Toughie 2517 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2517

Toughie No 2517 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Another near pangram from Osmosis; we seem to be missing the F. Meticulous clueing as always with some original indicators that add to the fun. I wasn’t familiar with the actor, so that was my last one in.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Highly decorated troops rejected non-fighter repeatedly (6)
ROCOCO: A reversal (rejected) of an abbreviation for some army troops, then two times (repeated) the abbreviation for conscientious objector

4a    So to speak Italian in response, knight wanted guide’s backing (2,2,4)
AS IT WERE: The 2-letter abbreviation for Italian goes in a 6-letter word for response from which the chess abbreviation for knight is missing (wanted), plus the last letter (backing) of guide

10a    Warden back in charge getting work unit into shape (9)
CONCIERGE: A reversal (back) of the abbreviation for ‘in charge’ plus (getting) a unit of work go inside (into) a 4-letter solid geometric shape (used to hold an ice cream scoop)

11a    Local one in square (5)
UNHIP: A local or dialect version of ‘one’ plus another word for in or trendy, with square just being the opposite of in or trendy

12a    Flier left in jacket: latest offerings from Balti restaurant (4,3)
COAL TIT: The abbreviation for left goes inside (in) a 4-letter jacket or overgarment, plus the last letters (latest offerings) from Balti restaurant

13a    Wine tipped over on last word, needing Tippex? (7)
AMENDER: A reversal of a kind of wine follows (on, in an across clue) the last word of a prayer

14a    Just over ten kilometres before ecclesiastical section (5)
KNAVE: The 1-letter abbreviation for kilometres comes before a part of a church

15a    Hold-up by accessory? This might boost porridge dished out (5,3)
EXTRA JAM: A word meaning hold-up (as in traffic) follows (by) a word meaning accessory or additional

18a    Polish guards behave adversely investigating vehicle (5,3)
SCOUT CAR: A 5-letter verb meaning to polish or rub clean contains (guards) a reversal (adversely) of a verb meaning to behave or perform

20a    Swimmer regularly at sea (Torbay) (5)
TETRA: Even letters (regularly) in the last 3 words of the clue

23a    Busy worker holds quiz on cruise as deck entertainment? (7)
BEZIQUE: A flying and buzzing busy worker holds an anagram (on cruise) of QUIZ

25a    Core muscle, with miles gone, stretched by character in Marathon (7)
NUCLEUS: An anagram (stretched) of (m)USCLE without the abbreviation for miles follows (by) a Greek character

26a    Golf club filling in trap (1,3,1)
R AND A: The central characters (filling) in trap

27a    Reptile‘s fear understood when picked up (9)
PTEROSAUR: A homophone (when picked up) of other words for fear and understood or twigged

28a    Opening mimic about to admit loveless tour (8)
APERTURE: A 3-letter verb meaning to mimic, then a short word meaning about or concerning contains (to admit) T(o)UR from the clue without the letter that looks like a zero score in tennis (loveless)

29a    Sat maybe on call, peak time (6)
HEYDAY: Sat maybe as an example of one of seven follows an exclamation usually used as a call or shout


1d    Managed OK with cracker — cut another bakery item (4,4)
ROCK CAKE: An anagram (managed) of OK + CRACKE(r) without the last letter (cut)

2d    John cheers oratorio (7)
CANTATA: A slang word for John or loo plus an informal word for cheers or goodbye

3d    Mint tea without sugar, the ultimate posh drink (9)
COINTREAU: A verb meaning to mint, then TEA from the clue goes around the last letter (the ultimate) of sugar, plus a single letter denoting posh or upper-class

5d    Actor‘s reportedly regal house, rural one on river (7,7)
STEWART GRANGER: The first name is a homophone (reportedly) of the Royal house that reigned from 1603 to 1714, the second name is a rural house or farmhouse plus the abbreviation for river

6d    Anita up escarpment welcomes shade (5)
TAUPE: Hidden (… welcomes)

7d    Eastern mate defends daughter, a spiky thing (7)
ECHIDNA: The abbreviation for Eastern, then the Cockney rhyming slang for mate containing (defends) the abbreviation for daughter

8d    Windows once put in Kerry’s place, perish (6)
EXPIRE: A previous version of Microsoft W goes inside a 4-letter version of the country where County Kerry is located

9d    Footwear of sibling changing hands before American race and training run (7,7)
BROTHEL CREEPER: A male sibling in which R is swapped for L (changing hands), an American race as in a North American Indian tribe, plus the abbreviations for training lessons at school and run

16d    Something vegetarian from Korea, unusually involving shrimp (9)
ARTICHOKE: An anagram (unusually) of Korea contains (involving) an informal word for a very small person

17d    Pop voice hosting jolly TV series (4,4)
DAD’S ARMY: Another word for pop or father, then a word meaning voice or speak contains (hosting) the abbreviation for the type of serviceman referred to as a jolly

19d    Artist‘s base unknown in French resort virtually (7)
CEZANNE: The base of natural logs plus a letter used as an algebraic unknown go inside (in) a French resort famous for a film festival, without the last letter (virtually)

21d    Playwright calling for lawyer before start of dispute (3,4)
THE BARD: Where a lawyer is called to (3,3) and the first letter (start) of dispute

22d    Leon is here to stay in Ireland, Liam’s heartland (6)
IBERIA: Leon the city. A 2-letter verb that can mean to stay or remain (** calm) goes inside an abbreviation for Ireland, then the central letters (heartland) of Liam

24d    Quantity of beer drunk? Time for last of soft cheese (5)
QUART: Use the abbreviation for time to replace the last letter in a horrible soft cheese/yoghurt-like concoction made from soured milk (QUARK)


My favourite today is the posh drink (3d), though I also liked the deck entertainment (23a). Which clues did you like?

22 comments on “Toughie 2517

  1. Another entertaining near pangram. This took most of my morning but I got there in the end (a good result given that the last Osmosis outing took me into Saturday). I checked my geography on 22d, scratched my head over a missing T in 16d and couldn’t parse 11a. A few clunky surfaces but a lot of fun. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. The quality we expect from Osmosis and good fun. “Just over ten” held me up in 14a, even with all the checkers in, and I stared at 29a for a while before the light went on. 18a and 9d deserve nominations for flawless surfaces and wordplay.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog. Yes that curdled, fermented stuff is best avoided; if pressed I’d prefer tofu!

  3. You know what you’re going to get from an Osmosis Toughie – some enjoyable clues with clever wordplay and a merciful lack of obscurities.
    Thanks to him for this one and thanks to Dutch for the review.
    My ticks went to 8d, 9d and 21d.
    I wonder if we’ll ever find out what’s going on with the ‘almost pangrams’.

  4. Whenever I see vague definitions such as actor, painter, writer, town etc – my heart sinks. Spoils a puzzle for me
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch

  5. Just beaten by 3 clues in the SE corner :17d, 25a and 29a. After the actor in 5d, (surely no one under retirement age remembers him?), and thinking of Jolly Jack Tar, I wanted to put Navy Lark in 17d. and was disappointed to find I couldn’t. 9d was another blast from the past wasn’t it? A real trip down memory lane!
    I, too, thought there was a missing “t” in 16d but it had to be what it was.
    All in all, a more enjoyable puzzle than the inside back page.

  6. Hats off to those who managed this without help. I had made a reasonable fist of over half of this but was not helped by being unable to parse 4a and so need to wait until 2 to check. (A bit wary after bunging in Vole this morning and coming unstuck)! Never thought that quiz was going to be part of an anagram resolution to 23a (Never heard of the game in any case). Many thanks to Dutch for explaining the answers and filling in the gaps for those I was able to get, such as XP for windows! I liked the simplicity of 26a, COTD.
    Most enjoyable for what I was able to do and I now know what a Brothel Creeper is. Cheers Osmosis

  7. Yes, we had to consult resources for the actor and never like media or sport people in crosswords but otherwise fine. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

  8. I had over half of this after my first read through. It just clicked into place. That is unheard of on a Friday. The rest fell OTO the checkers I had. Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  9. After this mornings difficult back pager , this toughie was reasonable indeed and a pleasure to solve, somewhere around a ***/****
    A steady solve with a wide variety of cluing, difficult to choose a favourite , going for 27a for rarity and 24a for ‘deck ‘ misdirection’ ,also 21 for a top surface,
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch for the spot on blog pics.

  10. This took me a while and several starts to get to the end but it was worth the effort. I think 23a was the pick of the clues for me. The parsing of a couple towards the end pushed out my solving time, but it was a very fair challenge, and rewarding to complete.

    Many thanks to Osmosis for the work out and to Dutch.

  11. Am I missing something about 15ac. I wanted the extra porridge to mean a longer prison sentence, but I couldn’t see how the answer could mean that. My only other thought was that some heathens may be in the habit of adulterating porridge with jam, but that seemed a bit strained. Could anyone clarify please.

    1. it was news to me, but i’m guessing “extra jam” is an adulteration of porridge, as you suggest

      1. Yes, the word play seems clear enough – jam preceded by extra = something that might boost [ie make vaguely palatable] porridge. Dished out is there to improve the surface so we think of a beak minded to add years to a sentence, unless I’m missing something. The only other wrinkle I can think of is that “extra jam” might mean not only more jam but that kind of jam known to those of us who do our own shopping as the jam that actually contains some fruit – and is sometimes labelled as such. Just a thought.

        1. I’m guessing it’s the extra-fruit containing jam, since that is the dictionary entry – but I’m no porridge connoisseur!

  12. I managed to complete all but six (mostly UK-centred) clues–like brothel creepers and Dad’s Army–and did enjoy the challenge otherwise. I always find Osmosis to be fair and free of unparsable GKs, and I should have done a bit better last night with this one, but Silvanus’s Cryptic just wore me out, and I finally just had to retire from solving for a spell. Thanks to Dutch for filling my gaps in the grid for me and to Osmosis. Look for to a re-match!

  13. The bonus for me was that the actor was one of the first to go in but there were plenty of others that needed pondering or looking-up and I never did get the second word of 15a.
    Well out of my comfort zone but a worthwhile challenge.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch, both for the review and giving me the heads up on 15a.

  14. We were finally beaten by the final word of 15a. It never occurred to us that people would consider this as an addition to porridge.
    Luckily one of our team remembered the 5d actor.
    Not a quick solve by any means for us.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch

  15. Yay, managed to finish a Friday Toughie in 5*+ time for me. Delayed because although I remembered the actor, I was convinced his surname had an ‘i’ in it, so didn’t put it in. Also failed to parse jolly tv show, though see it now. Thanks to all, off for a wet walk with a soon to be soggy doggy.

  16. Worked through this slowly, needed a lot of e-help, but still fell 2 short, 15a and 17d. Good wet weather entertainment!

  17. The fine British actor Stewart Granger’s real name is James Stewart. He had to change his name because of the other one.

  18. A day late but enjoyed this so much I had to comment. As a film buff can’t believe the actor took so long & had his first name too. Needed the hints for 4 clues in the SE & even after reading them still couldn’t get 29a. Had forgotten our old friend the dactyl was a type of saur & couldn’t for the life of me twig the 17d wordplay. 9d was my clear favourite but 1a & 10a were also very good.
    Thanks to Dutch for unraveling a few for me & Osmosis for the entertainment.

  19. Thanks to Osmosis for an entertaining couple of late evenings. I spent most of this evening staring at Stewart ? and extra ? and required Dutch’s guidance to complete these. I am still not convinced that Jam improves porridge but as I do not eat the stuff I cannot claim any authority for this view.
    My favourites are 19 d, 22 a and 27 a. thanks Dutch for your assistance,

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