Toughie 893 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 893

Toughie No 893 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I saw that today’s puzzle was by Notabilis and looked forward to a stiff challenge. It didn’t materialise. This was of no more than average difficulty but nevertheless enjoyable.

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    Divers strike supporters surrounding pit (11)
{PICKPOCKETS} Divers (thieves) = supporters of a strike round a pit (on the skin)

7a    Fled cold, stopping for each North Pole flyer? (7)
{PRANCER} ‘Fled’ + C (cold) inside ‘for each’ = one of Santa’s reindeer

8a    Unsuspected problem with back turned into a downer, say (7)
{PITFALL} ‘Back’ is reversed inside a drug (e.g. a downer)

10a    What’s rotated in some Kansas twister? (5)
{SNAKE} Hidden in reverse in somE KANSas

11a    Have nothing to do with price hike, keeping cents till later (9)
{OSTRACISE} Take ‘price’ + ‘hike’ and move the letter C (cents) away from the beginning

12a    Commend nurse working with double time (7)
{ENTRUST} An anagram (working) of NURSE T T

14a    Crackpot can’t sue willy-nilly (7)
{NUTCASE} An anagram (willy-nilly) of CAN’T SUE

15a    End break-up of course whenever intimacy’s end includes love’s (7)
{REUNIFY} ‘Course’ + ‘whenever’ + Y (last letter of intimacy) round E (last letter of love)

18a    Protest in small capitals before government seizes power (7)
{SCRUPLE} SC (small capitals) + ‘government’ round P (power)

20a    Ecclesiastical custom follows endless slanted presentation (9)
{SPIRITUAL} A custom (6) follows ‘slanted presentation’ with the last letter removed

21a   Employment service constrained by court (5)
{CRAFT} One of the armed services goes inside CT (court)

22a    Request to suppress negative word in gamble (1-6)
{D-NOTICE} Something officially sent to newspapers asking them not to publish certain information on the grounds of national security = a word expressing negation inside ‘to gamble’

23a    Volunteer with dogged tenacity? (7)
{TERRIER} A name used for a volunteer soldier is also a type of dog

24a    I don’t like anyone I entered in new smartphone (11)
{MISANTHROPE} I inside an anagram (new) of SMARTPHONE


1d    Working-class person‘s likeable but not Liberal (7)
{PEASANT} Remove L (Liberal) from ‘likeable’

2d    Hide constant hunger (5)
{CACHE} ‘To hide’ = C (constant) + hunger

3d    Substance in unmixed short drink (7)
{PURPORT} ‘Unmixed’ with the last letter removed + a fortified wine

4d    Sailor’s rope puller does better than bronze (7)
{CAPSTAN} A device used for winding in ropes on a ship = ‘does better than’ + ‘to bronze’

5d    Fan of disused farm equipment? (9)
{EXTRACTOR} Disused (or former) + a farm vehicle. I’m sure I’ve seen variations of this clue 3 or 4 times in the past few months.

6d    It develops with a man’s indefatigability (7)
{STAMINA} An anagram (develops) of IT A MAN’S

7d    No more increase in mounting expected in sterile state (11)
{PASTEURISED} ‘No more’ + ‘increase’ inside a reversal of ‘expected’

9d    One should identify the false wind octet among art-songs (3,8)
{LIE DETECTOR} An anagram (wind) of OCTET inside art-songs

13d    Losing nitrogen, up to when one draws power etc (9)
{UTILITIES} ‘Up to when’ with the letter N (nitrogen) removed + I (one) + ‘draws’

16d    I’m thinking about northern Welshman all the same (7)
{UNIFORM} An interjection denoting ‘I’m thinking’ round N (northern) and a Welsh male name

17d    I accept the terms of unknown vast age for humans? (5,2)
{YOU’RE ON} Y (unknown) + what could be equivalent to ‘vast age for us humans’ (3,3)

18d    Map in school shows heavy discoloration (7)
{SPLOTCH} Map in SCH (school)

19d    Publicity over an occupation’s nutty stuff (7)
{PRALINE} The abbreviation for public relations + A + occupation

21d    What’s carried originally on ship? (5)
{CARGO} C (first letter of carried) + Jason’s ship

Surprisingly straightforward for a Notabilis puzzle

11 comments on “Toughie 893

  1. I certainly didn’t find this as easy as Bufo in fact I found it a tough nut to crack. Favourites were 1a 11a and 17d thanks to Notabilis and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. The SW took me longer to complete than the rest of the puzzle did. A bit of a struggle for me today, but worth the effort I put into it. Thanks to Notabilis, and to Bufo.

  3. 4* difficulty for me. Took a very long time before I started making any headway. Thanks to Bufo as I needed some of the explanations even after I had got the answers!

  4. The right hand side would fit nicely into the 2 – 3* difficulty bracket, but I couldn’t get very far with the LH side before I had to do the day job. When I returned to it a couple of hours later, it all fell into place so I would probably average out the diffic\ulty at just under the 4* mark. Very enjoyable as one would expect from a Notabilis. Thanks to him and Bufo too.

  5. 4* difficulty for me also. 15a was the last one in, long after the rest. Good workout for the grey cells.

  6. I only attempted this because of Bufo’s introductory comment: “This was of no more than average difficulty…”

    The white flag of surrender has been raised. Too Tough for me!

  7. “No more than average difficulty ” .Have completed half and have decided continuation may shorten the winter for me but leave precious little time for anything else !
    Won’t look at the hints yet in case of an unlikely change of mind so thanks in advance .

  8. Had visitors so were not able to give usual attention, but still gave up with not much more than E side finished. That’s twice that Notablis has done for us.
    Thanks Notabilis for the workout and Bufo for the review.

  9. 4 * From me on both counts, bad week, all over the country with work, compooter issues, and I miss my doglets, roll on Saturday, manners prevail so thank you Notabilis and Bufo

  10. Well & truly mired in SW corner with no chance of getting out on my own. Thanks to Notabilis & to Bufo without whose help I would never have got out.

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