Toughie 684 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 684

Toughie No 684 by Beam

Ooh Missus!

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

All of Beam’s trademarks are here – single-word answers, short and pithy clues, mention of Queen and lots of tongue-in-cheek double-entendres. It’s all thoroughly enjoyable. It took me longer than it should have because I initially wrote in the wrong answer for 7d.
Tell us how you got on and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to register your enjoyment.

Across Clues

1a  A peer turned to Conservative blue peerage (11)
{ARISTOCRACY} – a word meaning peerage comes from running together A, the reversal (turned) of a title given to some male peers, TO, C(onservative) and a synonym for blue or risqué.

9a  Slow movement of stake gripping desperate character (7)
{ANDANTE} – a slow movement in a piece of music is formed by putting a betting stake around (gripping) the desperately tough character from the Dandy comic.

10a  Provokes through obscenity, almost (6)
{INCURS} – a verb meaning provokes or attracts is built from a preposition meaning through or by way of followed by a spoken obscenity which loses its final E (almost).

12a  Play endless record by Queen in can (7)
{DISPORT} – here’s Beam’s signature – a reference to Queen. A verb meaning to play or gambol comes from a record without its final C (endless) followed by another word for can or container with R(egina) inside.

13a  Bug Russian government losing head for good (7)
{GREMLIN} – the large complex off Red Square which houses the Russian government (and which is used as a shorthand way of referring to that government) loses its initial letter which is replaced by G(ood) to make an unexplained bug (in a piece of software, for example).

14a  Old transport company has single passenger vehicle (5)
{LINER} – the initials of a famous railway company in the days of steam contains (has) I (single) to make a passenger vehicle.

15a  Decipher stone tablet after time passed (9)
{TRANSLATE} – a stone tablet, which school pupils used to write on many years ago, comes after T(ime) and a verb meaning passed or elapsed.

17a  Bar supporter, one’s moved towards end (9)
{BRASSERIE} – start with a female support garment and move the I (one) towards the end to make a bar where food as well as drink is served.

20a  Hop, skip and jump (5)
{CAPER} – hop, skip and jump is what the field event now called the triple jump used to be called. I think that it’s just being used here as a cryptic definition of a verb meaning to dance around playfully.

22a  Vulgar slapper after drink, first to finish (7)
{UPSTART} – the definition is vulgar or pretentious. Put a promiscuous woman or slapper after a verb meaning drinks without its initial S (first to finish, i.e. do away with the first letter). another word for drink with its first letter moved to the end. [Thanks to Gilbert for sorting out the correct  wordplay.]

24a  Look North? (7)
{BEARING} – double definition, the question mark indicating that North is just an example of the second.

25a  One may fetch stick keeping cool (6)
{CANINE} – an animal that likes fetching things (and then chewing them up rather than giving them back, if mine is anything to go by) is made from a stick (that may be used to aid walking or as an instrument of punishment) around (keeping) an adverb meaning cool or fashionable.

26a  Classy pair seen on some women (7)
{TWINSET} – LOL – it’s double-entendre time again. This is just a suggestive cryptic definition of a woman’s matching cardigan and jumper.

27a  Go around Romeo in nude, strangely naked (11)
{UNVARNISHED} – a verb meaning to go or disappear has the letter for which Romeo is used in the Nato phonetic alphabet inserted (around), then all that goes inside an anagram (strangely) of NUDE to make a synonym for naked or pure.

Down Clues

2d  Acrimony controlled company, then game’s up (7)
{RANCOUR} – a word meaning acrimony is a charade of a) a synonym for controlled or managed, b) the abbreviation for company and c) the abbreviation for a 15-a-side game reversed (up, in a down clue).

3d  ‘Protect and Serve’ initially confused witness (9)
{SPECTATOR} – this witness is an anagram (confused) of PROTECT A(nd) S(erve),

4d  Due to win, goal’s included (5)
{OWING} – included in the clue is a word meaning due.

5d  Disease caught from insects (7)
{RICKETS} – remove the C(aught) from noisy insects to leave a disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin D.

6d  Completely love fabulous bird lifting part of bloomers (7)
{COROLLA} – this is a word for the inner circle of petals in flowers (part of bloomers). String together a) a synonym for completely, b) O (love) and c) a mythological gigantic bird featured in the Arabian Nights. Finally reverse the lot (lifting, in a down clue).

7d  Supporter of all things wicked? (11)
{CANDELABRUM} – I confidently wrote in candlestick for this, then ended up staring at an almost blank SW quadrant before I twigged that “all” in the clue meant that this object is designed to support many, rather than just one, of the wicked things.

8d  Creator who made light of his work (6)
{EDISON} – this is the surname of a prolific American inventor. Although he didn’t invent the electric light bulb he was the first to produce and market a reliable long-lasting one.

11d  Endlessly frightened before opening question (11)
{INTERROGATE} – start with a phrase (2,6) meaning frightened, then drop the last letter (endlessly) and add an opening (into a field, say).

16d  Provokes cricketers holding England following superb runs (9)
{ACERBATES} – cricketers (not bowlers, the others) contain E(ngland) and that then follows an informal word for superb and R(uns) to make a verb meaning provokes or irritates. We’re more used to seeing this word preceded by ex- when it means to make worse.

18d  Don’t make one cross? (7)
{ABSTAIN} – … when you’re in the polling station.

19d  Fires up lacking energy and strength (7)
{STAMINA} – a verb meaning fires or energises is reversed (up, in a down clue) and the E(nergy) is taken out to produce a word meaning strength or staying power.

20d  Tea with Hatter’s companion sharing a cup (7)
{CHALICE} – an informal word for tea is followed by the name of the Mad Hatter’s companion at the tea party, then the final letter of the first word and the first letter of the second are combined into one (sharing A) to make a communion cup.

21d  Minister’s corporeal training about divinity with holy man (6)
{PRIEST} – put the abbreviation for physical (corporeal) education around the abbreviation for religious indoctrination and finish with the abbreviation for a holy man.

23d  Threepenny bits, occasionally wooden (5)
{TREEN} – the odd (occasionally) parts (bits) of the first word form an archaic adjective meaning wooden. Now if only I knew what threepenny bits were rhyming slang for I might be able to find an illustration …

Amongst my favourite clues were 26a, 5d, 6d and 7d, but best of all for me today was 20d. Let us know what tickled you.

22 comments on “Toughie 684

  1. This was a pleasure to solve, with plenty of smiles and chuckles along the way.

    Thanks to Beam (hopefully we will see you again tomorrow), and to Gazza for the explanations.

  2. I thought this was a bit tricky but got there in the end! Thoroughly enjoyable though!
    I did the same as Gazza with 7d! Glad I wasn’t the only one! How many more I wonder?
    Thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  3. Ditto with 7d, I found this quite challenging and struggled for a long time with the NW, very enjoyable however. Thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Didn’t fall for 7d but put clear in at 20a initially which made 21d a tad tricky. Too many LOL moments to mention but agree 20d favourite. Thanks to Beam and Gazza. Unlike Brian in the other place I too hope it is a RayT tomorrow

  5. Excellent offering from todays setter, some well crafted surface readings of which my favourites were 1a 7d 19d and 27a thanks to Beam for the challenge and to Gazza for the usual splendid dissection.

  6. My interpretation of 22A (the drink part) involved moving the first letter of SUP to the end thus UPS…….

    1. Hi Gilbert,
      Your post had to be moderated because you’ve made a slight change to your email address.
      I’m sure you’re right about 22a. I’ll update the blog. Thanks!

  7. Beam has done it again – brilliant. That has made my day – so many good clues and so many titters. Queen, French, nudge nudge, wink wink – all there! No favourite as I could not pick one out as they were all outstanding.
    Hope Ray is back tomorrow – fingers crossed.

  8. I struggled with this one but got there eventually with help. Guilty with 7d but then compounded it with trying to fit the plural in. Once I got my brain in gear I did enjoy it.

  9. Took me a while to sort this one out (I did email Prolixic to check that it was a wicked Beam rather than just my solving on a piece of A4 rather than my trusty newspaper version and he confirmed it was Beam not me). Great fun from start to finish with too many clues to pick a favourite, although I think 26a might just top the list. Many thanks to the Beaming One and to Gazza too.

  10. “All the nice girls love a candle” please God I must be missing something and this is not what “wicked” infers.
    Or do RCs associate candles with the expiation of sin. What a strange clue to a proddy.

  11. Thanks, Gazza, for pointing me in the direction of this toughie because of who the compiler is – it is SO FAR beyond my capabilities that I hang my head in shame. :oops: I managed precisely four answers! :oops: again! One day I will get to grips with these toughies! One of my four answers was 20d which I loved. The less said about the rest of my effort the better!! I DO hope that the back page crossword tomorrow is a Ray T – it might restore my seriously dented confidence.

    1. Keep trying Kath, don’t let the Toughie Traumas affect your back page confidence.I had a bit of a disaster today with this one.

  12. Many thanks to Beam for the puzzle and to Gazza for the review and hints.It was a tale of two halves for me, just needed one hint to complete the top half.Favourites were 1&9a.Then despite reading Gazza’s review, I still put candlestick for 7d ( also a favourite ) & then needed 10 hints to finish, but I had to look up 9 of them. Despite that, I still enjoyed it.

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