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Toughie 2234

Toughie No 2234 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Dutch is on holiday this Friday and next, although he did manage to make it to S&B XV last Tuesday.

This delightful puzzle was, for me, spoilt by 28 Across. At least half of my time was spent trying to resolve the wordplay of this one clue – I even went as far as checking if any of the 407 recipients of the answer were relevant.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Long path‘s edging drawn with stern authority (8,3)
PILGRIMS’ WAY: the apostrophe can go in either of two places, or not at all, in the name of this long path – the reversal (drawn?) of a three-letter edging followed by four-letter words meaning stern and authority

10a    Crowd start to rally in a symbol of peace (5)
DROVE: the initial letter (start) of R[ally] inside a symbol of peace

11a    Former statesman‘s dismay following rogue casing hotel (9)
CHURCHILL: how we could do with someone like this former statesman today, none of the current bunch come anywhere near his stature! – a five-letter word meaning dismay follows a rogue around (casing) H(otel)

12a    Impassive old Conservative admitted to joint (9)
UNEXCITED: a two-letter word meaning old or former and C(onservative) inside (admitted to) an adjective meaning joint or combined

13a    One-time designer of software avoiding type of driver (5)
PUGIN: this co-designer of the Houses of Parliament can be derived from a type of software, defined by Chambers as “a module or program that is capable of extending an existing program in specific ways” without the L for Learner driver

14a    Times editor leading with the same as the i? (6)
DOTTED: two of the abbreviations for T(ime) and ED(itor) preceded by (leading with) the two-letter shortened version of a word meaning the same

16a    Crooked pair entering need to get cosmetics (3,5)
WAR PAINT: an anagram (crooked) of PAIR inside a word meaning need gives a colloquial word for cosmetics

18a    Popular? I’m surprised work’s given to me! (2,2,4)
IN MY BOOK: a charade of two-letter words meaning popular and “I’m surprised!” followed by a literary work

20a    Meal that’s appreciated by Jack and fiancée on a regular basis (6)
TAJINE: a two-letter word meaning “that’s appreciated” followed by J(ack) and the even letters (on a regular basis) of fiancée

23a    The French academic’s deceived (3,2)
LED ON: the French definite article followed by an academic

24a    Particular sketch intensively read by Brad, say (9)
THUMBNAIL: a verb meaning to read intensively (RD –I managed to avoid the split infinitive!) followed by the type of fastening of which a brad is an example (say)

26a    News updates about corrupt iTunes being out of date? (9)
RUSTINESS: an online feed of news updates (this site has two of these!) around an anagram (corrupt) of ITUNES

27a    Second staple put on back of carpet (5)
TRICE: a staple food preceded by (put on) the final letter (back) of [carpe]T

28a    Laurel and Hardy character might get this (6,5)
GEORGE CROSS: one of my phone-a friends thinks this is a cryptic definition of a laurel or honour which might be gained by a hardy character (thanks) – I looked at and discarded that it might be how Laurel and Hardy might have made Marshall, their film director, feel – either way it’s a pretty poor clue that lets down an otherwise excellent puzzle and caused me to deduct one entertainment star


2d    United‘s latest goalkeeper? (2,3)
IN ONE: a two-letter word meaning latest or in fashion followed by the number usually worn by a goalkeeper

3d    In delight, soldier finds Scottish location (4,3)
GLEN COE: a soldier such as a sergeant or corporal inside a four-letter word meaning delight

4d    Energetic Nicoise revolutionary embracing drive (6)
INCITE: hidden () embracing and reversed (revolutionary) inside the clue

5d    Panda’s injury mark covering large muscle (5,3)
SQUAD CAR: a police vehicle, known as a panda because its original marking resembled that of a giant panda, is derived by putting the mark of an old injury around a large muscle

6d    Dad’s holding up fizzy Cola drink (7)
ALCOPOP: a colloquial word for dad or father after (holding up in a down clue) an anagram (fizzy) of COLA

7d    He’s abroad and on peak, carrying through dream to crack what’s unknown? (6,7)
EDMUND HILLARY: in this partial all-in-one clue the German (abroad) for “and” with a small peak go inside (carrying through) an anagram (crack) of DREAM, followed by a mathematical unknown

8d    Heather needs posh car when taking out male dish in Milan? (8)
LINGUINI: another word for heather (the plant) is followed by the single-letter indication of posh and a small car without (taking out) the M(ale)

9d    Ancient writer, close to ninety, brought in pedestal and reeled about (5,3,5)
PLINY THE ELDER: the final letter of (close to) [ninet]Y inside(brought in) a pedestal and followed by an anagram (about) of REELED

15d    Least confident bird bypassing mass on certain days of the year (8)
TIMIDEST: a three-letter bird goes around (bypassing) M(ass) and certain days of the year in Rome (beware those in March at your peril!)

17d    Settle for discussion in which place? Oxford maybe (8)
FOOTWEAR: a verb meaning to settle a bill is followed by what sounds like (for discussion) a word meaning “in which place” – as well as fabric used for shirts, Oxford is known for this other type of apparel

19d    Remote country home in competition for fuel (7)
BENZINE: the two-letter abbreviation of the remote country that is home to many kiwis and a two-letter word meaning home goes inside a spelling competition

21d    Referee‘s essentially hard on one using teeth (7)
ARBITER: the central letters (essentially) of [h]AR[d] followed by one using their teeth

22d    In the saddle, senior community separately returned to hunt (6)
PURSUE: start with two-letter words/abbreviations for “In the saddle”, senior, and a community and reverse each of them separately

25d    With son moving last, stand up for star group (5)
ARIES: start with a word meaning to stand up and drop the letter S(on) to the end

Anyone who fancies reviewing next Friday’s puzzle, please let me know.


8 comments on “Toughie 2234

  1. More solver-friendly than I’d like in a Friday Toughie, apart from the afore-mentioned 28a

    Thanks to Osmosis and BD

  2. I thought that this was a worthy Friday Toughie where lots of the answers had to be teased out. I enjoyed the whole thing and thought that 19d was clever because there’s another country (not quite so remote) in the answer – which managed to confuse me at first.
    Top clues for me were 14a (for the excellent surface), 5d and 7d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and BD.

  3. Living as close to it as I do, I should have got 1a much sooner. I was so sure the 3 letter “stern authority” was “law” it blinded me to any other interpretation

    28a was a beast. I wasted far too much time searching Thomas Hardy before bunging in the answer which turned out to be right.

    Wasn’t sure about 7d as it gives the impression the gentleman is still alive whereas he died in 2008.

    Thank you BD for your review and Osmosis for 99% of the puzzle.

  4. Gave me a headache and needed some help so thanks for the hints. Agree 28A was a stinker.

  5. I limped along with this. In the end, there were just too many things I hadn’t heard of – some of which I was able to piece together (the long path in 1a for example) and some not (e.g. the one-time designer in 13a). I should have read the blog before attempting 28a (I was nowhere near getting that). I’m so sorry, but not really tops for enjoyment for me, but thanks anyway to Osmosis and Big Dave.

  6. BD is right, there are some really excellent clues in this but I disliked quite a few more than just 28a which I didn’t get and still find unacceptable.

    Alongside that I did not care for 13 and 14across as well as 7, 19 and 22d.

    With particular reference to 19d, I did get the answer from the crossers but is NZ from “remote country” seriously acceptable?

    Thanks all.

  7. Determined to finish this one as I was enjoying it so much but fell at the last few hurdles.
    Couldn’t get 1a as I had the wrong first word for 2d (which I thought made more sense!) and, like JB, was convinced that the second word had to be ‘law’.
    Didn’t know the alternative spelling of 20a, which didn’t matter for the solve but refused attempts at parsing.
    Couldn’t figure out the first part of 24a until I consulted the BRB – one of those words that appears to have two totally opposite meanings.
    No idea as to why 28a was what it had to be – relieved to see from the blog that it wasn’t something clever that I simply missed!

    Thanks to Osmosis for making the old grey matter work hard and thanks to BD for filling in for the Friday fella!

  8. So we weren’t the only ones having trouble justifying 28a. We did find an Aussie by the name of Hardy who received the award but guess that is not what the clue is about. We had 13a wrong. Never heard of the architect but did find on Google PAGAN as a software designer so bunged him in.
    Our two favourites were 7d, NZ’s favourite hero of all time, whose picture is on our $5 note, and 19d although the location is anything but remote from our point of view.
    Found it a pretty tough challenge and again the pangram was a help. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.

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