Toughie 3196 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3196

Toughie No 3196 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

I found this much easier than the last Osmosis and as a result more enjoyable. We are a Y short of a pangram.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


6a    Biscuit pile leading to bits on PC (7,6)
FORTUNE COOKIE: A pile as in a load of money and something that remembers your details on your PC, presumably it’s made up of bits – the plural confused me at first

8a    Unemotional female soldier breaks free (6)
FRIGID: The abbreviation for female, then an American soldier goes inside (breaks) a word meaning to free

9a    Heavy metal intro from Metallica interrupts match interval (4,4)
LEAD TIME: A 4-letter heavy metal, the first letter (intro) of Metallica interrupts a final match game

10a    Simple idea involving ornamental flowers (3)
LEI: Hidden

11a    Note European poodle (4-2)
MINI-ME: A 5-letter musical note and the abbreviation for European

12a    Eaves perhaps gone with blast (8)
OVERHANG: A word meaning over and another mild expletive like ‘blast!’

14a    A new body part expelling old ailment (7)
ANTHRAX: A from the clue, the abbreviation for new, and a part of the body without (expelling) the abbreviation for old

16a    Maybe U2 appearing, as Irish broadcasters tense (7)
QUARTET: The Latin for ‘as’, an abbreviation for the Irish radio & tv broadcasters, and the abbreviation for tense.

20a    Number one lawyer accesses all the best information (8)
METADATA: A pronoun for number one, then an American lawyer goes inside (accesses) an informal (2-2) phrase for ‘all the best’ or ‘so long’

23a    Grey slate to hammer back (6)
DISMAL: A current word meaning to slate, and the reversal of a word meaning to hammer

24a    Heard train signal (3)
CUE: A homophone of a line or train

25a    Bottle openers needed for fancy lager after latest demand (3,5)
HIP FLASK: The first letters (openers) of ‘fancy lager’ come after a word meaning latest or trendy, then a verb meaning demand or request

26a    The latest on dancefloor fringe — groover? (6)
ROUTER: The last letter (latest) of dancefloor, then a word meaning fringe or peripheral

27a    Direction woman fancied, taking a Raleigh here (5,8)
NORTH CAROLINA: A compass direction, a 5-letter woman’s name, a 2-letter word that could mean fancied plus A from the clue. Raleigh being a capital


1d    Puritan right to probe porky? (8)
PRIGGISH: The abbreviation for right goes inside (to probe) an adjective meaning porky

2d    Plant guru, preferring 10 over hotel (8)
BUDDLEIA: A religious guru with the abbreviation for hotel replaced with the answer for 10a

3d    Composer reduced weight, seeing another (7)
BERLIOZ: A 6-letter composer without the last letter (reduced) plus a 2-letter abbreviation for 1/16 of a pound

4d    Hair lifted and handled regularly with this? (6)
POMADE: The reversal (lifted in a down clue) of a 3-letter shock of hair then the regular letters of ‘handled’

5d    Carved out shock score draw (6)
SKETCH: ‘Shock’ with the central letters removed (carved out) then to score or engrave

6d    Possible return match at San Siro, Italy, activated squad from the continent (7,6)
FOREIGN LEGION: I’m guessing a return match abroad can be called a (7,3), then the IVR for italy and a 2-letter word meaning activated or running.

7d    Statesman each day left time to track ancient Chester (5,2,6)
EAMON DE VALERA: The abbreviation for each, a day of the week, then the abbreviation for left and a 3-letter time period follow (to track) the 4-letter Roman word for Chester

13d    Geographical feature, centrepiece of grim area (3)
RIA: The central letters of grim and the abbreviation for area

15d    Mounted diamonds and gold bar (3)
ROD: Reversal (mounted) of the abbreviation for diamonds plus the heraldic colour gold

17d    Not one’s favourite cook hardly working at rear (8)
UNDERDOG: A word for ‘cook hardly’ plus the last letter (rear) of working

18d    Masters enter court fixture? (8)
RASPUTIN: An abbreviation for artists (with a plural S) then a (3,2) phrase meaning enter

19d    One that’s billed using card and cash on counter (7)
JACKDAW: A card from a deck plus a reversal (on counter) of an amount of cash

21d    Witness fine racing cars in Winchester, say (6)
AFFIRM: The abbreviation for fine plus two characters for the sport of ‘racing cars’ go into another word for weapon, as exemplified by Winchester

22d    Language quickly penetrated by husband (6)
APACHE: A 5-letter word for quickly contains the abbreviation for husband, giving this American Indian language.

My favourites today are 11a and 17d. Which clues did you like?

8 comments on “Toughie 3196
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  1. I didn’t think this was noticeably tougher than the back-pager, to be honest, despite a touch of GK – 7d certainly pushed me but ‘twas very fairly clued. I wasn’t quite sure whether to love or hate 18d but, on balance, I’m forced to admire its cunning brevity. 25a was a peach. The PC bits in 6a were a bit of a push, I thought. But, as a whole, really rather lovely. Thanks to Osmosis, and Dutch, of course.

  2. This was certainly not as mind-mangling as we often find on a Friday, but its relative lack of toughness made it more enjoyable I thought. So many good clues to pick from, with 3 and 7d taking the honours. Great fun.

    Many thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  3. A mixed bag from the master of wordplay. Not as tough as some of his recent offerings but there were a couple that, whilst fairly obvious from the checkers, defied parsing for a while. 6d seemed impenetrable until one spotted the 7,3 bit at the start. In 18d I think “masters” is rather cunning tho a bit of a stretch whilst “court fixture” is a very long stretch, even with the ?.
    Best, for me, were 16a, 27a and 19d.
    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  4. What a nice feeling to finish a Friday Toughie on the day, instead of having to wrestle with it all over the weekend. Osmosis often beats me, but he was in a more benevolent mood today. Lots to enjoy, but 20A and 26A take the honours.
    Thanks to Dutch for the explanations and Osmosis for the enjoyment.

  5. A generally enjoyable puzzle, definitely a Friday Toughie IMV. I thought the definition in 18d one of the loosest & poorest I’ve ever seen, but no other answer would fit.

    Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  6. Just in case anybody is still reading yesterday’s blog I will add my tuppence worth.
    This one was above my pay grade, it took me ages and I needed plenty of help (Thanks to Dutch, and other aids).
    19D, despite being one of the simpler ones, rather foxed me as I had been under the mistaken belief that bills were exclusively for water birds. Mark you there were plenty of others that foxed me in more fundamental ways!
    I think perhaps I should give Friday Toughies a bit of a wide birth for a while.

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