Toughie 2043 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2043

Toughie No 2043 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by KateR

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


Hello everyone!  KateR here — I really wanted to chat with you again and in this way I can help Dutch while he is having laptop issues.  Notabilis has supplied us with a wonderful puzzle today.  And, to be sure, there is a nina.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  The hints are intended to help you make sense of the wordplay, and you can always reveal the answer by clicking on the ABSOLUTELY! boxes.  Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.



1a    Platonic attachment of Nero, say, in pre-Christian time (8)
BROMANCE:  Nero lived in a certain city, well, until it burned, so you could call him a *****, as well as many other things.  Place the word for an inhabitant of Nero’s city inside the culturally-neutral 3-letter abbreviation for pre-Christian times

5a    Chanteuse fine to eat large spicy dish (6)
PILAFF:  Chanteuse of course is a French singer, a female one.  Who is the most famous female French singer (4-letters)?  Add the abbreviation for fine and put the abbreviation for large in the middle (to eat).  Nom nom nom

9a    Skate around apparently less healthy banter (8)
RAILLERY:  Skate here is a fish — so think of a 3-letter fish that is sKATE-like (sorry, I just like my name) and put it around a word you might not normally use, but if you did you would probably mean less healthy

10a   Cross connected with a rival saint (6)
XAVIER:  The cross is a letter – the one that looks like a cross — and it is connected with A from the clue and a 4-letter word that means rival or competitor

12a   One weird tip for duvet, shaking its cover (9)
EIDERDOWN:  Ooh, one of these extended definition clues.  We have an anagram (shaking) of ONE WEIRD + D (tip for duvet)

13a   Composer of arpeggios for flute, for one (5)
GLASS:  We have two definitions; in the second, a flute is an example of this kind of drinking vessel.  The less musical half of me had to check the composer of arpeggios, but if you’ve been doing your music practice you probably know him

14a   Sentimentally pretty wife wearing casual top (4)
TWEE:  I don’t suppose you’d know, but this is the kind of top that half of me mostly wears (the top half, I guess that would be).  It’s a ***-shirt.  And it goes around the abbreviation for wife (… wearing)

16a   Food returned, mostly fat, for a nicker (7)
BURGLAR:  Knickers! — this nicker is not money, but someone who might pinch it.  Write an informal word for food backwards (returned) and add a word meaning fat, but without the last letter (mostly)

19a   Hollywood location covered by scrub? (7)
LAUNDER:  Hollywood is a district in which US city?  Ok, now add a preposition that means covered by

21a   Pet rock finally discarded by creep (4)
SULK:  Notabilis is being tricky here, he wants you to think of one of those pet rocks that you give a friend when you’re a bit short of cash.  But pet here is a verb!  And so is creep!  Remove the last letter (finally) of rocK from a word meaning to creep around

24a   British Liberal blocks deviating regulation (5)
BYLAW:  The abbreviation for British, then the abbreviation for Liberal goes inside (blocks) a word, used nautically, for a deviation from a course

25a   Second small banknote, note extracted for bribe (9)
SWEETENER:  This is what I put in my tea, especially after a rough night.  Start with the abbreviation for second, add the Scottish word for small, then add the most recently plasticized banknote without (extracted) the abbreviation for note

27a   Third-party safekeeping for goods in key dispute (6)
ESCROW:  A key on your keyboard plus another word for dispute or argument

28a   Copper nabbing unpleasant person with a bumbling detective (8)
CLOUSEAU:  Copper as in the metal.  Take the chemical symbol for copper, and put it around (nabbing) a 5-letter unpleasant person plus A from the clue

29a   Clerical bodies pronounce agreements, ignoring answer (6)
SYNODS:  A 3-letter word meaning pronounce or state, and a 4-letter word meaning agreements indicated by head movements — then remove (ignoring) the abbreviation for Answer

30a   Narrow fissure a trailer reported in volcanic island (8)
KRAKATOA:  A homophone and a half (and another half)!  What sounds like a narrow fissure plus a trailer (i.e. one that trails or pulls)



1d    Refrain from, as the French say, splitting stream (6)
BURDEN:  From, in French (as the French say) inserted into (splitting) a small stream or brook.  The refrain is a musical one (I did have to check my dictionary to verify that)

2d    America’s film industry would cover this Spanish city in 2000 (6)
OVIEDO:  If you cover this Spanish city with MM (2000) you get a US word meaning the world of films or the film industryThis was my last in (using a wordfinder) since I didn’t know the city and, while easy to parse afterwards, not one I think I’d have been likely to build up from wordplay

3d    Psychiatrist who causes confusion when missing a day (5)
ADLER:  One causing befuddlement loses a D(ay) to become this Austrian psychologist known for his work on feelings of inferiority.  At least, that’s what I got from Wikipedia.  I might be wrong.  I don’t know anything.  In fact I’m such an idiot I’m amazed BD has allowed me to blog

4d    Staff in centre deteriorate (7)
CORRODE:  A bar or shaft (3) inside heart or middle.  To rust or tarnish

6d    First hot month on river (9)
INAUGURAL:  Hot as in fashionable, the three-letter abbreviation of a month and a river which flows through Russia and Kazakhstan

7d    First off, relatives must catch taxi without fighting (8)
AMICABLY:  A general term for relatives without the initial letter (first off) is to contain (must catch) a word for a taxi

8d    Leading positions go in management of large plants (8)
FORESTRY:  A charade of leading positions or fronts and a go or attempt.  I really wanted to take some more initial letters off words here

11d   Recognise deficient bishop as boss (4)
KNOB:  To be acquainted with, one letter short (deficient) followed by the chess abbreviation for bishop

15d   After marriage vow, with husband buried in box, perhaps, the state one’s in? (9)
WIDOWHOOD:  After a marriage vow (1,2) go abbreviations for with and for husband, all of which goes into (buried in) a material of which box is an example (box, perhaps)

17d   Sister to decline white robe after raising yaks (8)
BLABBERS:  Put together a two-letter abbreviation for sister, a verb to decline, and a priest’s white robe.  When this is all reversed (after raising) we have yaks, a verb

18d   Bird losing energy to massage topless house keeper (8)
PUBLICAN:  A wonderful bird (pictured) with its E(nergy) replaced by (losing energy to) to massage without its first letter (topless)

20d   Start of high  growth with grassy leaves (4)
RUSH:  Two definitions: the sudden onset of euphoria, and a grasslike marsh or water plant

21d   Great cathedral let sacristan put up screens (7)
STELLAR:  In reverse order (put up, in a down clue) the clue contains (screens) the answer

22d   Jokingly seeing son is about to shoot up (6)
INJECT:  Jokingly (2,4) in which S(on) is replaced with a Latin-derived abbreviation for about or around

23d   US president shortly to receive a shock (6)
TRAUMA:  No, not the current one though you’d be forgiven for carelessly using the last bit of the clue twice (well, I’d forgive you, because that’s what silly me did at first!), but we want the 33rd US president missing his last letter (shortly) containing (to receive) the A from the clue.  I will refrain from expressing any wishes (no-politics rule and all that) but will just say, very nice surface!

26d   Bargain basement’s bottom heap (5)
TRUCK:  The bottom (last letter) of basement and a heap or stack.  Definition is a verb, to barter or bargain


Thanks to Notabilis.  Naturally I sniggered at 11d (and wondered just exactly how I might illustrate it), but was most impressed with 15d — reminds me of my late husband.  Well, I did tell him to take it easy.  Which clues did you like?



17 comments on “Toughie 2043

  1. There’s no doubt about it, this is a real Toughie with very few gimmes and most of the clues needing to be teased out. I thoroughly enjoyed it – thanks to Notabilis and Kater.
    The clues I liked best were 19a, 15d and 23a (for the misdirection before the d’oh moment when the proper President arrived).

  2. Spent far too long over this. Having managed to tease out a few clues, notably 28a (my first in) and then 23d (my second) I gave in and just enjoyed the clever KateR’s helpful hints. No need to be modest Kate, I can quite see why BD trusted you with a fiendish Notabilis Friday! Now I just have to look for the Nina before going out to relax with a book in the sunshine. P.S. I did solve and enjoy 30a.

  3. I got about 4/5 done before throwing in the towel .
    I really should have got 27a as the EU is in a long battle with my government and this word is being spoken about constantly .
    Ia , 5a , 16a , 19a , 30a , and 15d were fn clues to solve .
    Thanks to Notabilis and Kater .

  4. In my opinion, Notabilis (of all my fellow-setters, and there are some good ones!) best hits the mark for what it was originally intended a Toughie should be. The Toughie was brought in by an ex-Times man (Will Lewis) to be a Times-like puzzle, with a similar level of difficulty, style, andcluemanship. Notabilis has for many years set for that other paper with distinction — so this is no surprise. This puzzle exemplifies his sharp and interesting clueing. Bravo!

  5. Too hard for me I’m afraid. I took several shots at this and really did not make any progress, and so into the recycling bin it went. So sorry.

  6. Hard to make a start, but something clicked and, with a bit of head-scratching, all went in with a bit of checking.

    Re Giovanni’s comment – perhaps it helped me being a regular Times solver.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to KateR (Kray!)

  7. Have been out gadding today so haven’t had chance to look at this one yet. Will give it a whirl this evening but the difficulty rating given by KateR and the comments thus far don’t lead me to hold out much chance for completion.
    Not to worry, I can always pop back in to enjoy the review!

  8. This nearly interrupted my World Cup, but we got there. The last in 2&3d. Maybe a little too much GK but enjoyable on the whole, it was what was advertised – a toughie.
    Thanks to Notabilis and Kater
    iPad and lashings of Oakham Citra… eyes down look in ⚽️ 😊

  9. The Nina certainly answered our question, “Was that a real Toughie?” In the end, when we got really stuck, we took advantage of all the letter hints available and by scattering these at strategic sites around the unsolved parts of the grid managed to get enough traction to get everything sorted. A real penny drop moment when we worked out how 2d was put together.
    Thanks Notabilis and KateR

  10. Got off to a brilliant start – right hand side fairly flew in. Umm, pride comes before a fall!
    Limped through the NW corner with a bit of blatant cheating regarding the Spanish town and then came to a shuddering halt in the SW, despite 15d having been my first one in (so obvious).
    Think it all fell apart as a result of my 20d ‘high’ being ‘hash’ and 27a not figuring highly in my vocabulary.

    Ah well, very much enjoyed the battle so thanks to Notabilis and to our Girl Tuesday for helping out on a Friday. Extra helping of Kitties this week – great stuff.

  11. Any clues on the Nina? Excellent puzzle, even if I had to cheat to get over the line.

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