Toughie 194 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 194

Toughie No 194 by Busman

Charabancs of Fire!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Calderdale Hospital, where I am having a very short stay (hopefully home this evening!).  I have just been served with a bowl of the finest NHS Chicken Soup and a Cheese Sandwich for lunch.   Rather oddly, I have also been served with Cheese and Biscuits for dessert!

I was admitted at some rather ungodly hour this morning and while waiting for the ambulance to bring me in, I managed to tackle this Toughie.  When I eventually solved it, I tried to play the game of guess the setter (I do wish they would tell us on the website!) and came up with six other suspects rather than Busman.

I have a feeling this may divide the Community; some will like it and others hate it.  I am disappointed with the rating it got on the website,  it certainly wasn’t that weak.

Whether it’s the medication I am been filled up with, I feel rather sanguine about it.  In some ways I am disappointed as Busman’s alter ego produces some absolutely terrific puzzles in The Spectator series ( was last week’s cracker), and this doesn’t feel like a Toughie (today’s DT 26000 was much more ferocious!), but there were clues to make me smile and 8 across was a brilliant clue.  When I finished solving online, I submitted the solution and found I had five mistakes – two were typos, but 2 down,  21 down and 26 across left me having to rethink.

Anyway, let’s dive in and see what lurks within.


7a        Show attendant a set of books (7)
{PAGEANT}  A word-sum to get us going today.  Show = definition = PAGE + A NT ( a set of books = a New Testament)  Note here that the “a” is important to the clue.

8a        Run(g)s? (7)
{LADDERS}  A delightful clever clue.  Two definitions within the one (modified) word.  A word that means RUNS or RUNGS.  Ladders are of course runs in ladies’ stockings, something I am not terribly familiar with.  With the “G” added, it leads to the steps of a ladder.  Bravo Busman!

10a       Song Contest winner from the beach, it’s said (6,4)
{SANDIE SHAW}  This is one of those clues that some solvers will like, others will suck their teeth.  It’s a reasonably easy homophone.  I wonder if it should have had a question mark at the end to show a bit of thinking outside the box is needed.   Anyway, I have an opportunity to treat you to something from Ms Sandra Goodrich’s canon and it is not going to be from the aforementioned 1967 Eurovision Song Contest.  Instead enjoy this lovely little number:-

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a       In torpid lethargy (4)
{IDLE} One of those all-encompassing clues where the indicator also provides the definition as a whole.  Hidden in the phrase In torpid lethargy” is IDLE

12a       How Footsie prices fall into a bran-tub? (4,1,3)
{TAKE A DIP}  Not keen on this clue at all.   I haven’t heard of the phrase apart from the obvious bran-tub link.  When shares fall, they seem to take a dive, not a dip.  The phrase doesn’t come up in my crossword software, such as TEA (see the panel right for more details of this excellent product).  Basically it’s a double definition referring to the London Stock Market and to the Lucky Dip at your village fete, which used to be called a Bran Tub.

14a       Fruit for the Academician’s home (6)
{RAISIN}  The apostrophe is crucial to this clue and rather than indicate possession, it means the Academician (RA – a member of the Royal Academy, an artist) is home, i.e.  RA IS IN.

15a       For a change, help wipe the furniture (11)
{HEPPLEWHITE}  One of two similar clues (see 9 down) which lead to furniture makers who are synonymous with their products.   I much prefer this one as the surface reading is clever, the other one looks contrived, sadly.  This is an anagram of HELP WIPE THE.

19a       State-of-the-art display left out by the fleet (6)
{MODERN}  This is a slightly more complicated word sum.  Display = MODEL – L (for left) + RN (Royal Navy “The fleet”) =  MODERN (State-of-the-art)

20a       Festoon City with gold during meeting (8)
{DECORATE}  In Crosswordland, The city is often represented by EC, the postcode for the City of London, Gold is always either AU or OR (French word for the precious metal), in this case the latter, so we have EC and OR inside DATE (meeting).  This leads to a word meaning festoon

22a       Weak. I am a touch parsimonious (4)
{WIMP}  Another one that is a bit too clever, I think.  W = Weak (see Chambers)

23a       State refining African oil (10)
{CALIFORNIA}  An anagram of African Oil reveals where Arnie rules the roost.

25a       Dessert scattered, reportedly, on railway (7)
{STRUDEL}  A homophone (indicated by reportedly) of “Strewed” + EL which is an American word for a type of railway (Chambers again!)

26a       Unit formerly in the dictionary (7)
{OERSTED}  Probably the toughest clue (if the last one wasn’t!!).  ERST (formerly) inside OED (dictionary) gives a unit that measures magnetic field intensity.  You knew that all along didn’t you!


1d        Such top folk are crazy (7)
{BANANAS)  Top Banana is defined in Chambers as the most important person in a group.  It’s also a synonym for mad or crazy.

2d        Paid for pasture (4)
{FEED}   Another double definition.  There is a verb to fee meaning to pay for, hence feed is paid for.   Feed is also a name given to a pasture, where animals feed.

3d        Design that’s fashionable – tuppence short of a shilling (6)
{INTEND}  Clever clue.  IN =  fashionable.  For those of us born before 15th February 1971, tuppence short of a shilling is TEN D (ten pence = 10d and a shilling was 12d).  Put them together for a word meaning design.

4d        Pig chewing that worm (8)
{TAMWORTH} An anagram (shown by chewing) of THAT WORM gives one of the most famous breeds of porker.

5d        Manage publicity for one in church (10)
{ADMINISTER}   This is quite clever.  Manage is the definition.  AD = publicity, and MINISTER could be “one in a church”, i.e. a vicar.  OR it could be ONE (I) in a church MINSTER!

6d        Still dancing about on climbing frame (7)
{TRELLIS}  An anagram of STILL around RE (on, as in about….) gives the name of a garden climbing frame and also the name of the lady who for many years wrote to Humph on I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue, probably one of the funniest radio comedies ever.

Here’s her website…….

9d        For a change, help cad with pine furniture (11)
{CHIPPENDALE}   It goes in tandem with 15a but this is not as good a surface reading clue as the other.

Sorry to disappoint nanaglugglug who probably wants the other type of Chippendale, here’s the original:-

13d       French pupil spun round concealing Latin exam (6-4)
[ELEVEN-PLUS}  A pupil in a French primary school is called an ELEVE and add to this an anagram (round) of SPUN with L for Latin inside.  This will give you one of the old Primary School exams that some of us took,

16d       Former president will measure out groove (8)
{PINOCHET}  Did you know that the OCHE in darts can be a groove, mark or a line behind which a player must stand to throw?  I thought it was the name for the playing area rather like the piste in fencing.  A measure  PINT around OCHE gives the name of the odious dictator who was a chum of Mrs Thatcher.

17d       Hog with tail wagging was stone dead (7)
[GOLIATH} Hmmm…. Could you describe Goliath (an anagram of HOG and TAIL) as “stone dead”?  Surely he was stoned to death, ie felled by a stone?  Don’t like this clue at all.

18d       Composer suffering in tears (7)
{ STAINER}  An anagram (indicated by suffered) of IN TEARS gives Sir John STAINER, a British composer.  No, I hadn’t heard of him either.

21d       He has a bad throat, we hear – or chest (6)
{COFFER}  Without thinking about this, I entered COFFIN as my answer.  This held me up with the OERSTED answer.  I took it to be a homophone of COUGHING, although of course it should have been COUGHER.

24d       Reckless car accident – not the first (4)
{RASH}  A car accident is a CRASH, “not the first” means remove the initial letter and this leaves you with a word for reckless.

Thanks to Busman for today’s challenge.  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Did you find it easier than the main crossword?  I certainly did.  Don’t forget you can rate the puzzle by clicking on the stars below left.

And now, I am off home!  The powers that be feel I would be better off there, and I agree entirely!!

All the answers can be found below:

12 comments on “Toughie 194

  1. I thought it was more difficult than the cryptic.
    I had ‘have’ instead of ‘take’ for 12a which I thought was a poor clue, and I spent some time trying to justify having ‘Webster’ for 25a (well, it fitted all the crossing letters and it is a well-known dictionary!).

  2. I hate everything that is london obsessed (with a small l). EC? What? The BBC are as bad. So, CV5 means Earl or Chapel? Look it up on Google. I was hoping the crossword wasn’t a club for the boys. But, alas.

  3. I thoroughly enjoyed todays toughie, I thought it was provokingly difficult in places and reasonably simple in places. I loved 8a.

    1. By the way Tilsit sorry I didn’t say so before, hope you are well and will get home tonight as planned, best of luck from north of the border!

  4. Liked 16d and 10a.Never heard of 26a so thanks for your help on that one. Apart from that thoroughly enjoyable and nice that you were thinking of my feelings in your sick bed! Hope you’re feeling better now.

      1. I did now!! Thanks very much for that – reminds me of my Hotlips (who is now very jealous!!)
        Glad you’re on the mend, Tilsit.

  5. I think they may have got the toughie and the cryptic26,000 mixed up I found the toughie much easier

  6. Hello Tilsit.
    I, too, wish you well.
    What, though – if it’s not too rude to ask – were your incorrect answers?

    1. Hi everyone

      Yes, I managed to make it home. The answers I entered incorrectly were MEAD at 2 down, COFFIN instead of COFFER which meant that the only word across that would fit was OILCAKE! Luckily, when you submit on line it says “You have …. wrong answers” and you have a chance to look again.

  7. STAINER’s best-known work is The Crucifixion – a short oratorio which a decent church choir can perform as long as they can find a male soloist. This part of it is a pretty commonly sung anthem. It includes hymns between the more elaborate numbers, so the overall effect is like a watered-down version of a Bach Passion. Some of these hymns are included in standard hymn books. From memory, I’m pretty sure he became disenchanted with this style of composition in later like and finished up disliking his best-known piece.

    Old musician’s joke: “What do you think of Stainer’s Crucifixion?” “Bloody good idea.”

    1. Oops! – “later life”.

      I quite enjoyed this puzzle (certainly easier than 26000), and didn’t have any coffiin or mead trouble. I’d have been pretty cheesed off if COFFIN was the answer – “he has a bad throat” must surely lead to a noun, a form of a verb would need something like “One doing this has a bad throat”.

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