Toughie 2469 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2469

Toughie No 2469 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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


A rather tricky puzzle from Notabilis, where on several occasions it took me a while to see the parsing after deducing the answer. Nonetheless, I was able solve this methodically a quadrant at a time, giving me that illusion of being in control.  Having encountered Q, Z and Y in the first quadrant, I was on the lookout for an X and a pangram, which was not to be. My last ones in were 25a and 27a, where I was foxed for a while having initially read the indicators the wrong way round (packing, in possession of). The Nina left me with a smile at the end

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Some extremely rare tiles in review of serious writing (8)
LITERARY: Reverse hidden (Some … in review)

5a    Old-fashioned monitor accepts current evaluation (4)
CRIT: The abbreviation for an old-fashioned computer terminal contains the physics symbol for current

9a    A set of lines as form of transport (8)
QUATRAIN: The Latin for as or in the capacity of, plus a form of transport (on a set of lines!)

10a    The speaker’s for and against ad-libbing (6)
IMPROV: How the speaker might say, i.e., first person equivalent of “the speaker is” (1’1), a word meaning for or in favour of and an abbreviation meaning against

11a    Idaho woman turned to heifer: bovine tuberculosis is seen in set (5,3)
IDIOT BOX: The 2-letter abbreviation for Idaho, a woman turned into a heifer in Greek mythology, and a 2-letter bovine containing (… is seen in) the abbreviation for tuberculosis

12a    I’ll marry most of entourage in turn (6)
UNITER: The reversal (in turn) of all but the last letter (most of) of a 7-letter word meaning entourage (RETINUE)

14a    State founder holds French here, confining infected — in need of this? (10)
PENICILLIN: The definition is referring to ‘infected’ in the word play: The founder of a US state contains (holds) the French word for here, which in turn contains (confining) a word meaning poorly or infected

18a    Loses knack for coiling hose only a foot long (5,5)
ANKLE SOCKS: An anagram (for coiling) of LOSES KNACK

22a    Hopes for area neighbouring Western Isles (6)
AWAITS: The abbreviation for area is next to (neighbouring) the abbreviation for Western and a word meaning small islands

23a    It’s not easy going on vacation in turbulent Ulster (8)
STRUGGLE: G(oin)G without the inner letters (on vacation) is inserted into (in) an anagram (turbulent) of ULSTER

24a    World chess body admits limits of diagonal play (6)
FIDDLE: The 4-letter French abbreviation for the world chess body (Federation Internationale des Echecs) contains (admits) the outer letters (limits) of diagonal

25a    Steal back trucks, packing to be announced (8)
ABSTRACT: A reversal (back) of a 5-letter word meaning trucks or wagons is contained inside (packing) the abbreviation for ‘to be announced’.

26a    Net locator crosses a river (4)
URAL: The abbreviation for a locator or address on the internet crosses A from the clue

27a    Multipurpose tool set in possession of promising person (8)
COMPUTER: A verb meaning to set or place is contained by (in possession of) a 5-letter informal word for a person who shows promise


2d    Involuntary action including banter ending badly? (6)
TRAGIC: An involuntary action or spasm contains a verb meaning to banter

3d    It’s not common, ordinary character ditching upturned luge (6)
RARITY: Take a 10-letter ordinary trait or characteristic (REGULARITY) and remove (ditching) a reversal of (upturned) luge from the clue

4d    Annoyed with lag: 60 minutes upset one with thick skin (10)
RHINOCEROS: A reversal of (upset): an adjective meaning annoyed or angry, a lag or prisoner, and a (1,2) combination that represents 60 minutes

6d    Idealised word of religion against being subsumed by Catholicism (8)
ROMANTIC: A 2-letter word of religion often used in meditation plus a 4-letter word meaning against go inside (being subsumed by) a 2-letter abbreviation for Catholicism

7d    Article about rugby involving too much silence (8)
THROTTLE: Another Russian dolls clue: The definite article goes around (about) a 2-letter abbreviation for a kind of rugby, which in turn contains (involving) an abbreviation meaning too much

8d    Syndicate of old men providing protection (8)
COVERING: Split (4,4), the answer could mean a syndicate of old men

9d    Smacker that may leave mouth discoloured (4)
QUID: Two meanings, the first monetary, the second nicotine-based

13d    Watch war-god and lout, each having (finally) run off in good order (7-3)
TICKETY-BOO: A 6-letter watch, a 3-letter Norse war-god, and a 4-letter lout, each without the final letter (each having finally run out)

15d    Knock up a stink over fuel (8)
PARAFFIN: A reversal (up) of a word for knock, A from the clue, and a reversal (over) of a word meaning stink

16d    Duo from Edinburgh’s Fringe in Britain’s raised something worn below kilt (5-3)
SKEAN-DHU: A (1,3,1) description of the pair of outer letters (Fringe) of Edinburgh go inside the reversal of (raised) an abbreviation for our country (including the ‘S)

17d    Artificial intelligence books for a counter? They lack natural warmth (8)
REPTILIA: A reversal (counter) of: The abbreviation for artificial intelligence, a contraction of a collective word for books, and a word meaning ‘for a’

19d    Bruise and thump are regularly seen here (4-2)
BUST-UP: Regular letters in two words in the clue

20d    A grand art holding struck by shock (6)
AGHAST: A from the clue, the abbreviation for grand, and an old English equivalent of ‘art holding’

21d    European remaining, having time for France (4)
LETT: A word for remaining in which the abbreviation for time replace the IVR code for France


Lots of excellent clues! I liked the anagram in 18a and the smooth reversals in 15d. I like the way the definitions worked in 4d and especially 16d, which I think is my favourite today. I also enjoyed the syndicate of old men. Which clues did you like?

26 comments on “Toughie 2469

  1. Lovely to have Notabilis back again – I hope we don’t have to wait as long for the next one

    Lots to enjoy – and a Nina I could spot too!

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

    1. Sorry for calling you John on the kiwis’ review. I thought your post was from John Bee, my fellow trekkie.

  2. A super puzzle – thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

    I remember the left-hand Nina from my young days when it was always kept in reserve in our family in case Syrup of Figs wasn’t up to the job.

    I’ve a surfeit of ticks from which I’ll just list 9a, 23a, 8d and 16d.

  3. Well I clearly found this more difficult than Dutch did and resorted to hints towards the end – I had forgotten 9d
    Perhaps it’s because, just for a change, I did the Times first, which was a real struggle today
    Either way, I’m crossworded out for today so thanks to Notabilis, Dutch and a very good weekend to you all

  4. Phew! I thought this was going to be a stinker – not helped by the awful grid. “They ought not to be allowed” said Mr Growser.
    A few iffy surfaces but some clever, intricate cueing as well. After staring at 2 answers and leaving the NW quadrant for later it did begin to yield in the other 3 corners, by which time 1a [really!], 9a and 3d looked a lot more obvious. I admire the intricacy of 11a and 17d, and 18a is about as good as anagram clues get, but COTD goes to ye olde 20d.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

  5. Well! This was way beyond me. I couldn’t understand the clues and, having read the hints, realise I’d never have worked out the answers . I’m overcome with admiration for anyone who finished this. I did manage 4 answers and that was that. Needless to say, I can’t work out the Nina either. I’m a dead loss!

    1. I have a full grid but cannot see a Nina. I never can. Ever. Even when I’m told where to look I gaze wistfully at the grid wondering if Ninas are just a joke made up by a cartel of bloggers who are sniggering away at us poor gullible saps

  6. Needed the hints for my last one in 9d.
    Wouldn’t have needed it if I’d spotted the Nina.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch.

  7. Surprised myself how well I did with this brilliant Notabilis until I hit the wall, with 16d (which was of course new to me), 25a, and 20d, and had to seek several electronic letters. My favourites are 13d, 14a (one of my first ones in, so clever–it, not me), 20d, and 9a. I still haven’t found the Nina: can someone give me a hint? I thoroughly enjoyed this genuine Toughie and look forward to more of Notabilis. Thanks to Dutch. whose review helped me parse several answers that I’d struggled with. ***** / *****

  8. I agree with others that this was a great puzzle. However, my enjoyment of it took a beating by being defeated by three or four entries all of which included things that were not familiar to me. Included in the list was the old men reference in 8d, and the European in 21d which, combined, meant that I did not have enough to make any sense of the Nina on the right hand edge. In 5a I knew neither the monitor nor the (apparently) informal evaluation. Pity – it would have added greatly to my enjoyment to have been able to finish, but thanks nonetheless to Notabilis and Dutch.

      1. My TV is still with a cathodic tube. Works perfectly well and the image is just perfect.

        1. I dismantled one as a boy and as I came round in hospital, I realised what a capacitor does

  9. Beyond me, I’m sorry to say, which is disappointing given that I do occasionally manage to stagger through one of this setter’s offerings.
    Fortunately not too many that I’m kicking myself over so I guess that’s something to be grateful for!

    Thanks to Notabilis and also to Dutch for the explanations. Congratulations to the clever ones who managed to complete this.

  10. I gave up at just over halfway through and tackled the Hudson from earlier in the week. Finished the Hudson and returned to today’s puzzle. Got no further so revealed what I had missed out on. Not for me I’m afraid. As for Ninas? I’ve already said it

  11. For those who care –
    I don’t know how long it took Notabilis to write this puzzle. Guesses?
    Me, I was feeling tired last night and decided to go to bed at 10pm rather than wait for the puzzle at midnight and solve it then. I got up at 4am, solved this puzzle as well as a test-solve, and went back to bed at 6am. I got up again at 9am, and spent 3 hours writing the blog, adding pictures, etc. to make sure i could post before the 2pm deadline. I am now in the pub, happy that i’ve been able to help some people

  12. This took me a fair while, and after the first couple of passes I was feeling anything but confident. Stuck at it and pretty much got there. I missed the Nina (as usual), could only muster half the double definition in 9d and had to google the world chess body and check Scottish dress codes. I enjoyed the challenge, and look forward to more from Notabilis. Thanks to he/she and Dutch.

  13. An absolute joy to solve and agree that some of the wordplay took quite some time and lateral thinking to unpick.
    We noticed the double unches at the beginnings or ends of answers round the perimeter and it was then that we realised they could all have been easily avoided. How clever is that!.
    Many thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  14. Started this late this morning & got a dozen & said in my comments for the back pager that at least it wasn’t Elgar. Well it might as well have been. Thought I’d go back to it before bed & have just spent a while getting 3 more & even with the hints still needed to reveal 2 answers. Very clever but way above my pay grade sadly & hats off to those able to solve. I’ll now try & figure out the Nina.
    Thanks Dutch for the much needed hints & to Notabilis.

  15. Thanks Dutch for your invaluable directions without which i would not have solved the NE corner . The two abbreviations 5a and 10a proved a stumbling block. Otherwise Notabilis has produced a true toughie which kept me well occupied. 11a was my favorite. followed by 13d. Thanks Notabilis and good night all

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