Toughie 911

Toughie No 911 by Beam

Who needs Anagrams?

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

In the past I’ve felt that there hasn’t been that much differentiation between Beam’s Toughies and the back-page puzzles of his alter ego Ray T but today’s is definitely a step up in difficulty and very enjoyable it is. There are no anagrams and no mention of Queen.

Let us know how you fared and please take the time to record your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

7a  The French bird tied oddly in sheets? (8)
{LAMINATE} – string together a) a French definite article, b) one possible spelling of a bird which can be taught to imitate human speech and c) the odd letters of TiEd.

9a  Made up commercial about fashion event opener (6)
{ATONED} – an abbreviated commercial contains (about) a word (from French) meaning fashion and the opening letter of E(vent).

10a  Frost providing verse for the audience (4)
{RIME} – sounds like a form of verse. You are meant to think of Robert Frost, the American poet.

11a  To sleep, perchance to dream? (10)
{INFINITIVE} – this is defined by two examples (the first indicated by perchance, the second by the question mark), courtesy of Hamlet’s soliloquy.

12a  Handle dropping temperature for very soft drink (6)
{TIPPLE} – start with a handle (in the sense of name) and replace one T(emperature) with the musical abbreviation for very soft. Some indication that it’s the second T that needs replacing would have helped.

14a  Where to see family jewels? Some Chippendale productions! (8)
{CABINETS} – this Chippendale lived in the eighteenth century and as far as I know he wasn’t paid to take his clothes off.

15a  He believes one’s not finished in two ways (6)
{MONIST} – I’ve tried to find out what this person actually believes but it makes my head hurt. As far as I can make out he or she holds that the fundamental character of the universe is unity (as opposed to a dualist who believes in the separation of spirit and matter) – mud seems positively clear compared to this! Insert ON(e) inside two roads (the first a well-known motorway and the second a well-known abbreviation).

17a  Perhaps blow whistle before time, getting robbed? (6)
{BEREFT} – a phrase (2,3) identifying someone who plays the role of a whistle-blower precedes T(ime). The definition is an adjective meaning robbed or deprived of.

20a  ‘Rainbow’ play guitar around clubs with record in comeback (8)
{SPECTRUM} – a verb meaning to play a guitar or similar instrument goes around the reversal (in comeback) of C(lubs) and the abbreviation for an old vinyl record format.

22a  Accompanied by the woman, husband’s shared shrink (6)
{WITHER} – a charade of a preposition meaning accompanied by and a feminine pronoun (the woman). The first words ends in H and the second starts with H but the clue tells us that we only need one because H(usband) is shared.

23a  Instrument dashboard cut including hard covering (10)
{CELLOPHANE} – start with a large musical instrument and add another word for a dashboard without its final L (cut) then insert H(ard).

24a  It’s held out, positively expectant initially (4)
{HOPE} – this is a semi-all-in-one and it’s formed from the initial letters of four contiguous words in the clue.

25a  Single redhead embraced by unsavoury male (6)
{VIRILE} – male here is an adjective meaning manly. I (one, single) and the start (head) of R(ed) are contained (embraced) by an adjective meaning unsavoury or nasty.

26a  Indiscreet play’s about the French chasing tart’s rear (8)
{TACTLESS} – a verb to play (a role) plus the ‘S goes around the French plural definite article and that all follows (chasing) the rear letter of (tar)T.

Down Clues

1d  For non-violence, up in arms if I capitulate (8)
{PACIFISM} – hidden (in) and reversed (up) in the clue.

2d  Dead American president’s name for dam (4)
{DIKE} – D(ead) followed by the nickname of a US President of the 1950s.

3d  French bag with nearly every American tool outside (6)
{VALISE} – a synonym for every without its last letter (nearly) has the American spelling of a workshop tool outside it.

4d  Cursed island and Napoleon’s head cracked, flipped (8)
{DAMNABLE} – join together a) the name of a Mediterranean island to which Napoleon was exiled for a time, b) the leading (head) letter of the old Emperor’s name and c) an adjective meaning cracked or nuts. Then reverse (flipped) it all.

5d  Body‘s able to hold water round midnight (10)
{CONTINGENT} – an adjective meaning able to hold water or not going involuntarily contains the middle letter of (ni)G(ht).

6d  Clergyman raised screen for primate (6)
{VERVET} – this is a type of African monkey. Reverse (raised) the abbreviated title of a clergyman and add a verb to screen or check out.

8d  Remove greasy spoon lifted in empty eaterie (6)
{EFFACE} – an informal term for a greasy spoon type of establishment gets reversed (lifted) inside the outer (empty) letters of E(ateri)E.

13d  Drug one found in drawer, none turned up (10)
{PENICILLIN} – I (one) is inserted (found) in something you’d use to draw with, then reverse (turned up) a word meaning none (no goals perhaps).

16d  Poor exits reversing with double parking (8)
{STRAPPED} – the answer means poor or short of cash. Reverse a verb meaning exits or leaves then double the P (with double parking).

18d  Very unfashionable, almost French sin (8)
{TRESPASS} – a French phrase meaning very old-fashioned (4,5) loses its final é (almost).

19d  Reveal setter’s ruse is over (6)
{IMPART} – the contracted form of ‘setter is’ (as the setter himself may say it) is followed by a ruse or trick reversed (over).

21d  Creative American writer followed by endless beat (6)
{POETIC} – the surname of a nineteenth century US writer best known for his macabre tales is followed by the regular beat of a clock without its final K (endless).

22d  Pull floozie without resistance (6)
{WRENCH} – another word for a floozie or young woman of easy virtue contains (without) R(esistance).

24d  Hospital’s geriatric support (4)
{HOLD} – H(ospital) followed by a synonym for geriatric.

I liked 11a, 14a and 17a but my favourite clue today (for the penny-drop moment) is 5d. What did you enjoy?

16 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The answer to the question in the title is ‘me probably’. Whether it was because I was solving my first toughie for a week and can’t see it probably (I know, I know, excuses excuses), but I did struggle with this, particularly the NE corner.

    Thanks to Gazza for the needed hint or two and to Ray for making me work hard to sort it all out.

    • gazza
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Hi Sue – Good to have you back- we have missed you.

    • axe
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

      Welcome back, I hope all is going well. Your comments have been missed.

  2. jezza
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    I found this very hard today, and a much increased level of difficulty compared to the normal RayT back-pager.
    I always enjoy a puzzle that offers more of a challenge, and this was most satisfying to complete.
    Thanks to Beam, and to Gazza. 4.5* on both counts for me today.

  3. Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Difficult but doable………with the number 911 I was expecting an American theme but………..

  4. Big Boab
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Excellent toughie and review, thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  5. Deep Threat
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Maybe like crypticsue – welcome back Sue – I’m one who needs some anagrams, but I really struggled with this one, and needed Gazza’s hints to finish it.

    My thanks to Beam for the challenge and Gazza for the hints.

  6. Franco
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t notice the absence of anagrams, but was aware of a very strong Gallic influence. Merci à Beam et à Gazza, aussi!

  7. Pegasus
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    This felt more like a Friday Toughie to me, but most enjoyable, favourites were 5d 16d 17a and 23a thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the comments.

  8. andy
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    I struggled in the NE for ages until the almighty penny drop in 11a opened the corner up a bit. Many thanks Beam and Gazza whose favourites match mine

  9. gnomethang
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

    Im still finishing but lots of fun thus far. maybe Rainbow is RayT’s second favourite band. back later if I finish but meanwhile thanks to you both!

    • jezza
      Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      If I’d thought Rainbow was one of his favourite bands, I’d have sung I surrender…

  10. axe
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    I was unable to complete today’s puzzle. I found the top half to be difficult , and especially the N E corner which required assistance of the blog to finish.

    Many thanks to the setter for an excellent puzzle, and Gazza for enlightening me.

  11. RayT
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to Gazza for the analysis, and to everybody who took up the gauntlet.

    RayT

  12. Kath
    Posted January 16, 2013 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

    Only had a quick go at this one – had to try because it’s a Beam. Haven’t looked at hints or comments yet as I intend keep it for Friday when I think an Elgar Toughie is likely as there hasn’t been one for a long time.
    In answer to gazza’s question ‘Who needs anagrams’ I’m afraid that I do. They do at least give a way in to what looks like a tricky puzzle.

  13. Only fools
    Posted January 17, 2013 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    If I revealed the probable cumulative time I spent on this you would probably highlight it to encourage inexperienced solvers rather than moderate it as you normally do .In fact I continued because I was enjoying it . It would be easier to list the clues I did not enjoy than those I did .NE corner like others was particularly troublesome.
    Now going to read the hints/answers and if any errors you may not hear from me again!
    Thanks in advance