Toughie 795 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 795

Toughie No 795 by Busman

A Capital Puzzle

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

While not the hardest of puzzles, this is much better than the early Busman puzzles in the Toughie series and I enjoyed solving it. The handful of trickier answers are well clued.

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1a    A cold flagstone cracked in summer residence (6,8)
{CASTEL GANDOLFO} – an anagram (cracked) of A COLD FLAGSTONE gives the Pope’s summer residence

9a    Course it’s Algernon’s aunt! (7)
{AUGUSTA} – a double definition – the golf course that hosts the US Masters tournament and Algernon’s aunt in The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde

10a    Mark returns everything on 1/12 (7)
{CEDILLA} – this diacritical mark, which is placed below the letter c to indicate that it is pronounced as an s, is derived by reversing a three-letter word meaning everything, and the date represented by 1/12

11a    Number? About twelve (4)
{NOON} – the two-letter abbreviation for number is followed by a word meaning about to get twelve midday

12a    State capital’s poor supply of candy (6,4)
{LITTLE ROCK} – the state capital of Arkansas suggests a poor supply of candy

14a    All the letters are devastating (6)
{LETHAL} – an anagram (letters) of ALL THE gives an adjective meaning devastating

15a    Preface to comment on past health? (4,4)
{WELL THEN} – a phrase that may preface a comment is also a statement about past health

17a    Top dressing? (8)
{OVERCOAT} – a gently cryptic definition of an item of clothing

18a    Cutter’s suit (6)
{SWORDS} – a double definition – a weapon that cuts and a suit in the tarot pack

20a    One out walking in the buff — lover of last night? (10)
{PROMENADER} – this person who is out walking is also a buff (fan) who is a lover of the last night of the concerts at the Albert Hall

21a    Leading drummer tailed (4)
{STAR} – to get this adjective meaning leading drop the final letter (tailed) from the surname of the drummer with the Beatles

23a    Capital! Top flier going tail first (7)
{NAIROBI} – to get the capital of Kenya start with a two-letter adjective meaning top and a flier (bird) and then move the final letter to the beginning (going tail first)

24a    Penguin’s nemesis embracing ordinary rower (7)
{BOATMAN} – Put the nemesis of the cartoon character The Penguin around (embracing) O(rdinary) to get this rower

25a    They know their place, we hear (14)
{ICHTHYOLOGISTS} – these experts should know all about the fish that sounds like (we hear) place


1d    Zapping on a booze cruise? (7-7)
{CHANNEL-HOPPING} – this verb meaning zapping the TV remote control could also refer to being on a booze cruise

2d    The French discretely invested in bullion libraries — any one of four, or 21 (4,2,3,6)
{SIGN OF THE ZODIAC} – if the French feminine definite article were to be inserted (invested) into bullion libraries the result would be bull, lion, libra, aries and any one of these four define the answer, as could the answer to 21 across (although I would have thought that it was a group of 21 acrosses)

3d    Card player, West, losing first holding ace (4)
{EAST} – this card player is derived by taking (W)EST, dropping its initial letter (losing first) and inserting (holding) A(ce)

4d    Bars cut crust (6)
{GRATIN} – start with some bars, drop (cut) the final G and the result is a golden brown crust of buttered breadcrumbs and/or cheese

5d    Fastidiousness having links with NHS body (8)
{NICETIES} – this fastidiousness is constructed from some links preceded by the body within the NHS that provides advice on the use of medicines, surgical procedures, etc.

6d    Eccentrics, as club members (10)
{ODDFELLOWS} – what could be, if split as (3,7), eccentrics are actually members of a secret benevolent society

7d    Eagerly begin novel and suffer (4,2,4,5)
{FALL ON HARD TIMES} – combine a phrasal verb meaning to begin eagerly and add a novel by Charles Dickens to get a phrase meaning to suffer

8d    Prepare for a swimming holiday? (4,4,6)
{PACK ONE’S TRUNKS} – this cryptic definition of to prepare for a holiday suggests that swimwear is to be included

13d    Traps Burmese possibly taking naughty touches (7,3)
{CATCHES OUT} – a phrasal verb meaning traps is derived from the domestic pet of which a Burmese is an example followed by an anagram (naughty) of TOUCHES

16d    Discernment of Troy? (8)
{SAGACITY} – if this discernment or wisdom is split (4,4) it could describe Troy

19d    Book in which cure includes tips of rue and burdock (6)
{HERBAL} – this book containing descriptions of plants with medicinal properties, the most famous of which was written by Culpeper, is created by putting a verb meaning to cure or make well around the initial letters (tips) of Rue and Burdock

22d    Bikini bottom dropped — smack! (4)
{TANG} – drop the final A (bottom in a down clue) from a brief string-like bikini to get a smack or taste

Some really good stuff in this puzzle – more like this please Busman.

15 comments on “Toughie 795

  1. Very enjoyable even if only 2* tough for me. I was delighted to immediately remember the residence in 1a even if I did have my o’s and a’s slightly wrong in the second word to start with. Particular favourites were the lovely 25a and 1d. Thanks to Busman and BD too.

  2. Really enjoyed this one, some very clever cluing involved, favourites were 5d 15a 16d and 25a thanks to Busman and to Big Dave for the comments. Dave your missing an L in 1a.

  3. Well I ventured into this because of spare time and my fellow bloggers saying it wasn’t too bad on the regular puzzle. All I can say is I wouldn’t want a hard one. Got off to a flying start on 1a and then ground to a halt. Will go through the answers to try and learn but obviously I’m not ready for these yet. I even bought a paper which I’d already read on iPad just to have a go. Oh well…

    1. Wozza that’s how I started, and for that matter with the back page too, the ones you cant see, first check the blog to see if the explanation helps, if not, just ask, there are so many great people here to assist. I totally missed the Tarot suit in 18a

      1. … and I didn’t know anything about 18a – which is why I put “spades” – oh dear. Though that a spade could be described as something that cut – perhaps through earth, weeds etc.

  4. This was good fun and completed without recourse to hints, electronic help for 25a all because I couldn’t see the ‘i’ in place. Oh hum…………….liked 1a/d

  5. Pouring with rain so I had time to have a go. I managed a few and realised that I wasn’t going to get much further without an answer for 1a – could see it was an anagram but I really didn’t have a clue so I read the hint (and looked at the answer). That was all I needed to finish it apart from 18a – started off with “spades” for that which really didn’t help at all with 6 or 7d. Decided that it really wasn’t spades and all was well. I did need the hints to explain a couple – 9a and 2d.
    I enjoyed this and thought there were some really good clues – 15 and 25a and 1, 5, 7 8 and 22d.
    With thanks to Busman and BD for explaining the bits which were far too clever for me!
    21a reminds me of John Lennon being asked if Ringo was the best drummer in the world. His reply was “He’s not even the best drummer in the Beatles”!!

  6. I’m with Wozza on this one! Apart from 1 and 12A, and 19D completely incomprehensible; but I’ll be back to have another go tomorrow!

  7. Thanks to Busman & Big Dave. Found this very difficult, could only get 10 answers. Looked up the rest, seemed very obscure to me.

  8. Thanks to Busman! Very difficult for me today but also very enjoyable. Pleased, that I continued with the struggle to the bitter end. (Al fresco for once this “summer?)

    I have never been able to spell ICHTHYOLOGISTS – and maybe I never will again!

  9. apart from 18a most went in ok, and am with CSue got my vowels in a mess with 1a. 1D fave. Thanks to Busman and BD

  10. Hmm. 25a. Find a homophonne of a word and then find a word for that word. A clue to a clue? Ximenes wept. Sorry Busman but a step to far for me.

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