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Toughie 1957

Toughie No 1957 by Busman

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

It’s almost a year since we last had a Busman Toughie. As usual he’s pretty gentle with us (although there may be some complaints about the specialist knowledge required at 9a) and this pleasant puzzle could well have appeared on the back page.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Moving miles with a clean mixture (11)
MISCELLANEA: an anagram (moving) of MILES and A CLEAN. I didn’t know the ending of this word but with all the checkers in place it couldn’t be anything else.

9a Edrich initially dropped by Thomson’s partner where French cricket might be played? (5)
LILLE: this was easy for me but for anyone unfamiliar with Australian Test cricketers of the 1970s it’s probably very tricky. Start with the surname of Jeff Thomson‘s bowling partner and take away the first letter of Edrich (John Edrich was an England opening batsman). I thought that this was a bit unfair – if you don’t know who Thomson’s partner was there’s not much else to help you in the clue.

10a The planes needing repair — jumbos (9)
ELEPHANTS: an anagram (needing repair) of THE PLANES.

11a What might precede tavern in the town in May, perhaps? (7)
THERESA: a contracted version (5’1,1) of what precedes ‘tavern in the town’ in the first line of a traditional folk song.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

12a Fired every gun shot on court (8)
VOLLEYED: double definition, the second meaning ‘played a specific type of shot on the tennis court’.

14a Prisoner cut short time in cyberspace (8)
INTERNET: another word for a prisoner without his last letter but with T(ime) added.

15a Spruce in Cologne — a Tannenbaum (4)
NEAT: hidden in the clue.

17a Flavouring Egon Ronay’s cooking after chopping both ends (7)
OREGANO: an anagram (cooking) of EGO[n] RONA[y].

19a Favourite seated, but not in the middle (4)
SEED: take the middle letters away from ‘seated’. I expect Kath to complain that this can’t be a favourite because there are many of them in a tennis tournament!

20a Collector at present in Greece (8)
GATHERER: insert AT and an adverb meaning present into the IVR code for Greece.

21a One’s highly vocal …! (8)
SCREAMER: a not terribly cryptic description of someone making a loud noise.

23a Corresponded online about me having been ill (7)
EMAILED: reverse ME and append a past participle meaning ‘been ill’.

25a ‘A’ students finish drink completely (3,4,2)
ALL ENDS UP: string together A, two instances of the abbreviation for a student, a verb to finish and a verb to drink.

26a Stock Exchange certificate St Paul found regularly (5)
TALON: take regular letters from ‘St Paul found’. This meaning of the answer was new to me – it’s a sort of form allowing the holder of a bearer bond to apply for more coupons (Please don’t ask me to explain further!).

27a Notes to accompany high-risk undertakings? (6,5)
DANGER MONEY: cryptic definition of extra pay given for high-risk work.

Down Clues

2d Smallest room at the bottom of one grand northern home (5)
IGLOO: an informal word for the ‘smallest room’ follows the Roman numeral for one and the abbreviation for grand (a thousand dollars).

3d Catch one prize for crew member (2-5)
CO-PILOT: charade of an informal verb to catch or obtain, the Roman numeral for one and what the BRB defines as ‘a prize won through divination’.

4d Spring time that’s longer than the annual average (4,4)
LEAP YEAR: a verb to spring followed by a period of time.

5d One’s temporarily welcoming home (4)
NEST: hidden in the clue.

6d Get a role playing, for example, Mr Hyde (5,3)
ALTER EGO: an anagram (playing) of GET A ROLE.

7d Every other letter an A? Awkward! (9)
ALTERNATE: an anagram (awkward) of LETTER AN A.

8d It contains coal lawfully — and cash (5,6)
LEGAL TENDER: cryptic definition of a vehicle (attached to a steam engine) lawfully allowed to carry coal.

12d Vogue’s first with trendy feather dressing (11)
VINAIGRETTE: assemble the first letter of Vogue, an informal adjective meaning trendy and an ornamental feather.

13d Anzac’s JCBs? (7)
DIGGERS: we want an informal word for an Australian or New Zealand soldier (Anzac) followed by the ‘S.

16d Shy member of the family? (4,5)
AUNT SALLY: you’d find this shy at a fairground.

17d Very important lady carried in rickety old van across country (8)
OVERLAND: the letters that identify our most important lady go inside an anagram (rickety) of OLD VAN.

18d US low-alcohol drink in local pub’s ending all the time (4,4)
NEAR BEER: concatenate an adjective meaning local or close, the final letter of pub and a poetic adverb meaning ‘at all times’. I didn’t know this phrase and it sounds horrible (but it can’t taste worse than the full-strength US variety!).

19d Difficult person like this — again! (2-3-2)
SO-AND-SO: an adverb meaning ‘like this’ gets repeated.

22d Musical composition — it’s Fauré’s final duet arranged (5)
ÉTUDE: start with the final letter of Fauré (retaining the acute accent) and add an anagram (arranged) of DUET.

24d French sunrise (4)
DAWN: double definition. French here is nothing to do with France.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

The two clues which made me smile were 11a and 24d. Which one(s) raised your spirits?

32 comments on “Toughie 1957

  1. For me, this was ‘not a toughie’ Toughie, probably some equivalence to a good RayT or Giovanni back pager, very enjoyable and not put off by the double unches because I didn’t ‘see’ them until I had finished

    I finally managed to remember Thomson’s partner for 9a without having to resort to any form of assistance.

    Even though I had lived in the USA for 17 years, I had not heard of 18d, probably because I never strayed away from full-strength alcohol content, but a reasonable bung-in on the first word worked.

    Favourite a toss-up between 8d and 19d.

    Thanks to Busman and Gazza.

      1. I mostly visited places which sold Guinness or nothing worse than Killians Red or similar, the odd Stella Artois perhaps – none of that gassy American liquid that makes one burp and f*rt.

  2. My first one in was 9a – agree that it’s unfair for most.

    From the Crossword Who’s Who, I notice that Busman sets puzzles in the Wisden Cricket Monthly.

    Who was Lilian Thomson?

  3. I found this fun, though there were a surprisingly large number of little details that were new to me. I didn’t bother to look any of them up at the time, preferring instead to make use of the review for illumination.

    Agree with Gazza about 9a, for which the wordplay was no help. Also:-

    Didn’t know the song referenced in 11a and 26a was also new, as was the carriage in 8d, the feather in 12d, the name for an antipodean soldier (13d) which I knew only as an informal Aussie form of address to a man generally, and the 18d drink – good name for it though.

    With all that, how strange that filling the grid should have gone so smoothly. (I did make one mistake but that was a moment of extreme silliness not related to the above.)

    Thanks to Busman and Gazza – I smiled at the polar bear pic!

  4. Enjoyed this a lot, though on reflection there was a lot i didn’t know.

    11a was my LOL favourite.

    9a I knew nothing about these people or French cricket, but the answer seemed evident from checkers – thanks Gazza for the enlightenment.

    17a I now know Egon Ronay was a famous hungarian food reviewer. Good clue.

    26a I had to check the stock exchange certificate, and funnily enough I hadn’t come across 25a before – learn something new every day.

    I also really liked 7d

    Now realise i bunged in 8d without understanding the first bit, so thanks Gazza for that as well.

    18d was new to me as well – doesn’t sound like my cup of tea.

    Many thanks Busman, nice to see you again.

  5. Pleased to note that I was not alone in my ignorance of the ending of 1a, the Stock Exchange certificate and the US drink. Fortunately the wordplay was enough to get me there in each case.
    As for 9a – it will surprise no-one that this was my last to fall. Waited for all the checkers to go in then tried to come up with the name of a cricketer that might resemble a location in France. Would have been easier if I’d known how to spell the wretched man’s name in the first place!

    Plenty of humour to enjoy in this one and no complaints from me regarding the level of difficulty although I would guess that some of our more expert solvers may disagree.
    Hard to pick a favourite from so many contenders but I think it has to be the French sunrise with Mrs May running in a close second.

    Many thanks to Busman for the puzzle and to Gazza for the blog – particularly the inclusion of the video clip for 24d. I was really sorry when that series came to an end.

  6. I agree that this was not tough but it was a lot of fun.

    What a wonderful batsman John Edrich was for both Surrey and England. I spent many happy hours at the Oval in the 60s & 70s watching him bat.

    I didn’t know the answer to 26a could have that meaning and, although I didn’t spend long looking, I couldn’t find any reference to it on Google. I also didn’t know that “prize” had that specific meaning needed for 3d, but as Gazza says the BRB reveals all.

    Lots of candidates for favourite but 8d wins the day.

    Many thanks to Busman and to Gazza.

  7. I fairly cantered through this until the last couple (9A and the second word of 27A) but managed to sort them out. A lot of fun. Thanks Busman and Gazza.

  8. A most agreeable not so tough Toughie. I loved clues 9 & 11 across in particular. No complaints from me – thanks to Busman – nice one.

  9. No, indeed not a Toughie, but a few bits of GK here and there which must have been frustrating for those not in the know. I have to confess I wasn’t completely at home with the style of the cluing here: it seemed a little less than rigorous to me for some reason.

  10. Didn’t know that we played cricket in Lille but the answer was obvious from the checkers.
    Didn’t know the low alcohol drink either but I don’t think it’s worth than the “I can’t believe it’s not butter” from the UK.
    Favourite 4d.
    Thanks to Busman and Gazza.

  11. My hand is up as one being a little frustrated by the GK – added to those already mentioned (especially 9a), for me neither half of 13d rang any bells. (I am still not quite sure what the connection is between the answer to 11a and French cricket?) However, I made some lucky guesses and manged to finish which always adds to my enjoyment level. Many thanks to Busman and Gazza.

    1. Me too, but I know that there is a low-key version of cricket called ‘French cricket’ that my brothers used to play. Underarm bowling with a tennis ball and all that.

  12. Our last one was also 9a but it did not cause much delay. 8d reminded us of the Christmas cracker joke, “Why does a steam engine prefer to remain standing? Answer: Because it has a tender behind.”
    Thanks Busman and Gazza.

  13. I enjoyed this whilst it lasted and agree that is was only as tough as a tough back pager. I enjoyed my trip to France for the cricket at sunrise but got stumped by 11ac and was disappointed not to hear a sopranos. Those facing Lillee and Thompson deserved a bit of 27 across. Thanks to Busman for an excess of fun and thanks to Gazza for the review. I sang 11ac as 5,2,1.

    1. Particularly as those facing L & T did not wear helmets in those days. Frightening thought!

  14. Knowledge is a funny thing, isn’t it? 9a was my first one in (though, anachronistically, Edrich could just as easily be John’s cousin Bill, an equally fine cricketer, if just before my time). But I was totally mystified by 11a. I bunged it in but had to wait for the blog to understand it. 26a is the most obscure reference here, although easy enough to work out. All in all, not too tough but some very pleasing clues. Thanks for the explanations and to the setter

  15. Fun while it lasted, a rare case of the Toughie being of equivalent difficulty to the back pager. 11ac was a complete guess at a French place name based on the checking letters which turned out to be correct. Funnily enough, cricketers of days gone by aren’t my strong point. :-) 25ac was a phrase I’d not come across before, and my first stab (another guess, there’s a pattern forming here) was OUT AND OUT, despite it not fitting the enumeration at all. That’s the trouble with guesses, they get you in trouble sometimes. I got there in the end though…

  16. No problems with 9a. I remember the Ashes test match when Lillee was out caught Willey bowled Dilley.
    Thanks to Gazza and Busman.

  17. Would have been 1* had l not been delayed by the 21a/8d combo – the first was too simple (l was thinking along “yodeller” or “skylark” lines); the latter far too obscure for me. I loved 11a, though. Thanks to Busman and Gazza.

  18. Very enjoyable fun – while it lasted. Haven’t seen a Busman puzzle for a while and this was worth the wait even it was more a ‘Fluffy’ than a ‘Toughie’. I would also add that I have never found a ‘beer’ in America that is remotely ‘near’ what a good ale should be.

    Thanks to both Busman and Gazza for their input.

    Mrs SL has just pointed out to me that today’s Toughie number is my birth year. Sad old git (me – not her).

    1. Congrats; I must be getting on – I used to count how many sleeps til my birthday, now I’m counting Toughies just for the correct year…

      PS Aussie beer no better, I can assure you.

  19. Ora Meringue recommended this today, so thought i would have a shot. She was right. Loved it. Must be easier than normal as I don’t usually have much luck with the Toughies, but this one was good fun. Didn’t know 9a of course, or the drink at 18d, even though the last word was obvious. Otherwise a satisfying challenge.

  20. Don’t often do the toughies but agree this could have been a back page one.i
    Think the 9 across clue was fair. As the odd boy who didn’t like sport (Bonzo’s) I had still heard of the cricketer in question and with the alternate letters the French connection became obvious

  21. Very late, again!
    I loved this – don’t think I’ve done a Busman Toughie before but I think he also sets Guardian crosswords and a friend who does those always finds him difficult, I think – maybe I’ve got it wrong.
    All the things that I didn’t know – cricketers, stuff about the Stock Exchange, American non-beer etc etc were all the same as everyone else but doable from the clues.
    I admit to bunging in Falsetto for 21a but changed my mind smartish when the whole of that corner wouldn’t work.
    Not sure about this ‘favourite’ stuff in 19a . . .
    I particularly liked 27a and 19d. My favourite was 13d if only because my Aussie grandfather was an Anzac and was always called 13d.
    Thanks to Busman and to Gazza.

      1. Oh – wrong again but just had another thought – Brummie (might be Brummy, not sure). Is he difficult? And, yes, it could just as easily be Boatman – well, they all begin with the same letter and, as you know, I’m easily confused!

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