Toughie No 1354 by Osmosis
Would You Wish Your Servants to Read This?
+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +
BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
Thanks to Osmosis for what I thought was a proper midweek Toughie with some clever wordplay – I enjoyed battling with it. I did know all the references (except the drug in 22a) but I imagine that some of them (e.g. 1/6a, 8d and 11d) might pose problems for those not based in the UK.
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.
1a/6a Eleven tiny creatures conceal settlement (10,4)
SHREWSBURY TOWN – eleven, as the definition, tells us that we want a football team and this one is based in Shropshire. The name is a charade of small mouse-like mammals, a verb to conceal or cover and a settlement bigger than a village.
6a See 1 Across
9a Figure of speech used by child captivated by tales (7)
LITOTES – this is a figure of speech where something is stated by negating its opposite (not inconsiderable use of which was made by John Major). A young child is contained inside untrue tales.
10a Georgians eat this fancy date dipped in eggy drink (4,3)
CORN DOG – not only Georgians but Americans from other states eat this battered and fried sausage served on a stick. Start with an exclamation meaning fancy! or crikey! then insert D(ate) into a type of alcoholic drink containing beaten egg.
12a Mottled cat‘s a nightmare for slow animal? (13)
TORTOISESHELL – split the answer (8’1,4) to get the nightmare for the slow animal.
14a Fiancee regularly rejected outside union reception, finally agreeing (2,4)
IN TUNE – then even letters of fiancée go around the abbreviation for a workers’ union and the final letter of reception.
15a Examination on part of body held in school (8)
RESEARCH – start with a preposition meaning on or about and follow this with a bodily organ inside the abbreviation for school.
17a German musician entertains knight with flourish in court (8)
BACKHAND – the surname of a classical German composer contains the single-character abbreviation for knight (the person, not the chess piece). After that we need a conjunction meaning with.
19a High-reaching worker perhaps succeeded subsequently (6)
SLATER – the abbreviation for succeeded followed by an adverb meaning subsequently.
22a Period of contentment in France that follows taking endless classified drug (2,5,6)
LA BELLE EPOQUE – this is very cunning because we’re tempted to think that ‘in France’ is part of the definition when it’s not. The word for ‘that’ in French follows a past participle meaning classified or tagged without its final letter and the 3-letter abbreviation for erythropoietin (a drug which increases the rate of formation of red blood cells, says the BRB).
24a This 1 Down clue somewhat misdirected heavyweights (7)
COLOSSI – stick together THIS, the answer to 1d and CLUE. Hidden therein (somewhat) and reversed (misdirected) is the answer to this clue.
25a Being next to nothing, one has inside of gazebo floored (2,1,4)
IN A DAZE – this is a bit Yoda-like. The Roman numeral for one is followed by (next to) the Spanish word for nothing and the central two letters of gazebo.
26a/27a Siren literally indicating gas leak, half ignored by female Yankee (4,10)
LADY CHATTERLEY – this is the name of the siren or bewitching woman in a literary, and at one time controversial, work. A verb to gas or talk informally and just half of the word leak follow a female title. We finish with the letter that Yankee represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
27a See 26 Across
1d Single sung very deep (4)
SOLO – sounds like (sung) very deep (2,3).
2d Painter and trainee initially see you lifting tap (3-1-3)
RAT-A-TAT – start with the usual abbreviation for painter and the initial letter of trainee. Then reverse (lifting) a childish term meaning ‘see you’ or cheerio.
3d Boozers right sticking with one brewed in country local (8,5)
WATERING HOLES – an anagram (brewed) of RIGHT and ONE goes inside a country (one that’s local to the UK).
4d Mass housing this type of terrier‘s found (6)
BOSTON – those who came across Alas as the first word of a clue in last week’s NTSPP should have no problem in recognising that Mass is the abbreviation for a US state. We want the name of a place contained in this state, and this is also a type of terrier. As far as I can see the ‘found’ is just there to make the surface meaningful.
5d Holiday centre in Sweden along the lines of bay (8)
RECESSED – a holiday or temporary cessation of business is followed by the central letters of Sweden.
7d Senior citizen getting over land marginally steep (3,4)
OLD DEAR – this is a somewhat patronising term for a (normally female) senior citizen. String together the cricket abbreviation for over, the outer (marginal) letters of land and an adjective meaning steep or extortionate.
8d One begins to work in north, upsetting strategist on the board (5,5)
NIGEL SHORT – this is a British chess grandmaster who had a match against Garry Kasparov for the world title in 1993 (he lost rather heavily). The Roman numeral for one and a verb meaning begins to work or takes shape go inside an anagram (upsetting) of NORTH.
11d Game’s merchandise taken to fair somewhere in central London (7,6)
RUSSELL SQUARE – this is the name of a public space in Bloomsbury. String together the abbreviation for the 15-a-side game, the ‘S from the clue, a verb to merchandise or market and an adjective meaning fair or above board.
13d Note islands have to launch charity after revolution — it’s shocking (10)
DIABOLICAL – join together a note from tonic sol-fa, the abbreviation for some islands which are British crown dependencies, a verb to launch or toss up and a word for charity or assistance. Finally reverse it all (after revolution).
16d How a young kid might be stoned after joint (4-4)
KNEE-HIGH – an adjective meaning stoned or under the influence of drugs follows a leg joint.
18d Horse left amongst hay worked on last? (7)
COBBLED – start with a short-legged horse then insert L(eft) into what hay (or, more usually, the hay) is a slang term for.
20d One’s occasionally filed work that’s framed in French Academy (7)
TOENAIL – a word for work contains (framed) a French word for ‘in’ and the abbreviation for Academy.
21d Run quickly, son — run off! (6)
SPRINT – S(on) and a verb to run off (on your laser or dot matrix device, for example).
23d What’s sold at number 3 stand, visibly empty (4)
BEVY – number 3 is 3d. A verb to stand or exist precedes the outer letters (empty) of visibly.
I liked 12a and 21d but my favourite clue today was 16d. Let us know what gained your approval.