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Toughie 453

Toughie No 453 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Bufo

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

I made very hard work of this and feel obliged to give it 5 stars for difficulty. I don’t know whether it is that difficult or whether I was just out of sorts. After being stuck for quite a time I needed a second cup of tea to get the brain functioning again and then finished it fairly comfortably.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Python head constricts arm, exterior going redder? (10)
{PALINDROME} – A member of the Monty Python team is followed by a word for head surrounding R (arm, exterior going) to give a type of word of which “redder” is an example

6a    Biblical figure that’s central to mission in Uganda (4)
{ESAU} – S (that’s central to mission) goes inside the IVR (International Vehicle Registration) for Uganda to give the son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob

10a    Trump four with an ace (5)
{IVANA} – The Roman numeral for four + AN A (ace) gives a member of the Trump family

11a    Man in advertising tips one club to flourish (9)
{PUBLICIST} – An anagram (to flourish) of TIPS I CLUB

12a    ‘Singer in arrears regularly’ cited property agent for Jackson, Miss? (7)
{REALTOR} – The highest male voice goes inside alternate letters of arrears to give the American equivalent of an estate agent (as found in Jackson, Mississippi)

13a    Stripped nurses close to hospital had a binge (7)
{GLUTTED} – A word for stripped (removed the contents of) goes round L (close to hospital) to give “had a binge”

14a    Oil spilling tester that’s filmed across the Atlantic (6,6)
{SESAME STREET} – A plant cultivated for its seeds which produce an edible oil is followed by an anagram (spilling) of TESTER to give an American kids’ TV program, the home of Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a    Aim to restrain party arguing (2,10)
{IN CONTENTION} – a 9-letter word for aim contains a 3-letter abbreviation for a political party

21a    ‘Penniless’ writer conceals gold account (7)
{BORACIC} – Rhyming slang for penniless (******* lint = skint) is formed from gold + account inside a make of ballpoint pen

23a    Woman collects copper, rings etc (3,2,2)
{AND SO ON} – “Etc” is the definition. A woman’s name surrounds a Detective Sergeant (copper) and two rings (circular letters)

24a    Half-naked chef in The Sun, canoodling — most immoral (9)
{UNHOLIEST} – The first half of the surname of a well-known celebrity chef goes inside an anagram (canoodling) of THE SUN to give “most immoral”

25a    Personnel get soaked by flipping green paint (5)
{OCHRE} – I struggled with this one. Human Resources (Personnel) goes inside the reverse of a word meaning “showing concern for the environment” to give a paint

26a    Stag night’s ending after group of women reject ’em (4)
{HART} – A name for a male deer (especially over 5-years old) is formed by putting T (night’s ending) after a set of wives or concubines from which the letters EM have been removed

27a    Rats scurried round in drainage system for skyscraper (5,5)
{SEARS TOWER} – An anagram (scurried) of RATS + O (round) goes inside a drain to give a Chicago skyscraper which was once the tallest building in the world [This was the subject of a question on Eggheads yesterday – it’s now called the Willis Tower.  BD]


1d    Port’s infiltrating nose — one might get into a habit here (6)
{PRIORY} – A South American port goes inside “to nose” to give a building where the residents wear habits

2d    Creatures advanced in tiny jumps (6)
{LLAMAS} – A reversal (jumps) of A (advanced) in tiny gives South American animals

3d    Virtually blue area where punches make contact? (4,3,7)
{NEAR THE KNUCKLE} – A phrase meaning “on the verge of the indecent” is given by part of the hand used in punching

4d    Gossip about work, stirring up great upset (9)
{REPORTAGE} – RE (about) + OP (work) reversed + an anagram (stirring up) of GREAT gives gossip

5d    Macho rapper, displaying the foremost bling rhythmically? (2,3)
{MR BIG} – It looks like the whole clue refers to a rapper but I’m not sure who unless it’s the Notorious *.*.*. It is made up from the first letters (displaying the foremost) of Macho Rapper + alternate letters (rhythmically) of bling

7d    Roger avoids the frisky playing that’s often seen on keyboards (5,3)
{SHIFT KEY} – An anagram (playing) of THE F(R)ISKY (Roger = R as used in signalling and radio-communication) gives something seen on computer keyboards

8d    Una’s heading to a department, shortly, for replacement hip (2-2-4)
{UP-TO-DATE} – U (Una’s heading) + an anagram (for replacement) of TO A DEPT (dept = department, shortly) gives hip (following the latest trends)

9d    Royal phrase edited out, with minor rumbling (4,2,3,5)
{DIEU ET MON DROIT} – An anagram (rumbling) of EDITED OUT MINOR gives the motto of the British Monarch

15d    Dentist fan? (9)
{EXTRACTOR} – 2 meanings: dentist (when pulling out teeth)/an electric fan

16d    Remove from photos groom’s partner perhaps, after husband separates (8)
{AIRBRUSH} – Remove H (husband) from the front of an item that someone grooming might use. This gives a word meaning “to touch up a photograph”

17d    Woman’s after casual footwear, facing hot day (8)
{SCORCHER} – Reverse (facing?) a make of casual shoes (which many regard as comfortable and colourfully decorated but others see as a fashion disaster) and then add “woman’s”. This gives a hot day

19d    Absentee eats nothing, getting weak (2-4)
{NO-SHOW} – A word for food (from the Yiddish) is followed by O (nothing) + W (weak) to give a person who doesn’t turn up for something they had booked

20d    Working properly, half paying attention (2,4)
{IN GEAR} – Half of the word “paying” is followed by “attention”

22d    French cuisine toady, needing drop of espresso to shift (5)
{CREPE} – Take a word for a toady and shift an E (drop of espresso) to the end of the word. This gives a thin pancake

It took a long time to do but I only rate it average for enjoyment.

14 comments on “Toughie 453

  1. Sorry to disagree, but although it took me quite a while to solve, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I had a look through earlier to try and pick my favourite clues and ended up just noting that I didn’t really like 13a and 25a but couldn’t pick an overall favourite from all the rest. A really enjoyable, proper Toughie, which made you work hard but was well worth it in the end. Thanks to BD for one hint and one explanation earlier this morning. Thanks also to Osmosis for the fun and Bufo for the review.

  2. I would say that this was probably one of my most enjoyable toughies for a while. I found the bottom half comparatively easier, and had to put the puzzle to one side for a while to clear my head.
    Very good! Thanks to Osmosis, and to Bufo.

  3. Very enjoyable crossword from Osmosis. I really struggled with one or two and I needed my wife to tell me what “crocs” were and she was a bit snappy with me. My favourite clues were 1a and 9d. Thanks Bufo for the great review and Osmosis for stretching me to the limit.

  4. I found this pretty tough but really enjoyed it. My favourite clue, out of many I liked, was 21a. Thanks to B and O.

  5. 21a and 23a were my favourites. I thought this was pretty tough but thoroughly excellent with many funny aha moments.
    Many thanks to Osmosis and Bufo.

  6. Managed to finish this during most of the afternoon, working at it bit by bit. But needed to come here and read some of the wordplay involved to fully understand the clues. Like Bufo I struggled on 25a, last to go in, and although I knew what the answer had to be from the definition, I wasn’t sure how it was put togther. So thanks for the explanations. Favourite 14a. Ta to Bufo and Osmosis.

  7. That was a wonderful experience and as I have said in the crypitc I believe I have reached the Rubicon and am moving from cryptic to toughie in a most enjoyable way.
    My fav clue was 21a but really all the clues were fantastic.
    I real tour de force and a joy forever.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to Bufo. I really did enjoy myself.

  8. When I started this puzzle, I thought that my brain had escaped in the short interval between completing the back page crossword and turning to the Toughie. However, patience and perseverence paid dividends. This was a true Toughie and highly enjoyable to boot. I almost felt disappointed when the final clue fell into place. (Memo to self – trying reading clues more carefully – for a long while I was convinced that “toady” was “today”).

    Many thanks to Osmosis for a real treat of a puzzle and to Bufo for the review. Too many excellent clues to chose a favourite today.

  9. Needed quite a lot of help from Bufo for this one, which was disappointing as I polished of the Cryptic pretty quickly. Certainly 5* difficulty IMHO. Clever cluing – my only quibble (it seems to be the fashion today!) is 7d – is it reasonable to use part of the answer in the clue?

  10. I started this late in the afternoon but had to abandon it as had visitors for dinner. The only clues that I solved after initial read-through were 22a & 19d.
    Bit tougher than usual methinks!

  11. I cracked all but 2 early on but I stuttered on 25a and 20d. I got them from the word play but I still think the definitions are poor. Also 7d showed bad form! Favourite by a mile 9d.

  12. A ay late but hey-ho. Found it hard work but solvable – all but NW corner where I gave in and resorted to Bufo’s excellent explanations.
    5d and 10a do not fall into my sphere of knowledge. Liked 21a. Disliked 13a and found 2d a rather convoluted clue. Definitely 5* for difficulty.

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