Toughie 832

Toughie No 832 by Osmosis

Vlad gets a Mention

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

I proceeded steadily through this puzzle (a pangram) but never really got into top gear and ended up spending some time trying to work out a synonym for sooty at 23d. It has a number of entertaining clues, but perhaps too many of the type ‘x contains y’.
What do you think? Leave us a comment and please click on one of the stars below to rate the puzzle for enjoyment.

Across Clues

1a  Liberal politician particularly enjoys entertaining family by river (3,7)
{ROY JENKINS} – there’s a nice bit of misdirection here. This politician (who shared an affliction with Jonathan Ross) was a liberal, but only with a small L. He served in Labour cabinets and was later a founder member of the SDP. His name is an anagram (particularly?) of ENJOYS containing a synonym for family, all coming after (by) R(iver).

6a  Hit second during attack (4)
{FIST} – insert S(econd) into an attack or seizure.

9a  Suzie regularly carries ruler, clipping partner (7)
{SQUEEZE} – the odd (regularly) letters of Suzie go round (carries) a female ruler without her final letter (clipping).

10a  Toff catches breath heading for impala here in Africa (7)
{NAIROBI} – a synonym for toff contains (catches) a breath or breeze and that’s all followed by the initial letter (heading) of I(mpala).

12a  Minogue spoke awkwardly about opening of show that comes to nothing (4,2,2,5)
{GOES UP IN SMOKE} – an anagram (awkwardly) of MINOGUE SPOKE goes round the opening letter of S(how).

14a  Roman purchases essentially by gold card (6)
{HORACE} – a Roman poet and satirist – the central (essentially) letter of purcHases is followed by the usual tincture of gold and a playing card.

15a  Ice hockey team, in committed final, profit (8)
{DIVIDEND} – the Roman numeral for the number of players in an ice hockey team goes inside a verb meaning committed or carried out, then a synonym for final (as an adjective) is added.

17a  Office for bishop indifferent about large part of plant (4,4)
{SEED LEAF} – the office of a bishop is followed by an adjective meaning indifferent or unresponsive (to pleadings, for example) which contains L(arge).

19a  Remote agent returns after South Africa quiet (6)
{ZAPPER} – every household seems to have its own pet name for this implement, ranging from hoofer doofer to ‘the fat controller’. Reverse the abbreviation for a sales agent after the IVR code for South Africa and the musical abbreviation for quiet.

22a  Friend, after exam, used to go bonkers — a theatrical ploy (4,2,7)
{DEUS EX MACHINA} – this latin phrase came to us from the poetry of 14a. These days it’s used to describe a quick and unexpected event used to resolve a difficulty in the plot of a play. Originally, in Greek drama, it was the lowering of an actor playing a god onto the stage to produce a supernatural solution. Cockney rhyming slang for a friend or mate follows an anagram (to go bonkers) of EXAM USED.

24a  Keeping it in the family, engender anger when embracing extra education (7)
{INBREED} – a synonym for anger contains (embracing) the abbreviation for a specific type of extra in cricket. Finally add the abbreviation for education. This clue doesn’t work properly for me; the answer is a verb but the definition has a present participle, i.e. I think that to match the answer the first word of the clue should be ‘keep’ rather than ‘keeping’. Thanks to halcyon for pointing out that the definition is actually the first six words of the clue.

25a  Ordered toilet mesh that lets in light (7)
{LUNETTE} – this is a double homophone (although the first part seems a bit iffy to me). The answer is supposed to sound like (ordered) loo net.

26a  Milk provider comes with right jug (4)
{EWER} – an animal that produces milk is followed by R(ight).

27a  Fear canal section getting to Barnet? (10)
{DREADLOCKS} – Barnet is cockney rhyming slang (from Barnet Fair) and what we want is an example (indicated by the question mark). A verb meaning to fear is followed by a section of a canal where there is a change in the water level.

Down Clues

1d  Cuff catches edge of school file (4)
{RASP} – a verb meaning to cuff or strike contains (catches) the first letter (edge) of S(chool). Osmosis is fond of using catches as a containment indicator – see 10a.

2d  Comparatively raw solver, no good with Elgar, disheartened (7)
{YOUNGER} – string together the pronoun identifying the solver of the crossword, the abbreviation for no good and the outer letters (disheartened) of E(lga)R. The surface is amusing and describes the situation on many a Friday.

3d  ‘Dead tree’ version by old King? Section’s kept for academic institution (6,7)
{EXETER COLLEGE} – to get this academic institution in Oxford start with a prefix meaning dead (like Monty Python’s parrot), then add an anagram (version) of TREE and the name of a merry old King with a section or stage of a race inserted.

4d  Continue paring sharp canine (4,2)
{KEEP UP} – an adjective meaning sharp or honed loses its final N (paring) and this is followed by a young canine.

5d  Type of aircraft firm? On the contrary (3-5)
{NON-RIGID} – this type of aircraft is not firm at all.

7d  Anger hogs addicted to golden mineral (4,3)
{IRON ORE} – a synonym for anger (the same one that was used in 24a) contains (hogs) a preposition meaning addicted to (drugs, perhaps) and the tincture that is the colour of gold.

8d  Some batsmen suffer, occupying green wickets ultimately (4-6)
{TAIL-ENDERS} – numbers nine, ten and eleven in the batting order come from a verb to suffer contained in (occupying) an adjective meaning green or inexperienced and the ultimate letter of (wicket)S.

11d  Stirring one citizen to go outside up ladders (13)
{INSPIRATIONAL} – I (one) and the citizen of a country contain the reversal (up) of a verb meaning ladders or tears.

13d  Gathering for match, women agitated this diver (5,5)
{WHIST DRIVE} – this is a competitive card-playing event. Start with W(omen) and add an anagram (agitated) of THIS DIVER.

16d  Striking model graces average film award (5,3)
{PALME D’OR} – to get this Cannes award put an anagram (striking) of MODEL inside (gracing) the average number of shots that professional golfers should take on a hole.

18d  European fight avoided by son, born placid (7)
{EQUABLE} – start with E(uropean) and add a fight or noisy quarrel from which the S(on) and one of the B(orn)s have been removed.

20d  Credit card finally used to enter film (7)
{PLASTIC} – a synonym for finally goes inside (used to enter) the abbreviation for a film.

21d  Legendary monster and accomplice Lewis picked up (6)
{SCYLLA} – to get this sailor-eating monster of Greek mythology join together an accomplice or partner and the initials of Mr Lewis (the English novelist who created Narnia) then reverse (picked up) the lot.

23d  Sooty and Sweep’s original careers? (4)
{JETS} – this was my last answer and I presume that the answer matches careers in the sense of rushes or issues forth in an uncontrolled way rather than the other meaning of travels swiftly by air. An adjective meaning sooty or black is followed by the first letter of S(weep).

I like 1a and 19a but my clue of the day is 2d. What was best for you?


  1. Qix
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the difficulty rating, and with Gazza’s selection of favourite clue. I’d have given it another “enjoyment” star just for that one!

    I found this one enjoyable, and a reasonable challenge after today’s rather straighforward back-pager.

  2. Shahriar Bader
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

    Zuid? Good grief.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Reasonably entertaining crossword withot ever reaching the highspots usually associated with Osmosis toughies, I could not understand all the duplicate and triplicate less fashionable letters, i.e j,y,z,x, etc. Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for at least keeping me on my toes.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    Agree with the star rating and the favourite clue and everything. One of those where you got the solution but for several of them, had to think ‘why?’ After spending a gnoment wondering what Sooty and Sweep did before they became glove puppets :D , it did eventually occur to me that I needed a synonym for sooty! Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza too.

  5. Pegasus
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Probably not one of Osmosis’s better puzzles but, I still enjoyed it. Favourites for me were 2d 13d and 19a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  6. phercott
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

    After yesterday’s enjoyable offering, I found this very poor indeed. No pleasure whatsoever in solving it . Boring clues with bad surface readings

  7. Kath
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I managed this apart from the crickety one, the monster, the film award and Sooty and Sweep. It’s taken me AGES but it’s been raining all day so it doesn’t really matter.
    I don’t think that I’ve ever seen “particularly” as an anagram indicator before. I wasn’t sure (and I’m still not) why 27a works – shouldn’t it be “canal sections” rather than “section”?
    I liked 12a and 11 and 13d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

      I thought that a section of canal (if there is a steep gradient) can consist of multiple locks one after the other.

      • Kath
        Posted August 29, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

        Ah – OK and thanks. I wasn’t nit-picking just trying to understand.

  8. andy
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Your God only knows how I dredged the theatrical ploy from the addled brain, d’oh was the indifferent being a synonym for deaf. Agree with Gazzas faves and ratings. Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza as ever

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    This required a lot of pleasurable effort from us. Even had help from 8 and 10yr old grandkids who helped with Mr Lewis and the monster. We had put in sapper instead of zapper for the remote which meant we missed the pangram. (Must learn these abbreviations that we are not familiar with here). Last in for us was of course the puppet one. Favourites were 21d, 23d, 25a but the very best 2d. Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

    • BigBoab
      Posted August 29, 2012 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

      There was another z at 9a.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted August 30, 2012 at 2:25 am | Permalink

        So there was! Oh dear! Another excuse for not being observant enough shattered.

  10. halcyon
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:45 am | Permalink

    Re 24 across – isn’t the definition “keeping it in the family, engender”?
    Good fun but beaten by Sooty & Sweep.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza

    • gazza
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Thanks – you’re absolutely right, one of the meanings of engender is to breed or beget.

  11. Tilsit
    Posted August 30, 2012 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle from Osmosis, but I don’t particularly feel comfortable with the definition at 1 ac as being ‘nicely misleading, rather than wrong. He was not from the Liberal side of the Alliance, as it were.

    • gazza
      Posted August 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      I don’t see anything wrong with this. He was often described as a ‘liberal Home Secretary’.