Toughie 2972 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2972

Toughie No 2972 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Only one letter of the alphabet omitted today (J). I thought we might have a pangram, but not quite. I’m not at all sure about 22a – if anyone has any better ideas, please let me know.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    In season, show egg dropped from chicken outlet (4,2,5)
PUSS IN BOOTS: Take a 7-letter young chicken for eating and remove the O (egg dropped), and add a retail outlet

7a     Common ground where picnic served (7)

OVERLAP: Split (4,3), this would be where your picnic food is

8a    Bees occupying river’s course? (7)
NIBBLES: Two ‘bee’s go inside (occupying) an African river (including the ‘S)

10a    Appropriate age of school-leaver in France? (5)
SEIZE: French for the age at which you can leave school

11a    Dazzling green light, reached son around highland area (9)
SNOWDONIA: A reversal (around) of two characters that mean dazzling or excellent, a 3-letter word meaning ‘green light’, a word that could mean reached and the abbreviation for son

12a    Kit for dropping off on one’s doorstep before match (7)
NIGHTIE: A word for ‘on one’s doorstep’ or nearby, and a word for match

14a    Feed digitally, scoffing exotic lime without rind? (7)
RIMLESS: A 3-letter abbreviation for a digital feed contains (scoffing) an anagram (exotic) of LIME

15a    Force member to enter flower that’s burst out (7)
EXPLODE: A policeman character goes inside (to enter) a river

18a    Harry recalled stag flaunting musical style (7)
GANGSTA: Reversal (recalled) of a 3-letter verb meaning to harry, plus an anagram (flaunting) of STAG

20a    Dog disrupted shop, alas eating article (5,4)
LHASA APSO: An anagram (disrupting) of SHOP ALAS contains (eating) an article

21a    Ducats periodically used in TV programme? As if! (5)
QUASI: The even (periodically) letters in ‘ducats’ go inside a 2-letter tv programme

22a    When back, hound in Stratford given walk? (7)
SAUNTER: I think this is a reversal of a 2-letter word meaning when, then it seems there is a Stratford in East London, so the rest could be a Cockney pronunciation of a 6-letter word for a hound, in a figurative sense.

23a    Race for millennials? (7)
PROGENY: A 3-letter word meaning for, and a (3,1) trendy way of saying millennials

24a    Browse one array of chain letters etc (7,4)
SURFACE MAIL: To browse the web, a one in cards, and protective clothing made from an array of chain


1d    Having a butcher’s backing to trade in city, as it were (7)

PEEKING: The last letter (backing) of ‘trade’ goes inside the old name (as it were) of a Chinese city


2d    Crack part of shoe, squeezing number of toes within? (5)
SOLVE: A shoe part contains (squeezing) the Roman numeral for the number of toes that might go inside said shoe

3d    Rogue sea’s churning, negotiating past it will be difficult (7)
IMPASSE: A 3-letter rogue and an anagram (churning) of SEA’S

4d    Subversive soon obstructing kid upset evening (7)
BONSOIR: An anagram (subversive) of SOON goes inside (obstructing) a reversal (upset) of a word meaning to kid

5d    Official award on day collected by holiday worker? (9)
OMBUDSMAN: A 2-letter award or medal, then the abbreviation for day goes inside (collected by) someone who’s holiday is just like work

6d    Don’s OK with shelter, assuming no charge for mum (7)
SILENCE: OK or yes in Spanish (Don’s) plus a 3-letter shelter containing (assuming) the abbreviation for ‘no charge’

7d    Some of military issue boots repelling one actor (5,6)
ORSON WELLES: An abbreviation for some soldiers, an issue or child, then some waterproof boots without (repelling) the Roman numeral for one

9d    Team supporter’s first getting pasty, then the drink and the smoke (7,4)
SWANSEA CITY: The first letter in supporter, a 3-letter word meaning pale or pasty, the drink or ocean, and a word for the big smoke

13d    Whiskey doctor picked up in sample vessel (3-6)
TWO-MASTER: The letter with radio code whiskey and a reversal (picked up) of an abbreviation for doctor go inside (in) a sample

16d    Strip round the bend below exercise area (7)
PEANUTS: A word meaning ’round the bend’ follows (below) the abbreviations for exercise class and area

17d    Large shops commoner in heart of age-old coastal inlet (7)
EMPORIA: Someone who frequents HoC goes in between (in) the central letters (heart) of age-old, plus a coastal inlet

18d    Devotee reportedly cultivated green veg (7)
GROUPIE: A homophone (reportedly) of a (4,3) phrase that means ‘cultivated green veg’

19d    It has rocky faces overlooking lakes (7)
SCARFELL: An anagram (rocky) of FACES plus twice the abbreviation of lake

21d    Ration books team uncovered outside (5)
QUOTA: Some biblical books have around them (outside) a 5-letter team without the outer letters (uncovered)

Some lovely clues. I liked the rocky faces overlooking lakes. The devotee homophone made me smile. My favourite though is the doctor detecting whiskey in a sample vessel. Which clues did you like?

8 comments on “Toughie 2972
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  1. Too tough for me. Prefer to be beaten by Elgar. At least I get half his clues
    Sorry. Thanks to Dutch and Osmosis

  2. Much harder than an Elgar for me, I’m afraid. Finished all three Toughies this week but only managed two words in this one!! About *******/0 for me; sorry just could not get on the right wavelength. Respect to anyone who finished half of it. Always next week though! :)

  3. An excellent puzzle. Finished, with a tiny bit of help for 15a[as I thought the” member ” was an MP for some while ! I read 22a as a cockney dropping his aitch [ fair enough]. So many good clues. difficult to pick a winner, but 10a gets it for its simplicity[ once you see it !!] .Thanks to all. ****/*****

  4. A very enjoyable end-of-week Toughie from Osmosis who, I thought, was being very slightly on the gentle side when compared with past form. Still unquestionably a Friday-level puzzle, though, and what a pleasure to 2d. I thought ‘outlet’ was possibly as loose and general as it gets, but 1a nonetheless one of my HMs. I could not convince myself of the parsing to 11a: if one is reversing everything – as the clue instructs – then why is it not *won*****?

    But these are minor carps … what genius in pretty much every clue, with other Hon Mentions to 10a, 14a, 15a, 23a, 3d, 13d and 16d (my COTD).

    5* / 4*

    Many thanks indeed to Osmosis and to Dutch

  5. We used a bit of e-help but got it all sorted in reasonable time for a Friday Toughie.
    1a set the tone with such a well disguised definition and gets our vote for favourite.
    An enjoyable solve.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

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