Toughie 2067 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2067

Toughie No 2067 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

A real treat of a proper Friday Toughie from one of my favourite setters makes for a very happy stand-in blogger. The first thing I wrote at the top of the paper was ‘Nina?’ as Notabilis usually hides something in his puzzles, and I’m delighted to say that I thought this one wasn’t particularly hard to find. He’s been kind to us in a few places but made up for it in others with some real head-scratchers, a couple of which took me quite a while to parse and then work out how to provide a hint ‘in plain English’

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a     Some Tutsi, e.g., tie Zulus to the West’s periodic ethos (9)
ZEITGEIST Lurking in reverse (to the West in an Across clue) in some of TuTSI EG TIE Zulus

9a     Listen to jazz track on vinyl (6)
GROOVE An informal term meaning to listen to jazz or a very small track on a vinyl record

10a     No angel, not polite, not without love and not wise (9)
IMPRUDENT A mischievous being (no angel), another way of saying not polite and NOT from the clue (without the letter that represents a score of love)

11a     Falsify rejection of corrupt fake (6)
DOCTOR A reversal (rejection) of a verb meaning to corrupt and a hoax or trick (fake)

12a     Wife mostly wearing decoration for walk (2,7)
GO MISSING Most of another word for wife ‘wearing’ or going inside a British word for a medal (decoration)

13a     Reckless driving enthusiast that’s beginning to block motorway route (2,4)
MR TOAD The letter at the beginning of That ‘blocks’ or goes between the abbreviation for motorway and a route

17a     Stage with live backing (3)
ERA A reversal (backing) of part of a verb meaning live

19a     Trying to engage current soldiers, skilled in bonding unit? (15)
EXPERIMENTATION Engage or insert the abbreviation for electrical current and some soldiers into a way of saying skilled in, the result then followed by a bonding unit

20a     ‘Sorry‘ uttered without ego (3)
SAD Remove the I (without ego) from a synonym for uttered

21a     One offers protection to head straight across wood (6)
HELMET The abbreviation for the formal way of saying someone is attracted to a member of the opposite sex (straight) goes across, or has inserted, a type of wood

25a     From last game, staying in charge for medical treatment (9)
OFFICINAL Insert the abbreviation for In Charge into a way of saying ‘from the last game’ (2, 5) The medical treatment refers to items available without prescription or plants used in medical treatment.

26a     What might be interpreted as matter for informal sport (6)
RUGGER One of those solve the clue from the checking letters and definition, scratch your head and have a good think, and then give a mighty groan when you realise what our devious setter is on about. The first three letters of both MATTER and your solution are small floor coverings, the rest of these words are a repeat of the third letter and then ER is added at the end

27a     Terrible tedium overwhelming in last month’s host (9)
MULTITUDE An anagram (terrible) of TEDIUM ‘overwhelming’ the way of referring to last month in formal correspondence

28a     A response primarily covering all points? (6)
ANSWER A (from the clue) and the ‘primary’ letter of Response covering or going round the main compass points

29a     Scary cocktail containing acid (9)
STARTLING A mixed spirit-based cocktail into which is inserted (containing) another word for acid


2d     One no longer playing Othello in West Country area? (6)
EXMOOR The usual two-letter prefix meaning former (no longer) and the nationality of Shakespeare’s Othello

3d    Slow-moving peak and hollow converge to the centre (6)
TORPID A high rocky hill (peak) and a hollow, the latter being reversed so that the two words ‘converge to the centre

4d     Most senior set led dancing (6)
ELDEST An anagram (dancing) of SET LED

5d     Climbing nuts endlessly imagine San Francisco’s peaks, days away from explicit source of its instability? (3,7,5)
SAN ANDREAS FAULT A reversal (climbing) of a slang way of saying nuts in the sense of slightly mad, almost all (endlessly) of a synonym for imagine, the peaks (first letters) of San Francisco, and a synonym for explicit (suitable only for grown-ups) without (away) the abbreviation for Day. Another of those ‘obvious solution, how does it work?’ clues

6d     Check for slips, dwelling on interior to residence (9)
PROOFREAD Insert into a person’s residence (3), a person’s dwelling, and the two-letter preposition meaning on [the subject of]

7d     Painting, frequently run work, is up for art collection (9)
PORTFOLIO A reversal (is up in a Down clue) of a type of painting, a poetical way of saying frequently, the abbreviation for Run and another for work

8d    Disgraceful ring English degree holder infiltrates (9)
DEGRADING The abbreviation for English, another for a degree holder ‘infiltrates’ or goes inside the imitation of the sound of a bell (ring)

14d     Prophet’s book somehow hazier about church area (9)
ZECHARIAH One of the twelve Minor Prophets, whose book appears in the Hebrew Bible, is obtained by inserting an abbreviation for church and another for Area inside an anagram (somehow) of HAZIER

15d     Defender‘s point, having a jersey on (9)
APOLOGIST The point or substance of something, going under (having … on) A (from the clue) and a type of jersey

16d     Showing envy and gluttony, encompassing mounting lust and ending in pride (5-4)
GREEN-EYED Another insertion – this time a reversal (mounting) of a longing or desire (lust) and the E at the end of pride, are inserted into a synonym for gluttony

17d     English title for a woman’s letters (3)
EMS The abbreviation for English and title used when not wishing to differentiate between single and married women

18d     Denial overturned with regular bans: it needs wholly positive input for positive result (3)
AND Remove the even letters (with regular bans) from DeNiAl and reverse (overturned) the ones you have left. I had to ‘phone a friend’ as I didn’t understand the second half of the clue. Thank you to Gazza for the explanation An AND gate in electronic circuitry produces a positive output only if both inputs (i.e. A and B) are positive (as opposed to an OR gate, for example, which produces a positive result if either A or B input is positive)”  Hands up if (a) you knew that; or (b) you’ve any idea what it means?

22d     See edict otherwise abandoned by Edward V (6)
VICTOR The Latin abbreviation meaning see, EDICT (from the clue) without the ED (abandoned by Edward) and a synonym for otherwise. A particularly well-hidden definition

23d     Support over opening line on tactical information (6)
LINTEL The abbreviation for Line on some tactical information

24d     Demand exotic incense (6)
MADDEN An anagram (exotic) of DEMAND

If you still can’t see the Nina then it starts at the top of column 1 and finishes at the bottom of column 15, and (I think) includes the solution to 18d – ZIG ZAG AND DOG LEG

13 comments on “Toughie 2067

  1. Ha! After last week’s Elgar – which he dedicated on Twitter to moaners everywhere (especially about that grid) – I had a laugh immediately upon looking at this.

    I guess a week is a long time in crosswords.

    Even with the lack of checking and connectivity I found this puzzle a lot more manageable than yesterday’s. It took concentration but all came together.

    The clueing was excellent, I’m certainly in agreement there. And no problem with 18d.

    I left parsing 5d for much later, and it took a while to twig 26a. Should have checked the Uxbridge English Dictionary. More like a mat, indeed!

    Pleased to have sighted nina in the cross hairs. (Not that I thought of including 18d with her.)

    My list of favourites is a bit long, so I categorised them:

    The presidential award for topicality: 20a
    Totally wicked (a clue to have pride in): 16d
    Mole, stop Badgering me or I’ll start feeling Ratty: 13a
    Fun on the surface: 10a
    Fun with wordplay: 26a
    Sign of a good definition: 22d

    Many thanks to Notabilis for a great puzzle, and thanks also to Sue for the blog.

  2. Absolutely superb – thanks to Notablis and CS. Several clues needed a lot of head scratching to parse but were well worth the effort. I thought that the ‘matter’ in 26a was just a very cryptic way of saying someone who makes mats.

    Too many excellent clues to list them all – I’ll pick out 9a, 10a, 13a, 26a, 16d and 22d.

    The Nina may have not been hard to find for CS but I needed the instructions spelt out in words of one syllable before I could find it.

    1. Given the number of times my creche members say to me ‘did you see the Nina and/or theme, I’m extremely chuffed to have spotted this one

  3. The only thing I can say about the explanation for 18d is that I recognise it uses English words but after that….

    Thanks to Notabilis & CS but this one was way beyond my solving abilities

  4. Really enjoyed doing this. With difficulty mind. Had to resort to electronic aid in the end. Talking of electronics 18 down was known but forgotten since my school days. Thanks to Notabilis and of course to CS
    I found four words in the nina or perhaps two, am I looking for any more?

  5. One of my favourite setters too and another fine puzzle. Two pairs of interlocking clues held me up for a long time at the end and I had to look up the unknown 25a having constructed it from the wordplay. I confess that 5d was one of those answers so obvious from the enumeration that I couldn’t be bothered to untangle the clue.
    Oh and I don’t care what Elgar says, it’s still a rubbish grid that should have been discarded years ago.

    1. It is one of the things covered under the FAQ tab at the top of the page. Basically it is something hidden in the grid by a setter

    2. Your comment went into moderation because you’ve shortened your alias since your previous comment. You also had a spare ‘m’ at the end of your email address.
      You can find all about Ninas at FAQ #31.

  6. Found this one extremely difficult but refused to give up because I was enjoying it so much.
    Eventually filled the grid but don’t mind admitting that I needed to come to the blog for the full parsing of several – 26a plus 5,14,18&22d – along with the ending of 19a.
    25a required a visit to the BRB.

    Some glorious clues – podium places going to 10,13&28a plus 2d.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to CS for the overtime and for finding the Nina!

  7. We’re ashamed to admit that despite searching for the Nina, failed to spot it. All the rest we manged to get sorted but it did take considerable effort over quite a long time. It felt to us as if the setter had deliberately given us one easier clue in each of the four corners that let us get a toehold with a few checking letters. We saved the parsing of 5d until we had finished the rest of the puzzle as it did need some thinking about.
    Excellent fun and much appreciated.
    Thanks Notabilis and CS.

  8. Didn’t find it as hard as yesterday’s Osmosis but enjoyed it more.
    Last corner to fall was the NE where extensive research was needed for 9 and 13a.
    Just printed the Guardian’s Enigmatist. Hope I’ll get the time to solve it.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to CS.
    The box saying Remember my Email seems to have disappeared. If I go into moderation, it has to be a typo.

  9. I am still plugging away and enjoying it so much that I’m not ready to give up or seek help just yet.

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