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Toughie 1069

Toughie No 1069 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley! It’s Friday and as usual, the difficulty is ramped up with today’s puzzle. Notabilis is back with a nice puzzle to warm up those taking part in the Times Crossword Championships tomorrow. This seemed quite tricky, especially as the big phrases were not ones that your normally see in a puzzle (how many times have you seen Weston Super Mare or Advertisements?). As usual, lots of elegant clues and clever definitions from our setter, demonstrating why he is one of the finest around.

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. Definitions are underlined, favourite clues are in blue.


1a    Fruit and nut trees’re possibly obstacles for pedestrians (6,9)
{STREET FURNITURE} We start today with an anagram of FRUIT, NUT TREES’RE, which leads you to a description of those items that cause problems for people walking around town.

 9a    Where to find nettle sting relief being tried? (2,3,4)
{IN THE DOCK} A double cryptic definition, a location for the accused in a court case (being tried) is the same as the panacea for a nettle sting.

10a    Scrap of fruit before empty harvest (5)
{FIGHT} The name for a fruit often associated with a festive pudding is added to HT (Harvest ’emptied’ of its contents) and gives you the word for a punch-up or scrap.

11a    Recuperate, indeed deficient in energy (5)
{RALLY} A word meaning to recuperate is one that means indeed, minus E (energy).

12a    At last, some waves in trough become evident again (9)
{RESURFACE} Some of your collective minds struggled with this one but as usual, we found someone who could… The last letter of somE (at last) is added to a description of the sea’s waves and this goes inside an unusual word meaning a trough for bringing water to or from a millwheel. This gives a word meaning to come to light again.

13a    Streamlined swimmer’s defective equilibrium giving nothing away (8)
{PORPOISE} A word for one of the graceful denizens of the deep is made up of a word meaning defective, or lacking money added to one meaning grace or equilibrium, with one of the O’s removed (giving nothing away).

 14a    Sounded bullish when welcoming new budget? (3-3)
{LOW-END} An expression for cheap or inferior is revealed by taking a word that means made a noise like a bull or cow, with N (new) inside.

16a    Going round D is among small accomplishments in pool (6)
{WIDTHS} This is the other type of pool! The shortest distances you could cover in a swimming pool are found by taking D and placing it inside a word meaning among and adding S for small

18a    Reverse hire purchase plan allowed in brochure (8)
{PAMPHLET} A type of small booklet or brochure is found by taking the abbreviation for Hire Purchase and something that means plan, reversing it all and adding something that means allowed.

22a    Cheers rider at front in Tour de France jersey, after cutting fruit (9)
{TAMARILLO} The name for a South American fruit (also known as the ‘tree tomato’) is found by taking a short word meaning ‘cheers or thanks’ and adding the (French) name for the jersey worn by the leader in the Tour de France, minus its last letter, but with R (first letter of rider) inside.

23a    Regularly struck, wasn’t noise musical? (5)
{ANNIE} The name of the musical that features the dirge about the sun coming out tomorrow is found by removing the alternate letters of WASN’T NOISE.

24a    Before marriage, British sportswoman not having the head for Wimbledon event? (5)
{ENNIS} The surname of a gold medal winner at London 2012, who’s now added HILL to her surname, is revealed by taking the name of the sport associated with Wimbledon and removing its first letter.

25a    What old-fashioned things are out of keeping Euro MP gives a place for topical amusement (5,4)
{THEME PARK} A location for enjoyment of things like rollercoasters is found by taking the name of the place whence old things come in a famous expression and inserting the abbreviation for a European Member of Parliament.

26a    Reassign worker’s donkey that’s puffed, having already had a breather (6-4,5)
{SECOND-HAND SMOKE} The term for recycled fumes, such as those from a cigarette, is revealed by taking a word meaning to give someone an alternative job, adding a word meaning ‘worker’s’ and the name for a donkey.


1d    To demonstrate contentment, the thing is getting up and mounting support (7)
{STIRRUP} Reversing the noise that an animal makes to show it’s happy and a short word meaning ‘the thing is’ gives you something to help you get on board a horse.

2d    Vermin killer trapping large viper (7)
{RATTLER} A type of poisonous snake is found by taking the name for a hunter of vermin, such as a dog, and inserting L (large).

3d    Alternate with saints working to protect male one and all (5,7,3)
{EVERY MOTHER’S SON} An expression meaning all people is found by taking a phrase meaning alternate, inserting M (male ) and then adding S & S (saints) and a short word meaning working.

4d    Fashion of the sort cutting husband’s 1 Down, say (8)
{FOOTREST} An anagram (fashion) of OF T(H)E SORT, minus H (husband) gives a word that means the same as 1 down.

5d    Spirit of Mediterranean’s hot and dissipated (6)
{RAKISH} The name for a Turkish spirit is added to S (apostrophe) and H (hot) to give a word meaning dissipated.

6d    Venus and Mercury gather the brute’s eating men, even (8,7)
{INFERIOR PLANETS} The description of Mercury and Venus’ position in the solar system is found by taking a word meaning gather and a word meaning the brute’s (2’1) and inserting some serving men and a word meaning even

7d    Purged a faulty replacement of equipment (7)
{UPGRADE} An anagram (faulty) of PURGED A is the term used when you get a newer version of software, mobile phone etc.

8d    European engaged in initiative is to take a hit (3,4)
{EAT LEAD} An American expression meaning to be shot is found by taking E (European), adding a word meaning engaged and something referring to the initiative in something.

15d    Maybe Racine swallows a round loaf like Jonson (8)
{JACOBEAN} The name for the period associated with Ben Jonson is revealed by taking A and a type of round loaf and inserting it inside the first name of French dramatist Racine.

16d    Stupid tricks succeeded, taking tons in (7)
{WITLESS} Something meaning idiotic, lacking common sense, is revealed by taking a word referring to tricks or intuitions (think: ‘feminine___’), inserting T (tons) and adding S (succeeded)

17d    Furious, perhaps, having serving of cappuccino (medium) upended (7)
{DEMONIC} Hidden backwards inside CAPPUCINO MEDIUM is a word meaning furious, possessed.

19d    Accepting reporting restriction, see no way back (4,3)
{LONG AGO} An expression meaning in the mists of time is revealed by putting a word for a reporting restriction in journalism inside something meaning look or see and NO.

20d    Sci-fi fan lovelessly ripped edges of Kirk image (7)
{TREKKIE} The name for an aficionado of Captain Kirk and Mr Spock is found by taking something that means ripped, removing O (lovelessly) and taking the ends (edges) of KirK and ImagE.

21d    Irregularity in colouring mess, going over line (6)
{BLOTCH} A word for a printing irregularity in fabrics is found by taking a word meaning to mess up and inserting L (line).

Thanks to Notabilis for a splendid challenge. Hope to see some of you at tomorrow’s Times Crossword Championships and subsequent do at the Town of Ramsgate in Wapping. Good luck to all the competitors who’ll be trying to topple the genius that is Mark Goodliffe. I’ll see you next week!

13 comments on “Toughie 1069

  1. Not as fierce as some that this setter produces but I did enjoy it, favourites were 3d 13a and 15d thanks to Notabilis and to Tilsit for the comments.

  2. A **** for difficulty? But it can’t be! I finished it without hints!

    Seriously, though, I had no problems with this today. I admit to a little Google help with 15D and the first word of 8D, but it was steady progress, although admittedly not speedy. I must have just lucked into the right wave length. Really liked 3D, 8D and 22A.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Tilsit.

  3. Thanks Tilsit I find your enthusiasm infectious and I hadn’t fully parsed 6d !
    Favourite 3d but enjoyed the lot so thanks to Notabilis for a splendid finish to the week.

  4. A comparatively gentle puzzle from Notabilis, but pleasant to solve. Thanks to him, and to Tilsit for the review.

  5. Really good fun, and, as with the back-pager, it was the SW corner that was last to yield with 18a and 18d the last two in. The four long clues were all clever too. Took us a while but very enjoyable.
    Have fun at the “Do” everyone. Perhaps we will get to one some day.
    Thanks Notabilis and Tilsit.

  6. Very enjoyable crossword from Notablis if not as difficult as usual, my thanks to him and to Tilsit for an entertaining morning.

  7. Definitely not a **** Toughie, as I did most of it quite easily, just needing hints for 14a and 8d and google for 15d. Some fun clues in there.

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