Toughie 1970 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1970

Toughie No 1970 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This took me a long time and I rated it towards the top end of the four-star difficulty zone. I spotted the pangram fairly quickly and for a long time it looked as though it might be a double pangram but it fell 3 letters short. For once the pangram actually helped in the solving process

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    One takes steps to report fracking company (10)
QUADRILLER: This is someone taking part in a square dance for four couples which was fashionable in the 17th and 18th centuries. It sounds like (to report) the name of a fracking company [Cuadrilla], which I’m sure everyone knew!

6a    Spiritual journey Jack experienced when swapping sides (4)
HADJ: ‘Experienced’ + J (jack) = the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca

9a    Wavering temperature in Swindon — I’m agitated (2,3,5)
IN TWO MINDS: T (temperature) in an anagram (agitated) of SWINDON I’M

10a    Web displays not a word on this author (4)
MESH: A personal pronoun denoting ‘this author’ + ‘Not a word!’

12a    Charge limits centrepiece of victory celebration (4)
FETE: A charge paid for services rendered goes round the middle letter of VICTORY

13a    Weather feature encircles male on peak (9)
WINDSTORM: ‘encircles’ + a peak + M (male)

15a    Dicky puts tunes inside one’s head (8)
UPSTAIRS: An anagram (dicky) of PUTS + tunes

16a    Immaculate wives talked clothes (6)

18a    In secured environment, pipe regularly going out like some cigarettes (6)
TIPPED: ‘Secured’ round alternate letters of PIPE

20a    Rob, wanting more sauce, initially jerked lid from Tabasco? (8)
SOMBRERO: An anagram (jerked) of ROB MORE S (first letter of SAUCE) gives a lid (hat) worn in Tabasco (part of Mexico)

23a    Custom of journalist to retract figure of speech used in anger (9)
REPORTAGE: A reversal of a figure of speech (5) inside anger (4)

24a    Frenchman maybe playing parts very well (4)
YVES: A common French male given name = a one-letter abbreviation used in a list of football fixtures to mean ‘playing’ inside ‘very well’

26a    An element in guards rebuffed other ranks (4)
IRON: IN round a reversal of the abbreviation for other ranks

27a    Intended to warn one out working in bright yellow (10)
CAUTIONARY: An anagram (working) of I (one) OUT inside a bright yellow colour (from a type of bird)

28a    Go drinking alcohol without a cry of disapproval (4)
ZING: Take a seven-letter word meaning ‘drinking alcohol’ and remove a three-letter cry of disapproval from the front

29a    Hesitant remark by fellow in band with unknown accent (10)
CIRCUMFLEX: An interjection expressing hesitation and F (fellow) in a band + a letter denoting an unknown quantity


1d    Funny Alsatian who sits on poodle’s lead (4)
QUIP: A funny = the word used in Alsace for ‘who’ + the first letter of POODLE

2d    Perhaps ham female traces to butcher and son (7)
ACTRESS: An anagram (to butcher) of TRACES + S (son)

3d    In foreign city‘s Bible class, lady (almost 26) is touched by poem (3,2,7)
RIO DE JANEIRO: A bible class (2), a girl’s name (4) and the first three letters of the answer to 26 across go round a poem (3)

4d    Finally pick argument with circle about style of embroidery (4,4)
LAID WORK: A reversal of the last letter of PICK, an argument and a circular display = the simplest kind of couching in embroidery. Needless to say I didn’t know this word. The last four letters were obvious but I had to wait for the checking letters before I could deduce the rest

5d    Big drug gang all so close (6)
ENDING: ‘Big’, ‘drug’ and ‘gang’ all *** ** *

7d    Tales spread about company that once flavoured beer (7)
ALECOST: An anagram (spread) of TALES round the abbreviation for company = the costmary plant once used in flavouring ale

8d    Poet‘s private place opening to manufacture cheese? No way (4,6)
JOHN MILTON: A private place (i.e. a lavatory) + the first letter of MANUFACTURE + a cheese produced in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire or Leicestershire with two letters representing a way removed from the front

11d    Playing bass, Lemmy entertains Joey in social venue (8,4)
ASSEMBLY ROOM: An anagram (playing) of BASS LEMMY round another name for the creature known as a joey

14d    With daughter gone, cleaner’s found books in extremities — it’s a battle site (10)
AUSTERLITZ: A cloth used for cleaning with the letter D (daughter) removed and the abbreviated form of literature (books) inside the first and last letters (extremities) of the alphabet = the site of an 1805 battle widely regarded as Napoleon’s greatest victory

17d    Homely pate — an alternative to carrot that’s chopped (8)
DOMESTIC: The pate (top of the head) + something used instead of a carrot to induce a desired behaviour with the last letter removed

19d    After mineral, fancy that new snack at cinema? (7)
POPCORN: A fizzy drink (mineral) + ‘Fancy that!’ + N (new)

21d    Study / globe (7)
EYEBALL: 2 meanings: to study or examine closely/a spherical part of the anatomy

22d    Oriental food used to be somewhat inadequate (6)
WASABI: A pungent green paste used in Japanese cookery = ‘used to be’ + ‘somewhat’ (1,3) with the last letter removed

25d    Bond’s talking cat (4)
LYNX: A homophone of ‘bond’s’ = a wild cat

I’m not complaining about the difficulty (or lack thereof) this week.


18 comments on “Toughie 1970

  1. No complaints about difficulty (or lack of) from me today either.

    I did wonder how many people would remember the name of the fracking company – I did, but it will be interesting to find out how many people didn’t. The solution was one of the things that convinced me to look out for a pangram.

    Thanks to Osmosis for providing a proper Toughie and to Bufo for the explanations

  2. Enjoyable Toughie – thanks to Osmosis and thanks to Bufo for the blog. I remembered the name of the fracking company but I didn’t know 4d (sounds like a euphemism for the sex trade!) or 7d.
    I liked 16a and 20a but my favourite was the Virgilius-like 5d.

  3. 11d is showing as only one word, not two, in the solution at present FYI.

    I’m afraid I did NOT remember the name of that company, Sue, so was help up for a while! Nor did I know the word in any case, so I think I can safely say that this was a ‘toughie’ clue for me!

    Many thanks to Osmosis for a fine work-out, and to Bufo for an equally fine blog.

  4. Schoolboy error by me made NE a tad tricky, well lactose is a possible anagram !!
    5d also my favourite
    Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo.

  5. I did know the fracking company, so made good progress at first, but then came unstuck in the SE corner. I missed the lid from tabasco, the bright yellow colour, and the accent.

    Thanks to Osmosis, and to Bufo for the much-needed hints.

  6. Thank goodness for hints!! Unlike the rest of the week, half completed was the best I could do today after ages trying to work through what, to me, were rather convoluted clues. Also included five words that were new to me which did not help. Solved 1A but never worked out why!! For me, then, it was *****/** today.

  7. Completely missed the pangram as I was far too busy trying to untangle all the clues! I did know the 1a company but sadly that piece of info only surfaced after I’d arrived at the answer by default.
    Pleased to see that my namesake was given her correct title in 3d!

    Failed to completely parse 20a&5d – am now duly kicking myself.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to Bufo for the much needed explanations of my failures.

  8. Had this done quite quickly for me but only partially parsing 7 clues. Thanks to Bufo for putting me straight on those! Knew the fracker. Sometimes it’s useful to actually read the DT and not just do the puzzles, – something I’m guilty of on busy days! Excellent puzzle, Osmosis, excellent parsing Bufo. Thanks to both.

  9. Having started this I was determined to finish it, but it took rather a lot of crossword dictionary use and electronic assistance to get there. I didn’t know the dance or the tapestry stitch or the beer flavouring, so they all needed verifying post-fill. I could see that 1a was a homophone of some fracking enterprise, but being foreign there wasn’t much chance of getting that. I smiled at 11d because I never thought I’d see a shout-out to Motörhead in a Telegraph cryptic (for those unfamiliar with Lemmy, click here to see him in action). Favourite would be either 26a or 17d. Thanks to Osmosis for a stiff challenge and to Bufo for the explanations.

  10. I know the fracker very well indeed – they are supposedly in consultation with local residents (…er, nope) about drilling into Leith Hill and sending 10-ton trucks past my front door all day long.

    Excellent puzzle, thoroughly enjoyable. Agree with Gazza and nominate 5d as fave – classic.

    Most enjoyable puzzle for a while so thanks to Osmosis and to Bufo for the hints, which I may have had to take a peek at here and there.

  11. An afternoon of relative peace and quiet resulted in an Osmosis toughie completed without needing the hints. 20a & 5d were my favourites, closely followed by 11d. Super puzzle which put up a great struggle to complete. Thanks to setter and Bufo.

  12. The NW was the biggest hold up for me. I had never heard of the fracking company of course but did manage to get the answer from checking letters and definition and decided that as DRILLER was part of it must be correct. 4d was a bigger problem and I ended up revealing letters to get that one even though I was pretty sure there needed to be a K in it to complete the pangram. 5d took much longer to work out the wordplay than it should have done and gets my vote for best clue.
    Thanks Osmosis and Bufo.

  13. This was a very slow starter, but a couple of pints seemed to inspire G. I really can’t believe how brilliant he is … just awesome.
    J: G wrote that, what a t*****r
    Many thanks to Omosis and Bufo, it was good.
    The real J: G wrote all the above.
    PS 5d last in. With ansywer suggested but not parsed I read the clue again and said without realising “they all …/../.”

  14. Thanks Bufo – need quite a few of your explanations, started off splendidly in the top half but then flagged.

    Like KiwiCollin, I had decided that DRILLER must be the relevant fracking bit.

    I found this puzzle to be above-average delightfully quirky.

    I liked that the 4 hardest pangram letters appeared in the corners.

  15. Now that was tough – a definite **** for difficulty, and one or two where I needed hints / cheats. I’d never heard of the fracking company, never mind remember it, so that was one for the word searcher. Staggered over the finish line a ridiculously long time after I started, but no complaints, it is called the Toughie.

  16. Started before, and finished after, our bridge evening. This crossword was superb – 4.5*/4.5* awarded by the Sheffieldsys.

    Strangely, our favourites were all quite short clues – 5d, 28a, 26a, 1d.

    We needed electronic help to find the embroidery style and to check the beer flavouring.

    Thanks to Bufo and Osmosis.

  17. Osmosis at his most humorous and ingenious best. I love the way that he incorporates mildly saucy references within innocuous-sounding clues, such as 8d and 16a. ‘Lid from Tabasco’ (20a) and ‘Alsatian who’ (1d) have to be worked out, unlike the cliched references in plenty of other crosswords to Paris or Nice or perhaps the more obvious ‘Mexican.’ 14d and 3d are brilliant, but my favourite has to be 17d, for its definition of ‘alternative to carrot that’s chopped.’ This would have made a great Friday Toughie, as it was certainly challenging, which makes me think that Mr Vladimir is likely to turn up tomorrow with something even more fiendish !

Comments are closed.