Toughie 216 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 216

Toughie No 216 by Busman

Hints and tips by Libellule

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ***

This may not have been the most difficult Toughie, but it was very enjoyable. A well written crossword with a number of amusing clues and answers…

Comments appreciated.


1. Literary school for Franciscans (10)
{GREYFRIARS} – Double definition, Billy Bunter’s school, or another name for the Franciscan’s.

6. Bursting, and past caring finally (4)
{AGOG} – AGO (past) and the last letter of caring G (finally).

9. After shout of pain, lose stamina — sign of illness (6,4)
{YELLOW FLAG} – YELL (shout) OW (of pain) FLAG (lose stamina) is a quarantine flag flown to show the presence of contagious disease aboard a ship or in a port, fortress, or similar.

10. Spring flood (4)
{WELL} – Double definition.

13. Betray thug after backing the French (4,3)
{SELL OUT} – LES (the French) reversed (backing) followed by LOUT (thug) for a term that could be used to describe surrendering something in exchange for a price or reward.

15. Blind pigeon? (6)
{ROLLER} – Another double definition. A window shade and a type of pigeon.

16. The best police station suggested for meal (6)
{PICNIC} – Sounds like PICK NICK…..

17. Real hedges we destroyed are on film (5,6,4)
{WHERE EAGLES DARE} – An anagram (destroyed) of REAL HEDGES WE plus ARE, is also a novel by Alistair Maclean, a quote from Richard III, Act I, Scene III, and a famous film starring Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.

18. Investigates player — almost tops (6)
{PROBES} – PRO (professional) and BES(t) (almost tops).

20. The function of a clerk — worker (6)
{SECANT} – The definition is “The function”. The answer is “one of the six trigonometrical functions of an angle, the ratio of the hypotenuse to the side of a right-angled triangle formed by dropping a perpendicular from a point on one side of the angle to the other (negative if the base is the side produced)” (as per chambers). The wordplay is simply SEC. (clerk i.e. shortened secretary), plus ANT (worker).

21. Leaders of society paying service around here? Indeed! (7)
{SPHERES} – An attempt at an all in one I think. Take the first letters (leaders) of S(ociety), P(aying) S(ervice) and place them around HERE, also refers to circles of society or class.

22. Mine’s next to last — too bad (4)
{PITY} – PIT (mine) and Y (next to last letter in the alphabet).

25. makes new plans about navy pennants (3,7)
{RED ENSIGNS} – A word for design anew about N (navy), could also be a flag that was used by the Royal Navy.  Although now it’s only used by English merchant ships.

26. Regretted being coarse, it’s said (4)
{RUED} – Sounds like RUDE…

27. Frequency of festival in French river (5,5)
{WHITE NOISE} – My favourite clue of the day. WHIT (festival) EN (in French) OISE (French river and a tributary of the Seine).


1. Mask suggested for putting on bonfires? (4)
{GUYS} – Sounds like GUISE…

2. Girl from Chapel Lane (4)
{ELLA} – A girls name is hidden in the clue.

3. Darling — could be pink (6)
{FLOWER} – A term of endearment, or what a Carnation (pink) is.

4. Nem. con.; Trueman left, feeling awkward (2,4,9)
{IN FULL AGREEMENT} – Nemine Contradicente (Latin: without objection) is also an anagram (awkward) of TRUEMAN, L (eft) and FEELING.

5. Study concerned with publicity at university (4,2)
{READ UP} – RE (concerned), AD (publicity), UP (at university)

7. Leaves party with a boy (5,5)
{GREEN SALAD} – The party referred to here is an ecological political party, now add A LAD (boy) for a more accurate description of a meal made out of “leaves”.

8. Lodger’s cats, lacking a bit of action, unsettled birds (10)
{GOLDCRESTS} – An anagram (unsettled) of LODGERS CATS, minus A (lacking action) for a type of bird (Regulus regulus).

11. Book with torn wrapper on — it’s associated with vinegar (5,5)
{BROWN PAPER} – B (book) and an anagram (torn) of WRAPPER ON is part of a “natural” or homemade treatment for injuries, used with vinegar. The second verse of the nursery rhyme Jack and Jill refers to it.

12. Policeman’s 3 (10)
{BLUEBOTTLE} – Another name for the Corn-flower, is also a slang term for a policeman.

13. Withdraws from dioceses, round about last month (7)
{SECEDES} – SEES (dioceses) around DEC (last month) reversed (about) is another word for withdraws.

14. Tamil leader disseminates accumulations of lies (7)
{TISSUES} – The first letter (leader) of T(amil) and ISSUES (disseminates) is a complex accumulation (of lies, nonsense, etc).

19. Language has its day at school (6)
{SPEECH} – That which is spoken (language) is also a special day at some schools, usually where prizes are presented and speeches are made by guest speakers.

20. Could be summer salt! (6)
{SEASON} – Another term for summer and salt.

23. Fruit which customer for duckling suggested (4)
{UGLI} – The definition is fruit, but it sounds like (suggested) a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

24. A woman tennis champion (4)
{ASHE} – A SHE is also the surname of a tennis player who three Grand Slam titles.

13 comments on “Toughie 216

  1. Overall a fair puzzle but two minor quibbles:

    First, I’m not sure about the defintion in 27a as I would not associate the answer with a frequency. Perhaps “Static festival in French river”, although the surface reading is not so good?

    Secondly, what do the words “customer for” add to 23d if we already have “suggested” for the homophone?

    For simplicity and the need to think laterally, I liked 15a.

    1. To be fair to the Busman, the definition of 27a is “a noise in which there are a large number of frequencies of roughly equal intensity”….
      I suspect the customer is a reference to a particular kind of customer, the same kind as the duckling.

  2. An enjoyable puzzle with some clever clues esp 4d and 16a – which made me smile.

    21a, however, doesn’t work for me. I can see how the solution is constructed but can’t see the link to the what I believe you call the ‘surface reading’, even from your explanation, Gazza. I am confused by spheres being plural and society only singular and cannot see what the Indeed! contributes. Am I trying too hard??

    Thanks for any eludication anyone can give.

    1. Pritchard,
      Let me have a stab at this (so to speak)
      sphere – a circle of society or class, orig of the higher ranks (as if a planetary sphere)…
      Therefore because it an attempt at an all in one – Leaders, as well as referring to the leading letters also refers to the definition. The Indeed! is an attempt to justify the clue in its current state.
      Now I wait for Gazza to explain this properly :-)

      1. Libellule,
        Flattered as I am by your confidence, I cannot really add to your explanation. There must be something that we’re all missing here, and unless someone can help us out, we can only hope that Busman drops in to tell us what it is! (the other possible explanation is a misprint in the clue, but that may be clutching at straws!).

  3. Hi Libellule

    Thanks for your review.

    I normally only have time to do the regular cryptic but because I have a week’s holiday I have been able to do the Toughie as well today.

    It looks like this was a good one for me to do as it wasn’t too tough (I solved 28 clues on my own and got the last two with help from your blog).

    I hope to do the other three Toughie this week as when I am back at work I won’t have time to do them (back to doing the regular cryptic only).

    Thanks for your review – I found it very helpful, particularly for the two clues I couldn’t solve myself.

    1. NathanJ
      Glad to be of help… I don’t know if Elgar is doing the Toughie on Friday, if not thats a shame… those Toughies tend to be particularly challenging. :-)

  4. Really enjoyed that – you’re right, not the most difficult but quite smile-making in parts. My Hotlips says he doesn’t recognise 3d as a term of endearment! Blooming Southerners – no romance!

Comments are closed.