Toughie 455 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 455

Toughie No 455 by Busman

I’d rather take the train!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Once again Busman delivers a Toughie puzzle at the easy end of the spectrum. I didn’t like this any more or less than today’s regular cryptic.

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.


1a    Artist or doctor at excavation returning a single nail (10)
{MODIGLIANI} – this artist is a charade of a Medical Officer, an excavation, and I (single) NAIL reversed

9a    Music article presented by paper (4)
{RAGA} – is it fair to define this traditional Hindu musical form, a rhythmic or melodic pattern used as the basis for improvisation, as just “music”? – the indefinite article comes after a low-quality newspaper

10a    Pirate team showing some beef (10)
{SILVERSIDE} – a charade of Long John, the pirate from Treasure Island, and a team gives this cut of beef taken from the rump

11a    Discoloration left in badly finished work (6)
{BLOTCH} – to get this discoloration put L(eft) inside some badly finished work

12a    Fowl criminal hero attacking maestri (7)
{ARTEMIS} – rather odd that this Ancient Greek goddess of the moon should instead be clued as a male teenage criminal mastermind from a series of novels written by Eoin Colfer – he’s an anagram (attacking) of MAESTRI

15a    Turtle’s break-through (7)
{SNAPPER} – this type of turtle is a charade of to break and a word meaning through

16a    Leading Muslims enter city championing Allah (5)
{MECCA} – the initial letters (leading) of rest of the clue give a city loosely defined by the whole clue – as an all-in-one this misses the mark for me

17a    Colour of mid-September vintage (4)
{ECRU} – this off-white or light greyish-brown colour is a charade of E (the middle letter of SeptEmber) and a wine vintage

18a    Heartless girl is just so (4)
{MEAN} – remove the G from the middle (heartless) of a girl’s name to get a word meaning heartless – I quite like this one

19a    Newton with one key in pocket (5)
{ISAAC} – the first name of the scientist is built up from I (one) and a musical key inside a pocket or pouch

21a    Crack cocaine, note, a bad habit (7)
{CREVICE} – this crack in a rock is built up from C(ocaine) the second note of the scale in sol-fa notation and a bad habit

22a    Have officers on ship (7)
{POSSESS} – a verb meaning to have or own is a charade of a group of law officers and the ubiquitous ship

24a    Some help UK company backing rough layout (4-2)
{MOCK-UP} – hidden (some) and reversed (backing) in the clue is a rough layout

27a    Equip hoary tutor with weapons for final battle (10)
{ARMAGEDDON} – a charade of to equip with weapons, hoary or elderly and a university tutor gives the great symbolical battlefield of the Apocalypse, scene of the final struggle between the powers of good and evil

28a    Choice of letters is standard (4)
{NORM} – one letter OR the other gives a standard

29a    Murphy enthroned? (4,6)
{KING EDWARD} – a type of potato that could also be a former monarch


2d           Noisy god. Apparently not (4)
{ODIN} – split as (1,3) this could read as no noise, but it’s actually a Scandinavian god

3d           Ask to popular fast in Dijon (6)
{INVITE} – a word meaning to ask is a charade of a synonym for popular and the French (in Dijon) for fast

4d           Novel announcing praise for sports hall (4,3)
{LORD JIM} – this novel by Joseph Conrad sounds like it could mean praise for a sports hall

5d           Dry – fresh air – doors opening (4)
{ARID} – a word meaning dry is an anagram (fresh) of AIR followed by D (Doors opening)

6d           Furniture store holding bar on flower arranging (7)
{IKEBANA} – put a Swedish furniture shop (the only one that I have ever visited where the only items that I would buy were in the restaurant) around a bar or prohibition to get the Japanese art of flower arranging

7d           Distributed pay receipt for entertaining turn (5,5)
{PARTY PIECE} – an anagram (distributed) of PAY RECEIPT for an entertaining turn

8d           Wagner’s work in talk at assemblies (10)
{GATHERINGS} – put the short title of one of Wagner’s most famous compositions inside a verb meaning to talk to get these assemblies

12d         Fine semi-US binder (10)
{AMERCEMENT} – this old-fashioned word for a fine is a charade of AMER (semi-US / AMERican) and material used to bind bricks

13d         Sixty – implying eight ducks? (10)
{THREESCORE} – 3×20 = 60 – if only three out of eleven batsmen score then eight make ducks (scores of zero)

14d         Appreciation of famous ensemble (5)
{SENSE} – this appreciation is hidden inside the clue

15d         Discarded items sculpted by artist and priest (5)
{SCRAP} – a heap of discarded items are a charade of SC (Sculpsit, he sculpted), the usual Royal Academician and a P(riest)

19d         Diamonds hounds found in coolbox (7)
{ICEPACK} – a charade of diamonds and a group of hounds gives gel-filled bag that remains frozen for long periods, for use in a cool box – cool box as one word is yet another departure from Chambers!

20d         Whence water in France once spilt round diary (7)
{COLOGNE} – when preceded by “eau de” (water in France) this gives a perfumed mixture of alcohol and essential oils – put an anagram (spilt) of ONCE around a diary

23d         Bog-plant from dunes out west (6)
{SUNDEW} – this insectivorous bog-plant is an anagram (out) of DUNES followed by W(est)

25d         Sign of love, chaps (4)
{OMEN} – this sign os a charade of O (zero / love) and some chaps

26d         Time Ike suggests? Not half! (4)
{HOUR} – this time is a tooth-sucking homophone of the second part of the surname of Dwight D Eisenhower, aka Ike – back in those days we didn’t have slogans like “Change” – it was “I like Ike” and “All the Way with Adlai (Stevenson)”

This is quite funny in retrospect!  Dick is, of course, Richard “Watergate” Nixon

Let’s hope they get tougher as the week progresses.

8 comments on “Toughie 455

  1. Although, IMHO, its at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum, I did enjoy solving this apart from a bit of a tussle with the SW corner, in particular 12d for which the use of an online thesaurus was required, although with hindsight I should have got it from the wordplay. A very nice mix of clues – I liked lots including 27a and 13d to mention just two. Thanks Busman for the crossword and BD for the explanations.

  2. I think I’d seen 12d in a GK type crossword some time ago which made sw corner easier to crack. I struggled in the NE and on 9a and 18a which I had to resort to the blog for the explanations. It took me ages to “deconstruct” how 27a had to be the answer it was, until that little bulb went on, No clear favourites, thanks to Busman and BD for relieving the pain with 9 and 18

  3. Straightforward crossword from Busman today with the more unusual words given clear wordplay. Many thanks to setter and to BD. Favourite clue was 8d.

  4. Most of this went in pretty quickly, except for 9a, which after staring at for about 10 minutes, I left unsolved.
    I am not totally convinced on this being a Toughie crossword; I cannot see much difference in the level of difficulty between this and the regular cryptic (in fact I found this easier than today’s cryptic).
    Anyway…. thanks to Busman, and to BD.

  5. Another enjoyable puzzle, I am starting to really get a buzz out of these toughies.
    Thanks to Busman and Big Dave.

  6. Quite an enjoyable crossword with no real difficuly, just about “toughie” standard but fun, I liked 8d and 13d. Thanks Busman and BD.

  7. A relative newcomer to the Toughie I enjoyed this crossword, possibly because I could complete it without resorting to the blog for help! Usually I require quite a bit of assistance. My favourite clues were 8d and 27a.

Comments are closed.