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Toughie 1937

Toughie No 1937 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Osmosis has given us a pangram today with, as usual, lots of detailed wordplay. I would have given it 3 stars for difficulty but I’ve been trying to work out for some time (without a lot of success) how the wordplay for 29a works so I’ve added an extra star for that.

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

Across Clues

1a Conman‘s hidden stock largely probed by former partner returning (6)
HOAXER: a hidden store of money or valuables without its last letter contains the reversal of a former partner.

4a Harlow, say, features a building material from seventeenth century (8)
JACOBEAN: the forename of Ms. Harlow (the film actress known as the ‘blonde bombshell’) contains A and an old building material consisting of compressed clay and straw.

9a Place for papers within rear of lobby (2-4)
IN-TRAY: a prefix meaning ‘within’ followed by the rear letter of lobby.

10a Stud’s clothing a size below ten, being thin (8)
BONINESS: a stud or knob contains a size (of shoes, say) a bit less than ten.

11a Dotty elopes heading off around America for marriage (8)
ESPOUSAL: an anagram (dotty) of [e]LOPES contains an abbreviation for America.

13a Season alcoholic drink, while keeping temperature right (6)
WINTER: an alcoholic drink contains the abbreviation for temperature. Finish with R(ight).

15a Sitcom‘s stage, with digital feature etc, short of nothing (7,3,3)
STEPTOE AND SON: string together a stage or level, a bodily digit and a phrase meaning etc (3,2,2) without one of the letters that resembles zero.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

18a Notable Tudor merchant roams at sea (6,7)
THOMAS CRANMER: this is the Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII who supported the breach with Rome but was later executed under Queen Mary. His name is an anagram (at sea) of MERCHANT ROAMS.

22a Attitude by second husband’s a particular Capricorn characteristic? (6)
MOHAIR: a word meaning attitude or manner follows a short word for second or instant and the abbreviation for husband.

24a Strikers who dive, in short, not representing good character (8)
FRONTMEN: these strikers are forwards in a football team. Start with divers or underwater swimmers carrying breathing apparatus and replace the character that’s the abbreviation for good with a short version of ‘not’.

26a Runner appears drained circling terribly hot island (8)
SKIATHOS: a runner on snow is followed by the outer letters (drained) of A[ppear]S containing an anagram (terribly) of HOT.

27a Surrounding support, handles regularly wear down (6)
ABRADE: regular letters from ‘handles’ surround a female support.

28a Most conservative opening to speech, as with others (8)
SQUAREST: string together the opening letter of speech, a conjunction from Latin meaning ‘as’ and a word for others.

29a Consider pouring out spirit over dessert (6)
TRIFLE: I’m puzzled by this one. I think the definition is dessert but I can’t fathom the wordplay so any help would be very welcome. 
A homophone (pouring out) of a verb to consider or evaluate followed by the reversal of a small supernatural creature (Thanks Bufo).

Down Clues

1d Farm animal providing filling food — starter’s unnecessary (6)
HEIFER: insert a conjunction meaning ‘providing’ into a word for festive food without its starting C.

2d Worker acquiring patois revised for Italian course (9)
ANTIPASTO: our usual worker insect followed by an anagram (revised) of PATOIS.

3d Cancellation of Times current in Britain (7)
ERASURE: periods of time precede a British river (current).

5d PM possibly unsuitable, out of control (4)
AMOK: if the afternoon is not suitable (for an appointment, perhaps) then maybe … 2,2.

6d View wheel, then another small one (7)
OPINION: the letter that looks like a wheel and a small cogwheel or spindle.

7d Court attendant once making rude sign in box, perhaps rejected (5)
EVERT: the letter used for a rude sign (also known as a Harvey Smith salute) goes inside the reversal of what box is an example of.

8d Lively song about Ireland’s given embellishment on hooter (4-4)
NOSE-RING: an anagram (lively) of SONG contains a literary name for Ireland.

12d Larks initially attract competitive partners outside twitching (6)
ANTICS: the initial letter of attract is followed by bridge partners containing an involuntary twitching.

14d Californian neighbourhood showing fine deportment (3,3)
BEL AIR: this upmarket area of Los Angeles is also a French phrase meaning fine deportment.

16d Credit given to Fulham’s volatile number nine (5,4)
SCRUM HALF: the number nine identifies one of the fifteen players in a rugby union team. Insert the abbreviation for credit into an anagram (volatile) of FULHAM’S.

17d Inside premises, I met importer bringing up records separately (8)
ITEMISES: hidden in reverse.

19d Celebrity is boring model again (1-6)
A-LISTER: IS goes inside a verb meaning to model again or make changes.

20d Fun-size block of chocolate? It shouldn’t melt here (7)
MINIBAR: this is a facility in a hotel room where you might store your chocolate to keep it cool. Cryptically it could also be a fun-size (i.e. small) block of chocolate.

21d Chopped dwarf tree, at the end, that might spread disease (6)
SNEEZE: one of seven dwarves without his last letter precedes the final letter of tree. This seems a bit same-both-sidesy.

23d Winding up high-class motor company — hard lines (5)
HAIKU: join together the letter standing for upper-class, a South Korean motor company and the pencil classification denoting hard. Now reverse it all.

25d C-cry over bully (4)
BOSS: bully here is a verb. Reverse a verb to cry with its first letter repeated.

I liked 7d and 20d but my favourite clue today is 16d. Which one(s) appealed to you?

Since this is my last blog before Christmas I’m going to indulge myself by including one of my very favourite clips. If you’ve never seen it I urge you to have a look – I defy anyone to watch it without a smile on their face.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

A Happy Christmas to all setters, bloggers, commenters and lurkers.

14 comments on “Toughie 1937

  1. Enjoyed this a lot, but fell with just one to do (7d and we knew from the pangram it had a ‘v’ in it). 4.5* / 4*.

    Favourite clue was 27a, if only for the visions “support handles” brought to mind.

    Thanks to Gazza and Osmosis.

  2. Found plenty of blind alleys to travel down like 10a – next clothing size down would be an eight!
    SW corner held out to the end – damn those Japanese lines – and the diving strikers caused untold grief.

    Got there in the end and enjoyed the ride (thank you Bufo for the homophone indicator!) – top spots went to 5&20d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to my lovely knight in shining armour – all best wishes for the festive season and look forward to seeing you again in January.

  3. As usual, I stumbled over the old actress (although that was guessable)/TV show from last century /sports personality amongst other things.
    Overall very tricky and I couldn’t finish it, though that could have something to do with Mr Morangie (first name Glen).

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Gazza for the hints. Fantastic clip, so thanks for that, too.

  4. I too failed to finish the last few. My favourite, for its elegance (not that it was too hard)was 18a. Loved the clip too!

    Thanks to all

  5. When we were getting towards the end with just a few to sort out in the SE we did a quick pangram check to see if there was a stray letter to help us. No such luck, the alphabet was already accounted for. 24a was the last one to get sorted as we are not so familiar with football terms and the wordplay was quite tricky. 16d is more in our orbit. We knew the name but it is not generally used here where number nine is a half-back. Excellent fun and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Osmosis and Gazza.

  6. Quite a tricky little sausage that, a lot of work, but enjoyable. 29 is still bothering me, feel there’s a bit more to it. Thanks to Gazza and Bufo for the ideas, and Osmosis for the mental exercise 🙂
    J – I must be full of Christmas grumpiness – didn’t enjoy this much and was quite unhappy with a few clues. Bah Humbug.

    1. Any ideas on the ‘bit more’ in 29a would be welcome, but I think that Bufo probably nailed it.

  7. This took me a long time, and eventually I ground to a halt in the NE corner. I was hampered significantly by not having heard of the actress in 4a, the Sitcom in 15a (and the the island in 26a). In the end I felt disappointed in myself for not getting farther than I did. Many thanks to all.

    1. The actress was very famous in her day but I was surprised to find out that she died at the age of only 26 – based on her photograph I hope it wasn’t from catching a cold on her chest!

  8. Quite tricky, especially in the SE corner where I struggled badly and eventually ran out of steam. Enjoyable throughout, however.

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