Toughie 2298 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2298

Toughie No 2298 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another tightly-clued puzzle by Osmosis with lovely surface readings. I kicked myself realising I could have made my life quite a bit simpler in SE by using the pangram

Definitions are underlined as usual. The hints and tips are intended to help you untangle the wordplay. You can reveal the answer by clicking on the Friday 13th! buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Platform number one in station covered with decaying matter off the wall (7)
ROSTRUM: The first letter (number one) in station is covered with a 3-letter word for decaying matter plus a word for off the wall or strange

5a    Strive to get drink back, half emptied by men fighting (4,3)
PUSH FOR: reversal (back) of a verb meaning drink, ‘half’ without its middle letters (emptied) by an abbreviation for fighting men

9a    Offensive second-rate books written by unknown (5)
BLITZ: A letter signifying second-rate, a 3-letter abbreviation for the world of books, plus an algebraic unknown

10a    Heroic woman played banjo with head shaven, high-flyers in company recalled (4,2,3)
JOAN OF ARC: An anagram (played) of (b)ANJO without the first letter (with head shaven), then a reversal (recalled) of a service of high-flyers inside (in) the abbreviation for company

11a    Cheery conman unloading the latest in exercise and six-pack obtainable (2,3,5)
UP FOR GRABS: A 2-letter word for cheery, another word for counterfeiter without (unloading) the latest letter in exercise, plus a casual word for the muscles in a six-pack

12a    It goes back before the origins of Mother Earth (4)
TIME: A poetic all-in-one. A reversal (goes back) of IT from the clue plus the first letters (origins) of the last two words in the clue

14a    New Orleans contains scope for posh city dweller (6,6)
SLOANE RANGER: An anagram (new) of ORLEANS contains another word for scope

18a    Relations, small in number, describing some horror films (12)
BLOODTHIRSTY: A word implying all one’s genetic relations plus the abbreviation for small inside (in) a multiple of ten

21a    Teacher with uniform that sumo puts away? (4)
UDON: The letter with the radio code Uniform plus a teacher or professor. The definition suggests Japanese food

22a    Working name represented British joiner, minor trader (3-3,4)
ONE-MAN BAND: A 2-letter word meaning working, an anagram (represented) of NAME, the abbreviation for British, and a word used as a joiner

25a    Little female, covering, strains to pick up a particular printer (3,6)
DOT MATRIX: The shortened form of a woman’s name, a floor covering, and a homophone (to pick up) of a word meaning strains or sprains

26a    Old writer endlessly probed by a shrink (5)
QUAIL: An old writing implement without the last letter (endlessly) contains (probed by) the letter A from the clue

27a    Music sung rhythmically, vainly and quickly (7)
RAPIDLY: A style of rhythmically spoken music(?) plus a word meaning vainly

28a    Mum, street resident after supplier of milk, potential life-saver (3,4)
MAE WEST: A 2-letter version of Mum, then the abbreviation for street is there after an ovine supplier of milk


1d    Cancel game, contest between two lightweights? (3,3)
RUB OUT: The game played with funny-shaped balls plus a contest in a sport where lightweights is a class (the question mark suggests lightweights is an exemplification)

2d    Suspect at station outwardly arrogant (6)
SNIFFY: The outer letters (outwardly) of station plus a word meaning suspect. As the ‘with’ in 21a, the ‘at’ here could mean at either side

3d    Flatten accumulating earth with stableman’s sharp implement (5,5)
RAZOR BLADE: A word for flatten (as in a building, for example) contains (accumulating) another word for earth or globe plus a word meaning stableman

4d    PM — accountant leaves island (5)
MAJOR: The abbreviation for accountant leaves a Balearic island

5d    Improvise drama, extra filling in part (4,2,3)
PLAY BY EAR: Another word for a drama performance, a cricket extra, and the central letters (filling) in ‘part’

6d    Student beginning to work in boozer (4)
SWOT: The first letter (beginning) of work goes inside (in) a person who drinks a lot

7d    Source of foul language absorbs American flier (8)
FLAMINGO: The first letter (source) of foul, then a slang word for language contains (absorbs) a 2-letter abbreviation for American

8d    Star may be discovered by this technology item which spices up track (8)
ROCKETRY: A spicy salad leaf plus the abbreviation for track or railway

13d    Brand of car embodies money seen on one island (10)
MARTINIQUE: A brand or make especially of a car contains (embodies) a slang word for money plus the Roman numeral for one

15d    Furious about European pinching lady’s shade (5-4)
ASHEN-GREY: A 5-letter word meaning furious contains (about) the abbreviation for European, and also contains (pinching) a female pronoun

16d    More ridiculous bends on road during Lincoln runs (8)
ABSURDER: Two types of bends plus the abbreviation for road go inside (during) President Lincoln’s shortened first name, then the abbreviation for runs

17d    Single by soprano with excellent set of pipes (4,4)
SOLO STOP: A 4-letter word meaning single-handed, the abbreviation for soprano plus another word for excellent or best

19d    Cleaner hoovered perhaps and quit (6)
VACATE: Quit in the present tense. A generic informal shortened form of a suction-based cleaning apparatus, plus a verb that could mean hoovered as in ingested

20d    Out to lunch, French department shares (3,3)
ODD LOT: A word meaning out to lunch or strange, plus a French department that I haven’t seen for a while in crosswordland

23d    Saying ‘I’m the greatest’ shows priority wrong (5)
MAXIM: Split (3,1’1) and placing the last bit first (correcting the wrong priority) would result in “I’m the greatest”

24d    Parking fine daughter settled (4)
PAID: The abbreviation for parking, a way of saying fine or excellent, plus the abbreviation for daughter

I liked the bends (16d). My favourite is the poetic all-in-one (12a)

13 comments on “Toughie 2298

  1. There seems to have been a problem today at Telegraph Towers …

    … in the on-line version the enumeration for 22a changed from (3-3,4) to (7,4).

    My “saved” solutions disappeared … no best time was recorded etc, etc.

    Anyway, I enjoyed doing it twice!

  2. A very enjoyable puzzle although unusually gentle for a Friday. There were only two unfamiliar words to me (pipes in 17d and shares in 20 down) and, since they did not cross, were guessable from the cryptic clue. I also manage the back pager without needing to look anything up. No aids needed on a Friday is a rarity for me! So an enjoyable day for me in Telegraph crossword land.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  3. A pangram on the Toughie spectrum (even if not quite up to a hoped for Friday difficulty level)

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  4. After finishing the other three Toughies this week I was really looking forward to the Friday challenge but, unfortunately, I just could not get on the setter’s wavelength at all. The fact there was a pangram does not help when you have only solved four clues in an absolute age!! I am in awe of anyone who finds this “unusually gentle”!!! Sorry but, for me, at least 5* for difficulty and very little enjoyment. Here’s to next Tuesday!!

  5. I got along famously with the top half of this one and then slowed considerably, coming to a complete halt with the likes of 25a, 17&20d plus the ‘vainly’ part of 27a. Resisted the temptation to seek help from the hints and finally crossed the line with an immense feeling of satisfaction.
    Podium places went to the bunch of four that comprised 11,12,14&18a

    Thanks to Osmosis for just about letting me win and to Dutch for the review and hints, to which I almost succumbed!

    1. Completely forgot to ask – are you back home now, Dutch, or still writing to us from a hospital bed?

  6. I enjoyed this enormously – and it was plenty difficult enough for me! I, too, would have found the SE corner a little quicker to sort out had I recognized that a pangram was a distinct possibility. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  7. Not too difficult for a Friday so was within my solving ability. Luckily we visit friends in that French department. 21a was my top pick today.

  8. A nice level of challenge and spotting the pangram was certainly a help when we reached the SE corner.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    An interesting aside.
    We were not quite sure of the definition for 20d so were doing a quick check in BRB. To our horror we found the following definition, “n (stock exchange) a block of less than one hundred shares.” Surely it should be FEWER and not LESS. What is the world coming to!

    1. the less said the fewer the problems. Being pedantic it is only the spotting of a high probability of a pangram that can aid a solver!

    2. Normally would be with you on the less v fewer, but here there is something about the fact that the shares are in a block, rather than individual, that makes less sound preferable.

  9. Well, I know I wasn’t well yesterday but looking at this over my morning coffee leaves me in awe of anyone who even started to solve this puzzle. I just couldn’t get started at all. Congratulations to those who not only started but finished it!

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