Toughie 1232 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1232

Toughie No 1232 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

This is the first Osmosis puzzle that I’ve had to blog in a long time and I enjoyed it. I made steady progress with only the SW corner causing a temporary halt.

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    Secretly leave, as revolutionary walked over millions (6)
DECAMP A reversal (revolutionary) of ‘walked’ round M (millions)

4a    Quotation from T S Eliot’s earliest recalled by one colleague (8)
ESTIMATE A quotation (such as you might get from a tradesman) = a reversal (recalled) of T S E (first letter of Eliot) + I (one) + ‘colleague’

10a    Fabric craftwork back in demand by Chinese people (9)
ASTRAKHAN A heavy fabric with a deep pile resembling a lamb’s pelt = a reversal of ‘craftwork’ inside ‘to demand’ + the native Chinese people

11a    Don’t you think local site’s out of bounds? (5)
INNIT A local (public house) + SITE with the first and last letters (bounds) removed

12a    Chime around meadow regularly indicating this creature? (7)
REDWING ‘Chime’ goes round alternate letters of mEaDoW to give a bird of the thrush family

13a    Artist joins economists among ex-drinkers — much water needed (4,3)
ARAL SEA A body of water that has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s after the rivers that fed it were diverted by Soviet irrigation projects = an abbreviation for an artist + a university in London where economics is taught inside the abbreviation for an organisation that helps ex-drinkers stay sober

14a    Hot dish from Italian party in opposition (5)
BALTI An Indian curry = a reversal of ‘Italian’ and the abbreviated form of a political party

15a    Learn newly about medieval battle? No way, with this document (1-7)
E-JOURNAL An anagram (newly) of LEARN about a medieval battle between two knights with the letters ST (way) removed

18a    Section of hospital in York, say, goes after Jack who’s skiving? (8)
ABSENTEE The section of a hospital specialising in otolaryngology goes inside a bishopric (e.g. York). This follows an abbreviation denoting a sailor (Jack)

20a    Papers the writer’s help turned over (5)
MEDIA Newspapers etc. = ‘the writer’ + a reversal of ‘help’

23a    Bachelor night’s beginning with male getting in usual round (7)
ALUMNUS A former student (usually a graduate, i.e a bachelor) = N (first letter of Night) and M (male) inside an anagram (round) of USUAL

25a    Position at Old Trafford one girl twice vacated when bursting (4,3)
LONG LEG A fielding position in cricket = an anagram (bursting) of ONE GL GL (GL = GirL vacated)

26a    Cast has a breather after opening of farce (5)
FLUNG Cast (as a past tense) = the organ you breathe with after F (first letter of Farce)

27a    With leader absent, mock girl such as this? (4,5)
AUNT SALLY ‘To mock’ with the first letter removed + a girl’s name = a target for abuse, criticism or blame (taken from an old pub or fairground game)

28a    Better to release pressure when holding the leash? No, the opposite (8)
UNTETHER Remove P (pressure) from a person who bets and put what’s left round THE

29a    IT expert‘s providing vital energy in support (6)
TECHIE Vital energy (in Chinese medicine) inside a support for a golf ball


1d    Decline to scoff at wife’s derogatory words (8)
DIATRIBE ‘To decline’ goes round (scoffs) AT and a wife

2d    Keep twitching northwards, as female warbler heard (7)
CITADEL A keep (fortress) = a reversal (northwards) of ‘twitching’ + a homophone of the name of the female singer of such songs as Rolling in the Deep, Someone Like You and Skyfall

3d    TV show backing energy plan against chill (5,4)
MIAMI VICE An American TV crime series = a reversal of ‘energy’ (3) and ‘plan’ (3) + ‘chill’ (3)

5d    Carol and Heather absorb comic opera with small cocktail (9,5)
SINGAPORE SLING ‘To carol’ and ‘heather’ round an anagram (comic) of OPERA and S (small) = a cocktail developed in the Raffles Hotel

6d    Island‘s commercial activity nabbed by rival periodically (5)
IBIZA A slang term for commercial activity inside alternate letters of rIvAl = an island in the Med known for its club scene

7d    One forgets experiencing such countries with explosive concealed? Not I (7)
AMNESIA The name of a continent round an explosive device with the letter I removed

8d    Some performing in 9 days that’s restricted by time (6)
EXTRAS Persons temporary engaged for minor parts in a film, e.g 9 down, = ‘days’ round X (by = times) T (time). I hope that’s right though I don’t find days = **** very convincing

9d    Article celebrated duck, a staple at Christmas? (3,5,6)
THE GREAT ESCAPE The definite article + ‘celebrated’ + ‘to duck’ = the title of a film that is often shown on TV at Christmas

16d    What OAPs might do about cars parked alongside church (9)
REMINISCE ‘About’ + small cars + an abbreviation denoting ‘church’

17d    Large building attracts Spanish artist, renouncing a carving (8)
GARGOYLE An anagram (building) of LARGE round the name of a Spanish artist with the letter A removed (renounced)

19d    Nose given squash, giving away fifty pounds in fight (7)
BOUQUET Nose (the aroma of wine) = ‘to squash’ with LL (fifty pounds) removed inside a fight

21d    Mistress showered vigorously upon return, hiding primary trace of lover? (7)
DELILAH A mistress (from the name of a Philistine woman) = a reversal of ‘showered vigorously’ round L (first letter of Lover)

22d    Complaint, as Fergie initially left, disturbs club (3,3)
MAN FLU A facetious name for a heavy cold (from the idea that half the population tend to exaggerate the seriousness of the condition) = F (first letter of Fergie) and L (left) inside the shortened name of the football club associated with Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson)

24d    Then, half-appearing, one of the spirits rises up? (5)
NIGHT A reversal of the first half of the word THen and an alcoholic spirit,. The whole clue provides the definition

Thanks to Big Dave for covering for me last week. I can’t say that I was heartbroken to miss a MynoT puzzle.

20 comments on “Toughie 1232

  1. Good stuff and a pangram to boot, favourites were 1d 9d and 22d thanks to Osmosis and to Bufo for the comments.

  2. Best toughie for quite a while and a nice pangram, many thanks to Osmosis and to Bufo for the excellent review.

  3. I found the LH side of this crossword really tough. I asked ANO whether it was just me and got the response that it was ‘tricky’ but more my problem than Osmosis. I did some work (yes really!) and then the Enigmatist (Elgar) in today’s Guardian (which wasn’t as tricky as some of his) and then returned to the Toughie and took an age to finish it off.

    Thanks to Osmosis for making me work really hard and to Bufo for the explanations.

  4. If I could have got ‘CAT FLU’ out of my mind for 22 down, I would or should have finished much sooner. I had a good chuckle once the penny did drop. I thoroughly enjoyed this Toughie as for once I understood all (or most) of the clues. Too many favourites to list them all, but I really did like 5 down. Thanks to Osmosis and also to Bufo for the explanations to check my answers against.

    1. Forget the shin pads – no-one will see my heels for dust.
      On the plus side I didn’t have a chance to look at yesterday’s Toughie so, time permitting but probably not, that will keep me quiet.

  5. We had to work hard at it but did get completion in a pretty reasonable time. However we did fail to notice that it was a pangram. Some really tricky word-play to untangle for some of them. We were slow to work out the club part of 22d, despite guessing the right answer. Lots of fun, much enjoyed.
    Thanks Osmosis and Bufo.

  6. 4* for me, parsing (which for 2 I failed) took me longer than entering the answers, I liked the clues Pegasus refers to. Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo

  7. Blimey! Defeated by the SW corner, so many thanks to Bufo for explanations of 23a and 19d. Some well-disguised anagram indicators added to the toughness.
    Favourites were 11a, 1d and 22d.

    Thanks of course to Osmosis for the fight [or bout]!

  8. Like Franco – I tried and I failed.
    I probably did about a quarter of it. As Brian would say – way beyond my pay grade!
    Of the few that I did manage 11a really made me laugh. Loved it!
    With thanks to Osmosis for well and truly defeating me and to Bufo for giving me lots of hints, help and quite a few answers.

  9. Ouch. This took forever, and I was finally defeated by two…25A (Old Trafford means football to this Man U fan) and 3D. Several that, although correct, I simply didn’t get the “why” for my answer. Had no idea that 9D was a Christmas special in the UK. Liked 26A, and 11A and 22D made me smile. Too much of a slog to say I enjoyed it, but I do respect the setter’s skill. Thanks to Bufo for the review.

  10. Strange ,unlike CS I had the whole of the LH side completed and Zilch on the right which went in more slowly ,hard work but 11a second last in and favourite .Cheers Osmosis and Bufo .

  11. Not a bad effort from me today only needing help in SE corner. Very enjoyable ***/***. What held me up was guessing Dali for the artist in 17d and couldn’t get him out of my head once that was resolved all pretty straight forward..I never start the toughies till the morning of the following day so my postings always late.

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