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Toughie 100002

Toughie No 100002 by Osmosis

Signs of the Times

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

I had a bit of a struggle fitting this one in between the roast turkey and the mince pies! An early solve of 8 across is highly desirable as all of the other across clues include a “symbol of 8”.

Just after I started this review, Gnomethang made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and will be writing the hints for the down clues.

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.

Across (from Big Dave)

6a    Enlist new son, symbol of 8, into church (9)
{CONSCRIBE} – a word meaning to enlist is formed by putting an anagram (new) of SON and a “symbol of 8” inside the Church of England

8a    American uncle wrong to return now, in short (4)
{XMAS} – you really need to solve this one! – take the uncle that is regarded as representing the United States and a mark used to indicate a wrong answer and reverse both to get the short form of today

10a    Symbol of 8, on motorway, falsely directed (6)
{MISLED} – put a “symbol of 8” after the UK’s primary motorway to get a word meaning falsely directed

11a    Fancied symbol of 8, born in confines of island (8)
{IMAGINED} – a word meaning fancied is derived by putting a “symbol of 8” and the male term for born inside IS (confines of IslanD)

12a    State capital, symbol of 8 iron (5,2)
{SANTA FE} – the capital of the US state of New Mexico is a charade of a “symbol of 8” and the chemical symbol for iron

13a    Accumulate a symbol of 8 (5)
{AMASS} – a verb meaning to accumulate is a charade of A and a “symbol of 8”

15a    Symbol of 8 retreated to legendary place (7)
{CAMELOT} – A charade of a “symbol of 8” followed by TO reversed (retreated) gives the most famous castle and court associated with the legendary King Arthur

"It's only a model"...."Shh!"

17a    Mediterranean plant, symbol of 8, old pair start to nurture (7)
{CARDOON} – this Mediterranean plant is a charade of a “symbol of 8” OO (Old pair) and N (start to Nurture)

20a    Symbol of 8 having heart to avert gaze (5)
{STARE} – a “symbol of 8” followed by E (heart to avert) gives a noun or verb meaning gaze

22a    Where production companies film golfer, symbol of 8 (7)
{ELSTREE} – a location in Hertfordshire where The Dam Busters, Murder on the Orient Express and Star Wars, to name three, were filmed is a charade of a South African golfer and a “symbol of 8”

24a    Symbol of 8 regularly scorns TV presenter (8)
{ROBINSON} – a “symbol of 8” is followed by the odd letters (regularly) of ScOrNs to give the presenter of The Weakest Link

26a    Natural symbol of 8 retracted time of arrival (6)
{INNATE} – a word meaning natural or hereditary is a charade of a “symbol of 8” followed by the Estimated Time of Arrival reversed (retracted)

27a    One switching back to channel 8 (4)
{NOEL} – an anagram (switching) of ONE followed by L (back to channeL) gives not a “symbol of 8” but 8 itself

28a    Artist against symbol of 8 (9)
{CONSTABLE} – this artist, famous for his pictures of the Suffolk countryside, is a charade of a prefix meaning against and the final “symbol of 8”

Down (from Gnomethang)

1d    Screen celebs compete in cooking roasts, under leadership of Mary (5,5)
{MOVIE STARS} – Celebrities of the Silver Screen in this case. Put a verb for ‘compete with’ in an anagram (cooking) of ROASTS, all after the start of Mary.

2d    Top-class, dear crackers in silver backing (5,1)
{GRADE A} – Top class or of the finest quality. We need a ‘crackers’ anagram of DEAR in the reversed (backing) chemical symbol for silver.

3d    Compelled first of guests to tuck into boiled nuts (7)
{OBLIGED} – Very good surface reading here which adds to the misdirection. I initially thought that I needed and anagram of nuts using boiled as the indicator. In fact the anagram is of BOILED (nuts), with the first of G(uests) inside gives the past participle of a verb meaning to compel.

4d    Before noon, it appears in the midst of seraph — Hindu nectar (6)
{AMRITA} – A Sanskrit word that literally means ‘immortality’ but usually translates as nectar. A word sum of the Latin abbreviation meaning ‘before noon’, then the middle of seRAph with IT inserted (in).

5d    Man perhaps discarding odd bits of tinsel close to settee (4)
{ISLE} – Man is an example of this. Remove (discard) the odd letters in TINSEL and add the end (close) of setteE.

7d    Peace signs primarily line Reformed church (7)
{SILENCE} – A word for peace and quiet starts with the primary letter of Signs, an anagram (reformed) of LINE and finally one of the standard abbreviations for church.

9d    Country couple starting carols have zero accompaniment (6)
{CANADA} – This foxed me for a while until some checking letters came along. Take the two starting letters (couple starting) of CArols and add a foreign/slang word for nothing to reveal a country which is a darn site colder than we are at the moment, Eh?!

14d    Jagger etc sparked leaping Lords, initially motionless (5-5)
{STONE STILL} – The definition is motionless. Begin with the truncated name of Mr Jagger’s band, reverse a word for sparked or ignited (indicated by leaping) and add the initial letter of Lords.

16d    Alternatively, economists support currency in Lapland (2,4)
{OR ELSE} – This word means alternatively (and is often used as a threat of reprisals for naughty children at this time of year!). The abbreviation for a famous University in London specializing in fiscal matters goes after (supports in a down clue) a Scandinavian coin equivalent to a cent or a penny.

18d    Woman to cook bacon covering centrepiece of feast (7)
{DORINDA} – Not an easy clue here as the woman’s name is not very popular in the UK, being of Greek/Spanish origin. It is a charade of a short word meaning to cook/clean for, followed by the fatty outside of a bacon joint and finally the centre letter in feAst.

19d    Pressurised worker overcome by Christmas tipping (5,2)
{LEANT ON} – Place one of Crosswordland’s usual workers inside the reverse of 27a (a word for Christmas if you don’t already have it) to give a phrase meaning pressurized or coerced.

21d    Stomachs rejecting the main? Offer stuffing (6)
{ABIDES} – A verb meaning stomachs, takes or accepts. Reverse (reject) a synonym for main (the Spanish one!) and insert (stuffing) a word for offer, as in trump games or house-buying.

23d    Reserved the most succulent turkey, originally — giving priority to mum, that is (6)
{SHIEST} – An alternative spelling for an adjective meaning ‘most reserved’. A small quibble here as we are asked to take the first letter of both Succulent AND Turkey (only indicated by originally). Before this, priority is given to a small word for mum/quiet and the Latin abbreviation for ‘that is’.

25d    Animal sound coming from panto in kindergarten (4)
{OINK} – A nice simple one to finish. A farmyard animal sound is hidden in (coming from) the last three words in the clue.

Gnomethang’s favourite was 25d as he has just learnt ‘Old Macdonald’ on his Christmas Present – a Ukulele. Thanks to Osmosis for the seasonal fayre. Don’t forget to vote using the stars at the bottom!.

5 comments on “Toughie 100002

  1. Thanks to BD for the top half – it was all much easier when I realised that the ‘symbol of 8’ was a slightly more loose association than I at first thought.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the puzzle.

  2. I started this Osmosis after some Christmas refreshment and so am glad of the hints as I don’t think I would have got 17a and 18d without them. Thanks to BD and the Gnome, and Happy Christmas to Osmosis.

    1. 17a took a bit of time and a couple of checking letters THEN Chambers for me as I couldn’t see the OO bit. Ditto 18d – a couple of letter hints required then a flier at the name. Still – brain isnt tip top today!.

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