Toughie 1360 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1360

Toughie No 1360 by Notabilis

Two Out of Four Ain’t Bad!
(as Meatloaf might have sung)

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A really decent Toughie to end the week. Classy clues throughout, although I struggled to make full sense of 25 Across.

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    Hospital support limited by premier’s indifference (6)
PHLEGM: H(ospital) and a support on, for example, a table inside the abbreviation for premier, as in David Cameron

9a    Not beyond thinking one masculine, securing private arrest (10)
IMAGINABLE: I (one) and a word meaning masculine around a US private soldier and a verb meaning to arrest

10a    Erdogan possibly rigging without conclusion of think tank, say (10)
RECEPTACLE: the first name of Erdoğan, the current President of Turkey, followed by some rigging from which the final letter (conclusion) of [thin]K has been dropped (without)

11a    This filth turned stomachs (4)
SMUT: the reversal (turned) of a colloquial word for stomachs

12a    Where animals are held captive, months go very fast (4)
ZOOM: a place where animals are held and placed on show to the public followed by M(onths)

14a    Tree with less gaiety one gives basic treatment (5-5)
FIRST AIDER: a conifer followed by an adjective meaning with less gaiety

17a    Thug runs with difficulty in part of India (7)
GORILLA: R(uns) and a difficulty inside a part of India that was formerly a Portuguese overseas territory

18a    Forbidden to have meadow in dramatic picture (7)
TABLEAU: a four-letter adjective meaning forbidden around a meadow

20a    Having no answer, many sons you trained with the same sense (10)
SYNONYMOUS: an anagram (trained) of M[A]NY SONS YOU after dropping (having no) A(nswer)

21a    Individual only recognisable by the ears (4)
SOUL: sounds like (recognisable by the ears – don’t you just love that homophone indicator?) an adjective meaning lonely

22a    How to make smoothies virtually free of contaminants (4)
PURE: most of (virtually) a verb meaning to make, for example, smoothies

23a    Apparently remove praise from spread (10)
DISTRIBUTE: a prefix indicating a removal or deprivation followed by some praise or commendation

25a    Sample of Nivea’s tender skin soap (10)
EASTENDERS: hidden (sample of) inside the clue is this soap opera

26a    Crossing county, forward and back (6)
SECOND: CO(unty) with a verb meaning to forward or post around (crossing)


2d    Look here around the empty bar and steer fringe opinion (10)
HETERODOXY: a three-letter interjection meaning “look here” around T[h]E without its inner letter (empty), a three-letter bar or pole and a two-letter steer or bullock

3d    Some bordering on 25 are evasive (4)
EDGE: how the answer to 25 Across, split (4,6) kind of describes where the abbreviation of the first word is in the second might say a verb meaning are evasive (thanks CS and Gazza)

4d    Vacantly mount hill, fury being dissipated with laughter (10)
MIRTHFULLY: an anagram (being dissipated) of M(oun)T without its inner letters (vacantly) with HILL FURY

5d    Mark, a sign of healing area, that accentuates lashes (7)
MASCARA: a charade of M(ark), the A from the clue, a sign of the healing of a wound and A(rea)

6d    Strive to contain constant perversion (4)
VICE: a verb meaning to strive around (to contain) a mathematical constant

7d    Spoil visits round unhealthy place in Provence (10)
MARSEILLES: a three-letter verb meaning to spoil followed by a verb meaning visits around an adjective meaning unhealthy

8d    Optimal Irish move (6)
BESTIR: an adjective meaning optimal followed by IR(ish)

13d    Lives with a person in flat, such as this? (10)
MAISONETTE: a verb meaning lives followed by a word meaning a person all inside an adjective meaning flat gives a small house or flat

15d    Fled Solicitor-General, breaking lock to commit offence (10)
TRANSGRESS: a verb meaning fled and the abbreviation of Solicitor-General inside (breaking) a lock of hair

16d    Removal of aunt with a voice quaking (10)
EVACUATION: an anagram (quaking) of AUNT with A VOICE

19d    Smooth fabric  taken to the cleaners (7)
WORSTED: two definitions – the second being a verb meaning beaten

20d    Private papers in disarray (6)
SAPPER: an anagram (disarray) of PAPERS

23d    More than half of historic 16’s dip (4)
DUNK: more than half of an historic 16 Down that was carried out during WWII

24d    Ballot regularly discounted before Conservative coalition (4)
BLOC: the odd letters (regularly / even letters discounted) of B[a]L[l]O[t] followed by C(onservative)

Notabilis and Micawber in the same week!

24 comments on “Toughie 1360

  1. I thought 3d referred to the way a 25a might refer to the shrubbery round his garden.

    Lovely stuff thank you Notabilis – a proper degree of Toughness as should be expected, particularly on a Friday – great hiding of definitions in plain sight (I am determined you won’t get me again!) and too many favourites to admit in Kath’s company. 4*/5* for me too.

  2. 3d I thought that 3d just referred to how a Cockney would say ‘hedge’ (are evasive).

  3. Managed to complete this (albeit with a sprinkling of electronic help). Excellent puzzle – with thanks to BD for explaining a couple of my answers and to Notabilis.

  4. Agree with the difficulty level. And 3d was a bit of a bung in.
    Last one was 19d. Took me a while to remember that yarn.
    I find it always strange that in English you put an S at the end of Marseille and Lyon but on the other hand London is Londres to us French.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to BD for the review.

  5. Hard but fair except for needing to know the frst name of the president of Turkey!
    Now cold turkey until next Tuesday.
    Thanks to Notabilis and BD.

  6. A thoroughly enjoyable end to the Toughie week with too many smashing clues to single out one. I thought it was a tad easier than other Notabilis puzzles I’ve done, but maybe I was on the wavelength today. Still, a great puzzle – so thank you Notabilis and to BD for his usual impeccable review (and for confirming my parsing to 2d)

  7. BD – many years ago I used to work for the company selling Nivea in the UK & Nivea Soap (in 2 bar or 3 bar formats) was our best seller. This explains the ‘soap’ reference I think.

  8. Notabilis lite – but none the worse for that.
    Favourites were 10a [once the lira dropped] 21a [yes BD I love it] 2d [the empty bar and steer] and 3d [perfect].

    Mant thanks to the Guvnor [and to BD as well].

  9. Busy day so had to do finish this one in the pub tonight. Great puzzle! Last one in was 2D (fringe opinion). For Turkish president I had the answer, even googled the guy, read his first name, and it still took a while to twig – fun.

    I really liked the Nivea clue (25a) – it reads very nicely and is well hidden with an obvious definition that is nonetheless misleading – lovely.

    Many other nice clues – I liked 1a (premier’s indifference), 17a ( the thug on the run in India), 21a( only recognisable by the ears), and the all in one nature of 13a ( lives with person in flat)

    Many thanks notabilis and big dave

  10. The very last one for us to sort out was 3d. We considered all sorts of manipulations of the letters in 25a before the much more straightforward explanation leapt out at us. Really great clues throughout which were challenging enough to keep us happily entertained for quite some time. Excellent stuff.
    Thanks Notabilis and BD.

  11. 2dn my last in, only completed when revisiting paper after work. What a penny drop :). It can be Notabilis light or Heavy in my books. They are always a five star treat to solve. Thanks to Notabilis and BD

  12. Mostly excellent stuff, especially the beautifully crafted 25a.
    3d has little going for it – a four letter word with a double unch inside E–E, with the answer one of those lame Cockney dropped H words. I like them about as much as BD likes Spoonerisms!
    That gripe aside a solid 4*/4*

    1. why are double unches so bad? here we have 2 letters checked in a 4-letter word? I think I saw somewhere what % checking is acceptable, does anyone have those guidelines?

  13. I ended up with four I couldn’t do…2D,3D,8D and 19D. Not displeased with my effort, though. I did like 13D and 21A. Thanks Notabilis and Big Dave for the review.

  14. Much to my surprise I didn’t have all that much trouble and finished (with a bit of electrnic help for the NW.) Many thanks for explaining the ‘edge.
    Thanks to the setter and BD.

  15. There were four l just couldn’t get, but when l saw BD’s hints l couldn’t really see why not. Too thick, l suppose. Anyway, 4*+/3* or so. I think my favourite was the deceptively simple 21a. One day I’ll beat you, Notabilis, just not today. Thanks to you, and to BD.

  16. 1a and 2d remained elusive until I read the hints. 8d was dragged from the memory banks, albeit reluctantly.

    25a was a pure delight when it leapt off the page.

    At no point was this easy. At every point there was a moment of pleasure when a clue went in.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to BD for a fantastic blog, as always.

    What is the picture accompanying 10a?

    1. It is a cake that I bought yesterday at a Red Nose day event and was so delighted with how it looked that I suggested to BD that it might just about count as a 10a.

      1. Good golly Miss Molly!

        I wondered as the flowers did look like icing but the 10a had me flummoxed because it looks so real. How on earth is it constructed, and did it taste good? Amazing stuff. Sort of puts my planned Sunday lunch crumble to shame. And rightly so.

        Thank you for sharing.

        1. You can get silicon flower pot cake moulds from Lakeland (must go and buy some) – the pot was chocolate, inside was chocolate crispy cake with cherries and sultanas, more choc on top and then the flower. A migraine waiting to happen but it was really delicious.

  17. Enjoyable and not too tricky although I struggled a bit with the NW corner. ***/**** for enjoyment with 13d and 25a as favourites. Impeccably solid and fair cluing. Thanks Notabilis and BD.

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