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Toughie 1987

Toughie No 1987 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A solid puzzle by Osmosis. The DOUBLE (thanks JonP@3) pangram should have helped me with my last-one-in, 14a. I briefly wondered if there was any connection between the perimeter clues, but it seems rather unlikely.

The definitions are underlied in the clues below. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answers if you must by clicking on the  NOT YET! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Kind of band to speak fondly with agent about rock singer (5,6)
ALICE COOPER: A kind of hair band, to speak fondly (as doves do), plus a reversal (about) of an agent

10a    Make cheerful Alpine village housing westwards (5)
LIVEN: Reverse hidden (… housing westwards)

11a    Interloping suitor’s drunk inside pub (9)
INTRUSION: An anagram (is drunk) of SUITOR inside another word for pub

12a    Wind one observes outside affected ears (3-6)
NOR’-EASTER: Someone who observes or takes note goes around (outside) an anagram (affected) of EARS

13a    Depart from open grassland before half five (5)
LEAVE: An open grassland or meadow comes before the second half of five

14a    Before meal, expert Latin figure roughly chopped (6)
APPROX: The abbreviation on prescriptions for ante prandium, before meal, another word for expert and a Roman numeral gives a shortened form (chopped) of a word meaning roughly

16a    Jack stole, during further regressing, a large bottle (8)
JEROBOAM: The cards abbreviationfor Jack, then a 3-letter woman’s wrap or stole goes inside (during) a reversal (regressing) of another word for further

18a    Clot in the European capital repeatedly missing last coach (8)
THROMBUS: TH(e) from the clue plus the capital of Italy, bith without the last letter (repeatedly missing last) and another word for coach

20a    Everyone conceals shop worker’s error, primarily in addition (2,4)
AS WELL: Another word for everyone contains (conceals) the first letters (primarily) of Shop Worker’s Error

23a    Scots here found missal many regularly dismissed (5)
ISLAY: The even letters (regularly dismissed) of MISSAL MANY. I’m not sure how to interpret ‘found’

24a    It may trigger alarm in vehicle in a flash, leading to din (9)
SCARECROW: A 4-wheeled vehicle goes in a flash or a brief moment, plus a din or disturbance

26a    Greek ace seeing sweetheart changing imperceptibly (9)
GRADATING: The abbreviations for GReek and Ace plus a verb meaning ‘seeing sweetheart’

27a    Pair guarding terminals in Newhaven search me (5)
DUNNO: A group of two people contains (guarding) the end letters (terminals) in NewhaveN

28a    Film actor rejected some work involving bloodshed (a great amount) (7,4)
GREGORY PECK: A reversal (rejected) of the physics unit for work, a word meaning ‘involving bloodshed’, plus a word meaning a great amount (e.g., a **** of troubles)


2d    Reddish-brown uniform Yankee removed (5)
LIVER: Take a 6-letter word for a uniform and remove the final Y(ankee)

3d    Nina and co excitedly touring unknown part of Manhattan? (7)
CINZANO: An anagram (excitedly) of NINA + CO goes around (touring) a letter used as an algebraic unknown

4d    Fabric at the home of European swapped for interior (6)
CHINTZ: The French word for ‘at the home of’ with the single-letter abbreviation for European swapped for the 3-letter abbreviation of interior

5d    As planned, arrive beyond Great Lake, dropping off final couple (2,6)
ON TARGET: A 3-letter verb that could mean arrive follows (beyond) one of the Great Lakes missing the last two letters (dropping off final couple)

6d    Corresponding with US property agent endlessly bypassing question (5,2)
EQUAL TO: An American real-estate agent without the first and last letters (endlessly) goes around (bypassing) the 2-letter abbreviation for question

7d    Like new game portraying comic character (4,9)
ALAN PARTRIDGE: A French expression (1,2) meaning like or in the way of, the abbreviation for new, and a wildfowl

8d    Staple seen in front of old-fashioned dress (8)
PINAFORE: a 3-letter word meaning staple or affix plus an old-fashioned word meaning ‘in front of’. Not sure what to make of ‘seen’- it seems superfluous

9d    Beneath trees, following Masefield’s first class poem (5,4,4)
UNDER MILK WOOD: A 5-letter word for beneath, then a word meaning trees or forest comeas after the first lette of Masefield and a word for class or type

15d    Soldier, fifty and flabby? It’s an optical illusion (8)
PARALLAX: A 4-letter soldier who jumps out of planes, the Roman numeral for fifty, and a word meaning flabby or slack

17d    Grass pitch with seventy-five pence lying on it? (8)
QUISLING: Grass as in informer. A verb meaning to pitch is preceded by (with … lying on it) ¾ of a (4-letter word for) pound (seventy-five pence)

19d    Period of growing charge by cabbies, picked up in London area (7)
MAYFAIR: A month which is figuratively used to suggest a period of growing, plus a homophone (picked up) of a charge by cabbies

21d    Put your foot down, training newsman to dissect sample? (5,2)
SPEED UP: The abbreviation for sports training in school plus the usual abbreviation for the chief newspaper journalist go inside a verb meaning to sample by drinking

22d    Stone rough-edged, mainly on right (6)
JAGGER: Take the first 5 letters (mainly) of a 6-letter word meaning rough-edged, and and the abbreviation for Right

25d    Ancient Scandinavian religion engulfs academic institution (5)
RUNIC: The abbreviation of a common religion contains (engulfs) an abbreviation of a tertiary academic institution

I think my favourite today is 22d, just because it took me ages even after getting the answer to twig the definition. There are many more nice clues. Which clues did you like?

15 comments on “Toughie 1987

  1. Osmosis often gives me quite a tussle, so I was quite surprised here. I think it might have been down to the long answers, which helped by obligingly coming into my head more readily that I’d normally expect.

    While a few days ago I was stuck for ages lamenting my geographical ignorance, today I landed easily in the right part of Manhattan (3d).

    Before meal in 14a was unfamiliar but even I know enough Latin to be able to guess what it stands for. Used the dictionary to confirm and get context: prescriptions, of course.

    Enjoyable all round. I couldn’t decide on a favourite, but contenders were clustered around the later down clues.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. Enjoyable if not really Friday-Toughie level in terms of difficulty. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    I like the fact that all four of the long peripheral clues are devoid of anagrams. It’s a bit unfortunate that we’ve had the 3d meaning of Manhattan recently, otherwise I’m sure it would have taken me longer to twig.
    I liked 1a but my favourite (and last answer) was 22d.

    I think the definition of 23a must be the Yoda-like ‘Scots here (are) found’.

  3. I twigged the double pangram towards the end of the solve which helped me unravel the few remaining clues. I didn’t find the puzzle particularly easy and it took me a fair while to solve.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. A double pangram? So it is – very impressive (especially without using obscure words) and well done for spotting it. It’s all I can do to spot a single!

      1. I very rarely spot these sorts of things Gazza. I noticed that it was potentially missing a Q which enabled me to solve 17d then tumbled the Stone clue as a result (which I really should’ve got long before…).

  4. Aided with the last couple to yield by the pangram. Unfamiliar I think with the last word in the answer to 28a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  5. I was swimming along quite confidently until I hit the SW corner where a few words I’m not overly familiar with held me up for a long time.
    Thank goodness Manhattan turned up recently as far as 3d was concerned and I must confess that 14a was entered in purely on the basis of the last two words of the clue.

    Don’t worry, Dutch, you weren’t alone in not being able to see the wood for trees in 22d!

    My favourite was 27a just because it made me smile.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog – the pangram was as lost on me as usual!

  6. A bit of a work out but a steady solve today. I had never heard of 7d – but I managed to work out what it likely was so I could look it up to confirm. British shows are always a bit tricky when you don’t live in the UK!
    I am not keen on slang words like 27a – it was obvious but very cringe-worthy IMO.

    Overall, a sense of achievement when finished.

  7. Like Paige, I had not heard of the character in 7d. The first part of the solution was readily apparent from the word play, but it took me a lot of tedious Googling to come up with the second part. I, too, felt a sense of achievement in finishing an Osmosis puzzle, diminished fractionally by an early consensus that this may not have been his/her most challenging puzzle! I am very bad a recognizing pangrams, and I feel a little foolish in not recognizing a double pangram (?) until I read the blog comments. However, I did enjoy the challenge. Many thanks to all, especially Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. We noted the possibility of a double pangram reasonably early on in the solve and this certainly helped us when we came to the last few answers. Think it was a real achievement to have put together a double without having to resort to anything too outlandishly obscure. We sometimes have found Osmosis puzzles a bit of a grind to finish but found this one a real delight to solve.
    Clue of the day was 22d for the guffaw when we twigged the definition.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  9. We agree, as we usually do, with Dutch’s ratings. We spotted the pangram early on; thedouble pangram was suspected from around mid-way but not confirmed until we got our penultimate answer, 22d, Knowledge that then helped only with our LOI, 14a.

    We liked 18a, 12a and 17d but our two favourites are the rock star duo, 1a and 22d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  10. Great thoughtful crossword, the stone was my last as well. Had to get to J for first letter of word before saw jagged, my very last resort of clueing! Then, was OH THAT STONE DAMMIT!! Thanks Dutch

  11. Failed on 14a and couldn’t parse 28a.
    Didn’t notice the double pangram.
    No problem with Mr Coogan though but this needs very specialised knowledge imho.
    18a and 15d were new words to add to my memory banks.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

    1. Totally agree – singer (?), ancient actor, comedy character, geography etc. Not my favourite kind of puzzle, even though the double pangram is a very clever construction.

  12. Could I just point out that Under Milk Wood is a Play (for Voices) as Dylan Thomas put it, not a poem. Good enjoyable puzzle though. Thanks all

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