Toughie 234 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 234

Toughie No 234 by Busman

Lemon Squeezy!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment **

I had to check that I had printed out the right puzzle today – the answers all went in thick and fast and only the last across clue brought out the dictionary, and then only to check the spelling was correct.

Leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


1a Dubya’s offspring are primates (10)
{BUSHBABIES} – George “Dubya” Bush’s children

6a Broken statue? (4)
{BUST} – a double definition

9a Pull strings of handle (10)
{MANIPULATE} – a double definition that’s more like a one and a half definition

10a Artist cut hair (4)
{MANE} – Édouard MANE(T)

13a Worker by tram strangely appearing under glass (4,3)
{BEER MAT} – a worker BEE is followed by an anagram (strangely) of TRAM to get a piece of cardboard to support your pint – BTW Chambers has this as (4-3)

15a Disclose biro in press (4,2)
{OPEN UP} – put a PEN (biro) inside the Oxford University Press

16a Handbook for organ keyboard (6)
{MANUAL} – a double definition

17a Currently attractive? (15)
{ELECTROMAGNETIC} – a faintly cryptic definition

18a Young animal broke trinket right away (6)
{KITTEN} – broke indicates that you need an anagram of T(R)INKET

20a Decorated band in the cold, reportedly (6)
{FRIEZE} – this decorated band sounds like freeze (in the cold)

21a Spirited meetings (7)
{SÉANCE} – another cryptic (?) definition

22a Swapping notes in sundown play in street (4)
{BUSK} – swap the D in DUSK for a B

25a Hands-on beautician? (10)
{MANICURIST} – another not-very cryptic definition

26a Detective is engaged (4)
{BUSY} – a Scouse word for a detective – but there are arguments about whether it is spelt busy, bizzy or bizzie

27a Some gannet chewing sweet, juicy fruit (10)
{MANGOSTEEN} – an anagram (chewing) of SOME GANNET gives this sweet juicy fruit

1d Yokel’s relatives missing. What a blow! (4)

2d Some dregs in kitchen basin (4)
{SINK} – hidden (some) inside dregs in kitchen is a basin

3d Shepherdess’s game for children (2-4)
{BO-PEEP} – this shepherdess lost her sheep

4d Drunken lord holding order entered, comparing steps (8,7)
{BALLROOM DANCING} – an anagram (drunken) of LORD is placed around OM (Order of Merit) and the whole lot is contained inside BALANCING (comparing) to get the kind of steps that you can watch on Strictly Come Dancing

5d Hamlet produced in London district (6)
{ELTHAM} – this South East London district is an anagram of HAMLET

7d In difficulties atop a eucalyptus (2,1,3,4)
{UP A GUM TREE} – back with the not-very cryptic definitions

8d Indicator of pitch having threefold split almost (6,4)
{TREBLE CLEF} – a charade of TREBLE (threefold) and CLEF(T) (split, almost)

11d Bead broken serving Turkish meal (5,5)
{DONER KEBAB} – how long did you spend working out that this Turkish meal is an anagram of BEAD BROKEN?

12d Quitters from diet — feast’s ruined (10)
{DEFEATISTS} – these quitters are an anagram of DIET FEAST’S

13d Out east, they could be tubeless and stick out at the back (7)
{BUSTLES} – take the E(ast) out of TUB(E)LESS and then find an anagram of what’s left

14d Elsie’s old coins (7)
{TANNERS} – easy for us oldies, Elsie TANNER was a character in Coronation Street, played by Mrs Tony Blair’s step-mother, and sixpenny pieces were known as TANNERS

19d State of earl in V and A, reeling (6)
{NEVADA} – put E(arl) inside an anagram of V AND A to get this US State

20d Bones and metal on walls in Paris (6)
{FEMURS} – these bones are constructed from FE (iron / metal) and MURS (the French for walls)

23d Symbol of victory erected in Mafeking (4)
{NIKE} – hidden backwards in Mafeking

24d College’s final course is a mess (4)
{ETON} – this Mess is a well-known dessert – one of Mrs BD’s specialities!

My only real complaint about this puzzle is that it just ain’t a Toughie

12 comments on “Toughie 234

  1. Dave,
    Wholeheartedly agree – this was yet another of those toughies that should be a normal cryptic. I will repeat – a toughie should be “the toughest crossword in Fleet Street” or similar. I think I took longer to complete the normal cryptic than I did this.

  2. Recent Toughies have been so difficult (for me at any rate) that there must have been complaints. Today #234 was relatively so easy that it was at the opposite end of the scale of difficulty range. We just need a ‘pleasant spiritualist’ !

    1. Welcome to the blog Paul.

      I think one of Busman’s puzzles scraped a 3-star difficulty.

      In case you didn’t know Busman is also known as Doc of the Spectator and is co-editor of 1 Across Magazine.

  3. Agreed. Busman is usually lenient when it comes to setting Toughies. He excelled himself today with a crossword that contained “toughie” style clues that I could count on the thumbs of one hand (4d). I think that you are being unusually generous giving this even a ** by Toughie standards – I suppose a 0 stars is out of the question? This was a Softie that really should have been on the back page. Like Libellue, I think that this took less time than the daily cryptic.

    On a positive note, it may encourage some to venture into the middle pages and try out the Toughie.

  4. Sometimes I really struggle to get going with the Toughie but not today. I tried out 1a and 6a on my thirteen year-old who was off school with swine flu and even she got them.

  5. I know we’re not supposed to brag about times, but purely to show how easy it was: 4:56, with a bit of a pause at the end for 10A. Having 5 BUS…. answers in a BUSMAN puzzle was a nice touch, but the puzzle is on the wrong page. If anyone needs a substitue toughie, the puzzle from the Times Championship final should keep you busy – (These took me about 3 times as long as this on average, and I was going as fast as I possibly could)

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