Toughie 1372 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1372

Toughie No 1372 by Notabilis

A Very Good Friday

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley!

Nice to be back and have the pleasure of blogging a terrifically enjoyable puzzle from the ever-dependable Notabilis. A nicely challenging crossword with just about the right level of difficulty to make this a Friday puzzle.

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. Definitions are underlined.


1a    Accident from bloke losing head before making unknown street in Cornish town (12)
HAPPENSTANCE: Take a word for a man and remove the first letter (losing head) and then take the name of a Cornish town, home to some Pirates, and switch the letter in the name that represents an unknown quantity with an abbreviation for street. That gives you an old-fashioned word meaning accident(al).

9a    Spiteful person‘s coercive pressure trapping leaders of limited liability company (7)
HELLCAT: The name for a spiteful person is revealed by taking a word that can refer to pressure (think of an old proverb about getting out of the kitchen) and inserting the abbreviation for a type of business (the first letters of Limited Liability Company).

10a    Motor incompletely rotated with AC/DC input (7)
TURBINE: The name for a type of motor is found by taking a word that means rotated and losing the last letter (incompletely) and inserting an abbreviation for someone who may be described as “AC/DC”, and we don’t mean a heavy metal fan!


11a    Potential for change of company involved with generation (7)
COINAGE: The abbreviation for company is added to a short word meaning involved with, and another short word referring to a generation. This gives you a word that refers to change in a financial sense.

12a    Embarrassing facts mostly checked by NT writer (7)
PAINFUL:     An abbreviation that refers to facts or data, minus its last letter (mostly) is surrounded by the name of a writer of a number of books and letters from the New Testament. This gives a word meaning embarrassing.

13a    Engaged in uproar, guests wrangle (5)
ARGUE:    A hidden answer. Hidden in the phrase “uproar, guests” is a word meaning to wrangle.

14a    Weakness of some earthenware in pieces among stones (9)
IMPOTENCE: This was a clue I worked out the answer from the checking letters, but then when it came to writing out an explanation I was baffled. Thanks to our glorious leader, I can tell you it’s a Russian-doll clue with an item of earthenware inside some chess pieces inside some gemstones

16a    She lived primitively, roughly, one kept out of sight by sultanate (9)
CAVEWOMAN: The name for an ancestor along the distaff line is found by taking the two-letter abbreviation for roughly/approximately (circa), adding A (one) and a word meaning sight or panorama which has lost the abbreviation for one (kept out). Add to this the name of a Middle Eastern sultanate and there you are!

19a    Multiply weight borne by bridge (5)
SPAWN: Something that means to multiply or breed is revealed by taking the abbreviation for weight and inserting it in to something that means to bridge.

21a    Clothing medium male, is fitting tops (7)
SUMMITS: Around (clothing) abbreviations for medium and male goes a word meaning that something is fitting. This gives a word for tops or peaks.

23a    Perhaps a miniature mark left after a wound is bloody? (7)
SCARLET: The question mark at the end of the clue suggests you may be being asked to think outside the box here. A way of saying a small mark left after a wound, in the same way that a small pig is called a piglet, is a description of the colour of blood.

24a    I must get in somehow, more or less cramped (7)
ROOMIER: A way of describing somewhere that is less cramped is found by placing I inside an anagram (somehow) of MORE OR.

25a    Compress files of computer commands for part of Gettysburg Address? (3,4)
ZIP CODE: Probably my favourite clue of the day. Again, the question mark is part of the definition and suggests something is a bit out of the ordinary. If you were to compress a file of computer commands, you would do this. And this happens to be part of an address in Gettysburg or any other US place!

26a    I am embraced by devilish European that ensnares one shady lady (4-8)
DEMI-MONDAINE: A new word on me! The abbreviated way of saying “I am” goes inside a description of someone who is devil-like and comes from Scandinavia. Inside the Scandinavian word place I (one). This gives a phrase for a rather shady lady.


1d    Hesitant  interruption? (7)
HALTING: Two definitions

2d    Choose times to enter A&E, which may cause rocky break-up (7)
PICKAXE: Something that means choose is added to A and E and the mathematical way of showing multiplication is inserted. This gives you a useful tool for rock breaking.

3d    Shifty Semtex firm might be fine with this (9)
EXTREMISM: This clue involves a device used in some of the (even) more difficult puzzles.  The phrase SEMTEX FIRM can be rearranged to give F (fine) and the answer, which itself is loosely defined by the whole clue.

4d    Become alert for crunch (3-2)
SIT-UP: A double definition. Something that means to take notice of, is also a type of crunch (as in the exercise sense).

5d    Primarily, as in real life, it’s fantasy that provides a means of escape (7)
AIRLIFT: Indicated by primarily, the first letters of “as in real life, it’s fantasy that” give a means of getting away from a sticky situation.

6d    Part under full-face veil, covering not worn over its fabric? (7)
CHIFFON: The name of a fabric is found by taking a part of the face and inserting the reversal (over) of a word meaning not worn.

7d    It’s likely a Borgia supports subsequently drinking tea (3,7,3)
THE CHANCES ARE: An expression that means something is likely to happen is found by taking a word for tea and inserting it into something that means subsequently. Add to this the first name of one of the male Borgias.

8d    I’m not convinced lines signify nothing when bounded by restraint (4,2,7)
TELL ME ANOTHER: An expression that means one is not convinced is found by taking an abbreviation for (two) lines, plus a word for signify and placing them inside a type of restraint.

15d    Tiny snip, it ruined last letter (4-5)
PINT-SIZED: An expression that means small is found by rearranging the letters of SNIP IT’S and adding the written form of the last letter of the alphabet.

17d    Take flight, low, aboard vessel (7)
VAMOOSE: An American way of saying to scarper is found by taking the word for low (as in the noise of a cow) and placing it inside a vessel that holds flowers.

18d    What for important boat loading place is said to be a beach resort (7)
WAIKIKI: A famous holiday resort in the Pacific is a homophone for words that mean for what purpose plus two uses of one word (spelt differently) that can mean both important and a place where you can load a ship.

19d    Stocky dog‘s hips are injured (4-3)
SHAR-PEI: A breed of dog that always looks like it needs ironing is an anagram (injured) of HIPS ARE

20d    Uniquely keeping Liberal Democrat, quite finished (3,4)
ALL DONE: The abbreviation for the Lib-Dems goes inside a word meaning by oneself or uniquely. This gives an expression that refers to when you have complete a task fully.

22d    Motor vehicle’s starter breaks minerals up (5)
SERVO: A type of motor is revealed by taking V (first letter of vehicle) and placing it inside the reverse of a word for minerals.

Once again, thanks to Notabilis for a splendid puzzle. I’m off to play in a bridge tournament in Ilkley. And I won’t be wearing a hat. See you next week, hopefully!

21 comments on “Toughie 1372

  1. I agree, a really enjoyable puzzle with just the right amount of difficulty. The SW corner held me up a tad but fell into place when I finally got 7d. Not entirely convinced by the answer to 10a but the clue was my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to Notabilis for the puzzle and Tilsit for his review (I hope you are keeping in good health)

  2. Well, except for 26A, which I could not solve, I did the whole thing unaided and I seemed to have parsed them correctly so I am well pleased. I did like 1A, 25A and 7D, but my favorite is 14A. I did not know that that type of clue had a particular name, but when I sorted out the answer, I noted ‘Russian Doll’ on my print out! Many thanks to Notabilis and to Tilsit.

  3. A wee oops at 16a, where you’ve got the “one” doing double duty. Roughly = CA, “one” = I removed from VIEW.

  4. Lovely puzzle, tight and exciting. Too many good clues to name all, but particularly liked 16a (she lived primitively), 15d (tiny snip), the “more or less cramped” in 24a, etc etc.

    Many thanks Notabilis for a quality puzzle and thanks Tilsit for the write-up and the parsing of 3d (semtex).

  5. A proper Toughie which sorted itself out just in time for us to set out for our walk (Margate to Broadstairs – or ‘Turner and Dickens’)

    Thanks to Notabilis for providing a Toughie worthy of the name and to Tilsit for the explanations.

  6. Needed hint to sort out 26a, very clever but got me. Thanks to Notabilis and Tilsit

  7. All done except for 26a, so thanks Tilsit for the hint there. Lots of clever clues, and I’m happy to have done 27/28ths of it :) 2d and 11a were two favourites.

  8. I don’t know if I really have the right to comment on this one as I found it VERY difficult and had to use the hints loads of times and only got some by looking at the answers. However I was able to get a fair few by myself. I think I may be punching above my weight here……got a bit too big for my boots and perhaps I should just stick to the back page!! (exit stage left looking very sorry for herself.)

    1. The thing with toughies is to know that Fridays are usually the toughest and to recognise which setters are going to give you more trouble than others on any day not just Fridays – Notabilis and Elgar for a start. Looking at the Toughie setters schedule, Tuesday will be ‘Warble’ (sic). I presume they mean Warbler who sets lovely user-friendly crosswords so have a go then.

      I do try when I am not walking round the countryside to put a comment on the back page blog when I think that a Toughie is user-friendly so keep an eye out. And don’t despair, just perservate, as the much missed Mary used to say.

      1. Thanks for your encouragement, I’ll look out for your comments. It was heartening to learn that the Friday toughie is toughier. Now I don’t feel quite so crestfallen (great word that)….. I wonder if that ever comes up in these puzzles? I’ll definitely perservate. Thanks again.

    2. Liz, when I first started doing the Toughies, I felt completely overwhelmed, but I kept trying and gradually got better over time. There are still days with some setters when all I can manage is a handful of answers! Please don’t give up. You’ll get lots of support here.

      1. Thanks for your encouragement – and to cryptic sue. I’m not really a quitter…. I have tried toughies in the past before joining the blog and just given up if they were too hard…. Sometimes couldn’t even get one clue! It has got much better since I’ve been doing the back page one regularly and reading all your comments….so I will definitely ‘ cheers!

  9. Loved it. Smiled and chuckled right through the solve and then enjoyed it all over again by going back over the answers to check we had all the details of some pretty complex wordplay correct. We did look for a Nina or pangram as we seem to remember that this setter often has them, but could not find anything, Well, time now to get ready to go and play in a Bridge tournament, but not the same one as Tilsit’.
    Thanks Notabilis and Tilsit.

  10. Certainly 3* in terms of time taken, but l put down “climate” for 11a (well, it changes, doesn’t it?) and made an incorrect guess at 26a (even though I’ve met it before in a DT crossword). On balance, then, l agree with 4*/4*. There are so many good clues that it’s hard to pick a favourite, but l really liked 17d. Many thanks to Notabilis, and to Tilsit for the review.

  11. It’s going to become harder and harder to blog on the day as we are now open 7/7 for 7 months.
    But I shall concentrate on the Toughies which I love.
    Today was no exception and even if I could look at it every now and then, I slowly managed to get on the wavelength.
    10a made me laugh and it was nice to see 26a again.
    We had the French version of 14a in Unable Panda’s Rookie.
    My favourite is 5d. It’s just phantasmagoric. You see! We can drop this word in casual conversation.
    Thanks to Tilsit and to Notabilis.

  12. Yesterday was a “no crosswords day” so I am a day behind. I found this to be a lovely puzzle. Vocabulary deficiency meant I needed a dictionary for the shady lady, the dog and the beach. I got off to a slow start until I got the two long ones along the top and side – the puzzle then opened up nicely. Thanks to setter and blogger

  13. I’ve just stumbled across the finishing line of this puzzle. Initially I couldn’t make head nor tail of the clues and copious visits to Tilsits’s hints were needed. However, as time passed I seemed to get a bit better and managed to rattle off the two southern sectors quite quickly. There were many fine clues here and some very strange ones that boggled the mind! Many thanks to Notablis and especially to Tilsit for getting me off the mark. A *****/**** for me. Sh-Shoney.

  14. I have been lurking for a while and very grateful for all I’ve learned from all bloggers, as well as enjoying the comments too (not least to gauge how hard/easy everyone else found it). As for the setters, even when clues are not up to their usual standard (IMHO), I am full of admiration for how you do it at all, so thanks very much to you too. I get the paper passed on from my husband infrequently and far too late in the day to be of any worth me commenting once I am finally done tackling crossword so haven’t posted before. And so very late now I don’t know if anyone will see (have been slowly chewing over it for a while, gradually getting more & more answers – finally came here to look at hints having got most of N & E sections as not having 7D or 26A meant I was struggling for the rest). But I have been forced out of the background by thinking I’ve spotted mistake in blog that no-one else has picked up on – 8D also needs ‘O’ from nothing, doesn’t it? Not mentioning it in order to criticise, just in case any other newbie wonders – though probably they are staying sensibly away from Friday toughies, as I probably should have done, though I did feel good for getting somewhere after persevering!

    1. Welcome to the blog, ezfer. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.
      You’re right about the ‘O’ in 8d. Thanks for pointing it out.

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