Toughie 1835 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1835

Toughie No 1835 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by KitKat

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


A big hello to you all from South Kensington.  While Dutch takes time away from hinterland to spend time instead in Dutchland, KitKat have stepped in to produce our first joint blog created in the same place.  (Not at the same time, however, as one of our team was jetlagged and the other in need of an early night, so it was more of a tag team effort.)  A few firsts today as it’s also Mr Kitty’s first time hinting the Toughie, while Kitty has not blogged an Osmosis before and, knowing how tricksy he can be, approached it with some trepidation even though we have two heads to put together.  It proved not to be one of his most fiendish, but Kitty did find it hard to get into.

In the hints below the definitions are underlined and the answers will be revealed by clicking on the buttons.  In some hints hyperlinks provide additional explanation or background.  Clicking on a picture will enlarge it.  Please leave a comment telling us how you got on.



1a    Place for cleaning used to be focal point, given time inside (7)
WASHTUB:  A word meaning used to be followed by one meaning focal point wrapped around (given… inside) T(ime)

5a    Rage about group of musicians being excessive (7)
FULSOME:  Place a synonym of rage around the acronym for a large group of musicians hailing from the nation’s capital

9a    Island drizzle almost drenches queen from Asian country (5)
IRAQI:  I(sland) followed by all but the last letter (almost) of drizzle or precipitation which contains (drenches) the chess abbreviation for Queen

10a   Old American boss regrets grassland rambling (9)
ROOSEVELT:  The surname of two related US Presidents is a double homophone (rambling): of regrets or feels sorry for, and of a South African grassland

11a   Proceed to offer trees to doctor in arid expanse (4,6)
GOBI DESERT:  A short word for proceed, an offer at auction, and an anagram (to doctor) of TREES

12a   Revolutionary hurt by constant press (4)
CRAM:  Combine hurt or damage with a mathematics or physics constant.  Then reverse the lot (revolutionary)

14a   Badly soiled netball, not current sporting prize (8,4)
LONSDALE BELT:  An anagram (badly) of SOiLED NETBALL minus (not) the physics symbol for electric current.  The answer is a prize awarded to British boxing champions

18a   Tube one takes to Epping, unfortunately meeting bore (8,4)
DRILLING PIPE:  An anagram (unfortunately) of EPPING containing the first Roman numeral, preceded by bore (as in create a hole)

21a   Maiden with intention to cause wound (4)
MAIM:  The cricket abbreviation for a maiden over, followed by an intention or goal

22a   Kid is to return medical device that’s fixed (10)
CONSISTENT:  Link together kid or dupe, the reversal (to return) of IS, and a medical device that opens blocked arteries

25a   State what first-year schoolboy might wear (3,6)
NEW JERSEY:  This US state associated with Bruce Springsteen, The Sopranos, and Bridgegate would also be a component of the uniform worn by one starting at a new school

26a   Getting employment that is besetting many students (2,3)
IN USE:  The Latin abbreviation for “that is” containing (besetting) the usual abbreviation for the UK organization representing all university students

27a   Theatre work‘s good when involved in certain lines (7)
SURGERY:  G(ood) inserted into (when involved in) a word meaning certain, followed by the abbreviation for (railway) lines

28a   E? A+ is more likely for this person (7)
EGGHEAD:  E would be the result of splitting the answer (3,4) and interpreting it as cryptic wordplay



1d    Moaning for what reason? Latest leader of government’s interfering (6)
WHINGY:  Join a usual synonym of latest or fashionable and the first letter (leader of) of Government.  That combination then goes inside (interfering) “for what reason”

2d    Retiring attracts three of pop band worn-out (6)
SHABBY:  A word for retiring or bashful contains three quarters of Sweden’s most famous pop group

3d    Underdeveloped regions with linguistics unit inspiring learner after degree (5,5)
THIRD WORLD:  A class of degree (or a degree of interrogation), followed by  one of the linguistic units that fill our grids, containing (inspiring) L(earner)

4d    Sting’s a poet (5)
BURNS:  A synonym for sting (lower case, not the lead singer of The Police) with the ‘S from the clue.  This poet penned the work beginning “Wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie…” and is memorialized by this statue in the centre of Dunedin

5d    Knockout punch that brightens Independence Day party? (5,4)
FLOOR LAMP:  Knockout (5) plus punch (4) gives the US name for the type of device illustrated, which might be used as illumination at an event in the US (for example, an Independence Day party).  We spent a long while trying to find more to the definition part of this – is there?

6d    Place where people go in the auditorium (4)
LIEU:  A homophone (in the auditorium) of an informal name for the smallest room in the house

7d    Lion picked up around enclosure on recording system, sort of (4-4)
OPEN REEL:  The reversal (picked up in a down clue) of the lion in the Zodiac containing (around) the concatenation of an enclosure for animals and a usual word for on or concerning.  The answer is a type of magnetic tape-recording system

8d    Guess the writer’s boarding big car (8)
ESTIMATE:  How the writer might say “the writer is”, inserted into (boarding) a type of car built to carry passengers and luggage

13d   It’s a routine job to shut up dog burying bone (3-7)
PEN-PUSHING:  To shut up (an animal, for example), followed by a small wrinkled-face dog containing (burying) a lower leg bone

15d   Stray autobus bypassing the odd arch in a meandering way (9)
SINUOUSLY:  Chain together stray (from the right way), the even letters (bypassing the odd) in autobus, and arch (adjective)

16d   Unusual name in US baseball team remains (8)
ODDMENTS:  Unusual (3), followed by N(ame) inserted into (in) a baseball team based in New York

17d   Crude and angry mostly, Charlie promoted domestic dispute (5,3)
CIVIL WAR:  Join crude or unrefined to very angry (5) minus its last letter (mostly), and the letter represented in the NATO phonetic alphabet by Charlie.  Then reverse the lot (promoted, in a down clue)

19d   Opulent duke showing amount of light flooding wings of estate (2,4)
DE LUXE:  D(uke) followed by the metric unit of illuminance placed between the outer letters of (flooding wings of) estate.  Illuminance is a measure of light intensity as perceived by the eye

20d   Wait on dry space in trailer (6)
ATTEND:  Combine the usual abbreviation for dry or abstentious and a usual print space.  Then put that combination inside what a film trailer is

23d   Way of communicating quietly in Scottish isle (5)
SKYPE:  A well-known Scottish isle containing the musical abbreviation for quietly or softly.  The answer is a way of communicating over the Internet (very appropriate for us as we do this frequently)

24d   Lime zest scratching half dishes (4)
MEZE:  The answer is revealed when the outer halves are removed (scratching half) from the first two words in the clue


Thanks to Osmosis.  Our favourites are 28a and 6d.  Which clues brightened your day?


15 comments on “Toughie 1835

  1. Thanks to Osmosis for the enjoyable puzzle and to the feline duo for the review. The only real problem I had was writing in Looe for 6d (well it is a nice place) and then having to scrub it out when 10a didn’t fit. I don’t like the last bit of 5d – lots of countries have an Independence Day so there must be many better ways of indicating that the answer is a US term.
    Top clues for me were 28a and 13d.

  2. My best guess for 5d was that one might well need to switch the answer on when hosting a Boston tea party – it being held in December!
    Took me a long time to parse 15d and my answer to 6d was even worse than Gazza’s – I finally wrote in Leek. Don’t know about loo facilities but there are some interesting book shops to be found there.
    An enjoyable solve if a little light on humour – 28a appealed the most.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to our chocoholic twosome. Don’t worry about being out of synch time-wise, chocolate’s good at any time of day!

  3. Feel quite smug as I got 6d first time. Like you, I felt 5d was not a good clue. Still, it’s Friday and I finished a Toughie! Must be because the crippling heat of the last few days has left us at last and the little grey cells can work again.

      1. not so much of a holiday as supporting my dad through some medical care – but it’s also his birthday.

        1. Oh, sorry to hear that, that’s less than ideal. Well, I hope all is going well, permitting some kind of enjoyable birthday celebrations – best wishes.

  4. I enjoyed this, although it was a long slow solve. The NE corner was the last to fall – in part because the way I pronounce 6d is not a homonym for that wee small room, and like others I could not make complete sense of 5d. Many thanks to Osmosis and Kitkat.

  5. We always seem to find Osmosis puzzles tricky and this one lived up to our expectations. We thought ‘rambling’ a rather strange indicator for a homophone, (more suited to an anagram) but we got it anyway and had the same questions about 5d that others have mentioned. Quite a lot of head-scratching sorting out the wordplay but got there in the end.
    Thanks Osmosis and Kitkat for a brilliant job taken on at the last minute. We did appreciate the pic for 4d.

  6. I came unstuck on the RHS with 13D, 22A and 19D all unsolved. I too had leek for 6D. Isn’t there a place called Leek? As for 5D, what can I say? I didn’t fill in the blanks because I couldn’t believe that would be the answer and kept looking for something more. Independence Day celebrations here are typically outdoors…picnics, barbecues, parades,concerts and fireworks. Not a floor lamp in sight. I hope Osmosis drops in to “illuminate” us.

    Thanks anyway Osmosis. I did rather like 25A and 28A. Thanks also to KitKat.

  7. We didn’t get to this until today, hence the late post. Overall, 3*/4* – the right level of difficulty and really quite rewarding.

    We too started with LOOE for 6d. When we got the double homophone in 10a we changed it immediately to LEEK (well, it’s a place and it follows the lavatorial theme). Imagine our surprise to read the review and find we had a wrong ‘un. Our favourite was probably 13d. We couldn’t work out 5d either.

    Thanks to KitKat and Osmosis.

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