Toughie 582 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 582

Toughie No 582 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Tilsit and Big Dave

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley and from Big Dave Towers! We are doing a double hander today with BD doing the Downs and me the Acrosses. I’m not feeling 100% and will retire to my bed after doing my bit. A lovely puzzle from Notabilis today with plenty to make you smile and nice way to end what I feel has been a mixed Toughie week. It’s one of those puzzles that took a bit of working out, but once you see the answer and match it to the clue, you can see and appreciate the way it works (and the mind of the evil genius behind it!). As usual with Notabilis, some of the clues are innovative ways of working clues, 8 across being a great example. How many setters would have clued it in that way?

I’m not sure whether we have a NINA in today’s puzzle, although the answers to 9 across and 12 across when linked can produce a sort of reference to the clue at 12!

A couple of grumbles, not directly connected with the puzzle. The website today has been a real mess. I was trying to solve the puzzle on line while resting in bed and had problems trying to save it, the page crashing and when I used two “one-letter” hints, it took the five off me. I noticed a new link on the page to “the Puzzles helpline”, so whether that has anything to do with it, I’m not sure. Not that I personally am fussed, but my stats for solving the puzzle were completely wonky by the time I completed the puzzle.

I was also disappointed that a puzzle of this quality was badly rated by the solvers, although as of now, it has increased somewhat. At 09:30 this morning, it had a score of two smiles and one star, a complete travesty [only three had solved it at that time, the Telegraph’s tester, serial cheat Robr and one other.  BD]. I sometimes think that wording of the rating on the Telegraph site is very misleading. If you mark the puzzle “completely satisfying”, I can’t work out what rating it awards the puzzle, likewise with “downright infuriating”. I personally would say the former is a 5, but the latter to me could also merit a high mark, a puzzle can be infuriating and still really enjoyable.

Favourite clues are highlighted in blue, and you can leave your own assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought as well, they are very helpful for the setters that visit the site.

On with the motley, and let’s away…..


8a    Ignoring repeats, Barney Rubble changed in suave manner (8)
{URBANELY} If you take the letters of BARNEY RUBBLE and remove the repeated ones, and then anagram the remainder, you will get a description of how the subject of the next clue was perceived……

9a    Steed added to Emma’s ultimate value (6)
{AMOUNT} My favourite ever TV series! I grew up with The Avengers and loved every episode. Indeed the show celebrates its 50th anniversary this year and has just brought out a special DVD boxed set to commemorate the event (If anyone reading this feels the urge to get me a birthday present, hint, hint!) [Keep hinting! – BD]. The last letter of EMMA has a word meaning Steed or Horse added to it to give a word meaning value.

One of my favourite clips. Note Peter Wyngarde as the baddie:-

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a    Pharaoh partly got over stroke (3)
{OAR} Hidden and backwards (indicated by “partly” and “got over”) in the word “PHARAOH” is a word meaning stroke in rowing.

11a    Writing a condition, I limit turning to non-violence (8)
{PACIFISM} A reverse word sum. A word that means a type of writing (the abbreviation for manuscript) + one used to indicate a condition + a phrase meaning “I restrict or limit”. When this is all reversed you get the word for non-violence, as in the caused espoused by Gandhi.

12a    Reinforce part of name Philip shares with his mother (6)
{BATTEN} This could have been used last Friday, when a certain famous Philip celebrated his 90th birthday. Take his full name and remove just over half (the latter half) of one of the parts of his surname to get a word meaning reinforce.

13a    Pariah soon interrupts ditty beset by piano mistakes (7,3,5)
{PERSONA NON GRATA} The poetic way of saying “soon” goes inside a word for a ditty, and this all goes inside the abbreviation for piano in music notation, and the publishers word for printing mistakes. This altogether gives you a phrase for an unwelcome visitor.

15a    Composer of some art? (7)
{MAESTRO} An anagram of “some art”, with the anagram indicated by “composer”. This is what is called an “& lit” or “all-in-one” clue, where the whole clue provides the definition.

18a    Report of collision energy in parched ground? (7)
{POWDERY} A word meaning “ground” as in pepper can be found by taking a word heard after an impact or collision (Think Batman and Robin!) and the abbreviation for energy placed inside a word meaning parched.

21a    Money-holder, keeping rest, wasted rand among money for financial disaster (4,6,5)
{WALL STREET CRASH} A famous fiscal event from the late 1920’s is found by taking where you put your folding paper-money and inserting an anagram (“wasted”) of REST. Add to this another word for money with R (for rand) inside.

24a    Sharp movement relating to billion in capital (6)
{ZAGREB} A Balkan capital is revealed by taking a word for a sharp movement (usually in the phrase ZIG ____) and adding the abbreviation found in letters for “relating to or about” and B (for Billion).

25a    Pom queen swallowing last of Queenslander’s fizzy drink (8)
{SPRITZER} D’oh! My warped mind! I spent ages looking for PORN QUEEN, rather than POM QUEEN. Another name for a Pom(eranian) dog has ER for Queen added to it. Inside this goes R (last of QueenslandeR) and you have a drink often made with wine and soda.

26a    In recession, any other business targets are constricted by me (3)
{BOA} The abbreviation for what happens at the end of a meeting is reversed to give a species of snake famous for delivering crushing disappointments.

27a    Christian missionary left America retaining suitable backing (2,4)
{ST PAUL} A reversal clue. L (Left) + US (America) with a word meaning fitting or appropriate inside is all reversed to give the name of a Christian missionary.

28a    What may litter church steps etc if not tidied up (8)
{CONFETTI} An anagram (indicated by “tidied up”) of ETC IF NOT reveals a word for stuff found in the doorways of churches on most Saturday afternoons.

I shall now hand you over to the Boss!


1d    Bearing skyward aboard a mostly modern European rocket (6)
{ARIANE} – reverse (skyward as this is a down clue) a bearing or manner inside (aboard) A from the clue and most of a word meaning modern to get a European space rocket

2d    Mountaineer’s final farewells, leaving European range (6)
(RADIUS} – a charade of R (mountaineeR‘s final letter) and a word of French origin for farewells without the E (leaving European) gives a range

3d    Edge unbristles tip of beard imperfectly, leaving this? (8,7)
{DESIGNER STUBBLE} – an anagram (imperfectly) of EDGE UNBRISTLES and B (tip of Beard) gives what could be left behind after the “unbristling”

4d    Good person representing Spock and women’s rearing state (7)
{WYOMING} – take a charade of G(ood), the actor who played Spock in Star Trek and W(omen) and reverse the lot (rearing) to get a US state

5d    Walking into motor oil company, runs into reduced cost of fossil fuel (6,9)
{CARBON FOOTPRINT} – put a two-word phrase meaning walking inside a motor and an oil company that has been in the news recently, add R(uns) and INT (into reduced) to get the cost to the environment of using fossil fuel

6d    Ace regiment’s up in school, working to a higher degree (8)
{POSTGRAD} – reverse (up) A(ce) and the abbreviation for regiment, not forgetting the ‘S, inside a school of fish to get a student who is working to obtain a higher degree

7d    Having lost one’s shirt? Otherwise one hopes for worthwhile payback (8)
{INVESTOR} – start with the state that you could be in if you lost your shirt (2,4) and add a word meaning otherwise to get someone who hopes for a worthwhile payback

14d    Whisky and bitter by mouth (3)
{RYE} – this type of inferior whisky, or should that be whiskey, drunk by Americans sounds like (by mouth) bitter or twisted

16d         Maybe porter holds a barrow, allowing freedom of choice (1,2,5)
{À LA CARTE} – porter is a type of beer, so put another word for beer around A and a barrow to get a French phrase meaning with the freedom to pick and choose, particularly from a menu

17d         Very well-upholstered article goes in time of revolution (5,3)
{SOLAR DAY} – a word meaning very (2) is followed by one meaning well-upholstered or overweight and then A (indefinite article) is inserted to get the time it takes the earth to revolve on its axis

19d         Stage regular parts for Meg Ryan (3)
{ERA} – a stage or period is found in the even letters (regular parts) of the last two words of the clue

20d         A couturier initially involved in composed lines (7)
{VERSACE} – put A C(outurier) inside (involved in) composed lines to get a famous couturier defined by the whole clue

22d         Man races to stop rare, exotic hunting dog (6)
{RATTER} – put the motorcycle races for which the Isle of Man is renowned inside (to stop) an anagram (exotic) of rare to get a hunting dog

23d         Bloodhound picked up end of trail in hot third day (6)
{SLEUTH} – this bloodhound or private detective is a reversal (picked up) of L (end of traiL) inside H(ot) and a four-letter abbreviation of the third day of the week (the one that starts on Sunday!)

What a difference a day makes in Toughieland!  My blue highlighter is worn out.

16 comments on “Toughie 582

  1. Very nice puzzle indeed, really a great deal to enjoy.

    I would have said 2-3 stars difficulty, because the four 15-letter lights gave plenty of checking letters early.

    Great stuff, many thanks to Notabilis.

  2. A very enjoyable start to Friday morning and an excellent end to the Toughie week. Very satisfying solve, some great clues even if it did take me a while to work out some of the wordplay. Thanks to Notabilis for a super Toughie challenge, to Tilsit for the Acrosses (get well soon) and to BD for the downs.

    The Telegraph give you a letter thingy hasn’t worked very well all week, as you say, takes ages for one letter to come up and then says you have had all five. And no, I don’t use it all the time, just to check whether my guesses on obscure clues are correct.

  3. Excellent crossword with some really good penny-drop clues. Many thansk to Notabalis for the workout and to Tilsit / BD for the review.

  4. A really good puzzle a plethora of outstanding clues favourites being 8a 11a 18a 4d and 20d thanks to Notabilis and to Tilsit / Big Dave combination.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyable crossword, super cluing, like Qix I got the 15 letter clues quickly which helped a lot in the solve however I had to admit defeat on 6d and resort to Sue’s help.

    1. Any time…. nice to have someone to ‘talk’ to while the Gnome was out drowning. ;)

  6. I still don’t understand 8a! The repeated letters in “Barney Rubble” are BBB RR EE which doesn’t leave much anagram fodder. Getting ready to kick myself!

    1. Franco I did the same for ages till penny dropped, just leave in only one unique letter, ie, take out 2 bs, 1 r and 1e

    2. I always look at the first couple of clues in the Toughie on my way to the back page of the paper and don’t often get the first across clue straight away. Today I could ‘get’ the wordplay immediately – and like BD and Tilsit, it was one of my many favourite clues of the day in this perfect example of what a Toughie should be..

      1. I normally stop looking at the Toughie after finding that I have no idea about the first two or three clues. Today I got the solution to the first across clue (8a) immediately but then spent hours trying to justify the why’s and wherefores. The Toughie clues always seem to have too many words – especially when the solutions are so tiny ( today 4 three letter solutions). I much prefer the elegance of clueing in the cryptic by Rufus, Ray T etc, etc

        Or maybe, I can’t do the Toughie!

        PS! Having read Tilsit’s preamble – I’m glad that I’m a paper reader!!!

        1. I’d echo the sentiments above about the website. It took me three attempts and nearly four minutes to get the “submit” button to work, rendering the times on the site even less meaningful than they are anyway.

  7. As with Qix the 15 letters did help, but I suspect everyone had completed the grid long before I had unscrambled them!! Thought 25a exceedingly clever once I had worked backwards and deconstructed what I had pencilled in. Fav though has to be 17d amongst a host of runners up. Thanks to Notabilis and the joint efforts of Tilsit / BD

  8. I’m half way through following a very wet golf day. Very enjoyable so far and am expecting the same for the remainder. 28a is a cracker!

  9. Nice to have an interesting puzzle after yesterday’s rubbish. Many good clues of which my favourite, after much gnashing of teeth was 6d. All went really well but got really stuck on 6d and 18a until the proverbial penny dropped. Many thanks to Notabilis for a great workout.

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