Toughie 3060 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3060

Toughie No 3060 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

A lovely puzzle with clever surfaces. We have the Osmosis trademark near-pangram; this time an X is missing. It took me a while to get my head around SE, but still finished within 4* time

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Key game involving a drained Grimsby, struggling to get out of the box? (10)
ESCAPOLOGY: A computer key plus a game on horseback, containing (involving) A from the clue, then G(rimsb)Y without the inner letters (drained)

6a    Record of settlement that ends quest in Sandwich (4)
STUB: The end of quest goes in a 3-letter sandwich

10a    Pants fiancee Pat occasionally dropped (5)
INEPT: Even letters ( … occasionally dropped)

11a    Open dry superior wine after common one (9)
UNSECURED: A wine word meaning dry, an abbreviation for superior or posh, and a kind of wine all preceded by a dialect (common) word for ‘one’

12a    Corsican who enters bar for a peer (7)
MARQUIS: The French (Corsican) for ‘who’ goes inside (enters) a candy bar

13a    Oriental figurine‘s fine, I reckon, reviewing leg (7)
OKIMONO: A 2-letter abbreviation meaning fine, a 3-letter abbreviation meaning ‘I reckon’, and a reversal (reviewing) of a cricket term for leg

14a    Lift cold, fat-free meat on top of that hot dish (5,3,4)
CLEAN AND JERK: The abbreviation for cold, some fat-free meat, a conjunction meaning ‘on top of that’ and some spicy food

18a    Sweet engineers with vehicle providing buff on the exterior (5,7)
CRÈME CARAMEL: a 4-letter abbreviation for some engineers and a vehicle have outside them (providing … on the exterior) another word for a brownish-yellow colour like buff

21a    Restaurant‘s tax returns finally written in time (7)
TAVERNA: A reversal (returns) of a type of tax, then the last (finally) letter of ‘written’ goes in a period of time

23a    She wrote books with set length, maintaining appeal (7)
GASKELL: A word meaning to set plus the abbreviation for length contain (maintaining) a word meaning to appeal or beg

24a    Unreal property reduced by 50 per cent seen beyond river head (9)

FALSENESS: Half the letters (reduced by 50%) of ‘seen’ come after (beyond) a Cornish river, then another word for head or cape

25a    Runner‘s test coming from work (5)

INDUS: A 3-letter word for test is left off the end of (coming from) an 8-letter word for work

26a    Hotel‘s legal documents picked up (4)
RITZ: A homophone (picked up) of some legal documents

27a    Theocrat, given two weeks, knocked out religious publication (10)
WATCHTOWER: An anagram (knocked out) of THEOCRAT+W+W (‘given two weeks’)


1d    Mystery sample of cream/gin/elderberry served up (6)
ENIGMA: Reverse hidden (sample of … served up)

2d    Tone songstress used on track (6)
CHERRY: A female singer plus the abbreviation for train track

3d    Hole with rubbish over floor containing stray dog (3,4,7)
PIT BULL TERRIER: A 3-letter hole, some 4-letter rubbish, then a floor or level containing a word meaning to stray

4d    LA woman embraces Scotsman (9)
LOUISIANA: A woman’s first name embraces a Scotsman’s first name

5d    Finales of kung fu fights to relish (5)
GUSTO: Last letters (finales of …) three words in the clue plus TO from the clue

7d    Flier promoted the vacant position with channel (8)
TURBOJET: A reversal (promoted) of T(h)E without the central letter (vacant), a position or post, and a channel or groove

8d    Hose part of garden overlooking birches? (8)
BEDSOCKS: Part of the garden where you might plant flowers and birches or flogs

9d    Chris with lens recreated enthralling opening of David Lean film (10,4)
SCHINDLER’S LIST: An anagram (recreated) of CHRIS + LENS contains (enthralling) the first letter (opening) of David, then a word meaning to lean

15d    Number of obsessive faces in Glastonbury event thus (9)
ANALGESIC: A 4-letter word meaning obsessive, the first letters (faces) of ‘Glastonbury event’, and a 3-letter Latin word meaning thus

16d    S Beds motor racing centre for tiros that’s full of cones (5,3)
SCOTS FIR: S from the clue, some beds, a 2-character phrase for top motor racing, and the middle letter (centre) of tiros

17d    Sausage served unwrapped left in clutches of pet (8)
CERVELAT: (s)ERVE(d) without the outer letters (unwrapped) plus the abbreviation for left goes inside a kind of pet

19d    Whine about business acquiring green space? (6)
MEADOW: A word meaning whine ( a cat-like sound) goes around some 3-letter business or commotion

20d    Comparatively mean doorman? (6)
CLOSER: More mean or tight gives you presumably half a doorman’s function

22d    Taking second left out of football club stadium (5)
ARENA: Remove the abbreviations for second and left from a football club

I liked the dry superior wine, the restaurant’s ta returns, but most of all I liked the David Lean mislead and 9d is my favourite. Which clues wowed you?

9 comments on “Toughie 3060

  1. Gosh, a Friday Toughie completed over lunch – haven’t achieved that for a goodly while! Great puzzle (Because you finished it? Ed.) which I started around the SE and worked clockwise, finishing in the same corner. Probably spent as long in the E with the final 10 clues as the other 18 had taken in total, but would have been quicker had I been able to parse my answers for 7d and 23a; the oriental figurine was a biff and the sausage a “never heard of”. Rather too many strained surface reads, but Hon Mentions to 21a, 27a, 4d & 20d.

    4* / 4*

    Many thanks to Osmosis and of course Dutch

  2. A brisk start in the NW but a slower finish, 7d took much longer than it should have, and a google or three required to check my constructions for sausages, ornaments and authors.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. Funnily enough , having reckoned the Backpager at *** difficulty [ not 4 ] , I would rate this as *** rather than 4 . However , 13d down new to me and , partially as a result failed to get 7d , so maybe 4* after all ! Some nice clues though – particularly 12a. Thanks to both .

  4. I found this slightly easier than yesterday’s. Started well in the NW then slowed down, picking off the corners and finishing in the middle. Classic Osmosis complex wordplay with well-disguised definitions – I particularly liked the charades at 13a, 15d and 16d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the blog.

  5. It was all going so well but fell at the final hurdles courtesy of 13a’s ‘I reckon’ and David Lean’s film. Kicking myself over the latter but not the former!
    Enjoyed the challenge and handed out rosettes to 11&27a plus 16d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and to Dutch for the review – are you kitty-napping from Mr K?

  6. Managed about three quarters before turning to hints
    Has anyone else never seen 14a on a menu? Got, the wrong idea entirely. Was thinking Jamaican!

  7. A thoroughly enjoyable solve for us. Nicely challenging but everything ultimately solvable without having to trawl too much reference material.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  8. A rare stab for me (due to a thumbs up from Jane) at one of this setter’s puzzles as usually way out of my league & glad that I did. Nearly but not quite. Beaten by 7d until revealing the O checker which left 1 missing letter for the figurine (new to/long forgotten by me) & needed the hint for the I say acronym. Wish I’d known a near pangram was a trademark – wasted effort trying to shoehorn an X into those last 2. The sausage needed confirmation & couldn’t parse Elizabeth at 23a.
    Very enjoyable indeed & no more difficult than the last couple of days surprisingly. Lots of great clues but predictably 9d was my favourite. I initially thought an anagram of the first 3 words + D but know Lean’s filmography so it was a case of the checkers eventually giving it away then parsing it. The surface read made me want to watch Freddy Young’s iconic shot in Lawrence of Omar Sharif atop of the camel & approaching the well & the answer Spielberg’s use of the little girl with the red dress during the ghetto liquidation sequence.
    Thanks to Osmosis & to Dutch

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