Toughie 3012 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3012

Toughie No 3012 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I seemed to be on an Osmosis wavelength today, which probably means the puzzle was easier. I finished in 3* time, but with one left to parse (didn’t take long, but hence inching into 4*).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Pop band encompass a duet on tour around globe (7,6)
SPANDAU BALLET: A 4-letter word for encompass or stretch over, then an anagram (on tour) of A DUET goes around a 4-letter globe

8a    Crocodile maybe emerging from dingy river (6)
DUNDEE: A word meaning dingy and a UK river

9a    Number one single, Abba’s last, an alternative to Waterloo? (8)
VICTORIA: A 6-letter word for number one or the champ, the letter that looks like one or single and the last letter in ABBA

10a    Ruminator brooded (nothing odd in that) (3)
ROE: Remove the odd letters (nothing odd in that) in ‘brooded’

11a    Heard Glaswegian’s attempts to score quantities of an addictive substance (6)
SHORTS: How a Glaswegian might pronounce a word meaning attempts

12a    Artist‘s small lair in Ireland (8)
ROSSETTI: The abbreviation for small plus a badger’s lair go in the abbreviation for Ireland

14a    English town’s urban recycling seen in past (7)
BANBURY: An anagram (recycling) of URBAN goes in a preposition meaning past

16a    Salaried ambassador embraces retrograde island (7)
MADEIRA: Reverse hidden ( … embraces retrograde)

20a    Shoe, clearly visible on the counter, needing brush outside (8)
STILETTO: A reversal (on the counter) of a word that can mean ‘clearly visible’ or illuminated is surrounded by (needing … outside) a (3-2) word meaning brush or skirmish

23a    Sheep rounding left one making bloomers (6)
TULIPS: Some sheep contain (rounding) the abbreviation for left and the Roman numeral for one

24a    Posh female set (3)
GEL: Two meanings, the first a facetious upper-class pronunciation, the second a verb

25a    Potential words of encouragement from Hollywood doyenne on TV? (8)
BAKEWELL: Split (4,4), this TV personality might become some encouraging words from Paul

26a    See Roman succeeded eating large type of cake (6)
ECCLES: A Latin word meaning see or behold plus the abbreviation for succeeded containing (eating) the abbreviation for large

27a    Essence of Michael Caine evident, broadcasting 70s film (5,2,6)
DEATH IN VENICE: An anagram (broadcasting) of the central letter (essence) of micHael + CAINE + EVIDENT


1d    Leaders in Lower California met by Scotsman that uses side-walk? (4,4)
LAND CRAB: The first letters (leaders) in ‘Lower California’ would be * AND *, then a Scottish first name

2d    A series of lines penned by doctor relatively hurtful (8)
ADVERSER: A from the clue, then a set of lines in poetry contained (penned) by the abbreviation for doctor

3d    Channel Five breaking ground rule in court (7)
CULVERT: The Roman numeral for five goes inside (breaking) an anagram (ground) of RULE, which in turn goes in the abbreviation for court

4d    European region not hosting a second political meeting (6)
CAUCUS: An 8-letter region between the Black and Caspian seas without (not hosting) A from the clue and the abbreviation for second

5d    Old statesman having, alas, good read halved (2,4)
AL GORE: The first halves of 3 words in the clue

6d    Opponents fighting foremost in double-decker to London? (5-8)
SOUTH-EASTWARD: Two bridge opponents (spelled-out fully), a 3-letter word for fighting, and the first letter (foremost) in double-decker. I guess London is generally considered to be in this part of the nation

7d    Nana and Dicky rest quietly in this place, community posting messages (13)
TWITTERSPHERE: Another word for a nana, an anagram (dicky) of rest, the musical abbreviation for quietly and a word meaning ‘in this place’

13d    Black and blue (3)
SAD: Two meanings, the first dark and sombre, the second down or low

15d    Perhaps Sheila’s truck silent, failing to start (3)
UTE: Sheila being an Australian. A 4-letter word for silent without the first letter (failing to start)

17d    Possibly like 10 books stocked by novel dealer (8)
ANTLERED: Some biblical books go inside (stocked by) an anagram (novel) of DEALER

18d    Catholic charged without resistance around chapter (8)
ECLECTIC: An 8-letter word that can mean charged, but without the abbreviation for resistance, goes around the abbreviation for chapter

19d    Try getting a lift into boring Slough (7)
BOGLAND: A reversal (getting a lift) of a 2-letter word meaning a try goes inside (into) a word meaning boring or dull

21d    Student network agreed to support western tolerance (6)
LEEWAY: The abbreviation for a student driver, a 2-letter mobile phone and broadband network, then a word meaning ‘agreed’ follows (to support, in a down clue) the abbreviation for western

22d    Toddlers do this wobble, mostly landing hard (6)
TEETHE: A 6-letter word for wobble without the last letter (mostly) contains (landing) the abbreviation for hard

I think my favourite today was the ABBA clue – which clues did you like?

15 comments on “Toughie 3012
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  1. So much to enjoy in this surprisingly accessible Friday Toughie. Like our blogger, 9a stood out for me as a favourite, along with 25a and 19d. Great fun.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. Great fun, lovely cakes, an accessible, well constructed Friday puzzle. (***/****). 7d a new word for me. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. I needed several of Dutch’s excellent hints to complete the NW quadrant; I blame the fact that, living in Kent, I have to travel in the opposite direction to London. Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge, and Dutch for the elucidation.

  4. I’ll be jiggered, I have a full grid and a rumbling tummy from all that cake on offer! I surprised myself at how quickly I managed to fill this in (some on a wing and a prayer) but haven’t nailed all the parsings yet so no doubt will be back to tap into Dutch’s expertise.
    8&9a plus 15,19&22d are early podium contenders.
    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  5. Well I am amazed. My most successful encounter with osmosis completed in 2 time (I emphasise FOR ME) which simply means reading each clue and entering a parsed answer without any breaks.
    So I guess it’s **/*****
    Loved 27a and 3d but enjoyed the whole puzzle thoroughly.
    Grinning smugly/ thanks all

  6. Excellent workout and blog. However, as an ex-pat Glaswegian, I’d point out that of inserting an extra ‘r’ in pronouncing words (11a) is a habit of the southern English not those us from west central Scotland. E.g. ‘drawrer’ for ‘drawer’ etc. Also, is ‘doyenne’ (25a) not an indicator of a female or has Mr Hollywood decided to self-identify his gender?

    1. I hesitated over 11a but concluded that a Glaswegian might pronounce the word ‘shawt’, so the extra ‘r’ doesn’t really come into it.

  7. Gosh it’s True, Once More I Made It Through The Barricades on the page in front of me and, To Cut A Long Story Short, ended with a full grid. No need even for a Lifeline from Dutch with this piece of pure Gold from Osmosis. The Scottish name is entirely new to me but the answer could have been little else, and I was amused by 7d, solved from the ground upwards. A thoroughly enjoyable Friday Toughie, for me too Osmosis being on the relatively gentle side – one of the speedier Friday solves. So many excellent clues – candidates include 8a, 9a and 26a, 3d, 5d, 17d & 19d.

    Has to be a 4*/5* from me.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

  8. I realised early on this one would be GK-heavy and was tempted to bail, but I’m glad I persevered – actually most of it was perfectly accessible to me and my generation :) Even the 70s film I knew! I found this a challenge, but doable with a few hints along the way, which is not something I can say often about the Friday toughie (I think it’s the first Osmosis puzzle I’ve ever completed)… I did need some further help with parsing with the more devious ones. I liked 8a, 3d and my COTD goes to 19d which had me flummoxed most of the solve. ****/****

    Ty to Osmosis and Dutch for the help

  9. There are some things that, as an American, I can never know, and I always am quick to say so, about UK-centred subjects (the ‘doyenne’, e.g.), but I did enjoy wrestling with this excellent Osmosis Toughie last night. I did much better than I usually do on a Friday Toughie. The entire right side is filled in, but I just fell flat on my face with the left. Those here on the blog who know me by now should not be surprised that 27a–not the hardest clue today, I realise–is my favourite: the novella is brilliant, the haunting performance by D Bogarde painfully memorable, the author Mann never better. So, many thanks to Osmosis and of course to Dutch who helped me finish filling in the left side.

  10. Having met the chef in 25a in a Picaroon crossword, it helped me get this very last clue.
    The first was 6a which just jumped at me.
    The Scotsman in 1d brought back memories of the beautiful Rab C Nesbitt.
    Really enjoyed this crossword.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the review.

  11. Only a few days ago I was remarking again about how I find our Friday setters way beyond my comprehension, then out of the blue comes an Osmosis quite doable!
    From the comments above, it is obvious that others too, found this rather more approachable than the usual fare from Mr O, but though I managed a full grid, several were bung-ins which required the hints to parse.
    Thanks to all.

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