Toughie 1702 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1702

Toughie No 1702 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Most of this went in without too many problems but then it took me a long time to finish it off (and even longer to work out the last few bits of wordplay). But I really enjoyed it and then was able to enjoy it all over again when writing the blog

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1d    Nosy creature joins Lancs community in street with personal club (10,4)
SHREWSBURY TOWN: A small mammal with a long snout + a town historically part of Lancashire but now in Greater Manchester inside the abbreviation for ST(reet) + ‘personal’ = an English football club from a town near the Welsh border

10d    Mercenary‘s tone changed around border with Alaska (2,3,4)
ON THE MAKE: An anagram (changed) of TONE round a border and the code for Alaska

11d    Did traffic here in Kent head for tunnel? (5)
DEALT: The name of a town on the Kent coast + the first letter (head) of Tunnel

12d    Details left when splitting two grand for family members (7)
KINFOLK: ‘details’ and L (left) inside KK (two grand)

13d    Banker hedging is central part of process of the Treasury (6)
FISCAL: A river (or banker) in Cornwall goes round IS C (middle letter of proCess). I’ve never been keen on a river being a banker

15d    Speed merchant possibly back playing rivals in rugby (4)
USER: Here speed refers to the drug. A reversal of two opponents in a game of bridge inside the abbreviation for one of the codes of rugby

17d    Open bare pad perhaps, creating novel (5,5)
BLEAK HOUSE: The title of this Dickens novel could refer to an open bare pad (somewhere to live)

18d    Very tense thug occupying sacred environment (10)
THOROUGHLY: T (tense) + a thug inside ‘sacred’

20d    German maybe over the limit taking the wheel? (4)
OTTO: A masculine German given name = ‘over the limit’ + the letter shaped like a wheel

22d    Going over line in Decline and Fall that affects pupil (6)
EYELID: A reversal (going over) of a straight line between features of the landscape inside ‘to decline and fall’ = the bit of skin that covers the pupil

23d    Large meal male rabbit doesn’t start, with hawk hanging round? (4-3)
TUCK-OUT: A male rabbit with the first letter removed goes inside ‘to hawk’. I’ve never heard this expression for a large meal

26d    Ancient character, many years doctor, retired (5)
OMEGA: A letter of the Greek alphabet is a reversal of many years and an abbreviation denoting a doctor

27d    Musical style from player covering Clapton that’s embraced by drivers (9)
AMERICANA: A style of US popular music that combines elements of country, rock and folk music = a player (3) round the guitarist Clapton’s first name (4) inside a motoring organisation (2)

28d    Medical specialist perfectly wrenches neck, turning digit (7,7)
PATRICK STEPTOE: The name of a medical man who was a pioneer of fertility treatment = ‘perfectly’ (3) + ‘wrenches’ (5) + a reversal of ‘to neck’ (3) + a digit of the foot (3)


2d    Discover Paris, say, avoiding Louvre at first (3,2)
HIT ON: Remove L (first letter of Louvre) from the surname of the celebrity heiress named Paris

3d    Oxygen needed for rearmost European in football team on plane, one flapping (6)
ELEVON: Change the final letter E (European) in a football team (from its number of players) into O (oxygen). This gives a wing flap found on certain types of aircraft

4d    Son on enclosed land pushes part of engine (5,5)
SPARK PLUGS: S (son) + an enclosed piece of land + ‘pushes’ or ‘promotes the sale of’ = part of an internal-combustion engine

5d    Beneath Yorkshire river lies a waste product (4)
UREA: The river that flows through Wensleydale + A

6d    Language homework written up before meal (7)
YIDDISH: A language spoken by Jews = a reversal (written up) of work done on the home by the occupier + a meal

7d    Reportedly fulfil promise to nobleman, as an interim payment (2,7)
ON ACCOUNT: A homophone (reportedly) of ‘to fulfil a promise’ + a noble equal in rank to an earl

8d    Awful panto material beginning to nark film actress (7,7)
NATALIE PORTMAN: An anagram (awful) of PANTO MATERIAL N (first letter of Nark) gives the name of an actress with dual American and Israeli nationality (or so Wikipedia tells me)

9d    Bogus reptile’s followed by press wanting juicy fodder (4,6,4)
MOCK TURTLE SOUP: ‘Bogus’ + ‘reptile’s’ + a press based in an English university town = liquid food made with calf’s head or veal

14d    Ice cream company with large plant having time and place for financiers (4,6)
WALL STREET: A brand of ice cream now owned by Unilever + a large woody plant + T (time)

16d    Copper, maybe covering operation, going off to unify (9)
ELOPEMENT: A basic substance such as copper goes round the abbreviation for ‘operation’

19d    Kit and American inside look here for Oriental art (7)
ORIGAMI: ‘Kit’ and an abbreviated form of ‘America’ inside ‘look here!’ = the Japanese art of paper folding

21d    Keep limited fence perhaps in sheep’s boundary (6)
SCRIMP: ‘to keep limited, often by necessity’ = an abbreviated form of a guilty person (such as a fence or receiver of stolen goods) inside the first and last letters (boundary) of SheeP

24d    Postman regularly avoided travel in Antipodean region (5)
OTAGO: Alternate letters of pOsTmAn + ‘to travel’ = a region in the land of the Two Kiwis

25d    Food / course (4)
TACK: 2 meanings: food/course (of a sailing ship in the wind)

It was good to meet a few of you on the last couple of Saturdays. Here’s to next time!

14 comments on “Toughie 1702

  1. A proper Toughie on a Thursday – whatever next? 4*/4* from me too. I’d better not let on how many clues I marked with a * even though I believe Kath may still be ‘off duty’

    Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo too.

  2. Enjoyed this though I had to look up a few GK answers.

    I was trying to put Decline in the wordplay and Fall in the definition, but your way works better thanks Bufo (22d)

    Lots of nice clues. I’m just leaving to take the kids to an “Escape room” in Manchester

    Thanks Bufo and Osmosis

  3. I took an awful long time to finish the last few clues as well – I’m talking about 16d, 25d and the real b***er 28a. “Never ‘eard of ‘im” + exceptionally devious cluing = much gnashing and tearing of hair. But I did manage to get there just as my train was pulling into Waterloo East, so I guess I can’t complain about a crossword of the exact right difficulty level for (the first leg of my) commute.

    I thought yesterday’s pipped this to the post in the fun stakes but this was stylishly clued and a very fine challenge – a good week for Toughies! And I expect tomorrow’s will not disappoint either.

  4. Whilst this was typically [Osmotically?] tough -especially the bottom half – there were only a couple of clues I marked with *. These were 2d [once I twigged Paris] and 16d [going off to unify]. I failed to parse 22a but fair enough and thanks to Bufo, and I’m not sure what “wanting” is doing in 9d apart from serving the surface.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo.

  5. CS is absolutely right and several clues were too tough for my paltry skills.
    I really liked 4,6, 9 and 14d and 17a. With 14d getting the top spot.
    I didn’t like 28a because I think “medical specialist ” is a bit too vague. I got as far as Patrick but I was utterly stumped after that, especially since I never heard of him .
    Thanks Osmosis and Buffo.

  6. I do think 28a was unfair. Like Una I had never heard of him. The definition was far too vague to even Google the gentleman.

  7. This was a very enjoyable crossword indeed.
    Even though a lot of the answers were unfamiliar to me, the parsing was very fair and it was only a matter of checking the BRB for 12a, 27a, 3d and the dish in 9d which stood out quite clearly as I guessed the first word.
    Google was used for the NZ place in 24d and the doctor in 28a only.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Bufo.

  8. The big challenge for me was all the UK based GK required. I’ve listed 1a, 11a, 13a, 28a, 3d, 5d, 14d as all being in this group and 8d was also unknown to me. Imagine that 24d was similarly obscure for many of you but a ‘gimme’ for me.
    However, once I resigned myself to the idea that Mr Google was needed as an assistant it was an enjoyable puzzle to solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and Bufo.

  9. I’m pleased to say that I (very nearly) completed just into 3* time, but I confess that I needed two of Bufo’s hints to finish the job. Call it 3.5*/4* then. So many lovely clues, but my favourite is one of those l didn’t get: 16d. Thanks to Osmosis for the workout, and to Bufo for the helping hand.

  10. Quite a few new words for me – the 23a expression, the musical style at 27a, the plane part in 3d, the press in 9d and the part of Kiwi land in 24d. Also needed Bufo’s help with the parsing of 22a & 21d.
    Took a long time to realise that I was looking for a person’s name in 28a, but I am very familiar with the gentleman’s work – brilliant man.
    Plenty of ticks on my paper – 10a along with 2,7,14&16d particularly worthy of mention.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Bufo for the review and hard work on the parsing.

  11. Agree with all the above , thanks to Osmosis and Bufo. Now back to Elgar from Saturday, I know I know, got the grid filled, all done , highlighted wot nots but a few I cannot parse. Yet.

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