Toughie 786 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 786

Toughie No 786 by Osmosis

Hints and Tips by Tilsit

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

Greetings from the Calder Valley.  Our glorious leader is having serious computer problems, so it’s a very brief set of notes today about the clues.  A nice puzzle from Osmosis, very much in his normal style.  Some really nice clues that bring a smile to the face.   Although I managed to solve most of the clues, I did have trouble working out how the indications worked, as I’d worked out the answer from the definition alone.  Some of the clues were unnecessarily complicated, to my mind.

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.  Favourite clues are highlighted in blue.


1             Singer still performing, gaining money through discs (7,7)
{PLACIDO DOMINGO}  The name of a famous opera singer is found by taking a word that means calm or tranquil, adding OO (discs) and inside placing a word that means gaining with M (for money) inside.

10           Players keep fuelled regularly by knocking back huge meal (9)
{CASSOULET}  A French bean stew is revealed by taking the name for a list of actors in a play.  Inside this putting inside the even letters of FUELLED and the reverse of an abbreviation for very large, outsize.  I don’t see how this abbreviation should go before the “fuelled regularly” bit in the clue.

11           Adverse rocks to cross — see, that could be a health hazard (1,4)
{E-COLI)   A word that means rocks or diamonds has something inside that is a command meaning look or see.  The whole lot is reversed to give the name of one of the superbugs that causes problems in hospitals.

12           Spread lies after wedding vow — it’s what churchgoers might do (7)
{IDOLISE}   Take the expression uttered a lot during a wedding ceremony by the bride and groom and add an anagram (spread) of the word LIES to give something meaning worship.

13           Woman possesses rubbish bust? (6)
{STATUE}  Take the name of a lady (think of our lovely blogger!) and insert Lord Sugar’s favourite word for junk or rubbish.  This will give you the name of a ceramic model or bust.

15           Left foot kicks a branch (4)
{LIMB}  L for left is added to a word for a metrical foot in poetry minus its A to reveal a branch or arm of something.

17           Rich sort of celebrity, in charge, resigned (10)
{FATALISTIC}  A word meaning rich or luscious is added to the fictional name for a roster of celebrities, plus IC (in charge) to lead you to something that means  resigned or accepted to the future.

18           Republican writer can enter court, a London landmark (10)
{SERPENTINE}  R (republican) + something that writes + a type of can all goes inside a short word meaning court or date to give the name of something found in Hyde Park, London.

20           Panel beginning to decry song and dance (4)
{DADO}  The name for a decorative panel or rail in a house is found by taking D  (beginning to decry) and adding a word for a song and dance or uproar.

22           Fictional detective tracks low-class inhabitant of the underworld (6)
{EREBUS}  After E (low-class) goes the name of Iain Rankin’s Scottish detective to give a deity believed as the personification of darkness in the Underworld.

23           So far, top-class war hero’s entertaining 100 (2,2,3)
{UP TO NOW}  An expression that means so far or presently is found by taking U (top-class) and adding an abbreviation for war time imprisoned officers and inserting the word for 100.

26           Inclined to dismiss book, when reviewing Booker Prize winner (5)
{DESAI)  The surname of the Indian person who was the youngest ever winner of the Booker prize is found by taking a word meaning influenced, swayed or inclined and removing B (the first letter).  Reverse this to get the surname.

27           Rising ballet dancer’s so alive? (2,3,4)
{ON THE BALL}  An expression meaning alive or with-it is revealed by thinking where a ballerina may stand if they rise as high as they can.  Clue doesn’t work for me; surely this should be plural.

28           Type of property constructed in iron and steel (3-11)
{NON-RESIDENTIAL} An anagram of “IN IRON AND STEEL” gives a type of accommodation.


2             Cleanse odd bits leaving very ropy thing? (5)
{LASSO} Remove the odd letters in CLEANSE and add a short word meaning very to give you at type of rope in the Wild West.

3             Authorised one to disturb Olympics chief (Viscount perhaps) (6)
{COOKIE}  A word meaning authorised or fine, plus I goes inside the surname of the London Olympics head to give something of which a Viscount is an example.  As far as I know Viscounts are chocolate filled biscuits rather than this type of biscuit, although I could be wrong or barking up the wrong tree.

4             State benefit restricts smart chap, returning time after time for cheese (10)
{DOLCELATTE}  The name of an Italian cheese is found by taking the name for unemployment benefit and inserting the reverse of someone often called “smart….” If they are clever and adding TT (time after time).

5             Second-in-command not recording tax (4)
{DUTY}  From a word that means a second in command, remove EP (record  and you’ll get the name for a tax.

6             Top artists from West disrobe without pressure (7)
{MAESTRI}   The name for the best people in a  field (such as singing or other areas of music) is found by taking the first name of Miss West and adding almost a full word that means unclothe or disrobe.

7             Fish net repeatedly tangled with oar (4,5)
{NEON TETRA}  An anagram of NET, NET and OAR gives the name of a tropical fish.

8             Anti-royalist organ occupies old college storage space satisfactorily (6,8)
{OLIVER CROMWELL}  A famous anti-royalist from the Middle Ages is found by taking the largest organ in the human body inserting it inside OC (old college) and adding a type of computer memory and somewhere used to store water.

9             Part of body cold sitting in ground seat somewhere near ‘arrow (8,6)
{ACHILLES TENDON}  The name for a part of the leg is found by taking a word meaning COLD, placing it inside an anagram of SEAT and then adding the name for a London district, how a Cockney would pronounce it.

14           Links traveller with common sense and formal clothing (10)
{CARNOUSTIE}  The name of a famous Scottish golf links is revealed by taking something that travels, adding a word for common sense or wit, and adding the name of a type of formal clothing worn with a suit and short.

16           Ex-footballer with Rooney’s number entering code (Northern) (9)
{MORTENSEN} The name of Colin Dexter’s detective has Wayne Rooney’s normal Man Utd short number inside plus N for Northern and you have the name of a famous ex- soccer player whose first name was Stan and played for Blackpool.

19           Learned sport in correct dress, at centre (7)
{ERUDITE}  The abbreviation for a sport goes inside a word meaning to correct and E the centre of the word dress is added to give something that means learned or wise.

21           Tops initially borrowed during a cricket match (2,4)
(AT BEST)  An expression meaning tops or optimum is found by taking B (initial letter of borrowed) and placing inside A, plus a word for a cricket match between two countries.

24           Extremely nippy, like long-legged African resident (5)
(NYALA}  The ends of the word Nippy are added to an abbreviation/French phrase meaning like to give an African animal.

25           I try the ultimate in whisky, reflected one accustomed to spirits (4)
{YOGI}  An Indian mystic is revealed by reversing an expression meaning I attempt with Y (the last letter of whisky) inside.

Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and hopefully normal service will be resumed next week.

12 comments on “Toughie 786

  1. Thanks Tilsit, couldn’t see where 9d came from. ‘endon D’oh!

    This one put up a pretty good fight I thought but was also very good fun.

    Thanks Osmosis.

  2. My second “CASSOULET” this week!

    I thought it was e.coli?

    27a – This one didn’t work for me!

  3. I thoguht this was just right for a toughie, lots to make you work hard and think but without causing over grumpiness and the need to bang the head on the desk.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the entertainment and Tilsit for the explanations. My favourites, amongst others were 3d (I too know this as described by Tilsit above, so hardly a cookie, but nice mislead into the landed gentry) and 9d – arrow indeed!

    1. “I thoguht this was just right for a toughie……….”

      Some browsers point out corrections to your spelling as you type….Sorry!

      1. Some of us had just returned from ordeal by Asda and it was lucky that I was able to type at all, let alone correctly!

  4. An enjoyable end to the Toughie week – even teh less than famous footballer (for me anyway!) was fairly clued. Thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit.

    1. I thought it was rather an unfair clue, as it involves arcane footballing knowledge in both the definition and the wordplay. I spent some time working on the basis that RoONEy’s number referred to one.

  5. 22a made me think, had too many permutations for 27a. 8d is very clever imho, thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit as ever.

  6. Hi Tilsit

    Re 10a – all I can think of is that ‘by’ is the operative. Put the ULE by OS reversed (i.e. next to) and insert that lot in the cast. That’s how I read it. Maybe it’s not right – on this week’s performance I’d be surprised if it was – but it’s all I can come up with. Not the best clue in the puzzle, unless we’re all missing something even more obscure!!

    You could have borrowed my picture from yesterday but I suppose it didn’t look all that appetising!

  7. Whilst I enjoyed solving this crossword, I had to check that it was not Monday and a Herculis GK crossword, I thought that too many clues fell under the GK category than the cryptic. Quite enjoyable nevertheless so thanks to Osmosis and to Tilsit for the review.

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