Toughie 996 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 996

Toughie No 996 by Beam

Mr Editor, you are spoiling us!

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

It’s a double Beamer today! We can’t remember a previous day when we had two five-star puzzles.

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.

Across (Hints by Antony)

7a    Indefatigable team leader lacking passion (8)
{TIRELESS} – the initial letter (leader) of Team followed by an adjective meaning lacking passion

9a    Enticing number, wearing oddly loud outfit (6)
{LURING} – N(umber) inside the odd letters of LoUd and an outfit

10a    Attack animal (4)
{GOAT} – split as (2,2), this is a phrasal verb meaning to attack

11a    Seasoned with time in agreeable surroundings (10)
{CONGENITAL} – T(ime) inside (in … surroundings) an adjective meaning agreeable

12a    City street learner reversed around (6)
{BOSTON} – ST(reet) inside the reversal of a colloquial word for a learner

14a    Most grizzled ram in herd sharing central grassland (8)
{HOARIEST} – insert the Zodiac sign for a ram inside a herd or large number, but only use one of the Ss (sharing the central / middle letter of grassland)

15a    Painful turn given by Queen in European country (6)
{SPRAIN} – the Latin abbreviation for Queen inside a European country

17a    Wicked Left to start heartless Tory silliness (6)
{LEVITY} – start with an adjective meaning wicked, move the L(eft) to the beginning (start) and then add TorY without its inner letters (heartless)

20a    From abstinence in teens getting in trouble? (8)
{ENCEINTE} – a word, from the French, for “in trouble” or “expecting a child” is hidden inside the clue

22a    Rock music, sort of backing, including ‘Bad’ (6)
{PILLAR} – what is allegedly (sort of) regarded as music by today’s teenagers reversed (backing) around a word meaning bad

23a    One description overturned about young and famous (10)
{GLITTERATI} – I (one) and a description or label reversed (overturned) around a brood of young born to an animal

24a    Hue of rose  flower (4)
{PINK} the light red hue or colour of a rose is also another name for the carnation (flower)

25a    Dead possessed, then shot (6)
{DOWNED} D(ead) followed by a verb meaning possessed

26a    Power exercising authority with child (8)
{PREGNANT} – P(ower) followed by an adjective meaning exercising authority or reigning gives another word for 20 across

Down (Hints by Cleo)

1d    Miss rising and almost get up after retiring (8)
{TIMOROUS} Shy or nervous – A reversal of a verb meaning to miss or leave out followed by almost all of a verb meaning to wake up from sleep (get up).

2d    Cricket possibly dropped in school (4)
{SECT} Remove the IN (dropped in) from the type of creature a cricket is to get a group of people with a common interest.

3d    Very light head inhaling carbon monoxide (6)
{BEACON} Usually this light appears in a solution and brings forth cries of ‘Oh I didn’t know that!’. Another type of signal or way of attracting attention (as is a Very pistol) is obtained by inserting the chemical symbol for carbon monoxide into a slang word for head.

4d    Armstrong shortly ascending, knocked back and cut off (8)
{ALIENATE} A reversal (ascending in a down clue) of the Christian name and first letter of the surname of Toughieland’s astronaut of the week followed by a verb meaning knocked back food

5d    Contrived and formulaic if I translate parts backwards (10)
{ARTIFICIAL} Hidden and reversed (parts backwards) in formuLAIC IF I TRAnslate.

6d    Chronicles of Aslan, Narnia turned up (6)
{ANNALS} And another hidden reversal (turned up) – this time in aSLAN NArnia.

8d    Reportedly collapses and agrees in time (6)
{SYNCHS} An informal word meaning happens at the same time sounds like (reportedly) part of a verb meaning collapses or descends.

13d    Grind up then pound with fork getting thinner (10)
{TURPENTINE} A reversal of a grind or dreary routine followed by an enclosure for animals (pound) and a prong of a fork. Took a while to ‘get’ the required definition of ‘thinner’ !

16d    Improper naughty observation initially about half-naked butt (8)
{INNUENDO} Well it wouldn’t be a Ray T/Beam puzzle without this! Insert between first letters (initially) of Improper Naughty and Observation, the first two letters of a four letter word meaning naked, and a synonym for butt (No! Not that one!).

18d    Having yen before realising this? (8)
{YEARNING} Place the abbreviation for Yen before realising in the sense of receiving payments for work.

19d    Standing up, quietly released noxious gas? Run away! (6)
{DECAMP} A reversal (standing up) of the musical abbreviation meaning quietly or softly and a verb meaning sprayed with a type of aerosol defence spray.

21d    Sailor found in hold? (6)
{NELSON} Well there has to be at least one chestnut! Britain’s most famous sailor is also a type of wrestling hold.

22d    Steep paddy ends containing its crop (6)
{PRICEY} Steep in the sense of expensive – Insert the crop of a paddy field between the first and last letters (ends) of PaddY.

24d    Bowls and game’s over (4)
{PANS} Bowls or vessels used in cooking are a reversal (over) of a child’s card game.

Luckily for us, Bufo picked the wrong day to be away and missed all this entertainment. He will be back next week with Toughie 1,000, which should be an extra special Toughie in more ways than one!!

18 comments on “Toughie 996

  1. Many thanks to Beam for the usual brilliant toughie (not his toughest however) and to Antony and Cleopatra for the wonderful review.

  2. A very fine puzzle though spoiled for me by 12ac. I have heard of a newbie or possibly even a newb, but the spelling of it here defeated me,grrr.
    Still a good week for us tuffters so far.

  3. Thursday 20 June is traditionally the first day of Summer so we may have a theme on that basis for No. 1000. Alternatively the lunar phase is waxing gibbous in Scorpio so anything could happen.

    Isn’t Waxing Gibbous a character in the Terry Pratchett books? If not he should be.

    1. Toughie 500 was a collaboration between eight different Toughie setters so.I would imagine we’ll get something similar next week.

  4. Good stuff on offer today, favourites for me were 13d 14a 18d and 23a thanks to Beam and the dynamic duo.

  5. A very interesting exercise today … comparing a back-pager and a Toughie from the same compiler.

    I definitely found the Toughie more difficult, but I am struggling to understand why! Both very enjoyable!

    Thanks to RayT & Beam for the puzzles and to Him & Her for the reviews!

  6. Very enjoyable indeed .Took ages largely because did not see 2d and 10a for quite a while .Learner in 12a new to me but got reasonably quickly as rather strangely just agreed to 10 days there next September .
    Too many favourite clues to list .
    Thanks again to Ray T and the twosome .

  7. Left with three before turning to the hints. Then discovered that 14A was wrong (I had A as the second letter). Still, I feel I’m making progress and I did enjoy this greatly. Thanks to Ray T. for the double header and to A&C for a great review.

    P.S. I agree with the others on the 12A clue.

  8. Setter here again…

    Many thanks to Ant and Cleo for the analysis, and to all who left their observations.


  9. Our cup runneth over. Two great puzzles from a much favoured setter in one day. The two sneaky little four letter words in the SE corner were our last 2 in, but a little perservation saw us home. Had to look in BRB for the novice word in 12a and must admit to being somewhat (pleasantly) surprised to find it there. Good to see that Ray is back to his maximum 8 words per clue recipe. None of this sneaking out to 9 words that we saw in the previous Beam offering.
    Many thanks Beam and A and C.

  10. 20a a new word for me….. but to quote Cleo this was such a dotty puzzle I can’t name a favourite, far too many. Super stuff and agree with ratings. Many thanks Beam and Ant & Cleo

  11. I had to have a 10a (2,2) at this one. I didn’t finish it but enjoyed what I did manage very much.
    Held up in bottom right corner by having the wrong answer for 24d – ‘pots’ reversed = ‘stop’ even though I couldn’t see where the game came into it.
    Am I the only one who doesn’t understand how in 9a ‘congenital’ is ‘seasoned’? I’m obviously being dim here but I just can’t see it. Have been mithering about it all afternoon while cutting grass.
    With thanks to Beam and the dynamic duo.

    1. From Chambers Thesaurus:

      Congenital (as in a congenital liar)
      inveterate, entrenched, habitual, compulsive, chronic, seasoned, hardened, incorrigible, incurable, complete, thorough, utter
      formal: inured

      1. Thanks BD – I knew it had to be somewhere but had always thought that being a congenital liar just meant that it was something you were pretty much born with! Oh dear.
        I thought I’d looked for it everywhere.

    2. “mithering”. I haven’t heard that word in many a year. It was often used in a different context in Yorkshire when I were a lad as in “Quit tha mithering ya miserable bugger!” or “Desist with your persistent complaining”.

      1. I wasn’t complaining, and I’m not a miserable bugger! :smile:
        I meant that I spent the afternoon worrying away at it and trying to make it make sense to me. My Scottish mother-in-law used the word a lot – maybe it’s a regional thing.

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