Toughie 905 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 905

Toughie No 905 by Osmosis

I’d rather go to the Dentist!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

Probably the hardest puzzle of the week, but, for me, lacking in the entertainment department.

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[NB This post has been restored from a back-up copy. Unfortunately the comments made on the day are no longer available.]


1a    Singer wrong to stick with a cunning comeback? (7)
{SINATRA} – a wrong followed by the A from the clue and the reversal (comeback) of a word meaning cunning

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a    Herbaceous wild flower cut back, decays — pecked on the outside (7)
{BISTORT} – reverse (cut back) a verb meaning decays inside a verb meaning pecked

9a    Bird close to exhaustion after party (5)
{RAVEN} – the final letter of (close to) exhaustioN follows a wild party

10a    Language from punk regularly pelting Scotsman? (9)
{UKRAINIAN} – the even letters (regularly) of pUnK followed by a word meaning pelting and the ubiquitous Scotsman

11a    Smeared foundation around part of face, on commercial (10)
{BADMOUTHED} – a three-letter word for a foundation around part of the face itself preceded by (on) a three-letter commercial

12a    Bug Roger Moore secretly reveals (4)
{GERM} – hidden (secretly reveals) inside the clue

14a    Artist appearing in print media, unusually (4,8)
{PIET MONDRIAN} – a two-letter word meaning appearing inside an anagram (unusually) of PRINT MEDIA

18a    Politician at front of House, shivering, having passed Bill (7,5)
{WILLIAM HAGUE} – the initial letter (front)of House followed by shivering and preceded by (having passed) the name for which Bill is the shortened form

21a    Classical leading man that finishes off screen ‘eart-throb (4)
{NERO} – this former leading man in the Roman Empire comes from the final letter (finishes off) screeN followed by a heart-throb without the leading H

22a    Training in warmth extremely harmful, regarding athletics event (10)
{HEPTATHLON} – Physical Training inside some warmth followed by the outer letters () of HarmfuL and a two-letter preposition meaning regarding

25a    One wearing reddish-brown redirected everybody seeing 1970s film (5,4)
{ANNIE HALL} – I (one) inside (wearing) the reversal (redirected) of a reddish-brown used for dyeing hair and followed by everybody

26a    Broadcaster, on reflection, totally right in evening dress (5)
{BRAGG} – reverse (on reflection) the final (right) letter of eveninG and dress or attire

27a    Two medical departments the latest to denounce coalition (7)
{ENTENTE} – repeat (two) Crosswordland’s usual abbreviation for a medical department and follow them with the final letter (latest) of denouncE

28a    Occasion held outside where French get level (4,3)
{EVEN OUT} – an occasion outside the French for where


1d    Writer outside in sunshine clutches pen (6)
{SCRIBE} – the outer letters of SunshinE around (clutches) a pen or stall for oxen

2d    TV channel set up in North America — this region? (6)
{NEVADA} – reverse (set up) a TV Channel that shows repeats inside N(orth) A(merica)

3d    Violent end to demonstration raised complaint (10)
{TENDONITIS} – an anagram (violent) of END TO followed by the reversal (raised) of a demonstration (3-2)

4d    Notice university supported by banks in light blue (5)
{ADULT} – the usual two-letter word for a notice followed by U(niversity) and the outer letters (banks) of LighT

5d    European city boozer with tea? Yankee leaves area (9)
{BARCELONA} – a pub or boozer followed by a variety of tea from which the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO Phonetic alphabet has been removed (leaves) and by A(rea)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d    Mum’s supplied with hip bone (4)
{SHIN} – an exhortation to keep mum or quiet followed by an adjective meaning hip or trendy

7d    Fat old couple eating enjoy life at the Italian (5,3)
{OLIVE OIL} – a pair of O(ld)s around (eating) a verb meaning to enjoy life and followed by the Italian definite article

8d    House English chaps in temporary accommodation (8)
{TENEMENT} – E(nglish) and some chaps inside temporary accommodation

13d    Bill put on sauce counter is subject to change (10)
{ADJUSTABLE} – a charade of a bill or poster, a sauce and a counter

15d    Fair model, I’m not sure, over fifty? (9)
{TEMPERATE} – start with a model or pattern and insert a two-letter word meaning I’m not sure instead of (over) the Roman numeral for fifty

16d    Pasty left among foreign booze, seeing theatrical performance (4,4)
{SWAN LAKE} – an adjective meaning pasty or anaemic and L(eft) inside some rice wine (foreign booze)

17d    Music-player from Irish county keeping in tune primarily (8)
{CLARINET} – an Irish county around (keeping) IN and followed by the initial letter (primarily) of Tune

19d    Prog-rock band with mansion oddly rejected Texan place (2,4)
{EL PASO} – a three-letter prog-rock band followed by the even letters (oddly rejected) of mAnSiOn

ARVE Error: need id and provider

20d    Head of gunners comes in to consider heaving man on board (6)
{KNIGHT} – The initial letter (head) of G(unners) inside the reversal (heaving) of a verb meaning to consider

23d    Linguistic notation learner used during course (5)
{TILDE} – L(earner) inside a course or drift

24d    James is academic (4)
{DEAN} – the surname of the iconic actor whose first name was James

I thought a lot of the wordplay was over-contrived.