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Toughie 610

Toughie No 610 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Prolixic

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

Tilsit is receiving treatment for his leg today so it falls to me to blog a proper Friday outing from Notabilis. This was highly enjoyable with smiles and groans on the way. Often, even where the answer was obvious, the wordplay in places displayed all of Notablis’s cunning. It took Gnomes’ law to work out 27d. If Notabilis has included one of his trademark ninas in today’s grid, I have not been able to spot it.  {Many thanks to Libellule for pointing out what was staring me in the face all the time. See his comment below.]

Many thanks to Notabilis for an excellent crossword. I have highlighted my favourite clues in blue though top of tree today were 29a and 18d.

1a Crashing bus in front of Abbey Road is ludicrous (6)
{ABSURD} – An anagram (crashing) of bus inside the first letter (front) of Abbey and an abbreviation for Road gives a word meaning ludicrous.

4a Possible means of spreading poison or spleen, through phone mostly (8)
{BLOWPIPE} – A means of firing poisoned darts comes from an old fashioned word for a telephone with the final letter removed with a word meaning spleen (as anger or annoy) inside it.

9a Short-termism is the author’s one answer about work (6)
{MYOPIA} – A word for short-termism comes from a word for the author’s (here meaning the setter’s), an abbreviation for work and a final pair of letters represented by one and the abbreviation for answer.

10a Going down without son is rude (8)
{INDECENT} – A word rude comes from a phrase (2,7) meaning going down from which the S (son) in the second word is removed.

12a Even parts of The South turned calm (4)
{HUSH} – A word meaning calm comes from the even letters reversed in The South.

13a Readies a bit of balm on eyes (5)
{MONEY} – A word for readies (as in cash) is hidden inside balm on eyes. I slowed myself down on this clue by originally having bread with b (a bit of balm) and read (eyes).

14a Foolish rage, receding with time (4)
{DAFT} – A word for foolish comes from a word meaning rage (as in the in thing) reversed (receding) followed by an abbreviation for time.

17a Helpful turn is somehow ridiculous (12)
{INSTRUMENTAL} – A word for helpful (as in helping to achieve something) comes from an anagram (somehow) of “turn is” followed by a word meaning ridiculous (or mad).

20a Realistic shooting’s popular with them during hollow ceremony (6,6)
{CINEMA VERITE} – A term for a realistic form of film comes from a word meaning hollow (like a grotto) inside which is put a word meaning popular and an abbreviated form of them followed by a four letter word for a religious ceremony.

23a Now I see bachelor obsessed captain (4)
{AHAB} – This captain of Moby Dick fame comes from a word meaning “Now I see” followed by an abbreviation for bachelor.

24a Prison guard succeeded with gang (5)
{SCREW} – An slang expression for a prison guard comes from an abbreviation for succeeded followed by a word for a gang.

25a Arts graduate’s going to Globe (4)
{BALL} – A word for a globe comes from the description of the degree held by an arts graduate followed by a LL (as in a shortened form of will).

28a Refuge means getting behind hospital plan (8)
{HIDEAWAY} – A word for a refuge comes from an abbreviation of hospital, followed by a word meaning a plan and a word meaning means (as in the ability to be able to do something).

29a Gesture to expose the rear (object to the rear being covered) (6)
{MOTION} – A word for gesture comes from a word meaning to expose the rear inside which it put a two letter word for an object which have been reversed).

30a Italian town’s medical department in endless misery (8)
{SORRENTO} – The name of a town in Italy comes from a word meaning misery from which the final letter has been removed with the abbreviation for the ear, nose and throat department included.

31a Pumpkin eater taking wife for a mug? (6)
{PEWTER} – The name of a legendary pumpkin eater has a W for wife included in it to give a word for a mug (or more correctly what it is made from).


1d Amateur’s roguish manner drawing in master (8)
{ARMCHAIR} – A word for amateur comes from a phrase (4,3) meaning roguish manner inside which is put an abbreviation for master.

2d Maker of many films, at least forty including singular European (8)
{SCORSESE} – This film maker (first name Martin) comes from a description of a number that must be at least forty (but could be sixty, eighty, etc) inside which is put an S for singular. Add a final E for European to get the answer.

3d After regular deprivations, Freudian’s a wreck (4)
{RUIN} – A word for a wreck comes from taking away the odd letters of Freudian

5d Custom dentalware masks a state possibly requiring maxillofacial work (7-5)
{LANTERN JAWED} – A medical condition that may require reconstructive surgery to the lower part of the face comes from an anagram (custom) of dentalware inside which has been put the abbreviation for the state of New Jersey.

6d What for energy must go into dairy product (4)
{WHEY} – A type of dairy product comes from a word meaning what for inside which is put the abbreviation for energy.

7d Victim of global warming in current century, with rising speed? (6)
{ICECAP} – This victim of global warming is receding at the North and South poles. Take the abbreviations for current and century and follow them with a word meaning speed that has been reversed.

8d Being led away from having the right variable (6)
{ENTITY} – A word for a being comes from a word meaning having the right from which the final LED has been removed followed by a Y (variable).

11d Pessimist’s repeated utterance after Madame blocks entry (4-8)
{DOOM MERCHANT} – A word for a pessimist comes from a word for an entry inside which is put a three letter abbreviation for Madame. This is followed by a word for a repeated utterance.

15d Issue patch with internal binary value flipped (5)
{FRUIT} – A word for issue (as offspring) comes from the reversal of a word meaning patch or manor inside which is put one of the binary numbers (0 or 1).

16d Confronted with unstimulating drink, got up (5)
{FACED} – A word for confronted comes from the reversal of the name of a drink from which caffeine has been removed.

18d Perhaps Dutch collector’s gambit is scuppered (8)
{BIGAMIST} – A word for a person who collects a number of wives (Dutch collector) is an anagram (scuppered) of gambit is.

19d Matted lint clogs heckle but it goes fast (8)
{JETLINER} – A word for a fast means of transport comes from an anagram (matted) of lint inside a four letter word meaning heckle. For those wondering about the surface reading of this clue, the verb to heckle is to comb out flax or linen and the iron toothed brush used to do so is also referred to as a heckle.

21d Map-makers following track’s pitiable quality (6)
{PATHOS} – A word describing a pitiable quality comes from a word for a track followed by the abbreviation for Ordnance Survey (map-makers).

22d Rag day organised to make sense of Orientation? (6)
{GAYDAR} – An anagram of rag day gives an informal term used to describe someone who can reputedly tell a persons sexual orientation.

26d Compressed mass is about kinetic energy (4)
{CAKE} – A word for a compressed mass comes from the abbreviations for about and kinetic energy.

27d Stately edifice rising third (4)
{DOME} – This stately edifice (a hit in Xanadu but a flop in Greenwich) comes from the two musical notes in a rising third.

22 comments on “Toughie 610

  1. Many thanks to Prolixic for stepping in at short notice. This really is an excellent puzzle and shows what can be done. Even if you only manage a few clues and crib the rest from here it is well worth having a go.

  2. This was a Toughie that lived up to the description on the tin as far as I was concerned, not helped by this being my last day before a week’s leave so as usual tons of work appeared out of nowhere. I muttered, groaned, cogitated but didn’t resort to Gnome’s Law as he is too busy in Slough for it to work successfully. Thanks to Notabilis for a really tough but ultimately enjoyable challenge and to Prolixic for the review. A little lie down in a darkened room for me now.

  3. Defeated by 26d – D’OH. So obvious when you know!
    Got 20a from the definition and checkers but it took me ages to work out the wordplay. To clever for me!
    Thanks to Prolixic for explaining 20a and also showing that the suface reading of 19d isn’t as daft as I thought! Never heard of heckle in that sense before.
    Thanks to Notabilis for a splendid puzzle – I’ll crack one eventually!

  4. Thanks to Notabilis for a super puzzle and to Prolixic for the review (especially for the explanation of the wordplay of 27d which was puzzling me). Favourite clues: 29a and 18d.

  5. Needed a few hints today, and some just to explain the wordplay of ones entered but not really sure why! Not entirely happy with 25a and made a mess of 27d as thought it was “note”, eton reversed. Favourites 9a and 26d.
    Thanks to Notabilis and well reviewed by prolixic

  6. The “Nina” is there… look at the lines on the grid that have 3 answers on them e.g. 12a, 23a, 3d and 6d. We have two word phrases if I am not mistaken at 12 and 13a, 24 and 25a, also 15 and 26d, and finally 6 and 16d.

    1. I’ve been puzzling over where I recalled ‘nina’ from and in what context, and finally remembered (from something I was told on a visit to Washington, DC) that it was an acronym for “No Irish Need Apply”. It dates back to the mid C19th, and originated in the UK before being transplanted to the USA.

        1. And the usage was originally named “Nina” by … Notabilis. The topic originally arose in reference to Times 2 grids.

  7. I found this very hard today. I had ‘bread’ for 13a for a while, and failed to solve 31a, and 27d. My excuse is that I am not used to solving online (I prefer to print the puzzle off), and the balcony of my apartment is overlooking the beach, which is full of scantily dressed females, and my fridge is full of cold beers…
    Anyway.. thanks to Notabilis for a frustrating puzzle, (my favourite clue was 18d) and Prolixic for the review.

  8. This setter never fails to come up with something special and today was no exception with a plethora of outstanding clues, It’s not very often my favourite clue is an anagram but 18d was a classic. Many thanks to Notabilis and to Prolixic for standing in at short notice.

  9. A supremely enjoyable puzzle from one of my very favourite setters. So much going on in the grid, and such fine cluewriting.

    Thanks to Prolixic for stepping-in for me and I shall be along with the hints tomorrow.

  10. A rare attempt at the toughie for me today (encouraged by the back page comments) and also unusually I found the time! Got on reasonably well, but some of the answers I’d never have got in a month of Sundays…particularly 20a. Great crossword and explanations……I’ll be back!

  11. Hi all, thanks to Notabilis for a brilliant puzzle and Prolixic for the review. I hope Tilsit’s up and about soon.

    Can anybody tell me what Gnome’s Law is?

    1. It’s where you e-mail someone saying, I don’t understand how this clue works and thirty seconds after sending the e-mail, the answer hits you. It’s name comes from the e-mail exchanges between Crypticsue and Gnomethang where the law invariably operates.

      1. Not since he left me and went to Slough, it doesn’t :( Mind you Prolixic’s law isn’t too bad as a substitute :)

  12. I couldn’t have finished it without spotting the Nina, and beyond that, I didn’t grok all of the clues without your help. Many thanks.

  13. Unfortunately I didnt manage to look at this on the day (what with work and all). I am really glad that I picked it up this morning as it is a thoroughly excellent puzzle. I really love some of Notabilis’ extremely diverting definitions ‘Dutch collector’ and ‘sense of Orientation’ being two superb examples.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Prolixic for a fine review.

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