Toughie 2087 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2087

Toughie No 2087 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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


A high quality pangram from Osmosis today, meticulously clued with many outstanding surfaces — which, as so often happens, I appreciated all the more the second time around when writing the blog. A good Friday toughie work-out, but not insanely difficult. I can’t say that I solved it before the school run – now that we’ve moved the kids are walking to school (yay!) —  I’d say it was between 4* and 5* rather than over 5*.

As usual, the definitions are underlined. The hints aim to help you unravel the wordplay, and you can always reveal the answers if you want by clicking on the Flat Pack Factory  buttons. Please leave a comment telling us how you got on and what you thought.



1a    Be unable to stand trial after sighting of Parisian (6)
DETEST:  A 4-letter word for trial after the French (Parisian) for ‘of’

4a    Fox almost seizes turkey, one of a certain age (8)
TRIASSIC:  A 5-letter word meaning to fox without the last lest letter (almost) goes around (seizes) a turkey or idiot plus the Roman numeral for one

9a    Type of school‘s right-wing recruitment slogan? (6)
BEACON:  Split this high-performing exemplary school (2,1,3) to get a right-wing recruitment slogan

10a   Potter makes this error — green spilled over, and blue ultimately (8)
SLIPWARE:  A 4-letter error, reversal (spilled over) of a 3-letter word meaning green, and the last letter (ultimately) in blue

12a   Gnasher‘s still at centre of tomfoolery in the comic (3,5)
EYE TOOTH:  A 3-letter word meaning still and the centre two letters of tomfoolery go inside (in) an anagram (comic) of THE

13a   Data PC stores about police regularly receives approval (6)
COOKIE:  The one-letter Latin abbreviation for about plus the even (regularly) letters of police goes around (receives) an informal approval

15a   Appeal forces landowner to regenerate part of Essex (7,6)
SAFFRON WALDEN:  The abbreviation for sex appeal, twice the abbreviation for force, (forceS), and an anagram (to regenerate) of LANDOWNER

18a   Around summer, fifty per cent failed medical aid class overseas (6,7)
MIDDLE AMERICA:  An anagram (failed) of MEDICAL AID goes around 50% of sumMER

22a   Working for retirement, mum gets Happy Meal (4-2)
NOSH-UP:  A reversal (for retirement) of a short word meaning working, an interjection meaning mum or be quiet, and a 2-letter adjective meaning happy or on a high

24a   Repeatedly note currents swirling in lake (8)
TITICACA:  This magnificent lake in the Andes on the border of Peru and Bolivia is generated by the repetition of a note on the solfa scale plus twice the abbreviation for alternating current (currentS), each reversed (swirling).

26a   Impudent person putting slug on dressing (8)
SAUCEBOX:  A verb meaning slug or punch hard follows (on in an across clue) another word for (e.g. salad) dressing

27a   Reason why broadcast is shown on hospital computers etc (6)
SANITY:  A homophone (broadcast) of why follows (on in an across clue) a 3-letter hospital plus a collective abbreviation for computers etc

28a   It’s a pleasure no former volunteer exaggerated (3,2,3)
NOT AT ALL:  NO from the clue, the abbreviation for our former volunteer army, an adjective meaning exaggerated or stretched beyond belief

29a   Kitchen assistant perhaps glazes terrine partly (6)
ZESTER:  Hidden (… partly)



1d    Swapped ends when using ragged garden tool (6)
DIBBER:  Swap the first and last letters in a slang word meaning ragged, as in teased

2d    Crossed lines occurring in traditional housing (9)
TRAVERSED:  Some lines of poetry are housed in a 4-letter abbreviation for traditional

3d    Second question about folio one poses (4-3)
SHOW-OFF:  The abbreviation for second, a 3-letter question (not WHY), a preposition that could mean about, plus the abbreviation for folio

5d    Stream learners attending religious class (4)
RILL:  Twice the abbreviation for learner (learnerS) after (attending) an abbreviation for a religious class in school

6d    Gypsy returned to harbour pub, having a jar (7)
AMPHORA:  The reversal (returned) of a 4-letter gypsy contains (to harbour) a 2-letter abbreviation for a pub, followed by A from the clue

7d    Maintaining beat in midsection, busker hummed (5)
STANK:  Put a word meaning to beat inside (in) the middle two letters (midsection) of busker

8d    Study news written in revolutionary language (8)
CHEYENNE:  A 3-letter word meaning to study or observe closely, plus twice the abbreviation for new (newS) all goes inside (written in) crosswordland’s favourite Argentinian revolutionary

11d   Celebrity and girl briefly turned up where heavenly bodies are seen (4,3)
STAR MAP:  A 4-letter celebrity plus the reversal (turned up) of the shortened form (briefly) of a female name

14d   Bottomless spirit and French wine belonging to a medieval house (7)
ANGEVIN:  A winged spirit without the last letter (bottomless) plus the French word for wine

16d   Person to whom work and play are the same (9)
DRAMATIST:  Cryptic definition of someone who writes plays

17d   Norwegian, American, German and Japanese currency (8)
AMUNDSEN:  To find this Norwegian explorer, take a 2-letter abbreviation for American, the German for ‘and’, and a small denomination Japanese money unit

19d   Couple rejected stuffing in case that’s supremely flashy (7)
LOUDEST:  The reversal (rejected) of a 3-letter couple goes inside (stuffing) another word for ‘in case’

20d   Mirror writer’s extremely immature, penning useless articles (7)
IMITATE:  Writer’s as seen from the setter’s perspective (paying attention to the ‘s), then the outer letters (extremely) of immature containing (penning) a word for ‘useless articles’

21d   Sweary vagrant in chippy? (6)
SAWYER:  An anagram of SWEARY

23d   Crouch, heading in third, smothered by most of team (5)
SQUAT:  The first letter (heading) in third is smothered (as in sat on rather than enveloped) by the first 4 letters (most of) of a 5-letter word meaning team

25d   Part of face one should start jeering? Hooter (4)
JOWL:  The first letter (one should start) of jeering, plus a feathered hooter


Too many excellent clues to pick a favourite. I liked the clever snooker surface in 10a, the Gnasher comic surface in 12a, and 13a was a great penny drop on recognising the well-disguised definition. I thought 27a was smooth with another cleverly hidden definition. 6d and 7d have vivid surfaces that tell a coherent tale. 17d was a clever gimmick. 20d has a brilliant surface, made me laugh. And so on.


10 comments on “Toughie 2087

  1. Really enjoyable stuff – thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the review. Full marks to Osmosis for recognising (28a) that the abbreviation for our part-time army is out-of-date by using ‘former’ but shouldn’t it be ‘volunteers’ rather than ‘volunteer’?
    Difficult to single out top clues from so many goodies but I’ll go for 9a, 6d and 17d.

  2. Needed all manner of help to solve this brilliant Osmosis puzzle … but I still didn’t win any time bonus points.

    Thanks to Dutch for the review.

    My only quibble is with 2d – why “occurring in” and “housing”?

    1. That does seem a little clumsy in a puzzle that’s so nicely-made. 28a too as Gazza spotted is unusual, though perhaps one might have been ‘a TA’ back in the day. Nevertheless, this was nice stuff indeed, and provided an extremely pleasant diversion of a Friday pm. Now on to an evening of unbridled alcoholism for me, whereof I may become a sweary vagrant in kebab-house.

      Thank you Osmosis and Dutch for the insight.

  3. Got there eventually albeit it via a fair amount of ‘looking up stuff’! 15&18a went in long before the parsing was accomplished and I didn’t know the impudent person, the Japanese currency or the 9a school (spent ages trying to find an alternative spelling of ‘blazer’ for the latter). Plus, the only 21d I’ve heard of is Tom.

    Ah well – all’s well that ends well and my favourite was 10a (thank goodness for my obsession with The Repair Shop!).

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog. Enjoy your retirement from the school run!

  4. Managed about three quarters before resorting to the hints. I was proud of myself for getting 14d unaided and completely bamboozled by 17d. So clever. Just one thing, why is 9a a school? Could be anything shining in the darkness.
    A good Friday puzzle. Thanks to setter and blogger.

    1. bamboozled – excellent word

      9a see chambers. you’re right, but it is an accepted phrase when used specifically with school

  5. We’d never heard of that type of school either.
    Down to our last clue and still needed x which led us to another word we were unfamiliar with.
    Much enjoyed.
    We too will now be concentrating on beer.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  6. Agree with our esteemed blogger re 20d.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and Dutch for a couple of nudges to finish.
    Time for my last bottle of Rioja as an under fifty.
    Cheers all.

  7. The 15a geography was a challenge for us (but it was there in the depths of memory) and needing one letter to complete the pangram helped with 26a which was new to us. Also needed confirmation for the 9a school and 14d house. A good level of challenge for a Friday Toughie in our opinion and we enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. I did enjoy this, and I got to within a little more than a handful of finishing. Sadly, and disappointingly, there were just too many things I was not familiar with (like others, the school in 9a for instance) to be able to get over the finishing line. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

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