Toughie 3188 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3188

Toughie No 3188 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

More vague clueing from Osmosis, and a W short of a pangram.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    See you texted probing damned pest (6)
LOCUST: “See you” as you might see abbreviated in a text message goes inside (probing) a word that could mean damned or worthless

4a    American fashionista receives a universal hand in the main (8)
AQUANAUT: The 1-letter abbreviation for American, then a fashion designer who designed the mini-skirt containing (receiving) A from the clue and the abbreviation for universal

9a    Domestic dog’s returned, address foremost (3,3)
MRS MOP: A reversal (returned) of the short word for a Pomerian dog (include the ‘S) follows an address or title of a man

10a    Knocked back in humdrum life: nice old roll? (4,4)
CINE FILM: Reverse hidden (Knocked back in … )

12a    Glasshouse perhaps more colourful by end of July (8)
ORANGERY: A whimsical word for more orange plus the last letter of July

13a    Party animal, in pad, fancied ousting non-drinker (6)
JOINER: I think (?) this is IN from the clue replacing (ousting) the TT in a pad or notebook. Not sure what ‘fancied’ is doing, perhaps it is the containment indicator for IN, as in ‘decorated’

15a    Flier featuring pop record around northern branches (5-4-4)
DADDY-LONG-LEGS: A 5-letter word for pop or father, a record or diary entry containing the abbreviation for northern, and a word for branches or limbs

18a    Munch small dates past city avenue (6,7)
CHAMPS ELYSEES: A word meaning munch or chew, the abbreviation for small, then a word meaning dates as in goes out with follows (past) a cathedral city

22a    Digest half of Chinese food stored in freezer regularly (6)
RESUME: The second half of Chinese breakfast nibbles goes inside the even (regularly) letters of freezer. Took me a while to realise the answer meant a summary, put an accent on the last letter

24a    Duck bones used in fatty ragu eaten here? (8)
LOMBARDY: The number for a duck score and an abbreviation for a doctor go inside (used in) a word meaning fatty. Ragu being an Italian sauce

26a    Secured new bathing shelters close to shore (2,3,3)
IN THE BAG: An anagram (new) of BATHING contains the last letter (close) to shore

27a    Successive characters engaging with former PM (6)
GANDHI: Successive letters in the alphabet with the format (1 AND 1,1)

28a    Baked pasty covers another, creating the utmost hot air? (8)
YAPPIEST: An anagram (baked) of PASTY covers another pasty

29a    Which vehicle comes by cemetery most often? (6)
HEARSE: Not sure. HEARS for ‘comes by’ as in gets information?, and the most frequent letter in cemetery?


1d    Charlie‘s floor female avoided (6)
LUMMOX: A 7-letter word meaning to floor or stupify without the initial abbreviation for female

2d    Hospital doctor to visit Spanish house, she predicted (9)
CASSANDRA: A 3-letter hospital and the title of doctor go inside (to visit) the Spanish word for house

3d    Old horse contributing to festive transport did sweat (7)
SLOGGED: The abbreviation for old and the child’s word for horse go inside (contributing to) a 4-letter winter vehicle

5d    Test French fifteen wasting, initially, nervous energy (4)
QUIZ: The French word for fifteen but without the first letters of ‘nervous energy’

6d    Enduring tree’s root impedes silver pine (3-4)
AGE-LONG: The last letter (root) of tree goes between the chemical symbol for silver and a word meaning to pine or yearn

7d    Removing skin, David oversees article about goose? (5)
AVIAN: Remove the outer letters (skin) from ‘David’ and add an article

8d    Plant work consumes early spring day? (8)
TAMARISK: A 4-letter piece of work contains (consumes) a calendar date (3,1) in early spring

11d    Barmy Army entering place with pride, some chaps conveying beer (7)
DRAYMEN: An anagram (barmy) of ARMY goes inside the home of a lion

14d    Academic body discussed defunct quadrangle, say (7)
POLYGON: A 4-letter tertiary education institute and a homophone (discussed) of defunct or ‘no-longer’

16d    Film child’s play that performer demands (4,5)
EASY RIDER: A 4-letter word for simple or child’s play plus an addendum to a contract that a performer might ask for

17d    Poverty south Detroit represented thus? (8)
SCARCITY: The abbreviation for south and a (3,4) description of Detroit, given its most famous product

19d    Whereabouts of smoker unknown having left Portsmouth couple (7)
POMPEII: I didn’t know this slang 6-letter word for Portsmouth, but it’s in Chambers. Remove the algebraic unknown, and add the Roman numeral for two (couple)

20d    Host briefly hides underwear clasp (7)
EMBRACE: A 5-letter phonetic spelling of an abbreviation for a host or entertainer but without the last letter (briefly) contains (hides) some female underwear

21d    Sub thus identified position for throw-in? (6)
BYLINE: The identification of a journalist is given by a (2,4) description of where you would throw in a football after it goes out of field

23d    Instigate vacuous Swaledale sheep (3,2)
SET UP: The outer letters of Swaledale and a 3-letter sheep

25d    Disabled badge nana props up parking (4)
PASS: A nana or idiot goes underneath (props up) the abbreviation for parking

I think 28a was probably my favourite, the pasty in a pasty. Which clues did you like?

8 comments on “Toughie 3188
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  1. I’m glad you are a bit unsure about 13ac. The best I could do was ‘in’ is the inclusion indicator, and ‘fancied’ is the synonym for the ‘in’ you have to put in (if you see what I mean, In as in ‘in favour’. A bit stretched, but the best I could come up with. Mind you joiner is listed in the BRB as someone who joins a lot of societies or clubs . That’s quite a long stretch to ‘party animal’.

  2. I found this at the easier end of this setter’s spectrum although it took a few leaps of faith to get across the line. It was enjoyable enough, yet it didn’t leave me with a sense of reward once completed. I’m glad 13a foxed you too Dutch, because I cannot make it work as it stands. 22a was my pick, ahead of 19d.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. Re 13a, I think “in” is just a link word. The clue tells us “in a word for pad, replace non-drinker with fancied”.
    I didn’t think this was Osmosis at his best or even very tough, especially for a Friday. The SE corner took a bit of pondering [except for the gimme at 29a and mostly cos I’d spelled 18a wrong at the end] but the rest was very straightforward in comparison with the rest of this week’s toughies. I smiled at 24a and 19d but that’s it.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  4. Really enjoyed this puzzle, especially for a Friday!
    I liked 15A & 18A but 4A was my personal favourite; overall ****/***** for me.
    Thanks to setter.
    Happy Christmas to all on here

  5. I too thought Osmosis was at the gentler and more approachable end of their usual spectrum, though for me it was still without question a 5* Toughie. I parsed 13a as Halcyon notes above, and had the same thought for 29a as Dutch; slightly different parsing for 9a – “dog’s [dog is] returned” (mop) and address (mrs) foremost. The plant was only distantly familiar, but very fairly clued, indeed most of the puzzle was very fair … in retrospect! 27a my COTD.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and in particular to Dutch, for all your blogging and the incredible help you have been in improving my ability to solve these tortuous puzzles from Elgar & Osmosis.

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