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Toughie 1005

Toughie No 1005 by Notabilis

On the starting grid

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A superfluity of excellent clues makes this my puzzle of the week.

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    Before you start, this grid is dumb (8)
{WORDLESS} – the state of this grid before any answers are inserted!

5a    Anti-fur campaigners elected French leader during hostilities (6)
{PÉTAIN} – the group set up by Anti-fur campaigners followed by a two-letter word meaning elected

8a    Recoil from circular piece in rotary tool (6)
{LOATHE} – the circular letter inside a rotary tool used for turning wood

9a    Small retreats in lead-up to Easter, which 11 may use to relax 13 (8)
{LINIMENT} – a four-letter word meaning small. As in a famous small car, reversed (retreats) inside the period of forty days leading up to Easter – note that the references to 11 across and 13 across differ from the definitions used in the clues

10a    Picture report gets backing with Number 6 as prisoner (8)
{ENVISION} – a report or sound is reversed (gets backing) around (with … as prisoner) N(umber) and the Roman numerals for 6

11a    What’s useful if amending drawings for some bridge? (6)
{RUBBER} – double definition – the second one being a series of games in bridge

12a    A wake-up call brought round someone of faith wanting lead and accepting Lord’s (8)
{REVEILLE} – start with someone of faith, drop (wanting) the initial B (lead), reverse what is left (brought round) and then insert (accepting) L(ord)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Clout helping to make ignoramus clever (6)
{MUSCLE} – hidden (helping to make) inside the clue

15a    ‘Tender parts‘ or what you see cradling them? (6)
{QUOTES} – two definitions – the first being an essential part of a tender for a contract and the second being the punctuation that encloses the first definition

18a    Learner’s inside changing his baby in worn-out mode (8)
{SHABBILY} – L(earner) inside an anagram (changing) of HIS BABY

20a    Special Constable taken off landscape to protect good life (6)
{ENERGY} – the abbreviation for Special Constable is removed (taken off) from a landscape and what’s left is placed around (to protect) G(ood)

21a    Dissident died in Montmartre, first person caught on hill (8)
{OBJECTOR} – the two-letter abbreviation of the Latin word for died followed by the French (in Montmartre) first person pronoun, C(aught) and a hill – possibly an allusion to Jean Jaurès, who was assassinated in Montmartre and later buried in the Panthéon

23a    Old tub moved by means of propulsion attached at the back? (8)
{OUTBOARD} – in this &Lit clue O(ld) is followed by an anagram (moved) of TUB, a means of propulsion for a rowing boat and the final letter (at the back) of attacheD

24a    Place of relief, having home swamped by Russian river (6)
{URINAL} – a two-letter word meaning (at) home inside (swamped by) a Russian river

25a    Time ran out, leaving one written to tersely (6)
{TEXTED} – T(ime) followed by a verb meaning ran out from which the I (one) is dropped (leaving)

26a    Small-scale work revised the canon (8)
{NANOTECH} – an anagram (revised) of THE CANON


1d    Writer brought down by marquess‘s trick involving duke (5)
{WILDE} – this writer was “brought down” by the Marquess of Queensbury, who accused him of “posing as somdomite”[sic] – a trick or ruse around (involving) D(uke)

2d    Easing of hostility briefly limits border damage (9)
{DETRIMENT} – an easing of hostility without its final e (briefly) around (limits) a border or edge

3d    ‘Frightful’ word that is on line including last letter in book (7)
{EZEKIEL} – a word allegedly often uttered by a lady who is frightened by a mouse followed by the abbreviation of the Latin for “that is” and L(ine) around (including) the last letter of the alphabet gives a book in the Old Testament

4d    Ill-disposed view of din (e.g. cell’s noise)? (7,2,6)
{SILENCE IS GOLDEN} – this maxim, loosely defined by the whole clue, is an anagram (Ill-disposed view) of DIN E.G. CELL’S NOISE

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d    In the end, this grid is something painful to beat (7)
{PANGRAM} – a characteristic of this grid when it has been correctly completed! – a charade of something painful and a verb meaning to beat

6d    Embittered Bill Bailey’s opening in Morecambe, say (7)
{ACERBIC} – the two-letter abbreviation for a bill followed by the initial letter (opening) of Bailey inside the first name of Ernie Wise’s partner

7d    Bad reputation of Rio, not yet prepared (9)
{NOTORIETY} – an anagram (prepared) of RIO NOT YET

12d    Cayenne’s what since stopping putrefaction makes a strong dairy product (9)
{ROQUEFORT} – the French for (Cayenne’s / in the capital of French Guiana) “what “and a word meaning since or because inside (stopping) some putrefaction

14d    Low character in screenplay for Das Boot? (9)
{SUBSCRIPT} – if these characters printed lower than the normal line are split as (3,6) this could be the screenplay for Das Boot, a film about a WWII German U-boat

16d    Demand too much of green area to feed farm animal (7)
{OVERTAX} – the heraldic term for green and A(rea) inside (to feed) a farm animal

17d    State of bluegrass filling grassy area up (7)
{SKYWARD} – the abbreviation for the bluegrass state inside (filling) a grassy area

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19d    Messed around, keeping Juliet put off (7)
{ADJOURN} – an anagram (messed) of AROUND outside (keeping) the letter represented in the NATO Phonetic alphabet by Juliet

22d    Perhaps Emerson, Lake & Palmer initially welcomed by a cheer (5)
{RALPH} – to get the first name of, for example (perhaps), Emerson, the American philosopher and poet, put the initial letters of Lake & Palmer inside (welcomed by) a cheer

It’s a good job today is Friday – how do you follow that?!

15 comments on “Toughie 1005

  1. A perfect Toughie – thanks to Notabilis and BD (not least for the Gnome’s Law moment earlier this morning).

  2. Certainly the puzzle of the week for me as well, however much for than a ** for me in difficulty. Great picture of the cheese in question, I can almost smell it. Thank you Notabilis for a superb puzzle ans Big Dave for smashing review.

  3. The hardest telegraph puzzle of the week for me, but also the most enjoyable. At one point, the whole of the right-hand side was in, with the opposite side almost empty.
    Thanks to Notabilis, and to BD.

  4. Great toughie from Notablis yet again, and a brilliant review from BD (particularly liked 5a)

  5. Thanks to Notabilis for a great puzzle and to BD for the hints – I needed your help understanding 12a and for the answer to 3d (I usually yell “Mouse! Mouse!” when I see a mouse and have very poor knowledge of the bible).

  6. Only 17d defeated me. Like Jezza I had the right side filled with the left side completely empty, but it all fell in place steadily enough.
    11a, 24a, 6d and 22d were the highlights for me.
    I’d give it **** for both difficulty and enjoyment.
    Thanks Big Dave and Notabilis.

  7. I had exactly the same experience as Jezza right hand side complete left hand side totally barren and I also thought it was very tough. Favourites among a host of others were 3d 6d 15a and 21a thanks to Notabilis for a great puzzle and to Big Dave for the dissection.

  8. wonderful stuff as usual from the master- although putting in “clueless” for 1ac didn’t help- many thanks to Notabilis for a perfect Friday offering and BD for unravelling clues I got but had no idea why!

  9. This puzzle is not easy for me, but I am avoiding looking at the hints and perservering. RHS is complete and I am plodding along with the LHS. Just figured out 1A…lovely stuff. It might take me all weekend, but I am stubbornly refusing to give up.

  10. Solo flight today. I also started off with clueless for 1a and had the RHS nearly done well before any significant progress with LHS. Certainly took much more than ** time (I had pencilled 5/5 in the margin) but thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. Had noticed the pangram before getting to 5d which was last in.
    Thanks Notabilis and BD.

    1. As I said to CS, 1 down was a write-in so I avoided the clueless trap. Although it satisfies the definition of dumb, it hardly satisfies the rest of the wordplay.

      1. Totally agree with that Dave. Thought that 1a and 5d were brilliant clues in a grid that has 14 double unches. My solving time might reflect the fact that we did have visitors (hence solo) and I could not ignore them totally for the afternoon.

  11. I DID IT! And I did it all without hints and even managed to sort out the word play, although admittedly after the fact for a couple. Knowing the Bluegrass State well helped with 17D. This was a real test for me, so I feel very good right now. No real favorite….I loved every darned clue. But 15A was superb. Many thanks to Notabilis, who has defeated me handily on every previous occasion our paths have crossed, and to BD for the review, especially the video.

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