Toughie 2334 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2334

Toughie No 2334 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Devious, clever and fun! A precise set of cryptic clues from Osmosis which require careful inspection, providing a very rewarding solve. And we have a pangram, of course. Oh, and another. Oh, and another! Wow. It is quite an achievement to fill a grid with a triple pangram without an abundance of words like SYZYGY

As usual, the definitions are underlined. The hints and tips are intended to help you unravel the wordplay. You can reveal the answers by clicking on the click-here buttons. Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Creep about shelter, foremost for homeless from the East (6)
HEELER: Reversal (from the East) of a short word meaning about, a word for shelter and the first letter (foremost) for homeless

4a    School admits new examination board largely deceived pupils? (8)
CONJURED: These pupils are not students. The type of school that admits both sexes contains (admits) the abbreviation for new and the bench of 12 arbiters in a court case without the last letter (largely)

9a    Jim’s French film partner obtains ordinary work units (6)
JOULES: The other person in the title of a must-see Francois Truffaut movie contains (obtains) the abbreviation for ordinary

10a    Maybe Pedro prepared this street map chap’s unfolding during journey (8)
GAZPACHO: A street map plus an anagram (unfolding) of CHAP go inside (during) a 2-letter verb meaning to journey

12a    Charlie raised hand, content to halt contest (3,5)
CUP FINAL: The letter corresponding to the international radio code word Charlie, a preposition meaning raised, the hand of a fish, and the inside letters of (content to) halt

13a    Reporter’s rung flat (6)
STEPPE: A homophone of (reporter’s …) a word meaning a rung

15a    Old financial note passed on by William after question probing food (9,4)
EXCHEQUER BILL: A 2-letter word meaning passed on, as in is no more, then the nickname for William comes after the 2-letter abbreviation for question inside (probing) a word that can mean food (but more usually a shout of approval)

18a    Addicts may have such philosophy: fix can be found in unexpected markets (13)
KATZENJAMMERS: The answer is an imported German word for hangover (though Chambers says it’s North American), literally meaning cat’s misery – the Germans often shorten it to just the first two syllables. A Buddhist philosophy plus a noun meaning a fix or a difficult situation go inside (can be found in) an anagram (unexpected) of MARKETS

22a    This could describe a guitar course — no good packing in after short time (6)
TWANGY: A 3-letter course contains (… packing in) the abbreviation for no good, all after the abbreviation (short) for time

24a    Everyone with uniform gets container of stuff transported in deluge (8)
ALLUVIAL: A short word meaning everyone, the letter corresponding to the radio code Uniform, plus a small container

26a    Other half of writer‘s fleeces once taken on holiday (8)
HATHAWAY: Think Shakespeare. Perhaps an old-fashioned way (once) of saying fleeces or cons, plus a 4-letter word that means ‘on holiday’. I’m not sure about “taken” and I worry “on” is doing double duty, thoughts welcome

27a    Stream data endlessly, given amount of light (6)
INFLUX: An informal word for data without the last letter (endlessly), plus a unit of light

28a    Some seasons, Enid abandoned rose very quickly (8)
ROCKETED: A leaf used as seasoning(?), plus Enid from the clue without the inside letters (abandoned, as in vacated). Any other interpretations?

29a    Book used for playing features part of noughts and crosses game? (6)
EXODUS: An anagram (for playing) of USED contains (features) the two symbols you use in a noughts and crosses game


1d    Appropriate vehicle for rustic touring OK in Germany (6)
HIJACK: A rustic or backwoodsman goes around (touring) the German word for OK or yes

2d    Outfit of crack soldiers seen in film (9)
EQUIPMENT: A crack or joke plus some soldiers go inside (seen in) our favourite movie about an alien

3d    Sad hesitance regularly envelops cricket side (7)
ELEGIAC: The even (regular) letters of hesitance go around (envelops) a 3-letter cricket side

5d    Boycott depressed by love for port? (4)
OBAN: A verb meaning to boycott is held down (depressed) by the score of love in tennis

6d    Heavenly body increased sex appeal in half-exposed pullover (7)
JUPITER: A word meaning increased plus a word meaning sex appeal go inside (in) a 6-letter word for pullover in which 3 of the inside letters are missing (halfexposed)

7d    Upended horse run over (5)
RECAP: The reversal (upended) of a kind of horse

8d    One hovers on the wagon to ensnare felon at large (5,3)
DRONE FLY: A 3-letter word meaning on the wagon or abstinent contains (to ensnare) an anagram (at large) of FELON

11d    Vet medially enters jabs in ailing dog (7)
BASENJI: The central letter (medially) of vet goes inside (enters) an anagram (ailing) of JABS IN

14d    Criminal mate‘s fool to conceal three neighbouring characters? (3,4)
GUN MOLL: Another word for a fool contains (to conceal) three neighbouring letters in the alphabet (now why did I think the letters had to be in order?)

16d    Denis, failing to maintain work, dropped in (9)
INSTILLED: An anagram (failing) of DENIS contains (to maintain) a 4-letter word for work

17d    One draws small boat belonging to lady husband’s shared (8)
SKETCHER: The abbreviation for small, then a kind of boat plus a pronoun meaning belonging to lady, where the abbreviation for husband is shared between the two words

19d    In speaking French with accent, make a deep impression (7)
ENGRAVE: A French word meaning in plus a type of accent (also common in French)

20d    Biannual occurrence in which bovine follows side of slope that’s one in five (7)
EQUINOX: A 2-letter bovine follows the last letter (side) of slope plus a word meaning one in five (identical babies)

21d    Network behind corporation, say, putting pressure on motor brand (6)
PLEXUS: The abbreviation for pressure plus a brand of car

23d    Bygone language investigator associated with extremists (5)
AZTEC: An informal word for a private investigator comes after (is associated with) extremists in the alphabet

25d    Greeting couples midway through Newark tavern (4)
WAVE: The pairs of letters in the middle of Newark and tavern

My favourite clue today was the appropriate vehicle (1d). I also smiled at the slope that was one in five (20d), and I liked “container of stuff” in 24a. But mostly i was in awe of the triple pangram. Which clues did you like?

28 comments on “Toughie 2334

  1. What a very impressive feat to produce a triple pangram whilst keeping the level of entertainment up and the number of obscurities down – I didn’t know the 1a usage or the 18a word.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch. My candidates for the top prizes are 4a, 26a and 1d.
    Chalicea recently told us that the editor had urged setters not to use pangrams because that led to obscure words about which he received complaints from solvers. Osmosis obviously didn’t get that email. :D

    1. Having had a couple of days of less than pleasant printed puzzles, I really hoped there would be something to cheer up my late shift today but it was not the case..

      Sadly, this didn’t. One of my betes-noires are setters who produce tough puzzles to satisfy their whims and then use obscure words accompanied by obscure clues.

      Maybe taking note of how Elgar produces his beasts is in order for some of the wordsmiths around here.

      This lasted five clues and is now sitting in our work recycle bin.

      One of my colleagues has bought me a Take A Break magazine from our shop here to cheer me up. Not sure it will.

        1. Maybe I lost the will to live with it after staring at it for a time.

          I think I am capable of deciding when I have had enough of a puzzle. Thank you for your insight into my solving abilities.

      1. We have a lot of complaints on here that ‘Toughies’ don’t live up to their billing and aren’t very tough at all so when we get a proper Friday Toughie it seems very odd to claim that it’s too tough.
        Personally I found the clues in this puzzle excellent (and certainly more straightforward than most Elgar clues – that doesn’t mean that I dislike Elgar’s clues).

  2. What a remarkable puzzle! I don’t mind admitting that this defeated me, would not have got 18a in a month of Sundays.
    Excellent. Many thanks to Osmosis for a really tough challenge and to Dutch for sorting it all out

  3. Blimey!
    Most of it went in steadily enough but a few resisted for longer [26 and 28a – see below.] I was familiar with 18a from an old newspaper? cartoon – The K…..Kids, and at that point realised something was going on – another J, another Z, hmmm.
    Favourites were as yours Dutch – 24a and 1d, both very cunning.

    However…I’m OK, just, with 26a – fleeces once = fleeceth = hath [as in “he fleeceth all the suckertons”.] But I’m not sure of “taken”. Yet again the surface is improved by compromising the wordplay.

    As for 28a – despite some serious additional cogitation by Mrs H we remain unconvinced. The clue hinges on defining rocket as a seasoning to enable use of the device “Some seasons” Here again reality is stretched so that a decent surface can be preserved. OK with Enid abandoned and the def.

    But what a feat, whilst still a very enjoyable solve.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for an excellent blog.

  4. Wow – I spent more time on google than on the actual solving . 1a, 15a,18a (obvs), 11d ,14d I found somewhat obscure, but got a lot of pleasure in completing it in *****+ time.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  5. Very disappointing end to the week with too many obscurities. Totally beyond me, I’m afraid but here’s to next week. I assume that 18A should be plural and that 3D is a typo? ******/nil for me

    1. Yep, me too. Way too clever for my aging brain, but fair play to those who do understand it all :-)

  6. Oh my – how wonderfully clever – but sadly, this was just a little out of my reach. Unfortunately, there were a good many things that I had not heard of, or was unfamiliar with. Apart from addicts in 18a, I did not know the criminal mate in 14d. I’m not sure what the school is in 4a, and I did not know the colloquialism for the investigator in 23d (nor that the definition in 23d was a language), or the creep in 1a (descriptive though it was), and so the list goes on. However, on looking at Dutch’s review, I am kicking myself for giving up far sooner than I should have. My gaps were mainly in the right hand half, and there were all sorts of gettable clues, but I just couldn’t get a foothold, and knowing that finishing was out of the question, the will to persevere had largely left the building. Ultimately I am disappointed, in large part with myself, in not being able to complete what is clearly a remarkable puzzle. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  7. We managed this but found it tough with a number of obscurities. The top right hand corner needed help from solving aids (TEA etc. but I have no qualms about using those). Indeed, I would have my knuckles rapped if I submitted a pangram but a triple one is certainly a feat, even if some unusual words were the result. Thank you Dutch and Osmosis.

    1. Hi Chalicea,

      I’m sure you wouldn’t have your knuckles rapped! I re-checked the editor’s request about pangrams and I believe it is only Quick puzzles to which he was referring. Toughie setters can breathe a little easier!

  8. After a long time and considerable use of electronic assistance we did eventually end up with a completed grid.
    Clever puzzle? Definitely!
    Enjoyable puzzle? The jury is out for us.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  9. As a big fan of the Monday evening telly quiz programs I wonder how long it will be before losers complain about not having the requisite knowledge to answer the questions. Just a thought.

  10. That was fantastic. We said, “pangram alert” after just two answers. Then when we realised we might have a double pangram on our hands we ploughed on and got there eventually. Putting hideaway in 26a didn’t help but that was soon sorted.

    A real tour de force and extremely good entertainment. I once saw a quintuple pangram cryptic solved on the “Cracking the Cryptic” channel on YouTube, but it seems to have expired now.

    Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

    1. yes, the pentapangram was our friend Maize, Jan 1 2018 in the Independent! Thanks for the video sheffieldsy, it is brilliant!

      a must see, everyone! check it out!! click above !!

      (I really hope osmosis doesn’t mind! I expect he has seen it too, if not, here’s his chance!)

  11. Managed three quarters before turning to the hints. Several of my answers, though correct, needed explanations while as for 15a,..! would never have got that. I know it was a Toughie so cannot complain. Did think 22a was pot though.

  12. I had one of those days yesterday when real life took over from crosswords :( I did about three quarters of this at lunchtime and then returned to it this morning where I used Crossword Solver to get 18a and Dutch’s hints for a number of other clues. Surely if the three characters in 14d are ‘neighbouring’ then that is the order they should appear?

    Clever – yes – but like the Kiwis, my jury is still out as to whether it was enjoyable

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  13. I tend to think that an Elgar puzzle will take care of the weekend and Osmosis seems to be moving into the same league. Still, I don’t like to be defeated, so I persevered and finished today, without electronic assistance but with extensive use of my aging BRB. My favourite was 18a, simply for the beauty of the word. I am now looking for an excuse to slip it into conversation.

  14. Oh dearie me! Actually the only one we got really stuck on was 14d and only needed Dutch’s pic to get it. Not good at spotting pangrams at the best of times, but to miss a triple! (Though the wife says she noticed a surfeit of Js!)
    Things looking up, only 3 days for a 5*!
    Very many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

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