Toughie 969 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 969

Toughie No 969 by Osmosis

You lucky people!

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

A typical Osmosis puzzle with, for me, no stand-out clues.

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1a    Yank after gold in China or another country (8)
{PORTUGAL} – a yank or pull after the heraldic term for gold all inside a china or mate

6a    Meagrely-stocked supermarket with vacuous service (6)
{SPARSE} – an international retail chain and franchise followed by ServicE without its inner letters (vacuous)

9a    Ladies’ fingers one’s seen on seat, wiping off bit of eclair (6)
{BHINDI} – the name used in Indian cookery for ladies’ fingers or okra is derived from I (one) after a seat or posterior without (wiping off) the E (bit of éclair)

10a    Soldier retraced a launch’s curve (8)
{PARABOLA} – an airborne soldier followed by the A from the clue and a verb meaning to launch or throw both reversed (retraced)

11a    Crushing defeat settled later in court (8)
{WATERLOO} – the name of the site of Napoleon’s last battle is now used for any crushing defeat – put an anagram (settled) of LATER inside a verb meaning to court or try to win the affection of a lady

12a    Fantasy books given as gift (6)
{TALENT} – a fantasy or story followed by some books of the Bible

13a    Private American leaves coach with the German comedian (5,7)
{TOMMY TRINDER} – army slang for a private followed by a verb meaning to coach or instruct without (leaves) the A(merican) and the German definite article

16a    Mistress imparted fervent kiss to one’s ear? (3,2,3,4)
{BIT ON THE SIDE} – this phrase could possibly mean imparted a fervent kiss to one’s ear

19a    English runner somewhat old to oust American (6)
{ROTHER} – start with a word meaning somewhat and insert O(ld) in place of (to oust) the A(merican)

21a    Open Maurice’s outside bar when converted, dividing beer (8)
{AMENABLE} – the outer letters of MauricE and the reversal (when converted) of a bar or prohibition all inside a beer

23a    Smart lecturer dips into supplies for section of bookshop (5,3)
{CHICK LIT} – an adjective meaning smart followed by L(ecturer) inside (dips into) some supplies

24a    Commotion surrounds resistance shown by X Factor expert (6)
{ADROIT} – a commotion around R(esistance) followed by the “X factor” or appeal

25a    Firm close to capacity making metal front (6)
{STEELY} – the final letter of capacitY after a metal

26a    Rogue adversely starts to alter crops — part of GM industry? (8)
{CADILLAC} – a rogue followed by a word meaning adversely or unfortunately and the initial letters of (starts to) Alter Crops – GM here is General Motors


2d    That man involved in porn, cast regularly to be thus? (2,4)
{ON HEAT} – the male pronoun inside the even letters of pOrN cAsT

3d    More than one X on side of Valentine present perhaps (5)
{TENSE} – more than one of the Roman numeral represented by X followed by the final letter (side) of ValentinE – present is an example (perhaps) of this grammatical term

4d    Bird displays shrewdness to bypass Latin test (9)
{GUILLEMOT} – a word meaning shrewdness around (to bypass) L(atin) followed by a n annual roadworthiness test

5d    Experts in line revealing illness (7)
{LEPROSY} – some experts inside a supposed straight line connecting three or more prehistoric or ancient sites

6d    Row around river for fish (5)
{SPRAT} – a row or disagreement around R(iver)

7d    Doctor treated ulna inside one vehicle (9)
{AMBULANCE} – an abbreviation for a doctor and an anagram () of (treated) of ULNA inside a playing card with one spot

8d    Writer and vocalist covering No.1s of Annie Lennox (8)
{SALINGER} – the American author of what is, in my opinion, an overrated right of passage story is derived by putting a vocalist around (covering) the initial letters (No.1s) of Annie Lennox

13d    Excessively bristly growth coming over top of hedge causes complaint (9)
{TOOTHACHE} – a word meaning excessively followed by a bristly growth around (coming over) the initial letter (top) of Hedge

14d    Pair of ungulates, the first shaved here in mid-Europe (9)
{RHINELAND} – two ungulate animals, the first without its final letter (shaved)

15d    Tie business upset by the foolish South American general (8)
{PINOCHET} – a verb meaning to tie or fasten followed by the reversal (upset) of the two-letter abbreviation for a business and an anagram (foolish) of THE

17d    Adaptable market boosted by endless credit (7)
{ELASTIC} – reverse (boosted) a market and then add a colloquial word for credit without its final letter (endless)

18d    Swede perhaps rejected alcoholic drink in Andalusia’s heartland (6)
{ULRIKA} – a Swedish first name is derived from an alcoholic drink inside the middle three letters (heartland) of AndALUsia all reversed (rejected)

20d    Sporting event Ivy Leaguer backed? (5)
{RELAY} – reverse (backed) a word for someone from a particular Ivy League college

22d    Left old taxmen with annual returns, auditing accounts ending then? (5)
{APRIL} – L(eft) followed by the taxmen before the merger with Customs and Excise and an abbreviation for annual or every year all reversed (returns)

I’m not at all sure about “when converted” indicating a reversal in 21 across – what do you think?

11 comments on “Toughie 969

  1. Still working on the Toughie, but I had to pop in to say that I have to disagree with the setter on 20D. In my experience, students and alumni of that particular univeristy are widely known by another name.

  2. A few in the bottom left slowed me down, and I had a most dense moment on 18d (which I could not see for the life of me, despite being one of the few Swedish names I do know!).
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to BD.

  3. I thought that I had won through but 18d was my nemesis. Elvira in Andalusia fitted in with the other answers and even had ale (reversed) as the acoholic drink. So near and yet so far.

  4. Thanks to Osmosis for a very enjoyable toughy and to BD for a most entertaining review, I have no complaints at all with this delightful offering.

  5. Defeated by last couple of clues. Agree “yaler” is a stinker and as for “Ulrika” …..! Don’t mind that I didn’t get them!
    On the bright side, I loved 16a. and 14d wasn’t bad either. For the rest, the least said the better.

  6. Most enjoyable but had to cheat for 19a. Need to improve my general knowledge. Not sure about when converted as reversal indicator – it’s more of an anagrind? Thanks to setter and BD for helping extend my geographical knowledge.

  7. I took ‘converted’in 21a to be an anagram indicator rather than a reversal.

    Enjoyable puzzle so thanks to Osmosis and BD for helping with 23a, a phrase I hadn’t come across.

    1. That would make 21a an indirect anagram, for which excommunication is the prescribed punishment. :D

  8. I’m yet another who couldn’t parse 18d other than that a very enjoyable solve, favourites were 8d 9a and 23a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the review.

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