Toughie 728 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 728

Toughie No 728 by Osmosis

Fruit Cocktail

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

I thought that this was just right for a Wednesday Toughie, with some clever, witty clues and not an obscure word in sight. Thanks to Osmosis for the tussle.
Let us know how you liked it and please take the time to provide your assessment by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Emin moved the goalposts of contemporary English art (6)
{TRACEY} – an anagram (moved) of the outside supports (goalposts) of C(ontemporar)Y E(nglish) and ART gives us the relevant forename.

4a  Irrelevant work seen around very loud building site (3-5)
{OFF-PISTE} – this is a term from skiing meaning away from the established path which has evolved to mean away from the mainstream and thus irrelevant. Put the usual abbreviation for work around what stands for very loud in musical notation, then finish with an anagram (building) of SITE.

10a  Bird lovers nurse a stray with unknown fruit (9)
{RASPBERRY} – the initials of the bird lovers’ society go round (nurse) A. Follow this with a verb to stray and an algebraic unknown.

11a  Lab equipment taken from workplace, but usually returned (1-4)
{U-TUBE} – a piece of lab equipment is hidden (taken from) and reversed (returned) in the clue.

12a  Revolutionary party idiot — symbol of party? (7)
{BALLOON} – what you’re bound to find at a children’s party comes from reversing (revolutionary) the abbreviation of a political party and following it with an informal word for an idiot.

13a  Poor, unfed, requiring drug hostel ultimately? (7)
{NEEDFUL} – the whole clue here is the definition and it’s an all-in-one. An anagram (poor) of UNFED contains (requiring) an abbreviated drug, then finish with the ultimate letter of (hoste)L.

14a  Current pair of trailing curtains (5)
{TREND} – the definition here is current, i.e. the general course or direction of events. Start with a pair of letters from TR(ailing) and follow with what “curtains” means informally.

15a  Compulsory object bound for church (8)
{ENFORCED} – an object or goal goes round (bound) FOR and an abbreviation of church.

18a  Choir regularly interrupts self-catering woman’s baking day (8)
{SCORCHER} – phew! (as the red-tops might say). The odd letters (regularly) of choir are inserted (interrupts) in the abbreviation for self-catering, then finish with a feminine possessive adjective (woman’s). I love the definition.

20a  Hill? Driver reversed Rover (5)
{NOMAD} – I had to wait for a checking letter to decide which way round this worked. The definition is the falsely-capitalised rover and it’s a reversal of the forename of a retired racing driver named Hill.

23a  Skin surgery might improve this minor celeb (7)
{BLISTER} – split this as (1-6) to get a celebrity not in the top rank.

25a  Exile gets official uniform — fancy that! (7)
{REFUGEE} – string together the abbreviation for a match official, U(niform) and an exclamation meaning fancy that!

26a  Plug Roger connects on deck (5)
{ADORN} – the definition is deck, as a verb. Start with an abbreviated plug or puff, then insert the letter that Roger is used for (to mean received and understood) in radio-communication inside ON. I’m not overjoyed by the use of “connects” as in insertion indicator – what do you think?

27a  Indirectly suggest annuities should be distributed (9)
{INSINUATE} – an anagram (should be distributed) of ANNUITIES.

28a  Brass controlling railway start to consider complaint (3,5)
{DRY COUGH} – brass is used here in one of its informal senses, so put another slang term for the same thing around (controlling) an abbreviation for railway and the starting letter of C(onsider).

29a  Netball team training in court close to contest (6)
{SEPTET} – it serves me right for making assumptions, but having got ?E?T?T I assumed that there were six players in a netball team and tried in vain to force sex into the wordplay. When I eventually decided to check I found that my assumption was wrong. Insert the abbreviation for physical training in a verb to court or date and finish with the closing letter of (contes)T.

Down Clues

1d  TB virus could destroy so much (8)
{TERABYTE} – this is what TB stands for in magnetic disk capacities. The whole lot could be wiped out by a computer virus.

2d  Free six-pack? Shout of approval goes round very shortly (7)
{ABSOLVE} – what we want is a verb meaning to free or exonerate. An informal way of referring to a set of abdominal muscles (six-pack) is followed by a Spanish shout of approval containing V(ery).

3d  Topless representative welcomes French fashionista to lift and enhance (9)
{EMBROIDER} – lol! Remove the initial M (topless) from a parliamentary representative and insert the surname of a famous French couturier reversed (to lift).

5d  With mobile in the air, fellow and son around resort snapped war aircraft (6,8)
{FLYING FORTRESS} – this is a heavy American bomber. Start with an adjective meaning mobile and in the air, then put F(ellow) and S(on) around an anagram (snapped) of RESORT.

6d  Wrinkly thing to continue during record doing the twist (5)
{PRUNE} – this is a wrinkly thing (not a wrinkled retainer, you’ll be pleased to know!). Insert a verb meaning to continue or extend inside (during) an old record format reversed (doing the twist).

7d  Scrap eggy dish that’s old, replaced by Charlie (7)
{SCUFFLE} – to get this scrap or minor punch-up start with a dish made with beaten egg whites and replace the O(ld) with the letter that Charlie is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

8d  Musical sibling balanced short track (6)
{EVERLY} – the musical sibling could be either Don or Phil. Start with a synonym for balanced without it final N (short) and add one of the abbreviations for track.

9d  Suitable man from wings to pour hot tea over porcelain, after Church (6,8)
{PRINCE CHARMING} – this is a suitable man (for a girl seeking a husband). Begin with the outer letters (wings) of P(ou)R then add a synonym for hot or trendy. Now take a breath and add an informal word for tea and a type of porcelain, both following one of the abbreviations of church. I’m not sure what the surface means.

16d  Criminal group receive stolen goods and appropriate funds (4-5)
{RING-FENCE} – this is a compound verb meaning to appropriate or reserve funds for a specific purpose so that they cannot be used for anything else. A word for a group of criminals is followed by an informal verb to receive stolen goods.

17d  Fan ‘eld by that woman on hospital department (8)
{ADHERENT} – the word of the day (it also appears on the back-page) means fan or supporter. Start with a synonym for held (a party maybe) and drop the initial H to match the clue. Now add a feminine pronoun and the usual hospital department.

19d  It’s a choice between sophisticated and Yankee coffee substitute (7)
{CHICORY} – a coffee substitute could be either sophisticated OR the letter for which Yankee is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

21d  Mile award for cross-country type? (7)
{MIGRANT} – a charade of an abbreviation for mile and a synonym for award gives us someone who moves around, possibly from one country to another.

22d  Leaderless fat guards stole on QE2? (6)
{ABOARD} – on QE2 is the definition by example here. Put a type of fat without its leading L around (guards) a stole or fur.

24d  Steps back to sunless UK, and gradually sees ___? (5)
{TANGO} – the definition here is steps. It’s what you may see happen (3,2) when you return to the UK after holidaying in sunnier climes.

There are some great clues here. My top choices are 1a, 13a, 18a and 22d. Let us know what tickled you.

6 comments on “Toughie 728

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this one, and found it much more straightforward than the Toughie yesterday.
    The right-hand side went in fairly quickly, then bit by bit the left side fell into place.
    Many thanks to Osmosis, and to gazza.

  2. I did enjoy this perfect Wednesday Toughie, thank you Osmosis. Definitely a crossword of two halves as I had all the right hand side written in before I had anything on the left, but still ended up in what was for a me a 2* Toughie time (which is of course completely different to a 2* back page time) I had the same favourites as Gazza plus a few more too. Thanks to Gazza for the excellently illustrated review – I think you have pleased everyone with your choice of pictures today :D

  3. Really enjoyed this one, a plethora of excellent clues of which my favourites were 2d 18a 22d and 28a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for a super review.

  4. Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza. Too tough for me, only got 10 answers, but enjoyed reading the hints, wouldn’t have got ’em in a million years.

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