Toughie 1092 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1092

Toughie No 1092 by Busman

An easy ride

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Gazza for covering for me last week. I swear that I didn’t know it was to be an Excalibur puzzle when I declared my unavailability. I raced through today’s Busman puzzle apart from stalling briefly in the NW corner. I don’t know why I stalled because everything was fairly straightforward except for 1 across.

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    List in which female belfry resident precedes some dead armadillo (6,8)
{HEBREW CALENDAR} Where you will find the month of SHEBAT (she bat = female belfry resident) immediately preceding the month of ADAR (hidden in deAD ARmadillo). A different kind of clue

9a    Usher contracted former West Indian fast bowler (7)
{MARSHAL} Remove the last letter from the surname of Malcolm, a former West Indian fast bowler

10a    Stay / solid (7)
{STAUNCH} 2 meanings: to staunch/solid (firm in principle)

11a    Small university publisher and developer (4)
{SOUP} S (small) + a publisher based in a University city = an informal term for a photographic developer

12a    Way sportsmen will get free entertainment, we hear (4,6)
{SIDE STREET} A minor thoroughfare (way) = teams of sportsmen + a homophone (we hear) of free entertainment

14a    Hyped up, having told Republican to go away (6)
{ELATED} Remove R (Republican) from the start of a word meaning ‘told’

15a    Driver and drug-smuggler on the level, we’re told (8)
{MULETEER} Someone who drives a particular type of animal = a drug smuggler + a homophone (we’re told) of a level

17a    Film star‘s beginning to dance 10 yards off (5,3)
{DORIS DAY} An American film actress (still alive at the age of 89) = D (first letter of dance) + an anagram (off) of IO (ten) YARDS

18a    Tony involved with Egypt’s borders? Up to now, no! (3,3)
{NOT YET} An anagram (involved) of TONY ET (first and last letters of Egypt)

20a    State has to work without leaders — that’s enough to make you mad (10)
{EXASPERATE} Remove the first letters from a large American state (5) and ‘to work’ (7)

21a    Parisian clergyman‘s healing powers? (4)
{CURE} 2 meanings: a parish priest in France/something that heals

23a    Vessel perfectly captures posh Britain (7)
{TUGBOAT} A vessel that tows = perfectly (2,1,1) round U (posh) and Great Britain

24a    Gorad, cryptically, or Pluvius (4,3)
{RAIN GOD} Gorad = GO(RA)D which provides a cryptic indication of the answer

25a    Our punishment they transmit from on high (9,5)
{TELEGRAPH LINES} The ‘our’ refers to the newspaper in which this crossword appears. The second part of the answer is a school punishment


1d    New MP had seat with PM somewhere in north London (9,5)
{HAMPSTEAD HEATH} An anagram (new) of MP HAD SEAT + the surname of a former Conservative prime minister

2d    Kind of shorts covering figure’s expanse in Caribbean (7,8)
{BERMUDA TRIANGLE} A variety of shorts reaching almost to the knee + a figure with three sides

3d    City house getting call back (4)
{ECHO} The postcode for the City of London + an abbreviation for house

4d    Dog tailed miner (6)
{COLLIE} Remove the last letter from a coal-miner

5d    Pay attention and ‘elp units out (6,2)
{LISTEN UP} An anagram (out) of ELP UNITS

6d    Felled tree on path just below the summit (4,3,3)
{NEAR THE TOP} An anagram (felled) of TREE ON PATH

7d    A musical call to arms (5,3,4,3)
{ANNIE GET YOUR GUN} The title of this Irving Berlin musical requests that a young lady arms herself

8d    I know the 2, 4, 6 but how likely is that? (4,3,3,4)
{WHAT ARE THE ODDS?) I know the evens (2, 4, 6) but **** *** *** ****?

13d    Infernal woman, by herself on the blower (10)
{PERSEPHONE} The queen of the underworld in Greek mythology = a Latin phrase meaning ‘by herself’ (3,2) + the blower

16d    Rubbish, island being sent up by poet’s First Voice? (8)
{NARRATOR} A reversal (sent up) of rubbish and the largest island in the Firth of Clyde

19d    Incite mad purist (4,2)
{STIR UP} An anagram (mad) of PURIST

22d    She‘s from the centre of Youghal, Eire (4)
{GIRL} The middle letter of YouGhal + the IVR for Eire (Ireland)

An easy ride as is usual from Busman.

26 comments on “Toughie 1092

  1. Having solved this in the same time as the inside back adverter, this crossword only crept into 2* toughie difficulty for me because I couldn’t parse 1a – I couldn’t get past a female belfry resident being me as I am the last resident ringer of our parish.

    Thanks to Bufo and to Busman – not a a Toughie at all but enjoyable all the same.

    Note to the lady who sets the Saturday GK puzzle – please extend the range of 1a months in your puzzles so that I can learn them all.

    1. Tishrey,cheshvan, Kislev, Tevet, Shevat,Adar, Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tamuz, Av, Elul.(Or were you joking?).

  2. Ditto Re 1a, other than that pretty straightforward, favourites were 8d 23a and 24a thanks to Busman and to Bufo for explaining 1a.

  3. An enjoyable crossword but certainly not a toughie, I found the “back pager” slightly more difficult. Thanks to Busman and Bufo.

  4. 1A defeated me. I should have got 3D, but didn’t: I always forget about the post codes, even though they often appear. I didn’t understand the “our” reference in 25A although the answer was obvious. Oherwise OK. Liked 20A. Thanks to the setter and to Bufo. Now to get on with my contribution to this year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

  5. Ditto 1ac , for me I kept thinking of Esmerelda and the bells-the bells, otherwise fairly straightforward. Thanks to Busman and Bufo

  6. Is the island referred to in 2d strictly in the Caribbean? Writing as someone who has done business in the region for a number of years it is not usually included as part of the make-up of the Caribbean but as more of an adjacent territory. I have a large map of the region on my office wall and the most northern islands are Bahamas while in the south it is Trinidad & Tobago.

    Just being picky as the puzzle itself was most enjoyable.

    1. I bow to your superior knowledge over the island, but the area referred to by the two words of the clue, to which all sorts of mysterious events are attributed, does cover the Caribbean, surely?

      1. The Devil’s Triangle stretches from Miami to Bermuda then south to Puerto Rico so, yes, it covers a small part of the Caribbean with Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and part of the Dominican Republic being included.

  7. Thanks to Busman and to Bufo for the review and hints. Thanks also to crypticSue for recommending this one. I have struggled this week with the Toughies, so it was nice to have an easier one to get to grips with. Having said that, I still needed 4 hints to finish, and had to look up three of them. With 22d I was looking for a hidden word, 16d I’ve been walking on that island, but couldn’t sort out the wordplay. 15a I’d never heard of and 11a I’d only vaguely heard of soup as a developer, is op the publisher? I don’t understand the hint. Favourite was 13d, which made me laugh. Last in was 8d. Very entertaining, was 2*/4* for me.

  8. As others have said, a gentle puzzle apart from 1a. Thanks to Busman, and to Bufo for the explanations.

  9. I found this easier than the back page today although must confess I didn’t completely understand 1a until I read the excellent explanation above – many thanks.

  10. Totally stumped by the parsing of 1a, despite having the correct answer as the only possible match for the checkers. More knowledge to be filed away for the future. The rest all went in OK. Good fun.
    Thanks Busman and Bufo.

  11. I didn’t think it was quite as straightforward as everyone else does.
    I would never have got 1a. I read the hint – I read the hint again – I looked at the answer and then I read the hint a couple more times before I finally got it.
    I’ve never heard of 11a as photographic developer. 17a is the kind of clue that makes me freak out when I first look but is then OK.
    I enjoyed this a lot.
    Loads of really good clues but my favourites (yes, just for once I’m allowing myself two) have to be 4 and 7d. Our 4d is called the first word of 7d.
    With thanks to Busman and bufo.
    Think that I might lie low on the Toughie front tomorrow . . .

    1. How is the poor old thing ? Our Honey was attacked yesterday by an unleashed black lab, and she has horrible bruises around her eye.But our vet is more concerned about the 24 hour holiday she took recently.Although she is now five, it really seems as if either she has no sex appeal or, more likely, all the male dogs in the neighbourhood have been seen to.Anyway , the vet will be seeing to her soon, it seems.

  12. Not at all convinced by 1a. The female belfry resident is fair enough but the bit of deceased armadillo is pretty putrid. There’s a Japanese car in the answer which might have been put to better use.
    At least 20a raised a chuckle.

    Thanks to Busman and Bufo.

  13. First time for me and I too needed help with 1a but the rest wasn’t too bad – not a typical Toughie methinks!

    Note to self: brush up on the Jewish Calendar!

  14. I found this slightly easier than the penultimate page one, but needed some explanations from Bufo as to why my answers were correct.

  15. A lovely puzzle, although I didn’t even think of the answer to1a, since “shebat ” is written and pronounced shevat, usually. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. Thanks to Bufo for his/her help and to Busman.

    1. Bufo is for sure a male, and I am in the group that needs to brush up on that Calendar, the two months that I remember were of no use today. Did enjoy it though, cheers Busman and Bufo

  16. Sorry but thought 1a with such a weak definition and gibberish clue spoilt a puzzle that
    I generally enjoyed .
    D’anq Bufo and Busman .

  17. Angry at Bermuda Triangle because, although the answer was easy, it’s in the Atlantic Ocean, not the Caribbean. Thought 22a was a poor clue, but loved 7d, 8d and, especially, 15a. I only got 1a because of the letters I had, and thanks for the explanation – although I had the answer, I had no idea why. I do now. Thanks to Bufo and Busman … and all of you; I always enjoy reading your comments

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