Toughie 320 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 320

Toughie No 320 by Osmosis

Looking Backwards

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

I had guessed that Osmosis was today’s setter even before I had it confirmed, largely based on his trademark complicated wordplay and the extraordinary number of reversals. There were some entertaining clues, but others seemed a bit forced.
Let us know what you thought by leaving a comment!

Across Clues

1a  Crime returned jerk into periphery of community somewhere in US (6,4)
{CARSON CITY} – put the crime of setting things on fire followed by a facial twitch (jerk) reversed (returned) inside the outer letters of CommunitY to get the name of the state capital of Nevada (somewhat loosely defined as “somewhere in US”).

6a  Market square (4)
{FAIR} – double definition, square here having the meaning of above-board.

9a  A lively team game converts novice (7)
{AMATEUR} – the definition is novice. A is followed by an anagram (lively) of TEAM and RU (rugby union) reversed (converts).

10a  Matter-of-fact intelligence such Standard English reflects (7)
{PROSAIC} – start with the U.S. equivalent of MI6 (intelligence) and add SO (such) and R(eceived) P(ronunciation) (Standard English) and then reverse (reflects) the whole lot to get an adjective meaning matter-of-fact or run-of-the-mill.

12a  Minister for Paisley? (3,2,3,5)
{MAN OF THE CLOTH} – cryptic definition of a church minister (not the Reverend Ian, who is a bit of a red herring here) based on the fact that Paisley, as well as being a town near Glasgow, is the name of a teardrop-shaped pattern used on fabrics.

14a  Fall out initially from car, with gunman intermittently appearing (6)
{AUTUMN} – the definition is fall. Start with another name for a car and remove the final O (Out initially from) and then add the even letters (intermittently) of gunman.

15a  Favour leader in fun run that’s entering turn (8 )
{BEFRIEND} – a verb meaning to favour or give support to is constructed by putting the first letter (leader) of F(un) and R (run in cricket) followed by IE (id. est., that’s) inside (entering) a turn (in a road, for example).

17a  Charlie, politician (51), embroiled in dirt (8 )
{DUMPLING} – Charlie, amongst other things, means a silly person and we want another word for a silly person. Put a Member of Parliament (politician) and the Roman numerals for 51 inside the dirt produced by farm animals.

19a  Craft shown by withdrawn equestrian worker close to nature in work (6)
{PEDALO} – start with OP (opus, work) and put the name given to a worker (of either sex) who looks after horses in a racing stable and the last letter (close) of naturE inside. You then have to reverse (withdrawn) the whole thing to get a small pleasure-craft.

22a  Army’s no.1 Scotsmen leave part of Middle East (7,6)
{ARABIAN DESERT} – “part of Middle East” (a bit like “somewhere in US” in 1a) is a vague way of defining the enormous wasteland which covers most of the land area between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. Start with A (first letter, i.e. no. 1, of Army) and follow this with two Scottish male forenames (Scotsmen) and finish with a verb meaning to leave without permission.

24a  Casually read detective novel (part two) after some beer (3,4)
{DIP INTO} – we want a phrasal verb meaning to read a bit at a time (casually read). Put DI (detective inspector) ahead of O (the second letter, i.e. part two, of nOvel) and between the two insert the standard serving of beer in this country.

25a  Lady, continent, heard flushing (7)
{ROSACEA} – an amusing surface reading (although incontinent would have made it more amusing!). The lady is ROSE and the continent is ASIA and we want a homophone of the two joined together to get a disease which causes redness (flushing) of the skin on the face.

26a  Singers expected first in theatre (4)
{DUET} – two singers, to be precise. Here’s an example, featuring the two finalists in the “world’s biggest lips” competition.

27a  Impudence, unsettling ref, often leads to red/yellow (10)
{EFFRONTERY} – an anagram (unsettling) of REF OFTEN is followed by the start letters (leads) of Red and Yellow.

Down Clues

1d  With cold, American the latest off colour (4)
{CYAN} – a colour is formed from C(old) followed by a slang term for an American without its final K (latest off).

2d  Bill, with outside watch over, is let back in (7)
{READMIT} – bill is normally either AC or AD. This time it’s the latter and we have to put a word for a watch (or a clock, or a device that lets you know when your boiled egg is ready) reversed (over) around it (outside).

3d  Very little chance a cat carries mail in, sadly (3,2,1,7)
{ONE IN A MILLION} – a phrase meaning virtually no chance (but still more likely than your winning the National Lottery!) is constructed by putting an anagram (sadly) of MAIL IN inside ONE LION (a cat).

4d  Constable perhaps probes type of bar where this is served? (6)
{CARAFE} – John Constable is an example (perhaps) of artists who have become an RA (Royal Academician). Put this inside (probes) a type of bar which serves both coffee and wine to get what the latter may be delivered to your table in.

5d  Footwear shop relocated in rear, via elevator? (3,5)
{TAP SHOES} – the sort of footwear favoured by a certain type of dancer is manufactured from an anagram (relocated) of SHOP inside (in) a synonym for rear or backside which has to be reversed (via elevator, in a down clue).

7d  Booze keeps a music fan cool (1,2,4)
{A LA MODE} – we want a French phrase meaning trendy or cool. Put another word for beer (booze) around A and MOD (music fan, known for neat dress and riding motor scooters).

8d  Fabled bird, backstage in mask, freakily hounds old actor (4,6)
{ROCK HUDSON} – the name of this old actor, who turned out to be not as macho as many of his film roles might have suggested, is constructed from a gigantic mythological bird, described in the Arabian Nights, the last letter (backstage) in masK and an anagram (freakily) of HOUNDS. What do you think of backstage as a tail indicator?

11d  Pianist gets award training potential tenors (5,8 )
{OSCAR PETERSON} – string together an Academy Award statuette, PE (physical education, training) and an anagram (potential) of TENORS to get this famous Canadian pianist.

13d  Oppressive expression of joy in flagrante, as earth moves (4-6)
{HARD-HANDED} – a term meaning oppressive or severe is made from HA (expression of joy) followed by R(e)D-HANDED (in flagrante, caught in the act) without the E (Earth moves). The surface reading is quite amusing, but I’m not sure what an oppressive expression of joy is.

16d  Keating offers no resistance to remove clothing at intervals (2,3,3)
{ON AND OFF} – remove the leading R (no resistance) from the forename of the singer and former boy band member and follow this with a verb meaning to remove clothing (especially, of a male, to lift the hat).

18d  Maine school group promoted extremists to illustrate unhealthy food? (4,3)
{MEAT PIE} – the standard postal abbreviation for Maine is ME. Add the abbreviation for Parent-Teacher Association which has to be reversed (promoted, in a down clue) and finish with the outer letters (extremists) of IllustratE.

20d  Perhaps the lorry briefly left Spain (7)
{ARTICLE} – it’s definite, the definition is a way of describing a part of speech of which “the” is an example (perhaps). Start with an abbreviation (briefly) for a type of lorry which has two or more sections connected by flexible joints and add L(eft) and the IVR code for Spain.

21d  What may be associated with Noddy, Slade singer ultimately. Holder? (6)
{BEARER} – I don’t remember this character from when I was studying the works of Enid Blyton, but apparently Noddy had a chum called Tessie BEAR. Add the final letters (ultimately) of SladE singeR. The clue seems very forced to me. Here’s the adult Noddy performing:

23d  Gary’s outside clutching a side of meat like venison (4)
{GAMY} – put the outer letters of GarY around (clutching) A and M(eat) to get a rarely-used adjective meaning having the flavour of wild animals (like venison).

The clues I enjoyed today included 6a, 4d, 7d and 18d, but my favourite is 27a. Let us know what you think in a comment!

6 comments on “Toughie 320

  1. Had to resort to you ace review, gazza on some of the wierd ‘n’ wonderful wordplay (particularly reversals!).12a, 27a and 16d were tops for me. Thanks to you and Osmosis – I must try to pick up his style through his name!

  2. Superb crossword again from Osmosis, I loved 1a and 12a. Great review again Gazza, thanks for the info re Oscar Peterson, I’m not a great jazz fan but i’ve always liked his sound, however I had always assumed he was American.

  3. There were a handful that I just could not solve today, but having read the above explanations, I am kicking myself for not doing better. Much enjoyment for me; thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for the spotless review.

  4. Cannot disagree with anything above. There were some strained clues but some lovely ones as well. For 13d, I would usally associate heavy handed with oppressive rather than hard handed. I only got this one through the checking letters.

    12a was my favourite clue.

    Many thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and thanks to Gazza for the notes.

  5. Started this last night but had to give up and continue this morning.
    Over breakfast coffee carried on but after clearing around 25% decided to see the blog!
    For me this was a real toughie!
    My first entry last night after 6a was 12a. I also got 17a and 27a. 2d & 4d.Therafter ground to a halt
    Back to earth with a bump!

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