Toughie 2756 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2756

Toughie No 2756 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Once again we are intrigued by Osmosis omitting 11 high-scoring scrabble letters from the puzzle. A slow solve for me.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Character communicated in plane with Western authority getting to land (6,5)
SIERRA LEONE: A radio communication character and the brilliant director of Clint Eastwood’s early Western films

7a    Concerned about piggies maybe cutting tongue back on truffle hunt? (7)
DIGITAL: The reversal (back) of an obsolete tongue or language without the last letter (cutting) follows (on) what might be a truffle hunt (since they are underground)

8a    Being exhausted with tango, one missed sign of swelling? (7)
REDNESS: A 9-letter word for being exhausted without (with … missed) the initial letter with radio code tango and Roman numeral for one

10a    Loathing calluses when cycling (5)
SCORN: A word for growths of feet in which the last letter is cycled to the front

11a    Classical academic youngster left in spring (9)
ARISTOTLE: A young child plus the abbreviation for left go inside a verb meaning to spring or come about

12a    Flailing to a spinner, last three dismissed, stumped (2,1,4)
IN A SPOT: An anagram (flailing) of TO A SPIN(ner) without the last 3 letters (last three dismissed)

14a    He painted the world, corner representing Spain (7)
HOGARTH: A 5-letter word for our world, then replace the IVR for Spain with a 3-letter word meaning to corner or monopolise

15a    Behind with rent due around mid-March? Certain (7)
ASSURED: Another word for behind or bottom plus an anagram (rent, as in torn) of DUE containing (around) the central (mid) letter of March

18a    First rogue, perhaps roguish, occasionally swiped rum (7)
CURIOUS: The first rogue would perhaps be *** 1, then the even letters (occasionally swiped) in ‘roguish’

20a    Pair eating jerk roll rejected starter (9)
INITIATOR: The Roman numeral for two (pair), contains (eating) a 3-letter jerk or idiot, then the reversal of a roll or schedule

21a    Dawn — good time to pick up I? On the contrary (3-2)
GET-GO: The abbreviation for good, then ‘on the contrary‘ tells us we don’t have time to pick up I, but rather a 3-letter ‘I’ will pick up the abbreviation for time

22a    Part of hand and arm that woodworker uses? (4,3)
NAIL GUN: The tip of your finger plus a weapon

23a    Fury at a higher level: A&E needed when boxing Irish kid (3,4)
AIR RAGE: A&E containing (when boxing) the abbreviation for Irish plus a verb meaning to kid. I had visions of planes cutting each other off, but no, the definition refers to passengers

24a    Virus in foreign street linked to a certain block (6-5)
SARSEN-STONE: A 4-letter virus, French (foreign) for in, the abbreviation for street and a 3-letter word for ‘a’


1d    In Siena, deserted bypass shortly leads to Tuscan address? (7)
SIGNORA: Inside ‘Siena’ with the inner letters removed (deserted), place a verb meaning to bypass or disregard without the last letter (shortly)

2d    Students attending here in auditorium hoovered up? (5)
EATEN: A homophone (in auditorium) of a school

3d    Producer of Robin‘s apparel, Ian tailored pockets (7)
RELIANT: Hidden (… pockets)

4d    Girl has cracked bumper somewhat (7)
LARGISH: An anagram (cracked) of GIRL HAS

5d    Veteran detective that monitors criminal in new role (3,6)
OLD STAGER: A 2-letter abbreviation for a detective and an ankle monitor for criminals go inside (in) an anagram (new) of ROLE

6d    Muscle power, taking no prisoner, overwhelms East End bully (7)
ERECTOR: ‘(POW)ER’ from the clue but without the prisoner sits on top of (overwhelms) a 6-letter word meaning bully but without the initial H (East End as in with a Cockney accent)

7d    When ale’s introduced, Norfolk community stray into intemperance (11)
DISSIPATION: A 4-letter town in south Norfolk and an anagram (stray) of INTO contain a 3-letter abbreviation for a type of ale

9d    Evidence of persistent smoke detector? (11)
STETHOSCOPE: I guess this would detect some rattly lungs? Am I missing something?

13d    Right after work, erected spit to create dish (9)
PORRINGER: The abbreviation for right comes after the reversal (erected) of an abbreviation for work, then a word meaning spit as in a double, or exact replica

16d    Speak vehemently ringing tax HQ once, bearing temper (7)
SPIRITS: A word meaning to say something vehemently (mentioned in the previous clue!) goes around (ringing) the previous name for HMRC, and a compass bearing.

17d    PM Heath reflected, around his home, on English reconciliation (7)
DETENTE: A reversal (reflected) of PM Heath’s first name goes around his address on Downing street, plus the abbreviation for English

18d    Remains with street user encountering cold turkey (7)
CARCASS: A vehicle that uses the street, the abbreviation for cold, and a turkey or idiot

19d    Pass bill in weird circumstances (7)
OUTRACE: A 2-letter abbreviation for bill or account goes inside (in … circumstances) a word meaning weird or extravagant

21d    Greta Thunberg’s latest piece on carbon unconfined (5)
GARBO: The last letter (‘s latest piece) in Thunberg plus carbon without the outer letters (unconfined)

I enjoyed the last clue about Greta Thunberg. Which were your favourites?

18 comments on “Toughie 2756

  1. It has been quite a while since I last received an email first thing in the morning with the name of the setter in the subject line and ‘Me or him?’ as the message. Well today was such a day, and I was able to confirm that it definitely wasn’t my email correspondent but Osmosis himself in proper Friday Toughie mode with a couple of knobs on!

    Like Dutch I liked the Greta clue but also 7d as I always remember passing through the Norfolk community on our way to holidays on the Norfolk broads

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  2. A slow solve for me too, completing it after two sessions either side of lunch. The usual number of unparsed bung-ins for a Friday, so thanks to Dutch for the helpful hints. 21d was a favourite, together with 7d.

    Thanks to Osmosis for the considerable challenge.

  3. Osmosis has given us a very enjoyable but definitely tough Toughie – thanks to him and Dutch.
    I’d not heard of either the 13d dish or the 24a block so the SW corner gave me most trouble.
    For my podium I’ve selected 1a (“Western authority” – brilliant!), 14a and 21d.

  4. Thank goodness it wasn’t just me. I was pushed into 5* time the SE corner, after an otherwise slow but steady solve. 4d and 8a, both of which I should have seen immediately, were my in. 9d was a bung-in, and I’m still hoping that someone can show there’s more to it than Dutch or I have seen. Kudos to Dutch for explaining how Sergio forms part of 1a, and to Osmosis for a real work out. Another vote for 21d as clue of the day.

    1. I always like to check in with those who solve and blog for us–even when I’ve just barely scratched the surface of a solve–and so here I am, quite frazzled but also quite uplifted after a formidably challenging backpager and another high-echelon wonder by Osmosis. I did manage to solve ten (with some electronic aid) before conceding that I was done for the day. Like all the others, I think, 21d would be my pet. So very good, that. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis. Have a good weekend, everyone!

  5. Gazed at this for approx 15 mins in utter befuddlement (got 17d & probably the second word of 22a) – akin to attempting a further maths paper having just mastered your 5 times table. I’ll probably have another bash at it later but more in hope than expectation…..

  6. Me too – that’s a toughie!
    The LHS was mostly straightforward but the R put up one hell of a struggle. I was not helped by fairly confidently writing “grifter” in as the solution to 18a. Bear with me – Make an anagram [perhaps] of first rogue and remove [swiped] roguish occasionally i.e. ous then anagram [rum] what’s left. Must be an all in one I thought in desperate self-justification. Plonker!
    Thanks to Osmosis for the battle and Dutch for the blog.

    1. Grifter seems like a perfectly reasonable answer to me too…

      I can’t see where the “cur” comes from.

  7. After finishing an “Elgar” last week, I felt quietly confident this Friday. How wrong can you be, just eight clues completed; most of the rest totally beyond me!! Not on the right wavelength, I’m afraid :(

  8. I have known myself to almost complete a puzzle from this setter but today was not to be a similar occasion. Managed four and then stared vacantly for a while.
    On the upside, I did finish writing the Christmas cards – every cloud etc!

    Thanks to Osmosis for the challenge and to Dutch whose ability astounds me.

  9. Ultimately we were beaten by 24a which was totally new to us.
    That was hard work.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

  10. I, too, was just on the wrong wavelength or even planet!
    In the end I’ve just read through the blog and marvelled. I thought 6d a particularly bad clue, 1a an obscure one and liked 17d (my only solve) because I remembered the musical but taciturn, Mr Heath.
    Dutch… are brilliant!

  11. Having looked at the hints and revealed a few answers, some of my suspicions were proved right. Don’t really like 9d, but it must be the answer.
    17d and 21d my favourites that I managed unaided.

    Thanks to Osmosis and Dutch

  12. Finally resorted to hints with a few to go plus the odd bung in. I’ve had better days at the office. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis.

  13. Every so often Osmosis sets an extremely difficult Toughie, as challenging as Elgar. This certainly took me a long time to start, let alone finish, but the clues were all fair, and I was reasonably sure I’d solved it correctly, which was the case. An outstanding crossword, with less humour than usual, but, in company with others, I liked 21d, and also the clever 5d and 1d. Thanks also to Dutch with explaining some of the clues which I couldn’t parse.

  14. This was a real Toughie. Way above my pay grade…..managed only 8 plus a couple that I guessed but couldn’t figure out.

    I’d be interested to know how Osmosis thought we should parse 9d…..

    Thanks in admiration to Dutch for the blog and, in bewilderment, to Osmosis for the puzzle.

  15. An absolute stinker, but feel very pleased to finish it, after several days! 9d is a dreadful clue, and 21d also pretty rubbish given the ultra-vague definition, but the lovely surface does help a bit though, and it wouldn’t work with the “perhaps” or equivalent indicator included. Thanks to Osmosis for the endurance test.

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