Toughie 591 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 591

Toughie No 591 by Beam

A tale of crooks and child molesters!

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

After sailing through three-quarters of this puzzle, I found myself stuck in the southwest corner, until several pennies dropped one after the other. Beam never ceases to challenge and amuse me at the same time. My runaway favourite clue is 27 across.

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1a    Detective taking single round, taken out, wasted (11)
{DILAPIDATED} – a charade of the abbreviation for a senior detective, the first circuit of the track (3,1) a senior detective  placed around I (single) and a circuit round a track (3) and followed by a word meaning taken out or courted gives an adjective meaning wasted or ramshackle

10a    Talk posh upset by English etiquette (5)
{USAGE} – reverse (upset – is this ok in an across clue?) idle talk (3) and the one-letter word used in Crosswordland for posh and follow them with E(nglish) to get etiquette or tradition

11a    His employment is sort of brief (9)
{SOLICITOR} – this lawyer produces briefs for a barrister

12a    Flogging with belt catching end of huge rump (9)
{RETAILING} – not flogging, as in beating, but flogging as in selling! – put a belt or circle around (catching) E (end of hugE) and rump or rear

13a    Paddy field filled by river (5)
{STROP} – a paddy or temper is created by putting a word meaning to field a cricket ball around R(iver)

14a    Rule republic occupied by special army unit (6)
{EMPIRE} – to get a rule or sovereignty put a republic around (occupied by) the special army unit responsible for discipline

16a    Lewis catching more ruddy crooks! (8)
{CROSIERS} – put the initials of the author of The Chronicles of Narnia around a word meaning more ruddy to get these pastoral crooks carried by bishops – you are intended to think of Morse’s partner!

18a    Old beast old lady crushed, without love (8)
{MASTODON} – to get this extinct mammal start with the old lady or mother (2) and then add a phrasal verb meaning crushed (5,2) from which one of the Os has been removed (without love)

20a    Breather taking oxygen before end of exercise? Relax (6)
{LOUNGE} – put this respiratory organ around (taking) the chemical symbol for Oxygen and then add E (end of exercisE) to get a verb meaning to relax

23a    ‘Dandy’ is back containing old joke (5)
{SPOOF} – reverse (back) a dandy or toff together with ‘S in (place of IS) then insert O(ld) to get a joke or hoax

24a    Delilah was one character taking time cutting hair (9)
{TRAITRESS} – having entered “temptress” here it took me a while to realise that it could not be supported by the wordplay! – to get what else Delilah was, put character or appearance (3) around T(ime) and then all inside (cutting) a long lock of hair

26a    Like a cadaver returned, one consumed by dead (9)
{EMACIATED} – ouch! – a word meaning cadaver-like is created by taking a phrasal verb meaning returned (4,4), using back, the second part, as a reversal indicator and following this with I (one), a word meaning consumed (3) and D(ead) – do I hear cries of “foul”?

27a    He played academic chasing child (5)
{MASON} – an excellent allusion to the Stanley Kubrick film based on the classic novel Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – the name of the actor who played Humbert Humbert, a professor of classical literature, is a charade of a higher academic degree and a child – the whole clue summarises the plot of the film!

28a    Make-up is bait trapping blokes after date (11)
{TEMPERAMENT} – make-up or nature is created by putting a word meaning to bait (like the aforementioned Delilah did to Samson) around some blokes precede by a date in history


2d    Not fit for exercise after endless final (5)
{INAPT} – a word meaning not fit or unsuitable is created by putting the abbreviation for exercise after (F)INA(L) without the end letters

3d    Draw around empty easel in rising artist’s studio (7)
{ATELIER} – put a word meaning to draw or finish on level scores around E(ase)L without its contents (empty) and then put all of this inside Crosswordland’s usual artist reversed (rising) to get a studio or workroom, especially one used by an artist

4d    Terrain’s tilled holding drill (6)
{INSTIL} – hidden inside (holding) the start of the clue is a word meaning to drill or gradually but firmly establish in a person’s mind

5d    Story from Fitzgerald turned nasty (8)
{ALLEGORY} – to get this story, intended to be understood symbolically, reverse (turned) the first name of Miss Fitzgerald and add a word meaning nasty or brutal

ARVE Error: need id and provider

6d    Cuts Queen left out of ‘Works’ (7)
{EXCISES} – a verb meaning cuts is derived by dropping (left out) ER (Elizabeth Regina / Queen) from works or tasks

7d    One provides support for privates? (13)
{QUARTERMASTER} – a cryptic definition of this officer who is responsible for the accommodation, weapons and supplies of a group of soldiers, including the privates

8d    Prod underneath stone fish (8)
{STURGEON} – put a phrasal verb meaning to prod (4,2) below the abbreviation for a stone in weight to get this fish

9d    Taking gang in critical setting (13)
{PREPOSSESSING} – an adjective meaning taking or attractive is created by inserting a gang of men summoned by a sheriff to enforce the law, or these days a gang of young friends, inside a word meaning critical or urgent

15d    ‘Country Life’ previously not written (8)
{PASTORAL} – a word meaning relating to rural life is a charade of previously and spoken as opposed to written

ARVE Error: need id and provider

17d    Favourite’s over following raised pace (8)
{FOOTSTEP} – take a charade of teachers favourites, a word meaning over or in addition and the abbreviation for F(ollowing) then reverse the lot (raised) to get a pace

19d    Sour face, in wrong place to score! (7)
{OFFSIDE} – a charade of a word meaning sour or rotten and a face of a solid object like a cube gives a position on the football pitch from which it is not possible to score a goal

21d    Perfect work compiler’s found in corporation (7)
{OPTIMUM} – a word meaning perfect or ideal is built up from the abbreviation for a musical work followed by “the compiler is” (1’1) inside corporation or stomach – I trust those that were caught out by this meaning of corporation didn’t fall for it this time!

22d    Land initially next to snake here? (6)
{LADDER} – the first letter (initially) of L(and) is followed by a snake that is found in the UK to get something found with the snake in a well-known board game

25d    Heartless pride and greed perhaps creating stain (5)
{EOSIN} – drop the G from the middle (heartless) of a three-letter synonym for pride then add what greed and six others are an example of (perhaps) to get a red fluorescent dye or stain

I struggled with some of the wordplay, but I think I got there in the end!

22 comments on “Toughie 591

  1. I was fine in the SW corner, it was old Delilah that gave me the most grief – Gnomey and I were both thinking temptress until the penny dropped. Thanks to BD for the explanations. Thanks to the Beaming Ray for the Toughest Beam Toughie so far. The clever 27a (and I did understand the film reference in the wordplay) was my favourite. Glad I didn’t have to do the review – as BD says it takes a lot of working out.

  2. Bucketfulls of pleasure and brilliance from Beam today – 4* for enjoyment for me. Many thanks to Ray T for the treat and to BD for the review. Favourite clue for me was 16a.

  3. I too had temptress in 24a thus making 22d impossible ( played around with Amador California for a while wondering if there was a Snake River there ) when the penny finally dropped. Super crossword from Beam and a great review from BD. Sorry I have not been on site for a wee while I was a bit poorly, OK now however.

  4. First rate toughie (helped by the fact that I was able to solve it. Agree with your highlights but fav has to be 16a if only because it seems to sum up afternoon Tv options at the moment! Thanks for the review and to RayT for at last giving me a toughie I can crack!

  5. Very enjoyable start to the Toughie week oodles of really clever clues of which my favourites were 18a 26a and 17d, thanks to Beam and to Big Dave for his comments.

  6. Very nice puzzle – temptress – tick!. I was struggling down the West coast until 7d and 18a came in. Lots of laughs but 27 stood out for me as well. Thanks fior the Beams to Beam and thanks BD

  7. Similar issue with 24a for a while, 16a 18a favourites but concur 27a stands out as best. Thanks to Beam and BD

  8. failed miserably on this only getting 5 and not understanding some of them even with Daves hints! Now I remember why I don’t do toughies :-(

  9. 27 a bit too obscure for me, but 16 is brilliant misdirection, and my CotD. To my knowledge barristers take briefs, not touts, so that wrecked the NE corner for a while. But totally agree with the consensus otherwise.

    1. I had barrister in there for a while.

      For “brief” Chambers gives A summary of a client’s case by a solicitor for the instruction of a barrister or counsel

      I’ve updated the blog accordingly.

    2. I decided that barrister was too straightforward a response to the clue so waited for some checking letters. Saves on Tippex :)

    3. Very easy to remember – a lady with briefs is a barrister. A lady without briefs is a solicitor.

  10. Excellent crossword. Like CS, I don’t remember a more difficult Beam, but that’s a good thing!

    I also fell for the temptress.

  11. Great fun. For the life of me I could not understand the first 4 letters of 26a, although I knew I had the right answer!
    Many thanks to Beam, and to BD for the notes.

  12. I stalled for a while but the the SW corner fell in, even 24a. Trying to reconcile DISAPPEARED with the wordplay in 1a (“wasted”, geddit?) wasted some time too. Duh!

  13. My eyes lit up when I saw we had Beam today. Brilliant puzzle as usual with many chuckles. Favourite was 7d as this was a laugh out loud. So many good clues and so much fun. I also fell into the 24a trap! Thanks a lot, Ray.

  14. Many thanks to BD for the decryption, and to all for the kind words. I was shocked to see the picture of the Roxy Music album cover as I was expecting a view of some stately piles…


  15. Am I alone in not enjoying some of the convoluted nature of some of today’s clues. I know it’s standard practice to reference single letter abbreviations, but I do think it is rather a lazy option

    1. The clues in this are more compact than is often the case in Toughies, and certainly not as convoluted as some. It’s quite a skill to write clues as good as these in so few words.

      Although Toughie setters have a bit more newsprint real estate than is available on the back page, being able to write so concisely is very useful for a puzzle that’s going to be printed on paper and not just in cyberspace.

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