Toughie 1853

Toughie No 1853 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

When you see Osmosis’s name on a Toughie you know you’re going to get a lot of detailed wordplay and that’s what we’ve got. There are no complaints from me on that score though some of the constructs are repeated quite a lot (e.g. the disembowelling of words using empty, gutted, hollow and extremely). Thanks to Osmosis for the entertainment.

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

Across Clues

1a Empty Sunday penning paper on bridge rule (11)
SQUIREARCHY – inside the outer letters of Sunday put 25 sheets of paper and a curved supporting structure.

7a Bread eaten by old teacher all the time (2,3,2)
ON AND ON – a type of bread is contained between the abbreviation for old and a university teacher.

8a Did work up in Channel Islands start to trouble newsman? (7)
INCITED – string together IN, the abbreviation for the Channel Islands, the first letter of trouble and our usual newspaper boss.

10a Religious person having spiritual class in remote surroundings (5)
FRIAR – insert the abbreviation for religious indoctrination into an adjective meaning remote.

11a Crusher Bailey perhaps having first spell inside? (5,4)
WATER MILL – this is a mechanism for crushing or grinding (wheat, for example). What a bailey was in an old castle contains the first spell or period of time (4,1).

12a I run downhill then left through track in a hazardous manner (7)
RISKILY – I and a verb to run or slide downhill plus the abbreviation for left go into the abbreviation for a railway line.

14a Bypass repairers maybe wanting settlement — and more (7)
ROADMEN – an anagram (wanting settlement) of AND MORE.

15a Exhaust Classical character with constant type of poetry (7)
SAPPHIC – cobble together a verb to exhaust or deplete, a Greek letter and the constant used to represent the speed of light.

18a Jack sorry when speaking about God (7)
JEHOVAH – assemble the abbreviation for jack (the playing card), an interjection meaning ‘sorry?’ or ‘what did you say?’ and a homophone (hmm) of a preposition meaning about or concerning.

20a Cruise with Ann abroad creating this charge? (9)
INSURANCE – an anagram (abroad) of CRUISE and ANN.

21a Hooker’s part of this low life hanging around edge of road (5)
SCRUM – contrary to the deceptive surface reading hooker here is not a lady of the night but a sportsperson. Put an informal word meaning low life or contemptible people round the first letter of road.

22a Blight overthrowing English flower gutted Yvonne (7)
EYESORE – knit together an abbreviation for English, a fragrant flower and Yvonne without her insides. Now reverse it all.

23a Order, I sense, is threatening (7)
OMINOUS – concatenate the abbreviation for a distinguished order, I and an informal word for common sense.

24a Watch display by pioneering German rock band (3,8)
LED ZEPPELIN – start with a type of display seen on a digital watch and add the surname of a German who pioneered a form of air transport.

Down Clues

1d Positions over having quit drugs (7)
STATINS – another verb meaning positions without the abbreviation for over.

2d Missing one or two bits at the top, shake organ (5)
UDDER – think of two different verbs meaning to shake and remove one letter from the start of one and two letters from the start of the other.

3d Overwhelming sunlight stifles pale superior in retreat (7)
RUNAWAY – overwhelming as in ‘overwhelming success’. A beam of sunlight contains the reversal of an adjective meaning pale or ashen and the letter standing for superior or posh.

4d Celebrity secrets I lampoon, somewhat upsetting (1-6)
A-LISTER – hidden in reverse.

5d Pest played rock in train (9)
COCKROACH – an anagram (played) of ROCK goes inside a verb to train.

6d Hollow Yorkist victory without local element (7)
YTTRIUM – the outer letters of Yorkist followed by a victory without the abbreviation for a local or watering hole.

7d Farm animal crossing his building on area in England (11)
OXFORDSHIRE – cement together a bovine farm animal, a river crossing, an anagram (building) of HIS and a preposition meaning on or concerning.

9d Poet, industrious being at home, shaved amidst junk sadly (5,6)
DYLAN THOMAS – put an industrious six-legged being and the word ‘home’ without its last letter (shaved) inside an anagram (junk) of SADLY.

My tears are like the quiet drift
Of petals from some magic rose;
And all my grief flows from the rift
Of unremembered skies and snows.

13d English novelist lives with that woman? Hazel possibly (9)
ISHERWOOD – concatenate a verb meaning lives or exists, a pronoun meaning that woman and what hazel is an example of. This writer’s works were adapted for the musical Cabaret.

16d Dated extremely unusual figure in ballet (3,4)
PAS SEUL – an adjective meaning dated or ‘old hat’ followed by the outer letters of ‘unusual’. I didn’t know this ballet term but the wordplay is clear.

17d Criminal, caught with readies regularly, to give up (7)
CONCEDE – join together an informal word for a prisoner, a cricket abbreviation meaning caught and regular letters from ‘readies’.

18d Heartless tricks on pensioner, a scapegoat (3,4)
JOE SOAP – remove the middle letter from a word meaning tricks or pranks then add the abbreviation for a senior citizen.

19d Gavin and Roz endlessly planned to get one delivered in September? (7)
VIRGOAN – an anagram (planned) of GAVIN and RO[z].

21d Son is going to drink (5)
SWILL – the abbreviation for son followed by a verb meaning ‘is going to’.

The clues I liked best were the suggestive 2d and the excellent 21a. Which one(s) appealed to you?

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22 Comments

  1. Chris Evans
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I read 11a as Bill Bailey (Will) around a term. Just saying……

    • Gazza
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 2:37 pm | Permalink | Reply

      You’ve lengthened your alias since your last comment in 2015 so this one needed moderation. Both will work from now on.
      The only Bill Bailey I know is the comedian and as far as I’m aware he’s not known as Will.

      • Davelawes
        Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

        I too, decided it was Will for Bill – with a term . Also ,am I right in thinking that the motte is the wall bit ?
        Thanks To Osmosis and Gazza

        • Gazza
          Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink | Reply

          As I understand it a motte is a mound on which the castle is built whereas a bailey is either the outer wall of the castle or a court within the walls of the castle.

          • Robin Hill
            Posted July 26, 2017 at 9:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

            Will Bailey is apparently a fictional character in West Wing. I was very pleased to see Osmosis appearing on a Wednesday. Plenty of ingenious and amusing clues as ever, such as 21a, 19d and 6d. Incidentally a horse named 16d won the 1960 Cheltenham Gold Cup, but I didn’t know this was a ballet movement until today. The English translation ‘Solo Dance’ was a big Top 40 hit for Martin Jensen a few weeks ago, just to bring us right up to date ! Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  2. LetterboxRoy
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My ignorance held me up at 1a, 18d, 13d & 16d but the wordplay and a hint or two and it all worked out. ‘B’ short of a pangram.
    I found this quite tricky to get into, knocking on the door of **** for difficulty. Liked 5d & 19d but 21d is probably fave today.
    11a – I could only think of Bill Bailey, too – thought it was a bit odd.

    Many thanks to Osmosis for the stretch and Gazza for the hints and the Led Zep.

  3. Tony
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I found this difficult, but I did manage to finish, which is something I can’t always say of an Osmosis puzzle. I did enjoy this, however, there were 6 terms or expressions I hadn’t heard of, and although I was able to get them, I spend more time relying on Google than I would have preferred. I spent a while looking for a ‘B’ as well which made me a little nervous that I had messed up somewhere. Many thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  4. Una
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I managed to finish with electronic help for 1a and some hints.
    24a is my favourite across clue and 18d my favourite down clue.( I hope that passes the censor !).
    I thought it quite a bit harder than 3 stars , but then I missed a few of the anagram indicators.
    Thanks to Gazza and Osmosis.

    • Kath
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 9:40 pm | Permalink | Reply

      If by the censor you mean me I’ll let you get away with it. I often say that my favourite clue is ** or ** so I don’t have leg to stand on here.

  5. jane
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Like Tony, I spent rather a long time conferring with Mr. Google – five ‘things’ in this one that were beyond my ken.
    However, I was delighted to twig 21a quite easily – for that reason and also its superb surface read I awarded it top honours.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the review, particularly the full parsing of 18a. Not at all sure that Kath will concur with the opinion you gave about this on the back-page blog – time will tell.

  6. Jarman Island
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 4:57 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Where are you all today? Does nobody like Osmosis? Kept me busy for a long wait in a hospital waiting room for which I am eternally grateful! And I finished it unaided so quite chuffed as Mr O usually beats me. Thanks to Osmosis for saving me from utter boredom and to Gazza for confirming I was right.

  7. Posted July 26, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    G let me have a go today and chipped in with the last few.
    Despite getting the insert correctly for 11a I incorrectly thought I had will left over so also got in a muddle over that clue.
    Enjoyed the puzzle though. Surface readings often pass me by, just treating the clue as a set of instructions, but today I did notice some, which says something.
    Cheers Osmosis and Gazza.
    Pleased we’re having a better week than last which was slow for us.

  8. Gazza
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Samuel tomorrow.

  9. Sheffieldsy
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 7:22 pm | Permalink | Reply

    We had a great time with this and rate it 3*/4*.

    Spotting the phantom pangram helped us with 18d! We liked 11a but COTD was 21a, a wonderfully misleading surface. Only the ballet term was new to us but it was fairly evident how to reach the answer.

    Thanks to Gazza and Osmosis.

    • Sheffieldsy
      Posted July 26, 2017 at 7:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

      …and we liked 1d.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 7:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It caused us to raise an eyebrow when we noted that we had an Osmosis on a Wednesday. Perhaps not as devilish as he can be but still plenty challenging enough for us. Full of penny-drop moments as the complexities of the wordplay slowly emerged. Really good fun.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  11. jean-luc cheval
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    The right side took a bit longer than the left and last ones in were the 2 18s.
    18a was a bit of a bung in and 18d was definitely new to me.
    Another unparsed was 11a.
    Favourite 5d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza.

  12. Jimboid74
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 8:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Sometimes, just sometimes, I get through the toughie. Today was strange. This puzzle fell into my lap – must have been on the wavelength!
    The back pager today took me longer (just one of those things)
    Being of a musical background 24a was brilliantly daft. Enjoyed muchly all round

  13. Kath
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Permalink | Reply

    :phew: 3* difficulty – you must be having a laugh, Gazza. This was well and truly at the top end of my ability but I did finish it.
    I think that Osmosis is most often encountered on Fridays and I run a mile from Friday Toughies which would account for my unfamiliarity with his style.
    My first read through of all the clues yielded one answer but it was raining so I carried on . .
    I spent ages trying to justify ‘fakir’ for 10a and was stupidly slow to get 7d. :roll:
    I was thinking of the wrong kind of ‘hooker’ for 21a – I have a smutty rather than a sporty mind.
    Enough – I did eventually finish this very enjoyable crossword so thanks to Osmosis.
    Huge thanks to Gazza for pointing me in the direction of doing this one and for the hints and specially for the Led Zep – an all time favourite of our whole family.

  14. Woolgatherer
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 10:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I enjoyed this but needed electronic help for 1a after which the remaining few fell into place.
    However I found it upper 4* difficulty ( ie in my case only done after numerous revisits and help needed to complete; 5* for me means I can hardly even start the thing!)
    Many thanks to Gazza and Osmosis.

  15. dutch
    Posted July 26, 2017 at 11:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I did this with my wife in a caravan in Wales. I got us hung up on FAKIR, but my wife eventually spotted the answer – and there were a few others she saw before me – very annoying, as she normally does not look at puzzles.

    We didn’t get the Bailey reference, but all else fell into place.

    Last one in was 1d, doh, I was trying to get the drugs to be E’S

    Favourite was 21a and also liked 24a and 19d

    Many thanks Osmosis and Gazza

  16. OldKiwi
    Posted July 27, 2017 at 3:08 am | Permalink | Reply

    Got there in the finish with a deal of help from my friends. Really enjoying these crosswords since discovering them. Wonderful excuse for putting other things off.

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