Toughie 1133 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1133

Toughie No 1133 by Notabilis

Whatever happened to Mellors?

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

Many thanks to Tilsit, who morphed into Fred, and his “partner” Ginger for stepping in (or was that stepping out)  for me on Tuesday.  In return I get to review this wonderful puzzle from Notabilis.

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    Confuse dance partner, incorporating curtsy (extremely unusual) (14)
{DISCOMBOBULATE} – a dance where records are played and a partner around (incorporating) a curtsy and the outer letters (extremely) of UnusuaL

9a    Dash this way to increase cheating (7)
{SOUPÇON} – a dash or hardly perceptible quantity comes from a charade of a two-letter word meaning in this way followed by a two-letter verb meaning to increase and some cheating

10a    Memory, sadder, leaving university — but I digress (7)
{RAMBLER} – some computer memory followed by an adjective meaning sadder without (leaving) the U(niversity) gives someone who digresses

11a    Stage  prop (3)
{LEG} – two definitions

12a    A card after open country doctor’s farewell (5-6)
{LEAVE-TAKING} – the A from the clue and a playing card after some open countryside and an animal doctor

14a    Fondant with centre removed could be good for dieter? (3-3)
{NON-FAT} – an anagram (could be) of FON(D)ANT without (removed) its middle (centre) letter

15a    Park not at all limited by narrow opening: it’s easily undone (8)
{SLIPKNOT} – P(ar)K and a two-letter word meaning not at all inside (limited by) a narrow opening

17a    Island lair overlooking more than one lake disturbed Corsican neighbour (8)
{SARDINIA} – an anagram (disturbed) of IS(L)AND (L)AIR without (overlooking) more than one L(ake)

19a    Dissolute person is to continue in poverty? (6)
{WANTON} – split as (4,2) this could mean to continue in poverty

22a    Luddite‘s letter about central heating and new work surface for cooking (11)
{TECHNOPHOBE} – a three-letter word representing a letter of the alphabet around CH (Central Heating), N(ew) a musical work and a surface used for cooking

23a    Wonder initially at writer’s empathy (3)
{AWE} – the initial letters of three words in the clue

24a    One rejected players unsuitable for closet drama? (7)
{OUTCAST} – split as (3,4) this could be players in a drama who are no longer in the closet

26a    Gentle heating retains hot glow (7)
{SHIMMER} – some gentle heating or cooking around (retaining) H(ot)

27a    Boy repeating year keeps talking like vacant woman with inferior lover (4,10)
{LADY CHATTERLEY} – a boy and Y Y (repeating Year) around a verb meaning to keep talking and LikE without its inner letters (vacant) gives this titled woman who had an affair with her gardener gamekeeper


1d    Way to get fresh water — an initial dose’s spoiled (14)
{DESALINISATION} – an anagram (spoiled) of AN INITIAL DOSE’S

2d    Taser possibly wounded one in the provinces (4,3)
{STUN GUN} – a verb meaning wounded, perhaps by a bee, followed by the French (in the provinces of France) a dialect word (in the provinces) for one

3d    Presumably, only upright text stradding line, nothing inverted or swinging (11)
{OSCILLATION} – a phrase meaning only upright text (2,7) around L(ine) and followed by O (nothing) all reversed (inverted in a down clue)

4d    Forbid Scotch bonnet for poultry (6)
{BANTAM} – a verb meaning to forbid followed by a Scotch bonnet or cap with broad circular flat top – nothing to do with chillies!

5d    Some self-controlled robbers turning over disorderly house (8)
{BORDELLO} – hidden (some) and reversed (turning over) inside the clue

6d    Brief feeble strike (3)
{LAM} – most of (brief) an adjective meaning feeble

7d    European capital‘s unbelievable hotel (7)
{TALLINN} – an adjective meaning unbelievable, especially an unbelievable story, and a hotel

8d    Book genuine article at great cost, in good time (6,3,5)
{BRIGHT AND EARLY} – a charade of B(ook), an adjective meaning genuine, the two-letter indefinite article and an adverb meaning at great cost

13d    Sort that’s content in mountain blunder (11)
{ALPHABETISE} – the inner letters (content of tHAt inside a mountain and a, new-to-me, word for a blunder

16d    Quickly deal with water source in watercourse (8)
{DISPATCH} – a mineral spring (water source) inside a watercourse or trench

18d    Misreading of Riot Act that may come from Italian press? (7)
{RICOTTA} – an anagram (Misreading) of RIOT ACT gives a product that may come from an Italian cheese press

20d    One must yield to Madame in drag bar (7)
{TRAMMEL} – put M(ada)ME inside a verb meaning to drag without (must yield) the I (one)

21d    Most of innermost group stays (6)
{CORSET} – most of the innermost part of something followed by a group

25d    No matter which area, state half of its capital (3)
{ANY} – A(rea) followed by a US state is also half of its capital (if you drop the LBA)

Weather providing, I’ll see some of you in Bristol tomorrow.

29 comments on “Toughie 1133

  1. Good puzzle, favourites were 3d 19a and 20d thanks to Notabilis and to Big Dave especially for the parsing of 13d.

  2. This was certainly a workout and a half for me, but I plugged away and completed the grid except for 13D, which eluded me entirely. I did need the review to sort out the the parsing of couple of answers (3D and 8D in particular). Not sure that I can say I enjoyed it greatly since it was such a slog, but I am in awe of the setter’s skill. Many thanks to Notabalis, and to BD for the review and help.

  3. Thanks to Notabilis and BD for the entertainment. For 2d I didn’t think that we needed to cross the channel but to stay in the provinces on this side. ‘un is a dialect word for one, as in “My dog’s a big ‘un”.

  4. Smashing end to the week .Although I solved 13d I am still struggling to see where the (is) comes from .
    Favourite 19a .
    Thanks BD and Notabilis .

  5. Amazed to discover that I have just completed a 5* difficulty crossie without having to sneak a peek at one of BD’s excellent hints. This is indeed a first, and l may well have damp glass to celebrate once the sun (if there was one) has dropped below the yardarm. Many thanks to Notabilis, who goes straight to the top of my setters’ pops. I am conveniently forgetting the fact that l couldn’t see the derivation of six of my correct solutions.

      1. Ouch! At least I’m now safe from hubris. I must admit that l did spot the original 5* rating with a degree of surprise!

  6. Lovely puzzle. On the easy side for a Friday Notabilis but no less enjoyable for that. Lots of fine clues but 21d and 26d were my favourites.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and BD.

  7. Some straightforward clues, and some I found really difficult. I failed to parse 13d and 3d bothered me for a while as well.
    Many thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the explanations.

  8. A lovely puzzle. We parsed 13d in the same way as BD, sorted out what we did know and looked up the rest and were surprised to find it is a word. 3d was the one that took ages to sort out why the answer we had was correct, but it did eventually come to us. Just the right difficulty level to keep us challenged, amused and satisfied.
    Thanks Notabilis and BD.

  9. Superbly enjoyable Friday Toughie; not Notabilis’s most fiendish, but it contained many ingenious and amusing clues, including 1 across, 22 across, 5 down and, of course, 27 across. I, too, struggled with 13 down, until I accidentally came across the word ‘betise’ whilst searching for bete, as a synonym for ‘blunder.’

  10. Many thanks for the help – certainly need. To answer the question in your heading (and 27a) he was her husband’s gamekeeper not gardener.

  11. Found this quite tricky in places and had to solve 3d., 13d. and 20d. from the definition and checkers alone. Thanks to Notabilis and many thanks to BD for some much needed explanations.

  12. Truly superb puzzle from Notablis yet again, my thanks to him and to BD for the marvellous review.

  13. My goodness! I usually run from the Friday Toughie like a scared rabbit but today with a lot of perseverance, some luck and a memory of my French teacher calling us “les betises” I actually managed today’s puzzle unaided. Many thanks to Notabilis for an entertaining work-out and to BD for his review. ****/*****

  14. Thanks to Notabilis and to Big Dave for the review and hints. I enjoyed this a lot, what a great puzzle. Needed 8 hints to finish, but was very much entertained. Was 4*/4* for me.

  15. I began this puzzle with trepidation, but once I got into it found it thoroughly enjoyable. I struggled with 15a and 14d. ‘Betise’ is a new word for me. I also needed the explanation for 25d (couldn’t think of what capital it was
    Lots of lovely clues, but my fave was 27a.
    Very many thanks to Notabilis. And very many thanks and appreciation to Big Dave.

  16. I know I am late but having internet again after 2.5 days away, I just had to those who thought this was a wonderful toughie – solving it didn’t take that long but working out some of the wonderful wordplay, eg for 3d took a little longer.

    Thanks to Notabilis – great stuff – and to BD too.

  17. I put this in my bag to do on a long flight on Sunday. Very enjoyable, got it all except 21d.

  18. Got round to this today from my stack of untouched Toughies. Got all the answers but needed BD to tell me why, especially 3d. 20d was my last in and 27a was my favourite. 4*/4*. Thanks to Bd and Notabilis

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