Toughie 2433 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2433

Toughie No 2433 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A solid puzzle by Osmosis although I was put off slightly by not quite understanding 17a. It was my last one in and I assumed (correctly) that I needed an X, but that was just fortuitous as I don’t actually see a pangram today. My K has gone AWOL! What is the world coming to?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a    Austin welcomes sextet, regularly presenting musical piece (10)
ALLEGRETTO: A type of Austin contains the even letters (regularly) of sextet

6a    Governor abroad somewhat open to spin (4)
RAJA: A reversal (to spin) of a word meaning somewhat open, as a door might be

9a    Egotistic American attached to endless fluffy adornment (7)
POMPOUS: A 2-letter abbreviation for American follows a 6-letter fluffy adornment without the last letter (endless)

10a    Such a non-negotiable issue visibly embarrassed business (3-4)
RED-LINE: A word meaning visibly embarrassed, and a word for the business or trade that you are in

12a    Churchman heard ceremony run non-stop with curtains at the back (5,8)
RIGHT REVEREND: A homophone (heard) of a ceremony, the abbreviation for run, a word meaning non-stop or always, and a word meaning curtains as in close or finish. With … at the back just indicates the position of the last piece of wordplay

14a    Scientific fellow eats OK food items at greasy spoon? (3-3)
FRY-UPS: A 3-letter abbreviation for an honour bestowed on a prestigious scientist (Fellow of the Royal Society) surrounds (eats) an informal term of agreement

15a    Tongue obtained from farm animal having rested over time (3,5)
PIG LATIN: A 3-letter farm animal, then a 4-letter word meaning rested in a horizontal position covers (over) the abbreviation for imetay

17a    Pencil abstract drawn by European in place of pictures? (8)
CINEPLEX: Not convinced, but I think we have an anagram (abstract) of PENCIL, then a drawn symbol that means by, as in multiplied by, with an insertion (in) of the abbreviation for European. Not pretty, I’d much prefer in to be a link, and can anyone offer a better explanation for drawn

See comments 3&4: Maybe drawn (as in “pulled back”) indicates the reversal of “by European”

19a    On desk sat striking characters latterly somewhere in E. Europe (6)
ODESSA: Last letters missing (striking characters latterly) from the first 3 words on the clue

22a    Gets the better of bloke in public works (13)
OUTMANOEUVRES: A 3-letter bloke goes in between (in) a word meaning public or in the open and a word for works (of art)

24a    Rescue vessel called to help a backward region in Greece once (7)
ARCADIA: A homophone (called) of a 3-letter biblical rescue vessel then a reversal (backward) of a word meaning help plus A from the clue

25a    One doesn’t fantasise about meeting celebrity type (7)
REALIST: A short word meaning about or pertaining to is joined to (meeting) a (1-4) descriptor of celebrities

26a    Facetiously, ageing luvvie’s first to go through lines (4)
OLDE: The first letter of luvvie to go inside (through) some lines of poetry

27a    Digital features men employed on decks as an alternative to Iron Maiden? (10)
THUMBSCREW: Two digital features on your body plus the word for staff on a boat


1d    Peaks when breaking record? Just the opposite (4)
ALPS: An abbreviation for a vinyl record goes inside (breaking) a 2-letter word meaning when, rather than the other way around (just the opposite)

2d    Hit on nose saving English swimmer that wriggles (7)
LAMPREY: A 3-letter verb meaning to hit and a 3-letter verb meaning to nose or intrude containing (saving) the abbreviation for English

3d    US actor‘s type of medal as expected grabbed by Depp drunkenly (6,7)
GEORGE PEPPARD: A medal for gallantry, then a word for standard or as expected (think golf) inside (grabbed by) and anagram (drunkenly) of DEPP

4d    Fake tigers at zoo fences (6)
ERSATZ: Hidden ( … fences)

5d    Macho aggression upset Mike, chap that’s often eaten at curry-house (8)
TURMERIC: The reversal (upset) of a time of sexual excitement for deer, the letter with the radio code Mike, and a man’s name

7d    Email to cook books table (7)
ALIMENT: An anagram (to cook) of EMAIL plus some biblical books

8d    Scot managed brae above local river with local man? (10)
ABERDONIAN: An anagram (managed) of BRAE then a river local to the answer then a typically Scottish (local) male name

11d    Operetta? Pop off — left quickly, certain to return to collect mother (3,10)
DIE FLEDERMAUS: A verb meaning pop off, a 4-letter verb meaning left quickly, then a reversal (to return) of a word meaning certain containing (to collect) a short word for mother

13d    With temperature excessive, lie in areas by work fan (10)
AFICIONADO: With the abbreviation for temperature missing, a 7-letter word for untruth or lie is in between (in) two abbreviations for area, then a 2-letter verb that can mean work

16d    Once fallen at the front, troops are praised here (8)
CENOTAPH: A nicely topical commemorative all-in-one. An anagram (fallen) of ONCE, then the first letters (at the front) of the rest of the clue

18d    Did Mark like particular cakes? (7)
NOTICED: Split (3,4), the answer could describe some cakes

20d    Sister eats turkey that is with more sauce (7)
SASSIER: An abbreviation for a sister or nurse contains (eats) a turkey or fool and the Latin abbreviation for that is

21d    Status removed from rock band by odd business-ready group (6)
QUORUM: Remove “Status” from a 2-word rock band and add a word meaning odd

23d    Maybe Scouse son returned tearful (4)
STEW: The abbreviation for son and a reversal of a word that can mean tearful or soppy

My favourite today was the commemorative all-in-one (16d), but I also really liked fantasising about a celebrity (25a). Which clues did you like?

35 comments on “Toughie 2433

  1. What a trip down memory lane! Does anyone else have “fond” memories kangaroo hopping in a 1a? I taught my children to drive in one and then thankfully returned to an automatic. 3d was pretty old hat too. Was he in anything after “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with Audrey Hepburn?
    COTD has to be 24a. An alternative pop group?

      1. Yes, but it was always so difficult to see beyond Mr T. that I’d forgotten who else was in it!

  2. An interesting week where the toughiest crossword was the Dada on Tuesday. We are living in very strange times indeed. Even though this one turned out not to be a pangram, thinking it might be did help with solving 17a which I parsed as Dutch did in the hints

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

    1. Hi Sue,
      Re yesterday, we shall know by the end of the month if and when we can reopen. Time for the government to print out a 50 page book on how we should proceed.

  3. I thought 17a ‘drawn’ meant reversed as in carried behind to get from ‘by E’ to EX

  4. I spent some time wondering what had happened to the missing K – had it been there originally but replaced at a late stage? I even checked whether the spicy 5d could be spelt with a final K.
    For 17a I thought that ‘drawn’ might be being used as a reversal indicator – one of the meanings of draw in the BRB is to pull back (like curtains, presumably) so that X (by) and E(uropean) are reversed. I don’t like it much.
    An enjoyable puzzle, fairly gentle for a Friday. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.
    My podium selections were 26a, 8d and 13d.

  5. A bit different for Osmosis I thought. Not so much fiendish wordplay but more clever hidden definitions.

    I had similar concerns to you Dutch re 17a. If you assume that “abstract drawn” is the anagram indicator [well – there’s a sort of logic] then “by” then “European in” and there you have it. But not his best.
    Much nicer were 14a [which I really struggled with until I realised the food items were part of the definition]; 26a [love the definition]; 16d for obvious reasons and 18d [again, “Did Mark” is rather clever].

    Thanks Dutch for a fine blog and Osmosis for a fine puzzle.

    1. it’s an odd one isn’t it? Either abstract or drawn alone could be an anagram indicator. I’m not keen at the best of times on double-barrel indicators when either half will do (like turned around, or mixed up) but in these cases at least the combination is a “thing” which i’m missing in “abstract drawn”.

      1. I agree – it’s hardly a common turn of phrase – but it sort of fits the surface so, unless Osmo can enlighten us…..

  6. I did consider drawn as a reversal indicator. Maybe that’s it. Feels a bit better now some others mention it too. I’ll add it to the blog.

  7. Not often I finish the Friday Toughie so I guess it is one of the gentler ones. 15a -I had heard of “Dog Latin” and only late on thought to look up “Pig Latin” which permitted my last one in -Turmeric. I thought 8d (Aberdonian) was neat -but maybe it’s old hat. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  8. I’m also slightly confused by the parsing of 17a. 7d needed to be checked as it was new to me. Otherwise I thought this was quite gentle. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  9. One of the very few times that I have completed a Friday Toughie (or as 9a indicates Friday fluffy).

    I spent a long time looking for the “x” and completely missed the missing “k”.

    Thanks to all.

  10. Took some time to get the spice in 5d.
    Agree with the difficulty rating.
    In fact, the whole week was on the same level.
    Favourite 16d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  11. I too struggled to locate the odd reference to a spice in 5d, which was my last one in, but over all, I really enjoyed solving this one and did so, after much time spent on it in the wee hours this morning, without any help. Some cracking good clues, too: I think it’s my favourite Toughie of the week. Outstanding clues: 13a, 22a, 1a, and 8d. Surprised to see that little-known actor there, however, and happy to see that old Straussian warhorse operetta in its pride of place. Uncommonly fine puzzle, indeed. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis. **** / *****

  12. Would have solved this more quickly had it not been for scribbling in ‘caledonian’ at 8d without pausing to parse it!
    We used various forms of 15a at school but I hadn’t realised that there was a specific descriptive word for it – another little gem to store away for future reference.
    My top two were 27a & 21d with a reverential nod to 16d in light of the occasion. Don’t know whether any of you watched the 4-parter on Britain’s Greatest Generation but it was certainly humbling.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the review.

  13. There was some local general knowledge that I didn’t know that added to the challenge (the car model in 1a for immediate example (I’m not so sure I’d heard of the manufacturer come to that)). However, I got there in the end and very much enjoyed it all along the way. The pangram possibility hadn’t crossed my radar and so I wasn’t anxious for the missing ‘k’ on the journey through. I appreciate that this was on the gentler side of difficulty for a Friday, but, for me just right level to be challenging yet possible to finish. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  14. Well I finished it, but not with a great deal of enthusiasm. I too thought 17 was a stretch but am not convinced by the use of “facetiously” in 26. Surely it means frivolous, while the spelling of the answer is ancient style? Correct me if I’m wrong… Thanks Dutch & Osmosis.

    1. is it facetious in touristy shop names, etc? Ye OLDE antiques – made to order

        1. I stand corrected. The BRB defines facetious as “intended to be light-hearted, witty”. Ok, ya got me.

    2. Not unhappy with “facetiously” but not sure of the definition. It’s a facetious word for “aged”, not “aging”!

  15. Well, I managed about three quarter of this unaided and that is a vast improvement on my previous efforts. I enjoyed this and thought there were some really good clues. I have always known the animal in 15a as a dog so I was thrown by this for a while. I’m not sure, either about 17 and doesn’t the swimmer in 2d look ugly? Who would want to die of a surfeit of them?

    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  16. Muted celebrations today which was a shame, I was around 10 weeks old on the original VE day so can’t remember much!
    Anyway can.t quibble with a ***/***, enjoyed the solve sitting out in the sun.
    Thanks Dutch for illustrating the Austin in 1a, I remember this well-I think it had the quartic steering wheel-a bit like an aeroplanes!
    was there a 1300 and an1800 engine -terrible understeer and road handling .Also remembered Mr Peppard in the Blue Max
    My last in was 17a the X eluded me , I assumed pencil was part of an anagram- thanks to Dutch for some sort of explanation.
    Some excellent clues, liked 27a and the reference to Mr Dickenson’s band, I believe he was also a pilot

  17. We struggled in the SW corner. Initially we failed to notice the homophone indicator in 24a where we had used an alternative spelling that meant that for a little while we did have a complete pangram. We wonder now whether Osmosis started off with this intention and had to abandon it to get a word to fit 18d. The other hold ups we had are those mentioned above by others.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  18. The required X in 17a is, I think, from the old football pools, where 1 was to forecast a home win, 2 was for an away win and X for a draw.

  19. Found this fairly straightforward except that I had Low Latin, low being the noise obtained from an animal. I have not heard of Pig Latin. Have most if these compilers been to public schools?? They seem well versed in the Classics!

    1. oday ouyay eakspay igpay atinlay?

      I never went to public schools, but i do remember this secret language from my childhood

  20. I agree with most of the comments above. A fairly gentle Friday toughie. My solution to 17a was an anagram of pencil , x from by and E from European being inserted between the anagram and the X because of the instruction from the ‘in’ which follows European.
    My favourites were 22a and 14a and thought that 16d was a very appropriate clue.
    Thanks Dutch for your usual erudite parsing. though I think you may have had finger trouble with you answer to 15a where Pig Latin is not shaded over and the last word in your solution is not from any dictionary to my knowledge.
    Congratulation to Osmosis for enjoyment.

    1. oops, thanks now hidden, wish someone had said earlier.

      ah, the last word is Time in Pig Latin (see previous comment, or look up pig latin)

  21. Generally an enjoyable solve, with much to enjoy, but badly let down by 17a and 26a, which I think are really poor. Can do better, as evidenced by the rest of the puzzle.

Comments are closed.