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Toughie 546

Toughie No 546 by Osmosis

Back to the Future!

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

Tilsit is busy acting as the family chauffeur, so I’m filling in again. Osmosis usually gives the grey cells a good workout, and today is no exception. There is a mini-theme of actors and films from fifty years ago.

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    80-89 perhaps old for one to solve puzzle (6)
{DECODE} – start with a period of ten years and then put an O(ld) instead of the A (one) to get a verb meaning to solve a puzzle

4a    Designated hideaway soldiers with Army rejected (8)
{ASSIGNED} – a word meaning designated is derived from a charade of a hideaway(3), some American soldiers (3) and an Army that spreads of religion (2) all reversed (rejected)

10a    Show mobile regularly during spiritual meeting (9)
{SEMBLANCE} – this show or pretence is created by putting the odd letters (regularly) of MoBiLe inside a spiritual meeting

11a    Squat’s like a tip? (5)
{DUMPY} – an adjective meaning squat or thickset could also mean like a tip

12a    It’s available at the salon where one’s honey may be found (7)
{BEEHIVE} – a double definition – a domed and lacquered hairstyle popular with women in the 1960s and a source of honey

13a    Fabled character represented by ___ ‘Shane’ (7)
{ALADDIN} – if this fabled character from the Arabian Nights is split (1,4,2) it could fill in the blank to give the actor who stood on a box to star in Shane and IN (represented by)

14a    Female jam-makers perhaps study spread (5)
{WIDEN} – a charade of the women’s organisation whose members are famous for making jam and a study gives a verb meaning to spread

15a    Defer top-class energy drink during training (3,2,3)
{PUT ON ICE} – this phrase meaning to defer is created by putting the single letter that represents top-class or posh and an energy drink inside Physical Exercise (training)

18a    Mock front and back to feature in vehicle for 1960s film (4,4)
{CAPE FEAR} – put a word meaning to mock or imitate and the first and last letters (front and back) of FeaturE inside a vehicle to get an excellent 1960s film that was remade in the 1990s

20a    Piece from Tudor period given twist? (5)
{REPRO} – this copy of a piece of furniture is hidden (from) and reversed (given twist) inside the clue

23a    Personal information a tabloid strangely left out (7)
{BIODATA} – this personal information is an anagram (strangely) of A TAB(L)OID without the L(eft)

25a    Attempt to follow reflective fluorescent road sign (2,5)
{NO ENTRY} – put an attempt after the reversal (reflective) of a gas used in fluorescent lights to get a road sign

26a    Superior patient disheartened by surgery in the head (2,3)
{UP TOP} – a charade of a single-letter word meaning superior, the outside letters (disheartened) of PatienT and a short word for surgery to get a phrase meaning in the head

27a    Academic types, losing head before vital exam, originally repetitious (9)
{ITERATIVE} – drop the first letter (losing head) from these academic types and then add the initial letters (originally) of Vital Exam to get a word meaning repetitious

28a    1960s TV series man reviewed when in colour (3,5)
{THE SAINT} – this 1960s TV series starring Roger Moore is created by putting the male third person pronoun and a synonym of when reversed (reviewed) inside a colour or shade

29a    Media chief reversed trend for sacking female (6)
{EDITOR} – this media chief is derived by reversing a trend and then adding (F)OR without (sacking) F(emale)


1d    Bird of the night tracks street, probing call here in central US (4,4)
{DUST BOWL} – start with a nocturnal bird and precede it with ST(reet) inside a word meaning to call or name to get this region in central US along the western edge of the Great Plains where vegetation has been lost and the soil eroded

2d    Praise acting leaving interval curtains (7)
{COMMEND} – a word meaning to praise is created by dropping the A(cting) from an interval or pause and then adding a word meaning curtains or downfall

3d    Peg, turning up to intervene, laced tipsy trifle (9)
{DALLIANCE} – reverse (turning up) peg or pin inside (to intervene) an anagram (tipsy) of LACED to get a trifle

5d    Film actor playing wet rag in ‘Alien’ (7,7)
{STEWART GRANGER} – this star of the silver screen is constructed by putting an anagram (playing) of WET RAG inside an alien or foreigner

6d    On overseas radio, I help new single with promotion (5)
{INDIA} – the letter I in the NATO phonetic alphabet (on the radio) is a charade of some help, N(ew) and I (single) all reversed (with promotion, as this is a down clue)

7d    Gypsy contributions encapsulate topless global arts festival (7)
{NOMADIC} – gypsy here is an adjective which is created by putting National Insurance Contributions around a global arts festival, founded in 1980 by Peter Gabriel and others, without its first letter (topless)

8d    Agreed to wear fleece (Geordie territory) for kick-off (3,3)
{DAY ONE} – put a word meaning agreed or yes inside (wearing) a word meaning to fleece and add the area of the UK where Geordies live to get a phrase meaning the kick off or very beginning

9d    Take patter loosely, after Italian club boss’s fired up (14)
{INTERPRETATION} – a take or understanding is built up by putting an anagram (loosely) of PATTER after an Italian football club from Milan and following it with NO I (boss) reversed (fired up)

16d    Nanny state’s edging into ruin, with mad orders (9)
{NURSEMAID} – a nanny is created by putting the outside letters (edging) of StatE inside an anagram (orders) of RUIN with MAD

17d    All discussed interminably long religious period (4,4)
{HOLY YEAR} – a word that sounds like (discussed) a synonym of all is followed by a word meaning to long or pine without its final letter (interminably) to get a religious period

19d    Perhaps Matthew Street’s situated in North or South (7)
{APOSTLE} – Matthew is an example of this follower of Jesus – put ST(reet) inside A and one or other of the ends of an axis of the earth (North or South)

21d    Semi-naked page 3 model on car — a very British one? (7)
{PATRIOT} – start with half (semi-naked / without the bottom half in a down clue) of PA(ge) and then add a group of three and a model of Ford car to get a person who loves their country

Any excuse!!

22d    Short man in navy, rugby training (6)
{ABRUPT} – an adjective meaning short is a charade of a naval man, Rugby Union) and Physical Training

24d    Ace hotel, smashing half of plates, boosted Greek starter (5)
{ALPHA} – A(CE) is followed by H(otel) inside (smashing) an anagram (boosted) of PLA (half of PLAtes) to get the first (starter) Greek letter

I sailed through this until I got to the Northeast corner, then slowed down.

11 comments on “Toughie 546

  1. Thank you Osmosis for a splendid Friday Toughie. Took me a while to sort it all out – as BD says it helps if you were around 50 years ago (I was very young but have a good memory :) ), and I needed a couple of BD’s explanations (thank you to him too) but I thoroughly enjoyed the whole solving experience.

  2. Wow! I found this really tough going. Some great clues and a nice wee theme. All in all a most enjoyable crossword with my personal favourite being 5d. Many thanks to Osmosis and of course to our leader for the review.

  3. BD Test message – logged in to a non citrix environment – to see if this has any affect

  4. Superb rendition from Osmosis nothing too obscure some excellent cluing of which my favourites were 8d and 21d. Thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for his comments.

  5. Tricky but fair as always.

    Nice mini-theme, and some very good clueing. Great.

    Well done to BD for the review.

  6. I was beaten by 3 clues in the top right, but most enjoyable.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to BD for the explanations.

  7. It’s funny but I found this quite doable and a nice sense of achoevement when I finished. It really gives you a warm glow when you do a good puzzle, (Oh dear, I think I may have started the male menopause!)

  8. Am printing the hints out as we are going away and I didn’t have time yesterday to attempt the toughie 546. Unfortunately, it is coming up with the answers in the brackets as well. Is there any way of preventing this ? your help would be appreciated !

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