Toughie 655 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 655

Toughie No 655 by Beam

A Ray of Sunshine

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

It’s my lucky day again – a Toughie from one of my favourite setters.

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    Cable television broadcast without Elvis on show (10)
{NOTICEABLE} – an anagram (broadcast) of CABLE TE(LEVIS)ION without the letters of ELVIS gives a word meaning on show or evident

6a    Theatrical group (4)
{CAMP} – a double definition – theatrical or exaggerated and a group or faction

9a    Ignore tabloid regularly including pair… (5)
{SPURN} – this verb meaning to ignore is created by taking a well known tabloid newspaper and inserting the abbreviation of pair regularly inside (i.e. the tabloid forms the odd letters of the answer and the pair the even)

10a    Bible’s definite about one in empty tomb (9)
{SCRIPTURE} – to get the sacred writings of Christianity contained in the Bible put a four-letter word meaning definite around a five letter tomb after removing the middle letter (empty) and inserting I (one)

12a    Unjust power replacing head of military (7)
{PARTIAL} – an adjective meaning unjust or biased is created by replacing the initial letter (head) of an adjective meaning military, frequently used to describe military law, with P(ower)

13a    Round gong struck excessively, initially (5)
{OBESE} – this word meaning round or plump is built up from a gong or award followed by the initial letters of Struck Excessively

15a    Headless ‘thing’ outside one’s furthest lines of sight (7)
{RETICLE} – remove the initial letter (headless) from a thing or object and then insert the final (furthest) letter of onE to get an attachment to an optical instrument consisting of a network of lines of reference

16a    Quarantine island, run down, containing nothing (7)
{ISOLATE} – this word meaning to quarantine or segregate is created from I(sland) and a word meaning to run down or criticise into which O (nothing) has been inserted

18a    ‘Wall’, backing Wright’s ultimate record, a hit (7)
{PARAPET} – this wall or railing is created by reversing (backing) a charade of the final (ultimate) letter of WrighT, an Extended Play record, A and a hit

20a    Powerful detectives hold a multitude back (7)
{DYNAMIC} – a word meaning powerful is created by putting the police department for detectives around a multitude and then reversing (back) the lot

21a    Fruit in bowl I chilled… (5)
{LICHI} – one of the spellings of this fruit (Chambers lists five) is hidden inside the last three words of the clue

23a    …covered with syrup! (7)
{TOUPEED} – a cryptic definition of wearing a syrup of figs (wig)

25a    Servant of Turandot ends in andante movement (9)
{ATTENDANT} – this servant is created by putting the outside letters (ends) of TurandoT inside an anagram (movement) of ANDANTE

26a    Oriental ceremony’s held back splendour (5)
{ÉCLAT} – hidden (held) and reversed (back) inside the first two words of the clue is a word meaning splendour or flamboyance

27a    Neat way to colour fabric, dropping ends (4)
{TIDY} – to get this word meaning neat start with a way to colour fabric (3-3) and drop the final letters (ends) of each of the two three-letter words

28a    Refractory’s hot and danger’s spreading (10)
{HEADSTRONG} – this word meaning refractory or stubborn is an anagram (spreading) of HOT and DANGER’S


1d           For beak, rope’s heartless (4)
{NOSE} – the facial feature for which beak is slang is created by dropping the middle letter from a rope

2d           After time, safe to embrace strange bird (9)
{TRUMPETER} – put  T(ime) and criminal jargon for a safe around a word meaning strange to get this  loud-voiced crane-like S American bird

3d           Mechanism blocked by church? (13)
{CONTRACEPTION} –  put a mechanism around the Church of England and then read this all-in-one clue again to get the cryptic definition of this  method of prevention of unwanted pregnancy, which is forbidden by some churches [Thanks Gazza – I missed that}

4d           Gold colour for good sign (7)
{AUSPICE} – a charade of the chemical symbol for gold and colour or excitement gives a good sign or omen

5d           Singer immortalised in rock (7)
{LORELEI} – this siren whose song lured boatmen onto the rocks has become a bit of an old chestnut

7d           Crucial economy admitted by hospital department (5)
{ACUTE} – an adjective meaning crucial is created by putting a topical means of economy inside a hospital department

8d           Pressure on judge accepting new criminal’s first bent (10)
{PREFERENCE} – P(ressure) is followed by a football or boxing judge into which the initial letters of New Criminal are inserted (accepting) to get a bent or  inclination

11d         I say ‘stick’ following declaration (13)
{PRONOUNCEMENT} – a charade of the part of speech of which “I” is an example (say) and a verb meaning to stick or bind gives a declaration

14d         Fuel Rover’s last foreign car in factory (10)
{PROPELLANT} – this fuel used to power a rocket is created by putting the final letter of RoveR and a German car manufacturer inside a factory

17d         Creature’s weak, covered by wing flap (9)
{ARMADILLO} – this American mammal with long snout is created by putting a three-letter word meaning weak or unwell inside a wing or department and a flap or fuss

19d         Bird’s support missing top ends of tape measure (7)
{TITRATE} – a charade of a small bird, a support garment without its initial letter (missing top) and the end letters of TapE gives a verb meaning to measure the strength of a solution

20d         Scared by dead relative, heartless Dane flipped (7)
{DAUNTED} – this word meaning scared or intimidated is built up from D(ead), a female relative and D(an)E without its middle letters (heartless) and reversed (flipped)

22d         Called distinguished in speech (5)
{CITED} – this verb meaning called or summoned sounds like (in speech) a word meaning distinguished or  observed

24d    Jack rabbit grabbing rabbit’s tail’s male (4)
{STAG} – this is the clue where the wordplay caused me the most difficulty – reverse (jack / raise in a down clue) a word meaning to rabbit or chatter and then enter the final letter (tail) of rabbiT to get a male

Lets hope this sets the tone for the week.

20 comments on “Toughie 655

  1. Highly enjoyable romp from Beam today. I must have been on the right wavelength as this did not take overly long to complete. Last few answers went in as we arrived at Waterloo so probably only a 21/2 ** for difficulty for me.

    Although great fun, I thought it lacked a little bit of the usual Ray T sparkle, but that may just be me.

  2. Thank you very much to the Beaming Ray T for a superb Tuesday Toughie. I agree with the 4* difficulty rating – at one time I did think you were going to defeat me! Definitely 5* enjoyment too – my favourites include 27a, 3d and 5d but the top favourite has to be the ‘laugh out loud when you get it’ 23a. Thanks to BD for the hints and explanations too.

    Lovely stuff- let’s hope the rest of the week’s Toughies are just as splendid.

  3. Thoroughly enjoyable challenge I too agree with Daves rating , Favourites for me 13a 23a 5d and 24d thanks to Beam and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. I much prefer RayT to Beam – today’s Toughie seemed to lack the wit that is always so evident in his back-pagers.

  5. Aaarrgghhh, how did I miss the rhyming slang in 23a. I romped merrily through this then got royally stuck on that. Amongst many favourites 3d, 5d and 11d, but 24d stands out purely because I am so nearly always beaten by my nemesis four letter words.

  6. Thanks Ray for another great contest. So many good clues from a setter on top form, with 3 and 23 outstanding. `Hope we get another RayT on Thursday – fingers crossed1

  7. Because he is my favourite back page crossword compiler I thought that I’d have a go at this one (it’s been raining hard all afternoon so not doing “jungle warfare”) – have so far managed about half of it. What I’ve done I’ve really enjoyed – don’t want to look at hints yet – might “perservate” a bit more after supper. Love 2 and 11d. With thanks to Ray T and, in advance of having read them, to BD for the hints which I’m as sure as hell going to need later on.

    1. Do persevate Kath! This puzzle is tricky but doable. I’d advise ear muffs though as some of the pennies might drop with a very loud clang!

  8. As an ex-chemist I can’t believe how long it took me to get 19d – D’oh and double D’OH!
    Excellent puzzle and a lot of fun but I agree with others that it maybe wasn’t as sparkly as a RayT back pager. Didn’t spot a Queen reference but is that done only under RayT guise, or am I being stupid?
    3d was great but 24d favourite – answer obvious but it took ages for the penny to drop on the wordplay.
    I know of the bird in 2d as a breed of domestic pigeon rather than the South American version, my neighbours in England had one!
    Many thanks to Beam for the entertainment and to BD for the excellent review.

    Not been on the blog much recently due to back-to back visitors – we’ve had only 9 days ‘visitor-free’ since 3rd Sept but now they’ve all gone home! Surprised I’ve managed to fit in the Wednesday blog over the last few weeks! Anyway, back to normal at last so I’ll be here tomorrow (not blogging as it’s Falcon’s turn tomorrow)!

  9. Certainly not easy and with some lovely clues. Another one of those puzzles where the surface stops you picking the definitions until you start ignoring the surface readings. I share BD’s pain on 24d as I missed it despite haing solved -> GAB around N for BANG today in the Times.
    Favourite was 23a – whilst exccellent I did write it in immediately (after rejecting wigged or bewigged in the letter count – there are a few things that will never get pulled over my head!)
    Thanks to Beam and to BD for the review.

  10. I’ve had another go at this one after supper and managed to add a couple of answers – the rest completely defeated me and I have at last, in the interests of getting to bed at a half decent hour, resorted to the hints and, in most cases, the answers. What is it about the toughies? Are they REALLY more difficult or do some of us go into them with a defeatist attitude? Not sure! What I AM sure about is that some of the ones I failed on I would probably have managed had they been “ordinary” back page puzzle clues – think that I’ve answered my previous question! I really should have got 23a – we had “syrup” quite recently in a back page crossword – it was a new bit of cockney rhyming slang to me then and I swore that I would remember it – I didn’t!! Could go on at length but I won’t, for once!! I did really enjoy having a half a***d attempt at this one. With thanks to Beam and especially to BD for getting me out of trouble! :grin:

    1. I used to think I could never solve an Elgar puzzle – in my pre-blog days I looked at one on and off from Friday to Saturday evening before the last clue in. Then I decided that each puzzle must be solveable in the end otherwise the setter would be wasting their time and effort. keep perservating Kath, you’ll get there.

    2. Kath
      Toughies are mostly harder than even a ‘tricky’ back page puzzle but are usually fairly clued and worth a bit of persevation. Don’t be daunted by the title! They are a bit prone to include a couple of words you’ve never heard of but the wordplay can often give you the answer and then you need a quick dictionary check.
      A couple of years ago I got nowhere with them but now I can solve a few and in most of the ones that defeat me I get all but a couple – I’m enjoying the tussle! You get plenty of D’oh moments and the thought that ”why didn’t I see that earlier’ occurs often! I guess that with lots of persevation my solving of Toughies is now about the same level as it was of back pagers 3 years ago!
      WARNING – Approach ‘Elgar’ on Friday with trepidation!

  11. Another excellent puzzle from Beam. Not too much difficulty in filling the grid, although explaining why was a little trickier (esp 24d).
    Favourite clue – 3d. As soon as I saw ‘support’ in 19d, I knew an item of clothing was going to feature somewhere in the answer!
    Thanks to BD for the notes.

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