Toughie 3044 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3044

Toughie No 3044 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Stared at this for a bit then started with 21a which gave me SW and the long down clue. Then progressed steadily anticlockwise, a quadrant at a time. Osmosis again provides us with a near pangram, this time Z is missing.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


4a    Next spinner ending in India after a bit of money (8)
ADJACENT: A 2-letter vinyl spinner plus the last letter (ending) of India come after A from the clue, then a bit of money

8a    Pity one couldn’t fly into Nevis, say (6)
BEMOAN: An extinct bird that couldn’t fly goes into something that ‘Nevis’ exemplifies

9a    Pub quiz’s second part done using cunning hint (8)
INNUENDO: A pub, the second letter (second part) of ‘quiz’, and an anagram (using cunning) of DONE

10a    Vehicle inside I’ve sprayed, going with American smoker? (8)
VESUVIUS: A 3-letter abbreviation for a vehicle goes inside an anagram (sprayed) of I’VE, then an abbreviation meaning American

11a    Display loafer, type in navy discounted (6)
LAYOUT: An 8-letter loafer or idler, but without (discounted) a 2-letter seaman (‘type in navy’)

12a    Orchestra wrong, sounding increasingly unreal (8)
SINFONIA: A word meaning a wrong, then a homophone (sounding) of ‘increasingly unreal’ or faker

13a    Hot and sunny periodically, leading to fruit deluge (8)
INUNDATE: A preposition meaning hot or trendy, the even (periodically) letters of sunny, and a fruit

16a    Dense element muscle in disturbing cat mainly (8)
PLATINUM: A back muscle plus IN from the clue go inside (disturbing) a 4-letter wild cat, but without the last letter (mostly)

19a    Heavy beat pervades single (2,6)
AL CAPONE: To beat or outdo goes inside (pervades) a 5-letter word meaning single

21a    Son bitter about A levels (6)
STRATA: The abbreviation for son, a reversal (about) of a word meaning bitter, and A from the clue

23a    Game pair finishing puzzle outside like this clue (8)
LACROSSE: The two letters at the end (pair finishing) of ‘puzzle’ go outside a clue like this one

24a    Person turning up curtains for student in PM once (8)
ATTENDEE: Take a 6-letter former PM and replace the abbreviation for student or learner with a word meaning ‘curtains’

25a    Be more smart in France or Turkey (6)
OUTWIT: The French word (in France) for ‘or’ and a turkey

26a    Male possibly in Mensa? Unlikely (5,3)
ESSEX MAN: A 3-letter word that could be exemplified by ‘Male’ goes in an anagram (unlikely) of MENSA


1d    Harrow boarding school fixture last to come back (7)
BEDEVIL: A boarding school fixture and a reversal (back) of a word that can mean last or survive

2d    Pro during sporting activity getting skimmed dairy product (9)
ROQUEFORT: A word meaning pro goes inside (during) a sporting activity or game without the first letter (skimmed)

3d    Flag new soldiers raised amid extremes of emotion (6)
ENSIGN: The abbreviation for new plus the reversal (raised) of some American soldiers go in between (amid) the outer letters (extremes) of emotion

4d    Writer‘s famous expression graduate defined well (8,7)
ALISTAIR MACLEAN: A (1-4) word meaning famous or celebrity, an expression or attitude, an abbreviation for a graduate, and a word that can mean sharply defined or clear-cut

5d    Sprawling lounge cherished by Dallas tycoon who entertains (8)
JONGLEUR: An anagram (sprawling) of LOUNGE is contained (cherished) by the oil tycoon in the series Dallas

6d    Soldier caught during hundred year conflict here (5)
CRECY: The abbreviations for a body of soldiers and ‘caught’ go inside (during) the Roman numeral for hundred and the abbreviation for year. A clever clue since this was a battle site in the hundred years war in France (though I might have preferred ‘Soldiers’)

7d    Boxer’s first down in fight after agreement, most likely (2,5)
NO DOUBT: A (boxing) fight in which the first letter in boxer is lowered (down) follows (after) a gesture of agreement

14d    Georgia’s here promoting career, revealed husband (4,5)
DEEP SOUTH: A reversal (promoting) of another word for career or race, a word meaning revealed, and the abbreviation of husband

15d    Appoint and employ nurses together (2,6)
IN TANDEM: Hidden ( … nurses)

17d    Trope of two different books on tablets (7)
LITOTES: A 3-letter and a 2-letter abbreviation both meaning books, and some recreational tablets

18d    Shrewd stocking bananas (only kilo left) (7)
GNOSTIC: An anagram (bananas) of STOC(k)ING (but the abbreviation for kilo has left)

20d    Particular clock with a screw loose (6)
CUCKOO: Two meanings, the first generally a Swiss clock

22d    Woman‘s sponge cake, not mine, splitting (5)
ADELE: Take 9-letter small sponge cake, and remove (not) ‘m + ine’ (splitting), from the front and back

I liked the son bitter about A levels, and I laughed at the turkey and the Mensa candidate. The latter, as a lovely all-in one, is my favourite today. Which clues did you like?

11 comments on “Toughie 3044

  1. The usual quality from Osmosis, if not as tricky as some he’s set lately. Most impressed by 23a, 26a, plus 6,17 and 22d.
    Thanks to him and to Dutch for the blog.

  2. SW held me up, particularly 17d which was new to me. Overall though towards the gentler end of the Friday spectrum, 26a was my favourite although I am very partial to 2d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. My final quadrant to fall was also the SW until I realised the workings behind 26a which helped me over the line. That was certainly a candidate for favourite, along with 12 and 19a. In review this was not as terrifyingly difficult as my first pass suggested, and it was most definitely most rewarding and enjoyable.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the great challenge, and to Dutch.

  4. Failed on 22d and 26a.
    For the latter, I was trying an anagram of Mensa, in and m and looking for one of those historic skeletons such as the Cheddar Man .
    Must admit that the answer made me laugh and I apologise to all who live in that county.
    Liked the heavy in 19a and the turkey in 25a also.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch.

    1. I also failed on 26a … but I have an excuse … I was born and bred in Colchester.


  5. Loved this. Just my idea of a Toughie Friday. Finished it after several tranches. As an 26a I can say I wasn’t offended. Many many smiles. Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch for parsing my many bung ins.

  6. Great stuff. Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

    4a, 6d and 25a on podium if I have to pick just three.

    By the way, re 8a, one can fly into Nevis (my home island) but not from the UK!

  7. Tricky without being impossible (for me at least). I needed a few hints to get over the line but in hindsight they were gettable with more patience. A bit unlucky to get the ‘smoker’ definition two days running! 17d was a new word for me. I liked 23a, 25a and 26a and many more

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  8. Very tough, a proper Friday Toughie in my book. Definitions more obscured than the sun has been for most of this week! So many brilliant clues despite the often awkward surface reads.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  9. Greetings from Kings Lynn.

    As a new boy, found it all a bit challenging today. Trouble sleeping, started at 2.13, finished 11.24.

    Interestingly, ************* came to me quite easily, ****** a problem.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Tricky Ricky. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become a regular commenter.

      Please read the instructions in red at the bottom of the blog and don’t include answers for a prize puzzle.

      Edit: I presume, from the answers you included, that you intended this comment for the Sunday blog (ST 3208).

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