Toughie 3244 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3244

Toughie No 3244 by Osmosis

Hints and tips by Dutch

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

Some easy clues, some not so easy. We’re back to near pangrams, I think a J is missing.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a           Sort of scanner hospital fitted inside key sportsman (10)
DECATHLETE: A (hospital) scanner plus the abbreviation for hospital are fitted inside a 6-letter computer keyboard key

6a           Astaire‘s foxtrot with Ginger (4)
FRED: The letter with radio code foxtrot and the colour ginger

10a        Rebuff queue heard gathering alfresco? (3-1-1)
BAR-B-Q: A 4-letter rebuff or nasty retort plus a letter that sounds like (heard) ‘queue’

11a        Stronghold repelled monster with a European sawn-off? (9)
ACROPOLIS: Reversal (repelled) of an ogre-like Tolkien monster with A from the clue, then a European nationality without the last letter (sawn-off)

12a        Game opponents, big lad regularly causing rampage (3,4)
RUN WILD: An abbreviation for a sport, some bridge opponents, and the even letters (regularly) of ‘big lad’

13a        Shape other surrounding verge (7)
ELLIPSE: A word meaning other surrounding a word meaning verge or rim

14a        Democrat unhappily following staff rule about food (7,5)
WALDORF SALAD: A reversal (about) of the abbreviation for democrat, a 4-letter word meaning unhappily or sadly, the abbreviation for following, a staff or pole, and a rule or legal act

18a        Slender West Indian bowler? Croft perhaps (12)
SMALLHOLDING: A 5-letter word meaning slender or tiny plus the name of a Jamaican-born fast-bowler who played for West Indies (and I had to look up)

21a        Without husband, sound vulnerable? (7)
UNARMED: Remove the abbreviation for husband from an 8-letter word meaning safe and sound

23a        Classical musician explosive in body, head declined (7)
ORPHEUS: The abbreviation for high explosive goes inside a Latin word for body without the first letter (head declined)

24a        One averse to perusing a channel’s latest repeat (9)
ALITERATE: A from thee clue, the last (latest) letter in channel, and a word meaning to repeat

25a        Left without charging battery on phone, it might help! (5)
ALEXA: The abbreviation for left plus a 2-letter word meaning without go inside (charging) a size of battery

26a        Star often connected with this tramp (4)
TREK:  A word that follows star to give a cult tv & movie series

27a        Small valley beyond Scottish water tower (10)
CLYDESDALE: The abbreviation for small and a 4-letter valley follow (beyond) a Glaswegian river. I suppose the definition can refer to either the building in Birmingham or the horse


1d           Daughters, clutching lucky charm before run, undertake stretch (2,4)
DO BIRD: Two abbreviations for daughter contain a 3-letter charm and the abbreviation for a cricket run

2d           Reflected in Lugano: rococo architectural feature (6)
CORONA: Reverse hidden (reflected in … )

3d           Writer briefly during meal can booze (7,7)
TEQUILA SLAMMER: An old-fashioned pen without the last letter (briefly)  goes inside your evening meal, then a 7-letter word meaning can or prison

4d           Plain clothes policeman’s closing bad bomb site in Wales (9)
LLANDUDNO:  A South American plain contains (clothes) the last (closing) letter in policeman and a bomb that doesn’t go off

5d           Short tango: poetry when taking the lead (5)
TERSE: The letter with radio code tango then a 5-letter word for poetry without the first letter (when taking the lead)

7d           Plump for dessert (4-4)
ROLY-POLY: Two meanings, the first a body shape

8d           Arm, gripped by two sleuths, swells (8)
DISTENDS: A small submachine gun goes between (gripped by) two different abbreviations for a detective

9d           Greengrocer deals with these stairs in Canary Wharf? (6,3,5)
APPLES AND PEARS: Cockney rhyming slang for stairs

15d        Band penning One Love in original van (9)
RADIOHEAD: I think this is  the contraction of radical meaning original(?) and van as in the front or lead of a group of people or vehicles, containing (penning) the letters we normally use for one and love

16d        Copper network in east of Germany closely joined (8)
OSCULANT: The chemical symbol for copper and a small computer network go inside the German word for East

17d        Entering sea, extremities blue (8)
MAZARINE:  An adjective meaning sea contains the extremities of the alphabet

19d        Tyneside linked with this TV detective series? Yes and no (5,1)
NEVER A: The part of England where Tyneside is, and a 4-letter TV detective series

20d        Sally, outside in elements, put on this? (6)
ESCAPE: The outside letters in elements, and a garment you might wear (outside in the elements)

22d        Tone of wino maybe, boring thing after dram (5)
DRAWL: A tool that bores a hole following the abbreviation for dram

I liked the charging battery in 25a and the plain clothes policeman in 4d. Which clues were your favourites?


16 comments on “Toughie 3244
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  1. Surprisingly “gentle” for a Friday but I loved this from the off. 1a’s brilliant and 6a’s sweet – it felt like a chestnut but I’ve not seen it before. I do think 19d’s a bit of a yes and a no (that “yes” really doesn’t add all that much to the surface) and 20d’s def is pushing it, but 14a’s clever, 18a’s fun (oh how I tried to squeeze Lara in!) and 27a is very smart. Many thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  2. A puzzle of two halves for me – top was straightforward, bottom took a lot more teasing out. Didn’t help that I was fixed for too long thinking 14a must start MAND… (staff followed by Democrat). I vaguely recalled a WI bowler from 40 or 50 years ago but wouldn’t usually equate slender with small – thank heavens for the definition element of the clue!

    I was scuppered in the SW by the blue and the star, while I biffed 19d from the wordplay but the answer means zip to me, even reading the hints. Never knowingly heard anything from 15d and parsed it as Dutch did.

    Some odd surfaces but so many great clues, a proper Friday Toughie. I’ll go for podium places to 11a, 4d and 14a.

    5* / 3*

    Many thanks indeed to Osmosis and Dutch

    1. MG, 18a. In the sense of meagre/insubstantial, small and slender are synonymous. As in: England scraped home by a slender/small margin.

  3. Yes, surprisingly gentle for Osmosis and Friday, with some dead giveaways like 7 and 9d. But the old Osmosis wordplay is there for us to admire in clues like 14a, 25a and 4d. I parsed 15d as you did Dutch. I’m happy with 19d – the “yes” answers the question and the “no” is the definition – simples.
    Thanks for the blog and thanks to the Maestro.

    1. You’re right, of course. The yes does answer the question. But is it really needed? It wasn’t a problem but I just found it (very slightly) annoying and unnecessary. But that’s probably just me!

    2. I understand the wordplay in 19d but not how ‘no’ = ‘the answer’ – the A seems superfluous to me, so I’m obviously missing something pretty basic!

        1. Thanks, ALP – having now looked it up I can see that it is there, so no question that it is fair, and I guess the proof of the pudding is that you could replace “no chance” with “never a chance”.

  4. Very enjoyable and reasonably friendly. As it sometimes happens, a few parsed after the event like the plain clothed coppers.

    And 15d had to be what it was confirmed by Collins, 4th definition of Rad – abbrev of radical.

    On 18 a, Dutch, have you never read the, alleged, hilarious comment by Brian Johnson on TMS, Windies v England match?

    Loved it all but a special mention for 25a and 3d

    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch. Happy Easter celebrations on Sunday.

      1. 18a Lots of cricketers in this one: Colin Croft & Michael Holding (both West Indian fast bowlers) & Gladstone Small (English bowler, perhaps, not so fast?)

  5. I found this reasonably plain sailing until I hit a brick wall with half a dozen clues to go; they took as long as the rest of the puzzle. And yet if I had followed the instructions to the letter I would have finished earlier. That said, it was a cracking good challenge with some notable clues, none better than the brilliant 25a.

    My thanks to Osmosis and Dutch.

  6. We were beaten by 19d. Just could not work out what was going on there. Perhaps if we’d heard of the TV series it might have helped. Enjoyed the rest of the puzzle though.
    Thanks Osmosis and Dutch.

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