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Toughie 1905

Toughie No 1905 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Osmosis for today’s puzzle which I thought was at the easier end of his toughness spectrum though with plenty of his trademark clues where the answer is built up from lots of little bits. It’s a pangram.

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

Across Clues

1a Poet related terrible back pain in Herts town (6,2,2,4)
WALTER DE LA MARE – insert an anagram (terrible) of RELATED and the reversal of a word for pain into the name of a Hertfordshire town famous for its
Great Bed.

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10a During criminal trial, agree with head of state’s rule (9)
ALGORITHM – put a verb to agree or be compatible inside an anagram (criminal) of TRIAL and finish with the abbreviated title of our monarch.

11a Scarily, T-shirt conceals rejected needles (5)
STYLI – hidden backwards.

12a Platonic kiss beau’s ending in a clinch (7)
ASEXUAL – insert the letter used to mean a kiss and the end letter of beau into A and a verb to clinch or secure.

13a Monstrous woman‘s sea power (6)
MEDUSA – charade of the short name of a specific sea and the abbreviated name of a superpower.

15a Spots Mike conquering Northern peak (4)
ACME – start with some teenage spots and replace the abbreviation for Northern with the letter that Mike stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

17a Persistently harass amateur team lacking depth, win nothing (3,5,2)
LAY SIEGE TO – string together an adjective meaning amateur or non-specialist, a synonym for team without the abbreviation for depth, a verb to win or attain and the letter that resembles zero.

18a On the way towards gold after fourteen rounds (2,5,3)
EN ROUTE FOR – our usual tincture of gold follows an anagram (rounds) of FOURTEEN.

20a Ringing European in China (4)
PEAL – insert the single-letter abbreviation for European into what Cockneys refer to as a china.

22a Wrong sauce grabbed by nobleman cutting joint (6)
UNJUST – put a word for sauce or thin gravy inside the title of a European nobleman without the prefix meaning joint or mutual.

23a Lush beginning to drink in bustling tavern (7)
VERDANT – the first letter of drink goes inside an anagram (bustling) of TAVERN.

26a Abandon common land vehicle on the outskirts (5)
LEAVE – start with a word for common land or open country and append the outer letters of vehicle.

27a Go with Hillary to crack Everest? (4,5)
HOLY GRAIL – an anagram (to crack) of GO and HILLARY. Everest here is a definition by example meaning something most eagerly sought.

28a Nurses can’t cross that lady’s much older partner (6-8)
CRADLE-SNATCHER – assemble a verb meaning nurses or cuddles, an anagram (cross) of CAN’T and a possessive pronoun meaning “that lady’s”.

Down Clues

2d Aquatic life in Portuguese region avoiding river valley primarily (5)
ALGAE – the name of a Portuguese region (the destination of many British package holidaymakers) without the abbreviation for river and the first letter of valley.

3d Audibly speak for force (6)
TORQUE – homophone (for some people) of a verb to speak or chatter. I’ll bite my tongue!

4d Attila, moving into marshy grass, fought back (10)
RETALIATED – put an anagram (moving) of ATTILA into a type of marshy grass.

5d Novel printing unit educated individual (4)
EMMA – a unit of measurement in printing followed by an abbreviation identifying someone with a degree.

6d A custom involving the French wine (7)
AUSLESE – A and a synonym for custom or practice contain one of the French definite articles.

7d Solution, not new, bypasses the solver (electronic). Back to square one (2,3,4)
AS YOU WERE – start with another word for solution or result, remove the N(ew) and insert the pronoun which the setter would use to identify the solver. Finish with the abbreviation for electronic.

8d Fictional Cockney drunk lazed around island — loves a drop in the ocean (5,9)
ELIZA DOOLITTLE – an anagram (drunk) of LAZED containing an abbreviation for island is followed by two occurrences of the letter resembling love or zero and an adjective meaning ‘a drop in the ocean’ or ‘not a lot’.

9d Boycott sporting arena well-known in tropical basket case (6,8)
BANANA REPUBLIC – knit together a verb to boycott, an anagram (sporting) of ARENA and an adjective meaning well-known or prominent.

14d Football team thus put on weight at holiday home? (5,5)
ASTON VILLA – an adverb meaning thus or therefore precedes an imperial weight and what could be a holiday home.

16d Spoil writer John, in Spain, acquiring a pot (9)
MARIJUANA – concatenate a verb to spoil or damage, the pronoun a writer would use for himself, the Spanish forename equivalent to John and A.

19d Rush to get uniform, given additional note, before spring (7)
UPSWELL – this is a fairly rare verb meaning to surge. Join together the letter for which uniform is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet, the abbreviation for an additional note at the bottom of a letter and a spring or source of water.

21d Very sad jerk collects scrap (6)
TRAGIC – a jerk or spasmodic movement contains a piece of scrap cloth.

24d Regular sightings of narwhal? Keep vigilant (5)
AWAKE – regular letters from two words in the clue.

25d So ruffian’s showing no finish to fighting (4)
THUS – start with a synonym for ruffian plus the ‘S then take away the last letter of fighting.

Podium makers for me today are 18a, 27a and 16d. Which one(s) appealed to you?

28 comments on “Toughie 1905

  1. How silly! Just beaten by 15a – and all I had to do was change the N for M.
    I did the back page whilst waiting for Gazza to post this blog. I’m not complaining but why is the back page blog so much earlier in the day? Do the bloggers get up at crack of dawn or, what seems more likely, get the puzzle the night before?
    Whatever the answer, even if I’ve solved the puzzles I always enjoy reading the explanations. Thank you Gazza for this one.

    • We get the puzzles on the day (from midnight when they appear on the site if you are a blogger who can’t sleep or one who lives in a different time zone).

      The tradition has always been:

      11am back page hints
      2pm Toughie hints
      9am Weekend Prize Puzzle Reviews

      I always do the back page puzzle before the Toughie, even on the odd occasions when I get to review the Toughie, because that’s the order I’ve always solved them in – I like to think solving the back page cryptic warms up the grey matter ready for the Toughie solving process

      • Thank you. Another query, how do you know the setter? He/she is given for the Toughie but not the back page of the paper. Do you know why this should be?
        I like reading your comments so please continue to blog!

        • I’m supposed to be working (!) so haven’t got time to check which FAQ number it is, but if you look under the FAQ tab above you’ll see that one of the questions answered is ‘How do you know the name of the setter?’ Sometimes a Mysteron will turn up to admit to setting a particular crossword but quite a few of them like to remain incognito

          • Thank you. Back to the grindstone while I check the FAQ’s. Sorry, I should have thought of that for myself.

  2. Thanks Gazza.
    I thought I would have a stab at this and made a bit of progress, but hit the wall with about 1/3 done. I was helped by 1a and 8d being write-ins. To get so far on a **/*** for difficulty is progress, though the wordplay is still far too obscure for someone of my level.
    Thanks for the hints, I shall go through them at greater length presently.
    Thanks also to the setter

  3. This did seem a little easier than your typical Osmosis, perhaps explaining why it isn’t on a Friday, though I struggled a bit trying to remember the poet, my last one in.

    My favourite is 10a, for the “head of state’s rule”.

    I also liked 18a, 27a and 16d which I note is precisely Gazza’s selection.

    Thanks Gazza for the parsing of 22a where I didn’t see the nobleman

    And many thanks Osmosis for a quality and fun puzzle.

  4. No paper again today, is it just me? Have solved most of the above clue by clue, which was rather arduous.
    Gazza – I’m 100% with you on the supposed homophone at 3d just for a change! Liked 5d, I do like concise clues.

    Many thanks to Osmisis and to Gazza for the blog

  5. PS – slightly off track – I’ll mention this again in my blog on Friday, but that may be too late for some:

    On fifteensquared.net you’ll notice the top post advertises a pdf of a puzzle by Elkamere/Anax ahead of the sloggers & betters meeting in York this coming meeting.

    It is a barred puzzle, and I don’t normally do those, but this was excellent. I enjoyed it immensely – it had some great clueing and a nice penny-drop at the end when it all comes together. I thought it was an excellent idea to make the puzzle available ahead of the meeting, to give people a chance at it before seeing it in York. Do try it, and I hope you enjoy as much as I did.

    • OH no!
      Can’t go there yet. It’s a Paul! I have to solve it before I open the review.
      Just did his last one a few days ago.
      I wonder if Gazza had a go? The homophone of the american writer/bovine/support made me laugh all day.
      Anax will have to wait a bit longer.
      Thanks for the tip.

      • I did the Paul this morning and I’ve been chuckling all day at 14a. I got as far as reading the preamble for the Anax and decided that it wasn’t one for me.

  6. A lot of excellent clues but for me joint gold for surface go to 12 and 23 across, 15 across for deviousness, 28 across for the laugh. At the other end of the scale, I didn’t like 3 down. Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

  7. I did enjoy this, but I was disappointed in being three short in the end. I missed 28a which I certainly should have been able to solve (and was such a good clue), and 19d, a word I had never heard of, and 20a – I know almost nothing of rhyming slang. Many thanks to Osmosis and Gazza.

    • It’s worth familiarising yourself with Cockney rhyming slang because it does crop up fairly often. In 20a we need china (plate) = mate.

      • You are right – I have been caught on an number of previous occasions, and thank you for your good advise.

  8. Had a fight on my hands with this one, particularly a few of the synonyms – still not convinced that boycott = ban.
    The 6d wine was new to me but everything else fell into place once I’d correctly assembled the lego.

    1a took me back a long way – one of the poems we had to analyse during the English GCE course.
    Just knew how much Gazza would appreciate 3d!

    No stand-out favourite for me but I liked the ‘sauce’ in 22a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for such a humorous blog.

  9. Thanks to Omosis and to Gazza for the review and hints. I’m in a state of shock. First time I have ever completed a puzzle by this setter. Mind you, it’s only a 2 ✳ difficulty. Needed the hints to parse a few though. Favourite was 18a. Last in was 22a, which was my second favourite. Was 3 ✳ /2 ✳ for me. Having to use ✳ as * is converted to something else when I save the comment.

  10. A great puzzle and pleased to have completed. A rare feat indeed for the old Kiwi. 27 A was fitting clue for the day as a great climbing partner of Ed Hillary…Ed Cotter…was laid to rest in Christchurch today.
    Thx to all

  11. This gave me something to do during a train journey this afternoon, having completed the back pager on the outward journey. Many thanks to Osmosis for the entertainment and to Gazza. Perhaps one day I’ll spot a pangram

  12. ****/****
    At least windows is very clever. Does what you ask it to do.
    Haven’t had time to check in for a few days but I am around, don’t you worry.
    And it’s a good thing that the 1500 people or so don’t post on a regular basis as I would have a hard time reading all the comments.
    Let’em lurk. That’s what I say.
    But I sincerely think that participating on the blog is vital for it’s survival. I couldn’t imagine it’s existence without the human relationships it has helped to build over the years.
    I’ll say it again: Thanks to BD.
    Probably not the right place for the post but words just came out.
    I have so many things to say but shall keep to toughie 1905.
    1905. What a great year.
    The ” loi de 1905″ made what we are today as a nation much more so than the so called revolution.
    Anyway. Back to the crossword.
    I simply loved it.
    Can’t see any problems with the homophone in 3d unless you pronounce it like that town in Cornwall.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza.

    • Forgot to say that I first thought the poet was called Steven as age for the ending was considered very plausible.
      Loved the four peripheral clues the most.
      By the way. I hope that nobody thinks that the loi de 1905 ligalised 16d.

    • Unfortunately we haven’t yet had a ‘loi de 1905’ in England. As a supporter of disestablishmentarianism I’d welcome one.

  13. Agreed with the rating above. A few gimmes no doubt helped matters. Fictional cockneys, of which there can only be a few (famous ones at least). Banana somethings. Poets who are something de la something. All of which I should have got sooner, but, well, it’s late. There was a pangram? If only I’d spotted that as well. Thanks Osmosis for an enjoyable mid-week treat.

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