Toughie 796

Toughie No 796 by Beam

Wot? No Anagrams?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Usually when I finish a puzzle my sheet of A4 is covered with circles of crossed-out letters, but today it looks positively virginal. I have no ‘A’s written against individual clues and my anagram count in the top-left-hand corner is resolutely stuck on zero – I didn’t miss them at all! What we do have is a few of Beam’s trademark innuendoes and the usual references to Queen (as well as ‘Mercurial’ – were we meant to think of Freddie?). As well as having no anagrams the puzzle has no hidden word clues, usually a favourite of Beam.
Let us know how you got on and please remember to indicate your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  One could be across or down (11)
{PREPOSITION} – a part of speech defined by two examples.

9a  About time to return, come down making land (7)
{TERRAIN} – a 1a meaning about or concerning followed by T(ime) get reversed (to return) and this is followed by a verb to come down from the heavens.

10a  Express after instant hard material (6)
{MOHAIR} – a fine, silky material appears when you put a verb to express or articulate after an abbreviated short period of time (instant) and H(ard). The surface doesn’t mean a great deal.

12a  Compound net interest starts with stock (7)
{NITRITE} – this is an organic compound. The starting letters of N(et) and I(nterest) are followed by an adjective meaning stock or predictable.

13a  Fancy girl? Finish off in stable (7)
{SURMISE} – a girl’s title without the final S (finish off) goes inside an adjective meaning stable or confident to make a verb meaning to fancy or conjecture.

14a  Greek character with turn after poem in theatre (5)
{ODEUM} – reverse (with turn) the twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet and put it after a poem to make a theatre in ancient Greece or Rome.

15a  Love flowed around row before church ceremony (9)
{ORDINANCE} – this is a term for a religious ceremony, especially a sacrament. Start with the letter used for zero or love, then have a verb meaning flowed (like a river) containing a horrible noise (row). Finish with the abbreviation for the Church of England.

17a  Fill turnover in speciality appetiser (9)
{FORETASTE} – reverse (turnover) a verb to fill or satisfy (an appetite or desire) and insert it in something in which one excels (speciality) to get a flavour of what’s to come.

20a  Sound of record turning, naff first to last (5)
{PLUMB} – this is a verb meaning to sound (i.e. to measure the depth of a body of water), in this case using a line. Reverse the abbreviation for an old record format and add an adjective meaning naff or of poor quality (sometimes applied to a badly-played musical note) with its first letter moved to the end.

22a  Weapon sky-high in failure almost returned (7)
{SIDEARM} – a personal weapon comes from reversing (returned) a failure (such as a botched penalty shot, if that’s not too sensitive an issue) without its final S (almost) and inserting an adjective meaning sky-high or expensive.

24a  More ample maiden in jumper? That’s redhead (7)
{ROOMIER} – there must be a need for a picture here! The definition is more ample. Insert the cricket abbreviation for maiden between a young Australian jumper and the abbreviation for that is. Finish with the first (head) letter of R(ed).

25a  Bold paw grabbing top of nude female (6)
{MANFUL} – this is an adjective meaning bold or intrepid. Put a verb meaning to paw or grope round (grabbing) the top letter of N(ude) and F(emale).

26a  Most tranquil river leaves mountain for north (7)
{EVENEST} – this is a clunky superlative which (if you ever saw it written) would mean most tranquil or calmest. Start with the most famous mountain and replace its R(iver) with N(orth).

27a  Rubber protection for members? (11)
{WELLINGTONS} – members here are legs (what did you think they were?).

Down Clues

2d  Monarchy accepting one’s fidelity (7)
{REALISM} – a synonym for monarchy or kingdom contains (accepting) I (one) and the ‘S to make fidelity or accuracy.

3d  Massive ‘Queen Elizabeth’ in Atlantic over by America (9)
{PONDEROUS} – an adjective meaning massive and lumbering is formed by inserting the letters used for our Queen between a metaphor for the (North) Atlantic and the cricketing abbreviation for over. Finish it off with an abbreviation for America.

4d  Has around million oil wells (5)
{SUMPS} – a verb meaning has or partakes of (an evening meal, perhaps) contains M(illion) to make oil wells or reservoirs.

5d  Capital charged following case of terrible explosive (7)
{TEHERAN} – a Middle-East capital appears when you append a verb meaning charged or rushed to the outside letters (case) of T(erribl)E and the abbreviation of high explosive.

6d  Head holding sanctimonious view (7)
{OPINION} – a slang word for the head (presumably because of its shape rather than its smell) goes round (holding) a short informal adjective meaning sanctimonious or holier-than-thou.

7d  With small cane, raise one’s hat, initially aloof (11)
{STANDOFFISH} – the definition here is aloof. We have to accumulate lots of bits: a) S(mall), b) a verb to beat or cane, c) a verb to raise (one’s hat to greet someone), d) I (one), e) ‘S and finally f) the initial letter of H(at).

8d  Feel shame for author, almost, penning ‘Hotel’ (6)
{WRITHE} – this was my last answer in as I was looking for the name of an author. A verb to squirm with shame or embarrassment comes from putting a synonym of author without its final R (almost) around (penning) the letter for which hotel is used as a codeword in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

11d  Queen, always Queen, in hit English boom (11)
{REVERBERATE} – what we want here is a verb meaning to boom or resound. Start with the single-character abbreviation for queen (i.e. regina), then add a synonym for always. Take a breath and continue by inserting the two letters used by our Queen inside a verb to hit, then finish with E(nglish).

16d  Most boring ass that is taking Duke to the front (9)
{DREARIEST} – ass is the North American spelling of a word meaning backside. Follow this with the full latin form of the phrase meaning that is, then, as instructed, move the D(uke) to the front of the whole thing.

18d  Beam excellent? This compiler’s put away! (7)
{RADIATE} – a verb meaning to beam is a charade of a) an abbreviated slang word (mainly North American) meaning excellent, b) the subjective form of how Beam (this compiler) would refer to himself and c) a verb meaning put away or consumed.

19d  Cachalot’s end with going-over prepared for blubber (7)
{TEARFUL} – follow the end letter of (cachalot)T with an informal term for a verbal attack (going-over) or reprimand to form an adjective meaning on the point of blubbing.

20d  Mercurial memory held by Greek god (7)
{PROTEAN} – a word meaning memory (in a mechanical sort of way) goes inside (held by) the Greek god of flocks and herds to make an adjective meaning mercurial or volatile.

21d  Married and separated with change of heart (6)
{UNITED} – this is a word meaning married or joined together. If you reverse the middle two letters (with change of heart) it means separated or released.

23d  Lover embracing the Italian football team (5)
{MILAN} – Italian appears to be doing double duty here (unless the definition is just football team, which is very vague). Even if the definition is Italian football team it’s not exactly precise (would Manchester be defined as ‘English football team’?). A male partner (lover) goes round (embracing) an Italian definite article.

My favourite clues were 24a and 16d. What did you like?


20 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    Just had another email from a fellow blogger so that is three of us that thinks Ray may have had a loan of the ‘boots’ when he set this one. I would go so far as to award this 4.5 difficulty and 2* for entertainment. I did like 24a 27a and 16d but I had such problems with the rest of the wordplay and ended up really grumpy. Sorry Ray, I did try but not my favourite Beam toughie. Thanks to Gazza too – nice pics.

    Anyone who was also made grumpy and has time to spare will be able to cheer themselves up no end with the Brendan (Virgilius) in today’s Guardian.

  2. Jezza
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    A few easy ones, and a few that required some thought. Last one in was 17a, and I thought the synonym for 4d was rather vague. 3* on both counts.
    Thanks to Beam, and to Gazza.

  3. BigBoab
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Beam for an enjoyable crossword, I thought it had a reasonable amount easy answers and similarly tough ones, 3* all round for me Thanks also to Gazza for the review.

  4. pommers
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m with CS on this one, not my favourite at all.

    (Thanks for the tip on the Brendan Sue, that one has restored me to a good mood). Now for some tennis :grin:

    Thanks to Beam and Gazza

  5. Dickiedot
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Well I did more than I expected but needed help with quite a few, wrestling with all sorts of rubber wear, none of it for the feet! Marigolds etc…………………..liked 11 and 19 thanks Ray T and Gazza

  6. Pegasus
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Gruelling experience for me this one, I think he must have borrowed Elgar’s boots, favourites were 17a 24a and 25a thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the dissection.

  7. Heno
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Beam & to Gazza for the review & hints. I don’t often venture into Toughieland, but much to my surprise, I completed last Thursday’s unaided. Today was a different kettle of fish, no anagrams or hidden words, I thought I might struggle, and i did. Only managed two answers unaided, 2d & 26a. The rest I wouldn’t have got in a million years, the wordplay seemed so difficult. Still, I will persevere with the odd Toughie, and try not to be discouraged.

  8. William Geddes
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Horrid

  9. Up The Creek
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Always good to see a Beam toughie. Lots of nudge nudge as usual . Favourites 16, 24 and 27. Thanks Ray for a good workout..

  10. RayT
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza for the analysis, and to all who left a comment.

    RayT

  11. andy
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    What else to add, i struggled on some which Gazza made me feel so stupid for missing the blindingly obvious, and got others because I obviously have a warped logic. fave 20d, not sure about 23d, its niggling me, it could work….but it doesn’t imvho. Thanks to Ray / Beam and Gazza as always

  12. OldBee
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Gazza and Ray for this. Did very little, but I tried :D
    Usually finish Ray’s back pagers but this stumped me after a few.
    Reason I’ve posted is to thank Ray for his post. I think that makes this blog really special.
    FWIW my first post after some serious “lurking”.

    • gazza
      Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

      Hi OldBee – welcome to the blog. Now that you’ve de-lurked I hope that we’ll hear from you on a regular basis.

    • crypticsue
      Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      Welcome Old Bee. Hopefully now you have ‘delurked’ we will hear from you again.

      • pommers
        Posted June 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

        Hi and welcome OldBee. Hope to hear from you again.

        Sue, accepting that pedantry is acceptable in crosswordland, is de-lurked one word or hyphenated? You and Gazza seem to disagree about it. Just curious is all :lol:

        • crypticsue
          Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          a quick web search reveals that it can be with or without a hyphen.

  13. Kath
    Posted June 27, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Well I at least had a go. Looked very quickly – nothing. Decided to go for wet dog walk with a few clues buzzing round the head – got one foot into one of my 27 acrosses and made the connection – took it off to go and see if it gave me anything useful (such as a word ending with a W) but it didn’t. Perservated quite a lot more on return from dog walk and eventually ended up with about ten answers (one wrong and several that I wasn’t sure about) before heading for the hints. As always gazza’s hints are so clear that I did several more without needing to look at the answers.
    This was too difficult for me but I’m glad that I tried so thanks to Beam and gazza. One day I WILL be able to do not just any old Toughie (no insults to anyone) but a Beam Toughie – maybe not an Elgar one!!

  14. asterix
    Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    A humbling, 19d experience. I couldn’t get anywhere, and even struggled with some of it after Gazza’s helpful hints!
    Btw, I wondered whether the hint to 11d should read (in 2nd sentence) “…continue by inserting the same single-letter abbreviation letter for Queen (=Regina) inside a verb to hit, then finish with E(nglish).”

    • gazza
      Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

      I think either form of wordplay is equally valid. I thought that the BERAT came from inserting ER in BAT, but inserting R in BEAT is just as good (and may be what Beam intended).

      • gazza
        Posted June 30, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        .. I think that having Queen with a capital letter in the clue just pushes it towards ER rather than R but it’s marginal.