Toughie 551 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 551

Toughie No 551 by Busman

An easy ride!

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

Busman’s puzzles are firmly at the easy end of the Toughie spectrum. This one has a decent grid – Busman complained on another site about my criticism (he must read the blog!) of the grid used for his previous Toughie.

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    Novelist automatically so nervous (6,3,6)
{LOUISA MAY ALCOTT} – this American novelist is an anagram (nervous) of AUTOMATICALLY SO

9a    Land rent again adjusted (9)
{ARGENTINA} – this land in South America is an anagram (adjusted) of RENT AGAIN

10a    Head of state getting round more than half the state (5)
{OBAMA} – the head of the United States is a charade of O (round) and more than half of a US state

11a    Trailer of ‘Blair Annual’ regularly seen (5)
{LIANA} – while this trailing or climbing plant is not a Crosswordland regular it does come up from time to time – take the even letters (regularly seen) of the second and third words in the clue

12a    Kiosk, steaming up, holding pounds in money (9)
{TOLLBOOTH} – a kiosk at which you pay to travel on a stretch of road is created by reversing (up) a word meaning steamy around the abbreviation for pounds (weight) itself inside a slang word for money

13a    Big Ted with nothing to make in there (8)
{THEODORE} – the first name of the American President after whom the Teddy Bear was named is constructed by putting O (nothing) and a word meaning to make (2) inside THERE

14a    Black singer broadcast as ‘Monster of Rock’ (6)
{SCYLLA} – the first name of Ms Black sounds like (broadcast) this six-headed monster who sat over a dangerous rock on the Italian side of the Straits of Messina

ARVE Error: need id and provider

16a    Islander, starting to speak, has a grumble (6)
{SAMOAN} – this inhabitant of a group of islands in Polynesia is a charade of the first letter of (starting to) Speak, A and a grumble

18a    Cupid’s against a new love-match? (5,3)
{DAVIS CUP} – an anagram (new) of CUPID’S V (versus / against) A gives an international tennis competition (love-match?) – easy anagram; dreadful definition, not excused by the question mark, and yes, I did consider whether it had anything to do with a famous golfer!

22a    Being tight-fisted? (9)
{CLENCHING} – a cryptic definition (barely)

23a    Sign: ‘Jump’s off limits’ (5)
{ARIES} – to get this sign of the zodiac drop bound (jump) from limits

24a    Bit player — one added to the score (5)
{EXTRA} – a double definition – someone with a small part in a play and a run added to the score that is not credited to the batsman

25a    Pride of a Roman Catholic Orange order (9)
{ARROGANCE} – this word meaning pride or conceit is an anagram (order) of A RC (Roman Catholic) ORANGE

26a    Part-time soldier coming after drunk grasping head of collie dog (8,7)
{SCOTTISH TERRIER} – put a member of the TA (part-time soldier) after an adjective meaning drunk around (grasping) the first letter (head) of Collie to get a small rough-haired, strongly-built, dog


1d    Tract of fine land first rented out (7)
{LEAFLET} – this tract or handbill is constructed from F(ine) preceded by a grassland and followed by a word meaning rented out

2d    I’m inclined to move to a better room (7)
{UPGRADE} – a double definition – a slope and a word meaning to move to a better room (or seat on an aircraft) could

3d    As performed by Carol and Morris? (4,3,5,3)
{SONG AND DANCE ACT} – a cryptic definition of a theatrical performance combining two disciplines

4d    Emit sour, contaminated liquid (8)
{MOISTURE} – an anagram (contaminated) of EMIT SOUR gives liquid diffused in a small quantity

5d    Peer into two yards at regular intervals (6)
{YEARLY} – sandwich a peer of the realm between Y(ard) and Y(ard) to get a word meaning at regular intervals

6d    Bill and family tucked into butcher’s sausage — what drama (4,4,2,5)
{LOOK BACK IN ANGER} – put a bill (2) and family (3) inside the word for which butcher’s is Cockney rhyming slang and a colloquial word for a sausage (particularly when served with mash) to get a seminal drama written by “angry young man” John Osborne

7d    Continuously successful, as documented? (2,1,4)
{ON A ROLL} – a phrase meaning continuously successful could mean documented or listed

8d    The fellow has a truck first brought up passage (7)
{TRACHEA} – put the third-person masculine pronoun (the fellow) inside A and a truck, both reversed to get a passage that carries air from the larynx to the bronchi

15d    Girl turning vehicle outside French station (8)
{MARGARET} – to get this girl’s name reverse (turning) a public service vehicle outside the French for station

16d    Small bags for excursions, we’re told (7)
{SACHETS} – these small bags used for liquids, cream, etc. sound like (we’re told) excursions

17d    Some art work for conductor (7)
{MAESTRO} – an anagram (work) of SOME ART gives an eminent conductor or composer

19d    Character opposed to wine (7)
{CHIANTI} – a charade of the twenty-second letter (Χ or χ) of the Greek alphabet and a word meaning opposed to gives a dry wine from Tuscany

20d    Chemist tears up letters (7)
{PASTEUR} – this famous French chemist is an anagram (letters) of TEARS UP

21d    Instruments one mariner brought on board (6)
{SITARS} – to get these long-necked Indian lutes put I (one) and a mariner inside Crosswordland’s ship

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

32 comments on “Toughie 551

  1. Very gentle start to the Toughie week favourite clue 6d thanks to Busman and Big Dave.

  2. Gently tough, but I enjoyed it more than the Cryptic, without being able to put my reason on why. Thanks to Busman and BD.

  3. Yes, a fairly soft Toughie. Just got back from (winning!!) a tennis match (6-love in the final set) so I can just about accept the construction of 18a. Solving the anagram at 1a (the middle 3 letters “jumped out”) got me off to a flying start. NE corner the last to be completed. Back on court this evening – thanks to the Driver and Conductor.

  4. Well, I’m a happy bunny! I actually finished a Toughie and I feel wonderful so thankyou, thankyou, thankyou Busman and Gazza, I read your blog and admit I got 2 wrong but I’m still happy

  5. A very gentle start to the toughie week but reasonably enjoyable. Thanks Busman and BD.

  6. I’m a bit surprised that no-one’s commented on the use of “up” as a reversal indicator in an across clue in 12a.

    1. I meant to – my brain switched off while writing the review. Probably because I was watching a recording of last night’s program about George Martin at the same time – much more interesting.

      1. It was a great programme wasn’t it? Never realised how many songs he had produced and can’t stop singing ‘Right said Fred, got to get a move on”! :D

  7. I almost never even try these but did today. Managed to do most of it so I think it must be on the easy side for a toughie! Failed completely on about seven clues but never mind. Also didn’t help myself by getting one wrong to begin with – I put “skinflint” in for 22a – well, one would be a tight fisted being – anyway getting 17d made me realise that was wrong. I really liked 3 and 6d.
    Thanks to Busman (for the crossword) and to Big Dave (for the very much needed hints and in a few cases answers too!)

  8. Another enjoyable Toughie. I guessed the author and then the play and then worked the anagrams to fit. The rest then fell into place. Some Toughies are easier if worked backwards like this.
    My only defeat was 18a. I’m glad Big Dave hated the clue.

  9. Thanks Busman and Big Dave,

    I did about 3/4 of this after my PinC did the NW corner and a couple of others and found it an enjoyable trip with a good variety of cluing and enough challenge to keep me thinking for a few minutes.

    1. I mean a good few minutes each on a number of the clues – I’m very humble about my slow solving ability!

  10. A straightforward and gentle Toughie. Thanks to Busman for the crossword and to BD for the review.

  11. I have enjoyed most of this, have been away and out of internet access for a few days. Really missed the blog and especially the hints. i did think though that 25a was a bit unfortunate, especially bearing in mind the threats in NI the moment.

    1. Anncantab

      Your new email address has meant that your avatar has disappeared. Logon to and add the new address.

  12. New e mail , does this make a difference ; i have lost the nice picture that my daughter put on for me from google pictures !

    1. Your avatar is linked to your email address. You can add the new address to your Gravatar account. Sounds like a job for your daughter!

  13. Couldn’t get 16dn and 22ac: I think the former because I’ve never heard or seen the answer used in the sense of an excursion (and I read a lot of books), but it is one of the dictionary definitions, and 22ac perhaps because it really isn’t cryptic.
    Thanks for the help.

    1. Hi Alan – welcome to the blog.
      In 16d it’s the sound-alike (sashays) that can mean excursions.

      1. Thanks for the welcome, Gazza.

        Sorry I wasn’ t clear – I should have referred to the homophone of the answer rather than the answer itself.

  14. just trying this out to see if I have the nice picture back now that I have changed the e mail address :BD, did it without help of daughter!

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