Toughie 1859 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1859

Toughie No 1859 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A stunningly good puzzle from Notabilis showing some very tidy cluemanship and trademark precision. I enjoyed this immensely. It took me 3* time to complete the grid, but it took a little longer before I had the full parsing for 17a, 19a, and 4d. There is a nina.

As always, definitions are underlined and the hints and tips are intended to help you with the wordplay, should you need it. You can always lick on the I mean CLICK! buttons to reveal the answer. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Wide bowled by mistake into random bush (10)
STRAWBERRY: The cricket abbreviations for Wide and Bowled plus a verb meaning to mistake go inside (into) a word meaning random or wandering

6a    Mass with vessel from Bible gospel (4)
MARK: The physics abbreviation for Mass plus a biblical vessel that save animals from the great flood

9a    English empiricist mostly denied freedom of movement? (5)
LOCKE: A word meaning denied freedom of movement (through the turn of a key, perhaps) without the last letter (mostly)

10a    Fence’s for changing when not being filmed (3-6)
OFF-SCREEN: An anagram (changing) of FENCES FOR

12a    Hazard in road even if in lines protected by stanchion (7)
POTHOLE: A poetic version (in lines) of ‘even if’ goes inside (protected by) a stanchion or upright support

13a    Some defamation for family of workers on the fiddle? (5)
AMATI: Hidden (Some …)

15a    Give more than enough annually, dividing nothing particularly (7)
OVERPAY: An abbreviation for annually goes inside (dividing) the letter that looks like zero or nothing and a word meaning particularly or extremely

17a    Norse goddess, transcendental, with no good portion (7)
HELPING: A 3-letter Norse goddess (daughter of Loki), a transcendental number (see Collins!), and the abbreviation for No Good. This took me a while to parse

19a    Honorary point, lacking ne plus ultra, invalidated (7)
TITULAR: A point as in the prong of a fork lacking the final ‘ne’, with (plus) an anagram (invalidated) of ULTRA. Also took me a while to parse but what brilliant use of ne plus ultra!

21a    Gentleman taking company in two directions, in a blow to Italy? (7)
SIROCCO: How you might address a gentleman, plus the abbreviation of COmpany, first backwards then forwards (in two directions)

22a    Men with tool for drilling socket (5)
ORBIT: A 2-letter abbreviation for men in the army, plus a tool that one attaches to a drill. Socket as in eye socket.

24a    Sister keeps copious specimen collection (7)
SAMPLER: An abbreviation for sister contains another word for copious

27a    Pioneer to secure Scottish port and volunteer for service? (3,6)
LAY READER: This service is the church kind. A pioneer as in someone who goes first contains (to secure) a 3-letter Scottish port

28a    African city‘s stone pile finally moved on a place? (5)
CAIRO: A 5-letter heap of stones in which the last letter (finally) becomes the next one in the alphabet (moved on a place)

29a    Perhaps an upper Republican approved interns (4)
DRUG: The abbreviation for Republican is ‘internalised’ by an informal word meaning approved or liked

30a    Rebels rise violently against point of view (10)
RESISTANCE: An anagram of RISE plus a point of view or position


1d    Most of one’s family raised one’s identity (4)
SELF: A reversal (raised, in a down clue) of a 5-letter word used to describes one’s own family (sometimes with ‘and blood’) without the last letter (mostly)

2d    Someone getting torn up about unfilled cannelloni baked dish (9)
RECIPIENT: A verb that means torn up goes around (about) the outer letters (unfilled) of cannelloni plus a baked dish

3d    Remove with force or with ease (5)
WREST: The abbreviation for With plus a word meaning ease or relaxation

4d    There’s not a million in one shilling without first being frugal (7)
ECONOMY: One shilling (i.e. one acting as a shill) without the first letter contains (there’s …. in) a (2,1) version of ‘not a million’

5d    Bound labourer aboard the ship turned brace (7)
REFRESH: Reversal of a bound labourer inside (aboard) a female possessive pronoun that is used to designate ‘the ship’

7d    A mountain parrot biting large leader of pack (5)
AKELA: A from the clue, plus the cheeky New Zealand mountain parrot Nestor Notabilis containing (biting) the abbreviation for Large

8d    Under mayor Livingstone, say, serenade North London district (10)
KENSINGTON: Under (in a down clue) mayor Livingston’s first name (the ‘say’ indicates definition by example), we have a (4,2) phrase meaning serenade plus the abbreviation for North

11d    Minion caught more bleak across lake (7)
CRAWLER: The cricket abbreviation for Caught, plus a 5-letter word meaning more bleak/cold/harsh containing (across) the abbreviation for Lake

14d    Jailbird was a pest online, under supervision (10)
CONTROLLED: A 3-letter jailbird plus a 7-letter past-tense verb meaning ‘was a pest online’

16d    Variety of tones from female chum? (7)
PALETTE: The answer could be interpreted whimsically as a female chum

18d    Brings on something with small charge for attack (9)
INCURSION: A verb meaning ‘brings on’ plus ‘something with a small charge’ – a very small something

20d    Remains to be housed around university (7)
RESIDUE: To be housed or to live goes around the abbreviation for University

21d    Member of military class laid waste in Masuria (7)
SAMURAI: An anagram (laid waste in) of MASURIA

23d    Inlet in Orleans, or marshy water in New Orleans? (5)
BAYOU: An inlet of the sea plus how someone in Orleans, France, would say ‘or’


25d    Allowed in charge, having landed outside (5)
LICIT: The abbreviation for In Charge is surrounded (having … outside) by a verb meaning landed

26d    Leave note in blood (4)
GORE: A 2-letter verb meaning leave plus the second note on the sol-fa scale

I think my favourite has to be the ‘ne plus ultra‘ clue (9a). Loved 9a, 13a, 24a, 28a, 29a, 30a, and that is just among the across clues. 7d raised a big smile. Which were your favourites?

20 comments on “Toughie 1859

  1. A nice Toughie; a Nina I could spot and a self-referential clue from our setter (7d) – what more could you want on a Friday morning?

  2. I struggled with this, bar a few simpler clues. 7d & 19a get a nod but 16d is brilliantly daft and so is my favourite today.
    Many thanks to Notabilis for the challenge and Dutch for the review. ****/****

  3. A top rate puzzle – thanks to Notabilis and Dutch. Lots to like but I’ll pick out 2d (for the well-disguised definition), 8d and 23d. My top prize goes to 4d for ‘best use of shilling’.
    Happy birthday to Jane.

  4. 29a took a while as I was thinking along the lines of a boxing strike.
    5d was a bit of a bung in.
    In 19a, it’s the first time I see that phrase in this form. Always nec plus ultra in French.
    21a very topical at the moment. At midnight last night the temperature was still above 30 degrees Celsius.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch.

  5. Managed about two-thirds of this before I went out on my birthday bash – will be back to comment later when I’ve (hopefully) slotted in the remainder – although there was a ‘slight’ amount of alcohol involved in the celebrations!

      1. Thank you, JL – a lovely day rounded off by a visit from no.1 daughter and a shared Skype call to no. 2 daughter and my new grandson.

      1. Thanks, Dutch. I guess we’ll be having our usual rendezvous in the Novotel 6 months from now?

  6. Happy to have finished it early enough in my day to comment. I did enjoy this, though 29A gave me trouble and I couldn’t parse 17A, but I did parse 19A and it’s my favorite. thanks Notabilis and Dutch

      1. someone said ‘wish we had a like button’ then BD realised it was available in the latest wordpress release

  7. A very enjoyable week in Toughie Land.

    Tue – Dada
    Wed – Elkamere
    Thu – Beam
    Fri – Notabilis

    Which was your favourite?

    Wot? WordPress doesn’t have a voting system?

  8. Finally finished although I did have a few bits of GK that needed checking – the empiricist, the Norse goddess and the definition of ‘shilling’.
    Very enjoyable, top two places going to 1&16d.

    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch – especially for the pics at 1&12a!

  9. So Near yet So Far or whatever the expression is – oh dear!
    Notabilis is the only Friday Toughie setter that I stand a chance with, apart from the occasional Micawber.
    I wasn’t doing too badly until it got to the top right hand corner and than it all went horribly wrong.
    I won’t elaborate as it’s all too long and too silly. Oh well, never mind – I did at least try.
    Thanks to Notabilis for the crossword and to Dutch for showing me where it could have been better.

  10. Our first answer in and favourite of course was 7d. Excellent fun from start to finish with the final rites being parsing the two that Dutch has mentioned, 17a and 19a. We had a quick look for a Nina when we finished without finding anything so had another look when we read Sue’s comment this morning. Now we can see the linked pairs that make up the puzzle border.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

    1. Thanks for the nudge, 2Ks – there it was, hidden in plain sight! Must admit, the London one was new to me.

      PS Also thanks for the birthday wishes – much appreciated.

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