Toughie 429 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 429

Toughie No 429 by Beam

Hardbeam or Quickbeam?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

It’s a new setter today so I’d better be gentle! It was a perfectly acceptable puzzle with nothing that I couldn’t understand. I found to be rather easier than the average Toughie (or perhaps I’m just having a good day) and therefore a quickbeam.

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.


1a    An antique cabinet? (12)
{GERONTOCRACY} A cryptic definition. The cabinet is a group of government ministers. The answer is a word for government by old people

9a    Peace, it’s arranged with Crimea in turmoil (9)
{ARMISTICE} An anagram (arranged & in turmoil) of ITS CRIMEA gives a suspension of hostilities

10a    Stimulate beginner after setter’s exercise (5)
{IMPEL} L (learner = beginner) goes after “setter is” (as spoken by the setter) and the usual abbreviation for exercise

11a    Close almost bowled for fifty (6)
{NEARBY} Take a word meaning “almost” and replace an L (fifty) by B (bowled)

12a    Sailors perhaps, catching large fish (8)
{BLOATERS} People who sail possibly (in straw hats?) are put round L (large) to give fish

13a    Provided iron in dagger case for conflict (6)
{DIFFER} “Provided” and the atomic symbol for iron are put inside DR (dagger case) to give “to conflict”

15a    A thousand pounds is found in pants (8)
{KNICKERS} K (a thousand) + a slang term for pounds sterling gives an item of underwear

18a    More fashionable line’s about right design (8)
{TRENDIER} A line (or row, level, rank or layer) goes round R (right) and “design”.

19a    Bats and silly point’s caught (6)
{INSANE} A word for silly goes round S (point) to give a word for crazy (bats)

21a    Cry wolf in account (8)
{ENTREATY} A cry (an earnest request) is formed from “to wolf” inside “account”

23a    Small auditory accessory, small bone (6)
{STAPES} A small bone in the ear is formed by S (small) + something used for recording sound + S (small)

26a    Singer’s note heard by the audience (5)
{TENOR} How many times have we seen this idea used? A male singer sounds like a banknote

27a    Rodent following piper’s rear in childlike story (9)
{NARRATIVE} R (piper’s rear) and a rodent go inside a word for childlike to give a story

28a    London pride variety includes first of hardy perennial? (12)
{PHILODENDRON} An anagram (variety) of LONDON PRIDE containing H (first of hardy) gives a tropical American climbing plant


1d    Rough increased round middle of fairway (7)
{GRAINED} A word for increased round R (middle of fairway) gives a word for rough

2d    Unusual, unfinished pole dance (5)
{RUMBA} A lively Afro-Cuban dance is formed from “unusual” + a 3-letter word for pole with the last letter missing

3d    Sudden flow under the bridge? (9)
{NOSEBLEED} A cryptic definition. The bridge is part of the face

4d    Initially old body in tomb may get this (4)
{OBIT} The first letters of Old Body In Tomb

5d    Chips topped with fish and white wine (8)
{RIESLING} Remove the first letter (topped) from chips (as served in McDonalds). Then add a fish to get a white wine

6d    ‘Plates’, mate, in rhyming slang (5)
{CHINA} A Cockney word for mate (from ***** plate) also means articles of porcelain

7d    With record time around edge, they don’t last (8)
{EPHEMERA} An abbreviation for a type of record + a long period of time goes round an edge gives things that only last a short time

8d    Cleo half dispatched by snake’s embraces (6)
{CLASPS} CL (Cleo half dispatched) + snake’s (as associated with Cleo)

14d    Fugitive getting away with time inside… (8)
{FLEETING} Fugitive (transient) is formed by “getting away” containing T (time)

16d    …imprison criminal with stretch (9)
{CONSTRAIN} A criminal + “stretch” gives “imprison”

17d    Guard posted on border left to last (8)
{SENTINEL} A guard is formed from posted (e.g. a letter) + a word for border with the letter L moved to the end

18d    Score getting a couple of kisses (6)
{TWENTY} A couple of kisses are represented by XX as is also a score

20d    Oriental bird supporting endless massage (7)
{EASTERN} A seabird goes after “to massage” with the last letter missing

22d    Planet from near the centre (5)
{EARTH} The planet is in the middle of NEAR THE

24d    Previous conviction for religious leader (5)
{PRIOR} 2 meanings. An earlier criminal conviction (especially in the US) & the head of a group of monks

25d    Shoot up for some jazz (4)
{TRAD} A reversal of “to shoot” gives a style of early 20c jazz

There were a few definitions used that I thought were a bit vague (e.g. design in 18 Ac, account in 21 Ac) but overall a nice puzzle.

25 comments on “Toughie 429

  1. I thought it was a very enjoyable puzzle. Welcome to the Toughies, Beam and thank you for the entertainment. Not the most difficult Toughie but definitely more a Toughie than a Cryptic. The only one I struggled with was 1a which needed a touch of Gnome’s Law with Prolixic as Gnomethang was absent without leave first thing today. I marked 12a, 15a, 1d, 3d as favourites. I also liked the way you had to read 27a and 6d carefully so you didn’t go off on the wrong tangent. Thanks to Bufo for the hints.

  2. Totally agree with crypticsue, very enjoyable crossword, definitely toughie standard but not too much so. Welcome and thanks Beam, I enjoyed 1a and 3d in particular. Thanks to Bufo for the excellent review, though I thought it deserved 3* in both categories.

  3. A very creditable Baptism by Beam. I liked 15a, 3d & 6d particularly. Had to resort to Bufo for the explanation to 21a, which I had solved, but struggle to equate “eat” with “wolf”, which suggests gluttony, rather than graceful dining. Agree with BigBoab that it was 3* difficulty, as I found it marginally tougher than today’s Cryptic. But, should we deduct a star just because it’s a Toughie?

    1. I agree with Bufo – in my opinion, it’s 2* difficulty apart from 1a and that wasn’t that taxing.

      1. I would never argue with a lady!! Is there a common rating level between Cryptic and Toughie puzzles? In other words, if the same crossword appeared in both, would it merit the same rating. Or might it be, for example, a 4* Cryptic, but a 3* Toughie? And, I hear you say, does it really matter anyway?!?

        1. Argue away. I hadn’t really consciously thought about it before. As Gnomethang says below, this one is probably borderline Toughie but I think just qualifies for that status, although it could I suppose count as a Friday Cryptic. Upon reflection, I believe that I do look at the two types of puzzle as separate entities and rate them according to type, partly because quite often theCryptic v Toughie levels of difficulty are poles apart and partly because I have done the Cryptic for so long that I look at them with a certain level of historical affection (if there is such a thing) as opposed to the relatively newcomer the Toughie.

        2. Digby

          Positively not! We have mentioned this before, but it was quite a while ago. A four-star daily would probably rate as three-star if it appeared as a Toughie. Personally I work on a Toughie taking about a third longer than a daily, which is the same proportion that is used on CluedUp for bonus points (45 mins – 1 hour).

          1. That’s what I had kinda worked out, not having seen the earlier correspondence. Thanks for the confirmation / clarification.

  4. Very good debut Toughie puzzle from Beam. Many thanks to him/her for the quality puzzle and to Bufo for the review. Hope that the setter makes an appearance to accept the praises.

  5. Just about on the Toughie spectrum in my opinion. I solved it in about the same time as the DT. That said I thought many of the surface readings were top notch and I particularly liked 5d, 16a and 8d.
    Thanks and welcome, Beam, and thanks to Bufo for the review.

  6. Many thanks to Bufo for the review, and to all who commented. I wasn’t sure if it was tough enough, but now I know!

    Ray T

      1. I nearly mentioned the possible setter on that basis but thought I would sit back and wait. Honest!
        Thanks RayT!

  7. Really enjoyed this one even though I got 21a wrong. Just about taxing enough for the old grey matter. I noted 15a.(back to the under garments?)

  8. I thought it had that Ray T twist. . Nonetheless very enjoyable and yes, I continue to enjoy Ray T’s crosswords! he is fast becoming a favourite.
    Thanks to Bufo for the blog.

  9. Too tough for me I’m afraid, I had a go, maybe just wrong time of day, would I have thought of it differently if I ‘d known it was a Ray T, who knows :)

  10. Very enjoyable , middle of the road toughie standard despite the old chestnut at 26a. Thanks to Bufo & Raybeam.

  11. Enjoyed solving this puzzle this morning.
    First put rhododendron in for 28a and could get nowhere with 17d – realised that the entry was not an anagram so got it right.

    BD – why do setters have to work using pseudonyms?

  12. Just solved this – been a bit busy – had to go and see Leonard Cohen in Tours yesterday :-) He is 76 and amazing. Anyway – now I know who the setter is, I am not surprised. A very good opening Toughie Ray. Thank you.

    1. Just catching up on the week! I saw Leonard Cohen at the Royal Albert Hall in ’08 and agree with you that he is amazing. Didn’t want it to end…

Comments are closed.