Toughie 2940 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2940

Toughie No 2940 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I was slow to get going in the top half, but the rest seemed more tractable. Thankfully, there were a few easier clues. Again, Osmosis has omitted almost half the alphabet.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Unrefined performance art hyped somewhat (6)
EARTHY: Hidden (… somewhat)

4a    Sandy recalled certain module thwarting student festivity (8)
GRANULAR: A reversal (recalled) of a ‘certain module’ (think space) inside (thwarting) a ‘student festivity’

10a    Bit tense reporting rank booze (9)
COINTREAU: A bit (as in money), the abbreviation for tense, and a homophone (reporting) of rank or tier

11a    Frank’s opposite number gradually rising through banks in City (5)
CAGEY: A number that gradually rises, unfortunately, goes inside (through) the outer letters (banks) of ‘city’

12a    Send off wine that valentine receives (3-4)
RED CARD: A type of wine and something that you would normally give a valentine on Feb 14th

13a    Proper tango old rocker performed with partner (7)
DUETTED: A word meaning proper, the letter with radio code Tango and an ‘old rocker’

14a    The Spanish like this feller on ranch? (5)
LASSO: A 3-letter Spanish article plus a short word meaning ‘like this’. Feller as in something that can bring down, I guess

15a    The Spread Eagle mean to install communication system (8)
ETHERNET: An anagram (spread) of THE, a 4-letter eagle, and the central letter (mean) of install

18a    Period dummy I used in short illusion (8)
TRIASSIC: A 3-letter dummy or idiot and ‘I’ from the clue go inside (used in) a 5-letter illusion or deception without the last letter (short)

19a    Charge hardware? (3-2)
ADD-ON: Two meanings, for the second think computers

21a    Disheartened, Carol departs leaving blighted garden bloomer (7)
CLANGER: C(aro)L from the clue without the inner letters (disheartened), then an anagram (blighted) of GAR(d)EN without (leaving) the abbreviation for departs

23a    Leftovers on retiring is expected (7)
RESIDUE: A short word meaning ‘on’, a reversal (retiring) of IS from the clue, and a word meaning expected

24a    Minor rider passing leading pair (1-4)
C-LIST: A 7-letter ‘rider’ without (passing) the first two letters (leading pair)

25a    Separately, one European enters drunk, being his own boss? (9)
LIEGELESS: Take a 7-letter word for drunk (unable to stand), and in separate places insert (enters) the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for European

26a    What was that river by Alabama pub? (8)
ALEHOUSE: An exclamation meaning ‘what was that?’ plus a 4-letter Yorkshire river follows (by) the abbreviation for Alabama

27a    Price of surplus back numbers (4-2)
ODDS-ON: A word for surplus (think socks) and a reversal (back) of an abbreviated form of ‘numbers’


1d    14‘s letter delivered on round (8)
ENCIRCLE: A homophone (delivered) of a letter in the alphabet (the 14th!) and another word for round

2d    On River Test, current site vacated to develop plants again? (15)
REINDUSTRIALISE: A short word meaning ‘on’ (again), an Asian river, another word for test, the physics symbol for current, and S(it)E without the inner letters (vacated)

3d    Elder has indeed gone dressed up for exercise with special pants (5,4)
HATHA YOGA: An old (elder) form of ‘has’, a 2-letter word meaning indeed or yes, and a reversal of a word for gone, or in the past. I assume the special pants are breathing techniques!

5d    Approaching due north: wild hog (5,3,6)
ROUND THE CORNER: An anagram (wild) of DUE NORTH and a word meaning to hog

6d    Specialised biscuit with hard filling (5)
NICHE: A brand of biscuit contains (with … filling) the abbreviation for hard

7d    Vertigo Ray endured on vacation between capes (5-10)
LIGHT-HEADEDNESS: A word that could be a ray, then E(ndure)D without the inner letters (on vacation) goes between two different words for a cape

8d    One capital in Asia, dry, unusually hot (6)
RIYADH: An anagram (unusually) of the Roman numeral for one, the first letter (capital) of Asia, and DRY, then the abbreviation for hot

9d    Unerring marine maybe scans phone for vital text (4,3,7)
DEAD SEA SCROLLS: A word that can mean unerring or accurate, a 3-letter word meaning marine, and a word for ‘maybe scans phone’ (e.g., when looking at a long web page)

16d    Fishing gear around trailer seat affected position of stability (9)
ROADSTEAD: A fishing implement goes around both a trailer or promotion and an anagram (affected) of SEAT

17d    Shelter with debris, occasionally drinking (8)
ANDERSON: A conjunction meaning with, the even letters (occasionally) of ‘debris’, and a short word that means drinking or getting drunk

20d    Plant succulents, passing time in borders of arboreta (6)
ACACIA: Some spiky succulents omitting (passing) the abbreviation for time go inside the outer letters (borders) of A(rboret)A

22d    Raise spirit for a start (3-2)
GET-GO: A word that could mean raise or obtain and a word that could mean spirit or energy

My favourite today was the all-in-one Asian capital (8d), and I also enjoyed the old rocker tangoing (13a) and the Alabama pub (26a). Which clues did you like?

13 comments on “Toughie 2940
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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this difficult challenge, and thank our blogger for parsing 3d which although I solved I had no idea how. The brilliance of compiling this without so many letters of the alphabet is quite superb. As is often the case, trying to pick a winner from such a stellar list was tough, but I have gone for 26a.

    My thanks and congratulations to both Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. Echo Young Salopian above. Are the pants in 3d trousers rather than breathing? Thanks to both for a fair Friday challenge

  3. 17d. I remember the shelters but I’m afraid the drinking term was beyond me (although I’m well practiced at it). Rest of it fell into place eventually. Great effort Osmosis.

  4. 1a was a gimme and I thought “right, here we go”, then nothing for quite a long time! Eventually it started to yield down the RHS and 15a was a cracker, but the COTD was 26a, altho 3d runs it close.
    Thanks to Osmosis [I guess he’s trying to see how few letters can be used to make a 15 x 15 crossword] and to Dutch for the blog.

  5. Impenetrable after 3 quick solutions, and an hour’s head scratching. So I’ll have another go in the morning after the Saturday back-pager. No toughie tomorrow, so I hope a good night’s sleep will unravel a few to get me going again!

  6. Well, that’s the morning gone, but I got it sorted.
    Had to check a few things afterwards with the hints, so thanks for them Dutch. And thanks Osmosis for a great puzzle

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