Toughie 1399 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1399

Toughie No 1399 by Kcit

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

This was a typical Kcit puzzle. It was enjoyable enough to solve but it was fairly straightforward and there was nothing in the wordplay to cause any head-scratching

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    Trip with many stops, taking in different kinds of fare? (7,7)
BUSMAN’S HOLIDAY: This term for a holiday spent in activities similar to one’s work is named after a worker who makes many stops and collects fares from passengers

9a    Proportionately based voting system? Men answer with cheers (3,4)
PRO RATA: An abbreviation for a voting system + men (who are not commissioned) + A (answer) + ‘Cheers!’

10a    Offered to host outrageous dance (7)
GAVOTTED: ‘Offered’ goes round the abbreviation for a term meaning ‘outrageous’ or ‘excessive’

11a    Likes / a place to stay (4)
DIGS: 2 meanings: likes (approves of)/lodgings

12a    A very great and creative description of modern art (5-5)
AVANT-GARDE: A + V (very) + an anagram (creative) of GREAT AND

14a    Left just holding end of rope, abandoned (6)
LONELY: L (left) + ‘just (barely)’ round E (last letter of rope)

15a    Confusion with study restricting entry to harbour and end of jetty (8)
PIERHEAD: Confusion + ‘to study’ round H (first letter of harbour)

17a    Fuel, clean, with poisonous gas entirely cut (8)
CHARCOAL: ‘To clean’ + the chemical formula of a poisonous gas + ‘entirely’ with the last letter removed

18a    Get money from the old woman, expressing new evidence of nastiness? (6)
STIGMA: Remove N (new) from ‘to get money through deception’ + old woman (mother)

21a    Actor with basic manoeuvres — nothing like these! (10)
ACROBATICS: An anagram (manoeuvres) of ACTOR BASIC gives manoeuvres that are far from basic

22a    High-minded type rejected gifts heartlessly (4)
SNOB: A reversal (rejected) of gifts with the middle letter omitted

24a    Splendid article about a Spanish city (7)
GRANADA: ‘Splendid’ and A (article) round A

25a    Passage cut right through bar (7)
EXCERPT: A passage from a book, etc. = R (right) inside ‘bar’ or ‘but for’

26a    Historic documents found in local addresses after mistake (4,3,7)
DEAD SEA SCROLLS: An anagram (after mistake) of LOCAL ADDRESSES


1d    Like human or ape build, not universal, unfortunately (7)
BIPEDAL: An anagram (unfortunately) of APE BILD, i.e. APE BUILD less U (universal)

2d    Mother’s arguing sadly about a daughter’s misfortune? (7,8)
SHOTGUN MARRIAGE: An anagram (sadly) of MOTHER’S ARGUING round A

3d    Athletic’s modus operandi, playing at United? (4)
AWAY: A (Athletic) + ‘modus operandi’ = ‘not playing at home’

4d    Fail to take in location of bars around centre of Perth (6)
STARVE: ‘Fail to take in food’ = a set of lines and spaces on which music (bars) is written round R (middle letter of Perth)

5d    Newspaper to stop producing fine material (8)
ORGANDIE: A newspaper + ‘to stop’

6d    Perk up and ask about river in Indian territory (10)
INVIGORATE: ‘To ask (to come)’ round R (river) inside part of India that was once a Portuguese overseas territory

7d    Senior lawyer swayed by a longer entreaty? (8-7)

8d    Famous person guided round dirt (6)
LEGEND: ‘Guided’ round dirt (low-down)

13d    Support governors adopting lecturer’s teaching aid (10)
BLACKBOARD: ‘to support’ and governors round L (lecturer). Cryptic Sue will be disappointed that support ≠ bra

16d    Ancient city: a bit of history in horse-drawn era? (8)
CARTHAGE: H (first letter of history) inside a term (4,3) that might refer to a horse-drawn era

17d    Redesign / coins (6)
CHANGE: 2 meanings: redesign/coins

19d    A historic murderer runs up tree (7)
ARBUTUS: A + a conspirator against Caesar with the letter R (right) moved to the front

20d    Approach some good shots, repeating a couple of components (6)
ACCESS: Take some winning serves at tennis and double up two of the letters

23d    Cliff foot destroyed in panic (4)
SCAR: Remove the last letter from ‘panic’

I’ve now recovered from Tuesday (apart from still being in shock at the price of a pint)

18 comments on “Toughie 1399

  1. Gentle offering today, favourite 19d thanks to Kcit and Bufo for the comments.

  2. Managed to finish it in time for the review.
    5d held me up as I was trying to put Organza and wasn’t happy with Pie being a confusion in 15a. But the answers had to be what they are.
    Liked 19d and the dance in 10a.
    Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Most of it went together without too much of a fight and then the last three took much longer to work out. These were 3d, 8d and 15a and they did all yield eventually. Nice puzzle and a good level of difficulty for us.
    Thanks Kcit and Bufo.
    Ps, we enjoyed chatting with you on Tuesday Bufo and can now read your reviews using the correct accent. Cheers.

  4. I enjoyed this, though it took me longer than it should have to sort out 26A. I have never heard of ‘pie’ being confusion. Please, what does PR for voting system stand for? Favorite was 17A. Thanks Kcit an Bufo.

  5. sweet puzzle today, pleased to complete. Hearts went to 10a, 17a, 18a and 19d
    thanks to compiler and last nights rescuer, didn’t need bufo help today

  6. Enjoyed solving this with a nice level of difficulty and some interesting wordplay (“expressing new” in 18a, “after mistake” in 26a). I really liked 4d (fail to take in..), 6d (perk up…), 21a (actor with basic…), 17a (fuel… though I had misparsed the poisonous gas!)

    but also a few places where i wasn’t quite sure.. Just one novice’s point of view of course but here we go:
    12a “creative” as an adjectival anagram indicator looks a little odd coming after the fodder instead of before, cryptically you’d expect to read “creatively”? This is something that still puzzles me.
    7d swayed “by”, I was thinking that the anagram indicator only works without the “by”?
    9a, pity the first word is almost the same as the first word abbreviated in the voting system…
    13d, this has A + B around C, where C then goes into A, evidently this is ok read as (A + B) around C, but to me it jarred a little

    1a, sounded like a clue for the busman’s work rather than his holiday, and 3d, United could be “away”, but why would it be? 23d I am missing the surface somehow

    Many thanks Kcit for the puzzle and thanks Bufo for the write up

    1. Re 3D, Athletic is short for Charlton Athletic. If the team was playing at United, they’d be playing away.

      1. ah! thanks – A for Athletic is in Chambers but I totally missed the association with any particular club. Very impressive for an expat! I don’t see how I could ever have guessed that.

        1. There is a choice of three in England – Charlton, Oldham and Wigan

          Scotland has three more – Alloa, Forfar and Annan.

  7. As Bufo said, nothing to scare the horses. Fairly straightforward but enjoyable nonetheless with some solid clue construction. Several clues were in the running but I’ll go for 19d as my favourite. Mind you, I was surprised to see the old fashioned way of describing the teachers aid in 13d – haven’t heard the term used for some years thanks to the PC brigade.

    Thanks to Kcit for the puzzle and Bufo for the review. I don’t think I managed to meet you on Tuesday – sorry, but I agree with you about the price of a pint. Even Twickenham’s cheaper on a match day!

  8. I got off to a flying start with this, long anagrams helping. Then I ground to a very scary halt. 2d and 19d would not yield. 18a was a guess, couldn’t parse 23d and 15a had to checked, twice.

    Much to enjoy and plenty to learn.

    Many thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for blogging, I appreciated the help.

    The sun is out on the N.York moors. It’s very bizarre.

  9. Like Hanni, the long anagrams got me started, but then quickly came to a halt.

    I think there is a typo in the answer given for 10A) where an extra letter (D) has crept in at the end.

    Many thanks to Bufo for the invaluable assistance in deciphering the many clues I couldn’t!

    1. Hello Gazza, we think that we might give Osmosis a miss tomorrow….far too tricky for us, but we are looking forward to The Don’s puzzle on the back page.

  10. We struggled, huffed and puffed, but got there in the end. Then we realised that we had forgotten to ink in 3d!
    Enjoyable though.

    Thanks to Kcit and Bufo…***/*** in this neck of the woods.

  11. Didn’t get round to this last night. Finished in a whisker over 2* time this morning over coffee, but can’t say l enjoyed it much. 2.5*/2*, and no real favourite clue. Thanks to Kcit and Bufo for their efforts.

  12. Thanks to Kcit and to Bufo for the review and hints. I managed this a lot better than the last puzzle by Kcit. Still needed 6 hints to finish, but felt I made some progress. Was 4*/3* for me.

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