Toughie 375 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 375

Toughie No 375 by Busman

Busman steps up a gear!

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BD Rating – Difficulty *** Enjoyment ****

Usually I find Busman’s puzzles to be on the easy side and not particularly enjoyable. Although this one is not difficult, apart from the Greek abbot and the Spanish composer, there were some excellent clues. The biggest smiles came from 1 across and 11 across, with 15 down not far behind.

I rounded the difficulty up to 3 stars, mainly because of the aforementioned foreigners.

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    A case of smog, say (11)
{PORTMANTEAU} – although it doesn’t look like it, this is a double definition! – the first definition is a large travelling bag that folds back flat from the middle and the second is Lewis Carroll’s term for a blend, a word into which are packed the sense (and sound) of two words, e.g. smog for smoke and fog

10a    Goat wandering round NZ region (5)
{OTAGO} – an anagram (wandering) of GOAT is followed by O (round) to get this region of New Zealand

11a    A God-and-Mammon sort of sailing boat? (3-6)
{TWO-MASTER} – you either know the quote or you don’t!

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” Matthew 6:24

12a    Are they learning to be cotton-processors? (9)
{BEGINNERS} – these novices (are they learning) are a charade of BE and people who clear the seeds from cotton

13a    East European restraint is suggested (5)
{CZECH} – this East European sounds like (is suggested) a restraint

14a    Badge from old car firm in same French review (6)
{EMBLEM} – a badge is created by putting British Leyland (old car firm) inside the French for same, reversed (review)

16a    Style of bowling causing murder an’ turmoil (8)
{UNDERARM} – a style of bowling in cricket preferred by children and (some) women is an anagram (turmoil) of MURDER AN

18a    Jam-packed? (4-4)
{RUSH-HOUR} – a cryptic definition of one of the times during each day when traffic is at its heaviest

20a    Gull. Yes and no! (6)
{PIGEON} – a sort of double definition – gull, yes, means to gull or hoax; gull, no, means that this bird is not a gull

23a    Spanish composer cutting sherry production (5)
{SOLER} – if you add A to the name of this Spanish composer you get a system of sherry production involving blending wines of various ages from a series of graded casks to achieve uniformity

24a    European rice ruined by invading antelope (9)
{ICELANDER} – our second European today comes from an anagram (ruined) of RICE with a South African antelope, resembling the elk, inside (invading)

26a    Cut out damaged main in the establishment (9)
{ELIMINATE} – a word meaning to cut out, like France from the World Cup maybe, is built up from an anagram (damaged) of MAIN inside the establishment or high society

27a    Fool muddling addition and subtraction! (5)
{IDIOT} – it must be difficult to find new clues for this fool – it’s an anagram (muddling) of (AD)DITIO(N) without (subtraction) the letters of AND

28a    Small fragments there in appearance on board (11)
{SMITHEREENS} – these small fragments are derived by putting THERE inside an air, look, manner or bearing (appearance) and then all inside SS (on board)


2d    Oscar scarpered, starting to go ape (5)
{ORANG} – a charade of O (Oscar in the NATO phonetic alphabet) a word meaning scarpered and G (starting to Go) gives this ape, usually seen as a longer word

3d    Censure counter-revolutionary (7)
{TROUNCE} – to censure, as in to punish, beat or rebuke, is an anagram (revolutionary) of COUNTER

4d    A new melody that’s developed without end for the choir to perform (6)
{ANTHEM} – a charade of A N(ew) and a short melody developed with variations without its final letter (without end) gives something for the choir to perform

5d    Number addressing the beach, once (8)
{THOUSAND} – this large number could be how someone would have addressed the beach many years ago (once) – before they were sectioned, that is!

6d    On the left in Mâcon, also in Mainz, in time (1,6)
{À GAUCHE} – the French (in Mâcon) for on the left, could have applied to Mainz when it was part of France, but is (thanks Gazza) AUCH (also in German / in Mainz) inside AGE (time)

7d    Cheated, having made a return Dover-Calais trip (6-7)
{DOUBLE-CROSSED} – a hyphenated word meaning cheated suggests that you have made the trip from Dover to Calais and back

8d    Accommodation always in arena (8)
{STEERAGE} – accommodation in the part of a passenger ship with lowest fares is constructed by putting the literary form of always inside an arena or field of action

9d    Abbot is a terribly rich fellow and terribly tired (13)
{ARCHIMANDRITE} – a new word for me, but I was able to build this abbot In the Greek Church up from A then an anagram (terribly) of RICH, a fellow and an anagram (terribly) of TIRED

15d    Such plans may affect tables, just the same (4-4)
{BEST-LAID} – these schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, gang aft agley – an anagram (may affect?) of TABLES is followed by the shortened form of the Latin for the same

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Cow, large 20 eating imitative bird (8)
{RUMINANT} – to get this cud-chewing animal put a large breed of domestic 20 across around an alternate spelling of an Asiatic bird which can be taught to imitate human speech

19d    In a Channel island love is valour (7)
{HEROISM} – inside one of the smaller Channel Islands put O (love) and IS to get a synonym for valour

21d    Suppose there’s silver in one source of gold! (7)
{IMAGINE} – a word meaning to suppose is built up by putting the chemical symbol for silver inside I (one) and a place from which gold can be extracted

22d    Remove obstacle in river (6)
{DELETE} – to remove, perhaps by pressing the appropriate key on the computer keyboard, is constructed by inserting an obstacle, for which a service in tennis has to be retaken, inside a river – perhaps the one where the Jolly Miller once lived!

25d    Stoop during parade, ignominiously (5)
{DEIGN} – a word meaning to stoop is hidden inside the rest of the clue

Well done Busman – we’ll have you driving luxury coaches soon!

28 comments on “Toughie 375

  1. I too thought this a most enjoyable puzzle. Did have to resort to google and an email conversation with Gnomethang to sort out why the answer to 23a was what it was. However, apart from that, and at the risk of upsetting people, I solved this in very quick time for a Tuesday toughie. Too many good clues to pick a favourite. Two very good Tuesday puzzles and the sun’s out! Just need a glass of Lea’s or Mary’s wine and my day would be complete.

  2. I don’t always have the time during the day to look at the toughie, but fortunately this one did not take up too much of my time. The last three to go in were 1a, 23a, and 28a. Spanish composers and sherry production are not my strongest subjects!

    1. Gnomethang did make the point in an email that Busman could have put “solar” and find a suitable clue for it, but then if we didn’t spin off into Spanish composers and sherry production Ia) it probably wouldn’t be a toughie and (b) how would we learn facts to bore people with at parties!

      1. I won a bottle of sherry at a tombola on Saturday at my son’s school fair. I cannot even give it away!!

              1. The White Horse is very much a beer and cider do!

                If you could see the range of draught beers you would not wish for any other kind of drink!

                1. You’re not joking! I’ve just looked at their website.. 135 different bottled beers!
                  I used to drink in there about 20 years ago, as a ‘trendy’ place to go on a Friday night. Living in SW20, it is only a few stops on the district line from Wimbledon.

                  1. When in London I usually stay with my sister in North Cheam and catch the 93 bus (free for OAPs) to Wimbledon or Putney Bridge and then the District line to Parson’s Green.

      2. I must confess that I found 23a by scouring Wikipedia’s list of Spanish composers starting with the S that I already had and confirming the rest of the wordplay from Chambers.

  3. Ditto that experience of Crypticsue, had to google to find the composer then take a flier at a longer word and google to confirm that!. I definitely thought that 1a and 11a were up there with the best.
    Thanks for the notes and thanks to Busman.

  4. Brilliant crossword from Busman today, loved 15d (naturally ) and 1a. Great review Dave.

  5. I was torn between Pigeon and Wigeon for 20a, with no jusification for either. Eventually plumped for Pig because of the Runt in 17d. But a runt is a small pig, not a large one, so no nearer to understanding this.

    1. According to Chambers a runt is:

      * A small, stunted or old ox or cow
      * A small pig, esp the smallest of a litter
      * Anything undersized
      * A large breed of domestic pigeon
      * A dead tree stump or trunk
      * A cabbage stem, esp withered
      * An apple core (Scot)
      * A vague term of reproach, esp to the old or boorish

      The setter chose the fourth of these.

          1. Never heard of either Pigeon or Gull as verbs meaning to hoax. But a bit of googling confirms that both are nouns meaning “a person who is easily deceived”. (I have come accross this use of Pigeon in some American movies, but never heard Gull so used).

            1. We haven’t said it for a while, but a copy of Chambers 11th edition is highly desirable when solving Telegraph cryptics.

              Pigeon as a verb is not in the ODE, but runt as a large pigeon is.

  6. Don’t usually even look at the toughie – now I know why! Only managed seven clues and you’re all saying that this is an EASY toughie …… ?

  7. Many thanks to Busman for an enjoyable crossword and to BD for the notes. Have to agree that 1a and 11a were top clues. I had heard of a 9d but not he of 23a.

  8. Two excellent crosswords today. Whilst the toughie is always tough, the cryptic took me longer to solve today. But there was a real sense of achievement derived from both. Thanks for the Trevor Chappell photo BD, one of many incidents the Aussies will never live down in Kiwiland. Time to sit back with my sherry and enjoy the French being 26a.

    1. If you click on the link and read about it, this sentence does stand out: “the ball roles along the pitch”…

  9. Well done Busman. I now know more about sherry production and obscure Spanish composers.

  10. only 24 hrs behind on my crosswords but this was a goodie. Many thanks to BD for the Burns-one of my favourites. The video inc. footage of 9/11 was chilling.

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