Toughie 2314 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2314

Toughie No 2314 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another high-quality pangram by Osmosis. Very enjoyable

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    World leaders in the room more flexible — an effect of satisfying congress? (5,6)
EARTH TREMOR: Another word for our world, the first letters (leaders) of The Room, and an anagram (flexible) of MORE

7a    Aromatic diva endlessly loathsome (7)
CHERVIL: A famous singer and a 4-letter word meaning loathsome without the last letter (endlessly)

8a    Did Sally order limeade periodically? (7)
SORTIED: A verb meaning order plus the even letters (periodically) in limeade

10a    River in Wales son’s seen first (5)
SWALE: In Wales, move the abbreviation for son to the start (seen first). I now know this river in Yorkshire flows into the Ure, which then becomes the Ouse, emptying into the North sea via the Humber Estuary

11a    Lawyer involved in sauce with ‘X’, an act of betrayal (5,4)
JUDAS KISS: An abbreviation for an American lawyer goes inside (involved in) the French word for sauce or gravy, followed by a gesture of intimacy written as X

12a    Roundabout and ring road of a kind leads to Staffs town, as satnav says? (7)
OBLIQUE: The letter that looks like a ring, a single-letter type of road, and a homophone (as satnav says) of a town in Staffordshire (just next door to Macclesfield)

14a    State tax returns are false (7)
ERITREA: Reverse (returns) a verb meaning tax, plus an anagram (false) of ARE

15a    Old form of verse in Etruscan — it’s especially reflective (7)
SESTINA: Reverse hidden (in … reflective)

18a    Dance half of Mr Blue Sky non-stop with spirit (7)
MAZURKA: The first half of Mr, a 5-letter kind of blue without the last letter (non-stop) plus a 2-letter ancient Egyptian spirit or soul

20a    Majestic king seen in pictures sporting crown (5,4)
GRAND PRIX: A word for majestic, then the Latin abbreviation for king goes inside (in) an informal word for pictures

21a    International corporation that’s kept following revolutionary civilian (5)
MUFTI: The reversal (revolutionary) of: the abbreviation of international plus an informal word for corporation or belly containing (that’s kept) the abbreviation for following

22a    Finn races perhaps, getting messy gear dry back in sauna (7)
REGATTA: A Finn is a small boat designed by a Swede. An anagram (messy) of GEAR, an abbreviation for dry or non-drinking, plus the last letter (back) in sauna

23a    Tot with deficient language becoming confused (7)
ADDLING: A verb meaning tot plus an informal word for language without the last letter (deficient)

24a    Musical comedienne‘s wheel clamped by faceless traffic warden (5,6)
ETHEL MERMAN: The (steering) wheel on a boat goes inside (clamped by) a word for a male variety of traffic warden without the first letter (faceless)




1d    Yankee somehow able to penetrate the Spanish orbit? (7)
EYEBALL: The letter referred to by radio code Yankee plus an anagram (somehow) of ABLE go inside (to penetrate) the Spanish for ‘the’

2d    Continually holding light to elevate theatrical show (5)
REVUE: Reverse (to elevate) a 3-letter poetic word for continually containing (holding) a 2-letter abbreviation for a type of light. Took me quite a while to move away from the 4-letter word meaning continually

3d    Bible-basher spreading joy in miserable place (4,3)
HOLY JOE: An anagram (spreading) of JOY goes inside (in) a dive or miserable place

4d    Remains on United’s boring team (7)
RESIDUE: A short word meaning on, then the abbreviation for United goes inside (boring) a word for team

5d    Male on boat with dog, top swimmer (4,5)
MARK SPITZ: The abbreviation for male, a 3-letter boat, and a breed of dog (I spent too long trying to parse MERE SWINE, an old word for dolphin or porpoise!)

6d    Prince having extra shower (7)
RAINIER: A Prince of Monaco whose name could also mean ‘having extra shower’

7d    It’s sweet and sour fried fish, earlier discarded (6,5)
CASTOR SUGAR: An anagram (fried) of SOUR plus a 3-letter fish, but first (earlier) a word meaning discarded or shed

9d    Policemen, as expected, withering and scornful (11)
DISPARAGING: An abbreviation for policemen (including the S to make it plural), a word meaning as expected (in golf perhaps), plus a word meaning withering or past one’s prime

13d    Fabulous game from pound bin (9)
QUIDDITCH: A slang word for a pound plus a verb meaning to bin

16d    Shop’s exterior Xmas tree feature promoting the latest glitter (7)
SPANGLE: The outer letters (exterior) of shop, then the lady who sits atop a Christmas tree with her last letter (the latest) moved up a space (promoted)

17d    High-class transport carrying missives primarily? (7)
AIRMAIL: A 2-character adjective meaning high-class and a type of transport containing (carrying) the first letter (primarily) of missives


18d    Collection of songs in taxi played by Mike before training (3,4)
MIX TAPE: An anagram (played) of TAXI goes in between (in) the letter represented by the radio code Mike and an abbreviation for training or exercise

19d    Cut-throat Muscovite, maybe, very loudly overpowering small son (7)
RUFFIAN: A national exemplified by a Muscovite with the music abbreviation for very loudly replacing (overpowering) the abbreviations for small and son

21d    US mother clutches extremely delicate electronic device (5)
MODEM: A casual US word for mother contains (clutches) the outer letters (extremely) of delicate

My favourite was of course 1a with its brilliant definition. Plenty of other excellent clues – which ones did you like?

29 comments on “Toughie 2314

  1. Lots of good clues but if you knew the right ‘stuff’ it was more of a Friday back pager than a Friday Toughie. There is a River 10a in Kent too. Too many clues I liked a lot to pick just one for favouritism.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  2. Am I missing something in 16d? “Promoting” suggests moving something up [in a down clue] but the letter e is moved down??
    But great fun to solve. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

      1. Ah, yes ‘the latest’ is the more likely intended parsing. i think I wasn’t paying attention to which way things were moving!

      2. Gotcha – thanks Gazza. So it’s “the latesT” rather than “thE” latest. Still a tad ambiguous, or maybe just crafty!

        1. Yes, sorry, I think it’s just the latest as in the last letter of angel. I’ll correct the hint when I’m near a pc.

  3. An enjoyable Friday Toughie – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch. For a change I knew all three US names but I had to check that aromatic can be a noun (7a) and the old verse form (15a).
    I ticked 14a, 20a, 4d and 13d but favourite (and probably clue of the month) has to be the outstanding, titter-producing 1a.

  4. Maybe trying to solve the Toughie at the same time as watching the rugby made this seem more difficult than it was.

    I liked satnav says as a new variant for sounds like in place of the established broadcast or on the radio. Shame I’d never heard of the town.

    My favourite was probably 9d. Least favourite: 1d. Factually incorrect. Like confusing an egg cup and an egg.

    All much easier having taken Dutch’s advice and started using Chambers.

    Thanks to all

  5. I found this very difficult. I got 21d immediately and then stared at the grid for what must be close to the time I took to finish Wednesday’s toughie. Eventually I got the Harry Potter one and then made progress. Far too many clues involved GK requiring great effort to recall or not known at all. There were more clues drawing a groan than a smile and I found this a long dull slog

    I am not sure of the definition for 1a. I learnt the sexual meaning of congress in a crossword quite recently and can think of an interpretation along such lines but it does not seem very Telegraph like. If I am off course I would be grateful for correction

  6. Very satisfying week for toughies.
    Just one solution bunged in.
    12a. Didn’t know the town and have never heard a satnav being 100% pedestrian.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  7. I always thought the first word of 7D was spelled with an E rather than an O. Apart from that, and having to confirm a couple of my answers with Google, i didn’t have too much trouble. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. Re 7d, the BRB gives both spellings under the ‘o’ version, both for the sifter and the wheels on furniture.

  8. an enjoyable Toughie.I was worried about the answer to 7d but after checking first my larder and then Google I discovered there are two valid spellings,who says crosswords aren’t educational.

    1. Two dictionary spellings there may be, but it remains a fact that caster sugar is meant to be used in a sugar caster. Led me astray anyway! – search silver sugar caster on google

      1. Welcome to the blog – I actually went off to look in the cupboard to see whether Mr Sainsbury agreed with me that the word should have an E rather than an O and he agreed with me. He obviously hadn’t looked in the dictionary either!

  9. I did enjoy this. However, it was right at the edge of my capability level, and no back-pager lookalike for me. The right half went in first (very slowly) and it took me a very long time to find a way into the left half. For the first time ever, I think, I saw the probability of a pangram and used it to winkle out some of the hold-outs. I found it very satisfying to complete this without having to throw in the towel. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch. I found this to be just the level of Toughie I like. Plenty of penny-drop moments and lateral thinking. I still don’t understand the traffic warden in 24a, though. Favourites were 20a, 21a and 17d.

  10. We struggled of course with the geography for 10a and 12a but the rest of the GK was all stuff that we did know. Not a quick solve for us but eventually everything satisfactorily put together.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  11. Nothing like a back-pager for me, and I’m on this setter’s wavelength. Most of the clues had to be worked out slowly and methodically, and it was great to see phrases such as 3d, 11a and 19d in a crossword, for the first time in my experience. I suspected that 1a was saucy, and it was my favourite clue, but there were plenty of other excellent ones. Thanks as ever, Osmosis. (Not sure if the satnav reference works, but at least it was an attempt to try something different from ‘one hears’ etc.)

  12. I’ll have to admit I was well and truly beaten by this. Even with the hints I struggled to understand the answers. The boat in 22a was so obscure and the people in 24a and 5d were so “last year”. 1a was amusing.
    Oh well, another day another dollar!

  13. I started this one late, so had to carry a few clues over to this morning. A really good puzzle which I recognised as a pangram once I got the swimmer in 5d.

    I didn’t know the word in 15a or the entertainer in 24a, but derived them and then googled.

    I’d say *** difficulty and favourites were 11a, 18a, 22a, 3D and 18d. And of course 1a once Dutch explained it!

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  14. Very Poor. How on earth can satisfying congress mean earth tremor. Looked at the other answers & just disappointed. Not doing any more Osmosis crosswords. There are better compilers mid week. Why does he/she always get the Saturday gig.

    1. if you look up congress in the dictionary, you’ll find that one of the meanings is an activity where you might be asked ‘did the earth move for you?’

      Also this was the Friday Toughie so I’m not sure why you think Osmosis always gets Saturday crossword spots

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