Toughie 528

Toughie No 528 by Osmosis

See You Jimmy

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

In spite of a problem with CluedUp which wiped all my answers out when I’d nearly completed the puzzle, I really enjoyed this one. Osmosis seems to have changed his style a bit over his last couple of puzzles and now we’re getting less of the extremely complicated wordplay and some clues which are more cryptic. The result is a very entertaining puzzle with some “laugh out loud” moments. It’s also a pangram.
Let us know what you thought of the puzzle and please remember to grade it by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Shortcut announced technologically, initially misdirecting truck — using this? (6)
{SATNAV} – the initial letters of the first three words are followed by a reversal (misdirecting) of a truck to get the common abbreviation for a navigational system (which may get you to your intended destination or may leave you stranded on a farm track).

5a  Fall-guy regularly ruptures leg muscle, needing drug, a hypnotic (8)
{QUAALUDE} – this is a proprietary name for the hypnotic substance methaqualone. Put the even letters (regularly) of fall-guy inside (ruptures) the abbreviated form of the large muscle that runs down the front of the thigh, then finally add E(cstasy) (drug).

9a  ‘Medium’ hopefully not so droopy (10)
{SPIRITLESS} – double definition, the first a cryptic way of describing an ineffective medium (i.e. a medium is hopefully not like this).

10a  Legendary hero beginning to address sailors in speech (4)
{AJAX} – this is a mythical Greek hero (and a useful character if you’re compiling a pangram). The first character of A(ddress) is followed by a homophone (in speech) of sailors.

11a  TV dramatist and compere settled in centre of Skegness (8)
{MCGOVERN} – Skegness is of course associated with the dramatist Alan Ayckbourn but that’s a complete red herring. [Thanks to the Chairman for pointing out that the previous sentence was total pants – the Ayckbourn connection is to Scarborough not Skegness]. We want the name of the TV dramatist responsible for Cracker amongst many other works. Start with an abbreviation for a compere and then put a word meaning settled or completed inside the two central letters of Skegness.

12a  Common feature of fall (autumn) westwards (6)
{MUTUAL} – hidden (feature of) and reversed (westwards) in the clue is a synonym for common.

13a  Remains close to Womble, who cleaned up at Wimbledon in the 70s (4)
{ASHE} – the Wimbledon men’s singles champion in 1975 is a synonym for remains followed by the last letter of (Wombl)E.

15a  19 flop wasted period in US (4,4)
{FULL STOP} – our term for what is called a period in North America is an anagram (wasted) of FLOP and the answer to 19a.

18a  Bash, with 19, disturbed shrubby plant (8)
{SALT BUSH} – another anagram (disturbed), this time of BASH and the answer to 19a.

19a  Hussy, taking seconds to transfer sexual desire (4)
{LUST} – start with a derogative term for a promiscuous woman (hussy) and move (transfer) the S(econds) two places to the right to make sexual desire.

21a  Jimmy shaved with bird (6)
{PEEWIT} – another name for the lapwing is made from a synonym of what a Jimmy is rhyming slang for, followed by an abbreviated (shaved) WIT(h). LOL!

23a  London area males request aquatic facility (4,4)
{SWIM MASK} – this is an aquatic facility in the sense that it makes it easier for you to see under water. It’s a charade of a London postal area (the one where the Houses of Parliament are to be found), two M(ales) and a verb meaning to request. This took me ages to get because a) I was convinced that London area would be SE, and b) the answer is not a common term, although it’s obvious what it means once you’ve got it.

25a  Time taken off after cooking food (4)
{FARE} – remove the T(ime) from AF(t)ER and make an anagram (cooking) of what’s left.

26a  Sue changes pants, showing a lack of elegance (10)
{GAUCHENESS} – I’m sure that this has nothing to do with our own, very elegant Crypticsue (but it is quite amusing). It’s an anagram (pants) of SUE CHANGES.

27a  Again, run up staggering chit on holiday (8)
{RESTITCH} – to run up again (on a sewing machine, perhaps) is an anagram (staggering) of CHIT after a synonym for holiday.

28a  Is that right Charlie finally entering assembly? (6)
{REALLY} – a word used to question the veracity of someone’s assertion (Is that right?) is made by putting the final letter of (Charli)E inside a mass meeting or assembly.

Down Clues

2d  One wriggles on front of chair after starter of ice-cold jelly (5)
{ASPIC} – this is a jelly. Put something that wriggles above (on, in a down clue) the first letter of chair which follows the first letter of ice-cold.

3d  Pointer, in animal home, most restricted (9)
{NARROWEST} – put a pointer inside an animal’s home.

4d  Formula One shunned type of footwear that’s formally forbidden (6)
{VETOED} – remove (shunned) FI (Formula One) from the start of a type of footwear to leave a past participle meaning formally forbidden. I’d never heard this term used for footwear and neither had Chambers, so thank goodness for Google – see picture below.

5d  British football club having Georgian woman on the board? (5,2,3,5)
{QUEEN OF THE SOUTH} – when I was very young and listening to the football results on Sports Report on steam radio, the names of Scottish football clubs, such as Hamilton Academicals and the answer to this clue, always seemed more exotic and interesting than dour-sounding English teams like Bury or Millwall. There’s only one woman on a chessboard (well, two if you count both sides) and how would you describe such a lady if she came from the part of the USA where the state of Georgia is to be found? Lovely clue, though the enumeration does make the answer rather obvious if you’ve heard of this team.

6d  Put together rear logo, wiping marks (8)
{ASSEMBLE} – a verb meaning to put together is a slang term for the rear followed by a logo or badge without its final M (wiping Marks).

7d  Spring, in the past, transformed petal (5)
{LEAPT} – the past tense of a verb to spring is an anagram (transformed) of PETAL.

8d  Scotsman close to nausea in presence of rubbish songstress (5,4)
{DIANA ROSS} – Osmosis is obviously not keen on this American songstress! Put one of the usual Scottish forenames and the last letter of (nause)A inside (in presence of) rubbish.

14d  Sheep, from bottom to top in Wales valley (9)
{SWALEDALE} – this is a down clue, so move the bottom (last) letter of Wales to the top and add a valley to get a small, hardy breed of sheep.

16d  Hospital finds accommodation for priest around Spanish city (9)
{SALAMANCA} – This is a city in Western Spain. An abbreviation of the word for a convalescent hospital contains (finds accommodation for) a Buddhist priest and this is followed by one of the abbreviations for around or about.

17d  Pull at boat, getting back strain (4,1,3)
{BUST A GUT} – reverse (getting back) all of a phrasal verb  meaning pull at (3,2) and a type of boat (3). The answer is a phrase meaning strain every sinew.

20d  Spot lady’s music player (6)
{ZITHER} – combine a teenage spot and a feminine possessive adjective (lady’s) to make a musical instrument.

22d  Perhaps it’s spelt differently, the way Yankee’s written out (5)
{WHEAT} – we want an anagram (differently) of THE WA(y) with the abbreviation of Yankee removed (written out). But what is the definition? Well, I had to look up “spelt” in Chambers to confirm that spelt is indeed an example (perhaps) of this.

24d  Rope-maker scrapped one lasso, lacking loop (5)
{SISAL} – something used to make rope is an anagram (scrapped) of I (one) and LASS(o) without the O (loop).

I liked lots of clues today, including 11a, 21a, 26a and 8d, but my favourite was 5d. Let us know what you liked in a comment!


  1. Posted March 16, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    5d and 20d were my favourites today.The NW corner came in last for me as well as 23a and 20d. Crypticsue pointed out the pangram which helped with 1a.
    Regarding spelt-grass there was a clue from a few years ago:

    W-H-E-A-T? (5) which is where I know the word from.

    Thanks to gazza and Osmosis – I think that the change of style for the last couple of Osmosis puzzle leads to higher enjoyment and fewer cold towels on forehead!

  2. crypticsue
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I knew when I peeped inside the paper as I left the newsagents that we would be in for a treat today as is usual from Osmosis. I think spotting the pangram early on helped me greatly as there were a number of D’Oh moments and I did need Gnome’s law/help with 25a (I spent ages trying to remove the T for time from the wrong word). Hard to pick a favourite but spending my childhood in front of Grandstand while Dad checked the pools did come in handy for 5d!

    Thanks to Osmosis for the fun and Gazza for the always entertaining explanations. Pic of the day has to be that sheep.

  3. Qix
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Lots of good clues. I particularly liked 8D.

    I hadn’t heard of the footwear in 4D or the term in 5A before.

    Very enjoyable puzzle indeed.

    Well-blogged Gazza – I had a similar issue with the DT website today.

  4. Jezza
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    For the most part, this was easier than I would have expected from Osmosis, but a very enjoyable puzzle.
    I got stuck in the bottom left, and needed a couple of online ‘hints’ on 21a, and 22d to complete the puzzle.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to gazza.

  5. honestjohn
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Although I didn’t see the pangram I somehow managed to finish this with only one reference to the dictionary ( to confirm 18a) – that probably means it wasn’t as difficult as I first thought. Some of the clues were wonderful – 21a, 11a (which held me up the longest) and 22d to name just a few. A very fine effort – I put this setter right at the top of the list for enjoyment.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  6. BigBoab
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    As usual, Osmosis has beaten me, I had to get 5a from your hints Gazza. I got the pangram right away but still struggled with a couple of clues (notably 11a and 26a ) then had to turn to you for 5a. Thanks Osmosis for stretching me beyond my limit and to Gazza for the hints.

  7. brendam
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Had a go at this and did about three-quarters before looking at Gazza’s hints, which I definitely needed to finish. favourite 20d, 14dand 15a. The time here is 1hr. ahead of the U.K. so I don’t get the blog until around 3.00 and I have been so late doing the Xwords I haven’t sent a comment for some time but I still read all the comments every day. Many thanks to Osmosis for setting such an enjoyable Xword and Gazza for the admirable hints

  8. pegasus
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Yet again a most enjoyable offering from Osmosis packed full with some excellent clues of which 11a was the stand out for me.Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for his first class review especiaally the deciphering of 4d and 5d.

  9. Posted March 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff from Osmosis today!
    Managed without hints but needed an explanation for 4d – never heard the term before.
    I must have been on the right wavelength today as I didn’t find it all that hard for a Toughie! Strange.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the fine review!

  10. Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    RE 11a, I think Skegness would have been delighted with any association with Alan Ayckbourn, but that particular honour belongs to Scarborough. Skeggie leans more towards Little and Large and the Chuckle Bros………
    Not as taken with the crossword as most, but will be on the lookout for the sort of person wearing 4 downs, new to me as well.

    • gazza
      Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Oops – these East Coast resorts beginning with S have confused me. Thanks for putting me right.

    • pommers
      Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      Hello Chairman
      Glad to see the weather has improved for your guests!

      • Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Pommers – yes it was just in time. They flew back this afternoon. By the way, if you’ve never been to the old gun battery emplacements (original Vickers 380mm/17metre long made in 1926) at Cabo Tinoso between Mazarron and Cartagena I would very much recommend. Spectacular views and a precipitous narrow road drive up to the top. Well worth it, but like many of the splendid and more remote sights over here, not well publicised or signposted.

        • pommers
          Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

          No, never been down the coast south of Cartagena but that sounds interesting. I’ll maybe give it a look. You seen the original Spanish navy submarine on the dock at Cartagena? Not much to look at but you do wonder how they got 4 blokes inside! Especially as it was pedal powered!

  11. Franco
    Posted March 16, 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, but I don’t like crosswords in which one of the solutions is QUAALUDE!

    • Franco
      Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      PS – Gazza – 5d – I’m sure you know that Sports Report is still going. However, I’m surprised to see that James Alexander Gordon only started in 1974. I thought he had been reading the results since the early 60’s. Did it ever happen: Forfar 5 – East Fife 4?

      • gazza
        Posted March 16, 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        Apparently Forfar 5 – East Fife 4 happened in the 1963-64 season in the old Scottish Second Division.