Toughie 955 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 955

Toughie No 955 by Osmosis

Woman Hitler? (6-2-3)

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This isn’t a terribly difficult Toughie with the four long clues round the periphery giving me a good start, but I did find it enjoyable.
Do leave us a comment telling us how you got on and please click on one of the stars below to give us your rating of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a  Poet to reshape medal damaged in Herts town (6,2,2,4)
{WALTER DE LA MARE} – the enumeration does rather give away this English poet. A verb to reshape or amend and an anagram (damaged) of MEDAL go inside a town in Hertfordshire.

10a  Tall story about book teachers devour here (4,5)
{HIGH TABLE} – a synonym for tall followed by a story containing B(ook). These teachers are usually dons at college.

11a  Cook for example divides tripe (5)
{ROAST} – a conjunction meaning for example or by way of illustration is inserted in (divides) some tripe or rubbish.

12a  Ship‘s boy advanced to be embraced by gent (7)
{CORSAIR} – an exclamation expressing excitement (boy!) is followed by A(dvanced) inside (embraced by) a gentleman.

13a  Insects occupy edges of similar kitchenware? (6)
{SLICER} – parasitic insects go inside the outer edges of S(imila)R.

15a  Spot pair of specs amongst the elderly retiring (4)
{ESPY} – pair of specs is not the usual OO but the first two letters of the word SP(ecs) which go inside an old (elderly) word for ‘the’ which has to be reversed (retiring).

17a  Some of London extremists in woods throw wobbly (10)
{WANDSWORTH} – the extreme letters of W(ood)S (1,3,1) are followed by an anagram (wobbly) of THROW.

18a  Lecturer and son, protected against weather, like some gardens (10)
{LANDSCAPED} – L(ecturer), AND (from the clue) and S(on) precede an adjective meaning protected against the weather, like Batman for example.

20a  Rod Stewart’s belly regularly tanned (4)
{WAND} – the core (belly) of SteWArt’s is followed by two regularly-spaced letters from tanned. Moving swiftly on …

22a  Adhesive material bird used endlessly after money handed over (6)
{VELCRO} – a large bird without its final letter (endlessly) follows the reversal (handed over) of the monetary unit of Bulgaria.

23a  Body of water also deficient in region (4,3)
{ARAL SEA} – this is a body of water in central Asia. It is considerably smaller than it used to be since the rivers that fed it were diverted to provide irrigation. ALS(o) without its final letter, i.e. deficient, goes inside a region.

26a  Hoist fish over the waves? (5)
{RAISE} – sounds like flat-bodied fish.

27a  Air, rapidly ascending islands, turbulent throughout journey (9)
{GLISSANDO} – the setter wants you to think of a thermal but the air here is a tune. An anagram (turbulent) of ISLANDS goes inside a verb to journey.

28a  English side, struggling to maintain unity, stubbornly refuse to yield (3,4,5,2)
{DIG ONE’S HEELS IN} – an anagram (struggling) of ENGLISH SIDE goes round the cardinal number for which the term unity is used. An apt surface to describe the English team’s rearguard action in the final cricket test against the Kiwis.

Down Clues

2d  Sausage not browned, initially causing irritation (5)
{ANGER} – an informal term for a sausage (so called because they ‘pop’ when fried unless you prick their skin) loses the initial letter of B(rowned).

3d  Master, not long a food expert (6)
{TITIAN} – start with someone who is an expert on food (and how much or little of it you should eat) and take away a verb to long (as in the phrase ‘I’m ***** for a cup of tea’).

4d  Costume drama failing to attract tense architect (6,4)
{ROBERT ADAM} – this is an eighteenth century Scottish architect. A costume or formal apparel is followed by an anagram (failing) of DRAMA with T(ense) inserted.

5d  It might contain milk? Right, it might contain milk (4)
{EWER} – an animal that might contain milk is followed by R(ight).

6d  Fans regulate this travelling fair on base (7)
{AIRFLOW} – an anagram (travelling) of FAIR followed by an adjective meaning base or mean.

7d  Evergreen song about golden vehicle (9)
{ARAUCARIA} – this is an evergreen tree but the clue is also paying homage to the distinguished Guardian setter, now aged 92 and still as prolific as ever. An operatic song contains the chemical symbol for gold and a motor vehicle.

8d  Film‘s stage directions for mother-in-law? (5,3,6)
{ENTER THE DRAGON} – double definition – a kung-fu film starring Bruce Lee and, cryptically, how the script of a play might document the appearance on stage of an intimidating woman or battleaxe. Either a man or a woman could refer to their mother-in-law thus, though in practice it’s usually a man!

9d  Yellow meats one reports (7-7)
{CHICKEN-LIVERED} – two types of meat followed by the abbreviated title of someone who produces reports, in a newspaper for example.

14d  Topless Brenda flinging such a skirt — it gets the pulse racing (10)
{ADRENALINE} – after years of reading Private Eye the appearance of ‘Brenda’ in a clue automatically triggers thoughts of Her Majesty (Brenda being the name used for the Queen in that magazine) but that’s a red herring here. We want an anagram (flinging) of (B)RENDA (topless, without the first letter) followed by a type of skirt which is narrow at the top and wider at the bottom (1-4). I’m not sure if the skirt illustrated here is exactly right but I’ve done my level best.

16d  Heather below window beginning to level part of wall? (9)
{PANELLING} – one of the usual Crosswordland heathers follows the main part of a window and the beginning letter of L(evel).

19d  Medical man on French government many years (7)
{SURGEON} – string together the French word for on, G(overnment) and a very long period of time.

21d  Girl guide returned to collect paper (6)
{DAMSEL} – a verb to guide is reversed (returned) and includes (to collect) the abbreviation for paper, especially some with handwriting on.

24d  Desert pianist (mid-section only) when upset (5)
{SINAI} – the name of this desert in the Middle East comes from the internal letters of pianist reversed (when upset).

25d  Drives  soldiers accompanying them early morning? (4)
{EGGS} – double definition, the second a cryptic definition of what many children (and some adults) eat with their soldiers for breakfast.

The clues I enjoyed most were 17a, 28a and 8d. How about you?

18 comments on “Toughie 955

  1. I thought it was just the three men at home who didn’t listen to me but I see I have to add Gazza to the list :D

    Not particularly tough but very enjoyable (apart from the image conjured up by 20a that is). Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza too. In addition to your favourites, I liked 5d too.

  2. Very enjoyable ” toughie” from Osmosis, probably the quickest solve I’ve ever managed of his but great fun. Thanks to Gazza for the usual superb review.

  3. A most gentle toughie, but a pleasure to solve.
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for the review.

    Re 20a, I thought it was the middle letter of steWart (the ‘s used in the possessive form), followed by the regular letters of tAnNeD.

    1. It is but I think the mental image conjured up by the clue put him off his wordplay!!

  4. Just two left so I consider this a success. I finally feel as though I’m making progress on the Toughies.

    Defeated on 4D (shame on me) although the first name was obvious. Utterly baffled by 25D. Spent some time trying to make GIs fit in somehow. I did get the answer to 3D but didn’t know why. I interpreted 20A a bit differently, Gazza, using just the W from Stewart and all three regularly spaced letters from tanned.Thanks for the review and the needed hints, and thanks to the setter.

    1. Well done, Chris. You’re in good company on 20a because Jezza and CS both agree with you (see above) but I still think my interpretation works.

  5. Gentle fare on offer today but most enjoyable, favourites were 3d 8d and 27a Re 20a I parsed it the same way as Jezza.Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  6. Another lovely puzzle .Whilst I did not whizz through it as readily as some (couple of blind spots ) I thoroughly enjoyed it .Faves 2d and 8 d .
    Thanks very much as always .

  7. I don’t think that I would have got an answer to 2 down if I’d have tried all day, but apart from that particular clue today’s Toughie was most enjoyable – thank you Osmosis :-)

  8. Gazza, I reckon you will just have to give in gracefully with 20a. I also only want to take the ‘w’ from Rod’s navel. Last one in was 3d. As everyone seems to be saying, a lot of fun and not too taxing.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

    1. I will agree that your interpretation is probably what Osmosis intended but I still maintain that the wordplay that I described is perfectly valid (and it has at least stimulated a few comments :D ).

  9. Everyone seems to think this is an easy Toughie. :sad:
    Whenever something was really difficult my Dad used to say that it would sort the men from the boys – not sure where that leaves me today but, as a girl, I have a pretty good idea – had my life depended on it I would be well and truly dead and buried. Oh dear.
    I didn’t manage enough to make my opinion worth anything but just had to pop in to say that 8d really made me laugh.
    I will carry on ‘perservating’ with the Toughies.
    With thanks to Osmosis and gazza.

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