Toughie 917 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 917

Toughie No 917 by Osmosis

An exercise to do at home!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A typical Osmosis Toughie with lots of initial letters, inside letters and outside letters punctuated by the occasional very clever clue.

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1a    Type of exercise ring used by fifth grade in games (11)
{CALLANETICS} – a verb meaning to ring someone on the telephone followed by the fifth grade in a series starting with grade A inside games or horseplay – I wanted to fit calisthenics in here, but soon realised that a) it was too long and b) it didn’t fit the wordplay

7a    Part of church venture cardinal’s ending (7)
{CHANCE} – a verb meaning to venture or risk followed by the final letter (ending) of cardinaL

8a    Most religious stories occurred in sweltering environment (7)
{HOLIEST} – stories or untruths inside (in … environment) an adjective meaning sweltering

10a    New postmen seen in middle of soap opera (5)
{NORMA} – N(ew) followed by the abbreviation for the UK postal service inside the inner letters (middle) of sOAp

11a    Fabulous princess starts to act nervously with camel, losing track (9)
{ANDROMEDA} – the initial letters of (starts to) Act Nervously followed by a one-humped Arabian camel without (losing) the final RY (railway / track)

12a    Straight line finds hospital department, following strong smell (7)
{TANGENT} – that usual hospital department follows a biting aftertaste or smell

14a    Annual fruitcake one put away on vacation in Argyll (7)
{ALMANAC} – a fruitcake or deranged person without the I (one put away) follows ArgylL with its inner letters removed (on vacation)

15a    Meat, with no name, relative kept in paper when retired (7)
{NUCLEUS} – drop (with no) the N(ame) from a male relative and then insert what is left inside (kept in) the reversal (when retired) of a tabloid newspaper

18a    Sort of roll coat when on toilet (7)
{PANCAKE} – the sort of roll you might get in a Chinese restaurant is derived by putting a verb meaning to coat or encrust after (on) a slang word for a toilet

20a    Stylish shoe loosely covered by fleecy thing up the creek (2,3,4)
{IN THE SOUP} – a two-letter word meaning stylish followed by an anagram (loosely) of SHOE inside (covered by) another word for a ram (fleecy thing)

21a    Sauce Latino, served regularly at the Italian, brought over (5)
{AIOLI} – the even letters (served regularly) of LAtInO followed by the reversal (brought over) of the Italian definite article

22a    Senior officer, dismissing last couple outside church section, slipped away (7)
{ELAPSED} – a senior officer, perhaps in the Protestant Church, without his final two letters (dismissing last couple) around a recess (section ) in a church

23a    Fifty tucked in to North African dish for part of commercial (3,4)
{TAG LINE} – the Roman numeral for fifty inside (tucked in) a North African stew made in a conical clay pot

24a    English actress vocalised middle bit in Creole, in rush (5,6)
{SUSAN GEORGE} – this English actress, famous for her role in Straw Dogs, is derived from a verb meaning vocalised and the middle two letters of CrEOle all inside a rush or sudden movement


1d    Cavalier peripherally grabs battle-axe in annoyance (7)
{CHAGRIN} – the outer letters (peripherally) of CavalieR around (grabs) a battle-axe or dragon followed by the IN from the clue

2d    A length of butterfly? Crawl? Swimmers might display such (5)
{LYCRA} – a fabric, made from a synthetic fibre, used to make swimwear is hidden (length of) inside the clue

3d    Maps should include English temperature — if nothing else (2,5)
{AT LEAST} – a book of maps goes around E(English) and is followed by T(emperature)

4d    Extremely enthusiastic greeting joiner rejected — prickly thing (7)
{ECHIDNA} – the outer letters (extremely) of EnthusiastiC followed by a two-letter greeting and the reversal (rejected) of a conjunction used to join parts of a phrase (joiner) gives another name for the spiny anteater (prickly thing)

5d    Racing miles with fan around circuit here? (4,2,3)
{ISLE OF MAN} – an anagram (racing) of MILES with FAN around the letter shaped like a circuit or ring gives a place with a famous racing circuit

6d    The female worker perhaps over Nag’s Head, banned boozer (7)
{SHEBEEN} – the female pronoun followed by a worker insect, not an ant this time, and the initial letter (head) of Nag

7d    Old cricketer resolute, batting last for Yorkshire (11)
{CONSTANTINE} – I wonder how many of you will remember Sir Learie? His cricketing career was before my time, but I do remember him as a well-respected statesman – an adjective meaning resolute followed by a cricketing tem meaning batting and the final letter (last) of YorkshirE

9d    Right-winger that Blair suppressed back in government? (11)
{THATCHERITE} – THAT followed by the first name if Prime Minister Blair’s irritating wife around the final letter (back) of governmenT

13d    Football team heads for Spain, entering seasonal break (9)
{ELEVENSES} – the number of players in a football team followed by the initial letters (heads) of three words in the clue

16d    Girl primarily avoids crystal ware brand (7)
{CUTLASS} – the initial letter (primarily) of Girl is dropped from (avoids) a type of crystal ware – in this context a brand is a sword

17d    Mountain poles and fleece obtained by individual (7)
{SNOWDON} – both poles are followed by a two-letter verb meaning to fleece or con inside (obtained by) an adjective meaning individual or personal

18d    Glass tube investigator preferred emptying twice (7)
{PIPETTE} – a Private Investigator followed by an adjective meaning preferred or favourite and TwicE without its inner letters (emptying)

19d    Struggle with back, lifting in London area (7)
{AGONISE} – a word meaning back or past followed by IN reversed (lifting) and the area of England around London

21d    Predict summer month on surf, unconfined (5)
{AUGUR} – the three-letter abbreviation of a summer month followed by (on in a down clue) the sURf without its outer letters (unconfined)

Elgar has told me today that he is scheduled to return next month. We will both be at The Bridge House in Little Venice on Feb 2nd to celebrate the blog’s fourth birthday. Why not come along and join us? For details see Upcoming Events in the sidebar and the separate post.

11 comments on “Toughie 917

  1. Agree with BD on everything, ratings, wanting to put callisthenics in 1a and so on. Thanks to him and Osmosis too.

    Looking forward to the return of Elgar. Very sad that I won’t be able to make it to the Bridge House this time, so someone else will have to provide a blog birthday cake. Shame really, as my newishly-found recipe for Chocolate Stout Cake would have fitted the bill nicely.

  2. No darkened room required after this one today, and it even allowed me time to look at the Graun as well.
    Thanks to Osmosis for a pleasant puzzle, and to BD for the review.

  3. Intuitive solving certainly goes out of the window with this puzzle but with patience enjoyed it .Commandant is in London for a couple of days so no interruptions .Absolute fav 9d and a few new words for me .
    Thanks for the review which would take me an eternity and probably be incomprehensible .

  4. Enjoyable puzzle but I thought the cricketer a tad obscure for anyone not very keen on the game.

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  5. Not overly difficult but I did enjoy it, favourites were 4d 7d 18d and 24a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the review.

  6. Too difficult for me I’m afraid. Never heard of 1a or 7d (although he was an emperor & died in York I think) & even 24a is a stretch unless you remember films from the 60s or 70s.

    Definitely one for the grown ups IMHO which judging by the comments from the usual suspects preceding mine seems to be the case.

  7. Finished, and didn’t need hints so feeling smug! It has taken a long time – must try pretending that it’s Wednesday again (but NOT on an Elgar day.)
    I’ve never heard of any cricketers, old, young, dead or alive but 7d wasn’t too difficult to work out.
    With thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  8. We needed Google confirmation for both 7d and 24a. Completed in about 4**** time and enjoyed the process. Always very satisfying for us to conquer a Friday Toughie. Looks like Mrs B might find a couple of new additions for her next edition as neither 15a comes up for “meat”, nor 16d for “brand”. Something we discovered in a casual browse after finishing the solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

  9. I do hate all those dangling letters that have to stuffed somehow into the clue, like somebody packing a suitcase badly

  10. As with Pommers, 7d required investigoogling or something similar. Apart from that found today’s quite straightforward, for a Toughie.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and BD for the review

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