Toughie 248 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 248

Toughie No 248 by Busman

On a Roll

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BD Rating – Difficulty ** Enjoyment ***

Not overly difficult but an enjoyable start to the day. I rattled through this and then got on with the blog, while being continually harassed by three new additions to the family – kittens!

I haven’t done the normal daily cryptic yet, but in brief conversation with Gazza, he indicates that it is actually more difficult than this. So why not try both and let us know what you thought.


1. Playing fab group’s top record that’s readily available (2,3,5)
{UP FOR GRABS} – Take the first letter (top) of R(ecord) and an anagram (playing) of FAB GROUPS and you have a (slang) phrase for ready for the taking, for sale, etc.

6. Some Oriental cosmetic, maybe (4)
{TALC} – A hidden word within (Orien)tal c(osmetic) is A fine-grained white, greenish, or gray mineral, Mg3Si4O10(OH)2, which has a soft soapy feel and used in talcum and face powder.

9. Law lord’s instrument in broken-down ranch (10)
{CHANCELLOR} – Place CELLO (instrument) inside an anagram (broken down) of RANCH for the president, or a judge, of a court of chancery or other court.

10. What sounds like a maths ratio — plus or minus (4)
{SIGN} – Sounds like SINE, but is actually + or -.

12. Gone off for currency around Ivory Coast (6)
{RANCID} – Place the South African currency RAND around CI (Cote d’Ivoire) and you have something rank in smell or taste, for example butter or oil that has or is going bad.

13. Liqueur not accepted, note, by Scottish barrister (8)
{ADVOCATE} – A Scottish member of the bar is formed from ADVOCAAT minus (not) an A (accepted) but with an additional E (note).

15. Magicians making centre-half back? Liars! (12)
{NECROMANCERS} – Reverse (back) half of CEN(tre), and then check Chambers. Chamber has romance defined as a piece of romantic fiction and an imaginative lie, so ROMANCERS could be stretched to mean liars and be added to the reversed CEN, once done you have another word for sorcerors.

18. Characteristic rearrangement of Daisy is corny (12)
{IDIOSYNCRASY} – An anagram (rearrangment) (what an anagram indicator!) of DAISY IS CORNY and you have any characteristic of a person.

21. Literary imitation — it’s cheap and nasty (8)
{PASTICHE} – Another anagram (nasty) of ITS CHEAP is an artisitic composition made up of bits of other works or imitations of another’s style.

22. Could be me and my dog (6)
{SETTER} – A type of dog can also set crosswords.

24. Chef’s sauce base (4)
{ROUX} – The name of a sauce base made up of flour and butter, is also the surname of a famous chef – Michel Jr.

25. Stroke getting caught with extra gear (5,5)
{COVER DRIVE} – C(aught) and OVERDRIVE (gear) is also a cricketing stroke for a drive past cover point.

26. Issue of US magazine returned (4)
{EMIT} – The magazine in this case is TIME.

27. School isn’t — repeat ‘isn’t’ — involved with academy. Right! (2,8)
{ST TRINIANS} – An anagram of ISNT and ISNT, and A (academy) plus R (right) is a well known school invented by the cartoonist Ronald Searle.


1. Open and distribute corn in UK (6)
{UNCORK} – An anagram (distribute) of CORN inside UK is typically the mechanism used to open a bottle of wine (my favourite).

2. Show off floor to relative (6)
{FLAUNT} – FL (floor) AUNT (relative).

3. Bankrupt state with his price ever changing (12)
{RECEIVERSHIP} – An anagram (changing) of HIS PRICE EVER for another term for bankrupcy.

4. Swagger back from 9 (4)
{ROLL} – Reverse (back) the last four letters from 9a.

5. That thoroughly unpleasant woman’s cocktail (6,4)
{BLOODY MARY} – A cryptic definition of a drink consisting of vodka, tomato juice and seasoning.

7. The old have it at heart to be upset (8)
{AGITATED} – AGED (the old) with IT AT inside (at heart) for something that is disturbed.

8. Talk of the opposite (8)
{CONVERSE} – Double definition, to talk about or the reverse.

11. Become angry with Exmoor family’s boss at home (2,4,4,2)
{DO ONES HEAD IN} – The key to this is knowing that a novel by Richard Doddridge Blackmore is set on Exmoor, then it becomes simple. (Lorna) DOONE’S HEAD (boss) IN (at home).

14. Waterproof jacket technocrat ordered (6,4)
{TRENCH COAT} – An anagram (ordered) of TECHNOCRAT is a short waterproof coat with a belt.

16. Presides over scatter (8)
{DISPERSE} – An anagram PRESIDES, is also another term for scatter.

17. State, and almost omit state (8)
{MISSOURI} – Omit is MISS OUT, drop the final T (almost) then add RI (Rhode Island – a US State) and you have another US state.

19. Tribal leader acting as steersman, we hear (6)
{ATTILA} – A well known Emperor of the Huns sounds like (we hear) A TILLER..

20. Welcomes — with tears? (6)
{GREETS} – An old Scottish word for weep (how many of you knew this?) is also the same word normally used when you welcome somebody.

23. Man who is the rock has no heart, look (4)
{PEER} – A saint, known as the rock, if he drops his middle letter – a T, becomes a word for to look something narrowly or closely.

7 comments on “Toughie 248

  1. Can’t you guess from the ease of this one that it is none other than Busman. I agree with Gazza – the back page cryptic is significantly harder than the Toughie today. It toom me three times as long to complete than Busman’s offering and I managed to complete both puzzles before arriving at the office.

    I know that Busman usually gives us puzzles at the lower end of the Toughie spectrum but this and the last one are, in my view, below the guidelines set for Toughies that have been alluded to by others.

    The puzzle was, nevertheless, pleasant to solve and it will possibly encourage more people to venture into Toughie territory.

    1. Prolixic,
      Thanks for that – Ahh yes Busman – I should have considered it. Agreed certainly not Toughie fare, but like you I did enjoy doing it!

  2. Thanks for the usual great write up Libellule, like you and Yoshik I agree that two puzzles seem to have been transposed, however it did not spoil my enjoyment of this one, best clue for me was 11d.

  3. I enjoyed it though it was less taxing than you would normally expect from a toughie. I did like 27a and 20d ( I am a Scot ).

  4. I’ve done it in a quicker time than the daily but didn’t enjoy it as much.

    Didn’t like 15a – thought it was a stretch of the imagination and had to use your help for 11d. However, I did like 9a and 4a but my favourite was 10a.

  5. Well we liked this one – admittedly not as difficult as the Cryptic, but more enjoyable. Thought 19d was a nice clue.

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