Toughie 293 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 293

Toughie No 293 by Osmosis

A Tale of Four Corners

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Tilsit had another overlong stay at the hospital this morning so I have dragged myself away from my year-end accounts to solve and review this puzzle.  Having seen earlier plaintive cries in the daily review comments from those who were stuck, I was expecting the worst, but it wasn’t that bad.  I whizzed through the NW corner, gave up on the NE, sailed through the SW  and struggled a bit with SE before finally returning to tidy up the NE.  As I progressed I realised that younger solvers might well have heard of the pop group formerly fronted by the late, much lamented,  Sid Barrett but could well struggle with the entertaining Ms Bryan, a lady who was still performing the splits on stage while well into her seventies.


1a           Cannon and Ball are so intimate? (3,2,3)
{ARM IN ARM} – a bit of licence here, referring to both cannon and ball as weapons, but the surface reading concerning Tommy and Bobby makes it all worthwhile

6a           A timekeeper caught, moving from second, trailblazer flying across the water (6)
{ALCOCK} – easy when you know how! – start with A CLOCK and move the C (caught) from second to third to get the name of one of the trailblazing fliers from the United States (across the water – nothing to do with Lindberg)

9a           Railcar oddly prohibited musical type here in US? (6)
{ALASKA} – get rid of the odd letters (oddly prohibited) from railcar and add another name for reggae to get the US state with the famous hockey mum (now what was her name?)

10a         Staff followed little girl entering to place deposit (8)
{SEDIMENT} – MEN (staff) follow DI (little girl) all inside SET (to place) to get a deposit

11a         Busy outlet maintained by alternative fuel (8)
{EVENTFUL} – a word meaning busy is built up from VENT (outlet) inside (maintained by) an anagram (alternative) of FUEL

12a         Academic money given without initial hesitation (6)
{READER} – one of the junior senior university lecturers comes from (B)READ without its initial letter and ER (hesitation)

13a         Special ground encircles Bruce and Sheila’s place? (5,7)
{ALICE SPRINGS} – an anagram (ground) of SPECIAL is followed by a word meaning encircles to get this town in Australia (Bruce and Sheila’s place)

16a         Woollen cap providing heat, one gets used to season (6,6)
{SCOTCH BONNET} – a double definition of a woollen cap and a spice used to season curries – interestingly, according to Chambers, this is also the name of the fairy-ring mushroom

19a         Expert motorists overwhelmed by shout of approval (6)
{ORACLE} – the expert comes from inserting RAC (Royal Automobile Club / motorists) inside olé (shout of approval)

21a         Fine to be announced (50 quid) after reviewing huge game (8)
{SOFTBALL} – well done if you worked this out from the wordplay rather than the other way around – F(ine) TBA (to be announced) L (50) L (pound / quid) all come after OS (huge) reversed (reviewing) to get this game

23a         Young lady, facing press, tense in the main (8)
{SEÑORITA} – this young Spanish lady is built up from IRON (press) reversed (facing) and T(ense) inside SEA (the main)

24a         Working ex-Labour leader not driven? (2,4)
{ON FOOT} – a charade of ON (working) and Michael FOOT (ex-Labour leader) gives a means of getting about without driving

25a         Australia first to bat in match, given ideal conditions (2,4)
{AT BEST} – A(ustralia) is followed by B (first to bat) inside a TEST (match) to get ideal conditions

26a         Bryan’s into dole fiddling – you might make a fortune there (2,6)
{EL DORADO} – put DORA Bryan inside an anagram (fiddling) of DOLE to get somewhere you might make a fortune


2d           Again, go through red light, getting charged (6)
{RELIVE} – rather subtly the definition here is to again go through – add together RE (red without the final letter / light – a refreshing change from the usual constructs which lead to RE!) and LIVE (charged with electricity)

3d           European writer begins novel dismissing Government (5)
{IBSEN} – this Norwegian playwright is an anagram (novel) of BE(G)INS without the G (dismissing Government)

4d           Commercial by American footballers involved hit for old singer (4,5)
{ADAM FAITH} – I did actually piece this word-sum together to get the answer! – AD (commercial) AM(erican) FA (footballers) and an anagram (involved) of HIT result in the old singer responsible for such gems as “What Do You Want?” and “Poor Me”

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5d           Maureen’s ‘orrendous time on bottle, latterly. Drinking this? (7)
{MOSELLE} – a charade of MO’S (Maureen’s) (H)ELL (‘orrendous time) and E (bottlE, latterly) lead to this German white wine from the district of the river Moselle (German Mosel)

6d           Occupant of woods with less hair, barber primarily clipping (5)
{ALDER} – this tree (occupant of woods) is derived from (B)ALDER (with less hair) without the B (Barber primarily, clipping)

7d           In audition, emblem is attached to foremost musician (9)
{CYMBALIST} – take an instrument that sounds like (in audition) a symbol (emblem) and add 1ST (first / foremost) and you get a musician

8d           Criminal and religious official, ignoring resistance, meet (8)
{CONVERGE} – one of Crosswordland’s favourite criminals is followed by a VERGE(R) (religious official) without the second R (ignoring Resistance) to give a verb meaning to meet

13d         One at greengrocer’s terribly irate having to host church fair (9)
{ARTICHOKE} – you can buy one of these at the greengrocer’s – just put an anagram (terribly) of IRATE around (having to host) CH(urch) and OK (fair)

14d         Rock band staple, written by someone like R. Stein? (4,5)
{PINK FLOYD} – I smiled when I worked out the name of this rock band from PIN (staple) and K(eith) FLOYD (TV chef / someone like R(ick) Stein)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

15d         Crofter’s supreme ram, crossing road, hairy in the extreme (8)
{SCARIEST} – put C (Crofter’s initial letter / supreme) and ARIES (the ram) inside (crossing) ST (road) to get a word meaning hairy in the extreme

17d         Rolling Stone (locks silver) performing (2,5)
{ON STAGE} – an anagram (rolling – good spot by the setter) of STONE is placed around (locks) AG (silver) to get a phrase meaning performing

18d         Scottish politician spurns premier – nutty thing (6)
{ALMOND} – Alex S(ALMOND} without his first letter (spurns premier) gives a nut that is a particular favourite of mine

20d         Mounted officers, in trouble, deserted command (5)
{EDICT} – put CID (Criminal Investigation Department / police officers) inside TE (TroublE without the inside letters / deserted) and then reverse the lot (mounted, as it’s a down clue) to get a command

22d         Burns, climbing around southern tip of sunny France, easily (2,3)
{BY FAR} – reverse (climbing, as it’s a down clue) RAB Burns around Y (southern tip of sunnY) and F(rance) and the result is a phrase meaning easily

I’ve been writing this review in between struggling to submit my Corporation Tax return using the new online process, finally succeeding at about 7.30pm.  Now on to trying to file the accounts at Companies House!  I’m pretty computer literate, and it’s been uphill all the way, so I pity anyone with less experience.

This puzzle was good on first solve and seemed even better after revisiting the clues to write the review.

Just click on the picture to enlarge the answers

Toughie 293 - Answers

21 comments on “Toughie 293

  1. Finished just before you posted this!! Still no idea why for several answers though – 10a, 16a amongst them. An excellent puzzle – not sure I’m happy with 1a though – a cannon clearly fits the answer – but a ball? Maybe as in ammunition?

    For some reason 24a completely evaded me – didn’t help that 18d only came after a process of elimination – never heard of ‘im!

  2. 10a – di (little girl) + men (staff), all placed in set (deposit)
    16a – Double definition = type of cap and a hot chili pepper (beloved of BD in his curries).

  3. Fantastic puzzle – fine vintage claret. Giovanni thought his puzzle on Tuesday was too tough!! I found this more challenging to get the wordplay from the clues than Tuesday’s one. They were extremely well polished with lots of new indicators (for me at least). The number of “Ah!” moments was superb. It is difficult to chose a favourite clue with so many gems among them. I’ll therefore reverse the tables and say that my least favourite clue was 24a as it was one of the few that I solved on the first run through and did not need to give much thought to. It must therefore be far too easy for a puzzle of this quality and calibre!!

  4. Failed on the remaining 5 from lunchtime revisit – I still don’t get 2d and 20d.
    Great puzzle though with 16a being a hot favourite (I’ll get me coat!)

    1. 2d. re(d) = red light (i.e. slimmed down) + live (energised) = again go through
      20. CID inside T(roubl)E all reversed (mounted)

    2. 2d – I think re(d) (red light – missing its end) + live (charge) = Again, go through
      20d Officers = CID inside T E (trouble deserted) all mounted (a down clue) to give edict.

  5. Managed it apart from NE corner inspite of having 6ac and 5& 8d !
    But could you explain 7d? I had cornetist but no idea why.

    1. My guess, is its a soundlike (audition) Symbol (emblem) + 1st (eg. first/foremost musician)

  6. 12a Unless things have changed a lot since my time at university, a Reader is a pretty senior lecturer.

  7. Thanks to Big Dave for standing in at short notice for me.

    No thanks for that picture of Alex Salmond, a man for whom the word smug was invented.

  8. Now then! – I liked 14 d because I like the band. BUT did anyone else reckon on my favourite German band?


    I hope to hell that we can embed images here, else I’m in trouble! 01:02 gets interesting!

Comments are closed.