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Toughie 1925

Toughie No 1925 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is a typical Osmosis puzzle (and it’s a pangram) with lots of detailed wordplay although it’s somewhat easier than he can sometimes be. I enjoy deciphering his clues but the large number of insertion/containment constructs in this one did get a bit wearing after a while and became more apparent when I was writing the hints – so I’ve docked one star from my original intention for the enjoyment rating.

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

Across Clues

1a Heading west, note actor Jack visiting famous monument (3,5)
TAJ MAHAL: string together a note from tonic sol-fa, a derogatory term for an actor, the abbreviation for a jack in cards and a preposition meaning visiting or attending. Now reverse it all.

6a Whole hip pinned, reportedly (6)
INTACT: charade of an adjective meaning hip or fashionable and what sounds like a verb meaning pinned or fixed in place.

9a Ancient character describes current story’s setting (6)
MILIEU: a Greek letter contains the symbol for electric current and a fabricated story.

10a Give ground when framing final character sketch (8)
VIGNETTE: an anagram (ground) of GIVE contains an adjective meaning final (after all deductions have been taken into account).

11a Marion’s content outside training horse said to make rhythmical jumps? (8)
ARPEGGIO: the inner letters of Marion go round an abbreviation for physical training and what sounds like a child’s word for a horse.

12a Jasmine may occupy this river probing mammal’s characteristic (6)
TEAPOT: the name of an Italian river goes inside what female mammals have at least two (and in some cases up to eighteen) of.

13a Forgetful type possibly delivering in bar (12)
SCATTERBRAIN: split the answer 7,5 and treat it as a reverse anagram to get IN BAR.

16a Insects break forth inside while somewhere in Australia (5,7)
ALICE SPRINGS: put some parasitic insects and a verb to break forth or burst out into a conjunction meaning while.

19a Literary device from this author bringing sign of amusement all round (6)
SIMILE: the subjective pronoun used by the author is surrounded by a facial sign of amusement.

21a Mark, loveless dandy, wearing clothing accessory (5-3)
SCARF-PIN: concatenate a mark or blemish, another word for a dandy without the letter resembling ‘love’ and a preposition meaning ‘wearing’.

23a Utterly calm Parisian who takes exam online? (8)
QUIETEST: the French word for ‘who’ followed by what could be an online exam (1-4).

24a After retirement, regret regular spells of weekday bingo? (6)
EUREKA: reverse a verb to regret and add regular letters from weekday.

25a Whistler kept in bank that’s robbed? (6)
BEREFT: an abbreviated whistler on a sports field goes inside a verb to bank (in the sense of count or rely).

26a Witness gents perhaps with grand in gambling city, making comeback (8)
ONLOOKER: an informal name for facilities, of which ‘gents’ is an example, and an abbreviation for a grand or thousand go inside the reversal of a US city known for its gambling.

Down Clues

2d Assistant lifted up skimmed log where workers gather (6)
APIARY: reverse the abbreviation for a top manager’s assistant and add a log or journal without its top (skimmed).

3d Grass in springtime’s picked up (5)
MAIZE: this sounds like what belongs to a springtime month.

4d Timekeeper in corner absorbing game upset girl (9)
HOURGLASS: a verb to corner or monopolise contains the reversal of a 15-a-side sport. Finally, append a synonym for girl.

5d Charged in error for lodge away from campus (4,3)
LIVE OUT: an adjective meaning charged with electricity is followed by a word meaning ‘in error’ or wrong.

6d Switching parts, entered bar (5)
INGOT: start with a phrasal verb (3,2) meaning entered and swap the order of the words.

7d Man’s employed by group of stars, being a treasury of knowledge (9)
THESAURUS: a male pronoun and the ‘S are contained (employed by or enrolled by) in a constellation.

8d Broad-minded person with craving for lions, tigers etc? (8)
CATHOLIC: cryptically this (3,5) could be someone with an addiction to felines (does one of our bloggers spring to mind?) . I’m not convinced that this works – I think it needs an A between the third and fourth letters.

13d Wise to restrain cleric endlessly broadcasting profanity (9)
SACRILEGE: an adjective meaning wise contains an anagram (broadcasting) of CLERI[c].

14d Encircle US president midway through Dallas. Sound familiar? (4,1,4)
RING A BELL: cement together a verb to encircle, the familiar forename of a 19th century US president and the middle letters of Dallas.

15d Key single by jazzy duet getting high position (8)
ALTITUDE: assemble the legend normally visible on a key on your keyboard, the Roman numeral for a single and an anagram (jazzy) of DUET.

17d Gentleman brought round oil, essential for dish (7)
RISOTTO: reverse the title used for a gentleman and add a fragrant essential oil.

18d Land, having hoofed one back, edible shellfish (6)
WINKLE: start with a verb to land or obtain and add the reversal of an animal with hooves.

20d Formal leave of absence down under once (5)
EXEAT: a verb to down or swallow comes after a prefix meaning once.

22d Metalworkers seen here, lacking energy and old, give up (5)
FORGO: start with a traditional metalworker’s workshop, drop the E(nergy) and add O(ld).

I ticked 14d and 20d but my favourite was 24a for the excellent surface and well-disguised definition. Which one(s) had you in stitches?

If you’re not all puzzled out Brendan (aka our Sunday maestro, Virgilius) is in the Guardian with a puzzle which is not too tricky but brilliantly put together.

14 comments on “Toughie 1925

  1. Fluffier than I was expecting and that’s after my brain was befuddled by a morning of Christmas shopping in Canterbury.

    Given the number of jars of honey surrounding me on the kitchen table while I solved the crossword, I can’t believe how long it took me to ‘see’ the workers in 2d

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza too – I second his recommendation of the Brendan Graun crossword

  2. For me this was a most enjoyable and absorbing puzzle. It took me a little while to get going, but once six or seven answers were arrived at the rest gradually came together. It really has to be a mind thing, because I was hopelessly off track with the Don’s offering yesterday. Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for quite a few desperately needed explanations.

  3. Took me ages and I still missed a couple in the top left. Favourites were 24a and 18d.

    Thanks to all

  4. Much better than yesterday. I dislike the homophone that is 3d and agree an extra “a” is needed in 8d. I suppose 3d was necessary to complete the pangram?
    However, I loved 24a. Just imagine Archimedes shouting “bingo”!

  5. Very enjoyable and engaging. Agree with the 8d point, liked the 15d jazzy duet, but fave is 24a – although that could just as easily been the last thing his wife said to him before he took a bath :wink:

    Lovely stuff, thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza

  6. Found myself far more in tune with this one than yesterday’s offering from the Don.
    A lucky guess with 1a got me off to a good start and all flowed relatively smoothly from then on with a quick reminder from Mr. Google about 9a.
    8a has ‘Kitty’ penned in the margin – can’t think why!
    18a worried me for a while – thought it was going to be one of those dreaded ‘cycling’ clues which invariably fool me.

    Liked the ‘training horse’ in 11a but my favourite was 20d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the decryption.

      1. Thank you for not picking me up over the 8a when I obviously meant 8d!
        I’d forgotten all about Colin – made me smile at the time.

        Worry not – I wouldn’t dream of permanently marginalising you!

  7. I found this VERY difficult, but slowly it all got pieced together with the bottom half emerging before the top half. The only one that I missed in the end was 25a – a perfectly wonderful clue, but I was disappointed to have come so close (again), but not quite emerge victorious.

  8. Had doubts about 8d too. Surely an A is needed like choc a holic or work a holic but it did make me smile and think of Kitty.
    When checking 11a, I had pages of advertising for a coffee of the same name.
    19a and 25a were last in.
    Favourite 24a.
    Thanks to osmosis and to Gazza for the review.

  9. We really enjoyed this pangram. We can remember other Osmosis puzzles that gave us more of a fight but none that gave us as much pleasure as this one. We will even forgive him for getting his seasons wrong in 3d. Everyone we will see today will agree with us that the month in question is definitely autumn. At the end of our solving, when we had all the checking letters in place for 9a, we had a lot of fun trying to justify the town where The Mikado was set for the answer. Eventually the penny dropped.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  10. This took me a while to get into but I then made surprisingly good progress for an Osmosis puzzle, apart from a minor speed bump in the NE before twigging 8d. Then things were ok again. :)

    I didn’t know or had forgotten the oil in 17d. That wasn’t a problem, but at the end I stared at _I_I_U and_E_E_T for some time (9a and 25a) before giving in and making wildcard searches.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Gazza. I’m not sure I’d want to drink anything brewed in that pot in 12a!

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