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Toughie 2030

Toughie No 2030 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Bufo

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

This went in reasonably smoothly except for the last few answers in the top half. I spotted the pangram early on but I don’t think it helped. I have upped the difficulty level because I had problems parsing some of the clues. I hope that I’ve sorted them all out correctly

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    In US, hood needed in female group outside terminal in hail (6)
HARLEM: I think that hood is a shortened form of neighbourhood as used in the US. A district of New York = a group of women in a Muslim household round the last letter (terminal) of HAIL

4a    Poor toff’s decline unseen by spectators (3-5)
OFF-STAGE: An anagram (poor) of TOFFS + ‘to decline’

10a    Going into work with Alan, unusually, I feel enlivened (4,2,3)
WALK ON AIR: An anagram (unusually) of WORK ALAN round I

11a    Start to judge soldiers after retreating, AM and PM (5)
MAJOR: A reversal of AM + the first letter of JUDGE + soldiers = the surname of a former prime minister

12a    Before mountaineer’s original show of hesitation, skirt peak (7)
MAXIMUM: A long skirt + the first letter (original) of MOUNTAINEER + a show of hesitation

13a    A Parisian international out of game’s uniform? Not so (7)
UNEQUAL: The feminine form of the French indefinite article + a game bird with the letter I (international) removed

14a    Gold located on ground, announced upper-class family (5)
TUDOR: A homophone (announced) of ‘ground (with the teeth)’ + gold = an English royal house of Welsh origin

15a    Sports supplement given around Aintree to jockey (8)
CREATINE: A single letter denoting ‘around’ or ‘about’ + an anagram (to jockey) of AINTREE = a naturally occurring compound the use of which can increase maximum power and performance in high-intensity anaerobic repetitive work 

18a    Live idly in car, renouncing son — squash perhaps at first (8)
VEGETATE: A foodstuff such as a squash + a type of car with the letter S (son) removed

20a    Some bush trimming brought about hilarity (5)
MIRTH: Hidden in reverse in BUSH TRIMMING

23a    Two different bands with what Spanish artistic style? (7)
BAROQUE: A band or stripe + a letter shaped like a band + the Spanish word for ‘what’

25a    Enter captivating religious school and note quadrangle? (7)
LOZENGE: ‘To enter in a written record’ round a branch of Buddhism = a diamond-shaped four-sided figure

26a    Master describes annual fast (5)
APACE: A master or expert round ‘annual’ or ‘per annum’

27a    American writer, unknown, in time associated with pen (4,5)
EZRA POUND: A letter denoting an unknown quantity inside a long period of time + a pen or enclosure. I initially tried to justify MARK TWAIN as the answer and had to wait for a checking letter or two before coming up with the right answer

28a    Eighteen, rebelliously expressing derision (2-6)
TE-HEEING: An anagram (rebelliously) of EIGHTEEN

29a    With my involvement, suspect this forger seen here (6)
SMITHY: An anagram (suspect) of MY THIS


1d    Flapper has dated grasping doctor after work (4,4)
HAWK MOTH: A flapper (creature with wings) = the old form of ‘has’ round an abbreviation for ‘work’ and a doctor

2d    Left American feller resting in grass, carefree (7)
RELAXED: L (left) and the American spelling of a tool used for felling trees inside a tall marsh or water grass

3d    Green car briefly used in this person’s sort of trade (1-8)
E-COMMERCE: A prefix denoting ‘green’ or ‘environment-friendly’ + the abbreviated form of a make of luxury cars inside ‘this person’ = business done using the Internet

5d    Supporting, on air, people counting votes in more than one medium (7-7)
FORTUNE-TELLERS: ‘Supporting’ or ‘in favour of’ + an air or melody + people counting votes

6d    Current one sitting on the right avoids soup (5)
SOMME: The name of a French river (current) is obtained by removing an abbreviated form of conservative (one sitting on the right) from a clear soup

7d    Temporarily stop Jack getting into trouble on vessel (7)
ADJOURN: J (Jack) inside ‘trouble’ + a vase (vessel)

8d    Recruit in US army maybe, sent from Dallas, showing guts (6)
ENROLL: The US spelling of a verb meaning ‘to enlist’ is obtained by taking the middle two letters from SENT, FROM and DALLAS

9d    Broadcast extra composed reptile recording from the 1980s (5,9)
KARMA CHAMELEON: A homophone (broadcast) of ‘extra relaxed’ + a type of lizard = the title of a 1984 number one hit by Culture Club

16d    Drug squad suppressing network quietly (9)
TEMAZEPAM: A drug used to treat insomnia = a squad round a network or set of intricate windings and P (quietly)

17d    Sheryl getting renovated bags with diamonds, showing Prudence (8)
SHREWDLY: An anagram (getting renovated) of SHERYL goes round (bags) W (with) and D (diamonds)

19d    Perhaps Bruce’s rabbit finding slug beneath some corn (7)
EARBASH: An Australian informal term for ‘to rabbit’ or ‘to talk incessantly’ = a part of a cereal plant such as corn + ‘to slug’

21d    French firm about line being used among tuna at sea (7)
RENAULT: A French car company = ‘about’ + L (line) inside an anagram (at sea) of TUNA

22d    Endure underlying smell going round old Soviet district (6)
OBLAST: A reversal of the smell that humans give off + ‘to endure’ = an administrative district in some republics of the former Soviet Union. Have I missed something but I can’t see that this clue works?

24d    Waiters in Queen’s Head repeatedly upset community (5)
QUEUE: A line of people waiting = the first letter of QUEEN + the European Community reversed twice

Phew! Writing the review took a long time.

17 comments on “Toughie 2030

  1. You know how the Telegraph Toughie is supposed to be the most fiendish crossword on Fleet Street? – well today is one of those rare occasions when it really was. I did wonder if I’d lost the ability to solve cryptic crosswords but found, once I’d put this to one side for a while, that I could solve the Graun, Indy and Times, so it obviously wasn’t my brain but probably more of a wavelength issue with Osmosis

    I came back to the crossword during my lunch hour and managed to fill in the missing but it was definitely an uphill struggle for me today

    Thanks to Osmosis for the battle and Bufo for the explanations

  2. Very enjoyable – thanks to Osmosis and Bufo. I dragged 22d from the dark recesses but I’d never heard of 15a or 19d which I needed the checking letters and then the BRB to confirm. I’m not sure why ‘needed’ is present in 1a.
    With Diazepam yesterday and 16d today we seem to be on a course of tranquillisers.
    20a caused some hilarity but the top clues for me were 1d, 8d, 19d and 24d.

  3. For the longest time 20a was my only entry. Eventually I got the American writer in 27a, and slowly, very slowly, the right hand half fell into place. Even more slowly, I got most of the NW corner, but when it became obvious that 1d was not going to come to me, I gave up. Looking at Bufo’s review, I may have been able to get 1d if the homophone in 14a had worked. It didn’t for me. I’ve never heard of 9d, and so it was just as well I abandoned ship. Way beyond ***** in difficulty for me, and really – I am so sorry – not a whole lot of fun.

  4. Quite a tussle for me, but very engaging and enjoyable. 15a new to me as was 22d, and could not for the life of me see 28a, even though it’s an anagram. Similar to Gazza, I liked 1d & 24d in particular plus 25a.

    Many thanks to Osmosis for the workout and to Bufo for the review.

    PS Bufo – 22d makes sense to me.

  5. Thanks Osmosis and Bufo.

    I had similar feelings to CrypticSue, in wondering whether that was it for me regarding crosswords. :-(

    But a second attack sorted it, and left me with a lot of respect for today’s setter.

    Truly a Toughie that does what it says on the tin. Chapeau!

  6. A pretty tough puzzle that took a lot of head scratching to get started. I’m with CS on this one :smile:

    Liked a lot of the clue structures (as usual with Osmosis) but I enjoyed it when the penny finally dropped on 20a to let me finish in the SE corner – laugh? No!

    thanks to our setter for the puzzle and to Bufo for extracting all the workings.

  7. I found 3/4 of this ok once the brain had warmed up (not the quickest of processes I must admit) but used aids to complete in the SW. Would definitely agree that this was a pesky little something-or-other, but enjoyable.

    My favourite was the moment of 20a. (Reminds me of 9d here.)

    Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo.

  8. I rarely feel the urge to comment on any Telegraph puzzle these days but I would just like to say that this is everything a Toughie should be in my opinion. Otherwise what is the point? Well played Osmosis and more like this and fewer ‘Fluffies’ please Mr Editor.

  9. Mr Sheffieldsy reporting in today. Did this without Mrs Sheffieldsy today, and very enjoyable it was too (the crossword, not being apart from my partner).

    There was quite an American influence, I thought, witness 1a, 27a, 2d and 8d. There was also lots to like here – plenty of variety, clever constructs (25a, 6d) and laughter, whether intentional or not, in 20a. Pick of the bunch for me was 27a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Bufo.

  10. Our last one to parse was 19d. We got the answer from wordplay and checkers and it is a word that is quite familiar to us. We had great problems sorting the definition and pursued all sorts of Bruce options. It was only when we looked up the answer in BRB that we learnt that it is a word originating from this part of the world and the penny dropped. Certainly a lot of hard work involved and very satisfying to get it all sorted and parsed. We did spot the pangram but it not much help with the solving.
    Thanks Osmosis and Bufo.

  11. Managed to fail on a few on the left hand side – missed the US ‘hood’ and the 14a homophone didn’t work for me so I didn’t get 1d which I wouldn’t normally have any problem with.
    Then I couldn’t figure out who Bruce was (Forsyth, Springsteen?) which left me short of 26&28a, the latter of which I have only ever seen written with an extra ‘E’.
    Add to that lot the fact that I had to look up 15a,22d and the correct spelling of 16d!

    All in all an unequal battle with most of the points going to Osmosis.
    Thanks to him and to Bufo for working so hard on the review – much appreciated.

  12. If the problem continues, contact the site owner.
    HTTP ERROR 405

    Enough said. Wasted a few moments commenting on this challenging but lovely crossword but forgot to copy in readiness for the inevitability… Thanks to Bufo and Osmosis

  13. Now that was definitely a Toughie. I needed a few hints here and there (Ok, more than a few), but got there in the end. I blame 14ac where the homophone doesn’t even remotely work for me, and I’m not sure TBH how the two could possible sound alike. Oh well, perhaps this wasn’t a good time of night to embark on this particular puzzle! :-)

  14. Needed Bufo’s help to get the last ones in 8d, 19d and 22d.
    Got most of the answers from the parsing and had to check if the solutions existed.
    Great challenge.
    Thanks to osmosis and to Bufo.

    1. Good to see you commenting JL – I will raise a glass to you at tomorrow’s festivities.

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