Toughie 2740 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2740

Toughie No 2740 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A gentle and most enjoyable puzzle from Osmosis, who seems to have grown an aversion to X,Y,Z, & Q. I can’t help but feel I am missing some other trick. The NE was my last quadrant.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Fan that is overwhelmed by royal submarine (7)
GROUPER: A rock (star) fan where ‘that is’ is replaced (overwhelmed) by an abbreviation for our queen. I thought this was a funny definition for a fish, but it turns out …

5a    A type of service penetrating the tennis player? (7)
ATHLETE: A from the clue, then a kind of service (obstructed by net) goes inside (penetrating) THE from the clue

9a    A case for Rebus concerning misuse of Tinder? (5)
ARSON: A from the clue, the outer letters (case) of Rebus, and a short word meaning concerning

10a    Standard football team? I don’t believe it’s superior (5-4)
LIEGE-LORD: This confused me until a little research revealed a Belgian football team for the first part of the clue. Then an exclamation that can suggest ‘I don’t believe it’

11a    Watch Stanley celebrate, broadcasting sport (3,7)
ICE DANCING: Scoring high on the groan-worthiness scale, a homophone (broadcasting) of another word for watch, a shortened form of Stanley, and another word for celebrate

12a    Retro music in curry house, say, that enhances meal (4)
AGAR: A reversal (retro) of a traditional Hindu music

14a    Intense offender, ready to face judge, departs (12)
CONCENTRATED: A 3-letter offender, a coin or some ready, to judge and the abbreviation for departs

18a    Tie it with it (12)
RELATIONSHIP: A 9-letter word for “it” (as in, are they doing “it”?) plus a word meaning ‘with it’

21a    Smart car’s first pick-up in Perth (4)
CUTE: The first letter of car plus what and Australian (in Perth) calls a pick-up truck

22a    Right pole deployed with summer climbing gear (4,6)
ROPE LADDER: The abbreviation for right, an anagram (deployed) of POLE, and someone who sums

25a    Ring girl inside eating (4-1-4)
DING-A-LING: A 3-letter word for girl goes inside a word meaning eating

26a    Pushing threesome back, managed to enter bar (5)
INGOT: A (3,2) phrasal verb that means ‘managed to enter’, in which the ‘threesome’ (the 3-letter word) is pushed to the back

27a    Fugitive‘s best hiding in east Durham? (7)
ESCAPEE: A word meaning best or top goes inside (hiding in) the abbreviation for east and another word for a bishopric

28a    Took apart loot below, sharing diamonds (3,4)
RAN DOWN: The South African currency and a word meaning below, or not up, sharing the letter that is the abbreviation for diamonds. I was surprised by ‘loot’


1d    Servicemen covering defect on the house (6)
GRATIS: Some American servicemen go around (covering) a word meaning ‘to defect’

2d    Did fence chopping start fire, in the past? (6)
OUSTED: A word meaning ‘did fence’ (with lances) without the first letter (chopping start)

3d    Sweet assistant cannot unfortunately thank you (5,5)
PANNA COTTA: An office assistant, and anagram (unfortunately) of CANNOT, and a 2-letter word meaning ‘thank you’

4d    Souvenir pencil eraser displays raised (5)
RELIC: Reverse hidden ( … displays raised)

5d    A change in pocket maybe embodies latest in fashion range (9)
APENNINES: A from the clue (again! third time) then some coins containing the latest letter in fashion

6d    Some Italians live on this incline (4)
HEEL: If Italy is boot-shaped …

7d    Musk perfume finally given after arm stretch (8)
ELONGATE: First name of the Tesla guy, the last letter (finally) of perfume follows a type of gun

8d    Goya’s the artist living in fool’s paradise (2,6)
EL DORADO: Spanish (Goya’s) for ‘the’, then the abbreviation for royal artist goes inside a word for a fool

13d    Spraying, for example, crushed riot in stifling capital (10)
IRRIGATION: An anagram (crushed) of RIOT IN containing (stifling) a European capital

15d    Recoil at sea catching fish, snapper? (9)
CROCODILE: An anagram (at sea) of RECOIL containing (catching) a 3-letter fish

16d    Comedian not fertile, losing way, checking coppers (4,4)
ERIC IDLE: A 7-letter word meaning not fertile (unable to procreate) without the initial abbreviation for street (‘losing way’) containing (checking) a police department

17d    How’s your father? Lacking stimulus after mountain scaled (8)
PLATONIC: A 5-letter stimulus comes after the reversal (scaled, in a down clue) of a European mountain

19d    Slowly made cage, lion continually the focus (6)
ADAGIO: The central letters (continually the focus) of ‘made cage lion’

20d    Reading perhaps lies within safety mark on metal dipstick (6)
CRETIN: The abbreviation for Reading (as in one of the 3 R’s) goes inside (lies within) the European safety mark, and a 3-letter metal

23d    Fervent modern hippy alienating knight and wife (5)
EAGER: A (3,4) expression for a modern hippy (well, in kind of a mystic way), but missing (alienating) the abbreviations for knight and wife in the first word.

24d    Buckle when fighting under pressure? The opposite (4)
WARP: The opposite suggests we have the abbreviation for pressure under a word meaning fighting

My favourite today was ‘How’s your father lacking’ (17d). Which clues did you like?

17 comments on “Toughie 2740

  1. Lots to enjoy here – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    The grid uses only 15 letters of the alphabet and I spent some time (to no avail) trying to work out what the unused 11 letters have in common.

    I ticked 18a, 26a, 2d and 8d but my favourite (for the laugh-out-loud moment when I realised what the definition was) is 17d.

    1. There’s a brilliant puzzle by Maize. Independent 10,822
      Well worth a shot, you’ll soon realise why I’ve recommended it

  2. A lot of parsing help needed today, thankyou Dutch…not surprising with 11ac, 26ac and 23d all head scratchers.
    ****/** thanks Osmosis.

  3. Finished but very little enjoyment for me today. Eleven answers needed explanation so 3*/2* to finish the week. However, thanks to the setter; much better than I would ever manage!

  4. Like the cryptic, I found this considerably harder than our blogger’s assessment. The usual number of unparsed bung-ins for a Friday led to a slow finish and some of the parsing still leaves me scratching my head. Still, a completed grid is always good to see however one arrives at the destination. 17d has to take pride of place I think.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the fight and to Dutch.

  5. I managed to ‘answer’ 17d but still do not understanding the definition (‘How’s your father lacking’), but I’m sure some kind soul will enlighten me. Even after resorting to my online allotment of 5 letters, I failed to solve most of the NW corner, having answered only 1d & 4d. However, I did enjoy the tussle throughout and found this quite worthy of a Friday Toughie. I think my top three clues all contain proper names in one way or the other: 7, 8, 16d. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

    1. Presumably Americans don’t use the expression which refers to a casual sexual encounter?

    2. Chambers has how’s your father = sexual intercourse. “They’re having a bit of how’s your father”

      I think I lived here for two decades before I heard it

    1. Slang for money. So if you think moolah might have worked, then loot is also justified, see chambers thesaurus. I was surprised too

  6. I think I earned my spurs by getting 10a. It’s useful to have some footie knowledge in one’s arsenal.

  7. Ground to a halt in the NE and resorted to the hints for the last few. Didn’t really enjoy this, 11a and 28a being my least favourite. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. We found this one quite hard work but did eventually get it all sorted.
    We’ll join Gazza in chuckling over 17d.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch,

  9. I know it’s very late on a Friday night over there, but many thanks to CS and Dutch for setting me on the right path to ‘how’s your father’. I’ve discovered that the old music hall performer Harry Tate was fond of using that expression (Wiki refers to the 1910s). I can now nominate 17d as my clue of the week. Hope everyone has a good weekend. It’s the World Series over here, and my Atlanta Braves are hosting the Houston Astros for the next three nights. Go, Bravos!

  10. Gentle? I think I managed 3 answers. I’m looking at it over my morning coffee and realise I was lucky to get those! I admit defeat,

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