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Toughie 1975

Toughie No 1975 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Mr K

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


Hello, everyone.  With Dutch off skiing this week, it’s fallen to me to welcome you all to a fine Notabilis Toughie.  I believe that this is my first encounter with one of his puzzles.  It certainly won’t be the last.

In the following hints definitions are underlined, and most indicators are italicized.  Clicking on the buttons will reveal the answer.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Suffering consumption drug’s sudden effect, one could put a coat on (10)
PAINTBRUSH:  Put together suffering, an abbreviation for the disease also known as consumption, and the sudden effect of a drug

6a    In Footwear there’s a third off inferior stuff (4)
SHOD:  Two-thirds of a word describing something inferior and pretentious

10a   Shiny black wax lyrical and new (5)
RAVEN:  Enthuse or wax lyrical, with N(ew)

11a   T. Rex had such lightweight pieces (5,4)
SMALL ARMS:  Taken literally, the answer is a distinctive anatomical characteristic of T. Rex

12a   Dessert that’s frozen cold like peanutty dish? Not quite (7)
CASSATA:  Stick together C(old), a synonym of like, and all but the last letter (not quite) of a dish served with a peanut sauce

13a   Oscar follower swallowing drink with wine over spice (7)
PAPRIKA:  The word following Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet, containing (swallowing) the reversal (over) of a drink made with white wine and cassis

14a   Middle East lass from a Gulf state with current power-hungry person (12)
MEGALOMANIAC:  Concatenate an abbreviation for Middle East, an informal alternative to lass, an adjective meaning coming from a particular Gulf state, and a usual type of electric current

18a   Finding tear inside, inspector altered spec for specs? (12)
PRESCRIPTION:  Put a tear or a split inside an anagram (altered) of INSPECTOR

21a   Wealthy man‘s questionable sources (7)
CROESUS:  An anagram (questionable) of SOURCES.  This wealthy man was a Greek king

23a   Introduction of fares, not just where rides are available (7)
FUNFAIR:  The first letter of (introduction of) Fares, and biased or not just

24a   Ethicist said to bore Scrooge (9)
MORALISER:  Said or spoken inserted in (to bore) the type of person exemplified by Scrooge

25a   Experiencing gusts from cyclonic centre in past (5)
BLOWY:  Put the relative air pressure at the centre of a cyclone in an adverb meaning past

26a   Sucks  ginger biscuits (4)
NUTS:  A double definition: a milder form of sucks as an expression of derision, and some hard ginger biscuits (palatable only after dunking in coffee, in my opinion)

27a   Weird, creepy scab or troll’s world (10)
CYBERSPACE:  An anagram (weird) of CREEPY SCAB



1d    Priggish on smutty, illicit reproduction (6)
PIRACY:  The usual short word for priggish or sanctimonious, followed by (on, in a down clue) smutty or risqué

2d    Make a purchase, having lost one’s shirt? (6)
INVEST:  Split (2,4), the answer could describe the state of a one who has literally lost their shirt

3d    Cornish site‘s money and stock quotation found in French magazine (8,6)
TINTAGEL CASTLE:  Cement together a slang word for money, a stock or trite quotation, and a lifestyle magazine started in France in which found, as in made in a foundry, has been inserted

4d    Russian emperor overthrown a long way before one Ethiopian one (3,6)
RAS TAFARI:  Put together the reversal (…overthrown) of a generic Russian emperor, an adverb meaning a long way, and one in Roman numerals.  The answer is the name by which Haile Selassie was known between 1916 and 1930

5d    Overwhelm Charlie with heart gripped by William (5)
SWAMP:  A Charlie or a fool with the abbreviation for William wrapped around his central letter (heart gripped by William)

7d    Dreadful queen supposing that choir is ordered about (8)
HORRIFIC:  The Latin abbreviation for queen and a two-letter synonym of “supposing that” have an anagram (…is ordered) of CHOIR wrapped about them

8d    Death in jurisdiction of detective? (8)
DISPATCH:  Split (2’1, 5), the answer could describe the area where an abbreviated detective operates or has jurisdiction

9d    I lump hansom cab with reforming transport for the ordinary man (7,7)
CLAPHAM OMNIBUS:  An anagram (… with reforming) of I LUMP HANSOM CAB.  The connection of the answer to the ordinary man is explained here

15d   Away a lot before regret makes you unbalanced (3,2,4)
OUT OF TRUE:  Away (3), a lot (3), and regret or be sorry

16d   Mike tucked into vegetables with haggis brought up for example (8)
SPECIMEN:  An alternative informal name for an object informally called a mike is inserted into (tucked into) the Scottish name for the vegetable traditionally served with haggis, and the whole thing is then reversed (brought up, in a down clue)

17d   Populist, uplifting set from star comedian (8)
DEMOCRAT:  The answer is hiding reversed in part of (uplifting set from) the remainder of the clue

19d   Difficulty opening erected ornamental building (6)
PAGODA:  Difficulty or fuss is followed by an opening or a crack, and then it’s all reversed (erected, in a down clue)

20d   Radical European accepts grand design with diamonds (6)
ARGYLE:  Here we need a radical not from Europe but from chemistry, where the term refers to a group of atoms behaving as a single unit.  The one required aryl is an aromatic univalent hydrocarbon radical (thank you, BRB).  That with E(uropean) contains (accepts) G(rand).  Not being a chemist, I had to reverse engineer the radical from the answer.

22d   American showing disrespect succeeded twice in speech (5)
SASSY:  Two copies of S(ucceeded) in a synonym of speech.  In the US the answer means impertinent, but in the UK, I associate it more closely with bold or spirited


Thanks to Notabilis for a very enjoyable crossword.  My favourite today was 25a.  What was yours?


15 comments on “Toughie 1975

  1. That’s my third Toughie success of the week, so I’m very pleased. Greatly enjoyed it. My favourites were 18a and 9d.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Mr K and best wishes to Dutch who I presume is our skiing representative for the blog in the Olympics….

  2. Made fairly slow progress with this one initially but sped up towards the end. Thoroughly enjoyable solve as one expects from this setter.

    Thanks to Mr K and Notabilis.

  3. Not a rapid start but, like others, speeded up as I went along.
    Learned something new in 9d with reference to the ‘ordinary man’ and had to confirm the radical in 20d but those were my only sticking points in an enjoyable solve.

    11a & 8d taking the honours here.

    Thanks to Notabilis and to Mr K – you Kitties are certainly getting me confused about the days this week! Very good of both of you to take on extra duties.

  4. An enjoyable puzzle probably a bit gentler than we usually get from Notablis – thanks to him and to Mr K for putting in the extra shift.
    My ticks were awarded to 1a, 11a and 8d.
    Notabilis very often conceals a Nina in the grid but if there’s one there today I’m unable to find it.

  5. Very enjoyable and engaging. With Jane on having to check 9d & 20d, plus 21a is new to me.
    Quite a few favourites (sorry Kath) – 2d, 8d, 4d or 11a are my picks.

    Thank you Notabilis, excellent puzzle, and thanks also to Mr K – I’m looking forward to Tuesday.

      1. I took it to be misdirection, with the capitalization suggesting that Footwear might be the name of a shop (or a section within a bigger shop) that’s having a sale

  6. This was a steady and enjoyable solve for me, only held up at the end parsing 20d (I too needed to verify the radical) and then (for ages) 5d, where eventually I thought to looked up the possible abbreviation for William and was surprised to find him.

    I raised an eyebrow at sucks in 26a (which I can eat perfectly happily without coffee).

    For some reason this didn’t feel to me quite like a Notabilis – certainly not him at his most fiendish. I liked 1a and always like to see a dinosaur, so smiled at 11a. Also 21a, who I knew from Les Mis where he’s mentioned in the song Master of the House.

    If there’s a nina she’s well hidden.

    Thanks Notabilis and Mr K.

  7. An enjoyable solve. First in was 9d which for some reason floated up from my subconscious and last was 27a where I tramped all over Scandinavia before realising the answer was an anagram. A real d’oh moment!

    Thank you both.

  8. Thoroughly enjoyable once again from Notabilis. We also looked for a possible Nina without finding anything. The radical in 20d was new to us but easily found in BRB when we had sorted out what it had to be. The anagram in 27a took ages to spot and a laugh out loud when we did.
    Thanks Notabilis and Mr K.

  9. All good fun, and a lot more solvable than last Friday’s offering. This took me only a little longer than today’s back pager – whether that means that this is on the easy side, or that I was on poor form earlier, who can tell. My LOI 20d was a bit of an intelligent (me, intelligent?) guess that I got away with.

  10. Needed 3 hints (including 20d, of course) but pleased to have completed well within 3* time. 1a was my favourite, but there were other contenders. Thanks to Notabilis and Mr K.

  11. Usually spend a bit more time on a Notabilis.
    But it’s always nice to be able to finish a crossword.
    Misspelled 21a at first and it took all the checkers in 17d to spot my mistake and the lurker.
    For 20d, I admit to a bung in as I didn’t bother to look for the radical.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Mr K.

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