Toughie 2493 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2493

Toughie No 2493 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Some longer clues made for harder parsing. I had quite a few left to parse after completing the grid. As often happens, I enjoyed this more when writing up the blog, when you get another chance to savour the clues. I didn’t notice a Nina, which is not to say there isn’t one.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. I’m off to Greece with my 15-yr old daughter for a week (I hope), see you again in September


1a    Happy with adult breaking sullen daughter’s unfair rule (6,8)
DOUBLE STANDARD: A 5-letter word for happy, a 3-letter word for with and the abbreviation for adult go inside (breaking) a 4-letter word for sullen, plus the abbreviation for daughter

9a    Stay outside America, while away (7)
SUSPEND: Outside the 2-letter abbreviation for America, we have a 5-letter verb meaning ‘while away’

10a    Butt in middle of ashtray held by old boy with no manners (7)
OBTRUDE: The central letter (middle) of ashtray goes in between (held by) the abbreviation for old boy and an adjective meaning ‘with no manners’

11a    French priest‘s regular contributions to war babies (4)
ABBE: Even letters (regular contributions to …)

12a    Some in puzzledom’re pushing to bring back expert poser (10)
SUPERMODEL: Reverse hidden (Some … to bring back)

14a    Wrong righted, not seeing the back of flag waver (6)
DITHER: An anagram (wrong) of RI(g)HTED, without (not seeing) the last letter (back) of flag

15a    Fantastic NHS: one has to applaud nursing association (8)
CLANSHIP: An anagram (fantastic) of NHS plus the Roman numeral for one is contained in (hasnursing) a verb meaning ‘to applaud’

17a    Sent off, does the man remain in team? (8)
BANISHED: A (2,2) phrase meaning ‘does the man’ goes inside (remain in) another word for team (of musicians or outlaws, perhaps). The cryptic grammar of ‘remain’ feels odd to me – could the (2,2) phrase translate to ‘does the man remain’? 

18a    Slight loss of area from incomplete shield (6)
INSULT: An 8-letter verb meaning to shield (INSULATE) is missing the last letter (incomplete) as well as missing the letter A (loss of area)

21a    Bold character in Odyssey, intrepid after losing first love (10)
CHIVALROUS: A 3-letter Greek (in Odyssey) character, then an 8-letter word meaning intrepid or courageous without the first occurrence of the letter O (losing first love)

22a    The first Stateside anti-drug agency’s purpose (4)
IDEA: Number one (‘The first’) plus the USA anti-drug agency

24a    To make very hard dish inventor hollowed fireclay (7)
PETRIFY: The inventor of a round flat culture dish used in biology plus F(irecla)Y without the inner letters (hollowed)

25a    Rebuffed, continues to be coquettish, ignoring feminine facial feature (7)
NOSTRIL: The reversal (rebuffed) of a (6,2) phrase meaning ‘continues to be coquettish’, but without (ignoring) the initial abbreviation for Feminine

26a    Turn of theatre school to hold opening, about to provide card with series of them? (6,8)
ADVENT CALENDAR: The ‘series of them’ in the definition refers back to ‘openings’ in the wordplay. A reversal of a 4-letter acronym for a theatre school contains a 4-letter opening, the 2-letter Latin abbreviation for about, and a verb that can mean ‘to provide’


1d    Brilliant old man arrests craven one (7)
DASTARD: A 4-letter adjective meaning brilliant or top (as in a **** pupil) that is contained by ( … arrests) a word meaning old man or father

2d    Questionable attitude NUS bans, wanting a fact check? (15)
UNSUBSTANTIATED: An anagram (questionable) of ATTITUDE NUS BANS

3d    Place something fabricated on uniform (4)
LIEU: Something fabricated, as in an untruth, plus the letter corresponding to the international radio code Uniform

4d    Incorporating cupped shape, extremely dull street lamps use this (6)
SODIUM: A (2,3) phrase meaning so dull contains (incorporating) a letter used to indicate a cupped shape

5d    Join in currencies from Macao, Turkey and Japan as has been said (8)
AVOWEDLY: The ‘as’ in the definition makes it adverbial. To join (as in matrimony) goes inside (in) monetary units from Macao, Turkey and Japan (the last two being single-letter abbreviations)

6d    Agreement of Russian dynasty covers small and large-scale analysis of information (4,6)
DATA MINING: The Russian word of agreement, then a Chinese dynasty (not Ming!) covers a 4-letter word meaning small

7d    Is supposed to put in run, one originally managed by editor developing a hunch? (5-10)
ROUND-SHOULDERED: A 6-letter verb meaning ‘is supposed to’ is placed inside (put in) the abbreviation for run, the first letter (originally) of one, plus a (5,2) phrase that means (a person) ‘managed by editor’

8d    Loose skin lost importance with weight in rolls (6)
DEWLAP: A reversal (rolls) of a verb meaning lost importance or significance containing (with … in) the abbreviation for weight

13d    Changing beliefs as virus spreads in water (10)
PERSUASIVE: An anagram (spreads) of AS VIRUS goes inside (in) a word meaning water as in a bodily function

16d    Force to drop name in part for play (4,4)
PEER GYNT: A 6-letter word meaning force or power in which we drop the abbreviation for name to the bottom, all inside (in) the 2-letter abbreviation for part

17d    Pay for porcini as told by strongarm contractor? (6)
BICEPS: A homophone (as told) of a (3,4) instruction to pay for porcini, perhaps

19d    Less prepared to cross lake with tons on boat (7)
TRAWLER: A 5-letter word meaning less prepared contains (to cross) the abbreviation for lake, all following the abbreviation for tons (with … on)

20d    Grain plant‘s former boss in Philippines keeping head down (6)
QUINOA: The name of a political leader in the Philippines with the first letter dropped to the bottom (keeping head down)

23d    Man, possibly to waste time, taking son for the day (4)
ISLE: A verb meaning to waste time in which the abbreviation for son replaces the abbreviation for day

I quite liked pay for porcini (17d), continues to be coquettish (25a), and developing a hunch (7d). Which clues were your favourites?

25 comments on “Toughie 2493

  1. As ever Notabilis has given us a delightful puzzle combining clever wordplay and well-disguised definitions with a minimum of obscurities.

    There did seem to be quite a few Yoda-type constructions.

    I took the ‘is he’ in 17a to match ‘does the man remain’ – one of the meanings for ‘to be’ in the BRB is ‘to remain or continue without change’.

    My podium plays host to 25a, 13d and 17d but I could have picked several others.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  2. Took a while to get going but picked up pace when I had a few checkers. Spent a while trying to remember Odyssey before the penny dropped. Very enjoyable and a great work out on this blustery day. Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  3. The best thing about this puzzle was that it wasn’t a Friday Elgar! I found it tricky but almost finished it with a couple I wasn’t sure about. COTD? Probably 14a.

  4. As is often the way with this setter, I spent quite a while guessing, reverse parsing and checking in with Mr Google. Didn’t break down the currency of Macao far enough so was stuck with ‘mop’ initially and was rather surprised to see Notabilis resort to using that term for ‘water’ in 13d. I did spend some time looking up the characters in The Odyssey – can’t say I’m inclined to actually read it.
    Favourite was probably 8d with a mention for 7d – my best guess of the day!

    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch for the review – hope you get to enjoy your week in Greece and trust that you’re both sanguine about the prospect of whatever enforced self-isolation may come your way afterwards!

  5. A thoroughly enjoyable challenge completed with a few bung-ins parsed after the event (e.g. 4d, 5d, 25a) with 5d needing research to find the obscure (to me at least, even though I visited there a few times 25 years ago) Portuguese currency! Must remember the cupped shape as well.

    Spent too long on first reading trying to use “ought” in 7d….until the D’s appeared. Same with the Greek character until the penny dropped. Loved the misdirections like 10 a (cigarette) 15a (association of nurses) and the old but goody 23d. Definitely noticed a lot of back to front “instructions” for the construction as Gazza says. As to 17a I thought remain just meant “stick it in here”!

    Podium places to 1a, 26a and 6d.

    Thanks to Notabilis, Dutch and Gazza.

  6. Phew! Certainly a Friday Toughie, but Notabilis’s clueing continues to provide entertainment to lighten the load.
    Favourites = 17a [I agree with Gazza’s reading i.e. is he still in the team] 25a [continues to be coquettish], 5d [did well here only because part of the clue cropped up in last Sundays Enigmatic] and the LOL 17d.
    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  7. As JB says at least it’s not Elgar. Hope springs eternal but then I see Dutch gives it a 5* difficulty rating & Robert couldn’t finish it so suspect it will be a case of frying pan to fire. Will try anyway though not optimistic.

    1. I hope you read my rebuttal of your cruel accusation about being anti sport ! But I do appreciate the tally you are keeping of sport v botany. How did you know I was a gardener?

      1. I did Daisy – I’m sure you know I’m only teasing – impressed with cricket knowledge mind you…..
        This Friday Toughie malarkey is hard work…….

  8. I do wish Notabilis Toughies would appear more regularly. Gazza’s thoughts on this one match mine entirely, including the parsing of 17a

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

  9. After an hour+ of enjoyable diligence, I found myself hopelessly stuck with four unanswered clues–5 and 20d, 21 and 25a–and that was it: I had reached the end of my long night (last night). (I really should have realised that the Greek character was a letter! Instead, I found myself trying to identify a character from the epic (like Circe, etc) and simply couldn’t get beyond that.) Thanks to Dutch for the hints and for parsing several of the answers I couldn’t quite do. I’ll give myself a B- or a C+ for my yeomanlike efforts, but I did enjoy the workout. And thanks to Notabilis for the great challenge. ***** / *****

    1. Tell me about it with the epic, Robert, I learned far more about those characters than I’ve ever felt any desire to know!

  10. Enjoying this so far. I am about to resort to the hints but wondered if anyone else thought the apostrophe 1n 12a was so clunky that it could only be there to hide some sort of shenanigans (which it turns out it was). that apart the other 2/3rds I have solved so far were a refreshing change from recent Friday experiences. I will head hintwards with expectation of learning more greek than I really need.

    1. not the most natural fodder, but hey, in a way it’s entertaining because of that. ok, your challenge is to come up with a more natural fodder

      1. Not un-entertained especially as it gave me my first in to this Friday toughie. I don’t expect to find an easy in next Friday.
        I certainly enjoyed trawling through the dramatic personae of several Greek epics before the right character came to mind. Enjoy your holiday see you on the other side. Thanks to Notablis too.

  11. Knee particularly bad today do for once I had the opportunity to sit down in the afternoon with the Toughie instead of tackling it late at night in the bath. A very neat puzzle although some of them were bung ins and I had to refer to the hints for the whys and where fores. I particularly liked 14a and 26a. I have never heard of 6d. But my favourite for misdirection was 7d very smart. Thank you everyone.

  12. With 22a we noticed the answer as a lurker in the clue before we checked in BRB for the abbreviation that was new to us.
    Slow start for us as we initially tried to justify DOUBLE JEOPARDY for 1a but could not make the parsing (or eventually the checkers) fit.
    Quite a challenge and heaps of fun.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  13. Agree with the BD ratings. Was stumped on the “water” parsing ….hey ho. Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch

  14. Well I managed 14 on my own although can’t parse a couple of those so it’ll be over to Dutch to get me over the line. Not quite as impenetrable as Elgar but very difficult in my book though fun to try. With the exception of 5d finished the top half but have stalled in the south. Enjoyed the 4 long ones & the reverse lurker. 1d reminded me of Dick from the Wacky Racers who I always wanted to win as a kid.
    Thanks Notabilis & Dutch – remains to be seen if the hints can see me home. Shall look with a clearer mind in the morning.

    1. 13d & 17d were my favourites with the benefit of the hints. Like Jules I was preoccupied with Marcos until the penny dropped.
      Thanks Dutch.

  15. Didn’t have time to look at this yesterday, so attacked it late this morning. Like RC above got stuck on the same 4 clues. The hints sorted 3 of them but had to reveal 20d. Kept trying to get the marcos couple involved.
    Cotd 13d
    Was surprised to see it rated as 5* difficulty.
    Just on the right wavelength I suppose.
    Thanks all

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