3949 Greetings from Bufo

In this puzzle, some answers would have required three letters in certain cells, though we were told that only one of each triplet had to be selected. Seven clues had three consecutive extra letters which had to be removed before solving, and these had to be arranged to give a message which explained how to complete the grid. The extra letters in the clues were EAC, ROS, REE, STO, FIR, STH, FTH. These could be arranged to give FIR/ST O/F TH/E AC/ROS/S TH/REE, so the first letter of each Across triplet had to be entered. This produced the message BEST WISHES FROM MR TOAD in the top and bottom rows, which explained the title – Bufo being Latin for toad.

Extra letters in the clues are indicated by square brackets.


1 Gob on Elizabeth is non-closing hole (6)
BESPIT  BES(S) (Elizabeth, minus last letter) + PIT (hole)
6 Son listens to Pink with them (6)
SHEARS S (Son) + HEARS (listens to)
10 Starters of egg and toasted t[eac]ake (3)
EAT First letters of EGG AND TOASTED
11 Don't start cooking with hearts suitable for consumption (6)
EATING (H)EATING (cooking), less H (hearts)
12 Def[ros]t slippery road with it (6)
ADROIT Anagram of ROAD + IT
13 Criticise antiquated company for generating large quantity of waste (8, two words)
SLAG HEAP SLAG (Criticise) + HEAP (antiquated company)
15 Records featuring a young Elton John? Sister gets excited (9)
REGISTERS  REG (a young Elton John) + anagram of SISTERS
Reg Dwight being Elton John’s name when he was younger
17 Kill with the object of getting gossip curtailed (5)
TOTAL TO (with the object of) + TAL(K) (gossip, minus last letter)
18 Man and his mother start to sing hymns (9)
CATHISMAS CAT (Man) + HIS + MA (mother) + S (first letter of SING)
20 Police car moving forward (9)
22 Coloured object spinning around on the end of a line is a fishing fly (5)
ALDER RED (coloured object) reversed, after A + L (line)
23 Rambling hostel user hasn't left for another place to stop (9, two words)
RESTHOUSE Anagram of HOSTEL USER, minus L (left)
26 Are some people clever? Yes, in this subject (8)
AMENABLE A (Are) + MEN (some people) + ABLE (clever)
29 An endless task ag[ree]ing term for hermit (6)
ANCHOR AN + CHOR(E) (task, minus last letter)
30 It's yellow sealant that's much used (6)
LUTEIN LUTE (sealant) + IN (much used)
31 Distracted leader no longer with it has become reckless (5)
PERDU (E)PERDU (Distracted, minus first letter)
32 Brownie will be in such a state, being excited from day one (8)
FAIRYDOM Anagram of FROM + DAY + I (one)
33 Almost damaged car when reversing in storms (8)
TORNADES TOR(N) (damaged) + SEDAN (car), reversed


1 Such are hairy mammals running round Germany (6)
BEARDS BEARS (mammals) containing D (Germany)
2 Female left vermouth to drink up after time (10)
PISTILLATE L (left) + IT (vermouth) + SIP (to drink), all reversed, + LATE (after time)
3 Piece of sponge cake (a quarter of it) is eaten by rodent after new year festival (7)
TETRACT C (a quarter of CAKE) inside RAT (rodent), after TET (new year festival)
4 Laundry used to be very hard down by the river (9)
WASHHOUSE WAS (used to be) + HH (very hard, as on pencils) + OUSE (river)
5 Jock's to say where cash can be found (5)
INTIL Sounds like IN TILL (where cash can be found)
7 Fish used by soldiers in ethnic dish (6)
HAGGIS HAG (Fish) + GIS (soldiers, plural of GI)
8 Di[sto]rt hearing with this -- one soprano's missed (5)
EARTH EAR (hearing) + THIS, less I (one) and S (soprano)
9 Stupid people are supporting street bon[fir]e (6)
STAPES APES (Stupid people), underneath ST (street)
14 Po[sth]ole's here to take end of your stake (6)
DORSET DO (to take) + R (last letter of YOUR) + SET (stake)
15 Heap with earth put in layers is more likely to collapse (9)
RICKETIER RICK (Heap) + E (earth) + TIER (put in layers)
16 Levers lad manipulated in planes for instance (8)
TREADLES ADL (Anagram of LAD) inside TREES (planes for instance)
19 Violent man prisoner hasn't succeeded in getting someone to procure his release (10)
MAINPERNOR Anagram of MAN + PRISONER, less S (succeeded)
21 Arab possibly has lively wine (7)
ALICANT ALI (Arab possibly) + CANT (lively)
23 Palm ace? Blackguard takes one to begin with (6)
RAFFIA RAFF (Blackguard) + I (one), before A (ace)
24 Le[ft-h]ander's partner is in the rough (4)
25 Sang to get practice in note combination (8)
CHORUSED USE (practice) inside CHORD (note combination)
27 Daughter cuddled by woman is spoilt child (5)
MARDY D (Daughter) inside MARY (woman)
28 Record a snatch of loud humming sound in Scotland (5)
ALBUM A + L (first letter of LOUD) + BUM (humming sound in Scotland)