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Toughie 2278

Toughie No 2278 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Greetings from a fairly damp and miserable Warrington (what’s new? – the locals).

Managed to make it back safely from Germany, although I am having to trot to the clinic for daily antibiotic IV’s due to an infected leg after I had a fall over there. However, it’s something I’m fairly used to, so I try not to let it interfere with things.

The regular Friday blogger is off, so it was nice to be asked to return to my old stamping ground and to do battle with one of the stalwarts of the Friday Toughie slot – Osmosis.

Today’s puzzle is a pangram, as per most Friday Toughies and contains all the usual hallmarks of an Osmosis puzzle. The clues are reasonably sound, with a few definitions to make you think outside the box. All in all, a decent solve and thanks to our setter for his efforts today.

Please let us know what you thought.


1a    Don and Charlie redirected Aussie runner (6)
ASSUME:    A word meaning to take something on is revealed by finding a word for someone who may be termed a ‘right Charlie’ and add to it the reversed (redirected)name of something that runs very fast down under.

4a    Start to suffer in the chest when dropping round, appearing ghostly (8)
SPECTRAL:    The first letter of the word suffer, takes a medical adjective meaning relating to the chest, but without a letter O (dropping round). This gives a word meaning ghostly or spooky.

10a    Long shift female ignored, working in a rut (9)
LUXURIANT:    This was today’s Last One Worked Out. The answer looked fairly obvious from the checking letters, but I couldn’t quite see how it worked at first. A word that means shift or change (as in ‘a state of ___), needs to lose its first letter (female ignored) and add to this an anagram (working) of IN A RUT. This gives a word which means long – I’ve checked a few of the online dictionaries, my BRB doesn’t – I’m not convinced it actually means long – something that is described as luxuriant is usually rich, profuse or abundant, like hair. Time for a heated debate…

11a    Buffoon that I jeered somewhat when retreating (5)
EEJIT:    A word often coined by the late Sir Terry Wogan to describe someone who was a bit of a buffoon, is hidden backwards (somewhat when retreating) inside THAT I JEERED.

12a    Near the main street, American’s put in fuel (7)
COASTAL::    A word meaning by the sea is found by taking the abbreviations for street and American and putting them inside a fossil fuel.

13a    Typical behaviour of boxer, for instance to cough up over by ring (7)
YAPPING:    Not your two-legged boxer, but your four-legged kind, although boxers seem too big to be described as the defined word, it’s usually associated with smaller versions. Take a word whose slang definition may be to cough up and reverse it (over). Add to this a word that means (and rhymes with) ring and you have the answer.

14a    Hard wood, a rumoured item on Asian takeaway menu? (5)
TIKKA:    The name for a type of hard word, plus A, sounds like something you’d have in an Indian restaurant.

15a    Maybe dog’s cross — repelled postman often seen here (8)
DOORSTEP:    A word that describes a dog and if it had a particular cross found in churches, was all reversed (repelled), it would give you somewhere you often find postmen when they give you a letter.

18a    A T. Rex perhaps touching small leaves (8)
ABANDONS:    I’m sure I’ve seen this clue recently in another puzzle. The letter A plus what T.REX is an example of, particularly for those of an age. Add to this a word meaning touching and an abbreviation for small and you’ll get a something meaning leaves.

20a    Nice street contains gym, the bit Sunil mainly uses? (5)
RUPEE:    The name for a street in the city of Nice has an abbreviation for gym inside. This gives a small coin (bit) that could be used by someone called Sunil – although my friend Sunil uses pounds and pence.

23a    Swimmer‘s Afro half-cut roughly (7)
OARFISH:    The name for a seldom-seen creature that swims is revealed by rearranging the letters of AFRO (half-cut). Add to this an indication for something is sort of close to it.

25a    They test beer with disguises, one conceded (1,6)
A LEVELS:    Another word for beer plus a word meaning concealed, minus I for one. This gives you something that tests students.

26a    Needle and threads (5)
PIQUE:    I’m guessing this is a double definition. The first one is fine, anger or umbrage, but the second seems a bit stretchy for me, the BRB gives it as a fabric, so it just about fits the bill.

27a    Male, one that’s dropped off vehicle (9)
BULLDOZER:    The name for a male (animal) plus someone who’s fallen asleep gives the name of an industrial vehicle.

28a    Tax excessively? That’s right for a supremo (8)
OVERLORD:    Take a word that means to stretch someone too much or pile them with work and swap R for A to give the name for a boss or supremo.

29a    Grating good cheese from France (not Belgium), around two pounds (6)
GRILLE:    A word for a grating is revealed by taking G (good) and the name of a French cheese, minus its first letter (the abbreviation for Belgium) and placing it around a pair of L’s (pounds).


1d    Scottish town admits Conservative extremists in the place (8)
ALLOCATE:    The name for a central Scottish town whose soccer team are nicknamed ‘The Wasps’ has C (Conservative) inside and then the first and last letter of ‘the’ (extremists). This gives a word meaning to place.

2d    Carling, say, in a small group showing muscles (3-4)
SIX-PACK:    Two definitions, Carling the other sort, not the rugby player, in a group, plus what you flash if you have muscles.

3d    Author’s character I want to be cast (4,5)
MARK TWAIN:    A famous author can be found by taking something meaning character and adding an anagram (to be cast) of I WANT.

5d    Former US musician Tom joins artist, old member of The Police (5,9)
PETTY CONSTABLE:    The surname of a US rockstar who died almost two years ago is added to the surname of one of the most famous British artists to give a rank of policeman from many years ago.

6d    Yes-man’s language quiet (5)
CREEP:    The name for a (Native American) language takes P (quiet) to give the name for a yes-man.

7d    Soldier, and little woman with reserve, celebrate (7)
REJOICE:    A standard abbreviation for a soldier plus the name of one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women plus a word for reserve or sang-froid gives something meaning to celebrate.

8d    Makes redundant from brick-building firm outside Teesside, in post (4,2)
LETS GO:    The name of a famous brick building firm from Denmark goes round the postcode for the Teesside area and gives a phrase meaning to be made redundant.

9d    Titled brat Theo, having rampaged, summoned into court (6,2,3,3)
CALLED TO THE BAR:    A phrase meaning you are invited to court is found by taking a word meaning titled or name and adding an anagram (having rampaged) of BRAT THEO.

16d    Sun erred unfortunately — editor’s last to resign (9)
SURRENDER:    An anagram (unfortunately) of SUN ERRED, plus the last letter of EDITOR reveals a word meaning to resign or give up.

17d    Releases placed on Spotify primarily at no cost (4,4)
SETS FREE:    A phrase meaning releases can be found by taking a word meaning place and adding S (first letter of Spotify) and another one meaning at no cost.

19d    Academic libertine touring Quebec in flamboyant style (7)
BAROQUE:    An abbreviation associated with someone who is an academic plus the name for someone who is a libertine or louche gentleman has the NATO alphabet letter associated with Quebec inside. This gives an ornate and flamboyant architectural style.

21d    Snack before tea, reportedly taking the third out of eagerness (7)
PRETZEL:    Something to eat that’s a snack if small and crispy, but can also be large and doughy is formed by taking a prefix meaning before, adding a homophone (reportedly) of tea and a word meaning eagerness, minus its third letter (which is A).

22d    Ridicule her rear wheels (3-3)
POO-POO:    An expression meaning to ridicule (frequently now seen with H at the end of each part) is found by taking the name for the rear (deck) of a ship and adding two O’s (wheels)

24d    Model regularly fiddles with nails, losing odd bits (5)
IDEAL:    A word meaning model or paragon is found by taking alternate letters (regularly) from FIDDLES and losing the odd letters from NAILS.

What did you think? I’d say typically Osmosis in style and content. I’d like to hear your thoughts below. See you again soon.


28 comments on “Toughie 2278

  1. I didn’t enjoy this as much as previous Osmosis crosswords – the RH side was a lot more friendly than the left, especially the NW corner. I was helped by realising that it had to be a pangram, although the whole definitely wasn’t Friday-level-toughness

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Tilsit – I’d agree with you about the definition/solution not matching in 10a

  2. This was on the gentle side for a Friday Toughie but enjoyable.
    I didn’t know either the 5d police officer or the 26a threads but both could be solved from the checkers and other bits of the clues, then looked up.
    The clues I liked best were 1a, 12a and 22d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit.

  3. My online dictionary has 23a as a 2 letter word with a hyphen but I put it in anyway and I was right. Agree with the reservations about 10a and 26a but all was forgiven by the lovely reminder of Sir Terry in 11a. and the evocative 2d!

    Thank you Osmosis and Tilsit. I hope the leg heals quickly.

  4. A mixed bag of clues today with some fairly straightforward, others like 10A not so good and generally found it a bit of a struggle. Agree with JB so my COTD is 11A . ****/**

  5. Definitely on the mild side for a Friday – but hard enough to give me a good workout. Like others, I had trouble with 10a. I can’t stretch it to mean ‘long’ myself. I’ll have 22d as my favourite since it made me laugh, but then, so did 11a..

  6. Enjoyed this but baffled by the hard wood in 14a. Have scoured my BRB [12th ed] with no luck. Can anyone help/am I being dim?
    Agree that 10a [hair, foliage, etc] usually means something more than long. 26a seems legit to me.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit.

  7. A bit of an anti-climax to a very good Toughie week (for me, at least). My unknown words / GK count jumped up (relative to the other puzzles this week) making life difficult. I struggled with 14a as most people around here pronounce the Indian dish so as to rhyme with licker not leaker. The use of Asian rather than Indian made me suspect we were looking for a Thai or Malaysian dish but I can only blame myself for that mistake.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Tilsit

    1. I hesitated to write it in at first as I’d pronounce the dish to rhyme with ticker

      1. I hesitated too for the same reason, although we don’t have much Tikka where I live – the preferred dish is Chicken Tarka. It’s very similar, but ‘otter.

          1. Love the joke because you would then appreciate my confusion when, in Devon, I saw “Steak and Otter Pie”. Turns out there is an Otter ale. Relief all round.

    2. It’s ‘teaka’ in these parts; if I said ‘ticka’ in the curry house I suspect they’d think I was extracting the water
      They pronounce it ‘dee-KAH’ in the local Tandoori

  8. A couple of new things for me in 26a & 5d and another couple that I didn’t find very convincing – 10a plus the choice of a boxer for 13a.
    Ah well – let’s see what next week brings.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Tilsit for the blog.

  9. I’ve only just started this puzzle, but on reading the hint for 1 across I’m wondering if the wrong words have been underlined for leading us to the definition?

  10. North west corner last to yield. My first dog Nelson was a boxer and he certainly did not yap. My favourites match those of Gazza. Thanks to Tilsit and Osmosis

  11. This was a nice way to end the week.

    We took Sunil to be a reference to Sunil Gavaskar, the great Indian batsman, who would certainly use rupees. We’ve never heard of the police officer before and we concur with the reservations about 10a. Our BRB has piqué as “a stiff corded cotton fabric”, so that one worked for us.

    Our favourite was 1d for the misdirection – we spent far too long trying to crowbar the outer letters of Conservative into the answer.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Osmosis.

  12. 1d was one of our least favourite type of clue. The names of small, obscure, Scottish towns is not something we put on our list of things to remember. We also had doubts about the definition in 10a but it had to be right from the checking letters. We did pick the pangram which was a help when we got to the SW and still needed a Q.
    Thanks Osmosis and Tilsit.

  13. Oh how I enjoyed this one. I rarely finish a Friday Toughie, but this one was put to bed either side of our evening meal. After quite some months of trying I think I can now appreciate Osmosis’s way of thinking. Too many good clues to list – just enjoyment from beginning to end – my end being with clues 22 & 23. Thanks Osmosis and thanks also to Tilsit – I needed to check some of my answers against your hints to be certain that my thinking was correct.

  14. Definitely easier than Wednesday’s and Thursday’s toughies but very enjoyable.
    Had to check the Scottish town which sounds very Hawaiian to me.
    Always thought that 21d started with a B.
    Favourite 11a. Great rekrul and great word.
    Thanks to osmosis and to Tilsit for the review.

  15. I’d agree with jean-luc regarding this being easier than Wednesday’s and Thursday’s puzzles, but still a reasonable workout and I enjoyed solving it too.

    Thanks to Tilsit and Osmosis.

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