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Toughie 1055

Toughie No 1055 by Notabilis

Is It Friday Already?

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

We’ve had Notabilis on Wednesdays before but those puzzles have usually been somewhat easier than his Friday offerings. This one, I thought, was more like the Friday ones. Let us know how you got on. His puzzles very often have a Nina but I can’t spot anything today.

Across Clues

1a  Interfering person‘s partial recall of howdy-do by subeditor (8)
{BUSYBODY} – hidden (partial) and reversed (recall).

5a  Minor eminence in report of brave hardship when losing out (6)
{TUFFET} – this is a small raised area or seat (where spiders may be found, if the nursery rhyme is to be believed). It sounds like a phrase (5,2,3) meaning to brave hardship without the word ‘out’.

9a  Accuse a person about breaking dipstick (8)
{DENOUNCE} – reverse (about) a single individual (person) and insert it in a dipstick or dimwit.

10a  Maybe pomade, when included in Continental cut (6)
{GREASE} – include a synonym for when in a southern European without his final letter (cut).

11a  Score changed by half after try gets cheer (7)
{HEARTEN} – halve a score and put the result after a verb to try in court.

12a  One with patchy employment who shirks, switching tons to learner (7)
{QUILTER} – start with someone who doesn’t stick at a task and change the first abbreviation for tons to that of a learner driver. I do like ‘One with patchy employment’.

13a  Few planes can contain this wild deer, not holding stag back (11)
{TETRAHEDRON} – … four to be precise. It’s an anagram (wild) of DEER NOT containing the reversal (back) of an adult stag.

16a  Perhaps a hundred and one spelt out simple filled grids (4,7)
{WORD SQUARES} – 100 and 1 are examples of what you get when you multiply an integer by itself, but as ‘hundred’ and ‘one’ they are expressed other than numerically.

21a  Well-rehearsed comedian who provides support nationally? (7)
{PATRIOT} – a charade of an adjective meaning well-rehearsed or word perfect and a slang term for a hilarious person.

22a  Feathers stop having old lady in ecstasy (7)
{PLUMAGE} – a verb to stop or block up contains (having … in) an affectionate term for your old lady. Add E(cstasy) at the end.

23a  The girl keeps one of a pair in heels, assuming she’s too young to have calves (6)
{HEIFER} – a female pronoun contains one of the repeated pair of letters in ‘heels’ and the conjunction meaning assuming or ‘provided that’.

24a  Left in crumbling (dire, etc) situation? (8)
{DERELICT} – a semi-all-in-one. Insert L(eft) in an anagram (crumbling) of DIRE ETC.

25a  Drug trifle over sports energy drinks (6)
{PEYOTE} – I’d not heard of this word but it is apparently another word for mescal (a word I did know) which is a cactus growing in Mexico and the Southern US, from which an intoxicant can be made. The abbreviations for sports or gymnastics and E(nergy) contain (drinks) the reversal (over) of a verb to trifle or play idly with. Since sports and energy are two separate abbreviations here should it not be ‘drink’ rather than ‘drinks’?

26a  Austrian psychiatrist  drops distributor (8)
{ASPERGER} – double definition – the Austrian psychiatrist who gave his name to a syndrome and the person sprinkling holy water at a Roman Catholic ceremony.

Down Clues

1d  Figure with pot or empty dish held by comic partner of Lou C (6)
{BUDDHA} – insert D(is)H without its contents inside Lou Costello’s comedy (?) partner with his name shortened in the same way as Lou C.

2d  Man cooking up wild things kneads duff (6)
{SENDAK} – this is an American author and illustrator of children’s books (not someone I’ve come across) whose works include Where The Wild Things Are. His name is an anagram (duff) of KNEADS.

3d  Diminutive singer brought up this, the lullaby’s odd parts (4,3)
{BLUE TIT} – take the odd letters of three consecutive words in the clue then reverse (brought up) what you’ve got.

4d  Churchmen wanting a heavy vehicle reduced time to break down (11)
{DECONSTRUCT} – string together ordained junior ministers without (wanting) the A, a heavy vehicle without its final letter (reduced) and T(ime).

6d  Big Country music producer (for Strummer) welcoming The Fall? (7)
{UKRAINE} – the informal short word for a musical instrument that is strummed contains what falls from above.

7d  Grass mostly found among fine speed and crack (8)
{FRACTURE} – insert another word for grass without its final letter (mostly) into F(ine) and a verb to speed.

8d  Main man brother’s got in pocket (3,5)
{THE BRINY} – a male pronoun (man) and an abbreviation for brother go inside an adjective meaning pocket or miniature (as in a pocket battleship).

12d  Multiple birth results as doctor finished cancelled services (11)
{QUADRUPLETS} – string together a) a conjunction, from Latin, meaning as or in the capacity of, b) an abbreviation for doctor, c) an adverb meaning finished and d) services which have to be re-taken.

14d  Singular women excited Sappho where trades could be arranged (4-4)
{SWAP-SHOP} – start with abbreviations for singular and woman, then add an anagram (excited) of SAPPHO.

15d  Start to get annoyed about content of suit’s bonus payment (8)
{GRATUITY} – the starting letter of G(et) and an informal adjective meaning annoyed or irritable go round the content of (s)UI(t).

17d  Show excellence in leg meat to dine on (5,2)
{SHINE AT} – a cut of meat from the leg area of a cow is followed by a verb to dine on or consume.

18d  Rest they use when shattered (4-3)
{SHUT-EYE} – an anagram (when shattered) of THEY USE.

19d  Sceptical comment on enthusiasm for bullying (6)
{HAZING} – an interjection expressing scepticism followed by an informal word for enthusiasm or vitality.

20d  Valet and his master ignoring days before court: that’s where I was a fool (6)
{JESTER} – start with the surnames (in this order) of the most famous fictional valet and his master then remove (ignoring) the word meaning ‘days before’ and the verb to court.

I liked 5a and 20d but my standout clue today is 1d. Do let us know what appealed to you.

28 comments on “Toughie 1055

  1. A lovely proper Toughie – would have done well in the Friday spot but very welcome on a Wednesday so thank you Notabilis.

    Thanks to Gazza too – I agree that 1d is brilliant – figure with pot indeed! I did have other clues on my list, not least 6d because it reminded me of Gnomey without including his favourite water course. Interesting that 10a is in both today’s DT puzzles.

  2. I needed a few goes at this to finish it, in between moving other pieces of paper around the office desk.
    Very enjoyable – 20d was my favourite.
    Many thanks to Notabilis for the puzzle, and to Gazza for the explanations.

  3. I think I’ll give up the Toughie.

    These surface readings just don’t work!

    1a – set the standard! What on earth does that mean?

      1. I think that Stan is complaining about the surface reading. He has a point but I can’t think of a better way of hiding busybody in reverse.

      2. BigBoab, 1a – I understood the wordplay but … Oh Dear! What a terrible clue!

        Looking forward to Virgilius next Sunday! He never reverts to Gobbledegook in his clues!

  4. Thanks Gazza ,took an age but very satisfying .Personal favourite 5a .which was last in as NE corner last to yield .
    Thanks to Notabilis too for the challenge .

  5. Glad to see that this was a **** for difficulty because I had no idea about 5A, 10A, 26A and 6D. I had the correct answers for 2D and 20D, but had no idea why. Favorites were 13A, 25A, which I had heard of, and 15D. Otherwise OK and altogether very enjoyable. Thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the welcome hints and explanations.

  6. Definitely a Friday Toughie so that raises the question, who will get the Friday slot?. Good puzzle today of which my favourites were 1d 8d 21a and 26a thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for a super review.

  7. Now that’s what I call a toughie,do-able but very challenging. Many favourites, best of which are 1dn and 20dn. Thanks to Gazza for the explanations and to Notabilis for the mental work-out.

  8. I unfortunately found this Toughie as unenjoyable as yesterday’s. Many of the surface readings were very poor indeed and this totally spoils a crossword for me (and I’m sure countless others). Sorry, setter

  9. I found this really tough going – particularly the north east corner. Not helped that I was being driven back from Scotland whilst trying to complete. Many thanks to the setter and for the hints and tips which were much needed.

  10. It’s definitely Friday. I managed six answers before deciding that I wasn’t going to get much further. That was before gazza’s hints were there – once I saw 4* difficulty I felt much better.
    I did like 11a and 1d.
    With thanks to Notabilis and gazza.

    1. Are his Toughies tricky – in other words is it worth a Toughie novice like me having a go? I quite like to have a rough idea of what to expect. How do you know who it is this early?

        1. I met Shamus at a London S&B event, I mentioned my name and this site, and he remembered I’d commented on the verbosity. Suitably red faced moi :)

            1. Not sure where in London Jezza but south of the river for sure, and I agree he be good. Must have been a recent Bridge House do , Donk going North of river, Shamus south, I muttered the immortal words how difficult can it be do get from Paddington to Kings Cross. Only by taxi it transpired :)

  11. Solo flight today as Carol away. I did wonder whether the time it was taking, was because of half the team missing, so I was pleased to see that other people also found it challenging. 20d took absolutely ages for the penny to drop on how the parsing worked, despite having lightly written in the correct answer. A lot of fun and some really clever clues.
    Thanks Notabilis and Gazza.

  12. One of the toughest for many weeks; 5a took me absolutely ages, and I’m still not sure if I’ve got 19d correct. Well done Notabilis ! Should have been a Friday puzzle, though.

    1. The answers are actually there, hidden between the curly brackets under the clues. You need to highlight the gap to reveal the answer.

      1. Thanks Gazza; I never knew that ! Fortunately I was right for 19d, which also took a long time looking up definitions etc

  13. I have to agree with StanXYZ and Michael M that Notabilis’s surface readings do indeed leave something to be desired. However – the surface of 6d is terrific in including 3 key pop music acts in the one clue. 12d is a charade masterpiece and the surface does make some kind of sense, but 10a is dead weedy “Continental” indeed – what’s wrong with “bubble” ? or is it non-pc?

    Re your caveat about 25a Gazza – I beg to differ – sports energy is a 3 letter sequence which “drinks” a reversed trifle. No problem.

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