Toughie 1532

Toughie No 1532 by Busman

Hints and tips by Toro

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

My first encounter with Busman. I found it fresh and fun, if very much at the easy end of the Toughie spectrum — the second star for difficulty being due as much as anything to the fact that I was busy eating a fried breakfast while solving.

Definitions are underlined. 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.


7a Comrades with baby boys being cradled (8-2-4)
BROTHERS-IN-ARMS Infant boys (twins, presumably) being held in the way babes customarily are

9a Encourage health food (3,2,5)
EGG ON TOAST To encourage + a raising of glasses to good health

11a Goose river (4)
NENE Cambridgeshire river, and the Hawaiian Goose

12a Fate of the department (3)
LOT Fate or destiny, and a French département

13a Silhouette frolics in penthouse rooms? (5,5)

16a Lavishly appointed — not soft, but luxurious (4)
LUSH Lavishly appointed or furnished, minus the abbreviation in music for soft. (Hang on, shouldn’t that be luxuriant?)

17a Negotiators would be hard up after losing hollow riches (7)
BROKERS Remove R(iche)S from the solution and a word meaning hard up results

18a More than one soap seen in basins (7)
CORRIES Affectionate name for Britain’s longest-running soap opera, pluralised

20a Medicament from castle, not to be taken by mouth (4)
BALM Royal residence in Scotland, minus by mouth

21a Highland dress displayed by characters regularly in coy, amorous party (5,5)
PLAID CYMRU Tartan cloth + alternate letters of COYAMOROUS

23a Not working abroad (3)
OUT On strike, and abroad or away

24a Duck, brightly coloured, going over river (4)
ODER Zero or duck + reversal of scarlet-coloured

25a Strut around area with key that drivers use in emergeny (6,4) (And that should certainly be emergency!)
ESCAPE ROAD A key on a computer keyboard + a strut or bar around A(rea)

28a Always problematical — possibly as shown in ad? (7,7)
ENDLESS TROUBLE How a crossword setter might clue ‘ad’ by telling you to drop the final letter of a three-letter word


1d What was that personal request for amnesty? (1,3,4,6)
I BEG YOUR PARDON A phrase that sounds like a plea for forgiveness

2d Look after flower — water suits it! (4)
POLO An Italian river + look! or behold!

3d Filmed drunk outside hospital (4)
SHOT A drunkard around H(ospital)

4d Interrupt trespassdo it with new shoes? (5,2)
BREAK IN A three-way definition: to interrupt, to trespass or gain entry by force, and to soften by wear

5d and 6: Novel title for one l-lad. Truly (6,4,10)

6d See 5

8d Kiss between chap and the girl modelling art wear gets the bird (4,10)
MANX SHEARWATER The symbol for a kiss between a chap or male and the female personal pronoun, then anagram of ART WEAR

10d Juvenile delinquent has it both ways — a pointless achievement (3)
NIL A word contained both forwards and backwards in JUVENILE and DELINQUENT

14d With room to manoeuvre in river, I’ll perform this? (6,4)
ESKIMO ROLL Anagram of ROOM inside a British river (there are several) and I’LL

15d Floor show perhaps and drinks in bar (10)
STRIPTEASE Particular beverages inside a bar or line of colour

19d Blemish on Roman statesman is strongly accented (7)
MARCATO To blemish or stain (figuratively) + a Roman statesman and orator

22d Being prompt, this might be tipped (3)
CUE A prompt or signal for action, and a sporting implement with a tip

26d Off and on, performs dance (4)
PROM Alternate letters of PERFORMS

27d Anniversary of game Gloucester’s first side lost (4)
RUBY A well-known sport minus the first letter of G(loucester)

I thought 18a (more than one soap) and the all-in-ones at 5d/6 and 14d were all excellent.

Over to you – please rate and comment on this puzzle below.


  1. Rabbit Dave
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    As the backpager was so easy today I thought I would give myself more of a challenge and try the Toughie. In the event it proved to be no tougher, but I did find it much more enjoyable. My rating is 1* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment. Three quarters fell into place very easily with only some of the clues in the SW putting a bit of a fight.

    I learned a few things today, none of which delayed the solving process but which I needed to look up afterwards. The bird in 8d and the expression in 14d were new to me, as was the fact that 18a could mean basins. After I had looked up the meaning of 14d that became my favourite as the surface reading as an all-in-one is brilliant.

    I couldn’t fully unravel the wordplay for 25a and was very grateful to Toro for the explanation in the review. Many thanks too to Busman for the entertainment.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I failed on 11A (both definitions are new to me) and 18A ( No surprise. I haven’t seen that show since the 1970s). Apart from that, the rest was not too bad at all. I particularly liked 21A ( worked it out but had to check with Google), 5/6D , 10D and 14D. I needed the hint to understand how 28A worked. Thanks to Busman for the enjoyment and not too much head-banging, and to Toro for the review.

  3. halcyon
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was going to be a total write in but then slowed down in the SW. Last one in was 28a which was one of those “blue pullover” clues where the answer is a bit of a letdown, neither amusing nor “a well-known phrase or saying”. There were others in this puzzle [13a, 25a] which I thought made it a bit dull. Sorry.

    Thanks to Busman and to Toro for the blog.

  4. jean-luc cheval
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    As the first clues went in without any trouble, I thought this offering was going to be easy.
    But slowed down in the East side.
    The bird and the book took a while.
    The volatile is definitely yours if you look up its French name.
    Interesting fact also is the French department. It is actually pronounced as you would normally.
    Favourite is 28a.
    Thanks to Busman ( I thought I had seen that name before) and to Toro for the review.

    • Toro
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

      Puffin d’anglais – though most of them (almost all the world population) breed in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, and virtually none in England. No relation to what we call a puffin. Actually being a birder did help with that and the goose. The nene was saved from extinction by the WWT at Slimbridge, Glos.

  5. Heno
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Busman and to Toro for the review and hints. I enjoyed what I could do, which was the top half. For some reason I just couldn’t make any progress from then on. Needed 9 hints to finish. Had never heard of 19d. I remembered 20a from another puzzle. Favourite was 8d . Was 4*/3* for me. Wish I could have done more.

  6. Jane
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    OK – this was doubtless far too easy for the committed Toughie solvers, but I really enjoyed it. Living in Wales and being both an avid birder and a Dire Straits fan I was off to a good start with at least three of the clues!
    Had problems parsing two of the clues – 25&28a.
    25a – simply because I always fail to remember computer keys!
    28a – I’m still not quite there – can someone please spell it out for me?

    Favourite smiles were for 9,16&18a.

    Many thanks to Busman and to Toro for the review – could I possibly ask that either you or some other IT minded soul oblige with a Dire Straits clip for 7a? I want to be able to email Kath and tell her that not only has she missed out on a clue/pic of her favourite detective in yesterday’s back-pager but also her favourite group in today’s Toughie!!!

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Here you go …

      Regarding 28a. Assuming you’ve got the answer, what do you need to do to a three letter synonym for the second word of the answer to turn it into “ad”?

    • dutch
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      trouble = ado, so endless trouble = ad(o)

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

        I wanted to make Jane work for it!

        • dutch
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          sorry, we crossed – but you had the better approach

    • Jane
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Dutch – I couldn’t see beyond advertisement!
      As for you, RD – you’re just plain mean (although I must thank you for the clip – I shall email Kath to gloat immediately).

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        • Jane
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

          OK you tough bunny rabbit – I’m not scared of you!

      • Jane
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        Message back from Kath. They’re currently in Seattle where it’s freezing cold, pouring with rain and blowing a gale!!!

        • dutch
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          she’ll feel right at home

        • Expat Chris
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

          Seattle? I thought they were on the way to Australia.

          • Jane
            Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

            Hi Chris,
            Yes, they are, but en route they’re also taking in Seattle, San Francisco, Tahiti and New Zealand! Then comes Australia and a stop off in Singapore on the way back to the UK. No wonder she won’t be back with us until March!

  7. Hanni
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Thsi started out fairly easily but like J-L I slowed down in the east.

    Being a first rate bird watcher (as Jane will confirm..I once sent her an excellent picture of some sort of gull, possibly a sea one!) I had no trouble with the birding clues…that or I’d only vaguely heard of one of them. Nah I’m sticking with the being good at spotting birds.

    I had heard of 18a but that comes from skiing in freezing Scotland. Had to look the river up in 24a.

    Really quite enjoyed the solve. 25a took a bit of figuring out,

    Favourite clue is 16a because it’s a great word.

    Many thank to Busman and to Toro for blogging. Hope you enjoyed your breakfast.

    • Jane
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      I can confirm that Hanni’s birding skills are excellent – she can now quite easily identify Robins and Pied Wagtails and we’re working on Blackbirds – although she’s having a bit of trouble with the fact that Mrs. Blackbirds are brown.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

        Don’t care what colour they are – they’ve decimated my back lawn!

      • Hanni
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

        Are they? Didn’t know that., are you sure they are brown? I’m excellent on owl’s too. So long as they are ones I know. Plus I have a 100% record for correctly identifying emperor penguins. How many people can say that? Totally amazing me.

        I did enjoy 16a SL In fact it was 16a.

        How can birds decimate lawns?

        • Shropshirelad
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

          When they’re searching for crane fly grubs who feed on the grass roots. Either way, I’m stuffed.

          • Hanni
            Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

            What you need is three way attack plan. I suggest a combination of a cat, a scareblackbird and a high powered air rifle. Once you have done this just get some more grass seed. Job done.

            • Toro
              Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

              I would happily take a shotgun to that vile species of vermin that is the triple definition (4d) and blast it to extinction.

              If you post the gull pic here, I’ll tell you what it is.

              • Hanni
                Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

                Sounds perfectly reasonable re the shot gun.

                I couldn’t get the pic to upload so I’ve changed my avatar. If you can identify the species from my awful pic I’ll be impressed. I took it for Jane, she thought it was amazing pic. That or she put her head in hands in a sort of despairing way. I’d like to think she was impressed.

                • Toro
                  Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

                  It looks like a juvenile Herring Gull. Where did you take it?

                  • Jane
                    Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

                    Yes, I think you are right, Toro.

                  • Hanni
                    Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

                    If Dutch is buying the ammo I’ll make the bullshot. May as well enjoy the whole experience.

                    I took the pic at South Gare about a month ago.



                    It’s much prettier than the wiki pics. There are always bird spotters there with huge cameras etc, all I ever spot is gulls and starlings..oh and a wagtail. Once.

                    I’m serisouly impressed that the pair of you can identify a bird from my terrible picture! Thank you.

              • dutch
                Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

                I’ll buy the ammo

                • Toro
                  Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

                  It’s a deal!

          • Jane
            Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

            Look at it this way, SL – they’re saving you the problem of aerating the lawn come the Spring and wouldn’t life be missing something if we had no birds around?
            By the way – looking at your avatar reminded me – don’t forget to bring your collection to the birthday bash. I particularly want to see the one with the dolphins.

            • Shropshirelad
              Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

              Please remind me of the ‘collection’ I’m meant to be bringing – I’ve got Uckers, HM Submarine dolphin badges, probably wearing a HM Submarines polo shirt but whatever else eludes me. It’s my age

              EDIT – I will have no lawn whatsoever come Spring, never mind.

              • Jane
                Posted January 12, 2016 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

                It was the dolphin badge I wanted to see but I thought you mentioned having a ‘set’ of badges?
                Certainly Hanni that was up for the Uckers!

                PS – don’t worry about your lawn. The whole of mine has been under several inches of water for months now – solid clay below and no amount of digging drainage channels has helped.

                • Shropshirelad
                  Posted January 12, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink


      • Expat Chris
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        The thread is so complex that I don’t know where this will appear, but anyway…

        Blackbirds are nothing compared to Canada geese! We have huge colonies of them because there are a good number of small lakes and wetlands within the housing areas and for some reason they seem to like it round here. Those suckers can kill the lawns of people who live close to the lakes in short order with their poop. And they cause traffic jams with their jaywalking, can be aggressive, and are noisy to boot. In West Virginia, a goose walking across the road would be dinner, but killing urban geese is definitely not considered sporting here in Southern Maryland, unfortunately.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      Thought you’d like 16a.

  8. Shropshirelad
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    Pretty much on a good back pager level but enjoyable nonetheless. Even being Scottish, 18a was a new word for me (only ever heard of the duo that wrote ‘Flower of Scotland) and I’m not really struck on 28a – seems a touch too contrived. Nearly put in the wrong part of the castle in 20a (sorry, probably shouldn’t mention ‘castles’) but 1d saved the day. I’ll go with 19d as my favourite of the day.

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

  9. Charlie3110
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Agree with rating assessments and after a fast start ground to almost a halt. Enjoyed it though. Thanks to Busman and Toro.
    Still trying to work out the cryptic numbering of these hints compared to the actual Toughie number?

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

      You’ve changed your email address since your last comment. Both should work now

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

      I see what you mean about the cryptic numbering – I’ve taken the liberty of amending the Toughie number on Toro’s behalf.

  10. dutch
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Toro,

    I found this quite enjoyable, gentle start with a some lovely clues on the way and the odd head-scratcher.

    16a confused me too, but brb has both luxuriant and luxurious – though it has luxurious for plush as well!

    My favourite is the semi all-in-one at 14d, the river manoeuvre, I thought that was very clever. I like the juvenile delinquent (10d), the “not to be taken by mouth” in 20a, and the “possibly as shown in ad” in 28a

    Many thanks Busman, great start to the toughie week

    • Toro
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      I know they both exist, but I think they mean different things – luxuriANT means lush (as of vegetation), while luxuriOUS means plush. Or have I misunderstood you?

      14d is fantastic, isn’t it? I really like Busman’s unfusty style and, since I don’t equate enjoyment with difficulty, would happily have given this a 4* if there weren’t *quite* so many read-and-write fillers.

      (Thinks: Is unfusty in BRB?!)

      • dutch
        Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

        All I said was Brb has luxurious (and luxuriant) for lush – you’ll be better at finding an example of use than I am – when solving, I wasn’t at all sure which was the definition, the clue confused me completely, though its construction was obvious.

        • Toro
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

          Oh I see – I did misunderstand them. I didn’t know lush could mean luxurious.

        • Toro
          Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Well if luxurious can mean lush as well as plush, the clue “Luxurious – not soft, but still luxurious” would have been rather cute.

          • dutch
            Posted January 12, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink


  11. Charlie3110
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for that Crypticsue. Sorry my appliance had for some reason logged me out and I had forgotten which email address I had used originally. I did remember my name though.

    • crypticsue
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      If you click on ‘reply’ in the comment you are replying to (as I have just done) it keeps the thread together.

  12. 2Kiwis
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    We needed Mrs B to confirm the birds in 11a and 8d and we were not familiar with 21a or the Scottish meaning of 18a but we did get them all from the wordplay so no complaints. Plenty of clues to keep us smiling and we agree that 14d is an exceptionally good clue.
    Thanks Busman and Toro

    • Jane
      Posted January 12, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Hi 2Ks,
      Some of us are only too familiar with 21a – but I’ll say no more as I think it’s a BD rule to keep politics off the blog!

  13. crypticsue
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Sparks tomorrow

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    Most of this felt pretty easy (2*ish) but 28a utterly defeated me and 19d I had never met before. Favourite clue? Probably 9a, because I’ve only just finished eating some. Thanks, Busman and Toro.

  15. Una
    Posted January 12, 2016 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

    That was very enjoyable, although I couldn’t work out the second word in 25a, and as absolutely never watch the soap in 18a , it eluded me.
    9a is almost my favourite , I think I’ll give the top spot to 4d.
    Thanks Toro and Busman.

  16. ezfer
    Posted January 13, 2016 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

    A nice solve. Agree with 14a as favourite, also liked 8d. Got stuck just towards the end, with 25a and 27d unfilled. Had first word of 25a but natural second word (‘lane’) didn’t fit, then got fixed on ‘cape’ being the area so gave up and looked at hint. Once I had 25a, 27d came fairly quickly for LOI. I got answer & word play for 28a without being able to identify 3 letter word – doh! And for some reason decided ‘ONT’ was a good solution to 23a (‘not’ working, abbreviation for Ontario) – should have given it a bit more thought… Thanks as always to setter & blog.

  17. molly
    Posted January 29, 2016 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    What a lovely puzzle this was, and not just because I could complete it. Lots of smiles on the way and a good variety of clues. So thanks very much Busman, and thanks to Toro for elucidating 28ac.