Toughie 2692 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2692

Toughie No 2692 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I found this quite hard going but that could be me. My birthday today and I kept being interrupted by nice phone calls. I’m keen to know how others found this puzzle. We do have another remarkable pangram or two (but just one W?)

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    With two pints in belly, boozers see one indicating ‘Time!’ (6,5)
QUARTZ CLOCK: A measure equal to two pints, in central letter (in belly) of boozers, and a slang word meaning see. And an early suggestion of a pangram.

10a    Following coiffeuse’s article, hairdo’s neat (5)
UNCUT: Think drugs. A French article (indicated by coiffeuse) plus a 3-letter word for a hairdo

11a    Note some housing minister in Bude on vacation (9)
SEMIBREVE: A type of housing, then a religious minister goes inside the outer letters (on vacation) of Bude


12a    Revolution of Cologne University fast and furious (9)
TURBULENT: A reversal (revolution) of a brand of male cologne famously advertised by Muhammad Ali, the abbreviation for University and a period of fasting

13a    John catches single by leader of Rolling Stones (5)
CAIRN: A slang word for lavatory contains (catches) the letter that looks like one (single) and the first letter (leader) of Rolling.

14a    Champion sore after training (6)
PEACHY: A 4-letter adjective meaning sore or hurting comes after an abbreviation for sports training

16a    15 humiliated Nigel nursing back (2,6)
IN DETAIL: Reverse hidden ( … nursing back)

18a    Felt yips when performing, crying out for number one? (4-4)
SELF-PITY: An anagram (when performing) of FELT YIPS

20a    Penny breaks tibia leading to X-ray, one hard to decipher (6)
SPHINX: The abbreviation for penny goes inside (breaks) another word for the tibia bone, plus the letter corresponding to radio code X-ray


23a    It’s seen essentially on faces to effect rejuvenation (5)
TONER: The central letter of its (seen essentially) + ON from the clue plus the first letters (faces) of ‘effect rejuvenation’

24a    External guards called an animal (5-4)
ORANG-UTAN: A 3-letter word meaning external contains (guards) a word meaning called (as in dialed) plus AN from the clue


26a    Departing vagrant then outwardly in debt (2,3,4)
ON THE WING: An anagram (vagrant) of THEN has around it (outwardly) a word meaning in debt

27a    Guy might be so loud in river (5)
AFIRE: The musical abbreviation for loud goes in a Yorkshire river

28a    Examination board perhaps give third degree to academics, rest failing (11)
QUIZMASTERS: A 4-letter pangram-friendly word meaning to give third degree to or interrogate, some academic degree holders, plus an anagram (failing) of REST


2d    Commander beheaded having bypassed constant disorder (5)
ULCER: A commander or monarch without the first letter (beheaded) contains (having bypassed) the mathematical abbreviation for constant

3d    Improve on last place in sprint (that hurt) (7)
RETOUCH: A short word meaning on or concerning, the last letter (last place) in sprint, plus a 4-letter expression that means ‘that hurt’

4d    Buffoon Jack’s unsettled by unknown kitchen utensil (6)
ZESTER: A 6-letter court buffoon, in which the cards abbreviation for Jack is replaced (unsettled) by an algebraic unknown

5d    Restrictive fifty on current motorway can start to gall (8)
LIMITING: The Roman numeral for fifty, the physics symbol for current, the first motorway, another word for can and the first letter (start) to gall

6d    Changing room twenty-seven maybe contains one cold student (7)
CUBICLE: A kind of number exemplified by 27 (3x3x3) contains the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviations for cold and student/learner

7d    Juliet agitatedly points out unlimited taxis being parked close together (13)
JUXTAPOSITION: The letter corresponding to radio code Juliet plus an anagram (agitatedly) of POINTS OUT (t)AXI(s) (unlimited)

8d    In middle of eating, rage about rabbit as food item (8)
TERIYAKI: The central letters of eating contain ( In …) a reversal of a 3-letter word meaning rage or anger plus a word meaning rabbit or chat

9d    Virtual assistant after cloth, new wine having been tipped over actress (4,9)
JEAN ALEXANDER: Amazon’s virtual assistant comes after a type of cloth or denim, and then the abbreviation for new and a reversal (having been tipped over) of a type of wine

15d    Thoroughly content leaving Ascot, given winning margin? (2,6)
AT LENGTH: The outer letters of Ascot (content leaving …), plus a horse measure used to describe a winning margin

17d    Most races supported by posh hotel where runners abound (2,6)
ST MORITZ: An anagram (races) of MOST plus a posh hotel


19d    Climber‘s usual meeting-place closed early (7)
PARVENU: Oh, the social kind. A word for what is usual or the norm (think golf) plus a meeting or conference place without the last letter (closed early)

21d    Get on aboard long grand procession (7)
PAGEANT: A word meaning get on or mature goes inside (aboard) a word meaning to long for

22d    Language book on Roman England I mislaid (6)
BANGLA: The abbreviation for book plus a Roman word for England missing (mislaid) the I

25d    German city judge? (5)
TRIER: two meanings – the second a person who runs a trial in court    

I liked the buffoon. Which clues did you like?

34 comments on “Toughie 2692

  1. Great puzzle. Was on pangram (and then almost double) alert fairly early on. Hit a spot of bother in the SW where I spent a while trying to parse plateau into 19d not helped by my inability to make sense of 23a. Although I finally unpicked this muddle, I never did quite see the parsing of 23a.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch (happy birthday)

  2. I thought this was an absolutely brilliant crossword. Very difficult certainly, but not impenetrable. An almost double pangram just to add icing to an already impressive cake. There were so many great clues picking one is hard, but I, too, liked the buffoon.

    Thanks and congratulations to Osmosis for a superb challenge, and thanks and birthday greetings to Dutch.

  3. A proper Friday Toughie, the solving of which was helped by thinking that we were going to have a double pangram, but so near but not quite. I have to say that I didn’t enjoy solving this crossword very much at all. Sorry Osmosis but thanks to you and the birthday boy

  4. Started with a flourish getting 7d at once but after that it was a lot of hard work and electronics. I thought 8d was rather out of date but I was pleased to solve 17d and 14a was rather sweet wasn’t it? I just failed with 10a but then I’m not a drug user!
    Happy Birthday Dutch.

  5. I enjoyed this a lot – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch (Happy Birthday).
    I didn’t know that Ali had advertised the Cologne and thought that Dutch had confused him with Henry Cooper until Google put me right.
    My medals went to 12a, 23a and 2d.

    1. i just remember: “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee, the smell of Brut and the punch of Ali”
      silly but if it’s still in my head unlike so many other things, I’ll have to admit the advertising was clearly effective

  6. My electronic grading machine needs replacing: it marked my correct answer for 12a ‘incorrect’; I kept trying, but no luck there. I then tossed in ‘truculent’ just to see what happened. No joy there either. On the plus side, with the electronic gift of 5 letters, I managed to solve all of the Across Clues correctly. And, my score of 82% reckons with a wrong answer for 12a. Oh, I’ll get over it. I did really enjoy the infinity I spent on this one, despite my dander being up, especially 13a, 20a, & 1a, but my COTD is 17d. Top-notch Toughie. Thanks to Dutch for filling in the two I missed legitimately and to Osmosis for the refreshingly different clues/answers.

  7. Happy Birthday To You Dutch. It is just over a year until my next birthday. I have a completed grid but not much idea how I arrived at it. I counted 10 bung ins that I could not explain but whittled those down quite quickly. I have no idea how the answer to 16 across relates to the underlined definition and I only know that it is a reverse lurker because Dutch told me so. It’s Friday so the phrase at 26 across might have had a different last word. Thanks to Osmosis for the fun and the torture. Thank to Dutch for the enlightenment. It is now Beer O Clock according to 1 across

    1. I don’t see the problem. One of the articles that a coiffeuse (or any other French speaker) can use is the masculine version of the indefinite article.

    2. A. This clue is not as complicated as people are making out. Just think: French hairdresser’s “article” (UN) + hairdo (CUT). Sorry to comment late, but I’ve only just got round to looking at this one.

  8. I don’t usually attempt Friday Toughies but a rainy afternoon left me at a loose end, so I gave it a go.
    Very enjoyable – hard – but all solvable through clever wordplay. No deep (un)General Knowledge or references to obscure classical literature.
    Completed unaided with only 10a & 23a needing the hints to explain the reasons for answers.

  9. What an absolutely superb puzzle to end a great Toughie week. I just wish I was good enough to be able to have cracked it unaided. Managed 18 on my own & that took forever then (logging in to the puzzles site) a further 5 more using, as Robert puts it, my full quota of electronic gifts & even then needed the birthday boy’s help to get to the finishing line. Couldn’t even begin to start singling out clues as there were just too many corkers. The other thing I really liked about this was that though it was very difficult for the average ability solver there wasn’t anything in there ridiculously obscure & the wordplay wasn’t actually that convoluted or at least not once I’d read the explanation.
    Many thanks both to Osmosis & to Dutch & a happy birthday.

  10. 9d irritated me – who? German cities, ski resorts…
    Happy Birthday Dutch and thanks Osmosis

  11. Having completed and enjoyed Osmosis’ previous Toughie in a reasonable time, I thought I would give this one a try too. What a mistake that was. I managed to complete about a third after a real struggle and the final straw was the unindicated Americanism in 13a. It’s hard to believe that two puzzles compiled by the same setter could be so different.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the beating and to Dutch for enlightenment on the large number of unsolved answers I had. Happy Birthday too to Dutch.

  12. Great end to the week and, for the first time ever, I finished all four Toughies in the week!! Struggled with the NW corner but enjoyed the challenge and would rate it 5*/4*. No particular favourite with the cluing but 7D gave me a lot of help to get started. Thanks to setter.

  13. After a couple of years since I last managed to, I’ve finally finished a 5* Friday toughie unaided. I’ve only recently learnt to recognise pangram potential, and spotted the possibility of a double early on, which helped with the last few. Shame about the missing W, but is there a hidden reason for it? Wouldn’t have got there otherwise.
    The coiffeuse’s article held me up til I realised it was just nationality not gender that was important. Great fun with this.
    Many HR to Dutch, and thanks Osmosis.

    1. There are four “u”s in the puzzle so two more than needed for a double pangram. So maybe that’s where the missing “w” is?

      Hello everyone btw, long time lurker.

      1. Welcome to the blog, Odrum.
        Now that you’ve delurked I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

      2. How clever is that. You must be right.
        V in Latin = U, hence double U = W. Outfoxed at the end, brilliant!

        1. If that is indeed deliberate it’s sheer brilliance & a great spot from Odrum. I didn’t even know U = V in Latin & even had I known that wouldn’t have made the jump to 2 Vs making the missing 2nd W.
          Have often said on the course when playing with far better golfers I don’t belong in this company…….

          1. Huntsman, the French call W “double vé” which is aligned with the Latin V. Incidentally, if the technology works, here is a picture of the cover of my copy of Robert Graves’ famous novel:

          1. i do like the double-U explanation given there are 4 U’s, thank you Odrum. Anyone volunteer to go look at previous Osmosis near pangrams?

  14. With the Tennessee weather being hot and humid as usual, I decided to retreat into the comfort of the air conditioning and give this one a try. Tough going indeed. Managed to solve them all bar the reverse lurker! – could’ve kicked myself when I read the hints.

    Thanks to Dutch for helping me parse a couple and Osmosis for the struggle.

  15. Happy Birthday Dutch.
    We got to the end but did need a bit of Google assistance. For example, the 9d actress was one we did not know but had worked out from the wordplay.
    Quite a challenge and satisfying to eventually get there.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

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