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Toughie 2852

Toughie No 2852 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I found parts of this quite difficult. Again, Osmosis has omitted 12/26 letters of the alphabet (though we have Z).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Something circular attached to dash? (6)
SPEEDO: A circular letter follows another word for dash (as in to go fast)

4a    Don runs into this, bearing witness for hearing (5,3)
NORTH SEA: A compass bearing, and a homophone of a 3-letter verb meaning to witness

9a    Extremist cultivated his veg (6)
RADISH: A shortened form of another word for extremist, plus an anagram (cultivated) of HIS

10a    Flower head embodying quiet intensity (8)
DEEPNESS: A 3-letter river plus a word for head or promontory, containing (embodying) the musical abbreviation for quiet

11a    Short shot restrains stray reptile (8)
TERRAPIN: A (3,2) short successful shot (in snooker, football or golf), containing a 3-letter verb meaning to stray

13a    Redirected leg to intercept reserve who shoots (6)
SNIPER: A reversal (redirected) of a slang word for leg inside (to intercept) a 3-letter abbreviation of ‘reserve’

15a    Male and female pair do the cooking, east of Channel island (13)
HERMAPHRODITE: An anagram (cooking) of PAIR DO THE follows (east of) a 4-letter Channel Island

18a    Rum found here‘s hidden before shrubs surrounding cleared (5,8)
INNER HEBRIDES: Took me a while to figure out that Rum is an island. A 5-letter word meaning hidden or private, then some 5-letter shrubs I had to look up surrounding a word meaning cleared or eliminated

22a    Close friend knocking out a tango, maintaining rhythm (2,4)
IN TIME: An 8-letter word for a close friend from which we eliminate (knocking out) A from the clue and the coded by Tango.

24a    Urchin-like rendering of artist in margins of beach (8)
BRATTISH: An anagram (rendering) of ARTIST inside the outer letters (margins) of beach

26a    Hit leads to frenzy, unknown for minute country (8)
TANZANIA: A 3-letter word meaning hit or beat, then a 5-letter frenzy in which the initial abbreviation for minute is replaced by an algebraic unknown

27a    Increasingly sleepy, one’s spotted rook circling remote land (6)
DOZIER: A spotted game cube and the chess abbreviation for rook circling an informal name for the land down under

28a    Birdie rare at first hole? (8)
REDSTART: How something looks when cooked rare, and a word for ‘first hole’ or beginning

29a    Rest of spiders I trap at intervals (6)
SIESTA: Odd letters ( … at intervals)


1d    Uplifted when holding some baking classes (6)
STRATA: A reversal (uplifted) of a short word for ‘when’ containing a baking product

2d    Crackpot phoned in to obtain queen’s personal number (9)
ENDORPHIN: An anagram (crackpot) of PHONED IN containing (to obtain) a single letter abbreviation for queen

3d    Give up, inside spa, Irish bottles (7)
DESPAIR: Hidden ( … bottles)

5d    Major competition seeing Hearts in proper arenas (4)
OPEN: The central letters (hearts) in ‘proper arenas’

6d    Gain unauthorised access to red wine, drinking before meal (3,4)
TAP INTO: Spanish red wine contains (drinking) the Latin abbreviation seen on prescriptions that means ‘before meal’

7d    Maybe one in three tantrums outside end in flare up (5)
STEEP: As in incline ratio. A reversal (up) of a 4-letter word for tantrums containing (outside) the last letter (end) in flare

8d    Wild bear eats brother’s flipping towel! (8)
ABSORBER: An anagram (wild) of BEAR contains (eats) a reversal (flipping) of a shortened form of brother’s (including the ‘S)

12d    Middle Eastern lodging appeal to save horse (6)
IMARET: A 2-letter word for appeal contains (to save) a female horse

14d    Game boring senior resident of kibbutz? (6)
SHARER: A wild animal goes inside (boring) the abbreviation for senior

16d    Cheerfully vivacious son divided spicy sauce in different tins (2,7)
IN SPIRITS: The abbreviation for son goes inside (divided)  a 4-letter spicy sauce (often associated with chicken) which is already inside an anagram (different) of TINS

17d    Left relative drinking wine unconfined (8)
SINISTER: A sibling contains (drinking) (w)IN(e) without the outer letters (unconfined)

19d    Horn perhaps a defensive feature? (7)
RAMPART: Split (3,4), the answer could describe a horn

20d    Jockey exaggerated jumps during clumsy ride (7)
DETTORI: A 3-letter abbreviation meaning exaggerated is reversed (jumps) and inserted into (during) an anagram (clumsy) of RIDE

21d    One used to pick dodgy pears with husband trespassing (6)
SHERPA: A climbing pick, I suppose. An anagram (dodgy) of PEARS contains (with … trespassing) the abbreviation for husband

23d    Firm‘s great deal with worker in rag trade? (5)
TONED: A 3-letter word for a large amount plus the abbreviation for a top journalist (worker in rag trade)

25d    Couple on river bank (4)
TIER: A verb meaning to couple or fasten plus the abbreviation for river

My favourite today was 1a. I also liked 2d. Which clues did you like?

16 comments on “Toughie 2852

  1. Kicking myself for revealing a letter in 12d – a new word for me but now, oh so obvious. A great battle all round, thanks Osmosis. Will now check with Dutch that I have correctly understood everything. 4*/5*
    P.S. Glad to say, 21d, Dutch and I concur with the pick!

  2. Lots to enjoy here – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.
    I wonder if we’ll ever find out why so many letters are unused.
    For my podium I’ve selected 1a, 7d and 19d.

  3. At the difficult end of the Friday Toughie spectrum.

    A 21d pick is used to play banjos and guitars – not defined as such in the BRB but Mr Google knows all about them, with pictures!

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

    1. Having been a fingerpickin’ banjoist / guitarist since the age of twelve, and never having come across this particular trade name, I’d be interested to see what Osmosis has to say on the subject.

  4. Made steady progress but hints required to parse 6d. Favourites were 18a and 7d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  5. Done my usual “read and write” for this Toughie as experience has shown me I am just not clever enough. This doesn’t stop me from enjoying some of the word play. In fact, I might even have got 17d if I’d really, really tried!

  6. A yes, CS, those famous banjo-playing Tibetans singing “she”ll be coming round the mountain …”

  7. Most enjoyable of the week for me
    A wavelength thing probably, but I didn’t think this was as hard as usual Friday fare.
    Some complicated parsings but all fair once the head was scratched.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. Made it a bit difficult to finish the SW as I wrote Tazmania in 26a. What a dork.
    Learned a few things today such as the river in 4a and the lodging in 12d.
    Remembered the jockey though.
    Thanks to Osmosis for the workout and to Dutch for the review.

    1. Another Don flows into the Sea of Azov, I think. That’s the one I had in mind as it’s been in the news a bit. Held me up for a while

  9. Streuth. That was a fair-dinkum Friday Toughie, and I’m very relieved to have got to the other side of it. Thank the FSM for the BRB. I was defeated in the NE and was appreciative of the “reveal letter” facility to get going again, with 7d my LOI. Various parsing problems, for the subsequent understanding of which my most sincere thanks to Dutch. I felt “hole” in 28a verged on being superfluous (but can see why it wouldn’t be), and think the latin “before meal” abbreviation may have been new to me – certainly I don’t recall knowingly seeing it on prescriptions for human or animal medicine, and wondered when it was last in common use – 50 years ago or more? However what an immensely satisfying solve, with ticks and broad smiles for 18a, 27a, 1d, 8d and 19d.

    5* / 3*

    Many thanks to Osmosis, and again to Dutch.

    1. Yes, these days they tend to write ‘before meal’ rather than ante prandium, but it’s in chambers, so legit

  10. It’s not often that I fill in a Friday Toughie grid but I did today. I thought I’d have a go at it on the basis it wasn’t Elgar (no disrespect to the esteemed setter!) and to my surprise steadily completed it, albeit with a little electronic help, and found it very enjoyable.
    I thought 1&4a very clever and also liked 28a plus 8&19d.
    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch whose help I’ll no doubt need to clear up one or two that remain as yet unparsed

  11. We really struggled on the west side and even needed to reveal a few letters to get us across the line. Several clues where it was a help to remember where the setter calls home (4a and 18a for example).
    Thanks for the challenge Osmosis and Dutch.

  12. Hats off to those able to fill this one in. 7 answers in & it looked like hard work so switched to the Graun which was a challenge but doable.
    Thanks anyway

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