Toughie 237

Toughie No 237 by Osmosis

The Nectar of the Gods

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

As usual Osmosis has produced a challenging Toughie, where getting the answer is often much simpler than working out the wordplay. This is an example of how a Toughie can be tricky and entertaining without resorting to very obscure words or the names of people that few have ever heard of.

Let us know what you think of it via a comment.

Across Clues

1a  Meat dish in iron set alight (6)
{FLAMBE} – put LAMB (meat dish) inside FE (chemical symbol for iron).

4a  Puzzle, when confronted, initially confuses — it’s a killer (8 )
{ACROSTIC} – confronted indicates a reversal, so we want to reverse C (initial letter of Confuses), IT’S, (ignore the A which is just padding) and ORCA (killer-whale). For some time I tried to justify using an anagram, with confuses as the indicator, of IT’S A and CROC.

9a  Bear right beyond outskirts of Penzance to enter channel (6)
{RUPERT} – the forename of this bear has PenzancE and R(ight) inside RUT (channel).

10a  Wild beast inhabits Caribbean — small number refuse to go there (5,3)
{WASTE BIN} – where the refuse goes. Caribbean is West Indies.

12a  Newsreader Ford sits around time of broadcast close to the transmitting equipment (8 )
{ANTENNAE} – put ANNA (Ford) round TEN (from News at Ten) and add the final letter (close) of thE.

13a  African savanna resident cut point for spear? (6)
{IMPALE} – the savanna resident that we know as IMPALA and which leopards call lunch has its final letter dropped (cut) and E (point) added.

15a  Comedian from lace factory teased Gina (5,8 )
{SPIKE MILLIGAN} – put together SPIKE (lace, as in doctor a drink), MILL (factory) and an anagram (teased) of GINA.

18a  Dancer often ran to gym, loosening up (6,7)
{MARGOT FONTEYN} – this Dame is an anagram (loosening up) of OFTEN RAN TO GYM. Very nice surface reading!

22a  Left-winger to examine fault when shooting (3-3)
{RED-EYE} – for shooting think photography.

24a  Apple from tree’s end branch overrun by pest (8 )
{PEARMAIN} – put treE and ARM (branch) into PAIN (pest) to get a variety of apple.

26a  Run-down son with £25 handed over by relative (8 )
{SYNOPSIS} – a synonym for summary or run-down is constructed from S(on), PONY (slang for £25) which has to be reversed (handed over) and SIS.

27a  Half of tourists fancied eating a good hotpot abroad? (6)
{RAGOUT} – form an anagram (fancied) of the first half of TOURists and put A G(ood) inside.

28a  Dislike leg-rest (odd bits missing) in French aeroplane (8 )
{AVERSION} – a noun meaning dislike has the even letters of lEg-ReSt put inside AVION.

29a  Authorised dictionary contained a type of ox from the east (6)
{OKAYED} – reverse (from the east, in an across clue) YAK and put it inside OED.

Down Clues

1d  Flyers run out fast, originally promoting Scottish site (6)
{FORFAR} – I bet that this will be Bigboab’s favourite clue! – start with RAF (flyers) and add the initial letters (originally) of Run Out Fast. Now reverse (promoting) the lot to get a Scottish town. I don’t understand why “site” is used, and wonder whether it’s a typo for “side” which would give the whole clue a pleasing football flavour, as in the scoreline East Fife 4 Forfar 5.

2d  Vagrant tries to track source of cider, nicking one litre for cocktail (9)
{APPETISER} – an anagram (vagrant) of TRIES follows (to track) APP(L)E.

3d  Country friend snatches to control setter (7)
{BURUNDI} – the name of this Central African country has BUD (friend) around RUN (to control) and finishes with I (setter).

5d  Fizzy drinks, when poured out, becoming flatter (4)
{COAX} – fizzy drinks are COKES – when poured out (i.e. expressed, spoken) this sounds like a verb meaning to flatter.

6d  Best work by Rice? Final stages of Evita musical (7)
{OPTIMAL} – string together OP (work), TIM (Rice) and the last letters of EvitA musicaL.

7d  Two singles with bat flicked part of leg (5)
{TIBIA} – an anagram (flicked, flicked?) of I, I and BAT.

8d  School discipline includes old English sport (8 )
{CANOEING} – put O(ld) E(nglish) inside CANING (school discipline of not that many years ago).

11d  Forces welcomed top pilot in confrontation (4-3)
{FACE-OFF} – I’m not totally sure that I’ve got the wordplay right here – let me know if you have a better idea! The definition is confrontation and we have FF (two forces) outside (welcomed) ACE (top pilot) and OF (in, as in “one in ten”). I really tried to force FO (flying officer, pilot) into the wordplay, but just could not make it work!

14d  One taking the plunge in cafe ordered head of eel (7)
{FIANCEE} – a lady who has agreed to get married (one taking the plunge).

16d  Study of trees unfulfilled graduate working alone extremely grubby (9)
{GENEALOGY} – the trees are not wooden but family – fillet GraduatE and GrubbY and put an anagram (working) of ALONE inside.

17d  A boy band consumed by ambition — to pick up the finest crumpet? (8 )
{AMBROSIA} – start with A, then put BROS (boy band) inside AIM (ambition) which is reversed (to pick up). I always thought that the answer (the food of the gods) was milk and honey but Chambers has it as “any fragrant or delicious food or beverage” so finest crumpet presumably qualifies – it provides a very funny surface reading, anyway! Sorry, there’s no clip of Bros – I couldn’t stand the pain!.

19d  Mountain given lumpy interpretation in certain type of map (7)
{OLYMPUS} – following on from 17d we get the mountain where the Greek gods congregated to eat their crumpets. Put an anagram (interpretation) of LUMPY inside OS (Ordinance Survey).

20d  Set aside rake casually over soil (7)
{EARMARK} – to soil is MAR – put an anagram (casually) of RAKE around (over) it.

21d  One that’s free when it is reversed (6)
{UNITED} – if you reverse the IT in the middle of the answer you get UNTIED (free).

23d  Charlie caught in nude romps (5)
{DUNCE} – an anagram (romps) of NUDE with C(aught) (abbreviation used in cricket!) inside.

25d  See borders in floor covering (4)
{LINO} – the definition is floor covering.

I liked 18a and 26a, but my clue of the day (by a distance) is 17d. What do you think? – leave us a comment and please take the time to grade the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.


  1. gnomethang
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Again, despite currently being 4 clues away from completion I thought that this was a great crossword for the reason stated by Gazza.Liked 15a, 12a but favourites were 19d and 26a.

    Nice to see another Boy Band in the clues!!

  2. Big Boab
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Great fun, yes I did like 1d, I also liked 25d which is made here in Kirkcaldy however I agree 17d is tops.

    • gazza
      Posted October 21, 2009 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Big Boab
      I guess you’ve changed your email address, because your comments today have had to be moderated – you should be ok from now on.

      • Posted October 21, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Actually it’s the change from bigboab to Big Boab that caused the moderation to be required – either should be OK in future.

  3. Edi
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Getting more confident with these toughies everyday. Have taken Gazza’s advice over last few weeks and its paying off. Once again problems with computer mean i cant reply quick enough. (sorry Gazza re 26,064). Larger anagrams most satisfying when completed.

  4. Prolixic
    Posted October 21, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful puzzle. This was challenging, witty, had excellent clues and well hidden answers. The was a great feeling of satisfaction when the final answers fell into place. So many pennies dropped that my pockets are now empty!

  5. Derek
    Posted October 22, 2009 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I have lived in NL for 45 years and do the cryptic crosswords to refresh my English – my neighbours insist that I speak Dutch!I am well over 85 years old and it is amazing how one forgets ones mother tongue not to mention other languages learnt in a lifetime.

    Big Dave – congratulations – your blogs are a great source of help for the thorny points.

    • gazza
      Posted October 22, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Hi Derek – Goedendag and welcome to the blog.
      We hope to hear regularly from you in future.