Toughie 2174 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2174

Toughie No 2174 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Well, who else swore at the puzzle for stupidly including the same clue twice? All is explained by the Nina. Notabilis is being rather clever again, making for a top quality and highly enjoyable puzzle.

The definitions are underlined below. The Hints and tips aim to help you unravel the wordlplay, and you can reveal the answers by clicking on the (rows & cols 6&10) buttons. Please leave a comment to let us know what you thought and how you got on


1a    Our bottoms may be iced — I’d use packed snow for treatment (6,4,5)
UPSIDE DOWN CAKES: An anagram (for treatment) of I’D USE PACKED SNOW

9a    Sadly, inn’s not hot, in an often frozen state? (7)
ALASKAN: A 4-letter word meaning sadly, followed by an Eastern inn without (not) the abbreviation for hot. The definition refers to the northernmost US state

10a    Paganini might have made a meal of this orchestra violinist’s part (7)
RAVIOLI: Hidden (… part)

11a    Hood that’s beginning to enfold with warmth (4)
THUG: The first letter (beginning) of that plus a verb meaning ‘to enfold with warmth’

12a    Fail to justify short strike in other words (5)
BELIE: A 4-letter informal word meaning strike without the last letter (short), plus the Latin abbreviation for ‘in other words’ or ‘that is’

13a    Perhaps mate online that’s streaming in Spain? (4)
EBRO: The definition is a Spanish river. Split 1-3, this could be a whimsical on-line pal

16a    Hedging, contrary answer to ‘Do you let goals in?’ (7)
EVASION: Reversal (contrary) of a possible response to this question (which is also happens to be contrary)

17a    Letter to lament exercising disguise for security (7)
ENCRYPT: The spelled-out 14th letter of the alphabet, to lament or wail, plus an abbreviation meaning exercising

18a    Chomped into birds for juicy morsels (7)
TITBITS: A verb meaning chomped goes inside some little birds

21a    Missus in Paris sends first half back, after English type of bean (7)
EDAMAME: The abbreviation for English, then the French word for Missus, in which the first half is reversed (sends first half back)

23a    Key point of vote on vineyard (4)
CRUX: A word denoting vineyard on a wine bottle plus the letter that looks like a voting mark.

24a    Praises pelts (5)
HAILS: Two meanings, the second referring to precipitation

25a    Borough leader snubbed in county (4)
MAYO: A 5-letter borough leader has the last letter removed (snubbed)

28a    Georgian place — does it happen to receive Liberal backing? (7)
TBILISI: A reversal (backing) of a (2,2) phrase meaning ‘does it happen’ contains (to receive) the 3-letter abbreviation for liberal

29a    Thought of nickname for baby squid? (7)
INKLING: A whimsical name for a baby squid

30a    A name to consider with publicity about eternally mature entertainer (4,4,7)
DAME EDNA EVERAGE: Reversal (about) of: A from the clue, the abbreviation for name, a 4-letter verb meaning consider and a short word for publicity, then a 4-letter word meaning eternally plus a 3-letter verb meaning mature. Phew. The whole clue could be an extended definition


1d    Potentially fake Dutch tuna, i.e. crushed with a net (15)
UNAUTHENTICATED: An anagram (… crushed with …) of DUTCH TUNA IE + A NET

2d    Second cover note not wanted for arm bone or another (7)
SCAPULA: The definition asks us to look for another bone. The abbreviation for second, a 3-letter word meaning cover, then an arm bone without the abbreviation for note (note not wanted)

3d    Kelvin interrupting deserved a fist (4)
DUKE: The abbreviation for Kelvin goes inside (interrupting) a word meaning deserved

4d    Desperate man impaled by stake — such is Inferno (7)
DANTEAN: The name of the cartoon character prefixed by desperate contains (impaled by) a stake of the betting variety

5d    Served up tartare relish, ready for scraps? (7)
WARLIKE: Reversal (served up) of a 3-letter word meaning tartare in cooking, then a verb meaning relish

6d    Old fish where the sea comes in (4)
COVE: Two meanings, the first being a man or chap

7d    Rising pound hit, year not smooth (7)
KNOBBLY: Reversal (rising) the abbreviation for a pound weight plus a verb meaning hit, tehn at the end we have the abbreviation for year

8d    Mouth part commonly straight in singing middle of duet causes vocal error (4,2,3,6)
SLIP OF THE TONGUE: A 3-letter part of the mouth (we have two of these), a short word meaning commonly or often, a shortened word meaning of a straight sexual orientation all goes inside (in) some singing, followed by the central letters (middle) of duet. Phew.

14d    Note after which I’m dubious would be saying the least (5)
MINIM: If you add an expression of doubt to this note, you’ll get a word meaning the least

15d    Splash of chlorine to stop worry (5)
ECLAT: The chemical symbol for Chlorine goes inside (to stop) a verb meaning to worry

19d    Cat patrolling old city is going places (7)
TOURISM: A male cat goes around (patrolling) an old city plus IS from the clue

20d    Bean possibly containing stuff for frying up, one often immersed in salty water (3,4)
SEA LION: The first name of actor Bean containing a reversal (up) of a liquid you used for frying

21d    End up in back of lane, three times, writhing and slippery? (3-4)
EEL-LIKE: A reversal (up) a verb meaning to end or terminate goes inside three times the last letter (back) of lane

22d    Mushroom tart primarily feeds an obsession (7)
AMANITA: The first letter of tart (primarily) goes inside (feeds) a 1,5 version of ‘an obsession’

26d    European following tips from famous inglenook finally gets somewhere in Scotland (4)
FIFE: The abbreviation for European follows the first letters (tips) of ‘famous inglenook finally’

27d    European following tips from famous inglenook finally gets somewhere in Scotland (4)
SKYE: As for 26d, except that tips now refers to the final letters. Very clever. See Nina.

Lots to like today, but the best penny drop for me by far was the 26d/27d combo. Which clues did you like?

26 comments on “Toughie 2174

  1. I didn’t exactly swear but apparently several BD bloggers emailed about 26/27d and a considerable number of the Toughie solving population emailed the Telegraph enquiries team – the first one at 12.30 am

    Notabilis does it again – the most splendid ever d’oh moment/clue writing to induce confusion in Crosswordland that there’s ever been – and then to give us a Nina in the middle to tell us what’s going on too – Stunning

    Thank you to him for the crossword – not quite full Friday strength but definitely 5* enjoyment.

  2. I must admit that I left 26d blank for some time, awaiting the correction. (I guessed that the usual suspects would have already contacted the ed, so didn’t add to his workload!) When that didn’t materialise I looked again. Missed the nina too. Very clever indeed – grr!

    Other than that, and a couple of parses which I left for later, I found this much less tough that Notabilis can be, with (excepting 26d) 12a last in. Agree with Dutch’s ratings.

    Enjoyed the edibles, but did doubt that you’d put icing on 1a. To confirm that thought, I made a quick image search: didn’t find any icing but did find an appetite.

    Lots of highlights; I remember smiling at 13a and 16a and laughing at 29a. Nice to see the reviewer getting a namecheck too.

    Many thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

    1. I forgot to mention the name check which did not go unnoticed, of course. Thank you Notabilis.

  3. Although I correctly solved 26/27d I, too, was sure it was a misprint. Just goes to show how wrong one can be! I’m glad I was not alone.
    I thought 13a was very clever and am surprised it is not already computer speak. Watch this space?

  4. Relatively mild Toughie.
    I imagine everyone’s first thought would have been a misprint but when I only had 27a left – the penny dropped. Very clever and must be my joint top clues of the day. 17a, 28a, 29a and 4d also worthy of mention.

  5. Have to admit that 30a&8d went in from guesswork and the odd checkers – so much easier to work out the parsing later!
    Tripped up on the ending of 5d which caused grief with 12a but then all was well until the 26/27 combo. For some reason I spotted what I thought was the answer to 27d first, so slotted in the obvious Scottish place until 26d came as something of a shock. Yes, I was another who was waiting for a DT apology!

    No contest over the favourite – 29a by a mile.

    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the blog (plus the extras, thank you).

  6. Solved but for four whilst wandering around Warwickshire on a fools errand. Two of those would have gone in if I could read my own handwriting I never find Nina’s and could look all day and be no wiser. Thanks to Dutch and to Notabilis

  7. I very much enjoyed this. Believe it or not I was very slow to notice the duplicate 26/27 clues. When it came to 27d, quite a while after I had entered 26d, I assumed I had forgotten to enter the answer, but then I quickly got (and very much liked) the baby squid in 29a and so I revisited 27d and realized my ‘mistake’. Thank you for pointing out the Nina – I completely missed that too. Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  8. I’ll start off with an apology to CL for a middle of the night email. Immediately after I had sent it I realised what was actually going on so felt very bad about the intrusion into his beauty sleep.
    How amazingly clever and sneaky that was on Notabilis. Particularly when I spotted the Nina which explained it all. Certainly a puzzle I will remember for some time.
    Struggled with 12a as only two checkers, both of them vowels, in a five letter word took some thinking about.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  9. Perhaps we were lucky, but we had all the checkers for the quite outstanding duo of Scottish places so we got them without considering the duplicated clue was anything other than the setter’s brilliance. The rest of crossword could never maintain that standard.

    We can’t see the Nina (quite normal for us).

    No doubt about the clue(s) of the day, early contender(s) for clue of the year we think.

    Thanks to Dutch and a Notabilis.

  10. When there are Nina’s it would be helpful if, after the end of the day, they were shown to those of us who don’t see them. Today I’ve seen “meet” and “make” but what good is that!

      1. Added “both” and “ends” thank you. I often wonder if a Nina directly connects to the puzzle but I guess not.
        Usually first with a post – you are a clever girl!

        1. It connects to the different things you do to the identical down clues – read Dutch’s hints

  11. Why doesn’t Dave give the answer to the Nina as that would help us novices learn where to look for them. I cannot find today’s at all. As someone who spent a lot of her holidays in fife I feel quite proud that after my initial double take I spotted the two Scots answers quite quickly.

    1. There’s been some discussion about the Nina further up the comments

      You need to look at the middle four letters in each of the following row 6, column 6, column 10 and row 10

      1. Ah .. I thought you were just doing the usual ‘if you want to see the solution of a particular clue, click here’ rather than hiding the Nina

    2. I, like you, am a total novice at “Ninas” and even with the quite detailed explanations above had to look very hard several times before it made sense and I could finally make out the hidden phrase. I thought the order of the words was not quite symmetrical?

      Even now I don’t think I would spot one of these without help but thanks everyone for the lesson!

      1. Notabilis always includes something in his crosswords so you’ll have to make a note to have a look next time he appears

  12. Can anyone tell me what the Eastern ‘inn’ is in 9a, please? The first four letters of the solution are obvious, but even if I add an H to the remaining three letters, I still can’t find a word that makes sense!

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