Toughie 1587

Toughie No 1587 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Back to normal – whatever that is – many thanks Kitty for standing in for me. Today’s Notabilis is a clever and fair puzzle, as always, with plenty to like – though it pulled me into 4* time as it took me a while to see some of the parsing and I thought it had a little more GK than usual, keeping the enjoyment at 3*.

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    Dinner‘s gone by again? (6)
REPAST: This meal when read whimsically could mean gone by again

4a    Mark an event with removal of old footwear (8)
MOCCASIN: The abbreviation for Mark plus an 8-letterword for event or happening from which O(ld) is removed

9a    Developmental theorist‘s contract with backing of artist (6)
DARWIN: Find a (4,2) phrasal verb meaning to contract or reduce, then reverse two of the letters that usually signify artist in crossword-land

10a    Deny climate’s changing, ignoring note introduced by investigator (8)
DISCLAIM: Anagram (changing) of CLIMA(te)S – ignoring the note – and then “introduce” the lot by placing the abbreviation for Detective Inspector (investigator) at the start

11a    Stimulate auditorium engineer in church (9)
CHALLENGE: A 4-letter word for auditorium or large room plus the 3-letter abbreviation for engineer go inside the abbreviation for the Church of England

13a    What’s large, secured by a German sculpture collector? (5)
ELGIN: The 2-letter abbreviation for large goes inside the German word for “a”

14a    Source of notes might be an anemometer (4,10)
WIND INSTRUMENT: The type of musical instrument you blow through

17a    Delivery groups with muscle coordinate with leader’s delay and focus too narrowly (14)
OVERSPECIALISE: Three components here: start with delivery groups in cricket, add a 3-letter chest muscle, then add a 6-letter word meaning to coordinate or to connect with and move the initial “L” two positions to the right (with leader’s delay)

21a    Reserves shocking outburst for something banned (5)
TABOO: The 2-letter abbreviation for the reserve or volunteer army, plus an interjection used in fun to shock or startle someone (shocking outburst)

23a    Time to supplant Liberal in subject of Orwell’s rigid state? (9)
CATATONIA: Change the L(iberal) to a T(ime) in the title subject of George Orwell’s personal account as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War

24a    Home with sot, I prepared a possible liquid lunch (8)
SMOOTHIE: Anagram (prepared) of HOME+SOT+I

25a    Couple of notes? No good comedian needs such (6)
TIMING: Two different notes from the sol-fa scale plus the abbreviation for no good. I started off wondering why a comedian needs miming

26a    Story of a musical fragment covering a side of one disc (8)
ANECDOTE: A from the clue, then a single musical sound going around the last letter (side) of onE and a 2-letter disc with music on it

27a    German lawmaker‘s place in reversion of classical language, initially forgotten (6)
KEPLER: The abbreviation of PL(ace) goes inside the reversal of a classical language (not Latin) without the initial letter (initially forgotten), giving a German astronomer who has devised laws on planetary motion


1d    Strike as revolutionary gesture? (6)
REDACT: A 3-letter revolutionary and a 3-letter gesture or deed to get a word which I thought just meant edit, but Oxford Dictionary also mentions to censure or delete a piece of text

2d    Musical combo disheartened over producing a washout? (9)
PURGATIVE: Reversal (over) of a musical about Mrs Peron and a combo or band without the central letter (disheartened)

3d    Uprising is appropriate, shown the way to be repressed (7)
STIFLED: Reversal (uprising) of a verb meaning “is appropriate” and a 3-letter verb meaning “shown the way” or guided

5d    Men are devious, capturing surviving orphan (6,5)
OLIVER TWIST: An abbreviation for military men and a 5-letter verb meaning are devious, or distort the truth, contain a 4-letter adjective for surviving, as in not-dead-yet

6d    French artist to tilt digit up to the ear? (7)
COCTEAU: A homophone (up to the ear) of to tilt (as you might your head) and a digit (not a finger)

7d    To the North, US territory’s a fabulous protector of gold (5)
SMAUG: Reversal of a US territory in Micronesia, being sure to include the ‘s, will give the dragon in Tolkien’s “The Hobbit”

8d    Possibly mention as wanting second? (8)
NOMINATE: An all-in-one clue: anagram (possibly) of MENTION A(s), lacking (wanting) the abbreviation for second – the whole clue suggests putting someone forward for office, which usually requires someone else to second the motion

12d    Undifferentiated network point plugged with new lines (11)
NONDESCRIPT: A 4-letter network point contains (is plugged with) the abbreviation for new, followed by a written copy of an actor’s lines

15d    German city experiment’s not run as needed (9)
ESSENTIAL: The most popular German city in crossword-land followed by a 5-letter word for experiment or test without the letter R (not run)

16d    Half of this is in Scandinavian area? (5,3)
NORTH SEA: Another nice all-in-one: Take the first half of “this” from the clue and put it inside a 5-letter kind of Scandinavian (not Swede, Finn or Dane), then add the abbreviation for area

18d    Son not put in bed with measles? (7)
SPOTTED: The abbreviation for Son, and if a plant is not put in bed, it might instead be ******

19d    Framework used in external attic extension (7)
LATTICE: Lurking (used) in “external attic extension”

20d    Rock singer who produces Nicks? (6)
JAGGER: This rock singer who recently performed in Cuba after being banned might also be a utensil that produces nicks or jags (e.g., at the edges of pastry). The capitalisation is a reference to Stevie Nicks, who beats the other singer to a pic

22d    The bottle of black slime (5)
BOOZE: The abbreviation for Black plus a word meaning slime

I liked the 24a and especially 25a surfaces, and I liked the all-in-ones especially 16d. Plenty more to like, though I think my favourite is 23a because of the “Orwell’s rigid state”. Please leave a comment and let us know which clues you liked.


  1. Gazza
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Notabilis for the enjoyable puzzle and to Dutch for the review. My favourite was 25a. I looked for a Nina but couldn’t find one.
    For those not totally puzzled out there is a super Arachne in the Graun.

    • Hanni
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t say the word Nina Gazza…anything but that? I’m going to start looking for one now. Although might have a crack at the Graun later. Thanks for the heads up.

    • crypticsue
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      I’d echo Gazza’s comment exactly – lovely proper toughie

  2. halcyon
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was set to be the first Notabilis with only 2* for difficulty – then I ground to a halt for a while in the NW and SE corners. I’ll give it 3.5/3 and I agree that 5 personal names is pushing the gen knol a bit.Favourites were 17a [delivery groups and the rest of the corporate gobbledegook surface] 2d [musical combo etc – even if “washout” might not be quite the result!] and the very clever 16d.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the blog.

  3. Hanni
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Not a straightforward solve and like Dutch said, quite a bit of GK needed in places.

    For the second time today I pencilled in the wrong answer even though I knew the right one…in this case 23a. I put in Catalonia. Why? So when it came to 19d I couldn’t figure it out. Spotted the hidden eventually and sorted the mess out. I’m going to have go back and check all the work I’ve done today. God only knows what mistakes I’ve made in that.

    Anyway on to the rest of the puzzle. I found it good fun,

    Liked the devious men in 5d, surface of 25a, the son with measles in 18a, Orwell’s rigid state in 23a (despite my mistake) and 1d.

    Favourite is the lovely 16d. What a clever clue. Beautifully written.

    Many thanks to Notabilis for the challenge and smiles and to Dutch for a great blog. Nice to have you back.

  4. Kitty
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed this, and managed most of it solo. I very much liked the 23a rigid state and the possible liquid lunch in 24a. Also, the 27a German lawmaker (it took ages for the penny to drop there). 21a might have been simple but it made me smile. The same can be said for 22d. The all-in-ones were indeed very clever.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the review – I smiled at your comment about 25a. It’s lovely to have you back :) .

  5. Expat Chris
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Delighted to have completed the grid, albeit with a bit of crossword solver help for 2D and 12D, then found I was wrong on 27A. Keller sounded good to me at the time. Oh, well. That doesn’t detract from my overall enjoyment, though. Parsing was a bit of a process and I never managed to sort out 5D although the answer was clear. I did like 13A and 1D especially, but 6D is my runaway favorite.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  6. Shropshirelad
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    A good way to finish off the Toughie week with a nice puzzle from Notabilis. I agree there was a tad too much GK required, but I was like a London cab driver – so it didn’t prove to be a problem. Now, Dutch hasn’t mentioned anything ‘hidden’ in the puzzle so I’m not even going to look. Lots of good clues so I can’t really pick one as a favourite.

    So, thanks to Notabilis for the puzzle and to Dutch for his review.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend. I am picking up my ‘new’ car tomorrow so hopefully I will ‘see’ you all next week.

  7. dutch
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    I don’t seem to be getting as many comments as Kitty did.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Aw, Dutch! Don’t cry. I would send cake but it would take a while so can you make do with a virtual hug?

    • Hanni
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      Well I’ve missed your blogs! Stop worrying and have a pint. :-)

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I don’t get many comments either, I’ll join you in that pint – your round by the way :smile:

      Sorry, I hope you don’t think I mean ‘you’re round’

      • dutch
        Posted April 15, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink


    • Hanni
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

      You could always tell us the whole ‘ribs’ story?

      • Expat Chris
        Posted April 15, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Now I’m intrigued!

        • Hanni
          Posted April 15, 2016 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          I’m sticking to my theory about the juggling balls and a staircase…there may have been pints involved.

          Glad things are improving Dutch.

    • dutch
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

      Thanks – i have had my usual post-blog pint. I would gladly tell you the whole ribs story if I knew it. I’m just happy things are slowly improving.

    • Kitty
      Posted April 15, 2016 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      Well, you have now… :)

  8. 2Kiwis
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Reading this today we find that we had 25a wrong as we settled for M as the first letter. We also did not manage to work out the wordplay for 9a but we did have the correct answer. It took us quite a long time and considerable effort with 27a before the penny dropped. Good challenge, good fun.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  9. Jane
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    Rather out of my league, I fear – took an age for me to gain any foothold and even when I did, it was still an uphill battle.
    Relied heavily on Dutch’s review to sort out some of the parsing and didn’t know anything about 20d beyond the ‘pouting one’! Like Dutch, I had Stevie in mind and never got beyond her.

    There was certainly a fistful of clues I particularly enjoyed – 1&14d plus 6,16&18d. 16d gets the gold star with 6&8d neck and neck for silver.

    Thanks to Notabilis for the challenge and much gratitude to Dutch for sorting out the ‘bung ins’.

  10. Kath
    Posted April 15, 2016 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Well that’ll teach me – back to plan A and avoid Friday Toughies if morale needs keeping up.
    This was way beyond me and I really only tried for two reasons – it was raining and I did quite well with a Notabilis crossword a couple of weeks ago.
    I did about half of this then gave in – there was a lot of general knowledge and I didn’t know most of it.
    My 25a comedian did need miming – oh dear!
    I liked 4 and 24a and 18 and 22d. My favourite by a long way was 6d.
    With thanks to Notabilis for the crossword, to Dutch for the much needed hints and to Kitty for doing such a good job for the last couple of weeks.

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 17, 2016 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Don’t worry Dutch, you now have one more comment on your blog.
    Found it quite difficult to get into and was beaten by the monster in 7d. Never would have occurred to me.
    Couldn’t understand the definition in 1d either but the answer was quite obvious.
    Agreed that a bit of German GK was needed but the clues were fair.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the review.