Toughie 515 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 515

Toughie No 515 by Busman

More meaty than usual!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

While this is not a Toughie that is likely to have been published on a Friday, it is a little more difficult than Busman’s usual offerings. I didn’t like the double-unches and had to look up 24 across, after guessing the first four letters, and 4 down.

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    Meat for Olympic runners-up? (10)
{SILVERSIDE} – this cut of beef taken from the rump could describe the team that get the runner-up medals in the Olympics

6a    Temporary settlement for half the operations (4)
{CAMP} – a temporary settlement, usually consisting of a number of tents, is the first half of a word meaning a series of co-ordinated operations designed to achieve a military objective

8a    Athenian appearing in some element (8)
{ANTIMONY} – put Shakespeare’s eponymous Athenian inside a synonym for some to get a brittle bluish-white element of metallic appearance

9a    Sufficient reason to turn nothing off (6)
{GROUND} – the basis of a justification, more usually seen in the plural, is created by taking a phrase meaning to turn (2,5) and removing (off) the first O (nothing) – once again, no indication as to which of the two Os is to be removed!

10a    Sights to look around, taking in ruins of timeless Troyes (8)
{EYESORES} – these sights that are offensive to look at are constructed by taking a word meaning to look (3) reversed (around) and inserting (taking in) an anagram (ruins) of (T)ROYES without the T (timeless)

11a    Like a tailless rabbit back in US city (6)
{TUCSON} – two words that could describe a rabbit (or deer) that has no tail (2,4) are reversed to give a US city in Arizona

12a    General removed tip of lath from carbine (4)
{RIFE} – an adjective meaning general or prevalent is formed by dropping the L (tip of lath) from a carbine

14a    Tar over jumper requiring spirit (7)
{BACARDI} – reverse (over) a tar (sailor) and follow with a short name for a knitted woollen jacket with buttons up the front to get this alcoholic spirit

18a    Pre-prepared for this month (7)
{INSTANT} – a word meaning pre-prepared, like coffee, is also the term, usually abbreviated, used in formal correspondence for the current month – as opposed to ultimo and proximo

20a    No-hoper’s heading off to expert (4)
{ONER} – take a person who is beyond hope of recovery and drop the initial G to get an expert

23a    Rogue will get fabric cut with gold (6)
{TERROR} – this rogue is derived from a type of towelling without its final letter (cut) and the heraldic term for gold

24a    Anaemic youngsters’ cloaks (8)
{PALETOTS} – a charade of a word meaning anaemic and some youngsters gives these loose overcoats

25a    Ruin bishop’s day (6)
{BLIGHT} – a verb meaning to ruin is a charade of B(ishop) and day, as opposed to night

26a    A little contrary with corrupt files (8)
{DATABASE} – start with a word meaning a little (3), reverse it (contrary) then add a verb meaning to corrupt to get these computer files

27a    Flower (4)
{ODER} – this Central European river sounds like (has resonance) a fragrance

28a    He was bound for opera house — he’s from America (10)
{PROMETHEUS} – this demigod, one of the Titans, was chained by Zeus to a rock where an eagle fed each day on his liver – a charade of a word meaning for (3), the shortened form of an opera house in New York (3), HE and the United States


1d    Supermarket chain mixing Brie and meat (5,3)
{SPARE RIB} – a supermarket chain is followed by an anagram (mixing) of BRIE gives a piece of pork

2d    Turner’s leading reprint — ‘Foam’ (6)
{LATHER} – a machine for turning and shaping articles of wood is followed by R (leading Reprint) to get this foam

3d    Romeo wandering, holding cross on heathland (6)
{EXMOOR} – put an anagram (wandering) of ROMEO around (holding) X (cross) to get this heathland in Gazza’s county

4d    Council and shrine demolished (9)
{SANHEDRIN} – this Jewish council is an anagram (demolished) of AND SHRINE

5d    The genie ruffled the majority? (8)
{EIGHTEEN} – an anagram (ruffled) of THE GENIE gives the age of majority in the UK

6d    Abridged cantankerous note (8)
{CROTCHET} – drop the final Y from an adjective meaning cantankerous to get this musical note

7d    Stag party cut connection for instrument (8)
{MANDOLIN} – one way of describing a stag party (3,2) is followed by a connection, maybe for a telephone, without its final letter to get this round-backed instrument like a lute

13d    Homestead fitted with one genuine siren (4,5)
{FIRE ALARM} – put a homestead around I (one) and a synonym for genuine o get this siren – every home should have at least one!

15d    Toughened choirboy in Queen’s train (8)
{ANNEALED} – a word meaning toughened is created by putting this former choirboy, now a radio presenter, after (in ….. train) the last Stuart monarch

16d    A fish repeatedly found in jelly (4-4)
{AGAR-AGAR} – A and a pike-like fish are both repeated to get this jelly prepared from seaweeds

17d    Go canvassing in half of Sandwich (8)
{DOORSTEP} – a double definition – a verb meaning to go canvassing and a large slice of bread

19d    Dancers cut short, holding wife first (8)
{TWISTERS} – these people performing a sixties dance are created by dropping the final E from a word meaning short or brief and then inserting W(ife) and IST (1st / first)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

21d    Transfer TV duo — yes! (6)
{DECANT} – a word meaning to transfer wine from a bottle to a carafe is formed by taking two really irritating TV presenters and putting their names in the opposite order to that usually seen

22d    Garbo chewed either end of expensive herb (6)
{BORAGE} – an anagram (chewed) of GARBO is followed by E (either end of ExpensivE) to get a blue-flowered, bristly, aromatic herb, the leaves of which have a cucumber-like flavour and are used in salads and to flavour drinks

Nothing here really stands out for me, but the puzzle was a lot better than I had anticipated.

17 comments on “Toughie 515

  1. Apart from the sorting out of 24a – has anyone apart from Busman ever heard of this?? – I thought this was alright for a Tuesday toughie. Some good clues, the favourite of which for me is 21d because I liked the idea of swapping that awful couple around. Thanks to Busman and BD.

  2. I enjoyed this vey much and finished it without too much difficulty ( I did have to guess 24a and then check it in the big red book ) Thanks Busman for a most enjoyable crossword which wasn’t too taxing. Thanks Dave for the review.

  3. Given the recent weather I wear my paletot all of the time. Yeah – right as my nephew would say!

  4. I started out not liking this much but it grew on me and, by the time i’d finished, I really thought it was quite a good crossword. I too had to look up 4d but I did know the word at 24a (even though I couldn’t quite remember the meaning!). Quite a few good clues including 8a, 15d and 32d.

    Well done Busman and thanks BD for the notes.

  5. It was good to have a slightly tougher Busman. Not spelling 6d incorrectly and not spotting it until late in the day played havoc with the final two across clues.

    Thanks to Busman for the crossword and to Big Dave for the review.

  6. I was ready for a tough one and here it is. Got really stuck in SE corner as I struggled with 24 but my real problem was with 21d. I realised .what the answer must be but I couldn’t think why. I eventually googled dec and found that it referred to a duo that I had never heard of. They must be on the advert channel. Apart from that it was a good contest. My favourite was 28 and I also liked 1a 1d 6a 6d 8 [ Shakespeare again Mary] 15 17 and 26.

    1. You never heard of ‘Ant and Dec’? They are the worst so-called funny men on TV IMHO! But very popular apparently!

    2. If by the advert channel you mean ITV 1 then you are correct. They host such instantly forgettable programs as “I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!” and “Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway”.

      I particularly resent the occasional comparisons with Morecambe and Wise, a duo whose boots they are not fit to clean far less fill.

  7. Wow! Surprised I finished this with only a small amount of cheating (honest!) 1 letter hint and a couple of visits to the dictionary
    Nice puzzle so thanks to Busman and BD for explaining a few bits of wordplay that I couldn’t quite see.
    No particular favourites but I did like 21d – I can’t stand those guys!

  8. Not too taxing for the start of Toughie week but a very enjoyable puzzle nonetheless, thanks to Busman and Big Dave for the review.

  9. Sped through the north, despite 4d being new to me, and then hit the wall. Curiously I had found paletot a few days ago as the origin of the Russian word for overcoat but still failed to get the clue. Prometheus story forgotten too.
    Kicking myself mainly for missing 21D. No complaints. Good clues in the south. I sometimes go off the boil after a flying start!

    1. Sounds like you were very much in line with me, a game of two halves, finished the top half without much trouble and got completely stuck and had to come here to complete the bottom half (the odd clue aside). Some I dont think I would have ever got but I enjoyed the challenge. Thanks Busman and BD.

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