Toughie 621 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 621

Toughie No 621 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was a real Toughie. I struggled with it for quite some time and think it almost merits 4½ stars for difficulty. The answers are all single words and that always makes life harder for the solver. Personally I’d prefer some multiword answers but that is not Beam’s style.

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          Staggered unbalanced, endlessly holding one’s luggage (11)
{IMPEDIMENTA} Take words meaning “staggered” and “unbalanced” and remove the first letter of the former and the last letter of the latter so that the 2-word combination has no ends. Then insert I (one) to get luggage or encumbrances

9a          River ebbing around legs slipped by (7)
{ELAPSED} A reversal (ebbing) of the name of a river seen at Chester or Balmoral goes round legs (stages) to give “slipped by”

10a        Vitamin from arnica intensely revolting (6)
{NIACIN} A member of the vitamin B complex is hidden in reversed form in arNICA INtensely

12a        Rock group, Queen that is, penned elegy (7)
{REQUIEM} An American rock band formed in 1980 goes round (pens) QU (Queen) IE (that is) to give an elegy

13a        Part of pine containing part of tree scent (7)
{COLOGNE} The seed-bearing part of a pine tree goes round a fallen tree trunk to give a perfumed mixture of alcohol and essential oils

14a        American Indian embracing tribal leader’s ancient civilisation site (5)
{CRETE} A member of a Native American tribe living in Montana and parts of Canada goes round T (first letter of tribe) to give a Mediterranean island where the Minoan civilisation flourished

15a        Official’s stern about matter, right? (9)
{REGISTRAR} Someone who makes/keeps official records is formed from stern (back) round the main point of a matter + R (right)

17a        Ham it up and ‘Lear’ ends terribly exultant (9)
{TRIUMPHAL} An anagram (terribly) of HAM IT UP LR (the ends of Lear) gives “exultant”

20a        Copper’s restraining two fellows in manacles (5)
{CUFFS} The atomic symbol for copper + S goes round FF (two fellows) to give manacles

22a        Train runs before English can switch Continental set-up (7)
{RETINUE} A train is made up of R (rubs) + E (English) + a can + a reversal of EU

24a        Capital returns including a sovereign? (7)
{EMPEROR} A reversal of the name of a European capital city contains “a”, as in 50p a pound, to give a sovereign (ruler)

25a        Noah’s opening ship, on board for fantastic animals (6)
{SNARKS} N (first letter of Noah) + the ship he sailed on goes inside SS (on board a steamship) to give imaginary animals created by Lewis Carroll

26a        Drink is shortly found in back of optic (7)
{RETSINA} A Greek wine is formed from S (a short form of is) inside the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eyeball

27a        It’s brilliant about league goal whacked outside (11)
{RESPLENDENT} “Brilliant” is formed from RE (about) + L (league) goal inside “whacked”


2d          Bombshell girl? I’ll say! (7)
{MISSILE} A bombshell for instance is formed from a girl + a homophone (say) of I’LL

3d          Hard push up under butt for heavy person (9)
{ENDOMORPH} A reversal of H (hard) push (in marketing) follows butt to give a person with a fat and heavy body build

4d          Scornful, lacking respect initially, of ancient order (5)
{IONIC} R (first letter of respect) is removed from “scornful” to give an order of Greek architecture

5d          Helps European outlaw coming back with the French (7)
{ENABLES} “Helps” is made up of E (European) + a reversal of “to outlaw” + the plural form of “the” in French

6d          Third mate, one preparing sails set off (7)
{TRIGGER} T (the third letter of mate) + one who fits ships with sails gives “to set off”

7d          Dismissive of French plundering clubs for date (11)
{DEPRECATORY} “Dismissive” is derived from DE (of in French) + a word meaning “plundering” with the letter C (clubs) replacing the letter D (date)

8d          Sound exterior of oak ship (6)
{BARQUE} A homophone (sound) of what covers the trunk of an oak tree is a small ship

11d        Mundane blunder in two experiments wasting time (11)
{TERRESTRIAL} “Mundane” is “to blunder” inside two words meaning “experiment” from which a T (time) has been removed

16d        Plant, grand rock singer, ancient inside (9)
{GOLDENROD} A plant with yellow flowers is made up of G (grand) + a rock singer (Mr Stewart) round “ancient”

18d        Extreme under canvas, reportedly (7)
{INTENSE} “Extreme” is a homophone (reportedly) of “under canvas”

19d        Delilah, say, cut hair and character flipped (7)
{MANTRAP} A woman who takes a mischievous pleasure in attracting and acquiring men is made up from the hair (on a horse or lion) with the last letter removed + the reversal of a character

20d        One used to reel on deck? (7)
{CAPSTAN} A cryptic definition for a device on board ships for winding in heavy ropes and cables

21d        Amount offered lower than fine gold bar (6)
{FORBID} An amount offered follows F (fine) OR (gold) to give “to bar”

23d        Make certain rook’s taken to get result (5)
{ENSUE} Remove R (rook) from “make certain” to get “to result”

An excellent work-out.

14 comments on “Toughie 621

  1. Great fun. Is it only me or is Ray T getting more devious with his Toughies? Many thanks to Beam (or should he now be known as Wicked Grin) for the crossword and to Bufo for the review. Favourite clues included 3d and 24a.

  2. I agree with Bufo on this one a real Toughie, favourites for me 12a 15a 24a and 8d thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Many thanks to Beam for a truly excellent toughie which, in my opinion, really lived up to the name. I liked 8d and 27a best. Thanks also to Bufo for a super review.

  4. Thanks to Le Sourire Diabolique for a super Toughie which thoroughly deserved its place in the middle of the paper. Lots of lovely clues, I particularly liked 16d. Thanks to Bufo for the lovely review too.

  5. A ‘tricky little rascal’, to borrow pommette’s phrase, but very enjoyable so thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  6. I definitely found this one of Beam’s tougher puzzles, and I enjoyed working through it (over a couple of pints).
    Thanks to him, and to Bufo for the review.

    1. I did it this morning over a couple of cups of tea. i think a couple of pints might have helped!

      1. I solve quicker at work, early morning… but I am off work now until Monday 5th, so it will probably be backpage in the morning with coffee, toughie in the afternoon with beer….. hard life!!

        1. Enjoy!

          I have to do them the other way round – Toughie over breakfast on my own and then the backpager with pommette over lunch. Sometimes I manage to squeeze in a Grauniad as well!

  7. Ye gods, I breezed this one with no help whatsoever. Normally, any Toughie I complete is pooh-poohed by this blog’s afficionados – there’s hope for me yet. :-)

  8. I certainly found this tricky – particularly the sE corner which was hanging out in its entirety at the end. Excellent stuff as ever from RayT. Thanks to him and to Bufo.

  9. Forgot to add that my favourites were the ubiquitous Queen at 12a and also young Rod at 16d (with a great surface reading nodding to Percy!)

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