Toughie 742 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 742

Toughie No 742 by Osmosis

Take your partner by the hand

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Tilsit is unwell, so I’m reviewing the whole of this Osmosis puzzle instead of just the downs!

Although less difficult than we have come to expect on a Friday, this is still an excellent puzzle. Osmosis is one of only four current Toughie setters who have never come along to say hello, so why not start today?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Toy dog barking during demonstration endlessly (3,4)
{RAG DOLL} – this toy is created by putting an anagram (barking) of DOG inside (during) most of (endlessly) a demonstration

ARVE Error: need id and provider

5a    Tense relative safeguards one dress for religious ceremony (7)
{TUNICLE} – start with T(ense) and then put a male relative around (safeguards) I (one) to get a vestment worn by a subdeacon or a bishop at a religious ceremony

9a    Call in to doctor mid-morning off colour (5)
{LILAC} – an anagram (to doctor) of CALL I(N) without (off) the middle letter of morNing gives this colour

10a    Champion very loud in clubhouse following a birdie (9)
{CHAFFINCH} – start with CH(ampion) and the add the musical notation for very loud, IN and the abbreviation of ClubHouse all preceded by the A from the clue to get this birdie

11a    Wenger sticks with strikers gutted after latest dearth? (10)
{SPARSENESS} – put the first name of the whingeing Arsenal manager and StrikerS without the internal letters (gutted) after the abbreviation (unsupported by Chambers) for the latest news inserted in a newspaper after printing has begun (often used in the phrase “to give someone the **”) to get a dearth – I did consider whether the abbreviation is one used in betting, but it’s a bit tenuous

12a    Pair of Charlies, with a heart of gold, returned animal (4)
{CROC} – take two of the letters represented by Charlie in the NATO phonetic alphabet and insert (with a heart of) the heraldic term for gold and reverse the lot to get an abbreviated name for a large reptile

14a    Casino’s flimsy structure? (5,2,5)
{HOUSE OF CARDS} – what could describe a casino (hence the question mark) is actually a flimsy structure

18a    Politician, resident in France, not working — on strike (6,6)
{NORMAN LAMONT} – this easily-forgettable former Conservative politician (now a life peer) was the one who carried the can for the Euro-leaning policies of his predecessor as Chancellor of the Exchequer (Nigella’s dad) on the infamous Black Wednesday – a resident of a part of Northern France is followed by an anagram (working) of NOT itself after a verb meaning to strike or beat

21a    One might go green with such newborn vegans principally speaking (4)
{ENVY} – one might metaphorically turn green with this emotion – to get it say out loud the initial letters (principally) of Newborn and Vegans

22a    500 airmen and others deployed for US carrier (5,5)
{DRAFT HORSE} – start with the Roman numeral for 500 and the abbreviation of the Queen’s airmen and then add an anagram (deployed) of OTHERS for the US spelling of this animal that can carry heavy loads

25a    Worker, 11, collects finished dish in trattoria? (9)
{ANTIPASTI} – a worker insect is followed by 1 and 1, both in Roman numerals, around (collects) a word meaning finished or over to get these dishes found in a trattoria – minor grumble: the singular ends in O

26a    Music flowed with a measure of loudness (1,3,1)
{R-AND-B} – this form of music comes from a charade of flowed, as in a river, and the abbreviation of for the unit used to measure the intensity of a sound

ARVE Error: need id and provider

27a    Party down huge steps (3-1-3)
{DOS-À-DOS} – a charade of a party (2), an adjective meaning down (3) and a huge clothing size gives these square-dance steps

28a    Nether regions — where deodorant sprayed? (3,4)
{THE PITS} – these nether regions were popularised my John McEnroe and could be the parts of the body that are sprayed with deodorant


1d           Enjoy real live show (first half only) (6)
{RELISH} – this verb meaning to enjoy comes from the first half of three words in the clue

2d           Government forever snubbed Irish musician (6)
{GALWAY} – G(overnment) followed by most of (snubbed) a word meaning forever gives this  Irish musician

3d           Periodic table, sort of (10)
{OCCASIONAL} – an adjective meaning periodic is also a sort of table

4d           Lord who disappeared, shouting ‘Toilet, toilet’ (5)
{LUCAN} – this descendant of the 3rd Earl (the one who lead the Heavy Brigade in the Crimea) disappeared after the death of his nanny in 1974 – his name is a homophone of a type of toilet followed by another type of toilet – a clue that should have been flushed down one of other of the two toilets!

5d           Locomotive’s shape, one conceded, to undergo alteration (9)
{TRANSFORM} – start with a charade of a locomotive, the ‘S and a shape and drop (conceded) the I (one) to get a verb meaning to undergo alteration

6d           Awful c-cooler to the north (4)
{NAFF} – to get this adjective meaning awful  repeat the initial letter of a cooler and then reverse the lot (from the north in a down clue)

7d           Awkward politician, with skill, spinning lines (8)
{CONTRARY} – this adjective meaning awkward is derived from a Tory politician (3) a skill reversed (spinning) and some lines on which locomotives run

8d           Philosopher moved the Parisian here on vacant seat (8)
{ETHICIST} – a general word for a philosopher is built up from an anagram (moved) of THE, the French (Parisian) for here and Seat without its internal letters (vacant)

13d         See you texting in Perth, with son touring English town (10)
{SCUNTHORPE} – put textspeak for “see you” inside an anagram (touring) of PERTH with SON to get an industrial town in North Lincolnshire

15d         Complaint from sibling about chlorine — painful to back (9)
{SCLEROSIS} – this medical complaint, an abnormal hardening of body tissue, is derived by putting the abbreviated form of a female sibling around the chemical symbol for chlorine and the reversal (back) of a word meaning painful

16d         Popular lad, named Nick, somewhat withdrawn (2,6)
{IN DEMAND} – a phrasal adjective meaning popular is hidden (somewhat) and reversed (withdrawn) in the clue

17d         Iceland receives acknowledgement after sauce reduced weight (8)
{GRAVITAS} – put the IVR code for Iceland around (receives) an acknowledgement and put that after a sauce without the final Y (reduced) to get weight or seriousness

19d         Swinging attracts character here in SE Asia (6)
{BRUNEI} – put a two-letter word meaning swinging or attracted sexually to both sexes (are they the same thing?) around a letter of the futhork or ancient Germanic alphabet to get a small, oil-rich sultanate on the NW coast of Borneo

20d         London transport inspector seen on TV penny-pinching? (3,3)
{RED BUS} – to get this iconic type of transport used in London put the surname of Ian Rankin’s Detective Inspector around the abbreviation for an old penny – who is your favourite: John Hannah or Ken Stott?

23d         Dummy subdued crying (5)
{FEINT} – this dummy of deceptive movement in fencing or boxing sounds like (crying) a word meaning subdued or slight

24d         Music agent rejected act by entrants in Pop Idol (4)
{IPOD} – this device that changed the music industry for ever is created by reversing (rejected) a verb meaning to act and the initial letters (entrants) of the last two words in the clue.

I enjoyed this one, apart from the truly atrocious 4 down – BD’s Law: every good crossword is allowed at most one naff clue!

A minor landmarkk – this is the 2,500th post on the blog.

18 comments on “Toughie 742

  1. A couple in the S/W held me up briefly in an otherwise pleasant romp. 4d was dreadful! :)
    Thanks to Osmosis, and to BD.

  2. Excellent stuff from Osmosis and thoroughly enjoyable.

    I thought the SP in 11a across was “Stop Press” which was always on the right hand side of the front page of the Manchester Evening News when I was a kid.

    Just waiting to find out why 19d is what it is – can’t see it (am I being a thicko?).

    Thanks Osmosis and thanks to BD for the review.

  3. Most enjoyable offering from todays setter, lots of good clues but no real favourite thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. I really enjoyed this one Osmosis, although there was a moment when I thought it was going to be like the last two days and I would have the bottom and not the top half solved but it soon fell into place. Re 25d, I said the same as BD with regard to singular/plural. D’oh of the day was 24d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD and get well soon Tilsit.

  5. A good end to the week’s Toughies, not too many problems although I came a bit unstuck in the SE corner. I got 19d from the checking letters eventually but needed the hint to see why. Not to put too fine a point on it, I thought “swinging” meant something different from the two letter abbreviation in the clue:0 .

    Whilst playing with the letters to construct the answer for 5a, I came up with “tuncile”, which sounded as if it might mean something. Google returned absolutely nothing apart from a Turkish term, tunc ile. So I think I have invented a new word – now I need to come up with a definition :)

    Thanks for the hints and to Osmosis.

  6. Quite enjoyable and not overly difficult toughie, many thanks to Osmosis and to BD for the hints.

  7. I just noticed your closing remark about ‘one naff clue’; 4d… 6d – it made me smile :)

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