Toughie No 1251 by Osmosis
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
My progress with this puzzle was stately rather than speedy with the NE corner the last to fall. Osmosis is noted for his complicated wordplay (no complaints from me on that score – I enjoy disentangling it) which means that lots of clues require an amount of thought before one can move on to the next one. Thanks to him for the entertainment.
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1a/9a Graduates at college hear school member (7,5)
BASKING SHARK – a charade of graduates, the name of a college in both Cambridge and London Universities and a dated verb meaning to listen or hear.
5a Ruin drink, covering some who have a row (5,2)
SCREW UP – a verb to drink containing those having a row (row here rhyming with mow rather than cow).
9a See 1a
10a Item that’s put in kitchen jars taking seconds to reform gravy? (9)
THICKENER – a semi-all-in-one. An anagram (jars) of KITCHEN followed by (taking) the second letters of the final two words.
11a Perverse criminal maintains dodgy tale that’s contested in court (4,6)
REAL TENNIS – a criminal or transgressor going the wrong way (perverse) contains an anagram (dodgy) of TALE.
12a Say grace slowly, when beginning meal (4)
EGGS – the abbreviation meaning say is followed by the beginning letters of grace slowly.
14a Actress‘s contributions given approving shout by lad with chap (6,6)
NICOLE KIDMAN – this is a charade of a) the abbreviation for the contributions deducted from your pay (a tax by any other name), b) an approving shout in Spain, c) a young lad (or lass) and d) a chap.
18a Adult did survey, hearing only music (4-4,4)
BLUE-EYED SOUL – this is a term for a type of music which is normally thought of as the preserve of black artists being performed by white singers. It’s a charade of a) adult or pornographic, b) a verb meaning did survey or had a look and c) what sounds like (hearing) an adjective meaning only or solitary.
21a Frank, putting name foremost? Definitely not (4)
NOPE – start with an adjective meaning frank or candid and move the N(ame) to the front.
22a Accepted G & T amongst cruciverbalists early? (2,4,4)
IN GOOD TIME – a word meaning accepted or fashionable is followed by the full version of what G and T are often used as abbreviations for in Crosswordland.
25a Sketch part of dog devouring bone oddly with much activity (9)
THUMBNAIL – the wagging part of a dog contains the odd letters of bone preceded by a word for a low, continuous sound indicative of much activity. I think it would have been more accurate to use ‘after’ rather than ‘with’.
26a/28a Risk pouring out salt repeatedly at start of every course (5,7)
STEAK TARTARE – pouring out indicates a homophone so we want what sounds like a verb to risk or wager. After that come two sailors (salt repeatedly) and the starting letter of every.
27a Grey-brown horse heading off attracts new mate (7)
OATMEAL – a young horse without its first letter (heading off) contains (attracts) an anagram (new) of MATE.
28a See 26a
1d Writer retains empty seat in eatery? (6)
BISTRO – the proprietary name of a writing implement containing the outer letters of seat.
2d Mystical doctor smoked joint in hospital ? (6)
SHAMAN – I think the first four letters of this ‘doctor’ say it all. Put a joint of meat inside the abbreviation for a type of hospital. This joint is not always smoked – hence the reason for the question mark.
3d Schoolkid’s clothing might be thus taken inside, mostly to be laundered (3-7)
INK-STAINED – an anagram (to be laundered, presumably in the sense of laundering, i.e. exchanging, illicit money) of TAKEN INSID(e).
4d Agree heavyweight’s made connection with pigeon, showing heart (3,2)
GET ON – a heavy weight follows (made connection with) the letters at the heart of pigeon. I’ve no idea what the surface is about.
5d With star player available minimally, reserve gets kick (9)
SPICINESS – the initial letters (available minimally) of star player followed by (with) reserve or aloofness.
6d Playboy smoother in bed? (4)
RAKE – double definition. The bed is in the garden.
7d Confectionery is successful, taking English cup that’s raised (4,4)
WINE GUMS – a verb meaning is successful in a contest contains E(nglish) and the reversal (that’s raised) of a type of cup.
8d Examining where some Andeans play pipe (8)
PERUSING – a charade of the country where some Andeans play and a verb to pipe or warble.
13d One crushes lounger — money is stuck inside (10)
LIQUIDISER – a word for someone lounging in a horizontal position contains an informal term for an amount of money and IS.
15d Everyone without exception sees lone vagrant impeded by topless thug (3,3,3)
ONE AND ALL – an anagram (vagrant) of LONE containing (impeded by) a thug without the initial V.
16d Throw it away into main road! That adds nothing from the start (2,6)
AB INITIO – insert an instruction to throw something away (3,2) into the main road from Edinburgh to London, then add the letter resembling zero.
17d Outfit bound to match (8)
JUMPSUIT – a charade of two verbs – to bound or leap and to match or complement.
19d Relative supports church screening home movies here (6)
CINEMA – a female relative follows (supports) an abbreviation for church containing (screening) an adverb meaning at home.
20d Sort of cheek that stifles lecturer initially? (6)
HECKLE – an all-in-one clue. An anagram (sort) of CHEEK contains the initial letter of lecturer.
23d Bird, extremely likeable, overwhelmed by anything in Yorkshire? (5)
OWLET – the outer letters of likeable are contained inside a word meaning anything in the Yorkshire dialect. Here’s some advice for Tour de France cyclists visiting Yorkshire earlier this Summer:
24d Qualified from Lincoln gaining first in Law (4)
ABLE – the abbreviated forename of President Lincoln contains the first letter of law.
Top clues for me today were 10a, 22a, 6d and 20d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.