Toughie 1452 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1452

Toughie No 1452 by Osmosis

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

I’m not sure why Osmosis retains his Friday slot, traditionally used for the tougher Toughies, as I found this one quite easy. Perhaps it’s because I have become used to the Lego-like nature of many of the clues.

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    Action inevitably attracts us (11)
PERFORMANCE: an adverb meaning inevitably or of necessity around (attracts) us, as in homo sapiens

7a    Club oddly let in drunk element (7)
MERCURY: the odd letters of C[l]U[b] inside an adjective meaning drunk or tight

8a    Musical pieces created by some drugs (7)
NUMBERS: two definitions – the drugs being anaesthetics

10a    Kindle the source of Dracula fiction, when reduced (5)
STOKE: the surname of the author of Dracula without his final letter (reduced)

11a    Buggy computer, maintaining universal silence, locks (9)
PUSHCHAIR: here buggy is not an adjective meaning faulty, nor is it a type of horse-drawn carriage, it’s the modern-day carriage propelled by a parent – a two-letter word for a computer around U(niversal) and an exhortation for silence followed by locks or tresses


12a    Shopper often uses this fizz, with company coming round (7)
PLASTIC: some fizzy Italian white wine inside (with … coming round) the abbreviation that follows the name of a company whose shares can be offered for sale to the general public

14a    Current bachelor entering main part of Greece rejected. Cos is an alternative (7)
ICEBERG: the symbol used for electric current followed by B(achelor) inside the reversal (rejected) of the main part of GREEC[e] gives a salad vegetable similar to (is an alternative) cos

15a    Slip through volunteers in ground (7)
TERRAIN: a slip or mistake inside the usual volunteer soldiers and followed by IN

18a    Most repellent builders knocking off British ornament latterly (7)
ICKIEST: start with some builders, drop (knocking off) the BR(itish) and add the final letter (latterly) of [ornamen]T

20a    Plant that bird grabs when wanting a peck? (9)
MISTLETOE: I wanted this to be a type of thrush around or followed by something to do with a peck, but all I can come up with is a cryptic definition of a girl (bird) grabbing this plant in order to get a peck (kiss) – surely there’s more to it than that

21a    Language is a repetitive problem that should be anticipated by football chiefs (5)
FARSI: the abbreviation for the inflammation of the tendons and joints of the hands and lower arms, caused by repeated performance of identical manual operations preceded by the organisation that runs English football

22a    CO might be thus? Yes and no (7)
ANTIWAR: CO can represent Conscientious Objector, which is the yes, and Commanding Officer, which is the no

23a    African city  having more spice (7)
TANGIER: this double definition is a bit of an old chestnut

24a    DJs might go for such tracks found in CD, reflecting inclination (3-8)
DRY-CLEANING: the two-letter abbreviation for the tracks that trains run on inside the reversal (reflecting) of CD and followed by an inclination


1d    Garden feature therefore left inside annually (7)
PERGOLA: the Latin word for therefore and L(eft) inside the two-letter abbreviation for annually

2d    Agitate top layer of soil with rake outside (5)
ROUSE: the initial letter (top layer) of S[oil] inside (with … outside) a rake or libertine

3d    Devout Cockney member in charge of special games (7)
OLYMPIC: how a Cockney might say an adjective meaning devout followed by a Member of Parliament and the abbreviation for In Charge

4d    The composer’s back touring since breaking pieces of cartilage (7)
MENISCI: the abbreviated form of belong to the composed/setter reversed (back) around (touring) an anagram (breaking) of SINCE

5d    Personally mention East European when reporting by war zone (9)
NAME CHECK: E(ast) and what sounds like (when reporting) a European national preceded by the three-letter abbreviation of a war zone

6d    Soccer team mostly snatching at raise (7)
ELEVATE: most of the number of players in a soccer team around (snatching) AT

7d    In retirement, design a jumper with some exotic ancient land (11)
MESOPOTAMIA: a design or intention (3) followed by the A from the clue, a jumper as an item of clothing (3) and an anagram (exotic) of SOME all reversed (in retirement)

9d    Southern prude, dictatorial type, demoting one relatively active (11)
SPRIGHTLIER: S(outhern) followed by a prude and a dictatorial type from WWII, the latter with the I (one) demoted (moved down a couple of places)

13d    Lines by tenor involving alto become fainter (5,4)
TRAIL AWAY: the lines on which trains run (déjà vu?) preceded by T(enor) and around (involving) A(lto)

16d    Dieters out to lunch given a different location (2-5)
RE-SITED: an anagram (out to lunch) of DIETERS

17d    Spontaneous surging beat overseas runner (7)
NATURAL: the reversal (surging) of a verb meaning to beat followed by an Asian (overseas) river (runner)

18d    Non-alcoholic drink rocks jittery date (4,3)
ICED TEA: rocks or diamonds followed by an anagram () jittery of DATE

19d    Adornment last seen on face clashing — top must be removed (7)
EARRING: the final letter of (last seen on) [fac]E followed by a verb meaning clashing without its initial letter (top must be removed)

21d    Cheery sports outfit that’s picked up from ground? (5)
FUNGI: an adjective meaning cheery followed by a judo or karate costume – I wasted time looking for a sports outfit that sounds like the last two letters before deciding to look them up in Chambers

That’s all folks!


19 comments on “Toughie 1452

  1. Found it relatively easy apart from 22a which I bunged in last.
    The dinner jackets in 24a were a great misdirection and favourite of the day.
    Thanks to osmosis and to BD for the review.

  2. **/***

    Found this easier than the back page, which worries me. I struggled with 3 and 4d. The former because I’m utterly useless with any sort of Cockney rhyming slang or similar. The latter because I just couldn’t parse it.

    I also wondered if I missed something re 20a.

    Enjoyed it as a whole, particularly 24a.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to BD for blogging and definitely for 4d.

  3. Easier for a Friday certainly, but I thought it was lovely, especially 22A, 24A and 9D. I needed help for parsing 1A and 13D. My thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  4. Not his best, nor his trickiest [by a long way] but fun nonetheless. Favourites were 14a [Cos etc] 4d [the composer’s back] and 9d.
    Thanks Osmosis for the puzzle and BD for the blog [must remember the Karate outfit, which eluded me].

  5. I thought this was tricky enough for a Friday, and there were several great clues, especially 9d. I had ‘day dreaming’ in 24a, and couldn’t parse it nor could I solve 17d, until I saw the light. Thanks to Osmosis and Big Dave as ever.

  6. It was not until we read the comment from Jean-Luc that we twigged the significance of DJ in 24a. We had the right answer and assumed that it was some music culture reference that we did not know. Should have checked in BRB which I have done just now. We found it much more than 2 star difficulty, particularly parsing the last few such as 21a and 19d. We found it quite challenging and good fun.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

    1. 3* almost 4* difficulty from me purely on time spent justifying what I had written , don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the solve and dissection. Thanks BD and Osmosis

  7. We did not find this as easy as BD but then who is in his league? (Even he had to resort to BRB). Enjoyed much, particularly 22a and 24a. Unhappy about ‘last’ referring to several words hence in 19d. Pleased we had no errors in the paper today. Cheers to setter and explainer. Now we will try to finish yesterday’s toughie.

  8. Talk about horses for courses. Currently I have three answers in and am really struggling to get any further – wavelength, where are you!

  9. I was expecting by now that someone would have commented that 18D is an American abomination! Where is Rabbit Dave when you need him?

      1. The Long Island version, along with the New Orleans Hurricane, should come with warning labels!

          1. Recipes vary. Here’s one.

            1 oz vodka
            1/4 oz grenadine syrup
            1 oz gin
            1 oz light rum
            1/2 oz Bacardi® 151 rum
            1 oz amaretto almond liqueur
            1 oz triple sec
            grapefruit juice
            pineapple juice

            Pour all but the juices, in order listed, into a hurricane glass three-quarters filled with ice. Fill with equal parts of grapefruit and pineapple juice, and serve.

            Tastes very fruity, but the Bacardi 151 is 151% proof!

            1. I think we’ll have to have a BD party and all bring one of the required alcohols – sounds like a good night to me!

  10. I took much too long over this, getting bogged down in the SW corner – mainly because l misread “Djs” as “Dis” in 24a and have been cudgelling my few remaining brain cells trying to work in some connection with Hades or Persephone! I know, l should have gone to Specsavers… Anyway, on time taken l’m well into 3* territory. On enjoyment, l’m slightly under 3*. 12a, l suppose, would be my favourite clue. Thanks, Osmosis (l’ll read your clues rather more carefully next time) and thanks BD for the review.

  11. Never got beyond 6 plus a couple of guesses, despite BD’s review.
    Sorry, Osmosis, this one beat me hands down.

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