Toughie No 1386 by Osmosis
It’s all coming back to me
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment ****
I’d have recognised this as an Osmosis production even if I hadn’t known the setter. It’s chock-full of his usual complicated wordplay including lots of reversals. I’m not complaining – I enjoy deciphering such clues but it’s quite tricky trying to write unambiguous hints without the use of nested brackets.
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1a Constant redirecting of insects, say, frustrated photographer (5,6)
CECIL BEATON – this is an old British portrait photographer. Start with the constant used for the speed of light, add the reversal (redirecting) of some parasitic insects and finish with what sounds like (say) frustrated or thwarted.
10a Inferno dies down, female overcome by heat initially (5)
HADES – a verb meaning dies down or declines with the F(emale) replaced by the initial letter of heat.
11a Country festivity captivated university mate when drunk (9)
GUATEMALA – a festivity or pageant contains U(niversity) and an anagram (when drunk) of MATE.
12a To deviate from hospital routine, knocked back fish (4,5)
TURN ASIDE – join together an informal term for a hospital for convalescents and an unproductive and boring routine, then reverse (knocked back) it all. Finally append a freshwater fish very popular in Crosswordland.
13a New Forest resident perhaps with fewer locks, heading out (5)
ALDER – an adjective meaning having fewer locks or with less on top loses its first letter.
14a More important greetings discussed (6)
HIGHER – this sounds like (discussed) an informal 4-letter word said on meeting an acquaintance, more casual than “Greetings!”.
16a Roofer’s material dry inside this part of boot? (8)
STILETTO – insert a roofing material and an abbreviation meaning dry or teetotal into an adverb meaning this (as in ‘the fish I caught was this long’).
18a Are characters out to lunch OK consuming Southern Comfort? (8)
REASSURE – an anagram (characters out to lunch) of ARE is followed by an informal response meaning OK or yes. Finally insert (consuming) S(outhern).
20a Beverley experiences this bird grabbing bit of crust with bill (3-3)
TIC-TAC – there are 59 racecourses in the UK and one of them is in Beverley in East Yorkshire. This is the traditional secret sign language used by bookmakers (it’s pretty well died out now that all bookmakers have embraced modern technology). A small songbird contains the first letter of crust with the abbreviation for a bill or invoice bringing up the rear.
23a Boozer about to enter abbreviated text (5)
LOCAL – insert the two-letter abbreviation for about or approximately into an abbreviation used in texting (the one that Dave Cameron thought meant ‘lots of love’ when he sent it to Rebekah Brooks).
24a Traffic system documents little man having passed junction depressed (5,4)
TIDAL FLOW – the abbreviation for identity documents and a shortened man’s name follow (having passed) a type of road junction. Finally we need an adjective meaning depressed or dejected.
26a Romeo cavorting with nun around wing of Uffizi? Berlusconi once (6,3)
NUMERO UNO – the Italian buffoon and former top banana is obviously the flavour of the week in Toughieland. This is an anagram (cavorting) of ROMEO and NUN containing the leading letter (wing) of Uffizi. It is reported that Berlusconi employed strippers dressed as nuns for his bunga bunga parties so the surface here is excellent.
27a State marriage vow full of heart to Graham (5)
IDAHO – a marriage vow (1,2) contains the central letters of Graham.
28a Challenge mother to meet a girl around African city (3,2,6)
DAR ES SALAAM – start with a verb to challenge or provoke. Now string together an affectionate term for mother, A and another word for girl and reverse it all (around).
2d Editor’s hesitation about 1 Down comes from this (5)
EIDER – bring together the abbreviation for editor and an expression of hesitation and insert the Roman numeral for one. The clue would mislead a bit more if there was a “1 down” clue in the puzzle.
3d Scruff restrains mum applying number one trim (2,5)
IN SHAPE – scruff here means the back of the neck so we need another word for that containing the instruction to keep mum. Then we have to precede all that (applying?) with number one in Roman numerals. The first definition of the verb to apply in the BRB is ‘to lay or put in contact’ so it may just about work but I don’t think it’s very good.
4d VIP‘s swinging concert attracting women (6)
BIGWIG – an informal adjective meaning swinging (both ways) and a concert containing W(omen).
5d Paltrow regularly eats jam up and French liqueur (8)
AMARETTO – the even letters of Paltrow contain the reversal (up) of a verb to jam or stuff and the French for ‘and’.
6d Garment used for sweeping? (7)
OVERALL – double definition, the second an adjective meaning sweeping or comprehensive.
7d Wife adjusted leather hat in sports ground (5,4,4)
WHITE HART LANE – BD will love this one. W(ife) is followed by an anagram (adjusted) of LEATHER HAT IN.
8d Spot artist over in club very busy (4,2,2)
HARD AT IT – join together a spot or tiny amount and the usual artist then reverse it all (over) inside a verb to club or thump.
9d Film commotion with farm animal cub (5,2,6)
CARRY ON COWBOY – join together a commotion or fuss (5-2), a farm animal and a youngster.
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15d Old copper, back in flashy area, gets complaint (8)
GLAUCOMA – reverse (back) O(ld) and the chemical symbol for copper inside an informal adjective meaning flashy or alluring and A(rea).
17d Point out specialist joining firm that Germany’s invested in (8)
PROTRUDE – an informal word for a specialist or expert is followed by an adjective meaning firm or stalwart containing the IVR code for Germany.
19d Places to get bronze cast also raised publicity (7)
SOLARIA – an anagram (cast) of ALSO is followed by the reversal (raised) of a word for publicity or exposure.
21d Dislike West interfering in eastern state repeatedly (3-4)
ILL-WILL – a standard abbreviation for this US state is repeated with W(est) getting inserted. I usually get taken to task by Expat Chris when I write about codes for US states (and I know this isn’t the zip code) so I’m keeping my fingers crossed this time.
22d Faceless nerd going to extremes with computer stuff (3-3)
ADD-ONS – a word for a nerd or socially inadequate person (usually male!) loses its first letter (faceless) and is followed by the abbreviations for the furthest you can go latitudinally without leaving the planet.
25d Climber reversing tack on Annapurna’s peak (5)
LIANA – reverse a tack or pin and add the top letter of Annapurna.
I liked 18a and 7d today but my favourite is 26a. Which ones stood out for you?