Toughie 711 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 711

Toughie No 711 by Busman

The wheels on the bus go round and round

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Busman returns to the Toughie fold after a nine-month absence with an excellent puzzle. I have complained in the past about some of his puzzles being too easy, but this one hits the right level for a Tuesday puzzle.

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    ‘Mad Proposal’ that might have been Spinning Around by Kylie (10)
{LOCOMOTION} – we start with a novel variation on an old theme – a charade of a four-letter word meaning crazy and a proposal put before a meeting gives the title of a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King and originally recorded by Little Eva, their babysitter, and later by Kylie Minogue

The real thing! The feeble imitation
ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider

6a    Powder mixed in 11 (4)
{TALC} – this powder is an anagram (mixed) of letters 2-5 in the answer to 11 down

9a    Marches, tied to sign (10)
{BOUNDARIES} – these marches or borders are a charade of a word meaning tied or fastened and a sign of the Zodiac

10a    Corresponding with dark Finns on a regular basis (4)
{AKIN} – a word meaning corresponding with comes from the even letters (on a regular basis) of two words in the clue

12a    Ringer cutting garment (6)
{DOUBLE} – a dead ringer is created by truncating (cutting) a close-fitting garment for the upper part of the body

13a    Birds roll about on board (8)
{SWALLOWS} – these birds are derived by putting a verb meaning to roll about like a hippopotamus inside the usual ship (on board)

15a    Race headlong to quirky Chelsea … (12)
{STEEPLECHASE} – this race, usually over a distance of 3,000 metres, is constructed from a word meaning headlong or precipitous followed by an anagram (quirky) of CHELSEA …

18a    … semi with bar (4-8)
{HALF-MARATHON} – … and this race is a charade of a word meaning semi followed by the old name for a Snickers chocolate bar

21a    No movement when solving’s impeded? (8)
{GRIDLOCK} – a situation in which no progress is possible could be (indicated by the question mark) what happens when stuck on the solving of some clues in a puzzle

22a    Lands to commit matricide (6)
{DOMAIN) – if these lands are split (2,2,2) the result could mean to kill one’s mother

24a    Tender rejected for London landmark (4)
{EROS} – reverse (rejected) an adjective meaning tender to get a landmark at Piccadilly Circus

25a    No movement for partnerships by pay-desk (10)
{STANDSTILL) – another lack of movement, like the answer to 21 across, is a charade of cricket partnerships and a pay-desk

26a    Cry out for the French to leave stacks (4)
{NEED} – to get a word meaning to cry out for drop the French plural definite article from what can’t be found in haystacks the stacks of rock found on the Isle of Wight

27a    Jazz musician composed Waterfalls (4,6)
{FATS WALLER} – this famous jazz musician, who Ain’t Misbehavin’, is an anagram (composed) of WATERFALLS

Quality … … and yet more quality!
ARVE Error: need id and provider
ARVE Error: need id and provider


1d    Between parties one gets the urge (6)
{LIBIDO} – put I (one) between a political party and a social one to get this sexual urge

2d    Small group with unfinished purpose infiltrated by copper (6)
{CAUCUS} – a small group within a larger organisation is created by starting with a purpose without its final letter (unfinished) and the inserting (infiltrated by) the chemical symbol for copper

3d    Inn MP suggests? (6,6)
{MIDDLE TEMPLE} – look at this this Inn of Court and it suggests where the letters MP are located

4d    Caustic hypocrite. Not half (4)
{TART} – an adjective meaning caustic is generated by dropping the second half of the religious hypocrite in the eponymous play by Molière – apparently the name of this character is used to describe any religious hypocrite – I saw Ranjit Bolt’s adaptation of the play at the Playhouse Theatre back in 1991 with John Sessions in the leading role

5d    Fraction following 30/11, it may seem (3,7)
{ONE TWELFTH} – take the date that follows 30/11 and describe it as a fraction – I wasted time trying to fit Dec I into the answer; something based on decimal looked a likely candidate for an answer!

7d    It was formerly in the fleet, a Ka rebuilt with lorry parts (3,5)
{ARK ROYAL} – the name given to many distinguished ships in the Navy is an anagram (rebuilt) of A KA with LORRY

8d    Containers not on order for another (8)
{CANISTER} – an anagram (order) of C(ON)TAINERS without the ON (not on) gives another container

11d    Unexpectedly cool at Cannes or here? (7-2-3)
{CLACTON-ON-SEA} – an anagram (unexpectedly) of COOL AT CANNES gives another resort – but one that is not in the same league as Cannes!

14d    Tea guzzling bishop with surplice, reddish-brown (10)
{TERRACOTTA} – put TEA around the title given to a bishop and add a short garment resembling a surplice, worn typically by Catholic priests and servers, to get a reddish-brown colour

16d    Granular leather that’s shabby, cut in two, and unseasoned (8)
{SHAGREEN} – this untanned leather with a rough granulated surface is often seen on antiques programs – take the front half of SHA(bby) and add a word meaning unseasoned or naive

17d    Headless bird is left on earth up at castle (8)
{ELSINORE} – reverse (up in a down clue) a bird without its initial H, IS from the clue, L(eft) and E(arth) to get the Danish castle used as the setting for William Shakespeare’s Hamlet

19d    Beauty treatment for calf with A1 make-up (6)
{FACIAL} – this beauty treatment is derived from an anagram (make-up) of CALF with AI

20d    Old womaniser — topless sportsman (6)
{ANGLER} – drop the initial D (topless) from an old word for a womaniser (or is that a word for an old womaniser!) to get someone who engages in the country’s most popular sport

23d    Duty yielded by dividend not introduced (4)
{ONUS} – a duty or responsibility is created by dropping the initial B (not introduced) from a dividend of the kind that is controversially paid to the bankers who lose the most money

I wasn’t expecting to but I really enjoyed this puzzle. My favourite clue, by quite a margin, was 3 down

31 comments on “Toughie 711

  1. Nice to see Busman back with a very enjoyable puzzle, favourites were 1d 3d 14d and 22a thanks to Busman and to Big Dave for the review.

  2. Found this very hard – but got there – phew. Some I got without fully understanding the ‘why’. Thank you Big Dave for the hints and tips. That really helped me confirm the ‘why’ and that what I’d done was working. This one was a bit of a fire breathing dragon for me – but very enjoyable to get the end!

  3. Thanks to Busman! This is my type of Toughie – one that I can almost finish unaided.

    Thanks to BD for providing the missing bits and pieces – 26a & 20d.

    “Gridlock” & “Standstill” – why doesn’t Busman use the Bus Lanes?

  4. A welcome return for Busman with an enjoyable crossword. Based on earlier crosswords, I thought this would be a gentle Toughie but he has obviously been taking steriods during his furlough! Many thanks to him for the challenge and to BD for the review.

  5. Thanks to Busman for the puzzle and to Big Dave for the review & hints. I’m pleased that it’s in the doable category for me, but I’m 8 answers short all on the left hand side. I’ll have to look at the hints soon unless I get t some inspiration :-)

    1. Phew! Finally finished, got another few, but had to use 4 & a half hints in the end. Most enjoyable puzzle. Hadn’t heard of 2 & 16d, so didn’t feel too bad not getting those.

    2. I also got stuck on the left hand side, but only needed help with 1, 16 and 17d in the end, so feel quite proud of myself. I did however need the hints to explain the why to some of my answers! I had all the right letters, and the word fitted ….

  6. Don’t think I’ve ever tackled a Busman puzzle before but I hope he returns soon. Very enjoyable I thought.

    Agree about 3d being the best but 5d runs it a close second IMHO – I went the same route as BD.

    Thanks to Busman and also to BD (for explaining where 4d comes from).

  7. I am probably opening a whole new can of worms but for me this was 1.5* Toughie territory (and my poor old overworked cryptic brain cells didn’t object to that at all :) ). Definitely 4* fun with 18a 22a 3d and 5d being particular favourites. Thanks to Busman and BD too.

    1. CS – I was surprised by the 3* difficulty rating from BD. Normally, if I can do “most” of the Toughie, all the experts complain about it not being up to standard for a Toughie.

      3d & 5d – Excellent!

        1. I agree the RH was easier than the left but my handwriting is as neat throughout which is usually a sign of straightforwarness. However, I do think it belonged in the middle of the paper rather than the back page but don’t ask me to explain why now as it is time to go home and I can’t really remember why I thought so at 8.30 this morning either :)

          1. I agree with Crypticsue re the difficulty, because I normally can’t do a 3* Toughie at all, but felt that this was doable. I like Dave’s explanation ( fudge) to make it 3* overall :-) :-)

  8. This is the first time I’ve felt the need to chip in to these comments, though I’ve been reading the blog for a while, and I did meet some of you at the Liverpool Street gathering last year. Many thanks to all the bloggers.

    My comment is on 26a. I think the ‘stacks’ in the clue are made of rock rather than hay: see the Wiki entry for the distinctive formation at the west end of the Isle of Wight.

    1. Welcome to the blog Deep Threat

      I remember meeting you – I think there’s a picture of you on the blog’s facebook page, but I won’t tell anyone which one!

      That hadn’t occured to me, and I think you are right.

  9. Having nothing better to do at the moment, as pommette’s out shopping and she hasn’t left me a list of jobs to do, I pulled an old Busman (Toughie 405) out of the archive. Good fun again but I now understand BD’s comment in his introduction and Prolixic at #4. Apart from 10a it wouldn’t be out of place on the back page.

  10. An observation from a paper reader:-

    1a has Spinning Around in italics. Also, 27a has Waterfalls italicised!

    1. Even after months of work, the online site still doesn’t seem to be able to cope with italics – anyone would think it was leading-edge rocket science

          1. Just wish that the DT could always publish the Crossword in its original form in both formats. As you say above – NOT “rocket science”!

  11. Went badly wrong on 12a. A garment cutter is a tailor and a “tailor” is the bell that is rung to denote a death. ” Nine tailors make a man”. That’s what comes of reading Dorothy L Sayers!

  12. Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle from Busman. :D As with others I got hung up with Dec 1 for 5d. Fav clues 22 & 25a. last in 26a. needed BD’s hints to see why. Hope we have many more from Busman.

  13. I was disappointed last evening to find out that today’s setter was to be Busman, but I was wrong because this turned out to be a very good Toughie. Let’s hope it’s going to be a fine Toughie week – the signs look very good for tomorrow (Micawber).

  14. Thanks for the blog. I ‘got’ 5d without being able to see the reasoning. Ditto 4d,it would have helped if you had actually named the character TARTUFFE for philistines like myself, I wouldn’t have had to google for characters in Moliere’s plays. I just couldn’t get or guess 26a. Otherwise very enjoyable. Liked 15a and 16a. From obersavation it seems that the number of posts is inversely proportional to the Toughie difficulty.

    1. If you had hovered over the picture you would have found the answer!

      I try to avoid putting part or all of the answer in the hint unless it is actually in the clue, but you can always ask in the comments.

Comments are closed.