Toughie 2007 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2007


Toughie No 2007 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch


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

Very inventive, almost devious clueing from Osmosis today, though I found I was soon on his wavelength and I managed to finish before the school run. I hadn’t heard of the sitcom or the apple, or the cricket term, but they were all fairly clued.

As usual, the definitions are underlined. The hints are there to help you unravel the wordplay, and you can always click on the Click here! Oh, you did.. buttons to reveal the answers. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Very cold, heartless Greek detains religious adherent (6)
ARCTIC: A Greek from the region around Athens with the central letter removed (heartless) contains (detains) an abbreviation for a type of Christian

5a    Maybe cabbage and bread the above regularly rejected (8)
BRASSICA: Another slang term for bread or money is followed by the odd letters to the answer to 1a when reversed (the above regularly rejected)

9a    TV sitcom‘s revolting commercial turned over by house member (6,4)
RISING DAMP: A word meaning revolting or rebelling, the reversal (turned over) of a 2-letter commercial, plus the abbreviation for a member of the house of commons

10a    Part of arms deal’s ending, between global alliance and America (4)
ULNA: The last letter (ending) in deaL goes inside an international organisation, followed by the abbreviation for America

11a    Movement of crab perhaps that’s followed by Miami pedestrians (8)
SIDEWALK: A whimsical definition of the movement of a crab and the part of the street that American (Miami) pedestrians use.

12a    Body of water dried up, eastern half first (3,3)
RED SEA: Take a verb meaning dried up, then move the second half of it to the front (eastern half first)

13a    Boss‘s stomach, in the past, heard by some (4)
STUD: The past tense of a verb meaning to stomach or bear, if pronounced in a Northern dialect (heard by some)

15a    New Wave band playing extra-loud, unconfined, around five (8)
ULTRAVOX: An anagram (playing) of (e)XTRA-LOU(d) without the outer letters (unconfined), goes around the Roman numeral for five

18a    Apple and some corn Mike put inside French bread (8)
PEARMAIN: The edible part of the corn plant plus the letter corresponding to the international radio codeword Mike are put inside the French word for bread

19a    Deserved first from schoolteacher in project (4)
JUST: The first letter of (first from) Schoolteacher goes inside (in) a verb meaning to project or to stick out

21a    Black fish that circles wrist (6)
BANGLE: The abbreviation for Black (on lead pencils to indicate softness) plus a verb meaning to fish

23a    Left shed grey (8)
OVERCAST: A word meaning left or remaining plus a word meaning shed or threw

25a    Bird‘s relative one recalled (4)
IBIS: A shortened form for a word meaning brother or sister plus the Roman numeral for one are reversed (recalled)

26a    Inflated the new ball Clair kicked around by river (10)
RHETORICAL: An anagram (new) of THE, the letter that looks like a ball, and an anagram (kicked around) of CLAIR, all come after (by) the abbreviation for river. The definition refers to over-elaborate speech

27a    Posh lady‘s deepish voice — it’s gone extremely sensuous (8)
BARONESS: A male low singing voice (not the lowest, hence deepish) without the IT (it’s gone) plus the outer letters (extremely) of SensuouS

28a    Some of Observer‘s reporting indeed associated with papers on Left (6)
EYELID: A homophone (reporting) of a word meaning indeed or yes, plus an abbreviation for identification papers following (by) the abbreviation for Left



2d    International winter sportsman, topless, that’s taken up manual therapy (5)
REIKI: The abbreviation for International plus a winter sportsman without the first letter (topless), all reversed (that’s taken up, in a down clue)

3d    Not the first batsman to suffer in present surroundings (4-5)
TAIL-ENDER: A word meaning to suffer or to be indisposed goes inside (in … surroundings) a word meaning to present or offer

4d    Minor worker raised Scotch, another alcoholic drink (6)
COGNAC: A word meaning a minor worker (someone who is just part of a large machine) plus the reversal of a slang word meaning to Scotch or stop something

5d    Team‘s set on fire part of the match after runs by Boycott (9,6)
BLACKBURN ROVERS: A verb meaning to set on fire, then parts of a cricket match following the cricket abbreviation for runs, all following (by) a word that can mean to boycott or ban

6d    Sound of puff adder’s fellow creature, enraged (8)
ASPIRATE: A creature closely related to the adder plus a word meaning enraged or angry

7d    Endless crouching exercise beginning to drain group of soldiers (5)
SQUAD: Take a crouching exercise, remove the last letter (endless) and add a D (beginning to drain)

8d    Noxious Beatnik, without a cent, wearing headphones (9)
CANKEROUS: A famous beatnik who wrote “On the Road” but missing his last two letters (without A Cent) is wearing (i.e., goes inside) a slang word for headphones

14d    Changed habit, when obtaining English journal around republic (3,6)
THE GAMBIA: An anagram (changed) of HABIT contains (when obtaining) the abbreviation of English and then the reversal (around) of an informal shortened word meaning journal

16d    One describes a policeman, Jack, replacing Ernest on vacation (9)
ADJECTIVE: A from the clue plus the mystery-solving kind of policeman, then replace E(rnes)T without the central letters (on vacation) with the card abbreviation for Jack

17d    Native American without fear, wandering untroubled (8)
CAREFREE: A Native American tribe goes around (without) an anagram (wandering) of FEAR

20d    Devise another furtive system to find fish in middle of creek (6)
RECODE: A kind of fish often battered and served with chips goes inside the central three letters (middle of) creek

22d    Relish Hebridean island, except for current during journey (5)
GUSTO: Take a 4-letter Hebridean island and remove (except for) the physics abbreviation for electric current, then insert into (during) a 2-letter verb meaning to journey or travel

24d    African extremists infiltrating south Caribbean (5)
SWAZI: Place the alphabetical extremes between the abbreviation for south and the abbreviation referring to the islands in the Caribbean

I liked the New Wave band, where I got off on a false start thinking “extra” referred to the first part of the answer. I also liked the beatnik. I thought 19a was very neat and I’ll go with that as my favourite. Which clues did you like?

17 comments on “Toughie 2007

  1. I noticed that it was a pangram but for some reason didn’t mark any particular favourites

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

    1. Osmosis has been giving us a pangram for most of his recent toughies. I stupidly overlooked the Q today when I was checking for one.

  2. Enjoyable puzzle to round off a good week of Toughies – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch. I bet I wasn’t the only solver to spend some time trying to parse ‘cancerous’ for 8d before the light dawned.
    I’ll nominate 12a as favourite.

  3. This was yet another in the so-close-but-not-quite category for me. I came to a grinding halt in the NE corner, and looking at Dutch’s review I am not surprised. I had not heard of the cabbage in 5a, the Beatnik in 8d (nor the slang for headphones for that matter), nor the band in 15a. Add it altogether and it was just too many unknowns in too concentrated an area for me to be able to emerge with a completed puzzle. Pity – I enjoyed it otherwise. My thanks to all.

  4. Ha! 9a is also in today’s guardian, clued completely differently (discovering it sends homeowner up the wall (6,4)). What are the chances of that?

  5. I did know the ones that were new to Dutch but, like Tony, I’d never heard of the Beatnik or his headphones!
    Took quite a while to work out the parsing of 15a & 24d and wasn’t sure that SIB was a recognised shortform.

    Favourite was 22d – well constructed and very true!

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch. The sitcom in question was actually rather enjoyable – doubtless looks fairly dated now.

    1. I remember using cans for headphones (I mean as a slang synonym) – but they were the big kind, not like the little earphones today

    2. I read “On the Road” back in the late 1950s, I then borrowed Doctor Sax from the library and gave up after a few pages, none of which I had understood.

  6. I found this very tough. I think I enjoyed it …

    Marked 13a out and am guessing that was because I didn’t parse it. Brain (and the rest of me) is so fried by now that I’ve forgotten.

    Didn’t know that the first bit of 5d can on its own mean to boycott, and the island we visit on the way to 22d is new or forgotten.

    I liked the “wearing headphones” part of 8d, and also 3d and 4d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch (nearly wrote Gazza there!) – I’m very impressed.

  7. We’re away from home without access to a printer so ended up doing this one on line which is not our preferred way of solving and also without a reminder copy when it comes to posting a comment. Do remember though that we struggled with the C vs K conundrum with 8d. Quite tricky we seem to remember.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. Got there in the end. With plenty of help from the hints. Thanks Dutch.
    13a and 3d were last in but looking at them now I don’t see what held me up.
    I did like the synchronicity of the musical clip from Ultravox and Rigsby’s Cat, (both Vienna) was that deliberate by Osmosis, thanks anyway.
    Saturdays dead tree has just arrived so I will go and tackle todays.

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