Toughie 1309

Toughie No 1309 by Osmosis

Who’s Who?

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Neither difficult nor enjoyable with a lot of “messy” (for want of a better word) clues.

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

1a    Actress to cut back completely, seeing weight on these? (8,6)
PRUNELLA SCALES: a verb meaning to cut or trim followed by the reversal (back) of a three-letter word meaning completely and a device used for measuring weight

10a    Scottish island engages native perhaps draining sewage in mass of water (6,3)
IONIAN SEA: a Scottish island off the coast of Mull around both a Scottish first name (native perhaps) and S[ewag]E after its inner letters have been removed (draining)

11a    Foolish characters adversely involved in shenanigans (5)
INANE: hidden (characters … involved in) and reversed (adversely) inside the clue

12a    After extensive help in fiddling, one’s fired (7)
LONGBOW: a charade of an adjective meaning extensive and something that is used to play a violin (help in fiddling)

13a    Correct sort of wordplay? (6)
PUNISH: this could, but doesn’t, mean a sort of wordplay

15a    Having arrived, first couple swapped top (4)
ACME: start with a verb meaning having arrived and swap the first two letters (couple)

17a    Organ reaches peak maintaining a pulse (6,4)
KIDNEY BEAN: an organ of the body followed by a Scottish peak around the A from the clue

18a    Female entered urging the new protagonist in Western? (10)
GUNFIGHTER: F(emale) inside an anagram (new) of URGING THE

20a    Bones in duck and turkey withdrawn (4)
OSSA: the letter that represents a score of zero in cricket (duck) followed by the reversal (withdrawn) of a turkey or fool

22a    Had a fling frequently — in the French department initially (6)
LOFTED: a three-letter word meaning frequently inside the French definite article and the initial letter of D[epartment]

23a    Nag artist that’s rejected one thousand dollars? It may be a lot in US (3,4)
CAR PARK: a four-letter verb meaning to nag followed by the reversal (that’s rejected ) of our usual artist and the letter that can follow 1 to represent a thousand dollars – this area of land is known as a lot in the US

26a    Some homeless people deal with such when facing big kids (5)
ISSUE: the word that follows (when facing) BIG in the name of a newspaper sold mainly by homeless people – probably a bit tough for our overseas solvers to work this one out!

27a    Independent group of delegates ignoring fellow’s deceit (9)
INVENTION: I(ndependent) followed by a group of delegates without (ignoring) CO, the prefix used to indicate fellow, as in co-driver

28a    Composer steadily grew on Reg, twice playing disc taken from show at home (6,8)
GEORGE GERSHWIN: the odd letters (steadily – I’ve not seen that one before) of G[r]E[w] O[n] followed by an anagram (playing) of RE GREG (Reg, twice), SH[o]W without the letter shaped like a disc and a two-letter word meaning at home

Down

2d    Approach stern of catamaran found in wreck (3-2)
RUN-IN: the final letter (stern) of [catamara]N inside a wreck

3d    Lifted underwear to stop itch — it’s within reach (6)
NEARBY: an item of feminine underwear inside an itch or desire, all reversed (lifted)

4d    One might do this with a fast crew, down around banks of Seine earlier (4,6)
LOSE WEIGHT: the crew of a boat, like those used in the Boat Race, preceded by (earlier) an adjective meaning down around the outer letters (banks) of S[ein]E

5d    Wolfgang’s agreed to hoist American guitar hero (4)
AJAX: the German (Wolfgang’s) for yes (agreed) reversed (to hoist) and followed by the American spelling of a slang word for a guitar gives a Greek hero in the Trojan war

6d    Exclusive alcoholic drink men discarded in church yard (7)
CLIQUEY: an alcoholic drink without (discarded) OR (men) inside the Church of England and followed by Y(ard)

7d    Being green, Elsa’s recycled bottles very well (9)
LEAFINESS: this green is not a synonym for ecology but what is found on a living plant – an anagram (recycled) of ELSA’S around (bottles) an adjective meaning very well

8d    Rung female supremo to get hold of fruit scientist (7,7)
STEPHEN HAWKING: a rung of a ladder, a female chicken, and a supremo or ruler around the fruit of a small tree or bush of the rose family

9d    Writer‘s deviously aiming to obtain riches with document (7,7)
WILLIAM GOLDING: an anagram (deviously) of AIMING around some riches and preceded by (with) a document

14d    ‘Covert‘ might be thus in dictionary (10)
UNDERCOVER: split as (5,5) this is where you might find “covert” in a dictionary

16d    Chairman hosts themed event after backing in party programme (9)
MANIFESTO: the first name of a former chairman of the Chinese Communist Party around a four-letter themed event which is itself preceded by (after) the reversal (backing) of IN

19d    Main danger one hundred endure around work unit (7)
ICEBERG: this danger on the main or sea is a charade of I (one), the Roman numeral for a hundred, the reversal (around) of a two-letter verb meaning to endure or exist and the CGS unit of work

21d    In which tea is the language of love? (6)
FRENCH: is this fair? – the acute accent is missing from thé, so how are you meant to work out that in this language it means tea

24d    Excuse old politician receiving fine? On the contrary (5)
ALIBI: an old politician, from before their merger with the Social democrats, not outside but, on the contrary, inside two letters meaning fine or OK

25d    Having a nap, losing party spirit (4)
ZING: a verb meaning having a nap from which DO (party) has been dropped (losing)

I’m glad that’s over.

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16 Comments

  1. Pegasus
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Gentle yet pleasant offering, favourites were 3d 14d and 26a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. Beaver
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    I know its a toughie, but I still thought the wordplay was overcomplicated in some of the clues for example 26a,which also had ‘steadily’ as an indicator for the odd letters-new to me too after 50 years of cryptics -thanks BD for several explanations.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Disappointing to have a back page puzzle in the middle of the paper, especially on a Friday.

    • Dutch
      Posted December 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

      I think you are in an elite minority!

      • Dolllar
        Posted December 16, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

        Everyone is.

  4. happy days
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    A leading candidate for ‘Dull Crossword of the Year’ School report would read ‘This boy is trying, but not hard enough’

  5. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Well! What can I say apart from the fact that the only clue I had to reveal was 5d. Didn’t know the”American guitar” bit. Good thing I knew all the people around the edges as some of the parsing made little sense to me. 26a was quite good as I remember the sellers of the big issue outside the underground stations in central London. I also remember 1a as her husband Timothy West was a member of the Garrick club opposite my restaurant. Ladies not being allowed, she had to wait outside.
    3d was quite clever also. Thanks to Osmosis and BD for the explanations.

  6. JB
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    I know it is Friday but… The only way I completed this was by electronic guesswork and seeing what answers fitted the convoluted wordplay. No fun at all!

  7. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

    We are still wondering about the wordplay for 26a. We worked on it for some time and the best we could come up with was ROOMY for ‘big’ and that there might be some usage of having a ‘roomy issue’ to describe homelessness. It even sounded weak to us. Some of the wordplay for the long clues took some working through but the names themselves were fairly obvious and gave a plethora of checkers. 10a wordplay was sneaky too. And it was a PANGRAM. Enjoyable enough.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

  8. Wolfson Bear
    Posted December 12, 2014 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    For once I am in agreement with the blog consensus – I found this easier than the back pager today. I was lucky the long answers around the periphery were all names I know of

  9. Dutch
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Very busy day yesterday judging DIY COW, so only got around to this very nice osmosis puzzle over a lunchtime beer with a friend today ( after catching up on the last two times crosswords).

    6d had us stumped and thank you for the enlightenment BD. Might have helped if I’d recognised the pangram

    Punish is wordplay (pun) sort of (ish)

    The “dollars” in car park felt like baggage

    I didn’t think a long bow was “fired”

    But I did enjoy the puzzle immensely

    Thank you osmosis, I’m finally able to do your puzzles, and thanks always to BD

    • Franco
      Posted December 13, 2014 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      Whenever I try to enter DIY COW, I always get a warning from McAfee …

      Whoa! Are you sure you want to go there?

  10. halcyon
    Posted December 13, 2014 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    A bit late with this – too busy to do it yesterday.

    Not one of his best but not that bad [and not that easy] Re 13a – that’s why there’s a question mark. Re 23a- agree k is perfectly standard for a thousand dollars or pounds [eg I’ll give you 5k for it] But yes, “steadily” in 28a is pushing it.

    Some nicely hidden definitions, especially 4d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD.