Toughie 1117

Toughie No 1117 by Osmosis

A to B or A from B? That is the question!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

I found this to be quite a slog and I’m still not sure about which of two possible answers for 12 across is the one the setter intended.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


6a    A red, that French wine by sink which is brandished after course complete (9,4)
{CHEQUERED FLAG} – Crosswordland’s favourite communist revolutionary followed by the French for that, a type of wine and a verb meaning to sink or droop

8a    Reddening, one goes in shade (6)
{BLUISH} – a reddening of the cheeks, due to embarrassment or modesty, with I (one) inside (goes in)

9a    Song and dance training, with revolutionary leader taking over (8)
{ADOPTION} – a three-letter song and dance followed by some Physical Training and the reversal (revolutionary) of an expression (2,1) meaning a leader

10a    Waterproof laptop? (3)
{MAC} – two definitions – the second being a type of laptop computer

11a    Statesman from Rome tucked into choc-ice routinely (6)
{CICERO} – hidden inside (tucked into) the clue

12a    Electioneering area for university somewhere in Sussex (8)
{HASTINGS} – start with some electioneering and insert an A(rea) for the U(niversity) to get a town in Sussex – a poorly constructed clue where it could work either way and the difference is concealed in an unchecked square; in the continued absence of the online Telegraph Puzzles site I have opted for the town as the definition

14a    Toy that’s thrown on the house borders is close to shrub (7)
{FRISBEE} – an adjective meaning on the house around (borders) IS and the final letter of (close to) shrub

16a    Piece of fabric from Lincoln restored in an instant (7)
{TIEBACK} – reverse the abbreviated form of President Lincoln’s first name inside an instant of time

20a    Retro musical instrument attracts husband at some festival (8)
{EPIPHANY} – reverse (retro) a musical instrument and follow it with H(usband) and a word meaning some

23a    Villainous character who spins ex-pupil after party over (6)
{ODDJOB} – the two-letter abbreviations for someone who spins records and an ex-pupil preceded by (after) the reversal (over) of a party – is the record spinner defined by “who spins” or “character who spins”; in the latter case character is doing double duty

24a    Soldiers midway through Armenia (3)
{MEN} – hidden (midway through) inside the clue

25a    Kindle briefly entertains Russian firm (8)
{RIGOROUS} – most of (briefly) a verb meaning to kindle or excite around a forename given to many Russians, like Stravinsky

… or the guy on chains backed by his baying hounds!

26a    Like a howlin’ bluesman, regularly loud alongside saxophonist? (6)
{LUPINE} – the bluesman is Howlin’ Wolf – to get this adjective meaning wolf-like start with the odd letters of LoUd and follow them with the surname of jazz saxophonist Courtney

27a    Turkey appendage daughter’s removed — a helper, as usual (13)
{TRADITIONALLY} – the IVR code for Turkey followed by an appendage from which D(aughter) has been removed and a helper or friend


1d    Only wingers in strange football team head it (8)
{SEXINESS} – the outer letters (wingers) of StrangE followed by the Roman numerals for the number of players in a football team and a headland

2d    Rock figureheads here keep quiet probing suspect money (8)
{RUSHMORE} – an exhortation to keep quiet inside (probing) an adjective meaning suspect or weird and some Scandinavian money

3d    Tediously moralistic, finding target outside a church (7)
{PREACHY} – a target or victim around (outside) the A from the clue and CH(urch)

4d    Disagreeable former partner avoids departing around ten (6)
{ODIOUS} – drop (avoids) the EX (former partner) from a mass departure of people (departing) and put what is left around I (one) followed by O (zero)

5d    Joe hides music player behind? (6)
{GLUTEI} – put the abbreviation for an American soldier (Joe) around (hides) an old musical instrument

6d    Does he practise strokes in particular waves? (13)
{CALLIGRAPHIST} – a cryptic definition of of someone who practises decorative handwriting – it looks as if there ought to be some wordplay in there, but I couldn’t find more than just the cryptic definition

7d    Actor who typifies England reportedly mad about clubs (6,7)
{GEORGE CLOONEY} – the patron saint of England and what sounds like (reportedly) an adjective meaning mad around C(lubs)

13d    Fix patient’s heart (3)
{TIE} – the middle 3 letters (heart) of paTIEnt

15d    Academic on hospital: ‘Disgusting!’ (3)
{BAH} – a university graduate followed by H(ospital)

17d    The setter on long run unusually needing breather (4,4)
{IRON LUNG} – the first person subjective pronoun (the setter) followed by an anagram (unusually) of LONG RUN

18d    Seaman climbing spotted someone with a corrupting influence (3,5)
{BAD APPLE} – the reversal (climbing in a down clue) of a seaman followed by an adjective meaning spotted

19d    Such attire, at end of schooling, simply thrown out (3,4)
{GYM SLIP} – the whole of this &Lit clue provides the definition – the final letter (end) of schoolinG followed by an anagram (thrown out) of SIMPLY

21d    Retired nag carrying weight needs medication (6)
{PROZAC®} –the reversal (retired} of a verb meaning to nag around a small avoirdupois weight

22d    Half a dozen perhaps lust over beau (6)
{ADONIS} – half of A DOzen followed by the reversal (over) of the kind of moral offence of which lust is an example

Did Tilsit know what he was doing when he ducked out of reviewing this one?



  1. BigBoab
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with BD on this one, I found it a bit tiresome but reasonably tough, thanks to Osmosis and to BD for a lovely pictorial review yet again.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Well I know two people who enjoyed it (one of them was me) although I must express a slight disappointment at it being two letters short of a pangram.

    I went for the A option in 12a as the clue does say Area for University

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  3. Pegasus
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Another gentle Friday offering, favourites were 14a 18d and 25a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the review.

  4. JB
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    23a A nice reminder of James Bond and Goldfinger.

  5. andy
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    Like Csue I opted for the A option, spent as long trying tp parse 4d and 9a as the rest of the puzzle put together d’oh. Did like 26a. Thanks to Osmosis and BD

  6. halcyon
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Not one of his better puzzles – though I did like 5d and especially 26a [and thanks BD for the samples of Messrs Burnett and P***].

    I had trouble with 6d, partly because IMHO it doesn’t work very well and partly because I had “wraith” at 8a, which I maintain is better than the official solution!

    Agree about 12a – but I went with the order of the words – A for U
    Re 23a – I assume the record player is defined by “who spins” in the same way that the saint in 7d is defined by “who typifies England”

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    We cogitated all night trying to work out the word play to justify 6d which was all that had eluded us. Then find out that there is none. Had to do a bit of investigoogling to sort out 26a. Towards the end we used the likelihood of a pangram to find places for a couple of little used letters, X and Z, so that helped us, even if it did end up as not being a pangram. A really hard slog for us.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

  8. Brendan
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed this and have given it a well deserved 5 star rating. By far the best puzzle of the week. Thanks to Osmosis and to BD for his usual excellent commentary.

  9. Tilsit
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for stepping in. Found this quite a tough slog when I tackled it this evening.

    Agree with the general consensus that this is not one of his more enjoyable challenges.

  10. Robin Hill
    Posted January 10, 2014 at 10:47 pm | Permalink

    Challenging but fair and amusing as ever from Osmosis; I particularly liked 14a. The four three-letter words were uncharacteristically straightforward compared with the rest of the puzzle. 4* for both Difficulty and Enjoyment for me.

  11. Only fools
    Posted January 11, 2014 at 12:35 am | Permalink

    Apart from 6d which for me was a daft clue which I would never have solved without the checking letters and 12a for which I hastily put the wrong answer ,went for “u” , I thought it very enjoyable unlike most it would seem .
    Thanks Osmosis and BD

  12. Tstrummer
    Posted January 12, 2014 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to BD for the hint to 5d, which I would never have got in a month of Sundays, even though I had the checking letters. Obvious, of course. Favourite clue was 26a, because it made me smile during an otherwise grim solve