Toughie No 104 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie No 104

Toughie No 104 by Osmosis

A typical Toughie with some tricky wordplay

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

Several clues in this puzzle left me scratching my head for the wordplay, especially 1 down.  One or two lesser known words, and an artist whose name is not  particularly well known made for an awkward puzzle.


1a Loot’s bound to excite British swimmer (11)
{STICKLEBACK} – SACK (to loot) around (bound) TICKLE (to excite) and  B(ritish) to give a fish (swimmer)

9a Item on breakfast table, perhaps rolled oats, eaten by dog (5,4)
{TOAST RACK} – an anagram (perhaps rolled) of OATS inside (eaten by) TRACK (follow / dog)

10a State aid distributed by hand outs, initially (5)
{IDAHO} – an anagram (distributed) of AID followed by H O (Hand Outs initially) – what would these setters do without American states?

11a Feverish man, cold, twitching (6)
{HECTIC} – HE (man) C(old) TIC (twitching) giving a synonym for feverish

12a Fast train disrupted by frost (2,1,5)
{IN A TRICE} – an anagram (disrupted) of TRAIN followed by a sort of synonym for frost

13a Archaic language disgusted daily newspaper’s chief (6)
{LYDIAN) – an anagram (disgusted) of DAILY then N (Newspaper’s chief / first letter – not the editor this time!) gives a language so archaic that most people have never heard of it

15a Ballet movement, somewhere in South America, screened by digital TV (8)
{CABRIOLE} – RIO (somewhere in South America) inside (screened by) CABLE (digital TV) gives a leap with one leg outstretched and the other struck against it (ballet movement)

18a Attempt to obtain adult underwear for burlesque (8)
{TRAVESTY}  – TRY (attempt) around  (to obtain) A (adult – movie rating, now PG) then VEST (underwear) giving a synonym for burlesque – but not for the American entertainment show!

19a Value two letters written about Terence when evacuated (6)
{ESTEEM} – a bit convoluted – ES (S) and EM (M) around TE (Terence when evacuated / the outside letters)

21a Emperor, right away, foretells time allied to America (8)
{AUGUSTUS} – AUGU(r)S (foretells, Right away) T(ime) then US (America) giving a Roman Emperor  – he is mentioned in The Mine

23a Ice hockey team squeezes into some foreign cinema (6)
{MOVIES} – VI (ice hockey is six a side) inside (squeezes into) an anagram (foreign) of SOME giving a name for the cinema (or a channel on Sky!)

26a Extravagant part of accoutrement (5)
{OUTRE} – hidden (part of) in accOUTREment

27a Margaret receives ruling to sever foot on ambulance (4,5)
{MEAT WAGON} – MEG (an affectionate shortening of Margaret) around (receives) (F)ATWA (ruling to sever Foot) the ON to give a colloquial name for an ambulance – this one was especially for you, Dr B

28a For good royal chap, hospital department induced good condition (11)
{PERMANENTLY} – ER (Elizabeth Regina / Royal) MAN (chap) ENT (hospital department) all inside (induced) PLY (good condition – especially in Scotland)


1d Case flung about with feet in British infant school? (7)
{SATCHEL} – An anagram (flung) of CASE with H T L (feet / last letters of BritisH infanT schooL)  giving a case that might be carried by an infant – a near-miss attempt at an &lit that is a bit too contrived, or maybe that’s sour grapes because Libellule had to point out to me where the H, T & L came from

2d Patriarch funds promotion of accountant (5)
{ISAAC} – ISA (Individual Savings Account / funds) then CA (Chartered Accountant) reversed (promotion – works only for down clues) giving a Patriarch

3d Pot poured out to rouse bird (9)
{KITTIWAKE} – kitty (pot) becomes KITTI (poured out / recounted / sounds like – I’ve not seen this one before) WAKE (rouse) giving a bird, and a flying boat

4d Story elevating European and other people (2,2)
{ET AL} – nifty construct – TALE (story) with the E (European) moved from last to first (elevating – once again, only works for down clues) to give a Latin phrase meaning and other people

5d Head of army breaking ranks when somewhere in US (8)
{ARKANSAS} – A (head of Army) then an anagram (breaking) of RANKS then AS (when) giving a US state  – the second one in this puzzle

6d Artist style boosted by gap in market (5)
{KLIMT} – ILK (style / of that ilk) reversed (boosted) with MT (gap in MarkeT) giving an artist but not one that I particularly like

7d Dig around green, reviewing ancient period (7)
{MIOCENE} – MINE (dig) around ECO (green) reversed (reviewing) giving an
ancient period

8d Note unusual tracks Manilow sung – in this voice? (8)
{BARITONE} – an anagram (unusual) of NOTE follows (tracks) BARI (sung / sounds like Barry Manilow) giving a deep-toned male voice between bass and tenor

14d Air currents cause diversion on board (8)
{DRAUGHTS} – a double definition – annoying air currents; a board game known in the US as checkers

16d Disgraced broadcaster craftily won over the quaint English town (4-2-3)
{ROSS-ON-WYE} – (Jonathan) ROSS (disgraced broadcaster – I loved that!) with an anagram  (craftily) of WON then (over – down clues only!) YE (the, quaint / old ) giving an English towneasy for me, as this beautiful place is not far from where I live

17d Split gutted increasingly odd musician? (8)
{STRUMMER} – S(pli)T (split gutted / centre removed) RUMMER (increasingly odd) giving someone who plays the guitar (musician) or especially the front man of
The Clash
I hope the double pun was intentional, if so it was excellent!

18d Company meeting as yet to be fixed – is it appointed by 9? (3,4)
{TEA COSY} – an anagram (to be fixed) of CO (company) and (meeting) AS YET – an item on the breakfast table with 9 across

20d Fellowship disciple enthralled by religious icon (7)
{MASONRY} – SON (disciple) inside (enthralled by) MARY (religious icon) giving a fellowship associated with rolled-up trouser legs!

22d Excessive energy impedes stride (5)
{STEEP) – E(nergy) inside (impedes) STEP (stride) giving a synonym for excessive

24d Tongue skimmed by dentist’s latest piece of metal (5)
{INGOT} – (L)INGO (tongue / language skimmed / without the first letter) then T (dentisT’s latest letter) giving a valuable piece of metal

25d Georgia repeatedly out to lunch (4)
{GAGA} – GA (Georgia) twice (repeatedly) giving a word meaning in senile dotage (out to lunch) and reminiscent of this hit by QueenI was going to post a link to the original video, but I couldn’t resist this one of the inmates of Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center in the Philippines dancing to Queen’s music!

All comments, observations and experiences are always welcome.


3 comments on “Toughie No 104

  1. Really grateful for the blog. Always have enjoyed doing cryptics with varying success, but now I see a different perspective and times have plummeted.

  2. BigNig

    I’m glad you enjoy it.

    That’s the aim of this blog – to enable people like you to understand the clues in a way that was not possible a few short years ago.

  3. Most of this was challenging in the right kind of way. At 7D it took quite a bit of, er, digging to find the MINE to go outside the ECO. A good chunk of the reason was the double unchecked letter at the start of an answer with just 3 of 7 letters checked. Apart from this word and its “symmetry partner” at 18, the grid is very sound, so this feels like a cheap way of making the clue difficult.

    Barry Manilow and Wosser were much better. I also missed the “feet” in 1D, but with that extra checking letter, it didn’t matter.

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