Toughie 2357 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2357

Toughie No 2357 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Mr K

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BD Rating  -  Difficulty ***** Enjoyment ****

Hello, everyone.  I've been asked to stand in for Dutch today.  The SW corner of this enjoyable and intricate Notabilis puzzle went in smoothly, but after that I needed some electronic and dictionary help to get it completely solved and hinted.  It's one of the toughest puzzles I've encountered in quite some time, so I'll be interested to see whether our experienced solvers consider it to be a "proper Toughie". 

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



1a    With pawn advantage, almost square? (5)
PASSE:  The chess symbol for pawn with an advantage minus its last letter (almost

4a    Vicar forgetting verse and CE'll change what their job is? (8)
CLERICAL:  An anagram ( … change) of [v]ICAR and CE'LL minus (forgetting) the single letter for verse 

10a   Nibbling on part of flying insect? There's not tons (7)
GNAWING:  The symbol for tons is deleted from (on there's not tons) a (4,4) phrase describing a flying part of a particular flying insect 

11a   Code for changing some low aria to cued run that transposes William Tell (7)
NARRATE:  Changing SOME LOW ARIA to CUED RUN THAT defines a letter substitution code (S=C, O=U, etc.).  Apply that code to WILLIAM.  This Clip Has William Tell …

12a   Compose composer's missing finale (4)
LULL:  A French composer with his last letter (finale) missing 

13a   Piece of furniture I constructed of waste material (5)
UREIC:  The answer is hidden as a piece of the remainder of the clue 

14a   Adverts overlooking grand advantage (4)
PLUS:  Some promotional adverts minus (overlooking) an abbreviation for grand 

17a   Pensioning almost yearly breaks ruined US giant (14)
SUPERANNUATING:  All but the last letter (almost) of a (3,5) phrase meaning yearly is inserted in (breaks) an anagram (ruined) of US GIANT 

19a   Head monk with computer work takes place in early afternoon of getting in order (14)
PRIORITISATION:  Concatenate a head monk, an abbreviation for computer work, a (2,2,1) phrase containing a Roman numeral that could mean "takes place in early afternoon", and a synonym of "of" 

22a   Church version of bible, not one for high culture? (4)
CHAV:  The map abbreviation for church and a usual bible 

23a   He flourished around period away from domesticity (5)
FERAL:  The Latin abbreviation for he flourished is wrapped around a period of time 

24a   Not allowed to touch when cycling (4)
TABU:  A verb synonym of touch with its letters rotated one place (when cycling

27a   Sharp tool twisted into horse for Trojan's delivery? (7)
MALWARE:  The reversal (twisted) of a sharp boring tool inserted into a female horse.  Click here if this Trojan is unfamiliar (don't worry, the link is explanation, not demonstration) 

28a   Both political wings clutching primitive form of revolutionary cross? (7)
LURCHER:  Abbreviated sides of the political spectrum containing (clutching) both a prefix meaning primitive form of and the usual revolutionary.  The answer is explained here   

29a   Mechanically produce wordplay for 'carpal'? (8)
AUTOMATE:  The answer split (4,4) provides the ingredients for a charade leading to CARPAL 

30a   Promise suits etc to dismiss men (5)
SWEAR:  What suits (and ties and shirts) define by example (etc) has MEN from the clue deleted (… to dismiss men) 



1d    The Ring slumping, but for end of Tristan and Isolde, initially animated (8)
PUGILISM:  The letters of SLUMPI[n]G minus (but for) the end letter of TristaN plus the first letter (initially) of Isolde are rearranged in an anagram (animated

2d    Fishy plate mostly cut off bit of seafood (7)
SCALLOP:  All but the last letter (mostly) of one of the many plates forming the exterior of a fish is followed by a verb meaning cut off 

3d    Large-scale cooking instructions, less about trussing (4)
EPIC:  The usual short word for about or concerning is deleted from (… less about) a set of cooking instructions, and what remains is reversed (trussing, in the sense of "stringing up" I suppose, although I'm not 100% comfortable with that)

5d    Outlying island shifted, with line for sierra in north-south alignment? (14)
LONGITUDINALLY:  An anagram (shifted) of OUTLYING ISLAND with the single letter for line replacing the letter represented by sierra in the NATO phonetic alphabet  (with line for sierra)

6d    Somewhat bloody runs before and during A&E (4)
RARE:  The cricket scoring abbreviation for runs placed both before and in the middle of (during) AE from the clue 

7d    Comic actor's place in linked series (7)
CHAPLIN:  The map abbreviation for place is inserted in a linked series (or a series of links) 

8d    First of dark fruits put as far down as possible in loamy soil (5)
LOESS:  The first letter in some dark berries is moved to the other end of the word (put as far down as possible, in a down clue).  A dictionary entry for the answer is here 

9d    Cape money is invested in jewel to stop representative making a big deal? (14)
AGGRANDISEMENT:  A Russian doll clue.  The currency of South Africa (Cape money) and IS from the clue are together inserted in (invested in) a generic jewel.  That lot is in turn inserted in (to stop) a type of representative 

15d   Set up dark style of film with second part for Holly Hunter (5)
ORION:  The reversal of (set up, in a down clue) of the fusion of a dark style of film and the second letter of hOlly


16d   Places reference facing up, way off stockpile (5)
ATLAS:  The reversal of (facing up, in a down clue) of a (4,4) synonym of stockpile after WAY from the clue has been deleted (way off

18d   I'm asking to come in, taking time out for endless oddity (8)
ENQUIRER:  In a verb meaning "to come in", replace the physics symbol for time by (taking time out for) all but the last letter (endless) of an oddity 

20d   Distribute otherwise genuine collection (7)
REALLOT:  Link together genuine or authentic and a collection sold at auction, for example 

21d   Maybe Lennon and Shankar losing their heads over European hero (7)
IVANHOE:  Beatle Lennon and sitar player Shankar define by example (maybe) two first names that are joined after deleting their initial letters (losing their heads), reversed (over), and followed by the single letter for European 

22d   Commanding officer mixed martial arts item seen in lists (5)
COMMA:  Put together the abbreviations for commanding officer and for mixed martial arts.  The omission of this item once cost a diary company millions of dollars 

25d   Till distant month (4)
FARM:  Follow a synonym of distant with an abbreviation for month 

26d   Send up blood products, being for war? (4)
ARES:  Reverse (send up, in a down clue) the plural of a component of blood


Notabilis often includes a nina in his Toughies, but middle row and centre column didn't help me because I didn't spot it until the grid was filled.  Thanks to him for a challenging and enjoyable solve.  My favourite clue today was the original 11a, and I have 27a in the runner-up spot.  Which clues did you like best?


9 comments on “Toughie 2357

  1. Welcome back to Notabilis after a too long absence and thanks to him for a proper Friday-level Toughie which put up quite a fight. Thanks also to Mr K for the comprehensive review.
    As Mr K says 11a is original though, unfortunately, its surface isn’t terribly smooth.
    The clues I liked best were 29a, 30a, 16d and 21d. (Did there ought to be an Oxford 22d in the previous sentence?)

  2. I feel mightily pleased with myself for getting within 5 answers of completion before resorting to Mr K’s excellent review for enlightenment. My problem with these tough Toughies is that they’re so convoluted & devious that I sort of stumble on an answer and then try (& invariably fail) to parse the answer. Still if these mental assault courses ward off encroaching senility then I suppose it’s time we’ll spent……

  3. Gosh I feel better after that (and a bit of a lie down). Thanks to Notabilis for a proper Friday Toughie, and to Mr K for a witty and enlightening blog.

    Now for a large scotch.

  4. At first I thought I would have to abandon ship with less than a handful, but in the end I was only three shy of a complete and correct grid. I missed 6d – I couldn’t come up with the necessary stockpile (or ‘places reference’) and the checkers were not wonderfully helpful. I also missed 23a – even though I had the right ‘period’, my Latin isn’t remotely strong enough to cope with ‘he flourished’ – although I should have found the answer form the definition alone. Lastly I missed 26d – should have got it – great clue. Thank you, Mr K, for the explanation of 11a – I agree clever, but my (as it happens correct) entry was on the basis of the definition alone. I am pleased that I got as far as I did, but disappointed in falling just short of completion. Many thanks to Notabilis, and Mr K.

  5. Failed on a few but enjoyed the challenge.
    I found that some clues were a bit of a mouthful and needed some serious dissecting but perseverance paid off in most cases.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Mr K.

  6. Agree that it was a significant challenge with our last one to get sorted being 11a. We had noted that the answer had the repeated and duplicated letters in the same place as ‘William’ does, but struggled to see how to find the right ones to substitute. Very clever.
    Plenty to enjoy and satisfying to get it all sorted.
    Thanks Notabilis and Mr K.

  7. We finished this one with a mighty struggle. I’d put this at the top end of difficulty.

  8. House guests for a long lunch so only just finished. Failed to spot NINA [I rarely do spot ’em] and maybe because of that gave up on 16d.
    Certainly a 5* Friday toughie but some clues perhaps not as elegant as usual for Notabilis. I admire the fact he did such a clue but not totally convinced 11a is worth the bother.
    Liked 29a and 21d best.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Mr K

  9. Managed to get most answers but new to unravelling a code within an answer. Still struggling with the ninas!

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