Toughie 1338 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1338

Toughie No 1338 by Osmosis

A Couple of Old Geezers

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I wasn’t making much progress reading through the clues until I reached 15/18a which more or less wrote itself in and provided some very useful checking letters. Even so some head-scratching was required to fill in the rest of the grid. I found it very enjoyable with some good laughs. It’s a pangram (although, as usual, that was of no help to me since I didn’t twig until I’d finished).

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 Perhaps do this to pull church seat around passage? No time (6)
SEDUCE – this church seat is not a pew but the seat of a bishop. Put it around a passage or tube without its final T (no time).

4a Laced boot seaman rejected — left and right (8)
BALMORAL – reverse (rejected) one of the abbreviations for a seaman and add L(eft) and an adjective meaning right or ethical.

9a They once studied Irishman shaving head in back (6)
ALUMNI – start with an Irish male forename without its initial C (shaving head) and add the reverse of IN.

10a Tom constantly confronts him about using new container (8)
JERRYCAN – string together Tom’s cartoon adversary, a 2-letter abbreviation meaning about and N(ew).

11a Wine bottles outside in external storage unit (8)
CELLARET – a type of red wine contains (bottles) the outside letters of external.

13a Greengrocer’s serving Geordie in a flutter (6)
PUNNET – the abbreviation for the part of England which can be described as Geordie goes inside a flutter or wager.

15a/18d Jagger maybe sang with other geriatric, supermodel’s saying (1,7,5,7,2,4)
A ROLLING STONE GATHERS NO MOSS – start with what Jagger is (1,7,5), add an anagram (geriatric) of SANG OTHER and finish with supermodel Kate. ‘Geriatric’ makes the surface reading very funny and I suppose that it’s being used in the sense of doddery as an anagram indicator.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a See 15a

22a After gutless insinuations, one prosecutes publishing house? (6)
ISSUER – the outer letters of insinuations are followed by someone prosecuting in court.

24a Crow’s foot perhaps covered in this minute ring latterly exiting event (8)
MOCCASIN – Crow here is a member of a Native American people. M(inute) precedes an event or happening from which the second (latterly) ring-shaped letter has been removed.

26a Frank‘s retirement involving line in film (8)
EXPLICIT – a retirement (from the stage) contains L(ine) inside an abbreviated word for a film.

27a Sort of drip that’s not out getting through ales on a bender? (6)
SALINE – the opposite of out goes inside an anagram (on a bender) of ALES.

28a Society girl hides recurrent pain that magnifies (8)
SPYGLASS – one of the abbreviations for society and a girl contain the reversal (recurrent) of a slang term for pain. By one of those strange coincidences I was discussing the validity of recurrent (or it may have been ‘recurring’ – it was all a bit hazy) as a reversal indicator with Andy on Saturday and we agreed that we didn’t like it much. However I now see that it has a second meaning in the BRB relating to anatomy: ‘ running back in the opposite direction or towards the place of origin’ – so all is now clear.

29a Beauty in casino dashes over (6)
ADONIS – hidden in reverse.

Down Clues

1d Model‘s the third to insure hands and face? (6)
SWATCH – the third letter of insure followed by what cryptically has three (or sometimes only two) hands and a face. I don’t like the ‘hands and face’ bit, even with the question mark, very much.

2d What has four legs and makes us laugh — dodo? (6,3)
DOUBLE ACT – do repeated.

3d Dicky once having concealed tax when raising money abroad (7)
CENTAVO – an anagram (dicky) of ONCE containing a type of tax reversed.

5d State that’s associated with Maria Theresa, at heart? (4)
AVER – the word that precedes Maria in the Roman Catholic prayer is followed by the single letter at the heart of Theresa.

6d Last pair leaving tent, definitely Spanish, upset toff (7)
MARQUIS – drop the last two letters from a large tent and add the reversal (upset) of a Spanish affirmative response.

7d Toxic stuff used in twisted crime, we hear (5)
RICIN – this requires homophones of two words – firstly an adjective meaning twisted or contorted and secondly a crime or moral transgression.

8d Fast woman describes good stretch (8)
LENGTHEN – string together a fast in the Christian calendar and an affectionate term for a woman (especially in Scotland). Then insert G(ood).

12d Engage with very minor celebrity to attend opening of envelope? (6)
ENLIST – the opening letter of envelope followed by what would describe an extremely minor celebrity (1-4), one even less well known than those appearing on reality shows.

14d Every second, signior entertains child completely (2,4)
IN TOTO – every second letter of signior containing a small child.

16d Fan may display this old book on kind of musician (9)
OBSESSION – the abbreviations for old and book followed by the type of musician who provides backing during recordings.

17d Being nasty, superior over Grammar School conceals punishment there? (8)
UGLINESS – the letter that stands for superior or upper-class and the abbreviation for grammar school containing what some of us had to write as a punishment.

19d He forecast southern half to freeze over like crazy (7)
EZEKIEL – the bottom (southern) half of the word freeze is followed by an anagram (crazy) of LIKE.

20d Branson misses island, sitting under old trees (7)
ORCHARD – Beardie’s first name, without the I(sland) follows O(ld).

21d Posh girl in Mensa uncovered Socialist (6)
ENGELS – the way posh people pronounce ‘girl’ goes inside Mensa without its outer letters (uncovered) to make the Socialist who formed a 2d with Marx.

23d Emotional work probing mole (5)
SOPPY – the usual abbreviation for an artistic work goes inside a mole or agent.

25d Swimming gear Europeans picked up (4)
FINS – sounds like some North Europeans.

Lots of good clues here – I liked 1a, 15a, 24a and 2d best. Let us know which one(s) grabbed you.




27 comments on “Toughie 1338

  1. I found this quite tricky – one of those brick wall puzzles where you start at the bottom and build up, followed by a bit of Gnome’s Law to get my last three to fall into place. 4*/4* for me.

    At the risk of sounding like Brian (and not having reference books at work) I took ages to associate model with the solution to 1d. I liked the same clues as Gazza but would add 10a for the splendidness of the d’oh moment when I realised who Tom chased.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

      1. Where you email someone and say I can’t get X or I am stuck in the Y corner and as soon as you press ‘send’ you realise what the solution(s) is/are. It is because when I first joined the blog, Gnomethang and I often exchanged emails in the morning about the crossword, hence the law being called after him.

        1. Thanks Sue. :-)
          I’ve been in meetings or on the phone and someone will say a word or phrase that leads me to an answer. Which is fantastic except I’ve frequently then said, “Oh bl##dy hell that’s the answer for 8d”! Quite embarrassing.
          P.S your cake looked fantastic on Saturday. I’m looking forward to a future meet to get to try some.

  2. Excellent fare for a cold Wednesday morning, I’ll include 1a as one of my favourites because I couldn’t get pew out of my head for ages, also liked 7d and 15&18a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Took a while to get started and progressed slowly getting stuck on NE, but got there in the end, with the pangram helping me place the J & Q (yes!). Thanks Gazza for explaining the homophone for the poison (7d) which had eluded me.

    Great genuine toughie, I cringed a bit at the very minor celebrity (12d) and geriatric (15/18) and wondered about recurrent (28a) – happy to have that one explained thank you again Gazza.

    Many great clues with tight wordplay, favourites are 1a (do this to pull), 2d (dodo), 5d (Maria Theresa), 8d (fast woman). I thought 20d (Branson) had a nice surface as well.

    Many thanks Osmosis

  4. Like Gazza, I stared at the clues until 15/18a wrote itself in. The bottom half of the crossword then fell into place quite quickly. However, the top half (especially the NW corner) was reluctant to give up it’s answers.

    Eventually everything fell into place so thanks to Osmosis for a tricky Wednesday Toughie (God alone knows what Friday’s will be like) and to Gazza for his usual excellent review.

    Btw – my favourite was 10a, definitely a d’oh moment.

  5. Lots of LOL moments in a fun puzzle from a master. Particular favourites were 11a [the definition is not quite the whole clue but near enough], 24a [not helped by my reading exiting as exciting], 8d [fast woman] and 19d [like crazy].

    I’m not entirely convinced by 1d either. Assuming he means the definition to be the cheap timepiece brand rather than a carpet sample it’s still a poor def, nevermind.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

    1. I can’t see how the definition can mean the cheap brand of watch. Model is even further from a brand of watch than it is from a sample or smaller representation.

  6. By hook or by crook seems the way of today.
    Getting 15a made a big difference, allowing a lot more of the bottom half to go in. The Miffypop’s rule came into force for 24 and 26a, and it wasn’t until I read the blog could I work out the word play.
    I also guessed at 7d as it was the only ‘toxin’ that fit.
    The NW corner was my nemesis with only 2d going in easily. And if I’m honest I still can’t figure out 1d even though I got it right. 3d was dragged out of the crossword memory bank eventually.

    That was not easy but I’m glad I stuck at it.

    Many thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to Gazza for the fantastic blog. You helped me make sense of quite a few clues.
    I think I’ll leave the Toughie alone for the rest of the week.

  7. Thanks as usual gazza for the explanations. I enjoyed this but needed help on some decidedly British words – cellaret, balmoral and punnet. I put cellared for 11a as it had something to do with wine but I knew there was something wrong. We have no cellarets in Canada just cellars!
    Thanks again and thanks to Osmosis for the very good puzzle. 2d – so simple and so clever!

  8. 15 and 18a came to me straight away and couldn’t believe my luck to have so many checking letters. But my joy didn’t last and found it quite hard on the top half.
    But eventually managed to finish and needed the hints for the last two: 24a and 21d although I thought it was him.
    7d was a bung in so thanks to Gazza again for explaining.
    8d favourite for the day.
    Thanks to Osmosis.

  9. Oh for pity’s sake! I’ve just realised I got 14d wrong. I had in ‘in loco’ as in ‘in loco parentis’. I was looking at it in terms of ‘entertains child’, instead of doing exactly what the crossword told me to do.

  10. I have been carefully avoiding looking at this blog this morning as I still had the NW corner as virgin territory when I left for Bridge last evening. 2d fell to overnight cogitation (brilliant wordplay I thought) and the rest slowly yielded this morning. Knowing that I needed a W for the pangram helped with 1d. Thought it was a very good puzzle indeed. Good challenge, good fun.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

      1. I have quite a few of his old Mephisto’s to hand in my study. I work on the principle that if I am stuck on an answer, I can scan through them and take an educated guess.
        Does it work? Nope.

        1. Quixote , Bradman Giovanni Pasquale guises et al The Don uses odd, nee once seen mainly forgotten terms, no problem, all for increased vocab. . My qualm is making a Toughie step from a back pager using obscurities for the sake of it

  11. Like many others, the two long answers at 15a and 18a got me going after the top half yielded nothing on first reading.
    Bottom half is now completed so I’m going back to the top half after scoffing the rather delicious looking lasagne that my better half has just cooked!

  12. It was recurring, I bow to the BRB but I still don’t like it. Hey ho. Liked geriatric as anagrind in the context, others will disagree. NW corner last to yield. Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza

  13. I am embarrassed to admit how long it took me to see 15/18A. I found this very difficult and eventually capitulated with three-quarters completed. Most of my unsolved were in the NW quadrant. I loved 2D, though, when I finally worked it out. That made up somewhat for all the blank spaces. Hats off to Osmosis, and many thanks to Gazza for the enlightenment.

    1. Well done on getting that far! :-) I guessed at a lot of the NW corner. 1d in particular.

      Not sure why but I’ve just been moderated?

  14. Came to this one v. late but thought I was on a roll with 10a and the 15/18 combo going in straight away. Then it got harder………..
    admit to using the clues for 11a,24a (forgot about those Indians) and 5d – the latter partly due to not knowing the boots at 4a.
    As others have said – not too keen on 1d. A model (make) of cheap watch was the best I could come up.
    Favourite is either one of the first answers in but with a mention for 12a & 2d.

    Thanks to Osmosis for some clever clues and laugh-out-loud moments and to Gazza for, as always, sorting out the problems!

  15. I found this one fairly straightforward bar a small number of words that I had not heard of before and trying to remember how to spell the name of a prophet I have heard of before. Fortunately the word play was kind enough to find an answer to check in a dictionary. Thanks to Gazza for the explanation of the first homphone in the “toxic” clue

    Looking at yesterday’s blog I was also surprised at its difficulty rating – I thought it was probably the easiest toughie I have ever tackled.

    Oh dear, every time I have a good spell with toughies then along comes a humbling experience. A comment above says it is Giovanni tomorrow so that is quite likely to start soon. For some reason I am 180 degrees out of phase with Deep Threat’s Friday ratings of Giovanni’s back pagers. When he rates it 3* I find it 2* and vice versa.

    Thanks to Osmosis, Shamus and the respective bloggers

  16. This is my first blog and I would just like to say how much this site has added to my cruciverballing!

    1. Welcome to the blog, Jackal2. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll be a regular contributor.

Comments are closed.