Toughie 412 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 412

Toughie No 412 by Osmosis

Less is More

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Although I do enjoy doing Osmosis puzzles, I think that his trademark type of clue, where the answer has to be built from lots of small bits with single letters being either added or removed, can be a bit overdone. What do you think? Tell us in a comment, and please remember to click on one of the stars at the bottom to show much you enjoyed it.

Across Clues

1a  English town providing facilities for disabled? (11)
{BROADSTAIRS} – this is a town on the Kent coast and its name cryptically suggests (if split 5,6) that it is suitable for disabled access.

7a  In fight, Charlie’s knocked out by old pudding (7)
{SOUFFLÉ} – start with a short fight and replace its C (Charlie being the Nato alphabet codeword for C) with O(ld) to make a light pudding.

8a  Before opening of shop, April showers stifle Oscar star (7)
{POLARIS} – the name of a star (also known as the North Star) is formed from the first letter (opening) of S(hop) which follows an anagram (showers) of APRIL with O (Oscar in the Nato alphabet) inside (stifle).

10a  Broadcasting in Siberia, northwards, westwards (2,3)
{ON AIR} – hidden in the clue and reading from right to left (westwards, in an across clue) is a phrase meaning broadcasting.

11a  Green, simple man returned close to nature to cut costs (9)
{ECONOMISE} – the definition is to cut costs. Start with a prefix meaning green, add the name of a simple man from a nursery rhyme which is reversed (returned) and finish with the final letter (close) of naturE.

12a  As a form of therapy, alcohol drinks worked least (7)
{GESTALT} – this particular form of therapy, according to Chambers, “works towards self-discovery and liberation through a combination of existentialism, realism, self-expression, self-acceptance and regular self-analysis” (so that’s clear then!). Put the abbreviation for a favourite alcoholic tipple (dropping the “and” which normally separates the two letters) around (drinks) an anagram (worked) of LEAST.

14a  Salesmen, left redundant, dissolved as a group (2,5)
{EN MASSE} – this is an anagram (dissolved) of SA(L)ESMEN.

15a  Rings work, moving earliest of shifts – something fishy? (7)
{SCALLOP} – start with a synonym for rings or telephones and add the usual short abbreviation for work. Now move the S (first letter, i.e. earliest, of Shifts) to the front to make an edible mollusc (something fishy).

18a  Leader of cubs, outside in autumn for instance, volunteers two packs for this game (7)
{CANASTA} – this is a card game requiring two packs of playing cards. Start with the first letter (leader) of Cubs, then add the outer letters of AutumN, a conjunction meaning for instance and the military volunteers.

20a  Olga’s beginning summer time at home worried stiff? (9)
{OBSTINATE} – an adjective meaning stiff or stubborn begins with the first letter of O(lga). This is followed by the abbreviation for our time zone during the summer months, the usual abbreviation for at home and a verb meaning worried.

21a  Suggest vacating when stag mates swagger (5)
{STRUT} – what we want is a verb meaning to swagger. Take the outer letters (vacating) of SuggesT and follow with the mating season of a stag.

22a  March 1 in France — time to take apart a building perhaps (7)
{DEMOUNT} – this verb means to take apart something (typically a building) with the intention of reassembling it later. Start with a protest march and add the number one in French and T(ime).

23a  Become slower from half-nine, with 1000 calories knocked back (7)
{SLACKEN} – take half of (ni)NE and add a shorthand way of writing 1,000 calories. Then reverse (knocked back) the lot to reveal a verb meaning become slower.

24a  Hat comes from expensive-sounding shop in converted residence (11)
{DEERSTALKER} – the type of hat favoured by Sherlock Holmes is constructed from a sound-alike of a word meaning expensive, followed by a synonym for shop (used as a verb to describe how a suspect may reveal the identities of his criminal mates when questioned by the police, for example) inside a shortened and reversed (converted) form of residence.

Down Clues

1d  Architectural style using gold repeatedly through department store (7)
{BAUHAUS} – an architectural style, one of the main aims of which is to unify art, craft and technology, is constructed by putting the chemical symbol for gold twice into a high-street department store. One of the leading architects of this movement was Mies van der Rohe whose motto “less is more” stressed simplicity and clarity of design.

2d  Cold leaves chest tender (5)
{OFFER} – remove the initial C (Cold leaves) from a type of chest.

3d  Extremely intense training in river’s heading for trouble (7)
{DEEPEST} – to get this superlative meaning extremely intense put the abbreviation for physical education (training) inside the name of a river which rises in Snowdonia and the ‘S and finally add the initial letter (heading) of Trouble.

4d  Excellent pub welcomed by actor Peter who’s roofless (3-4)
{TOP-HOLE} – an old fashioned adjective meaning excellent is made by putting the abbreviation for public house inside (welcomed) the surname of the actor Peter (think Lawrence of Arabia) from which the initial letter has been dropped (i.e. it’s roofless, it’s lost its top, in a down clue).

5d  Three-legged race here? (4,2,3)
{ISLE OF MAN} – cryptic definition of a British Crown dependency which uses as a symbol a triskelion (device with three legs) and where an annual motorcycling race is held.

6d  Society stars circumvent premier to nick part of buffet? (7)
{SARNIES} – the answer is a slang (hence the question mark) term for the items of food which are almost invariably part of a buffet. Start with S(ociety) and add a star sign, then inside (circumvent) it put the first (premier) letter of Nick.

7d  Storage space’s back, with old fuel company removing a mixed bag (11)
{SMORGASBORD} – a word, from Swedish, for a range of delicacies to eat (including open versions of the previous answer) has evolved to mean a variety of different things (mixed bag). Reverse (back) a type of computer memory (storage space), not forgetting the ‘S and add a pre-privatisation fuel company from which the A has been dropped.

9d  US comic, first woman to appear in West End theatre briefly (5,6)
{STEVE MARTIN} – what we want is the name of a US comic actor and stand-up comedian. Put the name of the first woman inside the abbreviated name of the West End theatre where The Mousetrap is a permanent fixture.

13d  Garland’s captivated by a true wizard, easily (2,7)
{AT LEISURE} – in spite of the allusion to the The Wizard of Oz the garland we want is not Judy but a Polynesian garland of flowers. Put it, followed by the ‘S, inside an anagram (wizard) of A TRUE.

16d  Fake dope smoked (no fine) (7)
{ASSUMED} – something that is fake (an identity for example) is a charade of a silly person (dope) followed by a verb meaning smoked from which the initial F has been dropped (no Fine).

17d  Roman dramatist, forerunner of preterite tense in usual works (7)
{PLAUTUS} – the answer is the name of a Roman playwright. Start with the initial letter (forerunner) of Preterite and add an anagram (works) of USUAL with T(ense) inside.

18d  Club, which caddy holds, keeps golfer third in Open (7)
{CHELSEA} – the answer is the name of a successful London football club. Put an informal word for what you keep in a caddy in the kitchen around the surname of a South African golfer who won the Open Championship in 2002 and the third letter of opEn.

19d  How do you make Arnold an old batsman? (7)
{STRIKER} – this is an alternative name for a batsman, and if you apply it (in the form 6,1) to Arnold you end up with an old.

21d  Naked celebrity, the centre of jokes (5)
{STARK} – put together a synonym for celebrity and the central letter of joKes.

The clues I liked included 11a, 12a, 18a and 18d, but my favourite today is 5d. Let us know your views in a comment.

20 comments on “Toughie 412

  1. Another fun but not too difficult to solve puzzle. Understanding all the wordplay proved a bit harder though! – particular examples being 24a and19d. A lot of the answers I grabbed from cues on the bitty word elements and constructions, realised the answer then had to bolt them together properly to understand the clue.
    My favourite was 9d followed by 16d.
    Thanks to gazza and Osmosis!

  2. Agree with your assessment of the ‘bitty’ clues, but in fact this was very helpful for us. Favourite clues 6d and 1d, when we eventually got it. Thanks for the blog, Gazza, interested to look at the reasons after the solve.

  3. i really struggled with this one today but with hindsight it didn’t take as long as it seemed when I was doing it! In my defence, my paper was screwed up all through the down clues which made them hard to read. Took me a long time to justify my ideas, I think, not helped by the fact that a certain Gnome told me it probably wouldn’t take me long – took me twice as long as it did him! I liked 7d. Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  4. I quite liked this one. The only wordplay that eluded me was 19d (easy when you know how!). Thanks to Osmosis, and to gazza.

  5. Osmosis is good for my ego, he makes me realise that I am in a different bracket from the true cruciverbalists. I needed your assistance with 12a, 22a and 1d, so thanks Gazza and thanks Osmosis. I loved 24a.

  6. Enjoyable crossword from Osmosis today. Loved 19d when the penny dropped and 1d. Favourite clue though was12a. Many thanks to setter and to Gazza for the review.

  7. As I mentioned elsewhere, I tackled this one before the ‘Normal’ puzzle, and a right struggle it was too. Some obscure words, phrases and definitions.
    The word that comtinually sprang to mind as I was solving it was Devious i.e. over and above the cryptic level, which rather tempered my elation at completing it, which I managed pre-blog, but with electronic aid, but got 6d wrong.

    Can’t abide 9d (makes my flesh creep) but enjoyed 19d, esp. as still basking in the warm glow of a very rare Derbyshire victory!

  8. A long hard struggle! But managed to solve albeit with all manner of aids. Then relied upon Gazza’s excellent review to explain the wordplay in many clues. Would never (ever,ever) have been able to explain 19d without the review. Many thanks, Gazza!

  9. Just a small aside. When I saw the Mousetrap (in 1962) it was still at the The Ambassadors, where it stayed until its 21st Birthday in 1973.

  10. this is my third ever attempt at the toughie and I was pleased to find I got about a third’ all by myself’! Had to look at your excellent review for most of the others, but managed to work out all of them except 19d, without looking at the bracket! One day!!!!!!!!!!!!???????

    1. Well done for getting so far, Liz. This is by no means the easiest Toughie, so the day of triumph cannot be far off!

    2. Well done Liz – did you have a look at yesterdays? That would be a good one to start on!

    3. Well done Liz. I found it a proper struggle. When you have done a whole Toughie, we should celebrate at the new Patisserie Valerie in St Peters Street – I hear its very good.

  11. First one entered was 5d, maybe because I had just finished the Quickie – 22a in Quickie was fairly cryptic – for a Quickie! I have noticed on quite a few occasions that there is link between DT, Quickie and Toughie – is this intentional?

    1. I believe the Cryptic and Quickie are usually set by the same person. I find it really spooky when the Saturday General Knowledge has the same words as the Prize Puzzle and Quickie. Now that’s really clever planning.

      1. Do you think that 22a in the Quickie was Ximenean?(fair) for Quick Crossword Puzzlers?

        1. I don’t do the Quick but I just had a look at it and it looks ok to me. The clue explicitly tells you that man is an example of the answer. I don’t think that you can apply Ximenean rules to non-cryptic puzzles.

          1. Sorry, but I’m new this site – I have only recently heard of Ximenes – it was supposed to be a joke (failed miserably!)

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