Toughie 2147 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2147

Toughie No 2147 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A tricky pangram from Osmosis where I found myself reasonably well on-wavelength, though I had to stretch my crossword memory a bit for some of the references

Definitions are underlined. The hints are intended to help you unravel the wordplay but you can always reveal the answers by clicking on the Merry Christmas Everyone! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    A way of cooking swine over scattered ashes (8)
CHASSEUR: A swine or a despicable person goes around (over) an anagram (scattered) of ASHES

6a    Times secretary outside in storms needing alternative route (6)
BYPASS: A word meaning times (as in multiplication), an abbreviation meaning secretary, and the outside letters of storms

9a    Religious movement‘s topics regularly cited in dull retrospective (6)
TAOISM: The even letters (regularly) of topics go inside (cited in) a reversal (retrospective) of a word meaning dull

10a    I’m surprised Carol on piano’s forgetting lines (8)
CORPSING: A 3-letter exclamation of surprise, then a verb meaning to carol follows (on, in an across clue) the abbreviation for the musical term piano

11a    Children, drawing with coloured fluid, start to illustrate European capital (8)
STOTINKI: A reversal (drawing, as is pulling back or withdrawing) of a 4-letter word for children, the coloured fluid you get in pens, and the first letter of (start to) illustrate. I spent some time trying to justify HELSINKI – not that kind of capital

12a    Perhaps Victoria will join son Brooklyn’s neighbour (6)
QUEENS: A Royal exemplified by Victoria and the abbreviation for son

13a    Poet‘s private place to risk meeting maiden in environs of Harlow? (4,8)
JOHN BETJEMAN: The little room, a verb meaning risk or gamble, then the abbreviation for Maiden goes inside (in environs of) the first name of actress Ms Harlow

16a    Type of idyllic landscape having dark brown evergreen tree (9-3)
CHOCOLATE BOX: A word that can mean dark brown, and a 3-letter tree

19a    Loose hair’s found sticking to unknown wine (6)
SHIRAZ: An anagram (loose) of HAIR’S plus an algebraic unknown

21a    City cook overcome by advance payment for short story (8)
ANECDOTE: Post code of the central business area of London, a 2-letter verb that can mean cook (as in I’m going to ** dinner), all inside (overcome by) an advance payment or stake when gambling

23a    Did Labour once stray, backing Miliband Jnr? (8)
AGONISED: A 3-letter word meaning once or past, reversal (backing) of a verb meaning to err or stray, and the first name of Miliband Jnr.

24a    Sarah’s heart is touched by rich old statesman (6)
ARAFAT: The central letters (heart) of Sarah plus (is touched by) a word that normally means plump but can also mean rich

25a    Georgia and Charlie are in line for bequest (6)
LEGACY: The abbreviations for Georgia and Charlie go inside (in) a straight line connecting features in a landscape

26a    Joe‘s actual mother revealed in letter (8)
EVERYMAN: A word meaning actual (as in her **** words) and a 2-letter word for mother go inside (revealed in) the phonetic spelling of the 14th letter in the alphabet


2d    Catch trousers, making hole in suit (6)
HEARTS: A verb meaning to catch what is said, plus the outer letters (making hole, or possibly making hole in) of trousers

3d    Henry initially admitted to strain in period at work (5)
SHIFT: The first letter (initially) of Henry goes inside a verb meaning to strain or sieve. “Initially” could have been omitted with H=Henry being the physics unit of inductance

4d    Small space husband’s given, tucking into nuts and cheese (9)
EMMENTHAL: A small printer’s measure plus the abbreviation for husband tucking into another word for nuts or crazy

5d    Again go up wing on sports ground (7)
RECLIMB: A word that could be a wing (or an arm or a leg) follows (on, not really appropriate for a down clue) a word meaning sports or recreation ground

6d    Informally grill fish above Queen’s Head (3-1-1)
BAR-B-Q: A 4-letter fish sits above the first letter (head) of Queen

7d    Sexed-up ad involved duet (3,2,4)
PAS DE DEUX: An anagram (involved) of SEXED-UP AD

8d    Family member tabloid caught in the act? (3-2-3)
SON-IN-LAW: A homophone (caught) of a UK tabloid paper, IN from the clue, and a legislative act (or perhaps a (2,3) phrase meaning “in the act” i.e. with legislative relevance)

13d    German agreed about ancient golf club being an exotic wood (9)
JACARANDA: The German word of agreement, the Latin 2-letter abbreviation for about, and then a (1,3,1) name of the (royal and) ancient golf club

14d    Soldier lavishly spent ages recollecting service (9)
TABLEWARE: A volunteer soldier, a verb meaning lavishly spent or wasted money, e.g. on a serious night out, and the reversal (recollecting) of a word for a long period of time or ages

15d    Male witch seen during day in European city (3,5)
THE HAGUE: A male pronoun and another word for witch go inside (during) the 3-letter abbreviation for one of the days of the week

17d    Senseless talk — Trump’s mouth action that’s typical of Donald? (7)
TWADDLE: The first letter (mouth) of Trump plus a way of walking typified by the type of animal that is Disney’s Donald

18d    Si tracks taxi, half of them leaving ranks (6)
STRATA: The first halves of Si tracks taxi

20d    Unspecified eye trouble, the latest to be given priority, that’s stinging (5)
ZESTY: Unspecified as in unknown algebraic variable, then an eye inflammation in which the last letter is moved to the front

22d    Log some of military raids northwards (5)
DIARY: Reverse hidden (some of … northwards)

I particularly liked 12a, and 17d made me smile. Which clues did you like?

13 comments on “Toughie 2147

  1. I had a couple of gripes with this one – firstly the ‘on’ in 5d which. as Dutch says, is not appropriate in a down clue and secondly the use of soldier (as opposed to soldiers) for TA in 14d (unless army cuts have meant that there is only one reservist left!).
    My favourite clue was the very neat 12a.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch and a Happy Christmas to both.

  2. Nice puzzle of medium difficulty fro a Toughie – for me, anyway. I went on pangram alert very early on which it proved to be, I resisted bunging in Helsinki which was fortunate. I’ve never heard of that Bulgarian currency but was pleased to confirm electroncally what I had worked out from the cluing – always satisfying, that. There were many enjoyable clues including 10a, 11a, 13a, 16a, 21a, 26a, 13d, 14d, and 18d. That’s quite a list! I think I’ll give first place to 15d.

  3. Learned something new in the use of ‘drawing’ in 11a as well as a new currency in the same clue. Like Dutch, I’d tried very hard to make Helsinki fit the wordplay.

    The singular soldier in 14d worried me a little as did the ‘hole’ in the 2d trousers – more of a chasm I would have thought!

    Top places went to 12a & 17d – the latter in particular raising a smile.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog – season’s greetings to both of you.

  4. Add me to the list of ‘how can I gat Helsinki out of this?’ – the currency, however, was in a Graun last week so as soon as I saw Dutch’s pic, the penny dropped.

    1a with 19a – sounds good to me. 6d – I’ve got the T shirt (set fire to overhanging tree as well), and I admit I sniggered at the diary entry. I know…

    I really enjoyed this so thanks and felicitations to Osmosis and Dutch.

  5. Let me add my compliments of the Season to Dutch and Osmosis – and anyone else who signs in here.

  6. Was 24a really a statesman? I am not impressed by 5d – an ugly word!

    If Gatwick does not let us down, I look forward to meeting you all online in the New Year.

    Happy Christmas everyone!

    1. Well, it depends how you define it. He spent most of his life fighting for a state, whatever you think of him or his cause…

  7. It took us a while to remember the poet in 13a and then remember how to spell his name. A good level of difficulty for a Friday Toughie for us and thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. I’m not going to get around to this, so just dropping in – with apologies and thanks to Osmosis and Dutch – to wish you a very Merry Christmas.

  9. What an excellent puzzle. Thanks to setter for a most enjoyable solve with 4D my favourite today. Happy Christmas to all involved with this great website.

  10. I was another who took a detour to Finland for 11a before arriving in Bulgaria. Needed help from Dutch to finish. Thanks to him and setter.

  11. I agree with Deebee an excellent puzzle, after two weeks of daily hospital visiting and more to come it is a relief to lose oneself in the crossword. Huge thanks to all who run the site and best wishes to all. I really liked 7d, 10a and 13d

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