Toughie No 1717 by Osmosis
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ***
The difficulty you have with this puzzle (which is a pangram) probably depends on how good your knowledge is of gardeners, singers, novelists, actresses, mathematicians and diplomats. In spite of the excessive number of proper names I thought it was fairly gentle for Osmosis.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
1a/6a Rotten tree dug around river by literary doctor’s gardener (8,6)
GERTRUDE JEKYLL – this is a female British garden designer (whose surname I can never manage to spell). Put an anagram (rotten) of TREE DUG round the abbreviation for river then add the name of R L Stevenson’s fictional doctor.
6a See 1a
9a Great books featuring constant intensity (6)
ACCENT – an adjective meaning great and some Biblical books contain the constant used to represent the speed of light.
10a Delay expression of triumph with new-style fringe (4,4)
HANG FIRE – an exclamation of triumph followed by an anagram (new-style) of FRINGE.
11a Manually deleted pages showing former partner in married situation (8)
TIPPEXED – insert the abbreviation for multiple pages and the word used for a former partner into an adjective meaning married or united.
12a Plant beer in hands of jazzman at intervals (6)
AZALEA – insert a type of beer into the even letters of jazzman.
13a Singer playing rag later embraces another musical genre (3,9)
ART GARFUNKEL – an anagram (playing) of RAG LATER contains an informal word for pop or jazz music with a strong rhythm and a soulful quality.
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16a Novelist‘s brave, battling with showers to keep number one dry (4,8)
VERA BRITTAIN – this British novelist was the mother of the politician Baroness (Shirley) Williams. Start with an anagram (battling) of BRAVE and add some showers from above containing the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for dry or teetotal.
19a Tennis club‘s powerful men on board (6)
QUEENS – double definition – the tennis club is in London and the board is a chessboard.
21a Mum managed to save fly — that’s sweet (8)
MARZIPAN – start with an affectionate term for mother, add a verb meaning managed and insert (to save) a verb to fly or go quickly. If you’ve done all that properly you’ll have made some nasty sickly stuff.
23a Spirit-like drink chokes that lady in middle of paella (8)
ETHEREAL – a non-alcoholic drink contains a feminine pronoun (that lady). Now put all that between the middle letters of paella.
24a Maritime chief that’s seen in hold (6)
NELSON – double definition. The hold is one used in the wrestling ring.
25a/26a Actress wanting issue penned by first-rate English publicist (6,8)
ALISON STEADMAN – this is one of our finest actresses (or actors, as we’re now supposed to call them), perhaps best known for her performance in Abigail’s Party. A male issue is contained inside an informal term (1-4) for first-rate. After that we need an abbreviation for English and a publicist (2-3).
26a See 25a
2d Rising, tip hat as old mathematician appears (6)
EUCLID – reverse a tip or hint and add an informal word for a hat.
3d Prepare letter at college (3,2)
TEE UP – the name of one of the letters of our alphabet followed by an adverb meaning ‘at college’.
4d Sporting racetrack Button unconfined by time occupies endlessly (9)
UTTOXETER – this is a town in Staffordshire and its racecourse. Remove the outer letters from Button, add the letter used to mean ‘by’ in maths then insert the abbreviation for time in a poetic word meaning endlessly or without end.
5d Spiny creature‘s concealed amongst cane, camouflaged (7)
ECHIDNA – put a verb meaning concealed into an anagram (camouflaged) of CANE.
6d American’s last in ramble for military governors (5)
JUNTA – start with a ramble or excursion and move the single-letter abbreviation for American to the end. The surface doesn’t seem very meaningful.
7d Diplomat‘s retired relative providing approval (4,5)
KOFI ANNAN – string together an affectionate term for grandmother, a conjunction meaning providing and a response indicating approval. Now reverse it all.
8d Learner on bend, with little space and time, clipping a fence support? (8)
LARCENER – ‘fence support’ is a cryptic definition of someone who keeps a fence (a receiver of hot property) in business. Bring together the letter used for a learner, a bend or curve, a small space in printing and a word for a period of time without its final A.
13d Wonder about revolutionary artist having head for knowledge (9)
AWARENESS – a synonym for wonder contains the reversal of our usual abbreviated artist. Finish with a word meaning head or promontory.
14d Perhaps Cologne newspaper’s available in neighbouring country (9)
FRAGRANCE – a low-quality newspaper goes inside the name of one of the countries that borders the state containing Cologne.
15d Official keeps bottom statement delivered to counter (8)
REBUTTAL – an adjective meaning official or authentic contains an informal North American term for bottom or backside.
17d Corporation open to all mostly longing to see burial-place (7)
TUMULUS – string together an informal word for corporation or gut, the letter used to indicate that a film may be seen by all and a word for longing or sexual desire without its last letter. ‘to see’ is just a link.
18d Asian food — it repeats, when eating bones (6)
SAMOSA – an abbreviation for ‘it’ is repeated and they bracket the abbreviation for someone whose nickname may be ‘bones’.
20d Chester neighbourhood contains authoritarian (5)
STERN – an easy-to-spot lurker.
22d Did lounge at the front illuminate date / clock display? (5)
IDLED – the front letters of illuminate and date followed by the abbreviation for the type of lighting which may display the date and time on a digital clock.
I’ll steer clear of the proper names in choosing my best clues – I liked 23a, 7d and 18d but my favourite was 8d. Which one(s) got you leaping about in the aisles?