Toughie 1743 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1743

Toughie No 1743 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another excellent puzzle from Notabilis with his trademark precision cluing – I enjoyed the down-specific indicators, exact instructions, clever definitions and clean anagrams. I was surprised it was all over for me in 2* time with 8d and 21d being the last to parse. Several clues have political or topical overtones. As often happens, I could relish the clues even more when writing the review than during the solve (so I added a star).

The definitions are underlined in the clues below. Hopefully the hints will allow you to find the answers but you can always reveal them by clicking on the THEM button. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Like fake news, a morass facing America (5)
BOGUS: Another word for morass plus an abbreviation for America

4a    One in possession of advantage for tricks, the man had won (9)
TRIUMPHED: The Roman numeral for one goes inside (in possession of) a card which is an advantage for winning tricks, followed by a (2,1) contraction of ‘the man had’

9a    One will bring force, sort hippo out (9)
TROOPSHIP: An anagram (out) of SORT HIPPO

10a    Guard‘s son bragged loudly (5)
SCREW: The abbreviation for S[on] plus a word that means bragged or boasted (usually loudly)

11a    Denounce Conservative-Democratic coalition at last (7)
CONDEMN: Abbreviations of Conservative and Democratic plus the last letter in coalition

12a    Rhetoric of either a left-winger …? (7)
ORATORY: Finish the sentence with a (2,1,4) split of the answer

13a    Large canine almost cut with teeth seizing grainy pasta (6)
BORZOI: A 3-letter word meaning ‘cut with teeth’ (past tense) without the last letter (almost) goes around (seizing) a kind of pasta that looks like rice grains

15a    Electromechanical engineers phone for the purposes of repairs (8)
REMEDIAL: A 4-letter abbreviation for electromechanical engineers in the British army plus a verb meaning to phone

18a    Bolt, maybe turning one right to left produces a sharp fragment (8)
SPLINTER: The type of runner Bolt is with one of the R[ight]s changed to L[eft]

20a    Get in boat, tossing (6)
OBTAIN: AN anagram (tossing) of IN BOAT

23a    Camper van covered in seaweed etc somewhere around Faro (7)
ALGARVE: A 2-letter abbreviation for camper van (not VW) is covered by a word for seaweed

24a    Cargo for extra-cheap air passage (7)
TRACHEA: Hidden in the clue (Cargo for….)

26a    Book with Hellenic character showing all the life in a place (5)
BIOTA: The abbreviation for B[ook] plus a Greek letter

27a    Lion visit arranged for user of catgut? (9)

28a    Drive badly as request for noise-reduction added to stopping distance (9)
MISHANDLE: A 2-letter request for silence or noise-reduction plus a conjunction that means ‘added to’ go inside (stopping) a distance of 1760 yards

29a    Perhaps Jack said one gets ‘edgy’ in a strop (5)
RAZOR: Something that can be sharpened using a strop is also a homophone of a car-jack, perhaps


1d    City powers relaxing blocks for solution (9)
BATHCUBES: A City in SW England plus some mathematical powers

2d    Developed expression of anger shortly before noon (5)
GROWN: An expression of anger or hostility (in dogs, and in humans by analogy) without the last letter (shortly) plus the abbreviation for N[oon]

3d    To drink or eat once more, stuffed head (7)
SUPREMO: A 3-letter verb meaning to drink or alternatively an old-fashioned verb (hence ‘once’) meaning to eat, plus an anagram (stuffed) of MORE. Thanks CS for the rationale for including ‘once’

4d    Spread French territory’s name for a time (6)
: An island in French Polynesia in which the abbreviation for N[ame] is replaced by that for T[ime]

5d    Republican finished supporting terror: he’s not as bad as he was (8)
IMPROVER: The abbreviation for R[epublican] and a word meaning finished or ended follows (supporting in a down clue) a little terror

6d    It could be generation of bulk manipulation (7)
: Split (4,3), the answer could mean ‘generation of bulk’

7d    Hospital treatment for bruises involves way of working instrument (9)
HARMONICA: The abbreviation for H[ospital], then a herbal treatment for bruises made from the flowers of mountain tobacco that contains (involves) a 2-letter abbreviation for ‘way of working’

8d    Dull blue colour hiding feet (5)
DOWDY: A 4-letter word for blue and a 3-letter word for colour without their last letters (hiding feet, in a down clue)

14d    Misleading or guile is based on belief (9)
RELIGIOUS: An anagram (misleading) of OR GUILE IS

16d    House of aged cavalryman across a street (9)
LANCASTER: An old type of cavalryman goes around (across) A from the clue and the abbreviation of ST[reet]

17d    Cold as a dish brought to table a second time (8)
RESERVED: Perhaps split (2-6), the answer would mean brought to the table again

19d    Selflessness ideally without boundaries, invariant somehow (7)
NIRVANA: An anagram (somehow) of [i]NVARIAN[t] without it’s boundaries

21d    British Caucasian bringing up one metalworker (7)
BRAZIER: This brass worker is constructed from aa 2-letter abbreviation for BR[itish], plus the name for an Azerbaijani (who is from E Transcaucasia) in which the final I is moved up two spaces (bringing up one, in a down clue)

22d    Oddly padded, it could be fortuitous yet uncalled-for (6)
OTIOSE: Even letters of the two words before the definition (when the answer is oddly padded, it produces these two words)

23d    Sponge underlying aluminium disc (5)
ALBUM: A word meaning to sponge or freeload follows the chemical symbol for aluminium

25d    Measure of frequency limiting one German food-packing businessman (5)
HEINZ: The abbreviation of the unit of frequency (cycles per second) contains (limiting) the German word for ‘one’

My favourite today is 1a, though I also enjoyed the apparently related 6d and others that seemed to continue along this line.  Which clues did you like?

23 comments on “Toughie 1743

  1. All over far too soon – my favourites are 1d (my friend and I were only discussing the other day how our aunties always gave us Yardley 1d for Christmas) and 25d because I liked the definition)

    Thanks to the fluffy-slippered Notabilis and Dutch too

  2. Thank you, Notablis, far closer to my level today!
    Having said that, I still missed out on 22d (new word for me) and needed Dutch to help with the parsing of 8d and to point out that 29a was a homophone.
    Still not sure why ‘once’ is included in 3d – can you try to explain again please, Dutch?

    Top three for me were 4a (the president elect just lends himself so well to that one!) plus 1&16d.

    Thanks again to Notabilis and Dutch.

    1. ‘once’ because the first three letters are an old-fashioned way of saying to drink or eat – once [upon a time]

    2. Yes, CS has a better explanation – brb has archaic next to the verb for eat (not drink, that is common enough). Initially I thought the eating was limited to one particular meal, hence the once as in once daily – I’ll fix the hint

  3. Thought until I read the blog that I had done all week without needing the blog but I got 22 wrong! Not telling! Too ashamed!

    Never heard of 26 and the Caucasian in 21.

    Favourites 1d , 24 and 29. Lots to enjoy.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

    1. Your 22d can’t be any worse than mine – I settled for ‘stroke’ as in ‘stroke of luck’ and wondered where the padding came in………

  4. Well I got 25 down, but I could have been here for another fortnight without spotting the parsing. Thanks to Dutch for putting me out of my misery. Otherwise this seemed easier than your average Friday.

  5. Definitely Notabilis feeling kind to the intrepid Friday Toughie solvers. Lots and lots to like but did need to consult my SRB to check the pasta in 13a. I’ll opt for the ‘lurker’ in 24a as my favourite of the day but there could have been many more joining it on the podium.

    Thanks to Notabilis for the puzzle and to Dutch for his review. I hope everyone has a super weekend.

  6. Did it again!
    Wrote Violonist in 27a. Stupid French.
    Wrote Daffy in 8d also.
    Couldn’t get either 10a nor 21d.
    Thanks to Dutch for explaining why I was so wrong.
    I’m sure that Pink Floyd album is at my dad’s.
    Thanks to Notabilis.

  7. Well we had put ‘stroke’ in too for 22a. We were in a bit of a hurry as we were almost on our way out the door to drive to Wellington where we are now and had not bothered to check the parsing. That will teach us. An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  8. You’ve rained on our parade today, Dutch. We thought this was hard and yet we soldiered on, as is our wont, and finished it. As we often do, we discussed ratings before looking at the BD site and decided that 4*/4* would be about right. We’re almost always within one star difficulty-wise of the reviewer, yet you say 2*! That deflated our ballon somewhat (although, at least, you agree with on enjoyment) and then we discovered that our bung-in for 22d was wrong (even though the rest were right) – total deflation.

    Joking aside (for that is what it was), this was a truly great crossword. We thought it the best we’ve done for several months. We circled several clues for excellence – 13a, 28a (mentally separating ‘stopping’ from ‘distance’ in a clue mentioning driving is soooo unnatural, even though we realised we had to), 1d (‘City powers’ is just fantastic), 7d and 21d. Wouldn’t like to choose a winner from that lot.

    Thanks (really) Dutch and Notabilis.

    1. what a lovely comment. I am uplifted knowing that you truly enjoyed this.

      I have a time-based recipe for the difficulty stars, so this was 2 times ‘x’ minutes = 2 stars. Based on comments like yours, I have hopefully wondered whether I might be getting better and perhaps need to review my system – but believe me, there are plenty of indications to the contrary.

    1. Another compiler might not have bothered to indicate an archaic connection – this is one of the things I truly appreciate about Notabilis – he will be as fair as possible.

  9. I’d call this a pretty stiff 3* (I struggled to pick up a few threads, so needed 3 hints to finish), but at least that for enjoyment. I don’t think I’ve cracked a Notabilis puzzle yet – certainly not on a Friday – but I live in hope. Actually, I was feeling quite pleased with myself until I saw your rating. I enjoyed 7d and 4a. Thanks to Notabilis, and to Dutch.

  10. Funny story: I was about two-thirds of the way through writing the clues when I realised that I’d forgotten it was a Toughie, and I was consciously trying to write easy clues. So then I tried to toughen them up, but it’s possible that some of the original thinking survived and the clues are objectively somewhat easier than my usual ones. Sorry if that’s upsetting to anyone.

    1. Not remotely upsetting for me, Notabilis. More of the same would be more than welcome – although CS probably wouldn’t agree with me!
      Nice of you to call in on us.

    2. That’s interesting – I don’t think the puzzle suffered in the slightest
      Many thanks for dropping in, always appreciated

    3. I wasn’t upset either – Notabilis clues are always a pleasure to solve – whether they are fluffy, hob-nailed or in-between.

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