Toughie 1161 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1161

Toughie No 1161 by Osmosis

The Day the Music Died

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

A typical Osmosis puzzle where the difficulty comes from the convoluted clue constructs, which, for me, reduces the enjoyment level. However, 22 across added one star back in!

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.


1a    What trader does at knitwear exhibition, one using mount? (10)
{SHOWJUMPER} – split as (4,6) this gives what a trader could do at a knitwear exhibition, but it’s actually someone riding a mount or horse

6a    Rat reveals how bread can be transferred to retreat (4)
{SCAB} – the reversal (to retreat) of a payment (bread / money) transfer system

9a    Cats maybe rejected whole amount low in fat? (7)
{MUSICAL} – reverse (rejected) the whole and follow it with amount (1,3) which indicates a low fat content

10a    Meat and two veg right for sportsman getting stuck in? (7)
{TACKLER} – a different word for the male genitalia (meat and two veg) followed by R(ight) gives someone like Vinnie Jones

Vinnie & Gazza

12a    Brazilian star coach joins staff I’m to show round Scottish golf club (6,7)
{CARMEN MIRANDA} – a three-letter word for a coach followed by a three-letter word for staff or workforce, the reversal (to show round) of I’M and the abbreviation for a Scottish golf club (1,3,1)

14a    Kneepad regularly scratching during exercise causes discomfort (6)
{UNEASE} – drop (scratching) the odd letters (regularly) from the first word in the clue and insert what is left inside (during) a verb meaning to exercise or utilise

15a    Flexible outcast initially ducked squeezing into hovel (8)
{STRETCHY} – drop the initial letter from an outcast and insert (squeezing) into a hovel or dirty place

17a    Sportswear that’s used in the kitchen, moving head to toe (8)
{TRAINERS} – start with a kitchen utensil used for separating solid matter, like tea leaves, from a liquid and move the first letter (head) to the end (toe)

19a    Consumed flipping dessert outside in elements for all to see (4,2)
{USED UP} – this phrasal verb meaning consumed comes from the reversal (flipping) of a short word for a dessert, the outer letters of ElementS and a classification that a film is suitable for all to see

22a    Rock ‘n’ roller that is involved in long goodbye with partners after tour’s ending (7,6)
{RITCHIE VALENS} – this rock ‘n’ roller, whose life was tragically cut short in a plane crash, is derived from the abbreviation of the Latin for “that is” inside a verb meaning to long and a Latin word of goodbye and followed by two bridge partners and preceded by the final letter (ending) of tour – in the surface reading the partners were Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper and the tour ended, for all of them, at Clear Lake, Iowa on “The Day the Music Died” just over 55 years ago

How could I possibly pick just one track?

ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider

24a    It stops racket mixing up with gear, as end of holdall separates (7)
{EARPLUG} – an anagram (mixing) of UP with GEAR into which the final letter (end) of holdall is inserted (separates)

25a    Headwear problem solvers will reportedly craft (7)
{CAPSULE} – headwear (in the plural) followed by what sounds like (reportedly) “problem solvers will” from the setter’s point of view

26a    Retailer finds old religious book among new ones (4)
{NEXT} – to get this clothes retailer put the abbreviation for one of the early books of the bible inside the abbreviation for the later ones

27a    English town block acquired by Harry Ramsden’s finally (7,3)
{POTTERS BAR} – to get this Hertfordshire town a block, of chocolate perhaps, (it’s a noun not a verb in the surface reading) is preceded (acquired) by the surname of child wizard Harry and the final letter of Ramsden’S – nothing to do with fish’n’chips!


1d    Apart from opener, batting team’s unchanged (4)
{SAME} – an anagram (batting) of (T)EAM’S without its initial letter (opener)

2d    Huge agricultural tool, the ultimate to seek out small bone (7)
{OSSICLE} – an abbreviation for a huge size in clothing followed by an agricultural tool without (out) the final letter (ultimate) of seeK

3d    TV playwright‘s dogsbody’s lodging moved up north (4,9)
{JACK ROSENTHAL} – a dogsbody or menial around (lodging) a verb meaning moved up and N(or)TH

4d    Swimmer left to probe unopened piece of jewellery (6)
{MULLET} – L(eft) inside (to probe) a piece of jewellery without its initial letter (unopened)

5d    Reckon first colleague leaves Belgium around five in morning (8)
{ESTIMATE} – an adjective meaning first or optimum and a colleague without (leaves) the IVR code for Belgium from the first word and around the fifth letter of morning – I don’t like “leaves Belgium” here – “leaves Belgium behind” would work better

7d    Type of irrigation: individual canals, primarily? (7)
{COLONIC} – do you usually ignore the punctuation? – if you do you will have missed the : which provides the first five letters of the answer to which the initial letters (primarily) of two words in the clue are to be added

8d    Monkey‘s slight chatter fills most of area (7,3)
{BARBARY APE} – a slight or insult followed by a three-letter verb meaning to chatter inside most of ARE(a)

11d    Cleaner gives lectures, one moans (6-7)
{CARPET-SWEEPER} – a verb meaning gives lectures or reprimands followed by someone who moans

13d    Veggie food behind Queen’s party being cut short (6,4)
{BUTTER BEAN} – the behind or posterior followed by the Queen’s regnal cipher and most of a party or rowdy jollification

16d    Training horse vocally in presence of Marion, inwardly making notes (8)
{ARPEGGIO} – training or physical exercise and what sounds like (vocally) a child’s word for a horse inside the inner letters of (M)ARIO(N) gives the notes of a chord

18d    American chopper with pesticide finally missing area of plant disease (7)
{ANTHRAX} – I think this is the American spelling of a chopper preceded by the part of a stamen that produces the pollen without (missing) the final letter of pesticide, unless you know better

20d    Lady’s headdress doesn’t need a new ruffle (7)
{DISTURB} – a lady’s name and the S from ‘S followed by a headdress without (doesn’t need) the A from the clue and N(ew)

21d    Does it get you first place in many a racecourse? (6)
{MASCOT} – the initial letter (first place) of Many followed by a racecourse

23d    Dread remote falling around back of settee (4)
{FEAR} – an adjective meaning remote around the final letter (back) of setteE

Tilsit hopes to be back next week. He knew what he was doing by dodging this one.

10 comments on “Toughie 1161

  1. Loved it, a plethora of favourites including 3d 10a and 22a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. Certainly a toughie; I needed the hints for 22a and 18d, so many thanks to BD, and Osmosis for the brain exercise.

  3. A real workout. A couple of clues [5d, 18d] are a bit convoluted, even for Osmosis, but the crackers [10a, 26a, 7d, 16d and 20d] more than compensate.

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD

  4. I thought this was a proper toughie and really enjoyed it, many thanks to Osmosis for giving me a great workout and to BD for a simply marvellous review.

  5. We found this one a real challenge and never did manage to parse 5d despite overnight cogitation. We don’t use or see IVR codes here so they often throw us. The names and place also had us working and googling. 10a gave us a few chuckles as the euphemism was not familiar to us but confirmed by google. Challenging and fun.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

  6. I’m so pleased at completing what BD considers a 4* toughie that Osmosis has just become my favourite setter. 8d was my pick of the clues, but there were plenty of other contenders (mind you, l needed BD to explain why my usual method of divining a solution – a flash of illogical inspiration – wasn’t the right one!). VMTs Osmosis and BD.

  7. Dead in the water. An ignominous end to my puzzle week. Clues are way to convoluted for me. I managed eight answers and did not enjoy the struggle to get even that far. Thanks to BD for putting me out of my misery.

    But I can remember exactly where I was when I heard the news on the day the music died.

  8. Brilliant puzzle as ever, although I didn’t like 5 down much either. 9 across, 10 across, 13 down, 27 across and 22 across were among many clues which stood out. Definitely ****/***** for me, after one or two rather gentle Toughies recently. However it’s good to have a range of challenges to suit different levels of solver experience. Many thanks to Osmosis for a good end to the week.

  9. The top half went in beautifully,but I hadn’t heard of 22a, I looked for a plant disease not a sheep disease and failed to see the anagram in 24a. Favourite 7d. Thanks Osmosis and BD.

  10. A post script to Big Dave, I showed the Richie Valens you- tube clip to my seventeen year olds (really sweet chemistry students) at the end of class today and they loved it.They jived in their seats.

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