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Toughie 1955

Toughie No 1955 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Today is Toughie No 1955 marking Mr Sheffieldsy’s birthyear, congratulations. Mine was yesterday. I was hoping we would have a Notabilis today, it seemed about time. My first one in was 1d, where I wasn’t sure about the anagram indicator and even started wondering if it was the right setter (to avoid blaming myself), but then everything else fell into place beautifully. A good variety of inventive clues. Notabilis sometimes has a Nina and I was intrigued by the O’s at the outside of each L in the grid, but haven’t managed to work that into any kind of story – perhaps one of you will see something. [aha! See comment 7]

As always, the definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay, and you can click on the ONE MORE WEEK! boxes to reveal the answers. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Reactionary slogan thus succeeded for pair finishing in close succession (4,2,6)
BACK TO BASICS: Both the Latin word for thus plus the abbreviation for Succeeded replaces the last two letters (for pair finishing) in a (4,2,4) expression meaning ‘in close succession’

8a    Coal scuttle, one covered with strange metal (7)
RHODIUM: A 3-letter coal scuttle plus the Roman numeral for one go inside (covered with) another word for strange or odd

9a    Revise previous answer with chapter for current literary dame (7)
MURDOCH: An anagram (revise) of the previous answer (i.e. the answer to 8a) after replacing the physics abbreviation for electrical current with the abbreviation for Chapter

11a    The theatre house leads one used for bargaining? (7)
HOSTAGE: A word that can mean ‘The theatre’ with the abbreviation for house in front of it (leads)

12a    Blue or white cylindrical block with pin-extender attached (7)
STILTON: Split (5,2), the answer could mean ‘with pin-extender attached’

13a    Zeus’s incensed somewhat about outcome (5)
ISSUE: Reverse hidden (… somewhat about)

14a    Revolting cover protecting grand set of books (9)
INSURGENT: A 6-letter verb meaning to cover financially goes around (protecting) the abbreviation for Grand, plus the abbreviation for a set of books from the bible

16a    Bellini needs this mango cut and peach blended (9)
CHAMPAGNE: An anagram (blended) of MANG(o) + PEACH (the mango being cut)

19a    Angus with right hand in inverted sign of insouciance (5)
SHRUG: A 3-letter informal version of Angus includes (with … in) the abbreviation for Right Hand, then all is reversed (inverted)

21a    Fresh fodder not having the power of rotten stuff (7)
SOILAGE: An 8-letter word for ‘rotten stuff’ loses a P (not having power)

23a    Sheep hearts the writer has knocked back in bed (7)
CHEVIOT: The abbreviation for the card suit Hearts plus a reversal (knocked back) of how the setter might say ‘the writer has’, all inside (in) a small bed

24a    Type of Catholic converting to Saint first and church last, making stand (7)
STOMACH: Take a particular type of catholic (the first that comes to mind), then convert the first letter to the 2-letter abbreviation for Saint and the last letter to an abbreviation for church

25a    Collapse of rich source of wicked spirits? (7)
IMPLODE: Split (3,4), the answer might whimsically suggest a rich source (second word) of wicked spirits (first word)

26a    Bill of exchange includes long learning time, double for single US girl (12)
BACHELORETTE: The 2-letter abbreviation for Bill of Exchange includes: another word for long or pine, another word for learning esp. of a traditional kind, plus the abbreviation for Time, twice (double)


1d    What Ross with Web does? (7)
BROWSES: Semi-all-in-one. An anagram (does?) of ROSS + WEB. Keen to know what people have think here, I’m likely missing something simple. “Does” can mean renders, works, performs, or con/swindle/cheat as an anagram indicator, but I think these meanings are all transitive so it feels like it doesn’t quite work (better as imperative or “is done”) – but maybe it does work with the question mark. I got as far as thinking the answer also means grazes, so maybe that could be in the sense of “uses as fodder” – overthinking is not a crime, yet…

2d    Perhaps all change county during later years (7)
COINAGE: The abbreviation for County plus a (2,3) expressing meaning ‘during later years’

3d    Interference through stopping treatment given to Kate? (9)
TAMPERING: A 3-letter Latin word for through or according to goes inside (stopping) the treatment Kate gets in a Shakespeare comedy

4d    Knocks poor addition to note (5)
BUMPS: a 3-letter adjective meaning poor or worthless, plus the abbreviation for an addition to a note or letter

5d    More regretful, fretful person making initial turn to the left? (7)
SORRIER: Take a 7-letter fretful person and change the initial compass direction to another one, corresponding to a left turn.

6d    Boring job involving empty toil produces expression of joy (7)
CHORTLE: A 5-letter boring or routine job e.g. housework contains (involving) the end-letters (empty) of ToiL

7d    Soccer head is transforming metropolitan districts (12)
ARCHDIOCESES: An anagram (transforming) of SOCCER HEAD IS

10d    Add up swing collectively (4,8)
HANG TOGETHER: The answer could also be read mean to swing collectively, or else a charade of a word meaning swing and a word meaning collectively.

15d    Winter traveller about to carve, having less meat on the bones? (9)
SKETCHIER: A winter traveller or a person on the pistes contains (about) a verb meaning to carve or to eat away

17d    State of variable acting in operatic piece (7)
ARIZONA: A letter used as an algebraic variable plus a 2-letter word meaning acting (as in ‘you’re ** next’) go inside a word for an operatic song

18d    Old king‘s ancientness: article Westminster brought up (7)
PHARAOH: A reversal (brought up) of a 4-letter word for ancientness or greyness, an indefinite article, and a 2-letter abbreviation for Westminster

19d    Cooker covered with liquid, tipped over in place (7)
STEWPOT: A 3-letter word meaning ‘covered with liquid’ is reversed (tipped over) inside (in) another word for place or location

20d    One puts down roots, beginning to read one last letter in residence (7)
RHIZOME: The first letter (beginning) of Read, then place the Roman numeral for one plus the last letter of the alphabet inside (in) another word for one’s residence

22d    Those inside shelter disguised woman’s name (5)
ETHEL: An anagram (disguised) of the central five letters (those inside) in (s)HELTE(r)

I really liked the Bellini clue, 16a, and I liked the way 24a worked. Also liked the reverse hidden (13a). Plenty more excellent clues – which ones did you enjoy?

26 comments on “Toughie 1955

  1. I’ve been wishing for a Friday Notabilis for some time so I’m very happy. Not his most difficult but the usual enjoyable solve.

    I’d select (out of the many I could choose) 12a, and 16a for special mention (Kath to note that this doesn’t mean I have two favourites, just that I’m mentioning two of the many clues I really liked)

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

  2. First of all, thank you Dutch for the mention in the preamble! Can’t give away a lady’s age; suffice it to say that Mrs Sheffieldsy’s birth year Toughie is well more than a week away.

    This Toughie was good fun. We thought 7d was one of the hardest anagrams we’ve ever seen. Our top clue today was 12a – what a beauty. We agree with you about 1d, the full parsing is far from obvious.

    Thanks to Dutch and Notabilis.

  3. Certainly the trickiest puzzle of the week for me and probably the most enjoyable.

    Thanks to Dutch and Notabilis

  4. Highly enjoyable – thanks to Notabilis and Dutch. I spent some time a) looking, in vain, for a Nina and b) trying to understand 1d. I thought at one stage that Ross might be Jonathan with his speech impediment – he would pronounce the answer ‘bwowses’ but I can’t see how that helps.
    The clues I liked best were 12a, 25a and 2d.

  5. Most enjoyable but isn’t 7d a cumbersome mouthful!

    Podium nicely filled with places going to 8,12&25a plus 3&6d – the latter because it’s such a descriptive word.

    Thanks to Notabilis and also to Dutch – are you delegating next Friday’s blog or just looking forward to a very long day?

  6. Not for me I’m afraid. Just over half completed after far too long so, 5*/1* for me today. Surely the original recipe for a Bellini used Prosecco? Most difficult, for me, for a long time but roll on next week!

    1. I’m no expert, but Prosecco did seem to feature prominently when i was looking for more details – however, the ALMIGHTY BRB says champagne.

    1. Brilliant! How cool is that? I had a w of w’s in my last Independent puzzle (so you might think I’d have been quicker to spot it), however I did not have no w’s elsewhere, so this I think is much more elegant. I’d like to think Notabilis was inspired by my W, but he may not have seen it and anyway, no idea when this puzzle was written, he may well have been first. Maize pointed out he had found a Y from crosophile in the I cryptic, which apparently are recycled independent crosswords a few years later.

      Well spotted!

  7. I thought 1d was simple. ROSS +WEB =. First in and never gave it another thought!
    I’m glad the BRB supports an upmarket version of Bellini as I liked this clue – not so keen on the drink.
    Lots of “O”‘s but do they mean anything? I think not.
    Thanks to setter and blogger.

  8. I thought that was jolly good fun and very difficult – it’s taken me longer than I’d admit to even if we were allowed to give times.
    I screwed up lots of the top left corner by seeing ‘since’ as a lurker in 13a and deciding it might, at a push, do for outcome or result – things improved after I sorted that out.
    I did need several hints to understand my answers particularly 3d – I never did get as far as the right Kate.
    My favourite was 12a.
    Thanks very much to Notabilis for the Toughie and to Dutch for the review and explanations.

  9. Like other toughie puzzles this week, I very much enjoyed this. It was a slow and steady solve for me, with the top half going in more smoothly than the bottom half. However, in large part, I was the author of my own challenges by putting ‘pan’ as the last three letters of 20d at the outset. However, I got it all sorted out and was pleased to have finished with only minimal Googling – and particularly pleased now that I see who the setter is because in general I am not always able to finish a Notabilis puzzle. Thank you to those who pointed out the Os pattern – I would never have spotted that, and I agree with Jane that 7d is very strange to say out loud! Many thanks to all.

  10. We did so much want to make the second letter of 1d another W but sadly the fodder would not let us. We had to work really hard to get this one sorted but did eventually get it all worked out. Did not know HP for Westminster but now see that it is in BRB. Failed to spot the O Nina but seems we were not alone in this.
    Really good fun.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  11. I really liked this one and found it tough but not diabolical. Missed the nina though.

    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch – see you in a week’s time. :)

  12. As per the comments above, tough enough but not overly so, therefore a *** for difficulty. I’m usually not very good at spotting these things but did see the big zero this time, though was unsure whether it had any significance. It would appear not? 12ac caused me great difficulty at the close, and what a great clue it is, among many good ones. Favourite today though must be 25ac. One or two I couldn’t parse, notably 24ac, so thanks for the blog.

  13. A circle of Os a very nice idea.

    An interesting puzzle of some considerable difficulty, which I found most enjoyable. Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

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