Toughie 555 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 555

Toughie No 555 by Beam

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

Once again we have a Beam puzzle with cleverly concealed definitions and synonyms which stretch the imagination. This was a pleasure to solve, which is more than I can say for the previous couple of Tuesday Toughies.

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    Content of a note revealed in case of Stones splinter group (12)
{SATISFACTION} – a word meaning content or pleasure is built up by putting A and the seventh note of the sol-fa scale inside the outer letters (case ) of S(tone)S and then adding a splinter group consisting of dissenting members of a larger group

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8a    Bread filling that is empty (5)
{INANE} – put a type of slightly leavened Indian bread inside the abbreviation of the Latin for “that is” to get a word meaning empty or void

9a    Rights it’s wrong to take? (9)
{LIBERTIES} – when these rights are preceded by the word take they give a phrase meaning to treat something freely, without strict faithfulness to the facts

11a    One buys almost neat second drink (9)
{PURCHASER} – this person who buys something is a charade of most of a synonym for neat or unadulterated and a second alcoholic drink taken straight after a weaker one

12a    State of America’s well outside America (5)
{SAMOA} – to get this state in Polynesia start with AM(erica), put a two-letter interjection similar to well outside and then add A(merica)

13a    General advanced following head of police state’s return (9)
{PREVALENT} – an adjective meaning general or widespread is created by starting with a verb meaning advanced or loaned and preceding it with the first letter (head) of Police and a verb meaning to state reversed

16a    Bird’s undone blouse, topless (5)
{OUSEL} – this bird resembling the blackbird is an anagram (undone) of (B)LOUSE without the first letter (topless)

18a    Bears babies accepting bit of epidural (5)
{TOTES} – a word meaning bears or carries is derived by putting some babies or very young children around (accepting) E (a bit of Epidural)

19a    Fit, say, with heart taken by darling (9)
{COMPETENT} – to get this word meaning fit or able start with a word meaning to say or express an opinion and replace the middle letter (heart) with a word meaning a darling or favourite

20a    Person protecting rhino? (5)
{MISER} – this stingy person protects his rhino or cash

22a    Change constitution, member cut off without oxygen (9)
{LEGISLATE} – a word meaning to change the constitution is a charade of a member or limb and a word meaning to cut off or maroon without the O (chemical symbol for Oxygen)

25a    Sitting in garden in sun before day’s end (9)
{SEDENTARY} – a word meaning sitting or inactive is created by putting the garden associated with Adam and Eve inside a heavenly body of which the Sun is an example and then adding the last letter (end) of daY

26a    Hard cut for cover (5)
{HEDGE} – combine H(ard) and a cricket stroke similar to a cut to get a protection against financial loss – a bit of artistic licence here as the two cricket strokes are not quite the same as each other!

27a    Cryptic compiler’s exercise learnt, be cryptic! (12)
{IMPENETRABLE} – a word meaning cryptic or unfathomable is constructed by combining I’M (compiler’s / I am), Physical Exercise and an anagram (cryptic) of LEARNT BE


1d    Most brilliant small time lags inside (9)
{STARRIEST} – a word meaning most brilliant is derived from S(mall) and T(ime) with a word meaning lags or lingers inside

2d    Advocate ether for their extraction (5)
{TEETH} – hidden inside (for … extraction) this all-in-one clue is something that can be extracted after ether is applied

3d    Passages that lead up and down (5)
{SOLOS} – these passages of music are palindromic

4d    Took temperature in lily garden (9)
{ARBORETUM} – put a word meaning took and T(emperature)inside a variety of lily to get a botanic garden of trees and shrubs

5d    Acts single embracing tense bird (9)
{TURNSTONE} – start with acts or performances, add single number and insert (embracing) T(ense) to get this bird related to the plover and sandpiper

6d    Shame quietly coming off stage (5)
{ODIUM} – to get this shame or disgrace remove (coming off) P (quietly) from the beginning of a type of stage

7d    Animal in river basin, with endless delight (12)
{HIPPOPOTAMUS} – this large animal is a charade of a word meaning in or up-to-date, an italian river, a basin or bowl and a verb meaning to delight without its final letter

10d    Allow blemish to come first always, after following disease (7,5)
{SCARLET FEVER} – precede (to come first) a word meaning to allow with a blemish, add a synonym for always, and precede that (after) with F(ollowing) to get an infectious streptococcal disease

14d    Fool fled Church around start of ultimate vow (9)
{ASSURANCE} – put a fool, a word meaning fled and the Church of England around the first letter (start) of Ultimate to get a vow or pledge

15d    Pardon former copper, former copper’s inside (9)
{EXCULPATE} – a verb meaning to pardon is derived from a prefix meaning former, the chemical symbol for copper and a word meaning former or previous with the abbreviation of a copper coin inside

17d    Kelvin, journalist in charge? Run away! (9)
{SKEDADDLE} – put K(elvin) and Crosswordland’s journalist inside a word meaning to charge or burden someone with an onerous responsibility to get a verb meaning to run away

21d    Lasso dominatrix holds in place of depravity (5)
{SODOM} – hidden inside (holds) the first two words of the clue is a biblical place of depravity

23d    Happier camper? (5)
{GAYER} – a double definition with the old and new meanings of this word

24d    ‘Gentleman’ owns up, one bowled (5)
{SAHIB} – this Indian gentleman is created by reversing (up) a word meaning owns or possesses and then adding I (one) and B(owled)

Will we see Beam return, in his alter ego of Ray T, this Thursday? I hope so as I’m blogging that one as well!

21 comments on “Toughie 555

  1. I did enjoy this one. Am I the only paper solver who opens to the Toughie, sees it’s a Beam and then smiles! :)
    Thanks to BD for explaining 12a. I had the right answer but had no real idea why, it was just the only ‘state’ that fitted. Thanks to the beaming one for the fun and to BD for the review.

    1. No, you’re not the only one! I particularly liked how the answer to 1a linked with the wordplay (and thus the Youtube video posted below it)

  2. The one I needed explaining was 19a, where I had the answer but not the reason why.
    I enjoyed this one from start to finish. There is always something in a RayT/Beam puzzle that raises a smile…a ‘Lasso dominatrix’ sounds painful! :)
    Thanks to setter, and to BD.

  3. An early visit to thank BD for the review, and to confirm that you will be getting double the usual dose this week!


  4. Enjoyed it too. Needed help in explaiations for 12a and 13a (the latter pure stupidity on my part, clue very well written). I missed the “say” relevance in 19a for ages until the penny dropped. Out of many candidates 25a just pipped post as favourite- purely as have been doing rather too much of it recently. Thanks to Beam and BD.

  5. Only one word for this puzzle – brilliant! Best was 1a but the whole crossword was full of great clues that RayT always produces.

    1. Agree that 1a was up there with the best. Is the word-play meant to imply a link between the Stones and one of their major hits? Whatever – the puzzle provided much 1a anyway.

      1. RayT has the ability to give clues within clues. I was working this out and suddenly saw the link with the Rolling Stones – magic.

  6. Very enjoyable puzzle today fair and honest of which my favourites were 15 and 17d. Thanks to Beam and Big Dave for his comments.

  7. What a great puzzle – many thanks to Beam.
    Thanks to BD for the review, I needed the explanation for 12a. Guessed the answer but couldn’t see where it came from. D’oh!
    7d was my favourite. Took me ages to work out the wordplay even though the answer was obvious from the checking letters.

  8. Very nice puzzle, good fun to solve with the usual mild naughtiness.

    Glad to hear that we’ll have a RayT this week as well as a Beam!

    Thanks to Beam and BD :-)

  9. Many thanks to Beam for the usual high entertainment value and to BD for the review.

  10. Thanks to Beam and BD. Dave, in your hint for 22a I think you’ve missed out the bit about “without oxygen”.

  11. I thought this a difficult one for a tuesday – a bit 27a in parts ,but enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks .

  12. Not what you would normally expect on a Tuesday, but good fun nontheless – thanks Ray.

  13. I like Beam’s Toughies- very similar in style to his back-page productions – just a tad more difficult, but just as amusing and entertaining. IMHO by far and away the best Toughie (and Cryptic) setter because his clues are always so succinct with great surfaces. I find most of the other Toughies far too convoluted – also I cannot do them.

    1. Agree completely about the Toughie bit but I like Giovanni and Virgilius as well for the back pagers.

  14. A great deal of 1a in solving this puzzle without help.:) I did need to see BD’s explanations of 12a and 7d however. Many thanks to Beam and BD.

  15. Many thanks to Beam and BD for a very entertaining start to the toughie week.

  16. Lovely puzzle – I completely screwed 12a but apart from that all was fine after a bit of cog. Parsing of the hippo was fun!.
    Thanks to BD and to Beam – looking forward to Thursday.

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