Toughie 1593

Toughie No 1593 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

This is a fairly typical Osmosis puzzle with lots of abbreviations, insertions and reversals. I solved it at a trot rather than a gallop but I quite enjoyed the ride.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a London building‘s landing-place used by bird (6,5)
CANARY WHARF – a landing-place or quay follows a cage bird. This is not really a single building, more a major business and financial district.

10a Australian tries in abundance (1,4)
A GOGO – this rings a bell – it must be the phrase of the month! The abbreviation for Australian is followed by a couple of tries or attempts.

11a Bagman in the USA always with tennis gear (9)
RACKETEER – in the USA bagman is an informal word for someone who collects and distributes the proceeds of illegal activities. A poetic word for always follows an item of tennis gear.

12a Asian that is outside declines to join army (9)
TAIWANESE – the abbreviation for ‘that is’ contains a verb meaning declines or shrinks and that all follows the old abbreviation for our part-time army.

13a Boxer swinging in defence (5)
ALIBI – charade of ‘The Greatest’ boxer and an adjective meaning ‘swinging both ways’.

14a Dish prioress ate regularly before one (6)
ROESTI – regular letters from ‘prioress ate’ precede the Roman numeral for one.

16a Newswoman up front in elegant clothes covering The X-Factor? (8)
EDITRESS – start with the leading letter of elegant and add another term for clothes containing a short word for that indefinable personal quality (the X-factor).

18a A trainee during the convulsive twitching indicates ‘fit‘ (8)
ATHLETIC – A is followed by THE containing the abbreviation for a trainee. Finally, add a convulsive twitching.

20a Yeats’s Ireland features in second yarn (6)
MERINO – the literary word for Ireland goes inside a second or instant. I think that Yeats here is just being used as an example of a famous Irish literary figure rather than someone who made great use of the term, but I am prepared to be proved wrong.

23a Slip back in course, getting zero in school basics (5)
ERROR – start with the rearmost letter of ‘course’ then insert the letter resembling zero into the three school basics.

24a New leisure pursuits in East End disrupting road, with most affected (9)
SNOBBIEST – put N(ew) and leisure pursuits or pastimes as a Cockney would pronounce them inside (disrupting) the abbreviation for a road or way.

26a Sort of calendar relative keeps — for example, gold one (9)
GREGORIAN – this is the calendar which wasn’t adopted in this country until 1752. The changeover led to some people believing that their lives had been shortened and protesting “Give us back our 11 days” (for the reason why see below). A female relative contains the abbreviation of ‘for example’, the heraldic term for a tincture of gold and the Roman numeral for one.

27a Little space on epitaph for age (5)
RIPEN – a small space used in printing follows the abbreviation for the Latin phrase ‘requiescat in pace’.

28a Female writer Beryl not bothered by old record company (5,6)
EMILY BRONTË – an anagram (bothered) of BERYL NOT comes after an old British music company.

Down Clues

2d Lilo Ian carries back that’s used for a dip? (5)
AIOLI – hidden in reverse.

3d A soldier, after memory’s recalled, becomes sentimenal (7)
AMORANT – start with A then add a soldier insect after the reversal of some computer memory.

4d Delivery from Orkney without name — gallivanting Romeo? (6)
YORKER – this cricketing term is an anagram (gallivanting) of ORK[n]EY without the N(ame) followed by the letter that Romeo’s used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

5d Hot American spies circling terminal in estate (8)
HACIENDA – abbreviations for hot, American and the US spying organisation contain another word for a terminal.

6d Appear as Cavalier, perhaps from big house, reversed into tree comically (2-5)
RE-ENACT – big house is a US slang term for prison. Reverse another slang term for the same thing inside an anagram (comically) of TREE.

7d Explorer to adapt particular bike supporting weight (6,7)
WALTER RALEIGH – a verb to adapt or amend and a make of bicycle follow the abbreviation for weight.

8d Ale one smuggles to guy with sickness (4-4)
BERI-BERI – what ale is a type of and the Roman one contain a verb to guy or tease.

9d Film school’s activity at The Crucible (13)
TRAINSPOTTING – a verb to school or coach plus the ‘S is followed by the sporting activity currently on view at The Crucible theatre in Sheffield.

15d Old caretaker, finding pressure hard, needs counsellor (8)
EXHORTER – start with the prefix meaning old and a caretaker (at a college, say) then replace the abbreviation for pressure with that for hard.

17d Feed extremely glamorous group of ladies during ball (8)
PIGSWILL – the outer letters of glamorous and the abbreviation for a social organisation for ladies go inside an informal word for a ball.

19d European member admits line cocked up in memorable song (7)
EARWORM – this is a song that you can’t get out of your head. It’s E(uropean) and a bodily member containing the reversal of a line or tier.

21d Business expert, trapped by scary person, lifted barrier (7)
EMBARGO – someone with a degree in business is contained inside the reversal (lifted) of a terrifying individual.

22d Chef’s often seen at this VIP talk informally (6)
HOBNOB – charade of an appliance at which a chef may be seen working and an informal verb for a VIP.

25d Windows system covered in rot, as person living abroad (5)
EXPAT – a largely superseded flavour of the Windows Operating System is contained inside a verb to rot or corrode.

I have no real favourite today but 17d made me smile for the contrast between the surface reading and the answer. Which one(s) grabbed you?



  1. jean-luc cheval
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The pennies took a while to drop in 10a and 3d.
    The rest was pretty straightforward.
    Never bothered to check the Sheffield theatre. The BRB had pot for melting ore or other metals for crucible. That was enough for me.
    7d made me smile. I have a long running argument with a friend in England that Parmentier brought the potato to Europe.
    13a made me smile too.
    So did 14a actually. Yet again we have a saying in France about that dish: “De que de que, des roestis un soir de paye”. Which basically means that when labourers came home on pay day, they would expect a better meal.
    Favourite is the poetic 20a.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

    • Gazza
      Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

      It’s not that sort of pot in 9d. The Crucible is the name of a theatre in Sheffield where snooker players pot their balls during their World Championship.

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I realise that now.
        Forgot about the theatre. Only remembered the play but irrelevant in this clue.

  2. Hanni
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I neither trotted nor galloped to solve this, but approached it at a very gentle canter (much comfier).

    I found I had to carefully pick apart the word play for quite a bit of the puzzle. I’m glad for Gazza’s interpretation for 6d too as I thought I was missing something re Yeats.

    I had not come across the spelling for 14a before certainly solvable from the clue, then I checked it was OK. Missed the hidden reverse in 2d but I just accept that they are not my strong point. Panicked a bit when I read 16a wondering whether I would need knowledge of Simon Cowell. Thank goodness I didn’t.

    Really liked the glamorous ladies and the film school (hate the actual film) but my favourite is 1a.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for a great blog.

    Today’s 19d is 10000 Miles Away..although sometimes it’s this…How the two are linked I have no idea?

    • dutch
      Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Germans typically replace an o/umlaut with OE when using capitals (since capitals don’t normally have accents). Hence you often see OE replacing O/umlaut; actually without the umlaut only oe is correct.

      • Hanni
        Posted April 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Dutch :good: I did sort of try and figure out the etymology but there is no way I would have got that. So 14a is the German spelling?

        • Gazza
          Posted April 27, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink | Reply

          It’s a Swiss dish, normally Rösti in Swiss-German but o/umlaut is usually presented as ‘oe’ in English. So, for example, we usually see Hermann Göring’s name spelled as Hermann Goering in English.

          • Hanni
            Posted April 27, 2016 at 3:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Oh yeah! Thanks to you too Gazza. :rose:

            I knew the first spelling, it’s in the recipe books. I shall try and remember that…o/umlaut is usually ‘oe’ in English.

            I love the blog…you learn something new all the time.

          • dutch
            Posted April 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

            OE is also used in German (when using capitals or in some way prevented from using accents, e.g. on english keyboards)

            all because o and o/umlaut sound completely different and you may end up with some unfortunate puns otherwise

            Is Hanni a German name?

            • Hanni
              Posted April 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

              I only took one year of German at school (did French and Spanish) so mine is pretty awful.

              Do you have any example of the puns? :wink:

              How do they sound different?

              • dutch
                Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

                well one’s an o and the others an oe – i’m going to have to show you in person

                • Hanni
                  Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

                  Oh OK! :yes:

                  Hanni unfortunately is just what I get called. My mother wanted father Naimh. So they compromised.

                  • dutch
                    Posted April 27, 2016 at 9:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

                    ah – i think you were lucky

  3. dutch
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great fun, I liked smuggling the ale, the swinging boxer, beryl the writer, and the lovely dinner for the glamorous ladies.

    Many thanks Osmosis for a brilliant puzzle as always, and thank you Gazza

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Some tricksy work required to fully parse a few clues but, all in all, a very enjoyable solve. However, my mind must be giving up on me as I have just ‘twigged’ the ‘disco – a -gogo’ reference. All those years ‘shaking a mean hoof’ in discos in the early 70’s and I never new what the ‘a go go’ meant D’oh! There are lots of clues to like but I’m torn between 17d and 13a as my favourite. I think I’ll go with 17d as the image it conjures up is more palatable than the one of a bisexual Mohammed Ali prancing about in a boxing ring.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the puzzle and to Gazza for his splendid blog.

    • dutch
      Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think of the LA bars called “whisky a-gogo”

  5. Lesley
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 4:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I didn’t trot, canter or gallop. Just walked – good brisk pace though. The cold wind does get up the horses tails! Kicking myself very hard for not getting the bike one. Should have got 5d. Didn’t have a hope for 15d. I enjoyed this, even though I could not complete. I liked 24a best (probably because it opened up the whole corner for me. Thank you guys.

  6. Posted April 27, 2016 at 6:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this harder than 3* – I really am having trouble getting in sync with most of you when it comes to Toughie difficulties! – but quite enjoyed it. I’m not sure how long it took because I solved the first clues while walking, some more over lunch and then the rest when I got home. So it was more like an obstacle course for me, with the obstacle being life. I needed a few cheats and made a very silly mistake which I am not going to divulge the details of.

    I didn’t help myself by persistently misreading the first word of 22d as “chief” either.

    It was nice to see 10a and 5d again so soon.

    Others have mentioned some great clues, but I think my favourite today is 19d.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and even more to Gazza for the usual excellent review.

  7. Una
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I stumbled , slithered, slipped back down some mental snakes , with very few ladders and crawled home.In other words I needed some hints.
    I liked 1a , 13a, 20a, 7d and 17d , among others.
    Thanks Gazza and Osmosis, whom I always seem to find quite tough.

  8. crypticsue
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    MynoT tomorrow

  9. Sheffieldsy
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 6:42 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Very nice puzzle, well worth Gazza’s difficulty rating and, we thought, worth three for pleasure too.

    Best clue by a country mile was 24a – a comedy penny-dropping moment when we parsed it!

    We were a little concerned with 15d – the swapping of initial letter of the caretaker really wasn’t clear (finding?!).

    Thanks to Gazza and Osmosis

    • Gazza
      Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think that you have to read 15d as: … finding (that) pressure (has become) hard …

      • Sheffieldsy
        Posted April 27, 2016 at 8:15 pm | Permalink | Reply

        Yes, Gazza, we came to a similar conclusion but it’s still fairly abstruse, n’est-ce pas?

  10. Expat Chris
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:28 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I needed the hints for 10A, 3D and 15D. 19D is a new word for me. I found this quite a challenge and more of a crawl than a trot. I am embarrassed to divulge how long 1A and 26A took to spot. 13A made me smile. No need to guess my favorite. Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  11. KiwiColin
    Posted April 27, 2016 at 7:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I was rather tired by the time I got around to looking at this one and quite surprised myself at how well it went together for me. Lots of amusing stuff but the biggest laugh came from 17d.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

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