Toughie 1479

Toughie No 1479 by Busman

Is the blog really necessary today?

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BD Rating – Difficulty ½*Enjoyment *

I like a Toughie that gives the brain a good work out during the time it takes me to consume at least one (and preferably more than one) cup of coffee. But today I’d finished the Toughie almost before the kettle had finished boiling. I thought it was absurdly easy even for a Thursday Toughie and even for a Busman Thursday Toughie. I entered two-thirds of the answers on the first run through of the clues and the other third immediately afterwards. I have taken the unusual step of giving it only half a star for difficulty and I doubt that it really deserves that. Also I can’t find any enjoyment or satisfaction in completing a puzzle so quickly. I can’t imagine that anyone will need the blog today.

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    Where switch is placed? That’s immaterial (6,3,5)
BESIDE THE POINT: Where the switch for an electric socket is found

9a    Unsuccessful competitor’s situation, perhaps way to go ahead is barred (2,5)
NO ENTRY: It seems as though this unsuccessful competitor didn’t even get a chance to compete

10a    Article savaged performance (7)
RECITAL: An anagram (savaged) of RECITAL

11a    Divine female in family returning east (4)
NIKE: The Greek goddess of victory = a reversal of ‘family’ + E (east)

12a    They’re on the hoof, lucky things (10)
HORSESHOES: Objects supposed to bring good luck can be found on the hooves of equines

14a    One can be a miss or a hit (6)
SINGLE: 2 meanings: someone who’s unmarried (e.g. a miss)/a recording that could be a hit

15a    Both parents holding girl in view (8)
PANORAMA: Father + a girl’s name + mother

17a    Rodents taking it inside holes … (8)
CAVITIES: Guinea pigs round IT

18a    … holes she-rat developed? (6)
EARTHS: Holes in which badges or foxes live = an anagram (developed) of SHE-RAT

21a    Beef from Olympic team coming second (10)
SILVERSIDE: This cut of beef could be a team missing out on the gold medal

22a    In carriage, arranging kit (4)
GEAR: Hidden in carriaGE ARranging

24a    Bash against section in castle wall (7)
RAMPART: ‘To bash’ + ‘section’ = a flat-topped defensive mound

25a    Where the turret is, it may be getting worn (4,3)
TANK TOP: A sleeveless pullover is also where the turret is

26a    Corporate raiders arranged seats with nightclub artistes (5-9)
ASSET-STRIPPERS: An anagram (arranged) of SEATS + revealing artistes in a nightclub


1d    Fruit and nuts (7)
BANANAS: 2 meanings: yellow fruit/nuts (crazy)

2d    Talking books conveying significant information (8,7)
SPEAKING VOLUMES: ‘Talking’ + ‘books’ = being very significant

3d    Does Shakespearean spot — finale of Macbeth (4)
DOTH: The od form of (thou) does = a spot + H (last letter of Macbeth)

4d    Mrs Burton taking time over Royal fancy (6)
TAYLOR: The surname of the actress that married Richard Burton twice = T (time) + an anagram (fancy) of ROYAL

5d    A tourer’s free travel? (8)
EUROSTAR: An anagram (free) of A TOURER’S = a way of getting to the Continent

6d    Kind of table that’s not always there? (10)
OCCASIONAL: This word meaning ‘not always there’ describes a type of table

7d    Playhouse showing torment of Athenian earl — OTT? (8,7)
NATIONAL THEATRE: An anagram (torment of) of ATHENIAN EARL OTT

8d    Oh dear! King’s subjugated a state (6)
ALASKA: ‘Oh dear!’ + K (King) + A = an American state

13d    Quite sane holding silver in vogue (3,3,4)
ALL THE RAGE: ‘Quite sane’ (3,5) round the atomic symbol for silver

16d    Where spin doctors go online? (8)
WEBSITES: A cryptic definition

17d    Leader disturbed star in company (6)
CASTRO: A Cuban leader = an anagram (disturbed) of STAR in CO (company)

19d    Grates / pickles (7)
SCRAPES: 2 meanings: grates (as a verb)/pickles (predicaments)

20d    Journo travelled around, taking in some of Italy (6)
EDITOR: A reversal of ‘travelled’ round IT (some of Italy)

23d    Break for game (4)
SNAP: 2 meanings: to break/a children’s card game

Writing the blog has taken me at least 5 times longer than solving the puzzle did.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    My review of DT 27911, the Saturday Prize Puzzle on 19 September, awarded 0.5* for difficulty so if this ‘puzzle that is near the middle of today’s paper’ took about the same time, does that make it 0.25* difficulty on the Toughie scale?

    Thanks to Busman for the extremely short-lived solving experience and to Bufo for the blog.

  2. Lesley
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I feel robbed. Normally do previous days toughie at 4 am before work. Don’t often finish within my allocated ** minutes. Day off today, really enjoyed yesterdays because I had time – took over ****, but the only cheating was dictionary. Settled down to enjoy todays toughie. It took me just ** minutes, the time we normally allocate for the quick crossword. Same as you Bufo, hadn’t even made a cup of tea. Idled the rest of the morning away on ebay!

    Thanks anyway guys, extra thanks for yesterday which I really did enjoy.

    • Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Please avoid discussing actual solving times – everyone is different.

      • Lesley
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

        oops – wrist slap accepted! I don’t really know your rules, but will try to conform. Sorry Big Dave

      • Lesley
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

        Hey, just a thought, question even. How can you edit my post? Are you Big Dave or Big Brother? I am feeling a bit nervous having been fraped recently. Is this a secure website. Hope so, as I enjoy the occasions when I get to look at it.

        • Hanni
          Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Admin access. I doubt you’ve got anything to worry about Lesley.

          • Lesley
            Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            Thanks Hanni, but still don’t understand what admin access means, who has admin access and what access the site has to my details. Still nervous.

            • Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

              I have admin access. Some other bloggers (gazza, crypticsue etc.) have editorial access. I do have access to your email address, but this is only used in exceptional cases so you have no need to worry.

  3. Jane
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Harsh but fair, Bufo – on the scale of Toughies. However, I did enjoy it and it would have made a decent early-in-the-week back pager.
    Smiles came from 21a&16d and I always need a reminder as to where the 11a brand name came from.
    Read up on Busman yesterday and was expecting a lot of cricket references, which didn’t materialise. It was also mentioned that all of his puzzles include a reference to one of the Warwickshire players (either in a clue or, preferably, in an answer). I couldn’t find one – did anyone else?

    • Miffypops
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:33 pm | Permalink


      • Jane
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        That was my first thought but it yielded little other than that an attempt was made to lure James Taylor to the club. However, I have now found a reference to Derief Taylor, who played for Warwickshire 1948-1950. Maybe Busman will pop in to enlighten us?

  4. Graham
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    My first toughie completed but musn’t get carried away as it was a lot easier than most back pagers,however a personal milestone & thinking back it was probably around 1988 that I completed my first back pager,onwards & upwards.

    • dutch
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      congrats, well done, keep it up!

    • Heno
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      Well done Graham, I hope it gives you the confidence for future Toughies. I’ve only ever completed about half a dozen Toughies including this one.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Well done from me as well.

    • Graham
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      Thanks guys,but I’m not getting carried away as I feel like most others that it felt like a normal back pager.

    • Hanni
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      Well done Graham.

  5. dutch
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Very gentle, not unwelcome once in a while, though I can only agree that this would have felt more at home on the back page (or so).

    Clean clueing, some cute (talking books, where do spin doctors go, Mrs Burton – which I think is a tea room thing..) but nothing demanding resulting in a quick solve.

    Many thanks Busman and Bufo

  6. Heno
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Busman and to Bufo. Must be easy as I finished even before the hints were published. Still enjoyed it though. Favourite was 16d. Was 0.25*/3* i agree with Crypticsue’s logic.

  7. dutch
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    just noticed, alchemi in the independent today (available free, google independent crosswords). about to try..

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      He is in the ft too (also free to download)

      • Hanni
        Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Thanks both.

  8. Shropshirelad
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    I thought that the toughie week started on the gentle side and got progressively harder towards Friday, so I’m confused. Is this Tuesday? Didn’t take a lot of time which took the enjoyment out of it for me. No standout clues today.

    Thanks to Busman for the puzzle and Bufo for his review.

    Who do we have tomorrow ?

    • crypticsue
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink


  9. Expat Chris
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Yes, it was a virtual R&W and my fastest ever “Toughie” solve, but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I thought 16D was a terrific clue. Thanks to Busman and Bufo.

  10. Hanni
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Can’t argue with the half a star for difficulty but *** for enjoyment. I just accepted that it was an easy back page.

    Liked 4d and 21a.

    Many thanks to Busman and to Bufo for blogging.

  11. Outnumbered
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Not in any way a Toughie, and simple even by DT back page standards…
    1/2* / ** for me, and 14a my favourite clue.

  12. Kitty
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Well, I have to agree difficulty-wise since for the first time ever, a Toughie has taken me less time than many back-pagers.

    Pleasant enough nonetheless. I did need to check the rodents. It has been a rodenty day, since I broke my normal rule about not feeding them and treated a bold and cheeky squirrel to a chilli pistachio as we picnicked in the park earlier.

    Thanks to Bufo and Busman.

  13. pommers
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    I know it didn’t last long but I quite enjoyed solving this one. It had some nice clues of which 2d was favourite. If it had been a back pager on my blogging day it would have got * difficulty so I suppose that equates to a about a half star or less on a Toughie scale.

    Thanks to Busman for the shortlived entertainment and to Bufo for the not required hints.

  14. Kath
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I agree with everyone else that it was straightforward – for some reason I associate Busman with impossible Friday Toughies – am I wrong or is today’s completely out of character?
    Whatever – I enjoyed it and thought there were some good clues.
    I liked 1, 12 and 26a and 2. Needless to say 8d was my favourite!!
    With thanks to Busman and to Bufo.

  15. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    No one could accuse Busman of verbosity with his clues. Only one of them would break RayT’s rule by our count. Good fun while it lasted. This took less time than we spent on the backpager but supplied several good chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Busman and Bufo

  16. Una
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Hard ? Easy ? Who cares ! I thought it was a tour de force of enjoyable , humorous , entertaining clues.I have stars besides 6 clues.
    One of the aspects of this puzzle which I found very pleasing was the avoidance of formulaic clues, just applying the conventions of cryptic crosswords.
    With heartfelt thanks to Busman and Bufo .

  17. Miffypops
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    It is quite tough if you bung in across the board at one across because it fits with 6d. It is also quite tough if you cannot read your own writing. It did not take long to put right and sort out though Thanks to all

  18. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    Started by putting “periodical” in 6d which slowed me down in the NE corner.
    Soon rectified and pretty much R&W.
    Some nice clueing though.
    As Graham, my first experience in solving DT crosswords was in 1988.
    Over the counter at the Garrick with one of the partners of EA Shaw.
    Great memories.
    Thanks to the setter and to Bufo for the review.

  19. Angel
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

    I rarely venture into Toughie territory but comments by several bloggers in another place encouraged me to have a go today, It went very smoothly in next to no time hence wasn’t really terribly satisfying. Thanks anyway Busman and Bufo. You have given me the incentive to venture away from the back page again in the future.

  20. Florence
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Just completed my second Toughie. Found it easier than the back page, so fear it might become a habit Thanks to all. Night night and sweet dreams.

    • Snape
      Posted October 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you here, my second toughie too, and without hints which is unusual for any crossword, and like many I was encouraged here by other comments and seeing the rating. Who decides if it’s a toughie or not – the setter or the editor?
      16d was my LOI, D’Oh, and I did enjoy 25a. Thanks to all

  21. Salty Dog
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    I use the same system and timings for grading a Toughie as l do a back-pager, and l entirely agree with Bufo’s assessment of this. It could have worked as a Monday back-pager, but was out of place here today. No favourite clue, but 25a made me smile. That said, thanks to Busman, and to Bufo for the review.

  22. Wolfson Bear
    Posted October 8, 2015 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Owing to various commitments I got rather behind in the Telegraph crossword offering. Previously I always tried to catch up and eventually always did. This time I have not made any headway into my pile of recent puzzles. So this week I decided – much influenced by the presence of Elgar and Elkamere in the “to do” pile – to tackle the current ones first and catch up as and when time permitted. A very lucky choice as I have never found the Telegraph puzzles as easy as I have this week (I even found the Giovanni on Tuesday easy but I was lucky his obscurities were my type of obscurities this time ) Whenever I make a comment that includes the word “easy” or some hint of complaint I get brought back to earth very quickly . I normally find Sparks tricky to lock on to so I suspect it is about to happen

  23. Tstrummer
    Posted October 14, 2015 at 1:50 am | Permalink

    Having to rush for the train tonight, I forgot to collect a DT on the way out and so arrived at Strummer Towers with no puzzle to accompany a large glass of splendid Fino straight from the fridge. This one was lying about so I gave it a go. I finished the puzzle before even taking a sip of the Fino. I’ve never known a R&W Toughie before. No favourite clues and, really, I feel a bit let down by the simplistic nature of too many of them. If this had been a back-pager, I’d have given it one star for difficulty. Seeing as it’s a Toughie, I’m giving it 0*/1*. Harsh, but fair