Toughie 682

Toughie No 682 by Notabilis

Cordon Bleu!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A week of mixed fortunes in Toughieland ends with this superb puzzle from Notabilis.

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


1a    Compare this with instability of mood (11)
{ATMOSPHERIC} – an anagram (with instability) of COMPARE THIS gives an adjective meaning creating a distinctive mood

10a    Rescript chapter in revision (5)
{EDICT} – a rescript or official announcement is created by putting C(hapter) inside a revision of a document

11a    Enchantment from the writer more talented in decline (9)
{DIABLERIE} – this enchantment or magic is created by putting the first person subjective pronoun (the writer) and a word meaning more talented inside a word meaning to decline or peter out

12a    Rudimentary toes, say, all but the first inverted in flesh of calf (9)
{VESTIGIAL} – this adjective meaning rudimentary is derived by putting a word that describes toes (or fingers) without its initial letter (all but the first) reversed (inverted) inside the flesh of a young calf

13a    Daunting in flight (5)
{AWING} – this word meaning daunting or striking with fear can also mean in flight if taken as (1-4)

14a    Tropical disease one’s always kept away from North African (6)
{BERBER} – take a tropical disease caused by lack of vitamin B and remove both of the Is (one’s always kept away) to get one of these North African people

16a    Nothing in maths and French conversation belittled Japanese, perhaps (8)
{ORIENTAL} – run together O (nothing in Maths) and the French for nothing with a conversation minus its final letter (belittled)to get a word which describes a Japanese person, for example (perhaps)

18a    Extremely buoyant financial district showing no change (8)
{ECSTATIC} – this adjective meaning extremely buoyant is a charade of the postal code which includes London’s financial district and a word meaning showing no change

20a    Film and another thing judiciary finally cut short (6)
{PSYCHO} – this Hitchcock film is a charade of an addendum to a letter (and another thing), the final letter of judiciarY and a word meaning to cut without its final letter (short) – for me this was a case of “think of a film and then work out some wordplay that fits!”

23a    Support seizing parliamentarian’s beautiful place (5)
{TEMPE} – put the support for a golf ball around a Member of Parliament to get a word for a beautiful place; originally the valley of the Peneus in Thessaly, praised by the ancient poets for its unsurpassed beauty

24a    Begin to work in specialist area with hospital providing cover for 14? (9)
{DJELLABAH} – put a word meaning to begin to work well inside a specialist then add A(rea) and H(ospital) to get a loose hooded woollen cloak of a kind traditionally worn by Arabs (providing cover for 14 across) – I can laugh about it now but I tried to get this by putting H(ospital) inside sell fish!

26a    Probe into European confidence diminished Italy’s former civilisation (9)
{ETRUSCANS} – put a word meaning to probe inside E(uropean) and a word meaning confidence without its final T (diminished) to get a former civilisation from an area of Italy roughly corresponding to present-day Tuscany

27a    Distrust inflexible communications company ignoring resistance (5)
{DOUBT} – this distrust is created by joining together a word meaning inflexible without its final R (ignoring resistance) and a communications company

28a    Process less fat, accepting piece of data that backs precautions for the sedentary (6,5)
{SAFETY BELTS} – put an anagram (process) of LESS FAT around (accepting) a piece of data consisting of eight bits reversed (that backs) to get these precautions for the sedentary car driver and his passengers


2d           Bother setting apart sides in toss? Here’s one (5)
{TAILS} – put a verb meaning to bother inside (setting apart) the outside letters (sides) of T(os)S to get one result of tossing a coin

3d           Oil producer checking Utah’s weather? (7)
{OUTLIVE} – put this tree that produces oil used for cooking around the abbreviation of Utah to get a word meaning to weather – weather is a noun in the clue and a verb in the answer

4d           Motley phraseology to lower raised spirit (6)
{PIDGIN} – this motley phraseology, a combination and distortion of two languages as a means of communication,  is created by reversing (raised in a down clue)a word meaning to lower into water and adding an alcoholic lower spirit

5d           Earliest browsers keep us in business (1-7)
{E-TAILERS} – an anagram (relaxed ?) of EARLIEST gives businesses that rely on the internet

6d           Notoriety of the Italian love object with lowered head (3,4)
{ILL FAME} – to get this notoriety combine the Italian definite article with a love object or sweetheart in which the initial letter(head)  has been moved (lowered in a down clue)

7d           Purple clothes are very fancy, in which bishop is one identified by pants? (5,8)
{HEAVY BREATHER} – put a shade of purple, from the colour of its flowers, around A (are as a measurement of area) and an anagram (fancy) of VERY and then insert B(ishop) to get someone identified in a phone call by pants

8d           Pose upside down in lorry, arranged decoratively? (8)
{ARTISTIC} – reverse a verb meaning to pose inside a lorry made easier to manœuvre by having its front section flexibly attached to the rear section to get an adjective meaning arranged decoratively

9d           Protections for Western head that is retaining engineer — quite practical (3-6,4)
{TEN-GALLON HATS} – these items of clothing worn to protect the heads of characters in Westerns are derived by putting an abbreviated form of “that is” (but not the Latin one!) around ENG(ineer) and an adjectival phrase meaning quite practical (I couldn’t find this in any dictionary, but it’s similar to “hands on”)

15d         Be less patient where facial sculpting is evident (8)
{RUSHMORE} – split this as (4,4) and it means to be less patient, but it is actually a mountain in the Black Hills of South Dakota, noted for its giant relief carvings of four US Presidents (where facial sculpting is evident)

17d         Beware of bold, manipulative behaviour (4,4)
{MIND GAME} – a charade of a word meaning to beware and an adjective meaning bold or daring gives this manipulative behaviour

19d         Energy consumed by Continent’s food processing failure (7)
{APEPSIA} – put some energy inside a Continent to get a food processing failure or failure of the digestive function

21d         Serious blemish on society chapter’s spelling (7)
{SPLODGE} – to get this serious blemish put a chapter of a masonic society after SP(elling)

22d         Irritable and eccentric, keeping one stumped (6)
{FEISTY} – am adjective meaning Irritable or excitable is created by putting a word meaning  eccentric or slightly mad around (keeping) I (one) and ST(umped)

25d         Down time in American plant (5)
{BLUET} – a charade of an adjective meaning down or low and T(ime) gives this evergreen North American plant

The last time I said “Tilsit is welcome to visit the nurses at the Calderdale Royal Hospital the next Friday that there is a puzzle by Notabilis”, not expecting that he would take me at my word!

I always look for a Nina in puzzles by Notabilis, but I failed to spot one here.

Thanks to Notabilis for pointing out that  there is a four-letter word running diagonally across each corner.  Well, would you Adam-and Eve it!


  1. Qix
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Tricky vocabulary in this one, but some fabulous clues, with 7d being particularly chuckle-worthy.

    Many thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the blog.

  2. BigBoab
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Superb crossword, a true toughie, 7d was brilliant. Many thanks to Notablis and of course to BD for the hints.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    An excellently tricky and enjoyable end to the Toughie week. As I peeped inside the paper outside the newsagents I said ‘Notabilis – now do I like Notabilis?’ Well this Friday I more than definitely do. It took me ages of muttering and cogitation and the like but was well worth the effort. Thanks to BD for the hints too.

  4. andy
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Was well and truly beaten today, more than I have been for a while. Just under half unaided, a quarter with hints, the rest had to look at the answer.Going to look at it again over the weekend to see why I made such heavy going. Thanks to Notabilis and to BD

  5. Jezza
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    This took me most of the morning in between work duties, and I must have had half a dozen attempts before I finished it!
    Thanks to Notabilis for a super puzzle, and to BD for the explanations.

  6. pegasus
    Posted December 9, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Super fare today from this classy setter, 7d held me up for ages I was certain that breeches was the second part of the answer. Favourites for me were 3d 7d 15d and 24a thanks to Notabilis for the challenge and to Big Dave for a fine review.

  7. Posted December 9, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Lot of use of thesaurus, dictionary and Wiki to crack this one but worth the persevation! Learned a few new words today as well as having a load of fun.
    Thanks to Notabilis for stretching the brain up to, but not beyond, breaking point and to BD for the review.

  8. Posted December 9, 2011 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    A superb crossword and one that will live long in the memory. Thanks to BD for stepping in while I was being poked and prodded and to Notabilis for making my hospital visit pass with slightly less pain.

  9. JB
    Posted December 10, 2011 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    26a Should not end in “s”. I rejected this answer as the clue is definitely “civilisation” in the singular.

  10. Notabilis
    Posted December 16, 2011 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    JB, ETRUSCAN (adjective) isn’t a civilisation (noun), but there are plenty of examples of “The XXXs were a civilisation …” around.

    And nobody seems to have noticed the Nina.