Toughie 2127 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2127

Toughie No 2127 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another lovely and precise puzzle from Osmosis, solved with pleasure on the new blue telegraph puzzle website. It’s a pangram, of course. I struggled a bit with the writers, having to remember my rhyming slang and needing to google the foodie. I also entered the wrong apology in 8d, soon corrected – did anyone else do that?

Definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the Please try my Independent puzzle tomorrow! buttons. Please leave a comment to let us know how you got on and what you thought.


1a    Novelist, short drinker, welcomes turn over on piano in the Old Vic? (6,8)
JOANNA TROLLOPE: A 5-letter word for drinker without the last letter (short) goes around (welcomes) a verb meaning to turn over, all after (on) the Cockney rhyming slang (in the old Vic – reference to the tv programme East Enders) for piano

10a    Short-lived recording by male republican during repast (9)
EPHEMERAL: the abbreviation for a kind of vinyl record, a male pronoun, then the abbreviation for Republican inside (during) a word for repast

11a    Frenzied comic in amusing clothes, making comeback (5)
MANIC: Reverse hidden (… clothes, making comeback)

12a    As leftovers are visible to everyone, tidy up (7)
UNEATEN: Abbreviation for the film classification Universal (visible to everyone), then a verb meaning to tidy up

13a    Pets barked in long grass (6)
PAMPAS: A homophone (barked) of a verb meaning pets or overindulges

15a    Area in Albanian capital that’s a hole (4)
LEAK: The abbreviation for area goes inside (in) the Albanian currency

17a    Art school in county, not quite the greatest, seldom unoccupied (10)
SURREALISM: One of the home counties without the last letter (not quite), the American boxer known as The Greatest, and SeldoM without the inside letters (unoccupied)

18a    Dry run one’s taken in dodgy Nissan to find notorious school (2,8)
ST TRINIANS: The abbreviations for teetotal and run plus the Roman numeral for one goes inside (‘s taken in) an anagram (dodgy) of NISSAN

20a    Person recruited starts to examine food chain in water (4)
REEF: The abbreviation for a Royal Engineer (which I thought only worked in the plural, but maybe I have seen it used like this before) plus first letters (starts) of examine and food

22a    Write back, attaching form for family member (6)
NEPHEW: The reversal of a verb meaning to write, plus a verb meaning to form or to “shape, fell or sever with blows of a cutting instrument” (thank you brb)

23a    Maybe tip ale over, amidst expression of disgust (7)
FREEBIE: Tip as in gratuity, maybe. The reversal (over) of another word for ale goes inside (amidst) a 3-letter expression of disgust (not ugh)

26a    Hip fixed using implant (5)
INSET: A word for hip or fashionable and a word for fixed

27a    Sort of weapons I secure in wagons heading for the West (9)
STRATEGIC: I from the clue plus a verb meaning to secure or obtain go inside (in) another word for wagons, all reversed (heading for the West)

28a    Bet chap’s a food writer (9,5)
ELIZABETH DAVID: The woman’s name that gets shortened to Bet plus a man’s name


2d    Child gets stuck into mineral that’s brownish-yellow (5)
OCHRE: The abbreviation for child goes inside (gets stuck into) another word for mineral

3d    Fool new official? They will be gutted (6)
NUMPTY: The abbreviations for new and a sports official, plus TheY without the interior letters (will be gutted)

4d    Sweet enthusiast collars American in charge of flying (10)
AERONAUTIC: Brand of a chocolate bar, a word for enthusiast that contains (collars) the abbreviation for American, and the abbreviation for In Charge

5d    After manager’s ultimate letter, see bank (4)
RELY: The last letter of manager, plus crossword land’s favourite diocese

6d    Steps character in Marathon describes close to camera (7)
LAMBADA: Marathon is in Greece, so we’re looking for a Greek character that goes around (describes) the last letter of camera

7d    One awfully tipsy having drained last of red around pub? (9)
OENOPHILE: An all-in-one; the whole clue offers a definition for a wine-lover. An anagram (awfully) of ONE, then a word for tipsy or drunk without a D (drained last of red) goes around a 2-letter abbreviation for a pub

8d    I could have sworn tourist might say this in Paris? (6,2,6)
EXCUSE MY FRENCH: Two meanings – we assume the tourist is not fluent in the local lingo

9d    Dawn follows quiet sauntering by lake with a cocktail (7,7)
TEQUILA SUNRISE: Another word for dawn follows an anagram (sauntering) of QUIET plus the abbreviation for Lake and A from the clue

14d    British organisation discussed quarter’s produce (5,5)
BRING FORTH: Single letter abbreviation for British, an organisation or group (sometimes criminal), plus a homophone (discussed) of another word meaning quarter

16d    Contrarian almost finished course (9)
ANTIPASTI: A 4-letter contrarian, then a (4,2) expression for finished without the last letter (almost)

19d    Heartless private lifted small island’s torpor (7)
INERTIA: A 5-letter adjective meaning private without its middle letter (heartless), then the reversal of a word meaning a small island

21d    Woman‘s given primary cabin on board? (6)
BERTHA: This woman’s name split (5,1) would suggest the primary cabin on board

24d    Claim by kid is idle talk, in hindsight (4,1)
BAGS I: A reversal (in hindsight) of IS from the clue and a word for idle talk

25d    Messenger regularly ignored old slave (4)
ESNE: Even letters (regularly ignored) in Messenger

I enjoyed 12a for the smooth definition, 13a for the homophone which made me doubt my pronunciation of the grass, 23a and 5d for surface, 26a for simple but very effective misdirection. My favourite, since i’m a sucker for all-in-one clues, is probably 7d. Which clues did you like?

26 comments on “Toughie 2127

    1. They weren’t working when I read your comment, so I checked the back page review ones which were, but now I’ve come back here, the spoilers work here too

      Isn’t technology marvellous? :scratch:

      1. They’re still not working for me, nor today’s backpager, but yesterday’s Toughie’s do work! Ouch, my head hurts.

    2. For me they sometimes appear compressed to a single character (unclickable) and then “wake up” after a short while. Big Dave said he had disabled the spoilers briefly, but they are working fine for me now, so probably nothing to do with that.

  1. Many thanks Osmosis for this great puzzle, and to Dutch for his analysis.

    With the &lit, or all-in-one, one can sometimes pick holes in the definition, such as it may be, after all the operations have been performed to get the required word or phrase. I mean, is Osmosis suggesting that the wine-lovers concerned are prey to drunkenness or alcoholism?

    I never get drunk. Never.

  2. I enjoyed this very much, and I was able to complete the grid correctly, but I was fortunate along the way. I had not heard of either writer in 1a or 28a. I found the surname of the latter easily enough from Google and the checkers from the two wonderful clues in 21d and 24d. The writer in 1a was a different matter, made more challenging in that I confidently put ‘pardon’ as the first word in 8d, and it took me ages to realize that it was wrong. (I did not recognize the pangram (again) which should have tipped me off sooner that ‘pardon’ was incorrect). Also the slang was not familiar to me in 1a and so the Google search for the writer was much more tedious. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. No Toughie for me today. Despite working ok yesterday the new site now tells me I need to subscribe before allowing me to open today’s puzzle. Yet it knows I am a subscriber as it has remembered my log in details and is happy to show my past Toughie playing history. Go figure as our cousins across the pond would say.
    Needless to say I am still waiting for a response from the “customer service “ people.
    I was excited at the prospect of finally being able to solve Toughies on my ipad but the layout is so poor it looks like I will stick to printing them out as before. Did anyone in the DT tech dept actually try the site out on a tablet? Such a missed opportunity – they had the chance to look at all the competition and do something better but they blew it.

      1. Doesn’t work for me either but I try not to harp on about poor homophones these days because I thought I was getting too predictable.

  4. Done it !! Always a good result for me. I struggled with 7d but dredged the word up from somewhere, once I got it starting with an ‘o’ rather than a ‘p’! 25d was a new one for me, but I could work it out before checking I was right. I liked 13a, 7d, 8d with gold medal to 24d.

  5. Did most of this in a midweek Toughie sort of time, but then went to aids for a couple of bits. An enjoyable puzzle indeed.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch. An enthusiastic yes! to the message under the first spoiler button. And the Indy site is not so very bad, after all.

  6. I had a huge problem with 28a. I got the first name from wordplay and checkers but the second name from just CHAP was a real challenge when looking for some obscure person from the other side of the world who died 26 years ago. Repeated Google attempts eventually got me there. The 1a writer was much more gettable. Despite that I did enjoy the puzzle with lots of smiles along the way.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. i struggled too. I was trying to get it from other variations in the wordplay, including the a and/or food

  7. We liked this quite a lot but found it more difficult than Dutch did (but he does the reviews which means he’s very clever). We’d suggest a 4*/4* rating.

    Our favourite was 3d. We thought the homophone for the nappies was rather bleh but otherwise it was a well-constructed puzzle with some top notch surfaces.

    Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

    1. i feel clever maybe 0.5% of the time in crossword land, and about 0.05% of the time elsewhere. So yes, i gravitate towards crosswords.

  8. I was very slow to get 4d – somehow don’t equate ‘sweet’ with chocolate – and struggled with the unknown 7d. Not too many problems elsewhere although it certainly wasn’t a fast solve.
    Favourite was probably 23a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog. Like Kitty, I’ll be sure to look in on you tomorrow!

  9. We are feeling pleased with ourselves having completed what we found rather challenging, but nonetheless enjoyable.
    Agree with Jane about the sweet.
    My other problem was with 16d which the BRApp has as the plural.
    G got the wrong apology at first.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.
    G: No obscure ancient Greeks were involved in the solving of this crossword 😊

    1. I think the 16d plural is ok. Almost interchangeable. I think you can order the plural or the singular as a course. Is that what you meant? Maybe someone else can chip in.

      1. I agree – like “hors d’oeuvre” and “hors d’oeuvres”. The course that is before (in Italian) or outside (in French) the serious part or parts of the meal.

  10. I did know the food writer. I have one of her books. No hiccups along the way, just a slow solve for the last few and I did need a bit of parsing help. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  11. Do children still use the expression in 24d or is Osmosis showing his age by setting the question and are we by being able to solve it?

  12. Failed in the SE.
    Didn’t get the second name of Elizabeth in 28a. the woman’s name in 21d and the kid’s call in 24d.
    Only 10 letters short of a full grid. Can’t say I have finished.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to Dutch for the explanations.

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