Toughie 2155 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2155

Toughie No 2155 by Busman

Hints and tips by Kitty

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BD Rating  –  Difficulty ** –  Enjoyment ***


Welcome aboard everybody.  Today’s ride with the Busman was a fairly smooth one, my only real delays being in dim-wittedly failing to spot an obvious enough anagram and in having trouble piecing an unknown answer together from wordplay.  I enjoyed it but can’t pick a favourite.  Did/can you?

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the watch this space buttons.  As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Cuddly character in game — forward needing support (6,4)
RUPERT BEAR:  A charade of a sport (2, abbreviation), forward or impertinent (4), and a verb to support

6a    Twisted plans for some emails (4)
SPAM:  Some plans or charts reversed (twisted)

9a    Now listening to Radio 4, say, with it (8,2)
SWITCHED ON:  This could mean listening to the radio or watching TV for example (say).  I am not today!

10a   Irish working club (4)
IRON:  An abbreviation for Irish plus a word meaning working (like the radio above)

12a   Instant coffee; it is free in this point of purchase (6,6)
TICKET OFFICE:  An instant or a mo, then COFFEE IT is anagrammed (is free)

15a   Deadication? (6)
EULOGY:  A dedication for the dead.  This one might divide opinion, but I think a new word may just have entered my personal lexicon!

16a   Match on TV — it’s experimental (4,4)
TEST TUBE:  A cricket match, after which goes a slang term for a tv set (not one I’ve actually heard in the wild)

18a   Monkey hurt, doctor ready (8)
MARMOSET:  Put together a verb to hurt or damage, the abbreviation for a doctor in charge in an armed service or other organisation, and ready or prepared

19a   Compensation for artist in retreat (6)
REWARD:  The reversal of (… in retreat) someone who makes pictures on paper etc.

21a   Greeks and Romans in The Oaks and Derby, say (7,5)
CLASSIC RACES:  Ancient Greeks and Romans might be described thus.  These are the five chief annual horse events, defined by the two given as examples here

24a   City beside which this person had settled (4)
LAID:  Put together the two-letter abbreviation for a US city and how the setter might say he had

25a   Poor Naomi can go back inside for Welsh stories (10)
MABINOGION:  An anagram of (poor) Naomi contains a can for rubbish and the reversal of go (go back).  These storiesI really think this is something I should at least have a passing knowledge of, but the name doesn’t ring any bell at all, so this was difficult to assemble

26a   Europeans with no head for travellers’ accommodation (4)
INNS:  Some people of a country in Northern Europe without the first letter (with no head) bring us to these hotels

27a   Dish taken aside in mess (5,5)
STEAK DIANE:  An anagram of (… in mess) TAKEN ASIDE.  This was actually my penultimate one in, because I’d been trying to make an insertion, and couldn’t see anything that would fit the checkers.  So the dish I was served was egg on my face!



1d    Finishes off eclair, gateau, scones and rock cake (4)
RUSK:  The last letters of (finishes off) four words of the clue

2d    Average about one or two (4)
PAIR:  Average, especially in a golfing context, around (about) the Roman numeral one

3d    Toy animal lulling her, so woolly (7,5)
ROCKING HORSE:  Lulling with gentle back-and-forth motion followed by an anagram (… woolly) of HER SO

4d    Head’s embracing runs and stretches between lessons (6)
BREAKS:  An old slang term for a headteacher containing (embracing) the cricket abbreviation for runs.  The stretches between periods of work

5d    Their Acts are authorised! (8)
APOSTLES:  A cryptic definition of the writers of the gospels

7d    Fussy  item (10)
PARTICULAR:  Two definitions, the first being an adjective

8d    End of Prom — time to interrupt one composer or another (10)
MONTEVERDI:  We start with the final letter of (end of) Prom.  After this, the single-letter symbol for time is to be inserted in (to interrupt) “one” from the clue.  Add an Italian composer, and we have another composer, also Italian, from a couple of centuries earlier

11d   What you take when the disc finishes — unofficially (3,3,6)
OFF THE RECORD:  When a music disc has stopped playing you might remove it from the player, or in other words, take ___ ___ ______

13d   Liver and lime mixed with cold pasta (10)
VERMICELLI:  LIVER and LIME anagrammed (mixed) together with C (cold)

14d   Moonlight escape around river transformed into a brief liaison (10)
FLIRTATION:  A word for a stealthy escape, often preceded by moonlight, around the single-letter abbreviation for river, all followed by an anagram of (transformed) INTO A

17d   Dealer that’s often associated with speed (8)
MERCHANT:  This word for a trader is one which can follow “speed” to get an informal word for someone who likes to go fast

20d   Capital left in the midst of crazed behaviour (6)
MANILA:  The single-letter abbreviation for left goes inside a frenzied state

22d   No parking during month having rolled up in old European capital (4)
LIRA:  A month of the year without P (no parking) is reversed (having rolled up).  While this is the former currency of Italy, Malta, San Marino and the Vatican City, it’s the current currency of Turkey and also the local name of the currencies of Lebanon and Syria

23d   King once called for a joint (4)
KNEE:  The chess and cards abbreviation for king plus the word meaning born used when stating a woman’s maiden name


Thanks to Busman.  Well, this is my stop.  Where are you headed?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use.  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The forum is for everyone.  Please do leave a comment if you need anything clarified, have any corrections or suggestions, or if there’s anything else you’d like to say.


27 comments on “Toughie 2155

  1. A very enjoyable start to the Toughie week. Never heard of 25a until Google obliged. Completed at a gallop – **/****.

    Favourite – 21a.

    Thanks to Busman and Kitty.

  2. Busman appears to have had a bit of a sabbatical since his last Toughie in June and this one is fairly gentle except for the Welsh stories which was new for me. I thought I’d make a pretty good job of interpreting the wordplay for that one but had ‘tin’ rather than ‘bin’ – luckily Google understood what I meant and was able to nudge me in the right direction.
    My favourite was the simple but amusing 23d.
    Thanks to Busman and Kitty.

    [The anagram fodder for 14d needs the A]

  3. started of quickly but took me a while to find the welsh stories and the composer, which I was convinced would start MEN

    I liked 19a, which may be a chestnut but it still had me trying to fit in RA somehow, and I like d the simple 24a.

    Many thanks Busman and Kitty

  4. Second attempt……..

    Thought I’d done a fair amount of historical research since moving to Anglesey but 25a was a new one for me.
    Not too many problems elsewhere and I’ve put 10a & 17d at the top of the pile.

    Thanks to Busman and to our lovely Girl Tuesday – only you could find pics of 1a & 3d with feline companions!

  5. Was I the only one who had heard of 25a? I’m not sure where but it occurred to me immediately on seeing the definition…

    1. I thought I knew of it but couldn’t remember what followed what even with all of the checkers.

  6. I don’t often stray into Toughie land but I enjoyed this a lot more than today’s back pager. I did like 15a, I thought it was clever though I’ve never seen this style of clueing before.
    Managed to complete it with a couple of hints and a tiny bit of help from Mr Google so I guess it must have been on the gentler side of tough…..or maybe I was just 9a..😉
    Thanks to Busman and Kitty for the fun.

  7. I very much enjoyed this. It took me longer than it should have to recall 1a and 3d from my ever receding childhood memories, and so progress was a little slow at the outset but picked up once I had these. Like others I had not heard of 25a, and like Gazza, I had tried to make ‘tin’ work for the ‘can’. I did eventually get it, but might have sooner had the checkers been a little more helpful. Many thanks to Busman and Kitty.

  8. The SE corner took us much longer than all the rest of the puzzle with 25a being the main culprit of course. We liked 1a and 3d and thought for a while that there might have been a theme on the way. Pleasant solve.
    Thanks Busman and Gazza.

    1. I would be pleased to claim the credit for today’s blog but in the interest of fairness I have to point out that it was Kitty what done it.

  9. I finished this one surprisingly quickly considering that it was a Toughie (not that I’m complaining) 25 across isn’t a word that trips off my tongue with any great regularity, but with electronic help it is a new word learned and in all probability one that will be just as quickly forgotten again. 8 down was my favourite clue, with 16 across fairly close behind. Thanks Busman, all good fun . . . and thanks to Kath also.

  10. I like Kitty’s catty illustrations! I did not know 25a either, I am sure I have never come across it. It took me some time to spot the ‘a’ in 15a I rather liked that one.

  11. Thanks to Busman and to Kitty for the review and hints. A thoroughly enjoyable and doable Toughie. Great fun, needed the hints for 5d, I wasn’t thinking Bible, 8d, l knew it began with M, but could only think of a country Montenegro, didn’t think of using “one” from the clue. Last in was 19a, I took ages trying to fit “ra” in it. Favourite was 14d. Had to Google Welsh folklore to get 25a. Was 3*/4* for me. Great puzzle.

  12. I didn’t fare too well with this. There were four across clues and three downs I couldn’t work out, although, having seen the answers, I really should have completed six of them. Have never come across 25a.

    Nevertheless, I enjoyed the puzzle. 1a and 3d were my top choices. One of the composers in 8d I like rather more than the other.

    Many thanks to Busman, and to Kitty for a lovely blog and explaining my missing answers. I love the kitty pictures!

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