Toughie 2449 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2449

Toughie No 2449 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

We have a near-pangram from Osmosis today (V is missing). Near-pangrams are the new black. I started in NE and progressed rapidly but SW slowed me down, and it took me a long time to remember the lady in 3d, or even to realise we were looking for her. Lots of nice clues but also a few indicator choices that surprised me

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought


1a    Half of people near British cities cast vote (10)
PLEBISCITE: Half of peoPLE next to (near) the abbreviation for British and an anagram (cast) of CITIES

6a    Cleaner Arctic hare camouflages (4)
CHAR: Hidden (… camouflages)

9a    Enjoying the craic playing part of Scrabble game (2,3,5)
ON THE TILES: A short word meaning playing (as in What’s playing at the Globe?) and part of Scrabble game (3,4)

10a    Bird‘s limb digs every so often (4)
IBIS: Even letters (every so often) of limb digs

12a    Alsatian who is kept by day in pound (4)
QUID: How you would say ‘who’ in the Alsace next to (is kept by) the abbreviation for day. I’m not keen on ‘is kept by’, since it implies containment. Prefer found, put, placed etc.

13a    Graduate and teacher describing brand-new sport (9)
BADMINTON: The abbreviation for an arts degree plus a short word for a teacher or professor that goes around (describing) an adjective meaning brand-new

15a    Politician on some crazy extremists in Gothenburg (4-4)
REES-MOGG: A short word meaning on or concerning, an anagram (crazy) of SOME plus the outer letters (extremists) in Gothenburg

16a    Getting on with borders to trim, having consumed zero gin (3,3)
OLD TOM: An adjective meaning getting on, then the outer letters (borders) of trim containing (having consumed) the letter that looks like zero

18a    Lean right during game when obscured by European (6)
MEAGRE: The abbreviation for right goes inside (during) an anagram (when obscured) of GAME plus the abbreviation for European

20a    Dodgy business in grocery store primarily bypassed by idiot (6-2)
GOINGS-ON: IN from the clue plus the initial letters (primarily) of grocery store is surrounded (bypassed by) another word for idiot

23a    Spark possibly from gold hot liquid about ship (9)
AUTHORESS: Spark as in Muriel. The chemical symbol for gold, an anagram (liquid) of HOT, a short word meaning about or concerning and the abbreviation for ship

24a    Vacant seat unknown by fabulous river (4)
STYX: SeaT from the clue with the inner letters removed (vacant), an algebraic unknown, and the arithmetic symbol meaning by, as in multiplied by

26a    Expert welcome to probe crux of ‘howzat’ (4)
WHIZ: A 2-letter greeting or welcome goes inside (to probe) the central letters (crux) of howzat

27a    Difficult area within South American river’s mouth part (4,6)
HARD PALATE: Another word for difficult, then the abbreviation for area goes inside (within) the widest river/estuary in the world where the capitals of Argentina (Buenos Aires) and Uruguay (Montevideo) are located

28a    Stream Queen single, left second in playlist (4)
RILL: The Latin abbreviation for Queen, the letter that looks like a one, the abbreviation for left and the second letter in playlist

29a    Wing identified by twitcher in kind of film (4-6)
TEAR-JERKER: A verb meaning to wing, as in to move at speed, is seen (identified) by a 6-letter twitcher. I’m not keen on ‘identified by’ as a juxtaposition indicator


1d    Stand forward (4)
PROP: Two meanings, the second a rugby position

2d    Be keen, loosen up then exercise (7)
ENTHUSE: An anagram (loosen up) of THEN, plus a verb meaning to exercise or exploit

3d    This person’s terribly alarmed by company’s overseas consort (6,6)
IMELDA MARCOS: How you would say “this person is” in the first person (1’1), an anagram (terribly) of ALARMED plus the abbreviation for company’s including the ‘S. My last one in

4d    Card game kid needs to win in church (8)
CRIBBAGE: A verb meaning to kid or tease and a verb meaning to win or secure go inside an abbreviation for church

5d    Posh, outdoor character’s introduction of tree, as garden overlooked? (6)
TWEEDY: The first letter (introduction) of tree, and how an overlooked or neglected garden might appear. The answer is an adjective, but I think it can be used as a noun colloquially, can’t it? Thanks Gazza for comment 3

7d    Some stores collectively fold perhaps (7)
HABITAT: Two meanings, the first a chain of interior design stores, and the second an enclosure where animals maybe found

8d    Envy soldiers wearing casual shirt after getting posted again (10)
RESENTMENT: A general 3-letter word that could mean soldiers and (wearing?) a one-letter type of shirt, all following (after getting) a word meaning ‘posted again’. I’m not keen on wearing as a juxtaposition indicator, since it implies containment. Not that keen on the use of ‘getting’ either

11d    Poster and sign broadcast entrance where fish sold (12)
BILLINGSGATE: A 4-letter poster, an anagram (broadcast) of SIGN, and an entrance. I imagine this is a typo and the definition was intended as ‘where fish is sold’ It is of course past tense, now it’s a conference/exhibition hall, thank you Halcyon in comment 5

14d    Maybe killing Sadat causes military action (7,3)
CRIMEAN WAR: What killing would be an example of, and Sadat’s first name

17d    Deliberate Tory partisan (8)
CONSIDER: A 3-letter Tory and someone who takes sides

19d    7 at nets beginning to notice rising (3-4)
ANT-HILL: AT from the clue contains (nets) the first letter (beginning) to notice, plus a rising or small mountain

21d    One flies Aussie songstress that is off visiting Channel Island (7)
SKYLARK: A well-known Aussie songstress, truncating (off) the abbreviation for that is, goes inside (visiting) one of the Channel Islands

22d    Dog’s in river for a period (6)
DECADE: A 3-letter dog or scoundrel goes inside the name of a river. This was my second to last one in, it took me way too long to twig the kind of dog we needed!

25d    Played loud on organ causing alarm (4)
FEAR: The abbreviation of played loud as a musical instruction goes on top of (on, in a down clue) a hearing organ

My favourite clue is 14d. I remember being incredibly shocked at the assassination of Sadat. I also liked the Alsatian in the pound and the kid playing cards in church. Which clues did you like?

28 comments on “Toughie 2449

  1. I found this thoroughly entertaining today. Great mis-direction in 12a (which was my last in). My favourite clue was 5d which is my cousin’s nickname. It was only my last entry which prompted me to consider whether we had a pangram. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

  2. An enjoyable puzzle with enough gimmes (e.g. 6a, 10a) to provide a good start. My top clues were 12a, 15a and 5d (I think the 5d definition works as an adjective if you include the ‘S).
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.
    I spent some time pondering on where the missing V had got to. It occurred to me that if Osmosis had really wanted to make it a pangram he could have changed 25d to ‘Veer’ and 1d to ‘Prof’.

  3. I did pretty well for a Friday toughie. 12a defeated me I had Hund pound and bund but had to reveal the right answer eventually.
    I did like Jacob in 15a (as a crossword clue at least) and 14d. When I got 29a and the missing J I just assumed it was a full pangram and hadn’t noticed the missing V. Still that was my best effort for a Friday toughie so going to count that as a bit of a result.
    Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis. and I still have loads of day left to tackle the cyclops in Private Eye!

      1. I think I need it. Less than half done so far but I did laugh at 8a
        Waste time with a daft run or jogging (4,6)

  4. I agree some of the clues are a bit wordy but I think Osmosis may be referring to Old B……….. in the past tense at 11d. I thought the puzzle was a bit workaday for one of my fave setters.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog.

  5. It was a pleasure to be able to finish a Friday toughie – not always a common occurrence for me. I didn’t suspect a pangram and thus did not spend a moment of concern over the absence of a ‘v’. Thank you, Osmosis, for a very satisfyingly enjoyable solve, and thank you, Dutch, as always, for your Friday review.

  6. Golly Bongs! That is the Quickest I have ever completed a Toughie. Is it really a Friday? Solved on the journey between The Green Man and The Retired Publican. It was very enjoyable though with lots of amusement. Thirteen in after the first pass and 20 after the second. When that happens what’s left is what fits. Job done, just like a back pager. Apart from trendy which fit the letters of 5 down but didn’t parse. Thanks to Dutch for the review and to Osmosis for the ego boost.

    1. Not my quickest toughie, but certainly my quickest Friday toughie. Enjoyable all the same.

  7. I see that Chambers intends to include pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis in the next edition – about time too I thought
    Strange puzzle but still enjoyable. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch

  8. I found this a total delight from beginning to very long end. It took me quite some time–several visits–to finish, but I did so without any aid, though my last one in, 1d, was a pure bung-in. I still don’t see it as a synonym for ‘stand’, however. But the great joys of this puzzle were in such clues as 12a, 14d, 23a, and the COTD 3d. I did have to google 15a to be sure of my spelling of the gentleman. I also thought that the 4-letter words were about as catchy and witty a group (minus 1d) as I’ve ever seen. Many thanks to Dutch for the review and to Osmosis for a real charmer. **** / ****

      1. I was thinking more the nounal sense – to prop something up is to put a stand beneath it so prop = stand
        My mother had a long stick with a notch at the end for pushing up the washing line for drying laundry which we imaginatively called ‘the prop’
        Related to the origins of theatrical ‘props’ too

        1. Everyone’s mum had a wooden clothes prop. Their use died out with the advent of the rotary line

          1. Mama Bee still has two. We have a long thin back yard with a line down the middle. no room for a rotary and it needs propping twice if it is full. Ours are each in two pieces with a dowel to hold them when extended.

    1. Your appreciation of anglicasisms is impressive. Are you really American?

  9. Preening myself for attempting and then completing a Friday Toughie. I’ve no idea why 7 is the definition for the answer to 19 down. Perhaps someone can enlighten me? Thanks to all

  10. Hit a brick wall when it came to the two ladies and have to say that I knew nothing at all about the one at 23a. I’ve certainly seen the film based on possibly her most famous publication but that was the height of it. As for the ‘shoe’ lady, like Dutch, I didn’t have a clue that I was looking for her!
    I wasn’t overly keen on the indicator in 18a but I guess that’s something new learnt today.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for setting me straight where required.

  11. 16a was something we did not know so needed checking in BRB. All the other proper nouns and people were ones we did know so no problems there.
    We had trouble justifying the synonym for ‘wing’ in 29a and settled for the explanation that identified was a homophone indicator and TIER a slightly stretched synonym.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  12. I thought “wing identified” was a homophone of tier too. Never looked any further.
    No problems with the various people involved either. In fact the politician and the first lady of the Philippines were among the firsts in.
    Very straightforward solve for a Friday.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  13. Late as ever I finished this at 2AM this morning. Overall very enjoyable. I started in the NW corner and worked my way around so my last entry was 9a. the only problem was that I had entered ‘post’ as a solution to 1d. This clearly was not correct. having decided that it was ‘on the tiles’ I was still at a loss to see how this was a solution to enjoying the craic. Your solution does not clarify why. I had to look up craic in Chambers and it mentioned gossip. I cannot see how the answer meets that definition.
    Thanks Dutch for your explanations which clarified 29a for me, and thanks to Osmosis for an enjoyable couple of hours

  14. Enjoyed this one and completed it all for once. However, I had trendy for 5d so can’t boast too much! I liked 3d and 12a the most.

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