Toughie 2612 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2612

Toughie No 2612 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Osmosis keeps us on our toes with some wacky definitions and clever misleading surface readings. And, we have a pangram!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Old Trafford side gets a thrashing on the wings? (3-5)
OFF-STAGE: I first thought O(ld) + a 2-letter combination was somehow needed for ‘Trafford side’  – but I couldn’t see that, so I now think the ‘Old Trafford side’ is just intended as a type of ‘side’ that is a football infraction – I keep forgetting Old Trafford is also a cricket ground, thank you for the comments. 

A cricket side followed by an anagram (thrashing) of GETS A

6a    Having spare rib on two occasions like venison? (6)
BIGAMY: A prefix meaning on two occasions and an adjective describing meat like venison

9a    Occupants of minster quietly singing from the same hymn sheet (2,4)
IN STEP: The internal letters (occupants) of minster plus the music abbreviation for quietly

10a    Stern with late deputy (8)
EXACTING: A word for late plus a word meaning deputy (as an adjective)

11a    Knight once ventured to protect queen and king (8)
BANNERET: A 3-letter verb meaning ventured or waged to go around (protect) the name of a queen and the Latin abbreviation for king

12a    Rogue characters regularly seen in surging attack (6)
IMPUGN: A rogue or mischievous person plus the even letters (characters regularly seen) in surging

13a    Check up about leading man with Evita after opening of theatre (3,1,6,2)
PUT A DAMPER ON: A reversal (about) of UP from the clue, then the first man plus Evita’s surname come after the first letter (opening) of theatre

16a    Actor sad to relate, on TV, museum’s in recession (5,7)
TELLY SAVALAS: A word that expresses misfortune comes after (on, in an across clue) both a word for TV and a reversal (in recession) of the abbreviation for a London museum (including the ‘S)

19a    Constant stir by group of women practising sorcery (6)
WICCAN: The answer is an adjective (took me a while to realise!). The abbreviation for constant plus a slang word meaning stir or prison comes after (by) the abbreviation for a women’s organisation

21a    Faithful type in retreat joins saint — with muscle, they preach Christianity? (3,5)
GOD SQUAD: The reversal (in retreat) of a faithful pet, the abbreviation for saint, and a muscle in your leg

23a    Mexican musician ignoring cold welcome next door to street’s spiritual address (3,5)
AVE MARIA: An 8-letter Mexican musician from which is omitted (ignored) the last 3 letters consisting of the abbreviation for cold plus a 2-letter greeting comes after (next door to) the 3-letter abbreviation for a kind of street

24a    Consumed with reflection, slip on the ground (1,5)
A TERRE: A word meaning consumed, then the reversal (with reflection) of a word meaning to slip or make a mistake

25a    Heard DIY photo of mates maybe agitated excitement (6)
FRENZY: A homophone (heard) of a whimsical word, not a selfie but a …

26a    Cross Republican states in extremes of temperature (8)
TRAVERSE: The abbreviation for Republican plus a verb meaning states goes inside (in) the outer letters (extremes) of temperature


2d    One enters concluding term in architecture (6)
FINIAL: The Roman numeral for one goes inside (enters) a word meaning concluding

3d    Substitute‘s protest (3,2)
SIT IN: Two meanings, the first verbal and the second a passive protest

4d    Fit lodging soldier with our team’s gear (9)
APPARATUS: A word meaning fit or suitable contains (lodging) a 4-letter soldier, then a pronoun used to signify ‘our team’

5d    Woman, tempted round medical unit by dosh primarily, took part in trials (7)
EVENTED: A woman tempted (by a fruit) goes round a hospital department, plus the first letter (primarily) of dosh

6d    Spicy food husband put in one box, travelling north (5)
BHAJI: The abbreviation of husband goes inside (put in) the Roman numeral for one plus a verb meaning to box or punch, all reversed (travelling north)

7d    Seeing cap covered in blood, sons start running off (2,2,5)
GO TO PRESS: A word for cap or lid goes inside (covered in) a word for blood, plus twice the abbreviation for son (sons, plural)

8d    At work, log on, accessing word for translation, knowing only English? (8)
MONOGLOT: An anagram (at work) of LOG ON goes inside (accessing) a translation of ‘word’

13d    Investigators of heads of pupils once: male nit nurses? (9)
POLICEMEN: The first letters (heads) of pupils and once, then a whimsical (4,3) term for ‘male nit nurses’

14d    Overacting mum claiming benefit upset by resistance (9)
MELODRAMA: A 4-letter mum contains (claiming) a reversal (upset) of a benefit payment plus the abbreviation for resistance

15d    Back-up story used in Echo when short (8)
RELIEVER: A story or fib goes inside (used in) a 6-letter word meaning echo (makes me think of a guitar amplifier effect) but without the last letter (when short)

17d    Rolling Stone, needing gallons, dashed into wine store (7)
VAGRANT: The abbreviation for gallons plus a verb meaning dashed go inside a storage container for wine

18d    Bull terrier’s grabbing teacher having removed lead (6)
TAURUS: The abbreviation for a terrier as in soldier (including the ‘S) contains (grabbing) a 4-letter spiritual teacher without the first letter (having removed lead)

20d    Buffalo’s location when intercepted by rescue vehicle, feeling irritable (5)
NARKY: The state where Buffalo is located contains (intercepted by) a boat used to rescue pairs of animals

22d    So-called potter that might create jam (5)
QUEUE: A homophone (so-called) of a snooker implement

A lot to like. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to think of policemen in the same way again. I liked the bull terrier and the Rolling Stone stories, but my favourite I think is the clever clinical trials surface in 5d. Which clues did you enjoy?

28 comments on “Toughie 2612

  1. I thought that this was very enjoyable indeed with plenty of penny-drop moments. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    I didn’t know the old knight or the architectural term but both were well clued and just needed confirmatory look-ups.

    I ticked 1a, 9a and 13d with my favourite being 6a.

    For 1a ‘Old Trafford’ is the name of a cricket ground as well as a football ground and the ‘side’ required is one of the sides of a cricket field.

  2. Enjoyable Friday Toughie – my favourites were 6a and 25a. Agree with Malcolm and Gazza about Old Trafford being a cricket ground

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  3. Took a bit of untangling today. A couple of terms I wasn’t familiar with including 18a where the pangram came to my rescue.

    6a was my favourite.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  4. Very enjoyable solve, but I could not see the parsing of 23a for ages. The dog’s nose under my elbow eventually convinced me to take a break. When we got back from our walk the logic just jumped of the page. Funny how the brain works sometimes.

  5. I can usually have a good stab at this setter’s compilations but barely managed a handful today.
    Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable exercise to work through using the excellent hints from Dutch so many thanks to him and to Osmosis for a challenge I was sadly not up to!

  6. Managed to get Kojak and the Evita clues but not much else, alas. Out of my league today, but most engaging. Always enjoy the Osmosis challenge, and thanks to Dutch for helping me fill about 75% of the grid.

  7. Only managed to finish the top half today and have given up.
    On reading the blog it all seems so blooming obvious.
    Dash it!

  8. Finally, after many years of solving, noticing the pangram actually helped.

    Appropriately, my last one in (25a) contained the last letter of the alphabet that was missing.

  9. As is often the case I missed the fact that this excellent puzzle was a pangram until I read the comment at #9. No matter, I still solved it and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge. So many clever and tricky clues, but my favourite was 17d.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the workout and to Dutch.

  10. I found this a hugely enjoyable puzzle. I did not notice the pangram (as usual) until I read the blog. My stand out favourite is 13d with the male nit nurses. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  11. At 20d I entered NERVY with ERV as an accepted abbreviation for Emergency Road Vehicle and with synonyms in Chambers Thesaurus such as agitated, on edge,tense, fidgety and uptight I thought it was a reasonable answer.

  12. Was motoring along through this puzzle this morning when Phil Silvers cropped up as an actor for 16 across and I was all set up to email Dutch with details of the wonderful Phil Silvers Sergeant Bilko museum in Coventry at Fargo Village when I realised it didn’t fit the wordplay or the enumeration. No problem though. The correct actor went in. I’ve never ever watched anything he has been in and there is no museum to him in Coventry However there is a splendid Phil Silvers museum. In Coventry. At Fargo Village.

    1. i would have been delighted with the email. And nice to know of another attraction in Coventry

  13. We went looking for a pangram but could not find a K. The reason was (like gsolphotog above) we had NERVY for 20d where ERV, although not in BRB, can be an Emergency Response Vehicle. Should have kept looking.
    We had to work hard and thoroughly enjoyed the tussle.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    1. You weren’t alone, as you may have noticed. One of the hardest things for compilers is to recognise alternative answers

      1. After posting yesterday I must admit I felt that I can only blame myself for the mistake.
        Having used Q, V, X,Z etc elsewhere in the puzzle I should have looked at the possibility of a pangram.
        And of course as ‘rescue vehicle’ was in the clue I should have dismissed the idea that it would also be in an identical form in the answer.
        We never stop learning!

  14. I thought this was a real corker of a puzzle that has kept me entertained over 3 sittings. Managed 21 clues (all of the south bar 19a) under my own steam but then resorted to tactical letter reveals & used the 5 allowed. With the help of these I was left with 11&19a, neither of which I was familiar with & unfortunately couldn’t figure out from the wordplay – was convinced ER was the queen in 11a & despite twigging WI missed the stir synonym for 19a – kicked myself when I read the hints. Spotting the pangram probability certainly helped with 25a & 20d (nervy briefly occurred but thankfully didn’t know the ERV acronym)early & later with 6d. My picks from a great selection of clues would be 1,13&23a plus 5,7&17d but the clear winner was the wonderful 6a.
    Thanks Osmosis & to Elgar for getting me across the finishing line.

  15. My goodness I take my nightcap off to you clever people who solved this one. I looked at it in the bath for half an hour and did not get one answer. Unable to sleep, a cup of hot chocolate and a digestive biscuit and I went through all your careful parsing and managed to get about half a dozen. With some horizontal clues filled in I managed to get the downs but Way out of my league I fear. Thanks to you both. Goodnight!

  16. Only solved about 4 yesterday. Who out of my league. Now I’m going to settle with my breakfast coffee, read the blog and see what I missed. This, I think, will be more entertaining than the hours I wasted yesterday!

    1. How right I was to give up on this. I must remember Wicca having been trying to fit in Coven and I’m quite lost about the Mexican musician. The actor was a blast from the past wasn’t he? There are some very clever people out there!

  17. Pass !

    Way beyond me
    I’ll read the hints later (all bar 4 of them). So thanks to Dutch for them, and to Osmosis for the knock-out blow!

  18. When i read Dutch’s opening remarks I knew that I had at least one answer wrong as i could not find a K for the Pangram. As with many solvers i had nervy for 20d. The answer to 1a can come from cricket but also football where players can be off side. Thanks to Osmosis for the clever cluing and to Dutch for the clear explanation of how to get the answers. COTD 19d

  19. Only managed part of this puzzle but enjoyed the effort. Annoyed that I still miss some of the instructions for anagrams e.g. thrashing. Some GK eluded me.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      One of the Frequently Asked Questions (see the FAQ tab at the top of the page) is “what is a pangram?” – it is simply something containing all the letters of the alphabet. If you have a crossword where you have a Z and a Q for example, it is always worth checking whether the other 24 letters appear somewhere. Sometimes the possibility of a pangram and knowing what letter you need for that can help to finish solving some of the more tricky clues you have left

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