Toughie 1251 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1251

Toughie No 1251 by Osmosis

Ah! Bisto

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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.

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.

Across Clues

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.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

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

Down Clues

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:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

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.

17 comments on “Toughie 1251

  1. Having read Big Boab’s comment on the other page, I am so relieved to find the 4* difficulty award as I took quite a long time to sort all this out, including needing a touch of Gnome’s Law for my last three. Thanks to Osmosis for a good workout of the cryptic grey matter and Gazza for the explanations – I have the same ‘liked most’ clues as you.

  2. I enjoyed this very much and Osmosis is probably my favourite compiler but I seemed to sail through this one in a reasonable
    time. Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the terrific review, my choice clue was 1/9a.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, favourites among a plethora of others were 1&9a 7d 18a and 20d thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  4. I’m with Big Boab and loved this one. Some inventive use of indicators [perverse, pouring out] and only one slightly questionable usage [as you say Gazza 25a is not quite perfect].

    Favourites among many were 1/9a, 10a, 22a, 16d, 20d and, best of all 2d [smoked joint indeed!].

    Many thanks to the Big O for the fun and to Gazza for a top-notch review.

  5. I am delighted to say that I completed this without looking at the review, but not without a lot of head scratching and time spent. I had not heard of 16D but was able to work it out from the clue and check on line. 5D was the last one in. And I needed the hint to fully understand the wordplay for 22A, although the answer was fairly obvious. Loved 1A, 11A, 25A and 13D, but my favorite is 18A. Many thanks to Osmosis. This was hard but fun! And thanks, of course, to Gazza for the review.

    The cryptic will now have to wait while I get some work done.

  6. Not for me this one! I had to resort to hints to get started even though I recognised most of the indicators….maybe going back to work has dulled the grey matter somewhat…..

  7. This one was way beyond me – I think I probably only did about half before realising that so came running for help in the interest of getting anything else done today!
    Having done so badly I’m not sure that I’m allowed to pick out any particular clues, but I’m going to anyway – 10a and 2, 3 and 6d.
    With thanks to Osmosis and to gazza for the very much needed help, and the 23d video.

  8. Well beyond me and only managed to do 3 clues, I’m afraid!
    Thus not very enjoyable but thanks anyway to Osmosis and Gazza.

  9. Well beyond me, too. Only managed 6 clues. Glad I didn’t persevere as, reading the hints and answers, I just would not have solved the rest. Never heard of 18a. Better luck tomorrow!

  10. We are firmly in the Big Boab camp with this one. Just loved it. The only bit that we did not fully parse was 5d, silly us, it is so obvious now. Great misdirection and lots of chuckles. Definitely well into 4* time for us and at least that for enjoyment.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  11. Took me a while to get into the mind of osmosis . And light finally came. Had to look up 11a and 16d as I never get used to the idea that there is something somewhere called false tennis. As for the Latin answer, I was miles away. 25a was quite a challenge. Thanks to gazza for the much needed help and to osmosis for the brain twisting session.

  12. Forgot to mention also for those interested in GK that as far as 27a is concerned, in France, oatmeal colour for horses is called Isabelle. Which,unfortunately, is my dear sister’s first name. She can therefore be called cheval Isabelle or Isabelle cheval….

  13. This entertained me thoroughly on my train journey from the Midlands to Wembley Stadium to watch England v Norway. What a pity that the match wasn’t as entertaining as Osmosis’ Toughie ! 14a was my favourite, and I also particularly liked 7d, 27a, 2d and 18a.

  14. Very clever (rather too clever for me, because l only managed about 60% of it before resorting to Gazza’s hints). There were lots of good clues, but I’ll pick 14a because at least l worked it out unaided! Thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for helping me fill the grid.

  15. Friday morning and only just finished how did I ever find time to work? Some great clues in this puzzle. 1&9a were excellent as was 11a. Had to do a manual trawl through my BRB to get 16 down though. Thank you to both Osmosis for setting it and Gazza for explaining the more obscure workings-out. Sh-Shoney.

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