Toughie 806 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 806

Toughie No 806 by Osmosis

Saved by James Bond…

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

Not entirely sure exactly what Matron did to young Tilsit, but he is still not up to crossword blogging duties so I have crept out of the weekend corner once again.

Osmosis has given us one of those crosswords where you finish off  each corner in turn – in my case NE, SE, NW and finally SW – and once you have finished wrestling you are not entirely sure you enjoyed yourself.   It has grown on me a bit while sorting out the review and I even have a few favourites, highlighted in blue.

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           Football star, disheartened by the Spanish item in trattoria? (8)
{BECHAMEL}   Remove the middle letter (disheartened)  from a famous footballer’s surname, and follow the result with the Spanish word for the to get a type of sauce.   ‘in trattoria?  refers to the fact that  the sauce is one of the ingredients of that traditional Italian dish, lasagne, found in a trattoria – a traditional Italian eating establishment.

6a           Work hard to become a clergyman in retreat (6)
{BEAVER} To work industriously or steadily –   Part of a verb meaning to live or exist followed by A (from the clue) and a reversal of an abbreviation for a clergyman.

9a           City garden, very concealed (6)
{DENVER}   Very concealed- well it took me a while to spot it!  The capital of Colorado is hidden in garDEN VERy.

10a         Once fallen at the front, troops are permanently honoured here (8)
{CENOTAPH} The London monument honouring the dead of both World Wars – an anagram (fallen) of ONCE followed by the front or initial letters of Troops Are Permanently Honoured.

11a         Possible reply to: Which scout is able to fetch water, using this? (5-3)
{BILLY-CAN}   Something used to carry water when camping might, if the hyphen was removed,  suggest the name of the boy scout who is free to fetch water using it.


12a         Aromatic herb with fish brought about argument (6)
{YARROW}  A herb once used to flavour beer is a reversal of a large fish followed by a synonym for argument.

13a         From Euston, I’m commuting with ‘Echo’ somewhere around here? (4,8)
{HOME COUNTIES}   An anagram (commuting)  of EUSTON IM and ECHO gives us the area around, but not including, London.

16a         Cleaner all set to exercise like fitness guru (7,5)
{CHARLES ATLAS}   The early 20th Century’s fitness guru –  CHAR (cleaner) followed by an anagram (to exercise) of ALL SET and AS (like).

19a         Northern Irish Olympian has little time between matches (6)
{PETERS}  The Northern Irish athlete who won gold in the pentathlon at the Munich Olympics –  insert the abbreviation for Time into matches or equals in social standing.

21a         Insignificant bird before nightfall inhabits Lakes (3-5)
{LOW-LEVEL}   Insignificant or not of great importance –  Insert between two abbreviations for Lake (inhabits Lakes) a bird that is not seen much in the daytime and then the period before nightfall (3).

23a         Non-expert accepts a day cut short by computing conflict (8)
{DISUNITY}  Disruption or estrangement –  Insert into the usual way people refer to amateur home improvements, the abbreviation for the first day of the week (day cut short) and the two letters representing computing.

24a         Ancient territory that woman risked, when swapping borders (6)
{THEBES} The Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt –   Take the female personal pronoun and a word meaning to risk or wager and then exchange the first letter of the first word with the last letter of the second word (swapping borders)  and merge the result.   Easier to solve than explain!

25a         Style of knitwear Daniel Craig perhaps wears outside in city (6)
{CHUNKY}  Knitwear made of thicker wool – A sexually attractive man such as Daniel Craig is inserted into the outside letters of CitY. 

26a         Dog alongside queen consumes right drink (8)
{SPRITZER}   A drink of wine mixed with sparkling water –   Insert R for right (consumes right) into a breed of dog which has a stocky build, pointed muzzle, erect ears and curly tail, and then finish with the cipher for our current Queen.  


2d           Priest accesses stain, lifting cover of organ (6)
{EYELID}  The cover from an organ of sight is obtained by inserting one of the better-known Biblical priests (certainly in Crosswordland anyway) into a reversal of a stain or colouring substance.

3d           Lecturer resides beneath Sussex town dwelling (5)
{HOVEL}  A ramshackle dwelling place probably not found in the Sussex town next to Brighton (4), which should be followed by L for Lecturer.

4d           Extra flower stand for seaside resort (9)
{MORECAMBE}  The famous Lancashire seaside town is one of those clues that made me scratch my head.  It is a charade of the comparative of much  or many (extra) followed by the river which gives its name to one of our University towns and then a word meaning to stand for or exist .   I think I was trying to find an alternative word for a flower stalk or vase until the penny dropped about the alternative meaning of flower!

5d           Pithy Tory involved in false claim, endlessly (7)
{LACONIC} Pithy, terse or using few words –   Insert the three letter word by which one can refer to a member of  the Tory Party into an anagram of the first four letters of CLAIm (claim endlessly)

6d           Flexible Friend, half used in past (5)
{BENDY} Flexible or able to be caused to form a curve –  Insert the last three letters of friEND (half used) into a preposition meaning past.

7d           Complaint from unionist bypassing Scargill? Definitely (9)
{ARTHRITIS}  Inflammation and stiffness of the joints –   Remove the U (unionist) from the Christian name of Mr Scargill, the President of the Miners’  Union in the 1980s, and then add a two-word  expression meaning definitely.

8d           Hand having no clubs, host obtains trick (8)
{EMPLOYEE} Hand here refers to a manual worker, the solution actually meaning any sort of paid worker.    Remove the C (no clubs) from the informal way of referring to a Master of Ceremonies and then insert a word meaning trick or tactic.

13d         Buffoon halted motorbike on a 1 in 5 (9)
{HARLEQUIN}  A comic character, clown or buffoon –  Remove the last letter from a famous motorbike marque (motorbike halted) and then follow with one of five children born at one birth.

14d         Not as sunny (degree less) outside to study here in Cumbria (9)
{ULLSWATER}   The second largest lake in the Lake District – remove the D (degree less) from a word meaning less bright and then insert a word meaning to cram or study intensively.  I would normally use this spelling to describe killing a fly but it does mean studying too.

15d         Kebab attracts Jimmy, turning up red-faced (8)
{SHEEPISH}  ‘Jimmy’ is here used as a euphemism for urination as is the three-letter word you need to reverse and  insert into a type of kebab, to get an adjective meaning embarrassed or abashed.  

17d         Very observant, reviewing jazz singer precisely (3,4)
{ALL EYES}  Watching something with a lot of interest –  Reverse the Christian name of Ms FitzGerald the jazz singer and follow with the most common way of affirming that something is precisely so.

18d         Language unit rejected spreadsheet program, spurning college author (6)
{LEXEME}   Never heard of this so I will quote from the dictionary ‘a minimal unit of language which has a semantic interpretation and embodies a distinct cultural concept’.   At least the wordplay is clear!  Remove the C (spurning college) from the name of the Microsoft program used for spreadsheets.   Reverse the result and follow with the objective pronoun Osmosis, the author of today’s Toughie, might use to refer to himself.

20d         Bad-tempered detective disrupts TV company (5)
{SPIKY}   Bad-tempered, easily offended or annoyed – simply insert the two letter abbreviation for a type of detective into the broadcasting company set up by Rupert Murdoch.

22d         Pass, for example, is in French (5)
{EGEST}  To pass or excrete from the body.   Follow the usual abbreviation meaning for example with the French word for is.

Thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit from saving me from having to buckle down and sort out the filing.  I have a day off next Friday so if I am called on again, at least I won’t have to hide the newspaper and  dictionary under a pile of paperwork!

6 comments on “Toughie 806

  1. I really enjoyed this one. Apart from the SW corner, I did not find it too tough. I had to buy a letter for 19a, as I did not understand what the clue was getting at.
    4*/4* from me.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to Crypticsue for the review.

    Re 16a, I think it is CHAR followed by an anagram of ‘all set’

    1. You are right about 16a but it also needs (as I discovered when amending the entry) an AS (like) too.

      1. I know… I know. I think I was distracted by remembering old images of the body builder, who I hasten to add is not my type at all :D

  2. Excellent and entertaining crossword and review, my thanks to Osmosis and Crypticsue, I did need assistance with 18d but loved 16a.

  3. Enjoyed this one and despite having 3 checking letters in 18d just couldn’t crack it, favourites today were 8d 15d 21a and 28a thanks to Osmosis and to CS for the review.

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