Toughie 971 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 971

Toughie No 971 by Beam

Here’s Another Nice Mess

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

This has all the trademarks of Beam or Ray T – short clues, all single-word answers, mention of Queen, a sprinkling of innuendo and (a fairly recent idiosyncrasy) no anagrams at all. It all adds up to a very entertaining puzzle.
Do let us know how you got on and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to record how enjoyable you found it.

Across Clues

1a  With respect, Right’s always mean with one moving Left (11)
{REVERENTIAL} – string together R(ight), a synonym for always and a verb to mean or require with the I (one) moving one position to the left.

9a  Topless intimacy with buxom model (7)
{EXAMPLE} – intimacy or rumpy-pumpy without its first letter (topless) is followed by an adjective meaning buxom or voluptuous.

10a  Oliver eating end of meal? Not quite! (6)
{HARDLY} – the surname of one half of a comedy duo has the end letter of (mea)L inserted.

12a  Announcement of painting perhaps in part of Sistine Chapel? (7)
{CEILING} – this is probably the only part of the Sistine Chapel that most people have heard of. It sounds like (announcement of) painting a surface with a protective coating.

13a  Little initially solid information about Blur making comeback (7)
{SMIDGEN} – a quick return for this informal word meaning a small amount which we had last week in Toughie 966. The initial letter of S(olid) and an informal word for information have a verb to blur (ignoring the false capitalisation) or make indistinct inserted and reversed (making comeback).

14a  Bent missing never-ending hurt (5)
{ACHED} – an adjective meaning bent or curved with the end letter of (neve)R missing.

15a  Tasty, extremely considerable article almost eaten (9)
{TOOTHSOME} – start with an adverb meaning extremely or excessively and add a second adverb meaning considerable or very much, then insert (eaten) all but the last letter of a definite article.

17a  Hairstyle with Rasta’s head removed knotty problems (9)
{DEADLOCKS} – remove the first (head) letter of Rasta from an appropriate hairstyle.

20a  Drink’s consumed when making this (5)
{TOAST} – a cryptic definition in the style of Rufus. [As Jezza and BD have pointed out this is not just a cryptic definition. You can get to the answer with a small alcoholic drink containing (consumed) AS (when). That makes it a very fine clue.]

22a  More unusual stigma’s oddly clear (7)
{SCARCER} – a stigma or mark on the skin is followed by the odd letters of clear.

24a  Loving circulating, taking one out for party (7)
{ADORING} – start with a present participle meaning circulating or broadcasting and replace the first I (one) with a festive party.

25a  High colour to be got in unoccupied sunbed (6)
{STONED} – insert a colour or shade in the outer (unoccupied) letters of S(unbe)D.

26a  Bold filly reclined without sweetheart (7)
{GALLANT} – filly here is being used in the humorous (and somewhat sexist) sense of a lively young woman. We need another informal word for a young woman and that’s followed by a verb meaning reclined without the centre (heart) of (sw)E(et).

27a  Second little creature needs operation before second large creature (11)
{TRICERATOPS} – this is a charade of a) a second or very short period of time, b) a little animal (although not that little), c) the abbreviation for a military or surgical operation and d) S(econd).

Down Clues

2d  Exhausted compiler upset then quietly getting even (7)
{EMPTIED} – reverse (upset) the pronoun that Beam might use to refer to himself, then add the musical abbreviation for quietly and a synonym for even (when describing scores of 0-0 or 1-1, say).

3d  Brisk stiffener? Get ice chunk… (9)
{ENERGETIC} – hidden (chunk) in the clue.

4d  …lacking opener cheap alcohol includes old spirit (5)
{ETHOS} – the abbreviation for alcohol that has been made unfit for drinking (and therefore exempt from tax and cheap) without its initial letter but with O(ld) inserted.

5d  Corrode coating with time replacing top (7)
{TARNISH} – a shiny coating with T(ime) replacing the first (top) letter.

6d  Everyone therefore having change of heart for fast (7)
{ALLEGRO} – a synonym for everyone followed by a word, from latin, for therefore with the central two letters swapped round (change of heart).

7d  Trade piece taking Queen and check fails, say (11)
{MERCHANDISE} – a piece on the chessboard containing (taking) the identifier of our Queen and the abbreviation for check, then what sounds like (say) a verb meaning fails (as you might use of an engine that runs out of fuel).

8d  Philadelphia state locks up outlaw (6)
{PARIAH} – the standard abbreviation for the state of which Philadelphia is the largest city (but not the capital) followed by a reversal (up) of locks.

11d  Consider perhaps shirtless soldier upped and bolted (11)
{INVESTIGATE} – string together a) ‘perhaps shirtless’ (2,4), b) the reversal (upped) of the abbreviation for a US soldier and c) a synonym for bolted or gobbled.

16d  Person’s laugh, totally catching thrust (9)
{ONSLAUGHT} – hidden (catching) in the clue.

18d  Further fitting to support plug? (7)
{ADAPTER} – an all-in-one clue where the whole clue is the definition. A comparative meaning further (or more) fitting or relevant follows (to support, in a down clue) a plug or puff.

19d  Brief‘s not professional confining jailbird (7)
{LACONIC} – an adjective meaning non-professional or secular has the abbreviation for a jailbird inside it.

20d  Author’s abridged ‘Fanny Hill’? (7)
{TROLLOP} – the fictional Fanny Hill is the definition by example here. Remove the final letter (abridged) from the surname of an English author – you can take your pick from Anthony, the chronicler of Barsetshire, and Joanna, his distant relative and current-day novelist for whose output the term ‘Aga Saga’ was coined.

21d  Pig‘s plate overturned (6)
{ANIMAL} – reverse (overturned) a plate or thin layer.

23d  King’s Indian Defence, easy rapid openings for Knight (5)
{RIDER} – the single-character abbreviation for king (rex) followed by the opening letters of four words in the clue.

My favourites today were 9a, 8d and 18d. Agree or disagree? – let me know.

14 comments on “Toughie 971

  1. 3*/4* for me too. I made harder work of it than I needed to, with phone calls and work distractions going on in the background.
    Many thanks to Beam, and to Gazza for the review.
    I arrived at 20a incorrectly by inserting (consumed) AS(when) into TOT(drink).

    1. I don’t know why you say ‘incorrectly’. That wordplay seems fine (I wish I’d noticed it) and it makes the clue even better.

  2. Very enjoyable toughie from Beam and the usual excellent review from Gazza, many thanks to both.

  3. Good stuff on offer today, favourites for me were 2d 8d and 19d thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Very smug – finished it! :smile:
    I have to confess to needing the hint to explain 11d which I got from the checking letters but couldn’t untangle for myself.
    Favourites include 9a and 8, 20 and 21d.
    With thanks to Beam and gazza.

  5. Crikey! Has the young lady in the picture for 9a never heard of Newton’s Laws of Gravity & Motion?!

    Thanks to Ray T [?] & to Gazza.

    Who will it be tomorrow? I’m looking forward to a real toughie as I have a hospital appointment which involves hanging around for bloomin’ hours.

  6. Wow! I took my time and finished without hints. Very pleased with myself. Loved 17A, 20D and 21D. Many thanks to the setter and to Gazza for the review.

  7. Evening all, and many thanks to Gazza for the analysis. Many thanks also to those who left a comment.


  8. Really struggled with this one – probably too much time in the sun – so thank you gazza for the hints – I doubt I’d have got there without you! Lots of great clues I just made very hard work of it!

  9. It is now just over 18 hours since we finished this and we are still chuckling. Has to be 5* for enjoyment for us. Really loved it. A bit more verbose than Ray often is we thought. A few of the clues actually stretch to 9 words.
    Many thanks Beam and Gazza.

  10. Lovely puzzle with all the RayT trademarks. As usual the hidden words at 3 and 16 were the last in – he hides them so well. Best by a mile was 20a – great surface reading. Also liked 9 17 20b 25 and 27. This man is a master of his craft. Looks like we get a Wednesday toughie one week and a Thursday backie the next from this setter. Must look earlier in 2 weeks time.

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