Toughie 2596 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2596

Toughie No 2596 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A typically enjoyable puzzle from Osmosis with trademark precision and good variety – AND we have complete pangram! Why do I feel relieved?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Article inside newspaper on fish sounded an opportunity for good living (1,5,2,3,3)
A PLACE IN THE SUN: A 1-letter article, then a 2-letter preposition meaning inside and a (3,3) newspaper follow (on) a homophone (sounded) of a fish

10a    Well-known pickpocket’s joyride (3,6)
BIG DIPPER: An adjective meaning well-known and another word for a pickpocket

11a    Part of Israel‘s green space? On the contrary (5)
NEGEV: A 3-letter contraction for a green plus a printing space, all reversed (on the contrary)

12a    Holding pair of gloves, Edgar mistakenly rinsed chops (7)
GARGLED: An anagram (mistakenly) of EDGAR contains (holding) the first two letters (pair) of gloves

13a    Cosmetic dentist’s first in command (6)
POWDER: The first letter of dentist goes inside (in) a word that means command or control

15a    Perhaps Bruce’s home, handling the cry for attention (4)
OYEZ: An informal 2-letter name for the country where the men are called Bruce and the women are Sheilas contains (handling) and old word for ‘the’

17a    In US capital, partner’s dwelling used occasionally (4-1-5)
PIED-A-TERRE: The capital of South Dakota contains (in …) a partner for the evening

18a    Absurd religious class explicit about ordinary American (10)
RIDICULOUS: An abbreviation for a religious lesson, a reversal (about) of a 5-letter word for explicit or clear, and abbreviations for ordinary and American

20a    Seventy pence covers stamp (4)
TYPE: Hidden ( … covers)

22a    Band member hired (6)
ARMLET: A member or limb and a word meaning hired

23a    Start to take carpeting down (7)
TEARFUL: The first letter (start) to take, and a word meaning a carpeting or reprimand

26a    He painted game in colour, retrospectively (5)
DURER: An abbreviation of the game played with funny-shaped balls goes inside (in) a colour, all reversed (retrospectively)

27a    Sign managed to stifle one worker in quiet environment? (9)
LIBRARIAN: An astrological sign, then a short verb meaning ‘managed’ containing (to stifle) the Roman numeral for one

28a    In garden with Flo, she prepared still cordial (2,4,8)
NO HARD FEELINGS: An anagram (prepared) of IN GARDEN + FLO SHE


2d    Communication device for one in charge northwards (5)
PAGER: the Latin abbreviation for ‘for one’ or ‘for instance’ goes inside (in) a slang word for a criminal charge, all reversed (northwards)

3d    US chopper’s above afflicted area which might be sprayed daily (6)
AXILLA: The American spelling of a chopper, a word meaning afflicted or poorly, and the abbreviation for area

4d    European runner wearing short suit and casual footwear (10)
ESPADRILLE: The abbreviation for European and a type of runner or stream  river in Normandy? contains (wearing) a card suit without the last letter (short). Argh! apologies. Thank you Huntsman for highlighting that this didn’t work as was, And thank you Mac, Devertly and Leslie+Ford for giving the correct parsing: 

The abbreviation for European, then a 4-letter word for a runner or stream is contained within (wearing) a six-letter word for a card suit, without the last letter (short)

5d    Spy two-by-two boarding here under floor in cabin (4)
NARK: A boat boarded two-by-two goes underneath the last letter (floor) of cabin

6d    Local air? (7)
HANGOUT: Split (4,3), the answer would mean to air

7d    On empty belly, son agreed to roll cheese (4,5)
SAGE DERBY: Above (on, in a down clue) BellY without the internal letters (empty), we have the abbreviation for son and an anagram (to roll) of AGREED

8d    Instalment plan left by joiner means dream home unattainable (5-5,4)
NEVER-NEVER LAND: An informal (5-5) expression for an instalment plan or hire-purchase scheme, the abbreviation for left, and a word that works as a joiner or conjunction

9d    What disrupted boy, reading with leaderless group (1,3,4,6)
I BEG YOUR PARDON: An anagram (disrupted) of BOY READING + (g)ROUP (leaderless, i.e. without first letter)

14d    Like some strapping entertainer in gold uniform (10)
ADJUSTABLE: An entertainer who plays records goes inside the chemical symbol for gold, plus an adjective meaning uniform or constant

16d    Chubby type harassed doormen by pub (9)
ENDOMORPH: An anagram (harassed) of DOORMEN plus a 2-letter abbreviation for pub

19d    Check phone network on! Right, one shouts approvingly (7)
CHEERER: The 2-letter chess abbreviation for check, a 2-letter phone network, a short word meaning ‘on’ or concerning, and the abbreviation for right

21d    Middle-Easterner advanced pitch to enter TV panel show (6)
QATARI: The abbreviation for advanced plus another word for pitch, as in a black resinous substance, go inside (to enter) a TV panel show that used to be hosted by Stephen Fry and now by Sandi Toksvig

24d    It can be a job in the office avoiding the first current affair (5)
FLING: A 6-letter office job loses (avoiding) the first occurrence of the physics symbol for electrical current

25d    ‘ello from Spaniard met by loud Scandinavian? (4)
OLAF: The Spanish for hello plus the music abbreviation for loud

A lot of nice clues. I enjoyed the long anagrams, 9d and 28a. I also like the joyride (10a) and the current affair (24d). Which were your favourites?

27 comments on “Toughie 2596

  1. Amazingly I completed this but thanks so much to Dutch as I couldn’t work out why 17a and 2d worked. Normally I find the toughie really, er, tough but today seemed to flow for me. Maybe the vaccine has made me brighter!!

  2. It took me a while to get going but I steadily ground it out. 26a and 3d required a reference check to confirm, as did the capital in 17a. My favourites were 10a and 27a. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

  3. A thoroughly enjoyable and very accessible puzzle that was just the right side of difficult to call it a Toughie. I loved the accurate and concise clueing, with 24d and 10a being good examples. Overall, though, 27a came out on top. Great fun.

    My thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to Dutch.

  4. Excellent accessible and enjoyable.
    Precise clueing and a pangram.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for parsing 2d 4d and 17 ac.

  5. Agree with Chris M a spot on Toughie.
    Got 17a but couldn’t fully parse, ditto 2d.
    Not heard of 3d but worked it out.
    Thoroughly enjoyable.
    Thanks to all concerned.

  6. Great fun and extremely enjoyable with some brilliant definitions, e.g. “area which might be sprayed daily”. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.
    It’s difficult to pick a podium from such a fine selection but I’ll plump for 11a, 23a and 9d.

  7. I loved this Toughie. Clever, witty, and just plain fun. Rich podium with our little state capital (one of my favourites); a little affair; and a little tiff settled: 17a, 24d, & 27a. Did anyone else think of the divine Elizabeth Taylor, the squirming Monty Clift, and the woebegone Shelley Winters at 1a? For me, an ideal Toughie. Thanks to Dutch for the review, and to Osmosis for a crackerjack puzzle.

  8. Well, I managed to fill the grid, but I will admit to using just a few electrons along the way; but hey, it’s a Friday Toughie.

    I couldn’t parse 17a or 2d, so thanks for those. I think 6d gets my vote for COTD due to its neatness.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  9. Two brilliant crosswords today.
    The pangram definitely helped.
    I learnt a new word in 3d and had to confirm the place and person in 17a and 26a.
    I hadn’t parsed 11a correctly as had decided the place being decidedly not green was enough!
    I really liked 9d when the penny finally dropped – one of my last ones in.
    Thank you to Osmosis and Dutch.

  10. An enjoyable solve in which I did have to check on a couple of my answers – 11a & 3d. Somewhat unusually, it wasn’t the four long answers that fell first, rather the reverse.
    Top clues for me were 10a & 16d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the review – loved the cartoon at 1a!

  11. I agree that this was a terrific puzzle, and very enjoyable. I didn’t notice the pangram (as usual), and so 15a was last in and with much hesitation (I didn’t know the Bruce reference – nor the TV panel show in 21d for that matter). In several instances I got the entry from the definition relatively quickly and the word play came much more slowly afterwards (e.g. 2d). Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  12. I’m not very good with multiple words answers usually but the 4 perimeter clues fell in quite easily.
    The pangram helped with 15a.
    Fourth time this week that I see Bruce in a crossword
    No problem with 3d however as the French word is aisselles.
    Love the rinsed chops in 12a.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  13. Pretty sure that’s my first ever unaided Friday finish & in a respectable time as well so cause for celebration. Last in was 13a & only twigged when I realised I still needed a W to complete the pangram – not big on cosmetics other, of course, than a liberal post shower spray of the old 3d. Didn’t clock the parsing of 15a & despite realising the structure didn’t link rap to charge in 2d but otherwise all ok.
    I too loved the 9d&28a anagrams (pen & paper required) but will select 3d,10a (made me think of Benny the Dip in Guys&Dolls) & 23a as my podium with 21d just missing out.
    Thanks to Osmosis for providing an accessible Friday puzzle & to Dutch for the review.
    Ps in the hint for 4d does the abbreviation not apply to both the card suit & the small stream?

    1. Ah – I got confused with RILL = small stream (I guess a RILLET is even smaller). But the wordplay only works to shorten the suit –

      There is a river Rille (or Risle) in Normandy – crikey.

      1. I took this to be the abbreviation for European standing on it’s own (would work better with a comma, but on the basis of ‘you can ignore the punctuation’), followed by the flower inside the shortened suit. Does that not work without having to find the obscure river, or am I missing something?

        1. I think you’re absolutely right. I don’t see the problem. It’s E for European, then RILL inside SPADE[S].

  14. Good workout – first time I have given a Friday Toughie a good go.
    Was beaten only by 6d & 23a and was kicking myself when I revealed the answers.
    No obscurities or deep GK just good clues, all obtainable by wordplay

  15. Filled in first thing this morning. Very enjoyable. I now need to go through clue by clue and see if I need any help from Dutch. Two winning puzzles today. Thank you Osmosis for the puzzle and Dutch for the review

  16. Didn’t twig the pangram, as usual. Took a lot of persevering, but managed in 5*+ time. Favourite clue was only LOL clue, 12a. Thanks to Osmosis. Hats off to Dutch.

  17. An absolute jot to solve. We had convinced ourselves that 15a was going to have Scottish associations and were surprised to find that it was a much closer to home allusion.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  18. As very much a Toughie novice – I think this is probably only the third one I’ve completed, I really enjoyed this. A few electrons were used along the way and Dutch’s excellent explanations were required for several clues. The main thing is that I’ve not been discouraged. I’ll be back…
    Thank you as always to all involved

  19. A rare complete solve for a Friday Toughie for me, albeit finished on Saturday.

    Favourite clue was 10a, although 1a ran it close. Last one in was 15d, I missed the obvious home of Bruce and had to check all letters bar one were present to get it.

    Thanks to Dutch for the blog and Osmosis for the puzzle.

  20. Very enjoyable. 17a was my first solve as the answer was obvious and it went smoothly from there. i do not quite agree with Dutch over the solution to 4d. The suit is Spades and the runner is rill which provides the answer without needing to find some obscure river in Normandy. thanks to Osmosis for and enjoyable solve and to Dutch for the erudite explanations. My last clue in was 15a i tried every sort of Bruce including Robert and Forsyth to no avail . so i bunged the answer in which provided the required Z for the pangram

  21. After the KCIT nightmare, this was a delight. Certainly partly a wavelength thing, but Osmosis has given us precise definitions (even if they are not necessarily obvious ones) instead of vague allusions. And any crossword with 3d in it is alright by me! Thanks Osmosis.

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