Toughie 622 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 622

Toughie No 622 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Tilsit is on holiday in the Lake District today, so I am filling in for him.  A very enjoyable puzzle with some clues that needed a fair bit of unravelling.

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1a Procreating? X is a sign of this (14)
{MULTIPLICATION} – a word meaning procreating is represented by X in mathematics

10a Max rejected army flask (not maintaining right temperature) (2,3,4)
{AT THE MOST} – to get a phrase meaning max(imum) start by reversing (rejected) an army of volunteers then add a brand of vacuum flask without the R (not maintaining right) and end with T(emperature)

11a Windows system in decay — someone not living at home? (5)
{EXPAT} – put a popular version of Microsoft Windows inside a word meaning to decay or corrode to get someone (like Pommers, Pommette or Libellule) not living in their home country

12a Hound and endlessly entice songstress (7)
{LURCHER} – a cross-bred hound, typically a retriever, collie, or sheepdog crossed with a greyhound, is derived by dropping the final letter (endlessly) from a word meaning to entice and adding the American songstress who used to be married to Sonny Bono

13a Swimmer keeping both hands in the sea (6)
{MARLIN} – this large “swimmer”, related to the swordfish, is created by putting both hands or sides inside a poetic word for the sea

15a Animal’s egg placed in shade (4)
{TOAD} – this amphibious creature is created by putting a letter shaped a bit like an egg inside a shade or small amount

17a Old golfer to be seen with wine (French) amongst group of stars (3,7)
{LEE TREVINO} – an old American golfer, known as Supermex, is created by putting the French for “to be” and wine inside a group of stars that form part of the zodiac

18a Cryptically, lots slipped behind (4,6)
{LOST GROUND} – this answer could be a cryptic clue to the word LOTS – slipped behind is the definition

20a Expensive letter-opener? (4)
{DEAR} – a double definition – a word meaning expensive and the first word used by a letter writer

22a Don’t use much sage, preparing sandwiches round yard (2,4)
{GO EASY} – a phrase meaning “don’t use much” is created by putting an anagram (preparing) of SAGE around (sandwiches) a round-shaped letter and adding Y(ard)

23a Skimmed article in newspaper, Friday Echo, repeatedly (3-4)
{FAT-FREE} – a hyphenated word that describes a skimmed product like milk is created by putting the indefinite article inside a pink newspaper and then adding FR(iday) and two occurrences of the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Echo

26a Increase insecticide within banks of Arno (3,2)
{ADD TO} – to get a phrasal verb meaning to increase put an insecticide, now banned in many countries, inside the outer letters (banks) of ArnO

27a Spiritual power martial artist Jackie displays in large building (9)
{ARCHANGEL} – this spiritual power or divine messenger is derived by putting the surname of martial artist Jackie inside (displays in) an anagram (building) of LARGE

28a London area is half of what politicians and former PM discussed (9,5)
{HAMPSTEAD HEATH} – this large park in North London is put together from the middle half of wHAt, some politicians and what sounds like (discussed) a former Prime Minister (first name and surname)


2d Complete obsessive, scrubbing floor of kitchen? (5)
{UTTER} – a word meaning complete is created by dropping the initial N (scrubbing floor of kitcheN) from an obsessive or eccentric person

3d Some from committee therefore develop 28 in East London (6)
{TEETHE} – hidden inside (some from) two of the words in the clue is a word meaning to develop what are known in Cockney / East London slang as 28a – strictly speaking only the first of the two words in 28 across would be used by a true Cockney

4d Landlord’s supporting institute, shown in report for renovation (10)
{PROPRIETOR} – to get this landlord start with a word meaning supporting or in favour of and then put I(nstitute) inside an anagram (for renovation) of REPORT

5d Scrap minor team with regular absentees (4)
{IOTA} – a scrap or very small amount is found by dropping the odd letters (with regular absentees) from the second and third words in the clue

6d Usual passion, following onset of ‘Aussies against English’ (7)
{AVERAGE} – to get a word meaning usual or ordinary a passion follows the first letter (onset) of Aussies, the single letter abbreviation of a word meaning against and E(nglish)

7d Reckless devil beginning to upset Elvis mimic (9)
{IMPULSIVE} – an adjective meaning reckless is constructed from a small devil, the initial (beginning) letter of Upset and an anagram (mimic) of ELVIS – the setter was scraping the barrel to get this anagram indicator!

8d After new configuring, you only let Ron on your bike? (3,2,4,5)
{NOT ON YOUR NELLY} – after N(ew) put an anagram (configuring) of YOU ONLY LET RON to get a phrase with similar meaning to “on your bike”

9d Welshman turned telly on — for example, relaxing harp and organ (5,9)
{DAILY TELEGRAPH} – start with a WELSH first name, then an anagram (turned) of TELLY, the abbreviation of the Latin phrase “for example” and finally an anagram (relaxing) HARP and to get an organ or newspaper familiar to all of us – “relaxing” is another dubious anagram indicator!

14d Four US leaders look so drunk, hiding nothing in Yankee college (5-5)
{STONY-FACED} – an example of how to lift and separate – the definition is “Four US leaders (at Mount Rushmore) look so” and you get there by putting a six-letter word meaning drunk around (hiding) a risqué abbreviation meaning nothing itself sandwiched between Y(ankee) and C(ollege)

16d Richard ‘ammond starts to drive Aston Martin here in Europe (9)
{AMSTERDAM} – start with how a Cockney might say (indicated by dropping the H from his surname) Richard Hammond’s nickname and then add the initial letter of (starts to) Drive Aston Martin to get a European city

19d Windy Asian city mostly in depression moving northwards (7)
{GASEOUS} – to get a word meaning windy or vapourish put most of the capital of South Korea inside a depression or decline reversed (moving northwards in a down clue)

21d Tennis professionals serve fast (2,4)
{AT PACE} – the organisation to which tennis professionals belong is followed by an unreturnable serve to get a phrasal adverb meaning fast

24d Proper sinister? On the contrary (5)
{RIGHT} – this word meaning proper is also the opposite (on the contrary) side to that represented in heraldry by sinister (which is the Latin for left)

25d Crown restored part of the taproom (4)
{PATE} – this word for the crown of the head is hidden (part of) and reversed (restored) inside the last two words of the clue – another iffy indicator!

This excellent crossword was slightly spoiled by what, in my opinion, were some decidedly iffy indicators

9 comments on “Toughie 622

  1. Many thanks to Osmosis for a very enjoyable toughie and to BD for a superb review. ( 1a brings to mind the Bobby Darin no. of the same name )

  2. A most enjoyable solve. :D Waiting for the weather to brighten up gives one the chance to complete today’s puzzles. Will I still have difficulty submitting them?? Come on DT….. sort the site out! Thanks Osmosis and BD

  3. Almost impossible. Did half of it. Even with the hints I didn’t like a lot of the clues. For example I got “expat” but I hadn’t thought of “eat” meaning “decay” . Of course, I started off on the wrong foot being sure 1 across had something to do with X and Y chromosones. Better luck next week. Happy Bank Holiday!

  4. Very good – and a few chuckles along the way!
    Thanks very much to Osmosis, and to BD for the review.

    1. I forgot to say thanks to BD for parsing 14d for me; I knew it was right, but the ‘YFAC’ in the middle was bothering me!!

  5. Very enjoyable, thank you Osmosis. Lots of very nice clues including 8d, 9d, 16d (how many people actually knew the nickname?). Thanks to BD too.

  6. Well BD, definitely a case of ‘the biter, bit’. I think I got half a dozen on the first complete pass and maybe the same on the second. I gave up after that. Osmosis and I are clearly not on the same resonant frequency. I did manage to finish most of it with your hints and the last four by clicking in the brackets. I’ve some way to go on the Friday toughie it appears. Thanks for the well presented hints and thanks to Osmosis for an excellent puzzle.

  7. I always enjoy puzzles by this compiler and today was no exception, not quite as tough as his usual standard but still most enjoyable. Thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for his comments.

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