Toughie 746 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 746

Toughie No 746 by Notabilis

Pure Enjoyment!

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

Tilsit had arranged for transport to take him to the hospital for 7:00am this morning and by 10:30am he was still waiting. No complaints from me as I got the job of reviewing this wonderful Notabilis puzzle

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Legal clashes involving having unsuitable actors for set in Macbeth (6,6)
{GLAMIS CASTLE} – put an anagram (clashes) of LEGAL around (involving) a verb meaning having unsuitable actors to get a set in Macbeth, the play by William Shakespeare – the real King Macbeth never lived there!

9a    Symbolically write about house, miles away (3,2,4)
{NOT AT HOME} – put a verb meaning to write using symbols around (about) HO(use) and M(iles) to get a phrase meaning away or unavailable to callers

10a    Ethnic group’s revival set back after expulsion of extremists (5)
{TRIBE} – to get this ethnic group’ reverse (set back) a revival after dropping the outside letters R and H (expulsion of extremists)

11a    Satyr erroneously holds such a heavenly model the wrong way (6)
{ORRERY} – hidden (holds) and reversed (the wrong way) inside the clue is a model of the solar system

This is my own model

12a    Record time to collect fringe stuff that devalues quickly? (8)
{EPHEMERA} – put an old-fashioned record with two tracks on each side and a period of time around a fringe to get stuff that devalues quickly

13a    More mischievous stars who’ll often take a bow (6)
{ARCHER} – this adjective meaning more mischievous is also a constellation of stars giving its name to a sign of the zodiac which is depicted using a bow

15a    Perhaps scrubby site corrupted download (8)
{WOODLAND} – this area, possibly of scrub, is an anagram (corrupted) of DOWNLOAD

18a    Undervalue beauty surrounding island races (8)
{BELITTLE} – this verb meaning to undervalue is derived by putting a beauty around (surrounding) I(sland) and some motorcycle races held on the Isle of Man

19a    Continue to need scrubber? (6)
{WANTON} – split as (4,2) this could mean to continue to need but it’s actually a scrubber or immoral person

21a    Plain stabs primarily barred in wrestling area (8)
{MANIFEST} – this adjective meaning plain or obvious is derived by putting a verb meaning stabs without its initial letter (primarily barred) inside a wrestling area

23a    18 lenses in a special arrangement (6)
{LESSEN} – this synonym of 18 across comes from an anagram (in a special arrangement) of LENSES

26a    Tailor enjoyed wasting hours with a pint (5)
{ADAPT} – to get this verb meaning to tailor drop the initial H(ours) from a verb meaning enjoyed or possessed and follow it with A and a P(in)T

27a    Humdrum people generally stand to receive instant backing (9)
{WEARISOME} – this adjective meaning humdrum is derived from a pronoun representing people in general followed by a verb meaning to stand or get up around (to receive) an instant reversed (backing)

28a    Spattering the hogs with dirt’s imprudent (5-7)
{SHORT-SIGHTED} – an anagram (spattering) of THE HOGS with DIRT’S gives an adjective meaning imprudent


1d    Small boat departs in choppy lagoon (7)
{GONDOLA} – this small boat can be found on a choppy lagoon in Venice! – put D(eparts) inside an anagram (choppy) of LAGOON

2d    Fort in area old king is questing for (5)
{AFTER} – put F(or)T between A(rea) and the cypher of King Edward (take your pick, any regnal number from I to VIII) to get a word meaning questing for

3d    Cross coming between religious fringe groups? (9)
{INTERSECT} – this verb meaning to cross couls, if split (5,4), mean between religious fringe groups

4d    Dimwit’s gloom on leaving university (4)
{CLOD} – a dimwit is created by dropping (leaving) the U(niversity) from gloom or dullness

5d    Assistant in penning Aznavour song, say, including piano finish (8)
{SHEEPDOG} – this animal that assists in penning is derived from a Charles Aznavour song and the Latin abbreviation of say or for example around (including) the musical notation for piano and a verb meaning to finish or perform

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d    Supply mobile home’s shell after burning (5)
{LITHE} – to get this adjective meaning supply mobile (I bet you thought supply was a verb!) put the outside letters (shell) of HomE after burning or igniting

7d    Emergency equipment passenger picked up during free journey (4,4)
{LIFE RAFT} – an item of emergency equipment carried on ships and aircraft is created by reversing (picked up in a down clue) a passenger inside a free journey in someone else’s car

8d    Consider something infuriating when all but first pair flip (6)
{REGARD} – to get this verb meaning to consider, start with something that is infuriating to a bull (3,3) and reverse (flip) all but the first pair of letters

14d    Officer’s current answer for drug in settling times (8)
{COLONIAL} – start with a senior military officer and put the symbol for electric current and A(nswer) in place of the drug E(cstasy) to get settling times in overseas territories

16d    Clamorous sound persistently enveloping each swamp (9)
{DEAFENING} – to get an adjective meaning or very noisy put a verb meaning to sound persistently around (enveloping) EA(ch) and a swamp or low marshy land

17d    Possibly estate’s host to miss women’s conflict with workers? (5,3)
{CLASS WAR} – put a vehicle that could possibly be an estate around (host to) a young miss and W(omen) to get this conflict with workers

18d    Coastal city formerly having fortune run into cove (6)
{BOMBAY} – to get the former name of this coastal city in India a fortune or great deal of money is run into a cove and one of the overlapping letters is dropped

20d    Name not picked up when Queen leaves area near Peckham (7)
{NUNHEAD} – start with N(ame) then add a word meaning not picked up or inaudible without (leaves) the Latin abbreviation for a Queen to get an area near Peckham in South East London

22d    Go for starter of fishcakes to eat in (5)
{FETCH} – this verb meaning to go for or collect is a charade of the initial letter (starter) of Fishcakes and a verb meaning to eat into metal

24d    Spelling inaccurate in rant (5)
{SPOUT} – combine SP(elling) and an adjective meaning inaccurate to get a verb meaning to rant

25d    Is going off course a complaint in the Tropics? (4)
{YAWS} – this verb meaning is going off course is also a skin complaint in the Tropics

Even if it takes the whole of the weekend, persevere with this puzzle, it’s worth it!


An occasional series on the drivel that comes from the mouth of the Deputy Labour leader.

On George Galloway’s embarrassing victory over the Labour candidate in Bradford West

“… the lesson we have to learn from this defeat is that lessons have to be learned”.

20 comments on “Toughie 746

  1. I did enjoy this. Looking at my handwriting, quite a lot of it, mostly on the LH side, went in quite straightforwardly but the right hand side caused a number of complications, two of which required the use of Tippex! I expect I was helped by the fact that I had heard of a 11a and knew the area in 20d. Having been ‘in the zone’ I would give it 3.5 difficulty but definitely 5* entertainment. Thanks to Notabilis and BD too.

  2. Many thanks once more to Notablis who regularly defeats me, I needed assistance with 18d and 20d, the latter I have never heard of. Loved 1a. Thanks to BD for the hints, I really needed them.

  3. Normally I reserve 5* difficulty for Elgar’s puzzles, but this one is off the scale (if my solving time is anything to go by!)
    There were a couple I was unsure of (especially 5d), so many thanks to BD for the explanations and notes.
    Many thanks to Notabilis for providing me with a whole morning of excellent entertainment in what would otherwise have been a very dull time in the office (judging by the amount of telephone calls, I think everyone is on holiday already). Time to go home and lie down in a darkened room!

  4. Brilliant offering from one the Toughies top setters, favourites from a host of outstanding clues were 1a 12a 5d and 7d many thanks to Notabilis for the challenge and to Big Dave for a fine dissection.

  5. Pure Enjoyment? Not quite!

    I filled in all the white bits but only understood “why” for about 2/3 of them. Somehow I found all the definitions but was completely flummoxed by much of the wordplay. However, very reassuring to see a 4* difficulty rating.

    18d – Unfortunately, I still don’t understand…… even after reading the hints.

    1. Bombay (is now called Mumbai). Fortune = bomb (as in to make a bomb), cove = Bay. Run into implies losing one of the joining letters ie BOM(B)BAY.

        1. going to be shot down in flames but I think it is the former franco. I really don’t know for sure.

        2. As it is the ‘fortune’ in the ‘cove’ surely it has to be B(B)OMBAY because the cove has to stay on the outside.

          1. I took it to be BOM(B)BAY with “run into” working like a shunt on the motorway with BOMB running into the back of BAY so that the resultant double B in the middle gets concertina’d.

        3. It has to be as I said, otherwise ‘fortune run’ would be (B)omb, but what is telling you to drop the first letter? ‘Run’ seems a little tenuous.

  6. Thanks to Big Dave who helped me at the very last minute when all my plans went a bit pear-shaped. Resting at home now and a bit tender (Imagine someone flicking an elastic band onto your side for half an hour!).

    A lovely puzzle with lots of memorable clues. I was so grateful it turned out to be Nunhead. I’d never heard of the place.

    Thanks so much to Notabilis for a splendid challenge which made my lithotripsy so much more bearable, and to BD for stepping in at the last minute.

  7. As this was a six day week, I didn’t get to tackle this until today. It took me most of the day, on and off, but I managed to complete it without understanding 23a. I thought it might be an anagram of lenses, but why 18? So I came here to find out and underwent an absolute ‘doh’ moment when I realised I’d been trying to find a synonym for the wrong 18! Many thanks to Notabilis for an excellent puzzle and BD for the explanations. Note to self: ‘Try to be less dense!’

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