Toughie 1299

Toughie No 1299 by Osmosis

A Bit of a Tease?

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

Having got all the letters on the top row I was convinced that we were going to get a message round the periphery but nothing more emerged (unless I’m missing something). I made heavier weather of this than I normally do with Osmosis and there are a couple of clues which I’m not sure that I’ve correctly interpreted – so I’m looking forward to your better explanations.

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

6a Perennial track, ‘Southern Hymn’, embraced by friend (13)
CHRYSANTHEMUM – the abbreviation for railway track, S(outhern) and a type of hymn are all contained inside a friend or mate.

8a Go from north-east to take home bird (6)
GANNET – start with a verb meaning to go in the dialect of the North-East of England (not in my edition of the BRB) and add a verb to take home what’s left of one’s pay after the Government’s taken its cut.

9a Nominal antique’s stored indoors periodically (8)
HONORARY – an adjective meaning antique or grey with age contains (stored) the even letters of indoors.

10a Revolutionary ‘ouse music? (3)
EMO – reverse (revolutionary) another word for house and drop the H to get (new to me) what Chambers calls ‘a type of guitar-based popular music featuring brooding and introspective lyrics’.

11a Advise American to catch cricket fixture? (6)
SEAMER – the answer’s hidden (to catch) in the clue. It’s a type of bowler who can get the ball to deviate off the pitch or the deviating ball itself or possibly a type of pitch which helps such bowling. None of those seem to explain ‘fixture’ even with the question mark. The only way that I can see how ‘fixture’ fits here is if it could also mean a match in which such bowling plays a big part – however, I can’t find that definition anywhere. Has anyone a better explanation?

12a Numbing area up north inhabited by nothing after November (8)
NARCOTIC – the region of the earth that’s as far north as we can get contains the letter resembling zero and that all follows what November represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

14a/16a ‘Standard’ has jerk finally back on list for transfer disrupting the football club (7,7)
PARTICK THISTLE – for the first word string together a word meaning standard (on the golf course, say), a facial jerk and the last letter (finally) of back. That’s followed by an anagram (for transfer) of LIST inside (disrupting) THE.

16a See 14a

20a Villain perhaps knocked about in hands of a Roman emperor (4-4)
ANTI-HERO – reverse (about) a verb meaning knocked inside (in hands of) A and a Roman emperor.

23a Aristocratic address centres on family plot and garden (6)
MILORD – stitch together the central two letters from three words in the clue.

24a Europe’s borders set down on page in letter (3)
PEE – the outer letters (borders) of Europe follow P(age).

25a Weapon plant not needing to sell (8)
TOMAHAWK – a salad plant without its second TO is followed by a verb to sell.

26a Newsmen probe minute accommodation (6)
BEDSIT – the abbreviation for senior newsmen goes inside (probe) an adjective meaning minute (as in ‘a minute part in a film’).

27a During film, Dr Watson appears terribly abrupt (5,3,5)
SHORT AND SWEET – inside a film or thin flexible piece of material we need an anagram (appears terribly) of DR WATSON.

Down Clues

1d Pass on characteristic feature when bearing new son, Mike (8)
TRANSMIT – a characteristic feature contains N(ew), S(on) and the letter that Mike’s used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

2d Caught short in flipping Tesco, Morecambe, needing privy (8)
ESOTERIC – an anagram (flipping) of TES(c)O, without the C(aught), precedes the forename of Mr Morecambe. Needing is just a linking word which does make the surface rather amusing.

3d/19d Actor that works hard with family filling skips by house (US city) (7,7)
ANTHONY HOPKINS – start with a hard-working creature, then insert a word for family inside (filling) a verb meaning skips or jumps. That last chunk follows (by) the abbreviations for house and a large US city.

4d It may result from punch mum accepted and drained earlier (6)
SHINER – a charade of mum (as in ‘keep mum’), an adverb meaning accepted or approved and the outer (drained) letters of earlier.

5d Number 10 defends British railway system that develops after congress (6)
EMBRYO – number 10 is neither where the PM lives nor the fly-half in rugby union but the answer to 10a. That contains (defends) B(ritish) and the abbreviation for a railway system.

6d Dave’s partner, having much time at home, is inclined to pursue illusory hopes (5,8)
CHASE RAINBOWS – string together Dave’s partner in a singing duo, a long period of time, an adverb meaning at home and is inclined (from the waist).

7d Pacific Islands informed creative person. Dan perhaps (7,6)
MARTIAL ARTIST – the first word sounds like (informed) some islands in the Northern Pacific. The second word is a creative person.

13d Classical symbol that starts a book? (3)
CHI – this is the twenty-second letter of the Greek alphabet. I’m not at all sure how this starts a book and the only thing I can come up with is that it’s the beginning of ‘chick lit’. That doesn’t seem very good – any better ideas? The start of a book is CH(apter) 1 (thanks to Crypticsue).

15d That man’s height is taken down loosely (3)
ISH – a possessive pronoun (that man’s) with the abbreviation for height relegated to the bottom.

17d Part of diamond maybe with hole getting repaired in socks (4,4)
HOME BASE – this diamond is a type of sports field in North America (this sport isn’t played much anywhere else, probably for a very good reason). With hole indicates a vacancy at the centre so take out the central letter of MA(y)BE, make an anagram (getting repaired) of what remains and put it inside another word for socks.

18d Betting club date produced a long streak? (8)
SPLODGED – a charade of the abbreviation for ‘the betting’ (the betting odds at the start of a race), a club or meeting place for those using funny handshakes (for example) and D(ate).

19d See 3d

21d Running short distance with pointer heartless (2,1,3)
IN A ROW – the abbreviation for a short imperial distance is followed by a pointer without its middle letter (heartless).

22d Through summer in Provence, coach card game (6)
ECARTÉ – insert a railway coach into the French word for summer.

My top clues today were 14a and 23a. Let us know which one(s) you liked.

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19 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    13d The start of a book is CH(apter) 1.

    • gazza
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks (bangs head on desk).

  2. Pegasus
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff and most enjoyable, favourites were 17d 24a and 25a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Nice to have a proper Toughie, thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  4. dutch
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Persisted and got there in the end. I hadn’t heard of the music genre or the cricket fixture, but they had to be right. I thought of “cricket fixture” as simply something that features in cricket, which isn’t brilliantly satisfying but don’t know what else to make of it. “Congress” is interesting too in 5d – i liked this clue, the number 10 did mislead me.

    Thank you osmosis for a wonderful challenge and gazza for review.

  5. Expat Chris
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Ouch. This was hard. I battled through most of it successfully and managed to parse all I solved, except 8A. I came up short, though, on 9A, 5D, 18D and 22D and needed the hints. Very pleased with myself for sorting out 14A. Favorite is 1A. Least liked is 15D. Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review and help.

    By the way, the setter struck out on 17D. The part of the diamond is home plate, definitely not home base!

    • gazza
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

      I discovered the problem with home base when I tried to find a decent diagram of the diamond. Most showed first base, second base, etc. but ‘home plate’.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

        Setter 0. Expat 1.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted November 26, 2014 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        I offer my apologies to osmosis. I did investigate further and I’ve discovered that although the fourth base is widely known as home plate (and indeed I’ve never heard it referred to as anything else), it is officially designated “home base” in the rules.

        • jean-luc cheval
          Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          When I wanted to check the answer I just put home base diamond and google approved straight away.

  6. 2Kiwis
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Found this one very hard work. Eventually got it all filled in but missed out on fully parsing a couple (8a for example). Enjoyed 7d. We had actually been there briefly many years ago in transit after a stay in Kiribati.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  7. jean-luc cheval
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Allez venez milord, vous assoir à ma table. Il fait si froid dehors, ici c’est confortable. As Édith Piaf would sing. Really needed Gazza for some clues. Didn’t know the football club as I was looking for some park and for the pacific island I was thinking of the Marrianes. Didn’t get 18d either. Liked 10a, having a teenage daughter, emo is not only a sound but also a look. Hiding eyes behind hair fringe, colourful nail varnish and goth like clothing. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Osmosis.

  8. halcyon
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Defeated by 13d and 21d.

    Found this rather a slog and lacking in the usual Osmosis sparkle, although some of the complex wordplay was up to par. Amused by 2d but that’s all really.

    Like Gazza et al I can’t really see how “fixture” adds to 11a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  9. gazza
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Kcit tomorrow.

  10. Werm
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    My take on 11a – the BRB gives fixture as , a thing or person permanently established in place, I can’t think of a cricket match that’s played without a seamer. Thanks Gazza and Osmosis

    • gazza
      Posted November 26, 2014 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Werm. That does make sense, though I still think that fixture is a slightly odd word to use.

  11. andy
    Posted November 26, 2014 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    I liked the non nina on the top row if intended, am with fellow commenters in not understanding fixture in 11a. 21d my last in. Thank you Osmosis and Gazza as always

  12. Lezard
    Posted December 11, 2014 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    11a Could “fixture” refer to the seam (stitching) holding the leather covering of a cricket ball together?

    • gazza
      Posted December 11, 2014 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Lezard.
      That’s a possibility although I think it’s a bit tenuous.