Toughie No 318 by Notabilis
This is what they want
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment *****
This blog often contains comments about whether or not the Toughie does what it says on the tin, but getting the balance exactly right – a tough puzzle, but solvable and enjoyable – is difficult to achieve. The three stars I’ve given for difficulty here are solely a reflection of the fact that I managed to get on the setter’s wavelength very quickly, but I suspect others may have found it hard going in places. What I can be fairly sure of, though, is that those who got through it will have thoroughly enjoyed the experience. No doubt the crossword editor receives many comments along the lines of “I think the Telegraph Toughie should be…”; the only thing I can say is that an increase in the number of puzzles by Notabilis would be welcomed by all. He really is a superb setter; imaginative, witty, concise and solidly Ximenean in technique.
This puzzle is no exception, an absolute delight. The clues are completely fair, smooth, and littered with just the right number of “Aha!” moments, and also a few genuine “Bravo!” moments.
My favourites are in blue but I’ve tried to highlight the very best out of a really fine set of clues.
Your comments on the puzzle are most welcome. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.