Toughie 898 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 898

Toughie No 898 by Osmosis

Merry Christmas Everybody

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

There is a festive theme to today’s puzzle. It’s not too difficult, so why not have a go?

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


5a    Obsolete coin given by the cowboy? Artist no.1 at Xmas (3,3,7)
{BOB THE BUILDER} – an obsolete coin, worth 5p in today’s money, followed by THE and a tradesman with a reputation for shoddy work

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8a    Artist no.1 at Xmas runs into doctor near vestibule (2,6)
{MR BLOBBY} – R(uns) inside a two-letter abbreviation for a doctor followed by a vestibule

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Kit out inadequately-covered Geordie mare? (6)
{EQUINE} – a verb meaning to kit out without the final P (inadequately-covered) followed by the two-letter abbreviation for the area in which a Geordie lives – the definition is a noun that can also be an adjective

10a    Husband with gun injury (4)
{HARM} – H(usband) followed by a gun

12a    Gentleman frames picture, say, by Lowry — artist no.1 at Xmas (5,5)
{SPICE GIRLS} – the title afforded to a gentleman around (frames) PIC(ture) and the Latin abbreviation of say or for example and followed by the initials of the artist Lowry

ARVE Error: need id and provider

13a    Artist no.1 at Xmas, dressing (4,3)
{BAND AID} – a dressing for a wound

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a    Copper intercepts drunken singer with band, no.1 at Xmas (7)
{MERCURY} – the chemical symbol for copper inside (intercepts) an adjective meaning drunken – note that this is the name of a singer in a band, not the band itself

ARVE Error: need id and provider

19a    Sit repeatedly with cast, performing readings? (10)
{STATISTICS} – an anagram (performing) of SIT SIT (sit repeatedly) and CAST

22a    Scottish ex-footballer back to Hampden turf? (4)
{LAWN} – the name of a famous Scottish ex-footballer followed by the final letter (back) of HampdeN

24a    Mafia obtains money overseas adversely — artist no.1 at Xmas (5,1)
{BONEY M} – a slang word for the Mafia around (obtains) a foreign currency (money overseas) all reversed (adversely) – nothing to do with an anagram (overseas) of MONEY!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

25a    Marine shop attracting head of ecology in the past (3-5)
{SEA-GOING} – a verb meaning to shop or inform on around (attracting) the initial letter (head) of Ecology and a word meaning in the past

27a    Frightenin’ no.8 for Gloucester enriches rugby event — artist no.1 at Xmas (6,7)
{SHAKIN’ STEVENS} – a word meaning frightenin’, without its final letter as per the clue, followed by the eigth letter (no.8) of GloucesTer inside (enriches) a rugby event played with less than the full complement of fifteen players

ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d    First victim the Spanish covered in tar (4)
{ABEL} – the name of the second son of Adam, murdered by his brother, is derived from the Spanish definite article preceded by (covered in) a tar or sailor

2d    Actor Richard, close to lady, stopping to secure twinkling gemstone (5,3)
{TIGER EYE} – the surname of Richard, the star of An Officer and a Gentleman followed by the final letter (close) of ladY inside a verb meaning to secure

3d    Regularly tucks in, after chopper cut type of bean (6)
{ADZUKI} – the even letters (regularly) of two words in the clue preceded by a cutting tool with an arched blade which is set at right angles to the handle, minus its final letter (cut)

4d    Someone arguing with park official about source of litter (8)
{WRANGLER} – W(ith) followed by a park official, like Mr Smith in Yogi Bear, around the initial letter (source) of Litter

5d    Morning massage in retreat here in SE Asia (5)
{BURMA} – the two-letter abbreviation for morning followed by a verb meaning to massage, all reversed (in retreat)

6d    Cook’s devices when in discussion with another English cricketer (5)
{HOBBS} – the flat surfaces on the top of a cooker sound like (when in discussion) a famous English cricketer

7d    TV sitcom character — I’m surprised seeing one in church (6)
{BOYCIE} – the second-hand car dealer from Only Fools and Horses is derived from an expression of surprise followed by the Church of England around I (one)

11d    Artist no.1 at Xmas from Bermuda (3)
{MUD} – hidden inside the clue

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d    Cinema where you once might sit in various eras (8)
{ARTHOUSE} – put the archaic word for you (you once) inside an anagram (various) of ERAS

15d    At home, moans wildly about second of gifts that child gets, anticipating Xmas? (8)
{INSOMNIA} – the two-letter word for at home followed by an anagram ()wildly of MOANS around the second letter of gIfts

17d    Half of newspaper section showing weather feature (3)
{COL} – the first half of a newspaper section gives a region between two anticyclones

18d    Neglect country’s better half? (6)
{MISSUS} – a verb meaning to neglect or overlook followed by a North American country

20d    Walk steadily, returning after to part of Oxford? (6)
{TOECAP} – a verb meaning to walk steadily reversed (returning) preceded by TO – among other things, an Oxford is a type of shoe

21d    Defaced gongs restored for artist no.1 at Xmas (5)
{SLADE} – remove the initial letter (defaced) from some gongs or awards and reverse (restored) what is left

ARVE Error: need id and provider

23d    Artist no.1 at Xmas gains about £1000 (5)
{WINGS} – some gains around the abbreviation for a Grand (£1000)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d    Some Nativity characters that have pulling power? (4)
{OXEN} – a cryptic definition of some of the other occupants of the barn in which Jesus was born

This is the last Toughie before Christmas, so I would like to wish everybody a very Merry Christmas. I’ll be here on Christmas Day with reviews of the single and double Toughies due to be published online (but not in any newspaper), but don’t expect them to be ready too early!

9 comments on “Toughie 898

  1. Good fun but untaxing to say the least. Thanks to Osmosis and to BD for a very amusing review. Seasons Greetings to all.

  2. Thanks BD for the reminder at 8a of the bilge water which was Saturday night “entertainment” back in the 80s. Apart from that the rest was most amusing.

  3. Nice entertainment to round off the week, My favourites were 7d 16a and 25a thanks to Osmosis and to Big Dave for the comments. Seasons greetings to everyone involved in this wonderful site.

  4. The second splendid themed puzzle of the day. Thank you and Happy Christmas to Osmosis.

    Thanks to BD too – part of the fun of enjoying solving this crossword was wondering how many clips you would manage to fit into the blog :D

  5. For some reason we found this one very difficult. Cannot now work out why as all of the “no 1 at Xmas” answers were known to us. It even took an over-night sleep for 16a to penetrate the sub-conscious, when in retrospect it is very straightforward parsing. Perhaps we had approached it with a ‘stuff we don’t know’ attitude. However did get there in the end.
    Thanks Osmosis and BD.
    Merry Christmas to all from this side of the globe.

  6. was convinced 26d was Omen (letters in the word of clue) plus the film had great pulling power at boxoffice!

  7. Thanks to Osmosis & to Big Dave. Way too tough for me, was 13 answers short, and could only get 4 of those from the hints, had to look up the other nine. Was pleased to have got some of the number ones. Merry Xmas to all.

  8. Not done this one yet but printed it out to do next week. Glad you all seem to think it benign :smile: I’ll read the review next week.

    Merry Xmas to all Toughie commenters and reviewers (and lurkers).

  9. Thanks to Osmosis for the Christmas cracker and for reminding me of some classic music and some real turkeys!

    With thanks to all our Toughie setters for amusing and confusing us this year and to Phil and Danielle at Telegraph Towers for the unseen but appreciated work they do to keep us entertained.

    Happy Christmas one and all.

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