Toughie 851 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 851

Toughie No 851 by Beam

Scientific Learning

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s nice to have a challenging start to the week.

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           Special prize so fitting in, for example, science (12)
{ASTROPHYSICS} – S(pecial), a six-letter word for a prize and the Latin for so (often printed within brackets in quoted matter to show that the original is being faithfully reproduced even though incorrect or apparently so) inside a two-letter word (not an abbreviation) meaning for example

8a           For bankrupt, there’s no time to follow gold coach (7)
{AUTOBUS} – a two-letter word meaning for and a word meaning bankrupt without the T (there’s no time) after (to follow) the chemical symbol for gold

9a           Porch covered by silver and aluminium (7)
{VERANDA} – hidden inside the clue

11a        African country‘s flag rolled with unending material (7)
{ERITREA} – reverse a verb meaning to flag or grow weary and add most of (unending) an adjective meaning material or tangible

12a        Rested back with bow of the head (7)
{CRANIAL} – a verb meaning rested and a bow or curve all reversed

13a        Old house shortly to house grand monsters (5)
{OGRES} – O(ld) and a short name for a house, usually preceded by des, around (to house)  G(rand)

14a        Most lifeless girl’s found in drink (9)
{GLASSIEST} – a girl, typically a Scottish girl) and the S from  ‘S inside the abbreviation for an alcoholic drink – although the drink usually has an & in the middle!

16a        Neurotic, I lost, keeping back counsel (9)
{SOLICITOR} – hidden (keeping) and reversed (back) inside the clue

19a        High tea with no seconds (5)
{UPPER} – drop the initial S(econds) from another word for tea as a meal

21a        Learning three Rs for example (7)
{LETTERS} – ABC and XYZ are other examples!

23a        Scrap in bar swallowing last of lager (7)
{EXCERPT} – a preposition meaning bar or apart from around the final letter (last) of lageR

24a        English import and French sobriquet (7)
{EPITHET} – a charade of E(nglish), import or meaning and the French for and

25a        Boasting supporter has trouble accepting victory (7)
{BRAVADO} – a female support garment and a three-letter word for travel around V (Victory as in VE / Victory in Europe)

26a        Exercise reading lines before head creates obstinacy (12)
{PERVERSENESS} – a charade of the abbreviation for Physical Exercise, R (Reading, as in the three Rs), lines or poetry and a headland


1d           More pretentious, a right snob initially, that’s right (7)
{ARTSIER} – a charade of the A from the clue, R(igh)T, the initial letter of Snob, the Latin abbreviation for that is and R(ight)

2d           In retreat, gloomy, wearing soldiers’ tunics (7)
{TABARDS} – reverse (in retreat) an adjective meaning gloomy inside (wearing) the volunteer soldiers

3d           From cartoons laugh turning offensive (9)
{ONSLAUGHT} – hidden (from) inside the clue

4d           Damage taps and almost swear inwardly (5)
{HAVOC} – the usual letters found on taps with all bar the final W of a verb meaning to swear inside (inwardly)

5d           Beat mug after drink’s not left (7)
{SURPASS} – the definition is to beat or do better than – a mug or fool after a verb meaning to drink noisily without the L(eft)

6d           Piece of French bread (7)
{CENTIME} – a cryptic definition of a small unit of the former currency of France – “old French bread” might have been fairer [I am reliably informed by two French residents that this term is still used for a hundredth of a Euro, but it’s not in Chambers]

7d           She‘s turned out single in French region (12)
{MADEMOISELLE} – a verb meaning turned out or constructed followed by a single as a Roman numeral inside a French wine-growing region

10d        Something sometimes seen scanning sonnets? (12)
{ALLITERATION} – this is an example (indicated by the question mark) of the recurrence of the same initial letter

15d        About in time, fit and willing (9)
{AGREEABLE} – a two-letter word for about inside a period of time followed by an adjective meaning fit

17d        Grate tops of ice cubes into coffee (7)
{LATTICE} – grate here is a noun – the initial letters of two words in the clue inside a milky coffee

18d        Writer‘s ordinary volume supporting scrutiny, say (7)
{CHEKHOV} – O(rdinary) and V(olume) after (supporting) what sounds like (say) a scrutiny

19d        Get out of one’s box? (7)
{UNCRATE} – a cryptic definition of a verb meaning to remove from a large box

20d        Offender’s getting endless shag inside, maybe (7)
{PERHAPS} – police slang for an offender and the S from ‘S around (S)HA(G) without its outer letters (endless)

22d        Instrument which is put about by Queen (5)
{SITAR} – a verb meaning to put followed by A(bout) and the Latin abbreviation for Queen

The usual excellent challenge from Ray T’s alter ego

20 comments on “Toughie 851

  1. Lovely stuff. 3.5* and 4* indeed. I did feel I needed my chapeau on for quite a few of these clues but I did enjoy myself immensely. Favourite clue has to be 10d. Thanks to Ray and BD too.

  2. 4*/4* for me. I started this one early this morning, and finished it off at lunchtime, in between picking up the telephone and other work inconveniences that get in the way of crossword solving!
    Lots of super clues in this one; many thanks to Beam, and to BD.

  3. Excellent crossword from an excellent setter, thoroughly enjoyable without being overly difficult, brilliant stuff! Many thanks also to our leader for another excellent review.

  4. Couldn’t resist having a go even if everything else that I was going to do today now has to be squashed into far less time!
    Finished it, but only if needing a few hints for explanations counts as finishing. Getting the four long answers round the outside quite quickly certainly helped. Will wait for the down hints to explain my other ‘problems’!
    Too many brilliant clues to pick out any in particular – maybe 21a and 4, 6 and 10d.
    With thanks to Beam and BD.

  5. I saw BD’s initial comment & thought that’s me buggered but I shall persevate even if it means resorting to the hints then probably end up back-solving tomorrow if I can be trusted not to use the cursor to reveal the answers today…

  6. Good start to Toughie week, I found the East side more difficult than the West favourites were 5d 10d and 25a thanks to Beam and to Big Dave for the review.

  7. I can normally solve a RayT back-pager, but I found Mr Beam far too difficult today! Lots of missing solutions – not helped by being convinced that 6d was “croûton”.

    I’m very impressed that the setters can change the level of difficulty! How do they do that?

    Thanks to BD for the many explanations required.

  8. Thanks to Beam & Big Dave. Don’t know how you folks do it. I can only get two answers. 13a & 1d, although I needed the hint to get the first 4 letters. I’ll look at the hints for the 4 long ones..

      1. Hi Franco, like you, I can normally do a back page Ray T, but the Beam Toughie is a complete mystery.!

  9. Loved it from go to whoa. Excellent clues with lots of D’oh moments. Many thanks Beam and BD.

  10. I concede defeat with this one. Many thanks to BD for explaining to me that which i failed to understand, and to the setter for a very tough Toughie. Hope to do better tomorrow.

  11. 4* 4* from me too, last to parse that instrument at 22d, my d’oh of the day. Many thanks as ever to Beam if only for 10d and to BD

  12. Thanks to RayT for another great puzzle with lots of misdirection. Favourite was 10 but so many fine clues as usual with no anagrams which is quite refreshing.

  13. With the help of BD I got there but had to look this morning as to why 5d & 14a were what they are. Thanks to Ray T & to BD.

Comments are closed.