Toughie 2908 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2908

Toughie No 2908 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

In retrospect this all looks reasonable, but I struggled to the point where it started affecting my enjoyment. Again, Osmosis omits many letters of the alphabet from the grid.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sean, repeating trick endlessly, disrupted history period (11)
RENAISSANCE: An anagram (disrupted) of SEAN + SEAN+ (t)RIC(k) (repeated, endlessly)

10a    Adult cut out youth’s centre parting (5)
ADIEU: The abbreviation for adult, a verb meaning to cut out (like an electronic device, or a signal), and the centre of ‘youth’

11a    Particular calendar one received, kept by Harry in retirement (9)
GREGORIAN: A reversal (in retirement) of the roman numeral for one plus the radio codeword that means received, all inside (kept by) a 3-letter verb meaning to harry or pester

12a    Ram not heard essentially in flock’s cry; less distinct than others (9)
BLEARIEST: The star sign associated with the ram, but without the central letter (not essentially) of heard, goes inside (in) the sound made by animals in a flock (sheep)

13a    Music compilation for one having all-round appeal? (5)

SEGUE: A Latin abbreviation meaning for one, or for instance, is surrounded by (having all-round) a 3-letter word meaning to make a legal appeal

14a    Fill washer again with half-kilo article covered in wine (6)
RELOAD: the second half of ‘kilo’ plus an indefinite article go inside (covered in) a type of wine

16a    A druggie, ultimately lacking in sense, about to retch? (8)
NAUSEOUS: A from the clue plus a 4-letter word for druggie without the last letter (ultimately lacking) goes inside (in) another word for common sense or intellect

18a    Boy, new in school, given extra protection (8)
COCOONED: An expression of surprise, like Boy! plus the abbreviation for new goes inside (in) a type of school that caters to both sexes

20a    Animal that’s vanished as horse advanced (6)
QUAGGA: Latin for ‘as’ or ‘in the capacity of’, the children’s abbreviation for horse and the abbreviation for advanced

23a    Engineer dismissed by gentleman who’s landed day’s seafood (5)
SQUID: A 6-letter ‘gentleman who’s landed’ without (dismissed) the final abbreviation for engineers, then the abbreviation for day

24a    Posh one wears England pants not giving support (9)
UNALIGNED: The abbreviation for upper-class or posh, then the Roman numeral for one goes inside (wears) an anagram (pants) of ENGLAND

26a    Porky north-easterner that is missing around Lake Superior (5-4)
LIEGE-LORD: A 3-letter porky or untruth, then an inhabitant of the NE missing the final abbreviation for ‘that is’ goes around the abbreviation for lake

27a    Perhaps heart, ulna, groin, back screened (5)
ORGAN: Reverse hidden (… back screened)

28a    Short character rubs poorly head on that Alsatian (11)
BRUSQUENESS: An anagram (poorly) of RUBS, then a headland or cape follows (on) the French (Alsatian) for ‘that’


2d    Cream egg originally with fewer calories? (5)
ELITE: The first letter (originally) of egg plus an informal word meaning ‘of fewer calories’

3d    More than one tank top in awful state, boring colour (7)
AQUARIA: The first letter (top) in awful plus the abbreviation for an American state go inside (boring) a blueish colour

4d    Ring The Swan earlier on the phone (6)
SIGNET: A homophone (on the phone) of a young (earlier) swan

5d    Auntie Dotty supporting case for abysmal language (8)
ALEUTIAN: An anagram (dotty) of AUNTIE goes underneath (supporting) the outer letters (case) of abysmal

6d    Rich male saffron producer, cold latterly being outside in elements (7)
CROESUS: The flower that produces saffron, where the second (latterly) abbreviation for cold is replaced by (being) the outer letters (outside) of elements

7d    Elected member‘s shot on fairway occasionally clipped man (7,6)
BARBARA CASTLE: I think this is a 4-letter shot as in a pointed remark, then the even letters (occasionally clipped) of fairway, followed by a name of a chess piece (man) that will annoy Rabbit Dave

8d    Fight ring (4-4)
DING-DONG: Two meanings – the second is the sound a doorbell might make

9d    View out over station (13)
UNDERSTANDING: A word meaning out or anaesthetised goes on top of (over) a word meaning station or position in a hierarchy

15d    When skimming, preferred river in Yorkshire: River Don (8)
LECTURER: I think this is a 5-letter word meaning preferred or chosen without the first letter (when skimming), a river in Yorkshire, and the abbreviation for river

17d    Source of olive oil in America bathed in heat from the south? That’s unclear (8)
NEBULOUS: A reversal (from the south) of the first letter (source) of olive and a 4-letter American word meaning to oil, inside the heat coming from a star in our solar system

19d    Far from stable, lad rode filly over the hill? (3,4)
OLD DEAR: An anagram (far from stable) of LAD RODE

21d    Where one studies bodily growth that’s often on arms (7)
UNICORN: A shortened form of a place of tertiary education plus an annoying small hard growth resulting from friction normally on the foot

22d    Removing jackets, all hands haul defunct vehicle (6)
LANDAU: Inner letters (removing jackets …)

25d    TV antiquarian with English artillery, name uppermost (5)
NEGUS: The abbreviation for English plus some weapons or artillery, then move the N to the top (name uppermost)

My favourite today was the posh guy with England pants that didn’t give any support (24a). Which clues did you like?

14 comments on “Toughie 2908

  1. I enjoyed working through this one – thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

    The guy from the Antiques Roadshow was going back a bit but luckily I remembered him. The politician was also from long ago – so a puzzle for the old stagers?

    I presume that the ‘clipped’ in 7d refers to the indentations round the top of the piece. Let’s hope Rabbit Dave doesn’t see this clue!

    I particularly liked ‘gentleman who’s landed’ (23a), ‘filly over the hill’ (19d) and “that’s often on arms” (21d).

    1. I’m hoping RD has now made his peace with that one. The issues with rook = castle, race = TT and without as a containment indicator were all resolved a few years ago (with BD’s approval, I think) – thank goodness! And yours truly was enthusiastically involved with those crusades.

  2. I sometimes get right onto Osmosis’ wavelength and today was one of those times – though I can’t see what “clipped” is doing in 7d.
    My votes go to 20a [last in] 4d, 21d and 13a which you ‘ve missed out Dutch.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks Osmosis for the puzzle.

    1. oops! no idea how that happened. I must have deleted it somehow. Thanks for pointing out, now fixed.

    2. yes, i also wondered about clipped. I think it is included for surface, and osmosis would justify this saying “occasionally clipped” works as an removal indicator for odd/even letters. I’m keen on Gazza’s ‘clipped man’, but who knows.

      1. A castle or rook would have to be ‘occasionally clipped’ to refer at all to the crenellation, I’d say, but that would borrow from the subsidiary indication: and as ‘clipped’ alone doesn’t really do THAT for me, I’ll have to go with ‘occasionally clipped’ to be used as blogged. Not my favourite clue, also as the ‘elected member’ concerned has been under the earth for twenty years.

        Now here is the rub for me: does shackling oneself in limiting the number of letters used in puzzles in some way restrict the writing of the clues? I can’t think that it should, and lipograms are common enough, but I found this one a bit dry, even though in general well-clued.

        Thanks O and D.

        1. The shackling affects the grid fill, which might generate some unusual entries

          But the clueing doesn’t depend on that. Well, except that it might be slightly harder to clue unusual entries. My last puzzle included “umbilical hernia”. I have no idea what insanity encouraged me to include that in the grid

    3. My take on it is this. There is a 2-word indicator where one would suffice, but I think the “clipped” has been added to make the surface reading scan a little better and also give a more complete golfing reference – the fairway’s occasionally clipped for the shot to be taken on.

  3. Luckily we had heard of both 7d and 26d but the puzzle was far from being a quick solve for us.
    Eventually it all came together although there were several false starts along the way that had needed correcting.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  4. A bit too clever by half solved it with difficulty but can’t say it was one of my favourite puzzles

  5. Tough but doable, just. Was very grateful for Dutch’s parsing of several of my answers. Felt a certain smoothness of surface read and answer had been lost in the ratcheting up of difficulty levels. A very satisfying one on which to put down the pen at the end.

    Many thanks indeed to Osmosis and Dutch

  6. Only just got around to tackling this one (in the process of moving – yet again!) Found it very tricky and completed three-quarters with a lot of electronic help, but knew the oldies (because I’m an old-stager). The last quarter, mostly in the SW corner required blog help. Thank you Osmosis and Dutch.

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