Toughie 2924 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2924

Toughie No 2924 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Again, Osmosis omits 12 letters of the alphabet. This seemed a little easier than past puzzles, though it still took me 4* time and I’m not seeing the parsing of 27a. Maybe one of you can help me? Queens’ ?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Two reserves that may be needed against injury (3,3)
ICE BAG: Two 3-letter words meaning reserve

5a    Heard punter attending alternative to Newmarket (8)
BACCARAT: A homophone (heard) of a 6-letter punter plus a preposition meaning ‘attending’

9a    Imagine singer can essentially select numbers being performed (4,6)
JOHN LENNON: Another word for can or loo, the central (essentially) letters of ‘select’, twice the abbreviation for number and a preposition meaning ‘being performed’

10a    Runner‘s weight captured by electronics (4)
ELBE: An abbreviation for a unit of weight goes in between (captured by) two abbreviations for electronic

11a    Amp used after tango during musical passage once (5,3)
GREAT SEA: The abbreviation for Amp follows the insertion of (during) the letter with code word Tango into a popular musical/film

12a    Go on cycle with my foot grazed? (6)
ROTATE: A 3-letter word meaning ‘my foot’ or rubbish, plus a word meaning grazed

13a    Old menial messenger occasionally encountered (4)
ESNE: Even letters ( … occasionally encountered)

15a    Faltering, dear half ignored step in surgery (8)
INCISION: A 10-letter word meaning faltering or hesitation from which half of ‘dear’ is removed (ignored)

18a    Dangerous ticker issue reviewed by sawbones’ heart doctor (4,4)
TIME BOMB: A reversal (reviewed) of a verb meaning ‘to issue’, the central letters (heart) of ‘sawbones’, and an abbreviation for doctor

19a    Tip contents (4)
LIST: Two meanings, the first as in lean over

21a    Upsetting poster appears on southern promenade (6)
STROLL: Someone who posts nasty messages online follows (on, in an across clue) the abbreviation for southern

23a    American getting changed behind closed doors (2,6)
IN CAMERA: An anagram (getting changed) of AMERICAN

25a    Film-maker in suit attends retrospective (4)
TATI: Reverse hidden ( in … retrospective)

26a    Poet, younger still (10)
MOTIONLESS: A previous poet laureate and a word that could mean younger

27a    Maybe join partnership of business prevailing over Queens’ Incorporated? (4,2,2)
COME IN ON: I’m not seeing how this works. ‘of business’ could be part of the definition. Any thoughts?

28a    Tripe that fills active oven? (3,3)
HOT AIR: Two meanings, the first as in rot, the second more literal


2d    Children look at this river in which bass may appear (5)
CHOIR: The abbreviation for children, an exclamation that means ‘look at this!’, and the abbreviation for river

3d    Asian person winds east below mountain (9)
BENGALESE: Some winds or strong breezes plus the abbreviation for east go underneath (below) a Scottish mountain

4d    Oil rig worker finally visiting facilities, singly (6)
GREASE: The last letters (finally) of ‘rig worker’ plus the single version of a word that means ‘facilities’

5d    Maestro‘s choke engaged by country resident here on raised land (8,7)
BENJAMIN BRITTEN: A 3-letter word meaning choke or block goes inside (engaged by) an African country, then what we call a ‘country resident here’ plus a reversal (raised) of a word meaning to land or catch

6d    Bond villain thinner, filling out before performance (8)
CONTRACT: A 3-letter villain, T(hinne)R with the inner letters (filling) removed, and a 3-letter performance

7d    Boozer possibly overlooking time on the watch (5)
ALERT: A whimsical word for someone who drinks beer and the abbreviation for time

8d    Cross Scotland, S Type fired up? (9)
ALBATROSS: A 4-letter word for Scotland, then a reversal (fired up) of S from the clue and aa word meaning ‘type’

14d    Isn’t Jean’s pain inhibited by very good port? (5-4)
SAINT-MALO: A slang way of saying “isn’t”, then French for pain (as Jean would say), all inside (inhibited by) a 2-letter word that can mean ‘very good’

16d    Meals melted, opening chiller (6,3)
SALEM’S LOT: An anagram (melted) of MEALS and a word for an opening

17d    List about 1,000 following head count, perhaps (8)
NOBLEMAN: A word meaning to list or tilt containing (about) the Roman numeral for 1000 follows an informal word for head

20d    Cleaner unwilling to be subjugated by Lord casually (1-5)
J-CLOTH: A 4-letter adjective meaning ‘unwilling’ goes underneath (is subjugated by) a casual reference to a Lord and Saviour

22d    Round biscuit shelved (2,3)
ON ICE: The letter that looks like a round and a brand of biscuit

24d    Essentially ignored “banter” that opposes You Tubers getting heated? (5)
ROSTI: A 5-letter slang word for banter without the central letter (essentially ignored), then a pronoun that would oppose You (perhaps in a setter/solver dynamic)

Lots of nice clues, but my favourite today has to be “Imagine singer”. Which clues did you like?

11 comments on “Toughie 2924

  1. Osmosis on top form and I found it pretty damn tough. The disguised definitions were the standout and in particular “Imagine singer” in 9a [altho this one was a bit of a gimme] “Tubers getting heated” in 24d and my favourite “Upsetting poster” in 21a. The wordplay was pretty devious too.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog. Parsing 27a defeated me too. All I can see is CO for business and 3/4 of MAIN for prevailing. I also toyed with “Come on in” and “Move in on” but neither makes any more sense.

  2. This was slow but steady progress. I’m equally bemused by 27a which I bunged in. I liked 15a when the penny dropped. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. 27a Doesn’t make much sense to me either – seems to be CO[-]ON with [-MEIN-] in the middle??
    Very tough today – thanks Osmosis & Dutch

  4. I found this reasonably straightforward, although I was not entirely sure about the parsing of 4d, as this also seemed to be used in 11a. So I came here to check, only to find I had been too casual about 27a, which I had quickly parsed as “common” for prevailing with the first Elizabeth inside, which is clearly wrong. So I am now also baffled.

    Anyway, thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  5. 27a: CO (“business”) IN (“prevailing”, ie currently popular) O (“over”) inside (“…incorporated”) MEN (“queens” ie chess ‘men’) … ?

    I also wonder if boozer is lift & separate, booze r = ale r rather than ‘whimsical’ but I guess both work!

    Super puzzle, many thanks Osmosis & Dutch

        1. come in on = definition (it’s in Chambers), “maybe join partnership” “of” wordplay as above (I think!?): CO / ME (IN O) N

  6. I finished with a few unparsed bung-ins as earlier commenters seem to have done. I always feel slightly unsatisfied when that happens, but the compiler has won this one. Fez seems to have cracked the mystery that was 27a. 9a was my clear favourite. A real Toughie for me.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  7. Certainly a Toughie in my view, and very satisfying to have completed it though I can’t say I took overly much pleasure in doing so: too many clues fail the “pub conversation” test, being somewhat clumsy and lacking the smooth surface reads one finds with other setters. Perhaps a result of making a puzzle a Toughie and an arbitrary restriction on numbers of letters being used in answers?

    13a new to me (thank you, BRB), and 11a as a passage, so I now just wonder how long I shall be able to remember either! Thank you to Fez for a plausible parsing of 27a. 5a my COTD

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch

  8. We also struggled with 27a. Thanks Fez for sorting it out.
    Favourite by a country mile was 9a.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

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