Toughie 1213 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1213

Toughie No 1213 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ****Enjoyment **

Greetings from Milton Keynes! I’ve survived a horrendous journey down including being stuck in a Portaloo for an hour at Leicester Forest East Service Area and having to be rescued by the Fire Brigade!

I’m at the Open University Students’ Association Conference and am running the Quiet Quiz on Saturday evening as opposed to the Noisy One with balloons and foam!

Osmosis is here today with a puzzle that was tough to solve, but unlike other Friday Toughies, it was pleasant without setting the world on fire. I know our setter likes to make things complicated but sometimes it feels unnecessarily so – 28 across is an example.

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    Freezing bend leads to nervous movement (6)
{ARCTIC} We start with a wordsum. A bend in a circle is added to a word for a nervous movement to give a word that means cold and is an area associated with it.

5a    Current agents pursuing free bread (8)
{FOCACCIA} An abbreviation for free (of charge) + an abbreviation for alternating current + one for the American agents.


9a    Airman‘s heading off stronger after personal problem seen by doctor (10)
{BOMBARDIER} The abbreviation for a personal problem that’s smelly, is added to one for doctor. Add to this a word that means stronger, minus its first letter to give you the name of an airman (it can also be a soldier, but not here).

10a    Mammal not at place of origin (4)
{WOMB} The name of an Australian marsupial needs to have AT removed to give the name for a physical place of origin.

11a    Nick grabs a lead from room, getting approving cry of King Charles (8)
{CAROLEAN} An adjective relating to King Charles is revealed by taking A + R (a lead from room) and a Spanish cry of approval and putting it inside an American slang word for prison (nick).

12a    Shandy drained during pub crawl, primarily harmonious (2,4)
{IN SYNC} Inside a word for a pub goes SY (ShandY drained, i.e. the outside letters) and then add the first letter of Crawl to give a phrase meaning harmonious.

13a    Revolutionary Liberal shot in the arm and face (4)
{DIAL} If you take L (liberal) and a word meaning a shot in the arm or help, and reverse it all you get something that means a face.

15a    A girl poshly spoken returned and deposited money for cases (5,3)
{LEGAL AID} Driving down to MK, I was on the M1 and passed a sign which prompted me to wonder if posh chefs went to Kettering College? Oddly this clue then appeared which is in a similar vein. If a member of the Royals said “a girl” it would sound like this. Take it and reverse it and add a word meaning put down or deposited, you get the term for financial support for (court) cases. I can’t help thinking this might have been clues somewhat differently in the Private Eye crossword! If you have never tried a Cyclops, try here and you can win a prize (usual warning about unsuitable for those of sensitivities!)

18a    Mate briefly probing gets to rearrange pieces of art? (8)
{ETCHINGS} How a Cockney calls a mate needs to lose its last letter and is then place inside an anagram (to rearrange) of GETS to give the name for works of art, particularly by someone like Hogarth or Gibbons.

19a    First year’s swelling (4)
{STYE} I assume our setter is doing this as an all-in-one clue, as there actually isn’t an indicator to say that the answer is hidden in FIRST YEAR. I’m thinking he is saying the answer ‘swells up’ as well. Or maybe not.

21a    Father left leaving fruit drink (6)
{FRAPPE} After the abbreviation for a religious Father goes the name of a common fruit minus L (Left leaving)

23a    Musical character, holding discussions, about to make tracks (5,3)
{CLEAR OFF} Inside a symbol used in music, at the start of a score for example, goes the reverse of the name for places to discuss things on the internet,

25a    With finals coming in nursing school, Nancy’s in depression (4)
{GLEN} The last letters of Nursing School is added to a French way of saying in. I notice that some setters are using Nancy in puzzles to indicate how you say something in French.

26a    It’s easy to cut back investing in ointment, having spent over grand (10)
{UNEXACTING} Inside a word for ointment (think religious stuff) minus O (having spent Over) goes something that means cut, reversed. Add G (grand) to the whole thing and you get a word meaning easy or not complicated.

27a    Heading off, ex-PM visits end of armoury where origins of pike displayed? (8)
{HATCHERY} Take the name of a former (female) Prime Minister and remove the first letter and add Y (end of armoury) to give somewhere where fish (including pike) are spawned.

28a    African stronghold for soul party with moving music at heart (6)
{KASBAH} Got this from checking letters and the fact that I had my Chambers with me. A two-letter word for spirit or soul is followed by a colloquial word for a party with the S (muSic at heart) moved two places to the left


2d    One of The Simpsons in broadcast knocked back wine (5)
{RIOJA} A member of the non-cartoon Simpson clan (the killy one, known by his initials) goes inside the reverse of a word meaning to broadcast to give the name of a type of wine.

3d    Check French game virtually hot, making Mediterranean dish (9)
{TABBOULEH} A name for a bill or check, especially in a bar, followed by the French equivalent of bowls, minus its last letter (virtually) and with H for Hot at the end, you get the name for a Mediterranean dish, although I thought it was Middle-Eastern. Chambers seems to think the Lebanon is Med rather than Mid.

4d    I’ll be blowed given score? (6)
{CORNET} An ‘and-lit’ style clue where the whole thing defines the answer as well making up the indicators. A way of saying “Well, I’ll be blowed!” is added to what footballers hit the back of to score gives you something associated with a different type of score, a musical one.

5d    Financial backers lifting business? That is evident in enclosure after match (8,7)
{FRIENDLY SOCIETY} This was one of those clues (there are several today) where I worked the answer out and had to go back and spend ages working out how it was put together. For me, that isn’t the purpose of a crossword. After a type of football match, usually played pre-season, goes the name for a type of enclosure with the abbreviation for business reversed inside with i.e. (that is) alongside. This gives the name for a financial association.

6d    Bearing first of children months out of wedlock (8)
{CARRIAGE} A word that means bearing or deportment is C (first of children) + A WORD FOR WEDLOCK minus M (months out).

7d    Jerseys perhaps picked up in sailing centre (5)
{COWES} A homophone for the sort of animals Jerseys are a breed of, is the name of a place that is synonymous with yachting.

8d    Vastness of the author’s toilet I tardily vacated (9)
{IMMENSITY} A word meaning vastness is revealed by solving the word sum I’M (the author) + MENS (toilets) + I +TY (the outside letters of tardily).

14d    Among other things, domestic forgets back of television and divan regularly (5,4)
{INTER ALIA} The Latin phrase that means amongst other things is found by taking a word meaning domestic or found within and removing N (back of television) and then adding IA (even letters of dIvAn),

16d    Girl nails routine that’s performed near curtains? (4,5)
{LAST RITES} Inside a word that means a girl goes (nails) something that means routine or smug. This leads you to what a priest does just before someone dies.

17d    Anxious time to abandon cricket perhaps, before game turns against England (8)
{INSECURE} An adjective meaning anxious is revealed by taking what a cricket is minus its last letter (time to abandon), add an abbreviation for a sport backwards (turns against) and add E (England).

20d    Notice a period of sleep on chest (6)
{REMARK} The abbreviation for a type of dreaming experienced while asleep is added to that of a chest (think of where The Covenant is stored). This gives you a word meaning to notice.

22d    Cap’n and I going off course in this? (5)
{PANIC} An anagram of CAP’N and I gives something that the clue defines.

24d    American actor one day finishes off partnering female (5)
{FONDA} The name for an American actor (and dynasty) is found by taking F (female) and adding ON(E) DA(Y) (finishes off).

Thanks to Osmosis for today’s challenge. Off now to the OU Conference!


15 comments on “Toughie 1213

  1. Wow!, now that is what I call a toughie, I needed Tilsits’ assistance with 11a and 14d but loved 5a 22d, many thanks to Osmosis and to Tilsit for a cracking review and a wonderful crossword. 5*/5* for me.

  2. I agree this one was tough, favourites were 5d 15a and 28a, and a Nina to boot. Thanks to Osmosis and to Tilsit for the comments.

  3. Managed to get 11a wrong without assistance so thanks Tilsit for the correction and commiserations for your predicament (who’d be a fireman these days)
    Personal favourite 14d
    One up to Osmosis .Cheers .

  4. I like BigBoab also needed help with 11a. The Nina helped with a couple in the SW corner. Closer to 5* for me and 4* for enjoyment. Thanks Osmosis and Tilsit

    1. Nina? D’oh – I always miss them, which might be because I never look for them

  5. This took me the same time as yesterday and definitely fits the Toughie description. I am pleased to report that I noticed the Nina. I haven’t got a particular favourite but would mention that 22d has caused me to go round muttering ‘Don’t panic Mr Mainwaring’ so whilst it made me smile this morning, I’ve gone off it since

    Thanks to Osmosis, Tilsit and the Fire Brigade.

  6. Re 19a – just read it as “First year has/ possesses swelling”

    The usual steely logic from Osmosis – favourites were 9a and 14d. Thanks to him and to Tilsit.

  7. Wow. Quite a work-out. I finished without hints, but it was a case of ‘do a few, put it down, pick it up, do a few more…’ I needed the BRB to confirm 28A and Tilsit to unravel it. I also needed his explanation for 25A. I didn’t see the Nina until it was mentioned above. No particular favorites for me either. Many thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit.

  8. We had 25a wrong. We had put in GLYN which we found is the Welsh spelling of the word (according to the derivation of glen in BRB) and fits the wordplay by being last letter of nursing school Nancy and in. Guess that was a bit of a stretch but looked good at the time. Also failed to understand the wordplay for 28a. Found it quite a slog and appreciated the challenge.
    Thanks Osmosis and Tilsit.

  9. ****/**** for me. My last one in was 28a, which I couldn’t parse. However this was compensated for by a number of very witty clues, including 5a, 8d and 16d. I appreciate the toughness of this setter’s clues, as he includes plenty of words and definitions which you don’t find regularly in other crosswords, and there are fewer whole clue anagrams, which are often less challenging.

  10. My rating is also ****/****. Fave was 11a, but I also particularly enjoyed 9a, 8d, 14d and 16d.

    I managed to complete most of this puzzle correctly, but came sadly adrift with four of the clues. I had 21a wrong (which I suspected as I couldn’t parse my answer and so shouldn’t have put it in), and needed the answers and explanations to it and to 26a, 28a and 17d.

    Like the 2Kiwis, I was puzzled by 25a. I couldn’t decide if the answer was ‘glyn’ (which fits the wordplay of the clue using the last letters of ‘Nancy’ and ‘in’), or ‘glen’ (which bothered me because I didn’t know how the ‘en’ fitted in).

    As may be seen, I have found Tilsit’s review and explanations invaluable. For the which, big appreciative thanks.

    Appreciative thanks to Osmosis for a challenging puzzle. I thoroughly enjoyed working out the clues.

  11. We finished the crossword – delighted to do a ****
    But Nina’s are new to us and we cannot spot it

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