Toughie 1578

Toughie No 1578 by Busman

Not quite half-a-star difficulty

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ***

I gave the last Busman puzzle half-a-star for difficulty. This one was a little more challenging although I had solved all but 5 clues on the first read-through. The last answer in was 27 across where the incorrect enumeration had me fooled for a time. The other enumeration error (8 down) caused less of a problem. I enjoyed the puzzle despite the lack of difficulty. [The enumeration errors had been corrected by mid-morning.  BD]  There were some nice touches.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Till career, sights must be managed (4,8)
CASH REGISTER: The till that shopkeepers put their takings in is an anagram (managed) of CAREER SIGHTS

9a    Some womaniser from a sultanate (5)
OMANI: Hidden in wOMANIser

10a    August with eleven getting drunk around pub, keeling over (9)
VENERABLE: An anagram (getting drunk) of ELEVEN round a reversal (keeling over) of a pub

11a    Snappy creature in what’s rumoured to be back-street legwear (9)
ALLIGATOR: Homophones (in what’s rumoured) of a back street and a covering for the lower leg and ankle

12a    Post from county town returned, having exchanged partners (5)
NEWEL: An upright post found on a staircase = a reversal of the county town of East Sussex with S (south) replaced by N (north). S and N are partners at bridge

13a    One’s travelling unto a star (9)
ASTRONAUT: An anagram (travelling) of UNTO A STAR. The whole clue provides the definition

16a    Some 70s occasion (5)
EVENT: Hidden in sEVENTies

18a    Reach for cooker  catalogue (5)
RANGE: 3 meanings: reach/cooker/to catalogue. Catalogue is not an immediately obvious synonym

19a    Miss one duet out of tiredness (9)
LASSITUDE: A miss (girl) + an anagram (out) of I (one) DUET

20a    Rejected parts no longer available to a Liberal (5)
OFFAL: ‘No longer available’ + A + L (Liberal)

22a    Time composer was in front, having seen the world (9)
TRAVELLED: T (time) + the surname of a French composer + ‘was in front’

25a    Terribly choosy about one beginning to record second-rate singers (9)
CHOIRBOYS: An anagram (terribly) of CHOOSY round I (one) R (first letter of Record) B (second-rate)

26a    Test arsenic, for example (5)
ASSAY: The atomic symbol for arsenic + ‘for example’

27a    Father scours around for red blood antigens (12) (6,6)
RHESUS FACTOR: An anagram (around) of FATHER SCOURS. The enumeration fooled me here. I was looking for a 12-letter word and not two 6-letter words


1d    Cleaner’s mostly slow, and an imposter (9)
CHARLATAN: A cleaner + ‘slow’ with the last letter removed + AN

2d    Hammering, Dad’s dropped off, getting hurt (5)
PASTING: Remove PA (dad) from a word meaning ‘hammering’ or ‘defeating utterly’

3d    Direct one’s attention on all but the top of hedge (5)
RIVET: Remove the first letter (top) from a shrub often used for hedges

4d    Produces speed found in elements of DNA (9)
GENERATES: ‘Speed’ (4) inside elements od DNA (5)

5d    Tiger seen wandering here? (9)
SERENGETI: An anagram (wandering) of TIGER SEEN gives the name of a national park in Tanzania. There’s not much chance of seeing a tiger there!

6d    Push the Spanish, then submit (5)
ELBOW: The Spanish for ‘the’ + ‘to submit’

7d    In short, it goes far up! (5,3,5)
ROYAL AIR FORCE: A reversal of FAR gives the abbreviated form of the name of an organisation that goes ‘far up’. I quite like this clue

8d    Special occasions for lease-holder during shamefaced stupor, we’re told (10,4) (3-6,4)
RED-LETTER DAYS: A lease-holder inside ‘shamefaced’ and a homophone of stupor. I’d solved this one before I noticed the duff enumeration. I suppose if you count the hyphen then it is (10,4)

14d    Whence Father Time surveys chieftains (9)
OVERLORDS: Father Time is a weather vane positioned on the top of the pavilion at a London cricket ground

15d    Usain Bolt ordered washing (9)
ABLUTIONS: An anagram (ordered) of USAIN BOLT

17d    Strike causing impasse from peer is sign of hesitation (9)
EQUALISER: A peer + IS + an interjection denoting hesitation gives a goal (strike) that levels the score

21d    It’s somewhat light or fluffy, when rising (5)
FROTH: Hidden in reverse in ligHT OR Fluffy

23d    Disorientated  off shore (2,3)
AT SEA: 2 meanings: disorientated (often used as an anagram indicator)/off shore

24d    Approve mean pay-cuts, regularly (5)
ENACT: Alternate letters of mEaN pAy-CuTs

I’m just waiting for my daughter to deliver the dog. We’re in charge of it for the next couple of days


  1. Kitty
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    It used to rub me up the wrong way just a little bit when people would say a Toughie was not at all. I had never come across such a beast.

    So what can I say about this without being similarly annoying? Only that I enjoyed it all very much and particularly liked 7d – very clever.

    The wrong enumeration online for 8d didn’t cause much of a delay, but the one in 27a did. I was on the verge of e-searching this long word which I obviously hadn’t heard of when it all suddenly became clear.

    Thanks to Busman for the well-timed confidence boost. (Not a coincidence boost as my phone would have it.) Thanks to Bufo for the review which I’m delighted to say I haven’t read yet. I will of course read it now, and I’m sure it’s excellent as usual.

  2. andy
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The enumeration for 27a in the paper version is correct.

  3. crypticsue
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    In order not to be annoying – see Kitty’s post @1 above, I’ll just say thank you to Bufo.

    Extremely disappointed of East Kent (for the second time this week :( )

    • Kitty
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      You’d be saying it as you see it, Sue – and you’d be right too.

      I’d wish you a nice tough one for tomorrow but would rather appreciate one I might stand half a chance of doing.

    • Miffypops
      Posted April 1, 2016 at 1:12 am | Permalink

      I agree Sue. But. Are we all getting so much better at solving? Are we recognising constructs that we would have struggled with a few years ago? Have we all gotten too familiar with the setters dark arts?

  4. Hanni
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    I thought I remembered you giving the last one you blogged a half star difficulty.

    This wasn’t much more of a challenge at all but I did really like it.

    LOI was 16a. Well it was bunged in and then stared at for awhile until I could see the secret hidden bit. Like those 3D magic eye things. Plenty of long anagrams which kept me happy. Also spotted the hidden in 9a straight off.

    Really liked 16a but clue of the day for me is 7d.

    Many thanks to Busman and to Bufo for a great blog.

  5. dutch
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I managed to get the second word in 27a very quickly so the answer became clear despite the enumeration – 8d put me off briefly but the answer had to be.

    Back pager took me 50% longer!

    Lots of very nice clues. I like the anagram for usain bolt. I like the semi&lit (semi all-in-one) at 21d (light or fluffy). My last one in and my favourite by far because of the penny drop moment is 7d.

    many thanks Busman and thank you Bufo.

    Right that’s it, off to Holland now – I may find the occasional bit of wifi over the next week.

    • jean-luc cheval
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      Have a good time in the Low Lands.

  6. Una
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    All the anagrams made it a soft centered sweetie, as opposed to those hard boiled sweets which break ones teeth.It was fun.
    7d is a great clue and I also liked 25a , 26a and 8d.
    Very handy for your daughter to have you mind the dog, Bufo , we had a last minute volunteer to mind ours when the whole family went abroad together.She also took the goldfish.Both returned in good health , though the dog seemed a bit suspicious of me for a few days.
    Thanks Bufo and Busman.

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    This one didn’t put up much of a fight at all. I, too, was irritated by not one but two incorrectly enumerated clues in the online version. 7D is my runaway (or should that be runway) favorite but I’d also ticked 13A. Thanks to Busman and Bufo.

  8. mre
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Good afternoon everybody.

    Had a crack at this as the back page puzzle hadn’t taken very long and The Times was in use. Mostly straightforward but couldn’t see 17d (clever clue) and 27a and somebody else was wanting the newspaper. Not sure this was really Toughie level. I’ll say three stars though as didn’t finish.


  9. stanXYZ
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    Letter to the DT Crossword Editor.

    “To get one enumeration wrong may be regarded as a misfortune; to get two wrong looks like carelessness”


    Disgusted from Royal Tunbridge Wells.

  10. Heno
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Busman and to Bufo for the review and hints. Well, when I saw the difficulty rating, that took the wind out of my sails. Still very much enjoyed it, and a Toughie completion. 14&15d made me laugh. Favourite was 5d, so clever. Last in was 7d, had a job to get the right first word. I know the Romans were clever, but even with my limited knowledge of history, I knew they didn’t have an air force :-)

    • Hanni
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      They did use carrier pigeons though..almost an air force. Besides I like the sound of your version.

  11. Werm
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m getting better at Toughies but this was never worthy of the title. Almost a write in. Thank you to Busman and Bufo
    I did this on-line and the enumerations were all perfect for what it’s worth.

  12. Kath
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried a Busman crossword – for some reason I thought he was really difficult – does he set cryptic crosswords in the Guardian because I think he might be one of the setters that a friend of mine finds impossible – maybe it’s not him. Who knows? I obviously don’t!
    I quite enjoyed this but even I agree that it’s not a Toughie.
    I have to confess that the one I couldn’t do, and when it’s a Toughie there is always one, was 7d – really dim – oh dear!
    I thought there were some good clues – am I allowed to have 7d as my favourite even though I couldn’t do it?
    With thanks to Busman and to Bufo.
    Back to the garden . . .

    • Una
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

      Yes , you are allowed, the last one in is quite frequently the favourite , at least for me.

  13. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I really quite enjoyed this one, especially after my problems in trying to produce an electronic review for today’s back pager. It really soothed me.

    Having said that – it’s not really what you would expect from a Thursday Toughie – a bit too easy I’m afraid. However, there were some really good clues in there and my stand out favourite is 7d – a really good clue imho.

    Where I live, there are lots of RAF (Cosford) and Army (Donnington) people – serving and retired. I’m the only member (well used to be) of the Senior Service in the area. My very good friend (Alan, an ex RMP who looked just like John Thaw when he was younger) used to really wind up the ‘brylcream boys’ with the quip “The Royal Navy and the Army have traditions – the RAF have habits”. Well we found it funny.

    Anyway, thanks to Busman for the puzzle and to Bufo for his review.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      I’ve heard a few good RAF jokes. Not sure I can put them on here though.

  14. Robin
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    I don’t often try the Toughie, but was tempted by the one-star rating and most of the comments. Well, with much grunting and groaning I eventually finished it unaided, but if that’s one-star, I think I’ll stay on the nursery slopes for a while. Possibly I was distracted and below par, having just taken my cat to the vet to have two teeth out, tricky for a 14 year old. Second mortgage applied for.

    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

      I know where you’re coming from Robin – Mrs SL & I have a 19+ year old moggy.

      • Miffypops
        Posted April 1, 2016 at 1:15 am | Permalink

        Is it called Taz?

    • Kath
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      Oh – hope your cat is OK – so horrible. Our Little Rosie was finally put to sleep last October at the grand old age of twenty-one. She was the last survivor – we had her, her sister and her brother when they were five and a bit weeks old. She had ten kittens (not all at once but in two ‘batches’ – four the first time and then another six five months later) – what a little trollop she was – she was only eight months old when she had the first lot.
      I do miss her – I probably miss her brother the most . . . :-(

  15. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    I believe it’s Elkamere tomorrow :)

    • Gazza
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      That’s good news.

  16. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Bufo for taking me out of my misery.
    Although 2d was quite obvious from the definition, I just couldn’t parse it and when I checked, you left the PA in the answer. I was trying so hard to find the original word with a synonym of dad inside rather than before. D’oh.
    Glad I am not the only one to go over the grid.
    The rest was indeed very easy but enjoyable.
    Only saw 27a as two separate words but the anagram was sorted nonetheless.
    Was also surprised at the enumeration in 8d but again, who am I to know?
    7d is also the only one I ticked.
    Thanks to Busman and again, to Bufo.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 31, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      How long do you let them keep looking? ☺

      • jean-luc cheval
        Posted March 31, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

        Are you talking about what I said on the other side?
        Until the penny drops.
        Another one is to send them looking for the elbow grease.

        • Hanni
          Posted March 31, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          *embarrassed smiley*…and yes. At least I replied to the right person. Oh I do like that though. Parsley straightener!

  17. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    Our biggest delay was sorting out the enumeration for 8d and 27a but even that did not take very long. However, as we had been travelling all day, a puzzle that was not too challenging was just what we needed and we found plenty there to keep us smiling.
    Thanks Busman and Bufo.

  18. Jane
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    As stated over on the other side, this was indeed easy for a Thursday Toughie, but none the less enjoyable for that.
    My only parsing problems came from not knowing the county town nor the weather vane at Lord’s!

    Liked 11a&8d but favourite, in line with most others, was 7d.

    Thanks to Busman and to Bufo for the extra info. Enjoy the dog-sitting – just thank your lucky stars that it’s not a tribe of children!

  19. Chris
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, I enjoyed it (despite it taking half the time of the RayT on the back page). And I thought 7d a really excellent clue.
    The occasional easy Toughie does encourage some of us to keep trying them.

  20. upthecreek
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Busman for a really nice puzzle with some great clues of which 7 and 15 were the best. I shall never think of Mr Bolt in the same light again! I much prefer this type of puzzle to the convoluted offerings that we sometimes have, involving reversals and newspeak. The eggheads might think differently but I am sure that most of the contributors prefer a crossword that is fun and solvable in a reasonable time.

  21. Jon_S
    Posted March 31, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    A fun, breezy puzzle, easier today than the back pager. Only 12ac really gave me much pause for thought. Liked 7d.

  22. Robin Newman
    Posted April 4, 2016 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    gave this a go as it was rated as easy-most enjoyable
    liked 11A and 16A amongst others