Toughie 1247 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1247

Toughie No 1247 by Notabilis

Mean, Moody and Magnificent

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

We have a rare visit to Wednesday territory by one of my favourite setters, Notabilis. This is not that difficult but packed with clever and entertaining clues. When I first printed the grid I was on the lookout for a Nina but if there is one it’s eluded me.

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.

Across Clues

7a No oil painting needs fine pair of experts to grip hearts (4-4)
FACE-ACHE – I always thought that this slang term just meant a disagreeable or annoying person but the BRB confirms that it also means one who is ugly. Start with F(ine) then add a pair of experts with the second containing H(earts).

9a Disreputable bunch  who’ll turn up (6)
SHOWER – double definition – a bunch of people deemed to be worthless or despicable (a term which became part of the catchphrase of the comedy actor Terry-Thomas) and someone appearing or turning up.

10a An affair absorbing Conservative in recess (6)
ALCOVE – an affair (1,4) containing the abbreviation for Conservative.

11a Towelling robes in the same place, left in a bad way (8)
TERRIBLY – a fabric used for towelling goes round (robes) an abbreviation meaning in the same place and L(eft).

12a British sailor’s hint of being in proper order? (7,7)
BRISTOL FASHION – this is a superb all-in-one clue. The phrase was used by British sailors as a standard of excellence, relating to the efficient way things were done in a West Country port. Start with B(ritish) and add an anagram (being in proper order) of SAILOR’S HINT OF.

15a Recessive feature of Lemuel’s in Lilliput, say (4)
ISLE – hidden (feature of) and reversed (recessive) in the clue.

17a Eclipse mostly loyal politician (5)
TRUMP – an adjective meaning loyal or staunch without its final letter followed by the usual elected politician.

19a Son with seaman making deck cleaner (4)
SWAB – string together three abbreviations – those for son, with and seaman.

20a Change opinions, hit with a pair of taps? (4,3,3,4)
BLOW HOT AND COLD – a hit followed by two taps.

23a To start penultimate section of Macbeth, for example, was worrying (8)
ACTIVATE Macbeth has five main sections. We want the penultimate one (3,2) followed by a verb meaning was worrying or gnawed away.

25a Commercial rent out of control? (6)
ADRIFT – charade of a commercial and a rent or break.

27a Turned to the other side, lieutenant in mutiny (6)
REVOLT – reverse (turned) a preposition meaning to the other side and add the abbreviation for lieutenant.

28a A white lining for vest that’s irritating to wear (8)
RIESLING – the definition is cleverly disguised. The inside (lining) of vest goes into (has … to wear) a present participle meaning irritating or infuriating.

Down Clues

1d Savage half of African secret society line (4)
MAUL – half of the name of the secret society which caused Britain problems in Kenya in the 1950s is followed by L(ine).

2d Pertinent to vessels is shape of orbit when captured by planet (6)
VENOUS – the letter that has the shape of an orbit (sometimes – many orbits are elliptic) goes inside (captured by) one of the planets in the solar system.

3d Skilful Dutch earthenware’s not large (4)
DEFT – a kind of earthenware originally made at the Dutch city of the same name loses its L(arge).

4d Old Style goddess of rainbows, chief Egyptian deity (6)
OSIRIS – the abbreviation for Old Style (describing dates using the Julian calendar, as used in Britain up to September 1752) followed by the Greek goddess of the rainbow.

5d Intriguing images involving unusual toil (8)
POLITICS – the abbreviation for images contains an anagram (unusual) of TOIL.

6d City division set up grassed area, one ringed by lines about Brandenburg’s opening (6,4)
BERLIN WALL – a semi-all-in-one. A grassed area (where you may play your croquet!) and the Roman numeral for one are ringed by two L(ines). Now add a preposition meaning about or concerning and the opening letter of Brandenburg. Finally reverse it all (set up).

8d Codger grabbing the woman’s cigar (7)
CHEROOT – it must be all of a week since we last had this word – I was beginning to get withdrawal symptoms! A codger (usually old) contains a female pronoun.

13d Rickety truck, bus and (Continental) car barely held together? (4,6)
RUST BUCKET – an anagram (rickety) of TRUCK and BUS is followed by a Continental word for and.

14d Sin of Devil-dealer giving up soul at the outset for start in life (5)
FAULT – the man who made a pact with the Devil in a play by Goethe with the first letter of S(oul) replaced (giving up) by the starting letter of L(ife).

16d Number 101 in my view, flipping moody image (8)
EMOTICON – string together the abbreviation for number, 101 in Roman numerals and a phrase (2,2) meaning in my view then reverse (flipping) it all. I do like ‘moody image’.

18d Slap  concertina (7)
PANCAKE – double definition. A type of make-up (slap) especially one that’s used in the theatre and to collapse concertina-style (a building, for example).

21d Enthusiastic judge, judge waiving right for outdoorsy type (6)
HEARTY – we seem to have two definitions here, the first an adjective and the second a noun. We want two verbs to judge in court with the R(ight) dropped from the second one.

22d Form a solid mass in ringlets, perhaps, raising daughter (6)
CURDLE – start with an adjective meaning ‘in ringlets’ and elevate the D(aughter) a bit.

24d Last of five regular instalments of quartos for 100 cents (4)
EURO – the last letter of five followed by the even letters of quartos.

26d Playful king’s soulful music (4)
FUNK – an adjective meaning playful or providing enjoyment is followed by one of the abbreviations for king.

I liked 28a, 6d and 16d very much but my runaway favourite today is 12a. Let us know which one(s) you liked.

14 comments on “Toughie 1247

  1. Superb toughie from Notablis though not as difficult as some of his offerings but definitely every bit as enjoyable, many thanks to him and to Gazza for an excellent review. I loved 12a and 13d.

  2. Good stuff and very enjoyable, favourites were 7a 12a 18d and 28a thanks to Notabilis and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Was feeling very pleased to have completed this, however I had “star” for deck cleaner (a commercial product it seems, star brite deck cleaner). Many favourites, 28a when i finally got it, 12a, 13d, 16d, 24d.

    Of course 3d was the best

    many thanks Notabilis and Gazza

  4. Excellent crossword though I needed hints on three -9a;23a;and16d. This is harder than yesterdays but compared to the last Notabilis Itried a lot easier. I threw in the towel on the last one!
    There were a lot of likable clues 7,12 and28a all being excellent. I’d rate as ***/*** Incidentally like Dutch I wanted to enter Star for19a but it didn’t make sense and eventually arrived at the right answer.

  5. Completely lost in SE corner. Haven’t looked at solutions yet. Did like 12a very much too. Ship shape as you say. I liked the simplicity of 20a. Thanks to the setter and to gazza for the clues but I definitely will need more help for that SE corner.

  6. Loved it. I had two left I needed help with… 25A and 26D. I had to reveal the answer for 25A (d’oh!) but that gave me 26D. So many ‘ticks’ beside those I liked, but for the second time in the last couple of weeks I have to give the favorite spot to those little devils in 16D. Personally, I hate ’em, but the clue was terrific.

  7. Really good fun and not as tricky as this setter sometimes can be. Just about what we like to see with a mid-week Toughie. Gazza, in your comments you mention that orbits can sometimes be elliptic but so can the letter so we think that the description fits perfectly. 5d and 18d were the last two for us and took a bit of head scratching. Smiles and chuckles throughout.
    Thanks Notabilis and Gazza.

  8. This was hard in places and I needed some help. Didn’t realise that IB in 12a means”in the same place”, despite having Latin inflicted on me many years ago. I always knew those lessons were pointless! Also, 18a was way too cunning for me and only just understood Gazza’s explanations. Thank you to all those involved. Sh-Shoney.

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