Toughie 1189 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1189

Toughie No 1189 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

One of Notabilis’s easier puzzles, but still very enjoyable.

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    Marking complete, carpeting or mattress not covered? (7,3)
{TICKING OFF} – two definitions, the second being carpeting of reprimanding, and cryptically this could mean that the cover has been removed from a mattress

6a    Some fear chicanery is mischievous (4)
{ARCH} – hidden (some) inside the clue

9a    Twisted joint, shortly died, having consumed too much (7)
{KNOTTED} – most of a joint in the body and D(ied) around (having consumed) a three-letter abbreviation meaning too much

10a    Scrutinise high-spirited chap over malicious gossip (7)
{SCANDAL} – a verb meaning to scrutinise followed by the reversal of a high-spirited chap

12a    Condition for taking off song grew less convincing, delaying English song’s intro twice (13)
{AIRWORTHINESS} – a song followed by a phrasal verb meaning grew less convincing (4,4) with the E(nglish) moved to the end (delayed) and finally the initial letter (intro) of S[ong] twice

14a    Pitiful quality of pedestrian routes around Oval (6)
{PATHOS} – some routes used by pedestrians around the oval-shaped letter

15a    Revise thesis, e.g., to take in views (8)
{SIGHTSEE} – an anagram (revise) of THESIS E.G.

17a    Printing space, more critical for one who writes cuttingly (8)
{ENGRAVER} – the usual smaller printing space followed by an adjective meaning more critical

19a    Allow one way to make hair curly (6)
{PERMIT} – split as (4,2) this could be one way to make hair curly

22a    With a final twist, Reds apply quotas to fellow feeling (13)
{COMMISERATION} – a colloquial word for reds with its last two letters reversed (with a final twist) followed by a verb meaning to apply quotas

24a    Ecstasy in comparison with cola, essentially intoxicating stuff (7)
{ETHANOL} – E(cstasy) followed by a word meaning in comparison with and the inner letters (essentially) of [c]Ol[a]

25a    Flashiness of grand palanquin (7)
{GLITTER} – G(rand) followed by a palanquin, a box borne on poles on men’s shoulders

26a    Join cloth, covering metres in duck (4)
{SMEW} – a verb meaning to join cloth around (covering) M(etres)

27a    Someone questioned grudge involving small lake (10)
{RESPONDENT} – a verb meaning to grudge or envy around a small lake


1d 23 cases of theory and knowledge (4)
{TYKE} – another word for a 23 down is derived from the outer letters (cases) of T[heor]Y and K[nowledg]E

2d One should stop overheating coal, not surprisingly (7)
{COOLANT} – an anagram (surprisingly) of COAL NOT

3d During brief panic, I got an awful barrage of questions (13)
{INTERROGATION} – a two-letter word meaning during followed by most of (brief) a panic and an anagram (awful) of I GOT AN

4d He’s to be guided, morally good, very likely to exclude daughter (6)
{GODSON} – G(ood) followed by a phrase meaning very likely (4,2) without one of the D(aughter)s – I hesitate to criticise the master, but I think this would be slightly more accurate if it read “to exclude a daughter” or “to exclude one of the daughters”

5d Don’t manage to contain this erratic skid sideways (8)
{FISHTAIL} – a verb meaning to not manage to do something around an anagram (erratic) of THIS

7d Get back into the habit, right? (7)
{REDRESS} – this could mean to put one’s clothes back on

8d It’s surprising what might be seen in yawning abyss? (5,5)
{HELL’S TEETH} – an interjection meaning “it’s surprising ” or “for gods sake” could also be what can be seen by looking into an open mouth or yawning abyss

11d Expert on calculating machine trait I engineered (13)
{ARITHMETICIAN} – an anagram (engineered) of machine trait I

13d German admiral and duke’s widow (not posh) attempt to mate quickly (5,5)
{SPEED CHESS} – the surname of a German admiral remembered for his activities during the First World War and the Battle of the Falkland Islands followed by the wife/widow of a Duke without the U (posh) gives a game in which the object is to mate one’s opponent

16d Rising young swimmer assuming story is a wake-up call (8)
{REVEILLE} – a young fish around a story or untruth, all reversed (rising in a down clue}

18d Hear James scat! It has gripping ‘soul’, you might say (3,4)
{GYM SHOE} – words that sound like (hear) the familiar form of James and an exhortation to scat combine to give something that has a gripping part that sounds like (you might say) soul

20d Perhaps work at an area for drivers and water animal (7)
{MANATEE} – a verb meaning to work at followed by an area from which golfers can drive (1,3)

21d Ethnic Chinese boxer raised an emotional problem (4-2)
{HANG-UP} – a three-letter word for a member of the native Chinese people followed by the reversal (raised in a down clue) of a three-letter word for a boxer or similar dog

23d Turning pitch black produces terror (4)
{BRAT} – some pitch or bitumen and B(lack) all reversed (turning) gives a terror or mischievous child

If you listen very carefully you should be able to hear the welcome sound of stomping boots about one week’s march away, but if you can’t wait that long watch out for tomorrow’s extra-special NTSPP puzzle!

19 comments on “Toughie 1189

  1. Fairly gentle for a Friday but most enjoyable, favourites were 4d 8d and 18d thanks to Notabilis and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. A very gentle toughie but enjoyable. I liked 8d and 18d too.

    Thanks to Notabilis and BD.

  3. I really enjoyed this, but have to admit that I needed to use a couple of letter hints on the DT play version for 4D (hangs head in shame). Otherwise no problems. Loved 8D, 18D, 20D and 19A. Many thanks to Notabilis and to Big Dave.

  4. Enjoyed today’s toughie but stuck with 13 down for some reason. Look forward to your help as always.

  5. Possibly the easiest Friday Toughie on record?

    (Think I will steer well clear of tomorrow’s NTSPP and and also next Friday’s Toughie. Not welcome in these parts!)

      1. Don’t ask. Just be afraid, very very afraid. I’m bagging my seat in the darkened room already.

  6. Wouldn’t 1a have been far better without the first two words? They ruin the surface reading and add nothing to the clue

  7. We sailed through this one. Checking up that the answer we got for 26a was actually a duck about the only significant holdup. However it was one of those puzzles that kept us smiling all the way.
    Thanks Notabilis and BD.

  8. Once I’d corrected the second word of 13d which I wrote in without even thinking the SW became much clearer. 18d is a terrific clue. Many thanks to Notabilis for another excellent offering and to BD for explaining why I had a hesitant moment with 4d

  9. It was certainly enjoyable, but l completed reasonably swiftly and without undue brow-furrowing, so l would rate it about 2.5*/4*. My pick of the clues was 16d. My thanks to Notabilis, and to BD for the review and hints.

  10. This was delightful! Fave was 8d. It’s a very long time since I’ve heard the expression used and it brings back some amusing memories. Other super clues I marked were 12a, 19a, 18d and 20d. **** for enjoyment.

    Much appreciation to Notabilis for this excellent crossword.

    4d was the only clue which gave me problems. I had the answer but couldn’t parse it. Much appreciation to Big Dave for the explanation and for the invauable review.

  11. At last – my first “victory” without help. I know everyone says how easy it was but for a newcomer it is great to finish your first. Thanks to Notabilis and ***** for enjoyment. May I ask what BRB stands for in contributor’s comments? Sh-Shoney

  12. Got it all, but some really needed a lot of thought , especially 4d and never heard of a smew duck !!! !A got from carpetting – complete = off ? No. Dont understand the mattress but. 9, 10, 12, 22,24 A , and 1, 3 ,8, 13, 16, 18 + 20 D all VG. excellent puzzle

    1. Marking as complete is ticking off.

      Tick or ticking is the cover, usually made from strong striped material, of a mattress, so if it has been removed you could say the ticking is off.

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