Toughie 2107 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2107

Toughie No 2107 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

It was a joy to solve this clever pangram from Osmosis. The clues are exquisitely crafted – lovely misleads throughout and beautifully disguised definitions. I did struggle with the two long down clues as I wasn’t familiar with the names – a question of guessing the answer from the parsing and checking. I was left with a few parsings to sort out after filling the grid. This is the first blog I’ve attempted with the distraction of our two new puppies running amok. They seem to like my computer cables.

As always, the definitions are underlined, and the hints are intended to help you untangle the wordplay. You can reveal the answer by clicking on the click here buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    It may help to scrutinise charge by canine groomer (4-5,4)
FINE-TOOTH COMB: A 5-letter charge or penalty, a canine (not the doggy kind), and a 4-letter hair groomer. The definition refers to a metaphor for scrutinise, to go over something with a *

8a    Boozer‘s state snapped by couple in centre of Putney (6)
TAVERN: To state or say goes inside (snapped by) the central letters (a couple in centre) of Putney

9a    After party, that French student abandoned seduction (8)
CONQUEST: After a 3-letter abbreviation for a political party, a French word for ‘that’ and student without the inside letters (abandoned? – as in deserted? I’m not convinced I’ve got this right)

10a    Bill’s associated with this chef mostly (3)
COO: The first 3 letters (mostly) of a 4-letter word for chef

11a    One treading on thin ice perhaps switching river fish (6)
SKATER: The abbreviation for river and a ray-like fish, but the other way around (switching)

12a    Pursuing a degree, study the pineal gland (5,3)
THIRD EYE: A 3-letter verb meaning to study or observe comes after (pursuing) a type of degree involved in ruthless interrogation, or a burn, gives an informal phrase for the pineal gland

14a    Work out, training on track following Christmas period (7)
DECRYPT: The school lesson concerned with physical exercise comes after (on, in an across clue) the abbreviation for railway, all following the month with Xmas.

16a    Resident rebuffed new online journal written by Democrat (7)
DENIZEN: A reversal (rebuffed) of: the abbreviation for New, an online journal (1-4), and the abbreviation for Democrat

20a    Find lord over in moated building (8)
DOMINATE: An anagram (building, as in constructing) of IN MOATED

23a    Italian chap procures Greek and Oriental tree (6)
GINGKO: An Italian first name goes around (procures) a 2-letter abbreviation for Greek

24a    Run for so long (3)
BYE: Two meanings, think cricket for the first

25a    Appeal from ship after unknown found in European waterway (8)
SEXINESS: The abbreviation for a ship comes after a European waterway that flows through Paris, in which is found an algebraic unknown

26a    French teacher’s mnemonic for masculine nouns? A fine pointer (6)
NEEDLE: Split (4,2), this little bit of grammatical advice applies to French masculine nouns

27a    Sat, amongst others, by exit before one more film (3,7,3)
DIE ANOTHER DAY: What Sat is, along side Sun, Mon, etc, comes after (by) a verb meaning to exit (generally irreversibly) which in turn comes before a 7-letter word for ‘one more’


1d    Virus maybe beginning in June knocks out female, 26 (8)
INJECTOR: The first letter (beginning) in June replaces (knocks out) the abbreviation for Female in a word that could apply to a virus or any bug that causes a bodily reaction

2d    Barbershop possibly involved in this cornet-playing event in theatre (4,4)
ETON CROP: An anagram (playing) of CORNET, plus an informal abbreviation of an event in theatre – but not the dramatic kind

3d    Welsh lad tours clubs avoiding drink ban (7)
BOYCOTT: The Welsh word for a lad goes around (tours) the cards abbreviation for Clubs, plus an abbreviation meaning ‘avoiding drink’

4d    Green veg, turning semi-hard and violet-blue, go off (6)
BHINDI: The abbreviations H(ard) and B(lack=soft) refer to pencil leads. I remember having to use 4H pencils for Technical Drawing at school. Semi-hard is a pencil at the middle of the range, it goes (9H,…2H, H, F, HB, B, 2B,…,9B in increasing graphite:clay ratio). So: reverse (turning) the abbreviation for semi-hard, then add the rainbow colour that is a violet-blue (funnily enough), but without the ‘go’ (go off)

5d    Plump finally for Oxford after vacation drinking much ale (6)
ROTUND: The last letter (finally) in for, then Oxford without the central letters (after vacation) but instead containing (drinking) a large barrel-measure (216 gallons) of ale

6d    Joker once reorganised knife drawer when minding house (7,6)
FRANKIE HOWERD: An anagram (reorganised) of KNIFE DRAWER contains (minding) the abbreviation for house

7d    Bygone filmmaker‘s hat perhaps square in the West End? (5,8)
BUSBY BERKELEY: A 5-letter type of hat, bearskin apparently, and the name of a square near Mayfair in the West End

13d    Did boss upset Tartan Army somewhat? (3)
RAN: Reverse hidden (upset … somewhat?)

15d    The old and new foreign capital (3)
YEN: Old English for the plus the abbreviation of New

17d    Len’s uncovered facts on the German breed (8)
ENGENDER: The central letters (uncovered) of Len’s, a 3-letter word for facts or information, and a German word for ‘the’

18d    Pub employee latterly involved in open slur (8)
INNUENDO: A 3-letter pub, then the last letter (latterly) of employee goes into (involved in) a verb meaning to open

19d    Within minute, graduate taking Computer Studies can create this? (7)
WEBSITE: A semi-all-in-one: Inside (within) a 3-letter word meaning minute or small, place the abbreviation for a university degree plus (taking) the abbreviation that describes the field of computer science

21d    Entering northbound motorway, remain in the same place (6)
IBIDEM: Inside (entering) the reversal (northbound, in a down clue) of a motorway, place a word for remain or stay

22d    Obsolescent silver? That’s flipping no good (6)
AGEING: The chemical symbol for silver, a reversal (flipping) of the abbreviation for that is, and the abbreviation for ‘no good’

Many to choose from, but I think my favourite is 20a. Which clues did you like?

14 comments on “Toughie 2107

  1. Very enjoyable puzzle with, as is usual with Osmosis, plenty of detailed wordplay (I’ve no complaints with that).
    I took the 12a degree to be of the academic kind (the one which used to be known as a ‘Douglas’).
    I presume that the ‘abandoned’ in 9a is being used in the sense of evacuated, like an abandoned ship.
    I liked 6a, 20a, 3d and 18d but my favourite was 27a.
    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. I hugely enjoyed this, and I had the pleasure and satisfaction of finishing it. However, I had some wobbly moments on the way. In addition to the filmmaker and joker, I had not heard of the green veg in 4d, nor the tree in 23a (it looks wonderful from the picture). Also, 10a was my last in – it took me a long time to discover what the definition had to do with Bill. I hesitated in 19d expecting to incorporate an extra ‘c’ in the degree. I did notice the pangram, but not until long after I had finished solving it. I became excited with the prospect, perhaps, of a Nina, but, alas, found nothing. (I have yet to be able to take advantage of either a pangram or Nina to actually help me in solving a puzzle . . . . . . one day, maybe). Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. Great challenge; really enjoyed it. All finished bar one word, 23a. Could someone explain please?

    1. Tthe Italian chap is Gino ( a common Italian name). The abbreviation for Greek is Gk, which goes inside Gino

      Was it gingko that’s good for the memory?

    2. Realise now that this is an obscure alternative to the normal spelling which we always link with biloba!

  4. I didn’t really have any time for crosswords today but couldn’t resist finding enough time for the Toughie. Fortunately I knew all the things Osmosis wanted me to know

    Thanks to him for a Toughie, while not the sort of Toughie I’d expect on a Friday,, was perfect for the day I’m having

    Thanks also to Dutch

  5. Yet again, I have to admit to needing some help from Mr. Google. I didn’t know the required definition of the pineal gland, the name for an online journal, the hairstyle or the vegetable. I also had to check the spelling of the oriental tree and – one of my favourite mistakes – the London square.
    Ho hum – hopefully some of the afore-mentioned will lodge in the old grey cells.

    Many potential favourites but I think it was 19d for me.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog. Think you missed my previous query – which breed of dog did the family talk you into?

    1. Thanks Jane. we have two cockapoo puppies. I made the mistake of taking the kids to have a look at one offer – that was it, they did not wish to look further. the puppies are very cute (well, they are puppies) – I had hoped for a bigger dog, but it’ll be fine. meanwhile, while everyone’s disappeared for the day, guess who tidies up all the little mistakes.

      1. Just wait until the kids also get fed up with walking them – you won’t need a fitness regime!

  6. I enjoyed this, and I was pleased to get stuck into the detailed wordplay. I’ll plump as it were for 5d as my CoD.

    I should just say that a bugbear of mine appears at 22d, with id est clued as ‘that’s’: no! NO!

  7. I have had several days in bed with bronchitis and done nothing but cough so it was nice to come back to a real challenge. My mother had a 2d in the 30’s apparently and she also loved 7d films but I had never heard of 4d. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch and enjoy the puppies.

  8. Many ingenious clues as ever. The answer to 3d appears quite often in crosswords, and it’s usually easy to solve, but the inclusion of a word for Welsh lad makes it uniquely cryptic here. Likewise a degree is almost always an MA or BA, so 12a needed some lateral thinking. 2d is particularly clever, and it was great to see one of my favourite old comedians appear at 6d, although it took me some time to discover him from the superb clue. Thanks Osmosis for your usual high level of entertainment !

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