Toughie 1472

Toughie No 1472 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I very much enjoyed this Notabilis – as always his clueing is precise with some fun surprises. I had to start from the bottom, with NW putting up a fight until the very end. I found it quite hard, but I’m sure others will be more familiar with cockney expressions and dietary abbreviations than I am, so I would call this a 4* for difficulty and 4* for enjoyment.

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 Go insane and run wild without logic (11)
UNREASONING: Anagram (wild) of GO INSANE and RU

9a Egyptian site said to combine best parts of Lucknow and Mysore? (5)
LUXOR: Homophone (said) of Luck(now) and (My)sore (the best or larger parts of each name)

10a Ignore editing that is inserting English name twice for place near Lyon (2-7)
ST-ÉTIENNE: The editing command meaning to restore to unedited version, followed by the abbreviation for “that is”, and inserting the abbreviation for E(nglish) and two copies (twice) of the abbreviation for n(ame)

11a Whatever in clairvoyance’s recalled mental connection? (7)
SYNAPSE: Place a 3-letter word meaning whatever or some (as in *** love is good love) inside (in) the abbreviation for Extra Sensory Perception (clairvoyance), add the ‘s, and reverse the lot (recalled)

12a Appointed old nutritional guide involved with education (8)
ORDAINED: Take the abbreviations for Old and Recommended Daily Allowance (of calories – nutritional guide), add a 2-letter preposition meaning involved and the abbreviation for education.

14a Renounce retired General in decline (8)
ABNEGATE: A 5-letter verb for decline or subside contains the reversal (retired) of an abbreviation for general.

15a Evicting first of Simpsons, perhaps Springfield’s obligation (4)
DUTY: Remove (evicting) the first letter of Simpsons from the singer with surname Springfield

17a Henry initially entertained by Percy’s foolish nonentities (7)
CYPHERS: The first letter of Henry (initially) is surrounded (entertained) by an anagram (foolish) of PERCY’S

19a Hummed endless hit for six (4)
STUN: Remove the final letter (endless) from a 5-letter word meaning hummed or reeked

20a Firm I’m thinking about washed out glider (4,4)
MUTE SWAN: A 3-letter word for firm or hardened plus a 2-letter interjection meaning I’m thinking or hesitating, all reversed (about), plus an adjective meaning washed-out or pale.

21a Heartless, jealous thirst for wine (8)
GRENACHE: The colour associated with jealousy or envy with the central letter removed, plus a verb meaning to thirst or long for.

23a Attractive opposites connected by brown book (7)
NUMBERS: The abbreviations for the magnetic poles contain (connected by) a 5-letter shade of brown

25a Like this hint for next answer? (2,7)
AS FOLLOWS: The answer is also a definition for the next clue

26a Oscillating function holding constant from the specified time (5)
SINCE: A trigonometric function containing (holding) a 1-letter mathematical constant

27a Son thus stops toning down debauchery (11)
DISSOLUTION: The abbreviation for Son and a two letter word for thus are inserted into (stops) a word meaning toning down or making less strong (e.g. drinks).

2d Observer wants anyone but the monarch (5)
NOTER: Split (3,2) this could mean save the queen.

3d Wide mouth contorted, say? True (7)
ESTUARY: Anagram (contorted) of SAY TRUE

4d Joanna, blessed female forming obstacle? (8)
STEINWAY: This Joanna is Cockney. Take the 3-letter abbreviation for Sainte, the feminine of saint, and the remaining 5 letters when split (2,3) can mean forming obstruction.

5d One’s South American staff writer (4)
IVES: Another way (1’2) of writing a contracted form of one has (one’s), but using the letter that looks like the number one, followed by the abbreviation for South gives this American composer.

6d Taking small space off Sassenachs is a problem for horses (8)
GLANDERS: Remove a two-letter printing measure (a small space) from a word for the people also known as Sassenachs

7d Cardinal, maybe bitter about disease, brought up another star’s body (9)
EXOPLANET: The other star is not our Sun, and the body is orbiting it. A 3-letter cardinal number between 9 and 11 plus a 3-letter word for bitter or beer surrounding a three-letter word for a disease which normally involves spots – all reversed (brought up)

8d Bishop always blocking tested knowledge, ignoring top pair’s blasphemy (11)
IRREVERENCE: Two-letter abbreviation for bishop plus a 4-letter word for always, both inside (blocking) a school subject based on tested knowledge, without the first two letters (ignoring top pair)

12d Idol who’s devastated to receive chap’s sexist, ageist description? (3-8)
OLD-WOMANISH: Anagram (devastated) of IDOL WHO’S into which is inserted (to receive) a 3-letter word for chap or male.

13d Showy veranda’s hinged covers (7)
DASHING: hidden (covers) in veranda’s hinged

16d OMG! Nitwit’s done what cheats do (3-6)
TWO-TIMING: Anagram (done) of OMG NITWIT

17d Something to plant for lettuce, putting in time with excessive protection (8)
COSSETED: What you might plant to get a specific variety of lettuce (3,4), with the abbreviation for T(ime) inserted

18d Quarrel with Liberal accepting honours over base for thorny arrangement? (8)
ROSEBOWL: A 3-letter word for quarrel or argument, plus the abbreviation for L(iberal), into which is inserted (accepting) the reversal (over) of a 3-letter abbreviation for a British honour plus an S, (because honours is plural).

19d In stronger form of wilt, see plant with bulbs (7)
SHALLOT: As in thou wilt – an old form of will. Take a stronger form of this verb that goes with thou, and insert a 2-letter word for see (In … see) to give this edible plant

22d Instructive pair climbing into house (3-2)
HOW-TO: The 2-letter abbreviation for house used in addresses contains (into) the reversal (climbing, in a down clue) of a cardinal number associated with a pair

24d Without an expanse of desert, less arid ultimately (4)
SANS: Take a 5-letter word for an expanse of desert and remove the last letter of arid to give this word of French origin.

I particularly liked 15a for the aha moment and I liked the definition in 7d, which took me a while to see. Please let us know how much you enjoyed the puzzle and which were your favourite clues.


  1. andy
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    There seems to some sort of Nina going on in the double unches column 8 row 1 , 3 ,13,15
    Row 8 column 1 3 13 15. Think there is more though….

    Thoroughly enjoyed this and agree with ratings. Thanks Notabilis and Dutch

    • dutch
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Crikey, well noticed – I tend to miss even the obvious perimeter ones

      • andy
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

        That would be row 9, Row 8 W W E E COL 8 N N S S

        • dutch
          Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

          yes, just saw my mistake and corrected, thanks.

    • Hanni
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

      Blimey Andy. Well spotted.

  2. Jane
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Not resorting to the hints yet, but just to say that I’m starting to hate the men of the cloth and those with ESP in the NE corner!

  3. Hanni
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Agree with ****/****

    Yikes. New definition in 17a and an utter guess that 10a was correct. Took me an age to parse. Stared at 11a even with the last 3 letters in and couldn’t figure it out. Had a cup of tea before it hit me. Guess mine aren’t working today.

    Right now I could use a glass of 21a.

    What a fantastic way to end the Toughie week.

    Loved 15a, 7d , 25a 11a…when I finally got it.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for blogging.

    • dutch
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      I remember 10a because it’s where Ryan air take you when you try to go to Lyon

      • Hanni
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        Isn’t that akin to wanting to fly to Southhampton and arriving at Manchester? Ryanair are on my no fly list. As Jane said..hope you do another open mic night?

  4. JonP
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyed this but it did take a fair amount of time to sort it all out. Thanks to Dutch and Notabilis

  5. gazza
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Excellent – thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the review (and well done to Andy on finding the Nina – I did look for it, but in vain). My favourite clues were 15a and 25a.

    • andy
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

      T’was after seeing in the double unches 2 wo wo 2 wa wa 2 os, decided that wasn’t part of it. On a train I started doodling…Notabilis will no doubt tell us what else I’ve missed……

      • Hanni
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

        Not a chance I’d have got it. Very clever Andy.

  6. Jane
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Right now, I hate myself – threw in the towel with two left to go – and I was so close with 11a (see previous comment). However, don’t think I would ever have got 7d without assistance!
    10a was fine – not via Ryanair, more the proof-reading history.
    17a was a new definition and I had to bung in 6d (sorry, Hanni!).

    Rosettes go to 20&25a plus 4d with a special mention for 2d which really, really amused me as I saw it as NOT ‘ER!

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the much needed hint – hope you’re in training for next Thursday at The Goose.

    • Jane
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      P.S. Still don’t ‘get’ the Nina – can someone explain?

      • dutch
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        Amazing Andy spotted a compass motif along the central row and column – there may be more….

        • Jane
          Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

          Thank you – I’ll just crawl back into my corner now. I was desperately trying to find words, not compass points.

          • dutch
            Posted September 25, 2015 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

            there are some words – one, red, town, … don’t know yet if they mean anything… the red is near a “two” in the grid.. a few “ost” = east…????

    • Hanni
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t apologise Jane. I did wonder when I wrote in 6d how many people would know it. Even in the equine world there are plenty of people unfamiliar with it. Primarily as it hasn’t been reported in this country for decades.

      Ohh and you’ve just reminded me re 2d. I read it in the same way!

      • dutch
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        I think that is part of what makes 2d a funny clue… Clever… Surprised we don’t see ‘er for ER more often

        • crypticsue
          Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

          If I had a £ for every time I’d typed ‘the cipher of our current Queen’ in a crossword review I’d be a rich woman. ER appears a lot, not just in the deserted wastelands of the weekend crossword reviews

          • Jane
            Posted September 25, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

            I reckon we all know that, CS! It was just so funny to see it written as ‘wants anyone, but NOT (h)ER!’

            • crypticsue
              Posted September 25, 2015 at 9:46 pm | Permalink

              I’ve seen it that way too but probably not in the DT

            • gazza
              Posted September 25, 2015 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

              Every so often you see a clue along the lines of ‘Royal couple flirt (9)’.

              • Hanni
                Posted September 25, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink


              • Jane
                Posted September 25, 2015 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

                Love it!

  7. JB
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    What a change from yesterday when both the back page and the Toughie escaped me. Even reading the hints, most answers were sheer gobbledygook! Today was straight forward and enjoyable. Thank you Notabilis and Dutch

    • dutch
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      Well said, I have always admired Notabilis for the straightforwardness (once deciphered) of his clues – in particular, I often find I can do his crosswords (slowly) with pen and paper without dictionaries or any other help (though not today..)

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    It’s getting dark so early. I hate it.
    But I loved this offering from Notabilis.
    17d and 20a were my last ones just like the back page. Didn’t include the who’s in the anagram until the very end.
    16d favourite.
    Like the picture for 8d. It’s actually printed on their first page.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the review.

  9. Expat Chris
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Well, I might as well confess…

    I completed the puzzle much earlier on and waited to see what others had to say. I didn’t enjoy it much at all. All those double unches irritated me no end and to my mind a couple of clues (particularly 5D) were decidedly iffy. But as I seem to be the only one who is unenthusiastic, I’ll put my grumpiness down to being Stateside again and my body clock being more than a bit out of whack. Appreciated the review.

    Dutch, you didn’t mention it in your hint, but doesn’t “oscillating” have significance in 26A?

    • Jane
      Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      I’m not sufficiently au fait with the mathematical world to be definitive, Chris – but Mr. Google tells me that oscillators produce sine waves.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes. I did know that and was surprised Dutch didn’t mention it.

        • Jane
          Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

          I’m afraid I have to admit to only remembering sine, cosine and tangent as being things I had to remember to get through O level maths.

    • dutch
      Posted September 26, 2015 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      yes, a sine function oscillates or repeats as does a cosine function. I didn’t think it was necessary in the clue, and it doesn’t add a whole lot to the surface except make it more maths-like – i imagine it is kindness from the setter, leaving it out might make the clue harder.

      • Jane
        Posted September 26, 2015 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        It was most definitely necessary for me!

  10. KiwiColin
    Posted September 25, 2015 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

    I was ultimately defeated with one letter missing for 5d. Went back to the website and revealed that last letter and was then able to unpick the wordplay once I got the cleverness of the definition. Very challenging and lots to enjoy.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  11. Only fools
    Posted September 26, 2015 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Very enjoyable ,15a favourite (just) thanks Notabilis and Dutch for the review

  12. Notabilis
    Posted September 26, 2015 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments.
    As some of you suspected, there is a bit more to the Nina: one letter of every double unch is (part of) a compass direction appropriately placed. So, as well as the N N E E S S W W already mentioned, there’s NW in 4dn, NE in 14ac, SE in 18dn and SW in 20ac.

    • andy
      Posted September 26, 2015 at 1:59 am | Permalink

      Aaaarrrrgggghhh. So close but yet so far, foxed by the master, cap doffed.

    • dutch
      Posted September 26, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Notabilis thank you so much for dropping in and enlightening us – argh, i was looking for intermediate compass points! – and thank you again for a magnificent puzzle which has been enjoyed world wide.