Toughie 1354 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1354

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.

Across Clues

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

Down Clues

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.

27 comments on “Toughie 1354

  1. ‘You’re very happy this morning” said the boss, so I explained that I had just finished a very enjoyable battle with a rare ‘proper Toughie’. What’s the ring round 12a for? Because that’s my favourite. He liked that one too, and also 1/6. I’ll get him solving cryptic crosswords yet.

    Thank you very much Osmosis for a lovely surprise of a toughie in the middle of the week and to Gazza for the review.

  2. Living in Shropshire, I couldn’t believe the gift of 1a – straight in the back of the net! However, my elation quickly disappeared when moving onto the rest of the clues. It was quite a struggle but I eventually succeeded with just a few endorsements from Gazza’s review. So thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and Gazza for his usual excellent review.

    My favourite was also 12a.

  3. I thought this was Friday standard, and really enjoyed it, favourites among many were 10a 17a and 24a thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for explaining 22a.

  4. The bottom half went rather well but got really stuck on some of the top clues.
    Like CS I loved 12a as one of my cat is écaille de tortue.
    Didn’t get the football team nor the chess player. Though it was Angel something as the angel of the north. Silly really.
    But rather happy to have parsed properly 26a and 13d. These constructions are usually a real cauchemar for me.
    9a was quite good but didn’t know you use this word in English.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the fun and to Gazza for his usual great help.

    1. CAUCHEMAR – what a lovely sounding word to describe something nobody wants. I’m going to start using it when I describe my own bad dreams to my wife who I know loves hearing all about them….

      1. I agree. It is a lovely word. I don’t know where it comes from but the Russians are using it too. They often say Как Кошмар : What a nightmare.

        1. It’s quite nice in Italian too…’Incubo’ , almost as if you’ve been incubated in les mauvaises reves!

  5. This was definitely a challenge and slow going. There were a number of bung-ins where I was pretty certain that the answer was correct but had no idea why. 22A was one of those. 26/27 was another. In the end, I was defeated by 5D, 8D and 10A.I did not know the person in 8D. I did get 5D from the hint, but would not have otherwise. Let me be the first to say that a 10A is an abomination that I have never eaten and never will. All in all, I am not displeased with my effort. 12A was my favorite, too. Thanks to Osmosis for the workout and to Gazza for the much needed review.

  6. wonderful puzzle with lots of nice clues. Like J-L, i didn’t know the football team or the chess player – and I used the review for odds bits of parsing since I was rather strapped for time today, but that made it none the less enjoyable. I am alerted to several new constructions.

    Many thanks Osmosis and Gazza

  7. Hmmm. Forces are at work in crossword land, well they might be if I believed in them. This is obviously a ‘toughie Toughie’, and yet I completed it. I can’t claim to have understood all the word play and 22a nearly resulted in my giving up on the whole thing.

    10a I thought was very clever. I’m basing this on the fact I guessed at the answer and needed Gazza to unravel it. Same for 12a and 26a.

    I was lucky that 1 and 6a went in first and 13d soon followed.

    However a full grid is still a thing of joy.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for an excellent blog and much needed help.

  8. Dipped out on several a real toughie for me.
    12ac is definitely a ” recycled clue” I have definitely come across that one before.

  9. Needed to reveal two answers – 5&8d – and had to use Mr. Google for 9&24a. Otherwise, I made it to the end albeit that it took Gazza’s excellent review to unravel some of the wordplay.
    3d was a straightforward bung it in and parse it later, as was 22a (I only knew the phrase because it is the name of a very good restaurant in Knutsford).
    As for 25/26a – I will never forget the uproar in our household when Dad found a copy in my possession (carefully backed in brown paper and carrying the title ‘Catherine goes to Scotland’). Hilarious when you consider that only a few years later I studied Sons and Lovers as part of the A level English syllabus!
    12a and 16a made me laugh the most – possibly 12a just has the edge.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the work-out and to Gazza for having our backs covered as always.

  10. A nice surprise for a Wednesday. It took rather long till I got a first answer. Then it slowly got better and I managed to finish correctly with all but one parsed. I thought for quite a while I was not going to finish.

    I hope this heralds a great end to the toughie week – and I believe we are due a RayT back-pager tomorrow

    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza

  11. Towards the top end of my performance envelope, but l managed it unaided except for the NE corner (5d, 8d and 15a). Eventually, seeing no chinks of light whatever, l resorted to Gazza’s hints. Certainly 4* difficulty, and about the same for satisfaction. 17a was my favourite, as is that stroke played by its master – Mr Roger Federer. Many thanks to Osmosis, and to Gazza for getting me across the finishing line.

  12. Proper toughie stuff here.I really liked 10a, 24a, 5d and especially 16d.
    Can anyone suggest how “taking” is justified in 22a? [except as padding to help the surface reading].

    Many thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  13. Torture for us today. We got just over a third of the answers (correctly), then had to give in and resort to Gazza’s wonderful hints & tips. However, we are none the wiser on a few of them. We’ll try and try and try again…..

      1. Thanks Gazza. The comment was no reflection on your very helpful tips – it is the convoluted nature of some of the answers once you have told us how we should have worked them out that leaves us in despair!

  14. Puzzle abandoned Thursday dinner time. I totally agree with Paso Doble’s comments above. Way, way too clever for me. Its amazing how much more difficult a puzzle becomes when it is awarded that extra star above *** for difficulty. Sh-Shoney.

  15. Was Lady Chatterley a siren literally or a siren literarily, or are the two adverbs interchangeable in this context?

    1. You’re right – the two words are not interchangeable, but I suppose that Lady C was literally, as well as literarily, a fascinating woman.

Comments are closed.