Toughie 353 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 353

Toughie No 353 by Busman

The Busman’s Holiday is over!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

I had a few pints with Big Dave at the White Horse on Saturday and foolishly offered to do a bit of blogging for him. So here’s the result.

I must admit to not being too familiar with the Toughie crossword so I didn’t know what to expect. I was disappointed with it because I found it somewhat on the easy side. But it was a pleasant enough solve with only one or two things that I had to check.

[My subheading refers to the fact that Busman’s last Toughie was published on 25th March. BD]


1a    A damn keen type, we hear? (5,6)
{EAGER BEAVER} An unusual construction with a homophone in the clue. It’s heard as “A dam keen type” referring to the dam-building ability of the beaver.

9a    Horrible wester destroying fruit (14)

11a    Forward support (4)
{PROP} 2 meanings – prop forward in rugby

12a    Extra broadcasting in PSV (5)
{BONUS} ON (broadcasting) in BUS (public service vehicle = PSV)

13a    A qualification about instrument (4)
{TUBA} A BUT reversed

16a    Method actors with one leading, shipwrecked? (8)
{CASTAWAY} WAY preceded by CAST A

17a    Rook will take flight by church (6)
{FLEECE} FLEE (take flight) + CE (church). Fleece = swindle = rook

19a    Letter to son about trousers (6)

{CHINOS} CHI (Greek letter) + SON reversed. I must admit to not being familiar with this word

20a    Light up, as some students do (4,1,3)
{HAVE A FAG} 2 meanings. Fag = (i) cigarette and (ii) a junior pupil who runs errands for a senior at a British public school. Does the custom of fagging still exist?

22a    American measures, reportedly, at summit (4)
{APEX} A (American) + homophone of PECKS. A peck is an old measure of capacity for dry goods equal to 2 gallons

23a    Daughter wearing ring on foot? (5)
{PEDAL} D (daughter) in PEAL (ring). Pedal = of the foot

24a    Put on record — favourably? (4)
{SPIN} To spin = (i) to play a record and (ii) to present information in a misleadingly favourable form

27a    Thug moaned audibly taking hen sixty miles up (9,5)
{HEAVISIDE LAYER} Homophone of HEAVY SIGHED (thug moaned audibly) + LAYER (hens lay eggs). The Heaviside layer (or Heaviside-Kennelly layer or Kennelly-Heaviside layer or E-layer) is a layer of the atmosphere abut 60 miles up that is able to reflect radio waves

28a    He chats with girl dazzled by the glare? (11)


2d    Helps Harris do a revision of literary work (1,10,3)
{A SHROPSHIRE LAD} A literary work be A E Housman. Anagram of HELPS HARRIS DO A

3d    Noble’s not late, yet misses end of play (4)
{EARL} EARLY without the last letter (Y) of play

4d    Soothing ointment on test at castle (8)
{BALMORAL} BALM + ORAL (test). Balmoral Castle is the Queen’s residence in Scotland

5d    Retreat to East-enders’ lodge (6)
{ARBOUR} Arbour = retreat is given in Chambers. People living in the East End of London reputedly drop their aitches. Therefore the wordplay is ‘ARBOUR = harbour which means lodge (as a verb)

6d    Off-white for the City game (4)
{ECRU} The City (of London) often appears in crosswords as EC (from its postcode). The game is rugby union (RU). Ecru is one of those words that is only ever encountered in crosswords.

7d    It’s tropical — say ‘seven’ (6,2,6)
{FIGURE OF SPEECH} If you say “seven” you could call it a figure of speech. Tropical = of the nature of a trope. Trope = figure of speech. Therefore a figure of speech is tropical. (I had to look that up)

8d    Property manager out east with cha-wallah? (6,5)
{ESTATE AGENT} Anagram of EAST followed by TEA GENT (fancifully represented as a cha-wallah)

10d    Copper swallowed by uncouth Phaeacian as emetic (11)
{IPECACUANHA} Cu (copper) in an anagram of PHAEACIAN. Ipecacuanha (or ipecac) is a dried root used as an emetic. I didn’t know that you spelt it with an “H” so I’ve learnt something today

14d    Sell down the river, not a river rising (3,2)
{RAT ON} To “rat on” is to “sell down the river” meaning to betray. NOT A R reversed

15d    Shelter in street — from this? (5)

18d    King Cole and Franklin endlessly going round unknown Biblical town (8)
{NAZARETH} NA(T) + ARETH(A) round Z (unknown). Nat King Cole and Aretha Franklin were/are both singers

21d    He rejects measure of silk (6)
{DENIER} 2 meanings (a unit of silk/someone who denies)

25d    Kingdom instrumental to the Scots? (4)
{FIFE} Fife is a Scottish county historically known as the Kingdom of Fife. It is also a variety of the flute associated with Scotland

26d    One small party uprising in Indonesia (4)
{BALI} Reversal of I (one) + LAB (Labour party). Is the “Small party” a comment on the election result?

I look forward to my next assignment which I fear will be far tougher.

19 comments on “Toughie 353

  1. Not up to toughie standard but I did enjoy 27a and, because I live there 25d.

      1. Ditto that… please excuse my bad manners, Bufo; I realised as soon as I hit the button on my post below. Thanks for the excellent review.

  2. Agree not too tough today. I’d never heard of 10d until now, and I am unlikely to remember it for the future!

    1. Jezza, as children in the 40s and 50s we had a little rhyme which our mother used to say when giving us this very popular cure for constipation, something along the lines of “ipecacuanha wine, syrup of figs and glycerine” the latter being pronounced to rhyme with wine. Bloody awful as I recall.

  3. A fine first effort, Bufo, though as you say it wasn’t the Toughest of challenges. Thanks for your help – I finished it unaided, but needed your explanation for 18d. You have included the answer in your clue for 5d, which BD doesn’t encourage.

  4. Answers are also revealed in several other clues. Not that I’m bovvered, but others may be.

    1. I agree that two many answers are revealed. I am novice with toughies and often rely on the hints to improve my skills. Is it possible to have less answers please. I am completely grateful for everybody’s free effort so please take this request in the spirit it is meant. Thanks .

  5. Agree that its not the toughest toughie but fun nonetheless with 2 x 14 letter anagrams and 1 x 11. Struggled with 10d for a while as I knew what it was meant to be but couldn’t think where to put the extra h.

    1. And nice to meet you Tilly last week as well as Bufo and the others.

      1. Likewise and don’t forget about the puzzle. I have some ideas but this isn’t the forum to discuss it.

  6. A warm welcome to Bufo, nice to meet you last Saturday. This is not really representative of most Toughie difficulty levels. The only thing which had me reaching for Chambers was 10d even though the wordplay was clear.
    Thanks for the review and thanks to Busman.
    Quite liked 1a for fun value.

  7. Welcome Bufo and congratulations on your first blog. As you and Gnome have discovered, attending the convention is dangerous when BD is around.

  8. I didn’t do the toughie but well done Bufo on your first blog, those conventions sound fun but DANGEROUS!! :)

  9. Thanks Bufo for the review. I managed all but one of these (with a little help from my father-in-law). It was only 23a that stumped us today.
    I realised it must be a bit easy when I had managed to solve so many of these!

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