Toughie 3036 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3036

Toughie No 3036 by Notabilis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A lovely puzzle by Notabilis today, complete with Nina. Enjoy.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1aa    Reject sugar, bad, a carb: Atkins’ somewhat tricky formula? (11)
ABRACADABRA: Reverse hidden (Reject … somewhat)

10a    Saint‘s name through an eternity (5)
AGNES: The abbreviation for name is inserted into (through) another word for an eternity

11a    Fighter’s moves do not wake bats (3,4,2)

TAE KWON DO: An anagram (bats) of DO NOT WAKE

12a    Spread fake news about Republican men in hazy situation (9)
MISREPORT: A 3-letter abbreviation for republican plus an abbreviation for some military men go inside (in) a ‘hazy situation’

13a    Port, or what’s left after opening of bottle (5)
BREST: The first letter (opening) of bottle plus a word meaning ‘what’s left’

14a    It’s over corporal, possibly way overhead (6)
ONCOST: The abbreviation for over, an abbreviation of for example a corporal, and an abbreviation of a way

16a    What cheer is behind most of recognised desk space? (8)
KNEEHOLE: An exclamation meaning ‘what?’ and a Spanish cheer follow (is behind) a 4-letter word meaning recognised or was aware, but without the last letter (most of … )

18a    Ranchers displacing monks etc (8)
STOCKMEN: An anagram (displacing) of MONKS ETC

20a    Far from swarthy lot without a care (6)
WANTON: A 3-letter word meaning ‘far from swarthy’ or pale, and a word meaning a lot or great quantity

23a    Facility for a listener and another missing person (5)
LUCAN: Two ‘facilities’ or conveniences, the first a homophone (for a listener).The answer is a missing Lord

24a    Sly look around island that’s in French city (9)
LEICESTER: A 4-letter word for a ‘sly look’ goes around the abbreviation for island and ‘that is’ in French (1’3)

26a    Render identity void with no names? (9)
ANONYMISE: An anagram (render) of a void I(dentit)Y + NO NAMES

27a    Rat out of rice, e.g. (5)
GRASS: Something that rice exemplifies

28a    What you need in house following awkward scenes (11)
NECESSARIES: A zodiac house following an anagram (awkward) of SCENES


2d    Scottish writer is saving flood defences (5)

BANKS: Triple definition, third as in river sides

3d    It may be painful cracking complex cases with hollow bullets (7)

ABSCESS: An anagram (complex) of CASES has inserted (cracking … with) B(ullet)S without the inner letters (hollow)

4d    Write from Paris to The Thunderer? (6)
AUTHOR: The French word (from Paris) for ‘to’ and the Scandinavian thunder god

5d    Warning: beer can start to get round resistance (8)
ALERTING: Another word for beer, another word for can, and the first letter (start) of ‘get’ go round the abbreviation for resistance

6d    Within reach of oarsmen with a sailor in place (7)
ROWABLE: The abbreviation for with plus an abbreviation for a sailor go inside (in) a place or position

7d    Resistance unit airmen set up to apply intelligence that baker could supply (9,4)
FARMHOUSE LOAF: The reversal (set up) of a physics unit of resistance plus a military air service, then a word meaning to apply and a word for intelligence, as in ‘use your ****’

8d    Nearly unconscious? Very unconscious and hardly observant (8)
UNDEVOUT: A 5-letter word meaning unconscious or sedated but without the last letter (nearly), the abbreviation for very, and another word meaning unconscious

9d    Child angry about Arthur’s dad’s four-star arrangement (8,5)
SOUTHERN CROSS: A male child and a word meaning angry go around (about) King Arthur’s dad

15d    How surprising to find whisky, say, in baby carriages? (4-4)
CHOO-CHOO: A 3-letter exclamation of surprise contains a word for distilled spirits

17d    Feature of some altimeters showing when to fill up? (8)
MEALTIME: Hidden (feature of …)

19d    Family band on the road for Mull (7)
KINTYRE: A word for family and a word for the car part that is a band on the road

21d    I’ll get people back over river such as one in Russia (7)
AVENGER: A reversal (over) of the abbreviation for river, the Latin abbreviation for ‘such as’, and a Russian river

22d    English team going up in place succeeded, getting points on display (6)
PIXELS: The abbreviation for English plus a Roman numeral used to describe a team go inside (in) the abbreviations for place and succeeded

25d    Kid in brief service of China (5)
TEASE: Take a (3,3) ‘service of China’ and remove the last letter (brief)

My favourite today was the all-in-one at 26a, very clever, and I almost didn’t see the wordplay. Which clues did you like?

10 comments on “Toughie 3036

  1. A Friday treat – welcome back Maestro!
    It took a bit of getting into but once 1a had yielded it all fell into place. Quite a job narrowing down a list of favourites but I’ll settle for 23,24 and 26a plus 2 and 21d.
    Thanks to Notabilis [don’t leave it so long next time] and to Dutch for the blog [even I couldn’t miss this NINA].
    Now all we need is the return of Elkamere.

  2. Great fun, not too terrifyingly tricky and very rewarding to complete. 26a was very inventive and my favourite.

    Thanks to Notabilis and Dutch.

  3. I found a lot of this puzzle surprisingly straightforward for a Friday – much encouraged by 1a leaping off the page at me! – until suddenly it wasn’t, with the SE posing many problems. My final few – the swarthy lot, city and bunged-in Russian river (of which I’d never knowingly heard) – delayed me considerably, but in retrospect with little reason.

    The four long clues around the outside were fun, and I thought the lurkers of 1a and 17d in particular were ingenious. 7d joins them on my podium.

    I can see three long words for a Nina but am left scratching my head wondering whether I’m missing a connection or some mysterious meaning.

    Many thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch, of course.

  4. We really struggled with this and ended up missing a couple in the bottom half. Should have got both of them in retrospect.
    Totally missed the Nina and the after reading here and finding it, needed Google to understand its origin.
    Certainly a clever puzzle and a real challenge for us.
    Thanks Notabilis and Dutch.

  5. I too struggled with this. Hardest of the week and the first DNF! Perhaps just a wavelength thing but *****/*** for me. Shame after 1A went in immediately! Thanks anyway to setter & Dutch

  6. Rarely bother with a Friday as above my pay grade but got within 3 (14&16a + 22d) of a grid fill & then to the finish line with the hints. Needed the review to parse a few also so definitely the toughest of the week. I clocked the 3 words but have never heard of the fantasy novel so the Nina went over my head. 26a was one I did manage to parse & agree it was excellent.
    Thanks to Notabilis & Elgar

  7. A very good puzzle slightly let down by the odd poor clue [ eg 14a , 16a ] which I noticed others failed on too. 23a my favourite though .

  8. Failed on 16a, 20a and 21d.
    Had to check the meaning of the Nina after visiting the blog.
    Thanks to Notabilis and to Dutch.

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