Toughie 995 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 995

Toughie No 995 by Osmosis

No F in Answers

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I thought that this was a pangram but when I came to check it out I found that it had one letter missing. As usual with Osmosis we get a lot of fairly complicated wordplay, especially insertions and reversals – personally I prefer this type of clue to having masses of anagrams, but others may disagree.
We’d appreciate a comment from you (especially if you’ve never introduced yourself).

Across Clues

1a  Top sheep ventured around well, bothering that female (10)
{BELLWETHER} – put a verb meaning ventured or had a wager around an anagram (bothering) of WELL then finish with a feminine pronoun. I don’t like the use of present participles like bothering (or preparing in 27a) for anagram indicators when they follow the fodder; well isn’t bothering, it’s being bothered.

6a  Current  Poet Laureate? (4)
{ODER} – the name of a European river could also (cryptically, hence the question mark) be a Poet Laureate or indeed any poet.

9a  Judge visual comic (7)
{JOCULAR} – J(udge) followed by an adjective meaning connected with vision.

10a  Guitarist to work with sextet in the main (7)
{SEGOVIA} – a verb meaning to work or function and the Roman numeral for six are contained in the ocean.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a  I’m no stranger to travel, involving the foremost of landings (4,9)
{NEIL ARMSTRONG} – excellent all-in-one. An anagram (to travel) of I’M NO STRANGER with the foremost letter of L(andings) inserted.

14a  When computer operating, university training engrosses Berners-Lee (6)
{UPTIME} – U(niversity) and the abbreviation for training containing (engrosses) the abbreviated forename of the www inventor.

15a  Disrobes when retired, and showing sloth perhaps, wakes up late (6,2)
{SLEEPS IN} – reverse (when retired) a verb meaning disrobes or strips and add what sloth is an example of.

17a  Toil persistently twisting neck abroad (4,4)
{PLUG AWAY} – reverse (twisting) a verb to neck or swallow and add an adverb meaning abroad or not at home.

19a  Accident truncated part of church (6)
{CHANCE} – truncate the part of a church near the altar.

22a  English town centre to support heavyweight after he’s thrown hammer (7,6)
{SHEPTON MALLET} – this is a town in Somerset (which anyone who, like me, drove fairly regularly from the South-West to London before the days of the M5 will be well aware of). The central letter of supPort and a heavy weight follow an anagram (thrown) of HE’S. After that we need a sort of wooden hammer.

24a  Laid back guards reportedly get income daily (7)
{DIURNAL} – a reversal of LAID contains (guards) what sounds like (reportedly) a verb to get income from employment.

25a  Old misery comes inside to play (7)
{OTHELLO} – O(ld) followed by a synonym for misery or purgatory inside TO.

26a  University’s stern with booze — this one? (4)
{YALE} – the last letter (stern) of (universit)Y is followed by a type of booze.

27a  Sit angrily, preparing complaint (10)
{LARYNGITIS} – an anagram (preparing) of SIT ANGRILY.

Down Clues

1d  Second in command calling back Mayor? (4)
{BOJO} – I’d never heard of this portmanteau nickname for the serial adulterer and current mayor of London, but it wasn’t that difficult to get (how many mayors do you know?). The second letter of cOmmand is followed by a calling or line of work then it’s all reversed (back).

2d  See Olympic track finals with fan. It creates tight security in building (7)
{LOCKNUT} – string together an exclamation meaning see!, the final letters of (Olympi)C and (trac)K and a fan or aficionado.

3d  Bill about tax reproduced on printer (7,6)
{WILLIAM CAXTON} – start with the forename for which Bill is an abbreviation, then add the single-character abbreviation for about or approximately, an anagram (reproduced) of TAX and ON (from the clue).

4d  Jungle inhabitant‘s extremities seen over in lake (6)
{TARZAN} – the two ends (extremities) of the alphabet are reversed (seen over) inside a mountain lake to produce the second nickname for a very ambitious blond Tory politician within the space of a few clues.

5d  Close to game, poles and flag halted group of players (8)
{ENSEMBLE} – string together the closing letter of (gam)E, the two geographic poles and a symbol (flag) without its last letter (halted).

7d  God suppresses a number of Romans (10) scheming (7)
{DEVIOUS} – the latin word for a god contains (suppresses) the Roman number five and what 10 looks like. Hmm – what do you think?

8d  Shoot includes fashionable gear for high-flyer (4,6)
{REAR GUNNER} – the type of shoot that grows from the base of a plant contains an anagram (fashionable) of GEAR.

11d  Commit to the task fully, having obtained axe, and scrape corner (2,3,5,3)
{GO THE WHOLE HOG} – a charade of a) the past tense of a verb to obtain, b) a verb to axe or cut down, c) a scrape or difficult spot and d) a verb to corner or monopolise.

13d  Massive edition kept in stock, by all accounts (10)
{SUPPOSEDLY} – an abbreviation meaning massive in clothes sizes and ED(ition) are contained in a verb meaning to stock for sale.

16d  Plant pine during perfect morning, when retired (8)
{MAGNOLIA} – a verb meaning to pine gets inserted between abbreviations for perfect and morning then it all gets reversed (when retired).

18d  A French game — not one that’s different (7)
{UNEQUAL} – a French indefinite article is followed by a game bird without the I (not one).

20d  Short letter, showing temperature during Christmas vacation in Egypt (7)
{NOTELET} – insert T(emperature) inside a word for Christmas and add a vacated version of E(gyp)T.

21d  Bird eats chop and banger (6)
{JALOPY} – a bird (and the supplier of today’s back-page entertainment) contains (eats) a verb to chop.

23d  Referee carries this out  to pitch (4)
{TOSS} – double definition. What a referee supervises before the match starts and to pitch like a craft in heavy seas.

I liked 25a and 3d but my favourite clue was the very good all-in-one 12a. Let us know what appealed to you.

15 comments on “Toughie 995

  1. Thanks to Osmosis for a nice Toughie – Nice to have something to 17a at. I too am a fan of 12a – when I finally realised the lovely all-in-oneness of the clue, they probably heard the d’oh some miles away.

    Thanks to Gazza too.

  2. 1d was new to me too. At least it is amusing which is more than can be said for 6a…..a deplorable pun of a clue. I got it but couldn’t see why – I’m sorry I bothered! It’s an insult to all Poet Laureates.

  3. Took me yonks as I was continually looking for a cryptic solution rather than the GK answers and trying to justify my correct answer to 7d which I failed to do .,so thanks for that .
    Favs .1a,8d,12a and 21d .
    Thanks to Gazza and Osmosis

  4. I was actually quite amused by 6a unlike JB, it wouldn’t do if we all thought the same way. A very enjoyable toughie and review, my thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  5. I found this quite tough, but very enjoyable. 2/3 of this went in fairly quickly, but the remainder was hard work for me.
    I am glad I persevered with it; last in was 4d. Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza. 4* on both counts.

  6. I also found this quite tough yet enjoyable, favourites for me were 12a 17a 24a and 26a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the dissection.

  7. I enjoyed this a lot – having found the last couple of Osmosis puzzles slightly disappointing. Even so, I agree that 6a is a bit of a stinker and, like Gazza, don’t approve of the anagrinds in 1a and 27a.
    But then there are super clues like 12a, 22a, 24a, 25a, 3d and 20d so one really shouldn’t complain too much.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza.

  8. A very nice puzzle from Osmosis especially 12a ! Thanks to Gazza for the review!

    Shepton Mallet seems to becoming very popular – (Toughie 977 – 10 May 2013 – 3d).

    I wonder if the 2Kiwis remember?

  9. 12a was a runaway winner in a very entertaining puzzle. thanks to Osmosis and gazza .

  10. Gazza, you pinched our comment punchline for the title of the puzzle. We also noticed the Pangra… and had our response ready. StanXYZ, thanks for pointing out that we had had 22a recently. Wondered why we happened to call it to mind before checking with Wikipedia. 1d a bit tricky for us. Had heard of the mayor of course, but his nickname doesn’t appear to have filtered this far around the globe. However, as we have said before, guess these parochialisms are OK in the Toughie. Described yesterday’s puzzle as Lego-like and today’s is as well. Fun to solve too.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

    1. Never mind New Zealand, the 1d nickname for Bonking Boris hasn’t even reached South West England (or if it has, it’s evaded my notice).

  11. 1d has not reached East Anglia, thank your Lord. 4d my last in but I have to say IMHO 12a is stunning. Thank you Osmosis and Gazza

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