Toughie 421 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 421

Toughie No 421 by Busman

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Trickier than I expected for a Busman toughie but no real problems understanding the clues except for 23 down which I really had to think about.

Please 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.


3a    Live without husband soon (2,1,3)
{IN A BIT} Remove H (husband) from a 7-letter word for live (dwell in)

6a    Drink too much to exercise (4)
{TOPE} TO + exercise (physical education) gives “drink too much”

8a    Philosophical disciple developing its small company (5)
{STOIC} An anagram (developing) of ITS CO (company)

9a    Affected sound of port bell out east (11)
{HIGHFALUTIN} A word meaning “affected” is formed from a homophone of an Israeli port + the name of a bell rung at Lloyd’s of London that has lost the letter E (out east)

10a    Note with German terms of reference (5)
{REMIT} The second note of the sol-fa scale + the German word for “with”

11a    Info gives two examples of such an expedient (4,7)
{HALF MEASURE} IN(CH) and FO(OT) are the two examples

16a    Result of high stroke? (6)
{UPSHOT} High + stroke (as in cricket) gives a result

17a    Gold gingers up patronage (8)
{AUSPICES} The atomic symbol for gold + gingers up gives “patronage”

19a    Greeny sandpiper in trouble (8)
{BANKNOTE} A greeny is a slang term for a £1 note. Put a type of sandpiper inside a source of evil, misery, etc.

20a    Dramatist is master of corn (6)
{MILLER} Two meanings: an American dramatist and someone who produces corn

22a    Make-up repeating as arranged (6,5)
{GREASE PAINT} An anagram (arranged) of REPEATING AS gives make-up as used in the theatre

25a    Cut short decent dress styles (5)
{MODES} Remove the last letter from a word meaning “decent”

27a    Pledge by photo-fixer, Felix East (11)
{HYPOTHECATE} A word meaning “pledge” is formed from a photographic fixing agent + Felix *** *** (a cartoon character) + E (East)

28a    Backing popular award for petrified daughter (5)
{NIOBE} A reversal of “popular” + an award gives a mythological daughter who was turned into stone after her children had been slain

29a    She’s coming out before time. Such a liability! (4)
{DEBT} A young woman making her first appearance in society + T (time) gives a liability

30a    Insist on a switch-back (6)
{ASSERT} A + the reversal of switch (lock of hair) gives “insist”


1d    Heartless doorman is addict (4)
{USER} Remove the middle letter from a doorman to give someone who takes drugs

2d    Reason for third estate seen in trouble (6,5)
{COMMON SENSE} The third estate (see Chambers under estate) + an anagram (in trouble) of SEEN gives “reason”

3d    Old toothy bird in church, history may reveal (11)
{ICHTHYORNIS} An extinct Cretaceous sea bird with reptilian teeth set in sockets is an anagram of IN CH HISTORY

4d    Old money for theatrical sponsors (6)
{ANGELS} Two meanings: former English coins and people who finance theatrical ventures

5d    Shocking facts about member of Welsh parliament, as above (8)
{INFAMOUS} A 4-letter abbreviated word for facts goes round the abbreviation for Assembly Member (of the National Assembly for Wales) and this is followed by the abbreviation for ut supra (as above)

6d    Ruffians finally coming in, accordingly (5)
{THUGS} G (the last letter of coming) goes inside accordingly to give ruffians

7d    Foregoing head of house (5)
{PRIOR} Two meanings: foregoing and an ecclesiastical head

12d    A very subdued application for a date (11)
{APPOINTMENT} A + the abbreviation for pianissimo (very subdued) + an application (for rubbing into the skin)

13d    Horribly cold funeral is not necessary (8-3)
{UNCALLED FOR} An anagram (horribly) of COLD FUNERAL

14d    Warrant runs out during middle of week (6)
{ENSURE} An anagram (out) of RUNS inside EE (middle of week)

15d    Sweet deception (6)
{HUMBUG} Two meanings: a hard boiled sweet (minty and stripy) and deception (bah!)

18d    Plugs small hats (8)
{STOPPERS} S (small ) + hats gives plugs

21d    Lively examination on church (6)
{VIVACE} A musical term meaning “lively” consists of an oral examination + CE (church)

23d    Sound of hoar — or score draw? (5)
{RHYME} It’s a homophone of a word for hoarfrost, but it took me ages to work out that “score draw” is meant to be an example of this. It’s nothing like it the way I pronounce these words!

24d    Round (twelve of them?) (5)
{ABOUT} A boxing contest usually consists of twelve rounds

26d    Killed a large number (4)
{SLEW} Two meanings: killed and a large number (N Am inf according to Chambers)

Does 23 down work in your accent?

20 comments on “Toughie 421

  1. Agreed it was certainly a lot tougher than the last few Busman’s (and that is quite welcome!) with a number of obscure-to-me words. 9a and 19a were favourites for me and among the last to go in. I thought that 23d might not appeal as an answer to certain dialects – these sorts of clues (and some homophones) often are discussed on Times for the Times.
    My other problem is I am quite gfood at starting to spell a wide range of Prehistoric reptiles but am slightly less good at stopping!.
    Thanks to Bufo for the review and Busman for the challenge.

  2. Enjoyed this. Last to go in was 19a – knew it needed a type of sandpiper but there was an awful lot to plough through. No trouble with 23d – p’raps I’ve got the same accent as Busman!. Raining here so was happy to settle down with this over lunch.
    Thanks to Busman & Bufo.

  3. Most enjoyable jaunt from Busman I liked 3a, 23d works ok for the Scottish accent. Thanks Busman and thanks Bufo for a great review.

  4. 23 works for me and I got it reasonably quickly but I still agonised over greeny sandpiper.
    At least I can add another prehistoric bird to my list.
    The reasoning seemed a bit tenuous….or perhaps I haven’t had enough coffee.

  5. Enjoyable ride from Busman today. Many thanks to him for the treat. Favourite clue was 9a. Thanks too to Bufo for the review.

  6. Score draw worked for me but would have sat here all day without help on 19a. Still can’t work that one out. Thank you for enlivening a grey day! (That’s another 23d!!)

  7. Very enjoyable, but got really held up with the spelling of 3d, which wasn’t in any of my books! (and we’re in foreign climes with limited internet so thank goodness for the blog!). 23d works fine with broad Yorkshire!

  8. A very nice Thursday puzzle for a lovely sunny day in E Kent, where 23d does work in our accent. Did need the dictionary for 3d – oe of those where I knew the letters but wasn’t sure how to put them together. Favourites 9a and 27a. Thanks to Busman for the fun and Bufo for the explanations.

  9. The few clues I got were correct, and 23d was one of them but it took time for the penny to drop!. Definitely over my head but enjoyed having a go. Thankyou Busman and Bufo, needed your blog to finish

  10. I’m sorry, I’ll write that again! (Damned Dell laptop)
    Definitely a toughie but struggled through. Only used the blog to explain a couple. Not convinced with 24d. I thought they went in 3s, 10s, or 15s normally. Also thought that 5d (which I guessed from the across letters) was unnecessarily convoluted. Liked 17a.Put me in mind of a joke about an Aussie spelling champion.

Comments are closed.