Toughie 1149 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1149

Toughie No 1149 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

When you see that Notabilis has set a Toughie, you know you are in for a treat. Enjoy!

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    Shady event only ever seen at night (5,7)
{LUNAR ECLIPSE} – a cryptic definition of a phenomenon in which the moon appears darkened as it passes into the earth’s shadow

8a    Backward South American language receives new contribution (5)
{INPUT} – the reversal (backward) of language spoken by American Indian peoples living in scattered areas throughout the Amazon valley around (receives) N(ew)

9a    They’re alien diets forced into the one for us (9)
{OUTSIDERS} – an anagram (forced) of DIETS inside a pronoun meaning the one belonging to us

11a    Repayment in kind of protection given to Barnet (3,3,3)
{TIT FOR TAT} – two definitions – repayment or retaliation in kind and something that provides protection for the hair (Barnet Fair, usually abbreviated to Barnet, is Cockney rhyming slang for hair)

12a    Whisky and soda’s last in the country (5)
{MALTA} – a type of whisky followed by the final letter (last) of sodA

13a    One hundred stories to get rid of prime minister? (9)
{DECAMERON} – Boccaccio’s book of a hundred tales could, if split (2-7), mean to get rid of our current Prime Minister

16a    All but start of factual statement rejected figurative expression (5)
{TROPE} – start with a factual news statement, drop (all but) the initial letter (start), and then reverse (rejected) what remains to get a figure of speech in which a word or expression is used in other than its literal sense

18a    Completely ignoring temperature, still establishes agreements (5)
{YESES} – start with a three-letter word meaning still or furthermore and a four-letter verb meaning establishes and drop (completely ignoring) both of the T(emperature)s, one from each word

19a    Dismiss dimwit husband for rough stuff (9)
{SACKCLOTH) – a charade of a four-letter verb meaning to dismiss or fire, a dimwit and H(usband) gives a rough or coarse material, formerly worn in penance

20a    Something for boring estimator losing his head (5)
{AUGER} – an estimator without (losing) the initial letter G (head0

22a    Unorthodox train test is ruined (2,7)
{IN TATTERS} – the fodder is TRAIN TEST, but which is the anagram indicator? It’s unorthodox!

25a    Dash around unconvincing island battle site (2,7)
{EL ALAMEIN} – dash or vivacity around an adjective meaning unconvincing or weak and I(sland)

26a    Take diameter from knotty rope (5)
{NOOSE}- drop (take … from) the D(iameter) from an adjective meaning having knots or swellings

27a    Trial set or fixed with anybody? It might make a man of you (12)
{TESTOSTERONE} – a trial or experiment followed by an anagram (fixed) of SET OR and a word meaning any individual person gives the chief male sex hormone


1d    Light Infantry chooses to keep stone — they make up traps (9)
{LIPSTICKS} – the abbreviation for the Light Infantry and a verb meaning chooses around (to keep) ST(one) – trap here is a colloquial word for the mouth

2d    Explosive gold, a metal that goes up! (5)
{NITRO} – the heraldic term for gold and a metallic element all reversed (that goes up in a down clue)

3d    Rummage around small sleeping-place (5)
{ROOST} – a verb meaning to rummage or delve around S(mall)

4d    Cheers up in company, mostly pleasant but unresponsive (9)
{CATATONIC} – a hyphenated word meaning cheers or goodbye reversed (up in a down clue) inside CO(mpany) and followed by most of an adjective meaning pleasant

5d    It’s foolish restricting mother with natural expressions (9)
{IDIOMATIC} – an adjective meaning foolish around (restricting) a two-letter word for mother

6d    Disappointment about wife’s bulge (5)
(SWELL} – a disappointment or let-down around W(ife)

7d    Party food prepared for a blow-out? (8,4)
{BIRTHDAY CAKE} – a cryptic definition of food prepared for a party which has candles that are blown out by the main celebrant

10d    In play, thesps earwig for something the audience should hear (5,7)
{STAGE WHISPER} – an anagram (in play) of THESPS EARWIG

14d    Joker shortly to enter as new scoundrel (9)
{MISCREANT} – most of (shortly) a joker inside (to enter) an adjective meaning as new

15d    Danger originates with sons ensnaring family (9)
{RISKINESS} – a verb meaning originates or emaerges and S(ons) around a three-letter word for family

17d    Has a debt for personal total to auditor? It increases hazardous burn rate (5,4)
{OZONE HOLE} – this sounds like (to auditor) a charade of a verb meaning has a debt, an adjective meaning personal or individual and a total – it increases the hazardous burn rate by allowing ultraviolet rays into the earth’s atmosphere

21d    Shiny surface left in view (5)
{GLAZE} – L(eft) inside a verb meaning to view or stare

23d    Support holding side in bridge under stress? (5)
{TENSE} – a support for a golf ball around one of the two sides or partners in the game of bridge

24d    Movement from Argentina? Lack of sunlight can make it happen (5)
{TANGO} – a dance that originated in Argentina could, if split (3,2) describe what happens as a result of a lack of sunlight


Tilsit is currently bed-blocking in Huddersfield hospital!

23 comments on “Toughie 1149

  1. A most enjoyable puzzle today, favourites were 7d 11a and 17d thanks to Notabilis and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. Not for the first time, my mind transposed the number of letters in each part of 7D, my last one, and I spent ages looking for a 4,8 solution before I twigged. An altogether lovely puzzle and lots of fun. 26 and 27A and 14 and 24D were in a 4-way tie for favorite. I needed the hint to parse 18A. Many thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the hint and review.

    On another good note, I finally received a new password (seconds after the notification of automatic renewal of my subscription, discounted by 3 months!) so I’m finally back in business.

  3. Very entertaining, and a vote of 5* for enjoyment from me.
    Many thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the review.

  4. Superb entertainment thank you Notabilis – 5* enjoyment for me too – I love a crossword that leaves you smiling all morning. Too many favourites to list. One of those “doesn’t have to be tough to be very enjoyable” Toughies.

    Thanks to BD too. I definitely had blogger-envy today as I would have loved to have enjoyed this crossword twice over.

  5. Yet again “Pure dead brilliant”, many thanks to Notablis for a thoroughly enjoyable crossword, I agree totally with crypticsue et al. Many thanks also to our illustrious leader for an excellent review.

  6. Second day this week that I’ve tried the Toughie and managed to complete about half without hints – many thanks to BD for helping with the remainder. 25a my favourite today – we visited the Commonwealth cemetery near this battle scene a couple of years ago which was very moving.

  7. We loved it. Very proud of ourselves too for getting the Cockney stuff in 11a as it often catches us out. Laughs and chuckles all the way through.
    Thanks Notabilis and BD.

  8. This the first Toughie I’ve ever completed unaided so I really have to give it 5* for enjoyment although it dererves that anyway. Took me ages. Many of the clues were really ingenious,;thanks to setter (and of course BD).

    1. Well done Chris. Had you noticed that you are the third Chris to comment on this puzzle? what a strange coincidence.

  9. Great fun. Hadn’t come across that meaning of ‘Sell’ before in 6d. but was easy enough to get from the crossing letters. Thanks to Notabilis and to BD for an enjoyable review.

  10. Can I add my praise for the puzzle too? I was down to blog it and was rushed back into hospital on Monday. Had everything ready to go and had a bad night last night which meant a load more scans and tests.

    Looks like I’m here for a while,

    Thanks to Notabilis for the puzzle of the week and BD for the notes.

    1. Best of luck my friend I hope you feel better soon, you are having a lousy time of it.

    2. Oh Tilley, I share BigBoabs sentiments. No doubt you will still be surrounded by a plethora of O.U. materials and puzzles. Speedy recovery to you

      1. I do not know you Tilsit along with about God knows how many billions of others on the planet but I wish you well.

    3. So sorry you’re hors de combat, Tilsit, and hope that the healing process will go nice and smoothly from now on. Hope you’ll be feeling much better soon.

      Having seen all the glowing remarks, have saved this puzzle to have a try later.

  11. A tough but rewarding Toughie, for which many thanks to Notabilis. I completed it unaided, although l still cannot see how the (obvious) solution to 14d is arrived at. A bit more than 4* for me as regards difficulty. I didn’t need BD’s excellent hints, except to confirm my own answers.

      1. OK, thanks for coming to my rescue! I’m not really sure that “scream” equates to “joker”, though. Still, it was an entertaining puzzle so l won’t quibble.

  12. I have just completed this and agree with you all — it’s a super puzzle. What a lot of delightful clues! Too difficult to select a fave, but I did especially enjoy 13a, 19a, 27a, 1d, 4d, 14d, 17d, and 24d — and all the rest besides!

    Although I managed to complete without hints, my efforts were not flawless. I missed the double definition in 11a, and needed the explanation of the second definition although I got as far as knowing the Cockney ‘Barnet Fair’ for ‘hair’. I also needed explanations for my answers to 16a and 26a respectively. I parsed 15d, but at one point was unsure whether ‘sons’, being in the plural, meant that ‘s’ and ‘s’ should be used rather than a single ‘s’.

    Many thanks to Notabilis for a most enjoyable Toughie. And many thanks to Big Dave for the much appreciated review.

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