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Toughie 478

Toughie No 478 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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

As usual, the Friday Toughie is the hardest of the week, and today’s is certainly at the top end of that scale. There were some really excellent clues, and I confess to having a few wrong answers at first, due to guessing. I had a couple of hassles with the top right corner as I struggled with the wordplay.

I suppose we have been spoiled this week with Notabilis’ excellent puzzle on Wednesday because I felt I didn’t quite enjoy this as much. I thought 6d was a bit of a weak clue and a couple of others were to me less than satisfactory. I don’t like the way punctuation is sometimes used as a device to mislead, or produce a clever surface reading.

As usual, the answers are hidden between the curly brackets below each clue, and you should highlight the space between the brackets to reveal all.

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    Gold rush time (6)
{AUGUST} A word sum to start with. The chemical symbol for gold needs a word meaning a rush (of wind) to give the name of a month. Both “rush” and “time” are very thin definitions for the words required and probably just about appropriate.

4a    Layabout in shorts perhaps given child seat on old airline (5,3)
{BEACH BUM} Another word sum. Onto the old abbreviation of one of our national airlines is an abbreviation for “child” followed by a word for (your personal) seat! This gives the name for someone who hangs around the seaside sands.

9a    Unoccupied Caledonian with energy and time to shift artwork (6)
[FRESCO} A phrase for an unoccupied Caledonian needs to lose the last letter of each word and this gives the name for a wall painting.

10a    Moody person rejected drink after three-quarters of hour in boat (8)
{SOURPUSS} The nautical purists will say the abbreviation used here for “boat” is really a ship, but we can be a bit liberal. Inside this goes three letters from the word “hour”, plus a reversal of a word meaning to drink. This

11a    Bury banks start to harass journalist having money trouble? (2,3,3)
{IN THE RED} A word for to bury something has H (start to Harass) inside (indicated by banks) and tacked onto this is a standard word for a journalist. This gives you the expression when you are overdrawn at the bank.

13a    Before son starts to use polish, iron’s come clean (4,2)
{FESS UP} More first letters. Here the chemical symbol for iron (with the apostrophe S) has S (son) and the first letters of “Use Polish” give a trendy expression (American I think) meaning to admit.

15a    Land a blow, with Liam damaging layer of muscles (9,4)
{ABDOMINAL WALL) An anagram (indicated by damaging) of LAND A BLOW LIAM gives the name for a part of your torso.

18a    Cold shelter stifles staff gossip late PM (7,6)
{CLEMENT ATTLEE) Inside C LEE (Cold shelter) goes a word for staff (MEN) plus a word for a gossip (TATTLE). This will give you the name of a former Prime Minister.

22a    Pub in EastEnders perhaps reflected somewhere in Cyprus (6)
{PAPHOS} Reverse a TV show like EastEnders and inside place the OS Map abbreviation for a pub. This gives you the name of a location in Cyprus.

24a    Joey heads for the house to broadcast plant growth (4,4)
{ROOT HAIR) More first letters. A Joey is Australian slang for the young of this animal and add the first letters of “The House” and a word meaning to broadcast. This gives you the name for a particular plant growth.

26a    Potter comes here — wizard club — with Eric (8)
{CRUCIBLE} An anagram (indicated by wizard) of CLUB ERIC gives the place where each Spring you see Messrs’ Higgins, O’Sullivan, et al.

27a    Charity worker led astray into repellent gloom (6)
{GELDOF} An anagram of LED inside a reversal of the word for murk or gloom reveals the surname of a famous Charity Fund Raiser from Ireland.

28a    Covers of Satchmo period, retro style — cats find it tasteless? (4,4)
{SOYA MILK} The “covers” of SatchmO are the first and last letters. Add to these a reversal of the name of a month (period) [the retro is misleadingly linked to style because of the comma – slightly unfair I feel] and add a word for style. This gives the name of an insipid drink, not made from dairy products.

29a    Times article in footnote readers ultimately ignore (6)
{BYPASS} A short word used to indicated multiplication, with A inside the abbreviation for the footnote of a letter and add the last letters of “readers”. This leads to a word meaning ignore or skip.

Down [from BD}

1d           Gold Cup, peripherally, isn’t familiar (2,4)
{AU FAIT} – a charade of the chemical symbol for gold (as in 1a) the main English football cup and the outside letters (peripherally) of Isn’T gives a phrase, originally French, familiar or well-acquainted

2d           Stoop beneath fireplace, picking up dog (5,4)
{GREAT DANE} – “picking up” is a rather unusual homophone indicator, put a word that sounds like to stoop, as in to condescend, under one that sounds like a fireplace to get a very large dog

3d           Manage cold church in presence of Latin God heavenwards (7)
{SUCCEED} – a word meaning to manage or carry out is constructed by putting C(old) and the Church of England inside the Latin word for a God, reversed (heavenwards in a down clue)

5d           God ascended, moving earth (4)
{EROS} – to get the Greek God of love, take a word meaning ascended and move the E(arth) from the end of the word to the beginning

6d           Regulars of granted league, boarding, pass here? (7)
{CORNELL} – put the even letters (regulars) of gRaNtEd and L(eague) inside (boarding) a mountain pass to get an American Ivy League University in what is, presumably, meant to be a semi-all-in-one clue

7d           Everton FC — they’re worth 5 at 26 (5)
{BLUES} – Everton FC is one of many football clubs with this nickname (Chelsea and Birmingham come readily to mind) – these snooker balls score 5 when potted at 26a

8d           Schoolteacher acquires bucket — for what errant pupil did? (8)
{MISSPELT} – a female schoolteacher is followed by a word meaning to bucket, as in to bucket with rain, to get wot an errent pupil did

12d         Feud with German trespassing European state (6)
{ENMITY} – a feud is built up by putting the German for “with” inside (trespassing) E(uropean) and the abbreviation of an American state

14d         Old pair retained to score goal — with this move? (3-3)
{ONE-TWO} – put O and O (Old pair) around to score a goal and W(ith) to get a move that could lead toa goal being scored

16d         Palace international vanished from capital once (9)
{ALEXANDRA} – a palace in London used for exhibitions is the second larget city, and former capital, of Egypt without the I (International vanished)

17d         Terribly sick carrying large-scale mountaineering gear (3,5)
{ICE PICKS} – put an anagram (terribly) of SICK around (carrying) a word meaning large-scale to get this mountaineering gear

19d         Selfishness, at work, got me accepting income support (7)
{EGOTISM} – a word meaning selfishness is an anagram (at work) of  GOT ME around (accepting) the abbreviation for Income Support

20d         Draw line under ‘great deal’ with heartless trustee (7)
{LOTTERY} – a draw or sweepstake is built up from RY (railway line) under a great deal, or many, and T(ruste)E (heartless)

21d         Selected best fur coats shown up here? (6)
{CRUFTS} – an dog show is reversed inside the clue

23d         Birds stripping left and right, like supermodels? (5)
{POUTY} – take a word meaning domestic or farmyard fowls collectively and remove the L(eft) and R(ight) to get a word that describes the typical behaviour of supermodels

25d         High-flying company, one involved in ‘oliday nightmare? (2,2)
{EL AL} – this airline is constructed by putting A (one) inside a holiday nightmare without the initial H

11 comments on “Toughie 478

  1. I thought this was excellent today. I found it tricky in parts, but fairly clued, and I enjoyed every minute of solving it. Thank you Osmosis for the puzzle, and Tilsit for the notes.

  2. 28a had me stumped for ages, being too abstract I think and thinking louis armstrong style of music which is an anagram of cats. Needed help with 13a, 27a 29a and need help with too many downs to admit to all in the north. Thanks Tilsit and Osmosis and BD for anticipated doh moments when see hints for downs

    1. A few more downs in, now 3 blanks in north central. Off home now with no internet access (infuriatingly) so will wait till next week to see the errors of my ways. Thanks as always all, have a safe weekend

  3. What a cracker – just the thing to brighten up a cold December day. Among many good clues my favourites were possibly 12a and 20d but nearly all had that little extra something.

    Thank Osmosis for finishing off the week in such style.

  4. I liked this one too.

    I don’t mind somewhat misleading uses of punctuation too much; I learned a long time ago never to trust punctuation in crosswords.

    Well done to the setter for a good workout, and thanks to Tilsit for the review.

    Good end to the week.


  5. This was a Friday Toughie and no mistake. Like Tilsit, the Gnome and I struggled with the NE corner. I would have cogitated on but had to leave work early to go and get Mr CS’s Christmas present so the Gnome kindly provided me with hints to enable me to finish – thank you. A crossword full of D’Oh moments with some very clever clues. My favourite, however, is 21d, for two reasons. It made me smile and the hidden word is actually on the same line as opposed to being spread over two. Thank you Osmosis for the very thorough brain workout and to Tilsit and BD for the hints.

  6. Myself and my PinC enjoyed every minute of this, like Jezza. Some lovely tricks, and virtually every type of clue in the book, and not a word the was particularly obscure (well, col, maybe, though it’s a crossword stalwart).

  7. Loved this. A great end to the Toughie week.
    I’m on the beer now so will comment further later.

  8. Well, I have cracked it at last. However, my problem was in the SE corner and I was stuck on 21 and 27 for ages. 21d was last but I have to admit its a cracking clue. Thought 23 was a bit dodgy but overall a great contest from a clever setter. Where are you, Mary?? Do you need any hints as I owe you one!

  9. I enjoyed this puzzle and managed to complete it without assistance. I wouldn’t insert “Au Fait” for ages because I was stuck on “Fresco”.

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