign of hesitation in form of oil (7)
{SFUMATO} – a misty, indistinct effect achieved by gradually blending together areas of different colour or tone (Mona Lisa’s technique) is created by putting a word meaning thus around (masks) a sign of hesitation inside a form of oil

21d         Son and hand warmer in love (7)
{SMITTEN} – a charade of S(on) and a hand warmer, usually worn by a child, gives a word meaning “in love”

22d         American creature turned soprano into technical performer (7)
{OPOSSUM} – to get this American creature put an abbrev of soprano inside a derogatory word for a pop musician who concentrates excessively on technical details and reverse the lot (turned)

26d         Part of foot and sides of altar cloth (4)
{ARCH} – this part of the foot c omes from the outside letters (sides) of A(lta)R C(lot)H

27d         Right to polish up rough pronunciation (4)
{BURR} – start with R(ight) and add a word meaning to polish then reverse the lot (up, as this is a down clue) to get rough pronunciation with a regional accent, especially one in which the letter r is prominent

It’s always a pleasure to review a Notabilis puzzle – even though I only got to do half of it!

12 comments on “Toughie 570

  1. Thanks for the first half, Tilsit and it was very good to finally meet you on Tuesday.
    All the big clues came in quite quickly but I ended up buying letters for some of the 5 letter clues after a visit to the dentist.
    The sheer joy of writing in the charade at 1d was worth the cost of my subscription alone!
    Many other fine clues. Thanks to Notabilis as well.

  2. Sorry to hear you are under the weather again – thank you for explaining the acrosses, some of which had me stumped for some considerable time before the pennies dropped, particularly the one that, like you I kept trying to insert into 12a! I agree with Gnomey that the splendid 1d was clue of the day. Thanks to Notabilis for the very taxing toughie, to Tilsit for the across enlightenment and in advance to BD for the downs.

  3. I liked this – though uncertain about the clueing of 13a & 19d , faves 12a ,1d , 9a .
    (good word that 20d – I admit to looking it up )
    Thanks to reviewers and Notabilis .
    ps , I put epitome in at 7d – so that held me up a bit .

  4. I don’t usually venture in to the inner pages to try this one but thought I’d give it a go today. Too tough for me I’m afraid. 9a, 12a, 16a, 18a all beat me. I still can’t do 14d although I have the crossing letters. Loved 1d which I did manage to work out. I have got, but don’t understand 2d (RPE). Could someone explain please? Thanks to Tilsit and to Notabilis. Returning to the back page on Monday!

    1. 14d is one that you kick yourself when you get it.

      If you have the wrong answer for 16a, that could have made it difficult.

  5. Excellent puzzle, and quite tricky.

    Very nice clues, great fun.

    Thanks to Notabilis for a fine puzzle and to Tilsit and BD.

  6. My favourite toughie for a long time. I really enjoyed this though it took me for ever, fav. clue 1d. Thanks to Notabilis for a great crossword and to Tilsit and BD for the notes.

  7. WOW, first time ever I’ve actually completed every Toughie in a week! OK, not the most difficult week on record but . . . ! Told you yesterday I was up for a Notabilis, (although I have to confess to using Wiki to check the Mona Lisa technique). Maybe that means I haven’t ‘cleaned’ the week but it works for me! Done Elgar last week and after a bit of encouragement from Qix I even completed the Araucaria in the Grauniad this week. – Perhaps I am getting better!
    Thanks Notabilis for a great puzzle, and to Tilsit and BD for a great blog – for once not required on a Friday!

  8. Struggle, struggle, struggle and then some more!
    The DT cryptic is hard enough for me, perhaps it’s my age.

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