Toughie 2409 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2409

Toughie No 2409 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Did you notice? I didn’t see it coming, which I think makes it all the more clever of Osmosis. A superb grid fill, with two symmetrically-placed names, using reasonably normal words and avoiding words like SYZYGY. Yes, we have a TRIPLE pangram. In retrospect it’s easy to say, ah, that explains this unusual word, etc. – but I confess to being well-impressed, and hence I converted my 4* to 5* for enjoyment. I did need my Chambers for the odd confirmation.

Please leave a comment telling us how you got on, whether you saw the triple pangram, and what you thought of the puzzle.


1a    Area of skin itinerant tapes to thwart blistering (8)
HEATSPOT: An anagram (itinerant) of TAPES goes inside (to thwart) a 3-letter adjective meaning blistering (think weather)

6a    Content of bisque? A kitchen-maid’s to tell (6)
SQUEAK: Hidden (Content of …)

9a    Muslim official that is to say one bedtime prayer finally (6)
VIZIER: The Latin abbreviation for ‘that is to say’ or namely, the Roman numeral for one, and the last letters (finally) of bedtime prayer

10a    Clubs with bar luckily emptied in smart fashion (8)
CLEVERLY: The abbreviation for clubs, a 5-letter bar, and luckily from the clue without the inner letters (emptied)

11a    Juliet and Eliza managed to keep following Romeo that’s hot stuff (8)
JALFREZI: The letter corresponding to the radio code Juliet, then an anagram (managed) of ELIZA contains (to keep) the abbreviation for following plus the letter corresponding to the radio code for Romeo

12a    Congress assembling, with English pair replaced by American (6)
MATING: Take a 7-letter word meaning assembling and replace the EE (English pair) with the single-letter abbreviation for American

13a    Actor passing early runner somewhere in Arizona (5,7)
RIVER PHOENIX: A runner of the banker/flower variety and the capital of Arizona

16a    Jazzman‘s privy with coach, mentioned after depression (4,8)
JOHN COLTRANE: A privy or lavatory, then a homophone of a verb meaning coach follows a depression or mountain pass

19a    Cat from African country changing direction (6)
ANGORA: An African country in which the abbreviation for left is swapped for the abbreviation for right

21a    Public appearance divorcee guaranteed after surgery to back (8)
EXPOSURE: A 2-letter divorcee, then an adjective meaning certain or guaranteed follows the reversal (to back) of a 2-letter abbreviation for surgery

23a    Asian female reported boost in third quarter of year (8)
FILIPINA: a homophone of a 6-letter boost or stimulus, IN from the clue, then the third letter (quarter, since there are 4 letters) of year

24a    Group of players depart in case of emergency (6)
EQUITY: Another word for depart or resign goes inside the outer letters (case) of emergency

25a    Josh reduced disc by variable European (6)
WHEEZE: A 5-letter disc (cars have four of these) without the last letter (reduced), a letter used as an algebraic variable and the abbreviation for European. Not sure what the surface means

26a    Singular gardeners seen here exposed patterned jumper perhaps (8)
SKEWBALD: This jumper is a horse. The abbreviation for singular, the name of famous London gardens (where you might see gardeners), and an adjective meaning hairless or exposed



2d    What about jail to reform prophet? (6)
ELIJAH: A 2-letter exclamation meaning what? goes about an anagram (to reform) of JAIL

3d    Fab Four latterly in dispute (5)
TRIFF: I guess the definition indicates a slang (contracted) answer. The last letter (latterly) in four goes inside (in) a 4-letter dispute or row

4d    French, as expected, broadcast ‘I love you’ unconfined (9)
PARLEYVOO: A 3-letter word meaning norm or as expected (think golf) plus an anagram (broadcast) of iLOVEYOu without the outer letters (unconfined). 

5d    Endless Japanese therapy, guy reflected, relatively gaudy (7)
TACKIER: The reversal (reflected) of a 5-letter Japanese therapy (REIKI) without the last letter (endless) and a slang word for a fellow, especially a jazz-lover

6d    Energy reserves in 19th-best side? (5)
STEAM: If the A-team is the best side, …

7d    A French stream in south-west describing new term average (9)
UNEXTREME: The French word for a, then a river in SW UK goes around (describing) an anagram (new) of TERM

8d    Main network in roof space (8)
ATLANTIC: The abbreviation for a Local Area Network goes inside (in) the room under the roof

13d    Make irregular edges in rococo semi when restored (9)
RANDOMISE: The outer letters (edges) in rococo written as * AND *, then an anagram (when restored) of SEMI

14d    Hat that fellow nowadays regularly prizes going to church (9)
HEADPIECE: A pronoun meaning ‘that fellow’, nowadays as opposed to 2020 years ago, the odd letters in prize and the abbreviation for a church denomination

15d    I don’t like broken window thug half destroyed (4,4)
DOWN WITH: An anagram (broken) of WINDOW plus the first half of thug (half destroyed)

17d    Ancient people‘s prenuptial announcement taking half of news (7)
THEBANS: Take a (3,5) public announcement of an impending marriage and remove one of the two N’s (taking half of news)

18d    Coarse description of some wines by a learner (6)
BRUTAL: A wine descriptor meaning dry, A from the clue and the abbreviation for learner (driver)

20d    Active soldier getting in booze (5)
AGILE: An American soldier gets into a kind of beer

22d    Couple of quagmires disrupting relative’s firework (5)
SQUIB: The first two letters (couple) of quagmires go inside (disrupting) a shortened form of a relative

I liked the two names. Then I enjoyed the relatively simple 2d, 8d and 18d, mainly for their surfaces. 10a feels nicely topical, though i doubt the clue was written that recently. My biggest penny drop was finally seeing AND in 13d. Which were your favourite clues?

30 comments on “Toughie 2409

  1. Yes I did eventually ‘notice’ but too late to help me solve in less than 4* Toughie time, probably because I was held up quite a lot in the SW corner

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  2. I congratulated myself on counting the letters and finding what I thought was a double pangram – I now find from the blog that I should have kept counting! As Dutch says it’s very impressive to compose a ‘triple’ without resorting to very obscure vocabulary.
    Is it my imagination or are we getting many more slang words (e.g. 3d & 4d) in Telegraph puzzles than we used to get?
    Thanks to Osmosis for a fun puzzle and to Dutch for the blog.
    My ticks went to 8d and 15d.

  3. I agree with your assessment completely Dutch. Quite a Tour de Force but by no means a stinker.

    Good to see JC at 16a. People who think they don’t like jazz could do worse than Google his performances of “Greensleeves”, “Chim Chim Cheree” or “My Favourite Things” and have another think.

    Favourite clue 14d because its so typically Osmosis.

    Thanks for the blog and to Osmosis for a super puzzle.

  4. Not a puzzle for me. Too much GK with two long names right across the middle – for people like me who have heard of neither, that is pretty terminal. Several other words were also unfamiliar making it impossible without using electronic aids. No fun at all

    A bad Toughie week for me with a lot of GK in all four puzzles

  5. Definitely needed to have my Chambers at hand while solving.
    All the words that required checking were there.
    Noticed it was possibly a triple pangram but by that time I only had 1a and 4d to go.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the feat and to Dutch for the review.

  6. Managed quite a few but didn’t know 16a. Was working on “loo” rather than the obvious “John”.

    What a blessing these puzzles are and I cannot speak too highly of those who are keeping them coming. Thank you one and all.

  7. Like many words or phrases in the English language down with has come to mean the exact opposite of what it means in the puzzle. Young people today use down with to mean I like it.

  8. I enjoyed this puzzle very much. I had never met 11a before, so had recourse to the BRB to confirm its existence.

    1. It’s a menu item in all our indian restaurants – my favourite, but can be quite hot

    2. It’s fabulous with cucumber and mint raita with garlic & coriander naan – try it, you won’t forget it in a hurry

  9. It was certainly in the ‘that’s a proper toughie’ category for us and good fun all the way through. Needed to confirm 11a but had worked out from the wordplay what it had to be. Twigging that it was a multiple pangram coming up was a help as we knew to expect plenty of high scoring Scrabble letters in our answers.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  10. Hello. I haven’t been around much over the last several months, although I do read the blogs and comments if I have time. It’s been a bad year. I have been caring for my husband who has been in very poor health. He passed away ten days ago. I will get back on track in time. Meanwhile, i just want to say please stay safe through this terrible COVID-19 crisis. You will all be in my thoughts.

    1. Hi Chris,
      I wondered where you’d got to – so very sorry to hear your painful news but thank you for making the time to let us know.
      Stay safe yourself and we look forward to having you back amongst us when you feel up to it.

    2. So sorry to hear of your husband’s death, Expat Chris. My condolences, and welcome back. I stopped lurking a couple months ago, so we’ve not ‘met’. I’m down in Charleston, SC, hoping that you’re well and safe.

    3. Oh gosh Chris. That is sad news. Sorry to hear it. My condolences to you and yours.

    4. So sorry to hear your very sad news. Take care of yourself, and hope you soon feel up to tackling the crosswords.

  11. Before I read Dutch’s explanations and the comments, I’ll confess that I still have EIGHT unsolved clues, but I was over the moon when I solved the two long ‘Name That Person’ clues and thought, smugly, ‘Well, I’ve got this one solved!’ Not so, Mr Pride Goeth Before a Fall! And I had been doing so well with the Toughies. Decided not to ask for electronic help, with the letters. Now to Dutch….

    ….well, my goodness. Never would have arrived at seven of the eight, I fear. Maybe 13d. Over here, BTW, it’s ‘Stewball” (Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Oh, Stewball was a racehorse / And I wish he were mine…”.) Brilliant puzzle. ***** / ***** So there! Thanks to Dutch and to the gifted Osmosis.

  12. A very clever and enjoyable puzzle. You have all no doubt moved on to newer challenges by now, but I do have a question relating to the parsing of 17D. Would not a half of “news” be two letters? Perhaps we are supposed to halve the NN abbreviation for news?

    1. N is an abbreviation for new. remove half of news = remove half the N’s.

      or yes, if you prefer, new = N, news = NN, removing half of that amounts to the same thing. only problem is ( and i’ve never seen this) news could in principle also be NNN, etc.

  13. Surprised 3d and 4d are proper words, and never heard of the therapy, or the horse, nor do I like the truncation in 22d. All very clever, but has left me feeling grumpy. I think I’ve ended up the same way with Osmosis before. Ah well. A shame, as I enjoyed the rest.

  14. Thanks to Osmosis for an excellent crossword without too many obscure words. I managed all but 4d. as the clue was French I was expecting a French word and I would possibly have got parlez vous
    but I had not appreciated that parleyvoo was a word in the English language until I saw your solution and found it in my Chambers D..I did get 11a with the help of my chambers D. as I had not heard of this meal either. My favourites were 13a and 16a both elegantly clued.
    Thank you Dutch for the accompanying illustrations particularly for 14d. where did you get that hat!

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