Toughie 762 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 762

Toughie No 762 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Tilsit had forgotten that an ambulance was arriving this morning, so I have put this review together at short notice.

Another excellent puzzle from Notabilis. I thought afterwards that maybe I should have solved it more quickly than I did. The puzzle is littered with the usual superb clues, with a number of “Doh!” moments.

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    Banking dynasty corrupt and Home Secretary innocent? (10)
{ROTHSCHILD} – This banking dynasty once lent the UK the money to purchase share in the Suez Canal – they come from a charade of a verb meaning to corrupy (3), the abbreviation of Home Secretary and an innocent

6a    Georgia weather permitting what tourists often do (4)
{GAWP} – abbreviations of the US state of Georgia and Weather Permitting combine to give what tourists often do

9a    Bent fault under quakes (10)
{FRAUDULENT} – this adjective meaning bent or crooked is an anagram (quakes) of FAULT UNDER

10a    Grass after mowing’s called fog (4)
{HAZE} – mown grass and the ‘S sound like (called) this light fog or mist

12a    Part of broken-up field possibly fallowed on a regular basis (4)
{FLOE} – what is possibly part of a broken-up icefield comes from the odd letters (on a regular basis) of a word in the clue

13a    Toothsome drink associated with the legless? (9)
{SNAKEBITE} – this toothsome drink, made of lager and cider in equal measures, sounds as if it has something to do with a legless serpent

15a    Stacks red fruit in small vehicle (8)
{RICKSHAW} – some stacks of straw are followed by a red fruit to give a small two-wheeled passenger vehicle drawn by one or more people

16a         Assume a greatness is inadequate (6)
{MEAGRE} – hidden inside (bolstered by this) the first three words of the clue is an adjective meaning inadequate

18a         Southern resort is cleared of stubble (6)
{SHAVEN} – a charade of S(outhern) and a resort or refuge gives an adjective meaning cleared of stubble

20a         Bartok’s name takes place behind painter and earthy writer (8)
{RABELAIS} – put the first name of Hungarian composer Bartok and the IS from ‘S after (takes place behind) the usual artist to get this earthy writer

23a         Irrepressible English persecutors almost meeting protectors of country (9)
{EBULLIENT} – this adjective meaning Irrepressible comes from E(nglish), the persecutors of schoolchildren without the final S (almost) and the abbreviation for the protectors of the country

24a         No proletarian has time away from work (4)
{TOFF} – this person is no proletarian and he is derived from T(ime) and a word meaning away from work

26a         Band on the road on leaving county (4)
{TYRE} – to get this band of rubber used on the road drop (leaving) the ON from a county in Northern Ireland

27a         Private joke, funny, but for king it’s insulting (10)
{PEJORATIVE} – an anagram (funny) of PRIVATE JO(K)E without the K (but for king) gives an adjective meaning is insulting

28a         9 spades to overplay (4)
{SHAM} – this adjective meaning 9 across is derived from S(pades) and a verb meaning to overplay

29a         Diminutive singer, in court, settled appeal (7,3)
{CRESTED TIT} – to get this small singing bird, put a word meaning settled inside the abbreviation of C(our)T and add a short word meaning sex appeal


1d           With guitar’s backing, I very loudly improvise on a theme (4)
{RIFF} – a charade of the final letter (backing) of guitaR, I from the clue and the musical notation for very loud gives a verb meaning to improvise on a theme

2d           Convulsion going round venue for concert of soft metal (7)
{THALLIC} – put a convulsion (3) around what could be the venue for a concert to give an adjective meaning of a soft white leadlike metal

3d           Joyless king leaving a 24’s performance venue (7,5)
{SADLER’S WELLS} – start with an adjective meaning joyless (3), add Shakespeare’s tragic king without the A (leaving a) and some 24 acrosses to get a London venue for the performing arts

4d           Trees seen on miles covered by Chinese navigator (8)
{HELMSMAN} – put some trees and M(iles) inside (covered by) the native Chinese people to get a navigator

5d           Catch a bus, ignoring limits for older transport (6)
{LANDAU} – a verb meaning to catch, fish for example, is followed by the A from the clue and (B)U(S) without the outside letters (ignoring limits) to get this older form of transport

7d           What the world doesn’t end with? Insert note on the decline (7)
{ABATING} – start with the way the world will not end (1,4), according to the poem The Hollow Men by T. S. Eliot, and insert one of the spellings of the seventh note of the scale in sol-fa notation to get a word meaning on the decline

8d           Revolutionary decree apes fail to survive (10)
{PREDECEASE} – an anagram (revolutionary) of DECREE APES gives a verb meaning to fail to survive another person

11d         Military planner casting about and (ultimately) gist is to launch out of frame (12)
{DEFENESTRATE} – start with a military planner (7,10) and drop (casting) the C (about) and the final (ultimately) GIST to get a verb meaning to launch somebody out of a window frame – strangely, Chambers has the associated noun but not the verb, but it is in the ODE!

14d         Brochure for school run out in successful changes to Connecticut (10)
{PROSPECTUS} – to get this brochure for a school start with a word meaning successful and then change the second occurrence of RO (run out) to the abbreviation for the US state of Connecticut

17d         Sectarian reality on acknowledgements of debt (8)
{FACTIOUS} – this adjective meaning sectarian is a charade of reality and the usual acknowledgements of debt

19d         Occupants of square in perfect area for tanks (7)
{AQUARIA} – put the inside letters (occupants) of (S)QUAR(E) inside the two-letter grading for perfect and A(rea) to get these fish tanks

21d         Trouble getting fit with calf out of shape (7)
{AFFLICT} – this verb meaning to trouble or burden comes from an anagram (out of shape) of FIT with CALF

22d         Space traveller more worried about one from another world (6)
{METEOR} – this object that travels through space is derived from an anagram (worried) of MORE around an alien from another world – the one that wanted to phone home

25d         Capture guards by being closest (4)
{NEXT} – put a verb meaning to capture fish or butterflies around the mathematical symbol for by or multiply to get a word meaning being closest

Thank you Tilsit – I really enjoyed reviewing this one!

26 comments on “Toughie 762

  1. I don’t know whether it was the tussle with Giovanni that got my cryptic grey matter into gear for this one, but, despite it being a Toughie well worth the name and its place in the middle of the paper, I actually solved it in a minute less than the backpager. My only hold up was not reading 23a properly first and putting in ‘exuberant’ which meant that 3d didn’t work, so back to the drawing board. The wordplay was very clear which just shows that I should concentrate more. Lots of very good convoluted clues and a very enjoyable solve so I would agree with BD’s ****/***** rating. Thanks to Notabilis and BD too.

  2. Enjoyed this today, the only one I struggled with was 25d and couldn’t get it at all then had a doh ! moment. :D.

  3. A lovely puzzle and I’m devastated not to have blogged it. Thanks to BD for helping out at the shortest of notices. Blood tests and dopplers now done, I’m free for a while now.

    Lots of favourite clues but 9 across and 3 down are so simple and effective.

  4. This was a proper tussle for me. I finished it with immense satisfaction, because I thought this was well worth the time I spent on it.
    Many thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the notes.

    A good day for DT puzzles – I thoroughly enjoyed both of them.

  5. Surface readings! What the hell does 11d mean?

    Military planner casting about and (ultimately) gist is to launch out of frame (12)

  6. Super crossword and thoroughly enjoyable, I did have a problem with 28a as I had put in scam. Thanks to Notablis for a cracker and to BD for the hints/review which corrected me on 28a.

  7. Very enjoyable this one, favourites 13a 20a and 3d, both back pagers and this one are pangrams is that a coincidence or what,thanks to Notabilis and Big Dave for the review.

  8. Like Franco, I deplore the bad surface readings. A good cryptic crossword won’t have clues that don’t make sense to the reader Didn’t enjoy this at all

    1. Thanks, phercott. Has anyone else any idea about the meaning of 11d?

      “Utter Tripe”?

          1. ‘fog’ = ‘grass that grows after the hay is cut’ (Chambers, second definition of ‘fog’). So the clue seems fair enough.

            1. Ditto gazza and Jezza above – that makes it really neat. Still can’t see 11d meaning much though!. Thanks to the ominously titled Deep Threat.

          2. ….anything to do with the famous “military planner” in the American Civil War – William Hays?

            1. For “grass after mowing’s” read “grass after mowing is” which gives “hay is” or “hay’s” which sounds like (called) haze (fog)

  9. I am completely polarised on this one. There are some great clues that I really had a chuckle at but some others really suffer because of the surface reading (as pointed out by others) which left me scratching my head. Thanks to BD and to Notabilis.

  10. Rain, rain and still more rain so had time to have a go at this one. I did all the left side but not much of the right. I’ve now read the hints and understand all but a couple of them. I sort of understand 13a but have never heard of it and would never have got that one. 10a is still a mystery to me – fog, yes, but don’t get the rest of it. It may be slow but I AM learning! Thanks to Notabilis and BD.

  11. As my grey haired old grandmother used to say: “I’m up for a laugh but bugger a pantomime!” I found this impossible. Roll on Sunday.

  12. The intended surface sense of 11dn was “A military planner is looking for ideas and in the end the general idea is to launch missiles from a framelike structure”. I admit it’s somewhat strained, but I felt that the wordplay of DEFEN(C)ESTRATE(GIST), being too good to resist, was sufficiently complicated that describing it as precisely as possible took precedence over writing glittering prose. I’m surprised that this strained surface reading was enough for some people to write the whole puzzle off.

    1. Probably too late for you to comment, but I did get 11d, but again and again when will i ever learn “x” can equal by. Bangs head . Thank you so much Notabilis and to BD

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