Toughie 952 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 952

Toughie No 952 by Busman

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

It’s about 2½ years since I last blogged a Busman toughie but I could still remember that Busman toughies are normally pleasant enough to do but not overly difficult. Nothing has changed. This is the grid that is effectively four mini-puzzles connected at the centre. There’s always a danger with this grid that one of the corners might prove intractable but that didn’t happen here. I did the top two corners with ease but then had to think a little bit harder about the bottom two.

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    Smith’s girl deviously dumping lecturer’s wrong? Not her (4,5)
{MISS RIGHT} An anagram (deviously) of SMITH’S GIRL with the letter L (lecturer) removed (dumped)

9a    Fabric problem’s nothing, on independent reflection (6)
{MUSLIN} A problem (3) and nothing (3) are reversed (reflected) independently

10a    His Excellency says more about victory blows (9)
{HEADWINDS} HE (His Excellency) + ‘says more’ about victory

11a    Seaman accepts novel with love and with open arms (6)
{AKIMBO} An abbreviation denoting a seaman goes round the title of a Rudyard Kipling novel. This is followed by O (love)

12a    Vehicle giving way to another (9)
{STREETCAR} A way (road) + a vehicle = a North American tram

13a    Mix us some dessert (6)
{MOUSSE} An anagram (mix) of US SOME

17a & 21a    Poultry farmer / who took part in court action? (3,3)
{HEN MAN} 2 meanings: a poultry farmer/a tennis player

19a    Poison yielding awful reaction. It’s not right (7)
{ACONITE} An anagram (awful) of REACTION with the letter R (right) removed

20a    Harsh wind before end of cruise (7)
{AUSTERE} The south wind + the last letter of cruisE

21a    See 17 Across

23a    Aunt attacked in the French crescent? (6)
{LUNATE} An anagram (attacked) of AUNT inside a French word for ‘the’ = crescent-shaped

27a    Persian prophet is cross on a very hot day (9)
{ZOROASTER} A Persian prophet who founded a religion = a kind of hybrid domestic cattle found in the Himalayas (a cross) (2) + a very hot day (7)

28a    Conveyance / that will distract at the Gabba (6)
{SLEDGE} 2 meanings: a conveyance with runners/an offensive remark seeking to upset a batsman’s concentration (The Gabba is the cricket ground in Brisbane)

29a    One trims half of street in time off work (4,5)
{SICK LEAVE} A tool for trimming (or cutting crops) + the first half of a street

30a    We could have fifty animals with these in (6)
{LLAMAS} Sorting out the wordplay here required a bit of thought. An anagram of L (fifty) ANIMALS gives the answer (animals) + IN

31a    Enlightening guide to landing in narrow semi round back (5,4)
{FLARE PATH} A reversal (back) of ‘to narrow’ inside ‘semi’ gives something lit up to enable an aircraft to land or take off when natural visibility is insufficient


2d    Conceptualise one meeting involving leader of executives (6)
{IDEATE} I (one) + a meeting (appointment) round the first letter of executives

3d    Could be Sir Philip Denis out with Yorkshire opener (6)
{SIDNEY} The surname of Sir Philip (an Elizabethan poet, courtier and soldier) is an anagram (out) of DENIS + the first letter (opener) of Yorkshire

4d    Poor do. Is it they who are responsible? (6)
{IDIOTS} An anagram (poor) of DO IS IT. The whole clue provides the definition

5d    The Yard’s tipsy soak (7)
{HYDRATE} An anagram (tipsy) of THE YARD

6d    Palace casually giving foreign money audience (4,5)
{BUCK HOUSE} An informal name for a London palace = US money + audience

7d    Worn-out tutor’s painting (3,6)
{OLD MASTER} ‘Worn-out’ + tutor

8d    Thwarted Derek turning up, having cropped scarf on top (9)
{SNOOKERED} A reversal of DEREK follows a tubular neck scarf with the last letter removed (cropped)

14d    Seasoning the bill — pound on slate, possibly (5,4)
{TABLE SALT} The bill + L (pound) + an anagram (possibly) of SLATE

15d    Not where grub alone is served (6,3)

16d    Graph showing frequency of the chap’s girl mounting (9)
{HISTOGRAM} ‘The chap’s’ + a reversal of a girl’s name (e.g. Ms Fonteyn)

17d    The Mendips’ edge (3)
{HEM} Hidden in The Mendips

18d    Some banana bread (3)
{NAN} Hidden in banana

22d    Rarely mixing, also involved with CIA internally (7)
{ASOCIAL} An anagram (involved) of ALSO goes round CIA

24d    Stevedore seen in cutter? (6)
{DOCKER} A stevedore might also be someone who cuts something short

25d    Inattentive when PM rises (6)
{ASLEEP} ‘When’ + a reversal of the surname of a 19th century prime minister

26d    Monkey showing energy on tree-top (6)
{VERVET} Energy + the first letter of tree

Will there ever be a genuine toughie on a Thursday?


10 comments on “Toughie 952

  1. I was held up far too long with the SE corner which just nudged me into 3* difficulty. Thanks to Busman and Bufo – in answer to your question at the end ‘ I do hope so!’

  2. Too many anagrams for my personal taste. Not really a toughie in my opinion. Thanks to Busman and to Bufo for the review.

  3. A rare visit from todays setter, a tad on the gentle side but enjoyable. Favourites for me were 28a 29a and 31a thanks to Busman and to Bufo for the comments.

  4. As you say upper half I found relatively straightforward but more challenging for me in the lower half to some degree self inflicted by an incorrect answer in the SW which had to be rectified .
    Faves 11a,28a,29a and 30a .
    Thanks very much .

  5. Busman appears to have signed his work (row 9). I’m not sure if he always does it or this is the first time I’ve spotted it.
    Thanks to him and Bufo for the review.

  6. My first puzzle by this setter, whilst enjoyable, a few too many anagrams for my personal taste. Loved the tennis player! Must admit found the cryptic more tricky today. Many thanks to setter and Bufo.

  7. Don’t remember having tackled a Busman Toughie before, but looking back through the record see there was one of his just before last Christmas, so maybe we have. Found it really enjoyable. Failed to see the setter’s name because we had pictogram for 16d, planning to re-look at it, then forgot to do so. Bother!
    Thanks for all the fun Busman and Bufo for the review.

  8. Seemed a bit easy for a toughie, more like a back pager, but I got there without hints.

  9. Thanks to your comments I have cut it out to do on holiday in June. Wish I had more time.

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