Toughie 162

Toughie No 162 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

+ – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A fairly ferocious puzzle from Osmosis today and one that pushed me to my solving limits.  Most of the clues have excellent surface reading and it is easy to see that the puzzle has been carefully put together. All very clever cluing which took some time and effort to untangle.  This is turning out to be a splendid week for the Toughie puzzles.

I’ve tried to explain clues as best as I can, and would welcome youir comments.  As usual, the blank bit between the curly brackets can be highlighted to reveal the answer.


1a Alastair’s outside with joint, meeting Blair where meat is sold (11)
{CHARCUTERIE}  Rather off the wall surface reading that made me smile.  AR (Alastair’s outside) with CUT (joint) inside CHERIE (Blair, not Tony!).  Not sure “meeting” really suggests “inside” to me.  A Charcuterie is a specialist butcher, one that sells pork, I think.

10a Assistant carries root of bamboo to bear (5)
{ABIDE}  An Assistant is an AIDE and inside it has the “root of bamboo”, which is B.

11a New German doctor blocks pain to treat illness (9)
{PNEUMONIA}  NEU is “new” in German, an MO is a doctor and these are inside an anagram of PAIN – a nice clue with good surface reading.

12a Battered sweet and sour creates wind (9)
{SOU’WESTER}  An anagram of SWEET and SOUR is used here.

13a Painter latterly beginning to use ballpoint, we hear. A cubist? (5)
{RUBIK)  A word sum.  R (last letter of Painter) + U (beginning to use) + BIK (sounds like a ballpoint “BIC”).  All apparently very arty, but the cubist is the Hungarian Doctor whose cubic puzzle tormented us!

14a Criminal given punishment (Post Office raids) (6)
{CAPONE}  I presume “given” here refers to given name.  It can’t mean given punishment, because the answer needed is CANE, not CANED.  Inside  CANE you need to place the abbreviation for a Post Office

16a Crossing over, it’s authorised to heel (8)
{STILETTO}  Reverse “It’s” and add LET (authorised) + TO and you’ll see a heel fashionable with the ladies.

18a Tall, up-market fire faces office of bishop (8)
{UNLIKELY}  Tall here is the definition, think of a “tall story” for the context.  U is upmarket, and a KILN is a type of oven and needs to be reversed.  Add to this the name of a famous bishop’s seat.  Here’s it’s ELY (Sometimes in Crosswordland – this could appear in clues as “see”)

20a Models must watch this part of body, cutting back 3/4 of food intake (6)
{BIRDIE}   The first part of the clue provides the definition.  RIB is the part of the body and this needs to be reversed (“cutting back”) and add to it ¾ of DIET

23a Finally arrive in some European capital – in Paris (3,2)
{END UP}   I am not fully certain about this.  Finally arrive is the definition.   I think it’s EN  + DU (Some European) + P  (capital of Paris)

24a Diner, too drunk to eat menu’s last item, settled (6,3)
{IRONED OUT}  An anagram of DINER TOO with the last letter of MENU inserted.

26a Heard one saying ‘cheers’ somewhere in East Midlands (9)
{TOWCESTER}  The place in the south of Northamptonshire,  that the Romans used to call Lactodorum.  This sounds like someone who would raise a toast.

27a Too wide? (5)
{EXTRA}  Double definition.    A wide is a cricketing extra.

28a Star students, sat around, look overawed by legendary dancer (11)
(ASTROLOGERS}  Star students is the definition.  An anagram of SAT, along with a word for look LO inside a famous dancer (Ginger) ROGERS.


2d Lecturer leaves address with this country’s uplifting poem (5)
{HAIKU}   Address is HAIL (but L for lecturer is leaving.  Add to this UK (this country) reversed and you get one of those Japanese verse forms.

3d Academic establishment, near to decay, houses famous dictionary (7)
{ROEDEAN}  The “other dictionary” apart from Chambers (OED) inside an anagram of NEAR.  You should get the fine girls’ school.

4d Assuming dog’s without lead, it will be grabbed (6)
{UPPITY}  PUPPY minus it’s first letter with IT inside.

5d Falling under river, react broadcasting curse (8)
{EXECRATE}  The river is one from the South West (EXE)  + an anagram of REACT

6d Liam’s new outside storage space erected wrong (7)
{IMMORAL)  An anagram of LIAM around a reversal of ROM (storage space?)

7d State  ceremony by church held amongst sculpted statues (13)
{MASSACHUSETTS)  MASS (ceremony by church) with CH (church) inside an anagram of STATUES.

8d Incessant university bar, upon retirement, spoiled date (8)
{UNABATED}  U (university) +  BAN (reversed) + anagram of DATE

9d Dramatist stood up new books, hardbacks firstly, to impress one undertaking contract? (4,9)
{JACK ROSENTHAL)  JACKAL (One undertaking contract, as in Day of the J.) containing ROSE + NT (new books)  + H (first of hardbacks).

15d Detective and Lieutenant bust site of archaeological hoax (8)
{PILTDOWN}  The scene of an early 20th century archaeological hoax.  PI (Detective, as in Magnum PI)  + LT (lieutenant) + DOWN (bust, as in down time).

17d Lane, in films, flanked by court, a royal and religious place (8)
{CLOISTER}  LOIS (as in Superman’s girlfriend) inside  CT (court) + ER (a royal)

19d Breakfast item for those asleep? (7)
{KIPPERS) Cryptic definition.

21d In command, diver hoisted marine hazard (7)
{ICEBERG}  IC (In command) + GREBE (a diving bird, reversed)

22d Business rules written by metal pen (6)
{CORRAL}  CO (business) + R R (rules) +  AL (metal, aluminium).

25d In hindsight, some regret touching aquatic animal (5)
{OTTER}   Hidden reversed answer   …regRET TOuching…….

Thanks to Osmosis for a seriously tough challenge.


  1. Libellule
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    re 1a, you are right – literally translated Charcuterie is “Pork Butcher”

  2. haplo
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    6d ROM is read only memory, I had a bouble take

    9d I had Mark not Jack as a mark is a hitman’s contract, personally thin Day of the Jackal is extremely tenious
    But hey it’s the best I’ve ever done on a toughie

  3. haplo
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I should proof read my comments if I’m going to post :-)

  4. Libellule
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    23a I think it works like this:
    Take the last letter of arrive, E, last letter of in. N, then some (du): My french dictionary says
    “When some is used as a quantifier to mean an unspecified amount of something, it is translated by du”, and it is suggested that this is some/french by the reference to Paris. Then I think you take the P(aris). Quite a clever and very carefully thought out clue really.

  5. tilsit
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    That was my first thought, but if you read it that way, there’s no definition and it wouldn’t be one of those “&lit” clues, as the whole thing couldn’t define it.

    I checked it with a couple of setters and the explanation was their considered opinion!.

  6. Libellule
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Oh I see – you suggest en (in) e.g. En France and du (some). I see your point. tres francais :-)

  7. nanaglugglug
    Posted June 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

    Started well with 7d then it was downhill all the way!! Way above our capabilities – even when we knew the answer we either couldn’t spell it or couldn’t work out the reasoning!!
    Off to the dentist now to lighten my mood!

  8. Posted June 14, 2009 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Very tough – I was also baffled by the wordplay of 23, but I think Dave’s version makes sense. 7 and 8 down were both among the difficult ones for me.