Toughie 1043 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1043

Toughie No 1043 by Beam

Say No More

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

This is a typical puzzle from Mr Beam, complete with reference to Queen and plenty of nudge, nudge clues. I really enjoyed it, but if I have one minor criticism it is that some of the surface readings (e.g. 22d) don’t really mean a lot.

Please let us know what you thought and how you got on.

Across Clues

1a  Looks back, facing Sodom initially (12)
{COUNTENANCES} – a verb to back or agree to is followed by the initial letter of Sodom.

8a  Queen record with guitar flourish … cut a copy (7)
{REPLICA} – string together the single-character abbreviation for queen, an old record format, a guitar flourish with its final letter cut off and A.

9a  Police work chasing mobster’s booze (7)
{ALCOPOP} – a shorthand way of describing a police operation (3,2) follows the usual old US mobster.

11a  Characters having inclination towards the right (7)
{ITALICS} – an old chestnut is always helpful in getting started.

12a  Missionary position being embraced by topless man (7)
{APOSTLE} – a position or job is contained in a man without his top letter. If you think I’m going to be illustrating missionary position you can think again! You’ll have to make do with a topless man (which can do double duty as a hint for one of the other clues as well).

13a  Masculine women supplanting male in a feeble way (5)
{WANLY} – start with an adjective meaning masculine or macho and replace the M(ale) with W(omen).

14a  Model bent endlessly, totally gutted by exercise (9)
{ARCHETYPE} – an adjective meaning bent or bowed loses its final letter. Now add the outer letters of T(otall)Y and the abbreviation for physical exercise.

16a  Shortest dance embracing maiden that’s missing date (9)
{SKIMPIEST} – a verb to dance or prance contains the abbreviation for a maiden over in cricket. After that we need the full latin phrase meaning ‘that is’ without the D(ate). This is the second outing for embrace as a containment indicator and we’ve only had eight clues.

19a  Sectarian shot in scrap (5)
{BIGOT} – a shot or attempt inside a scrap or small amount.

21a  Tempts Italian leader into immorality, first to last (7)
{INDUCES} – the Italian word for leader goes inside immorality or iniquity with its first letter moved to the end.

23a  Sheet is one of these (7)
{ANAGRAM} –  … just as ethos is one of those.

24a  Even admire fabulous ship nearly capsizing (7)
{GRADUAL} – a charade of a verb to admire or praise and Jason’s fabulous ship without its final letter (nearly), all needing to be reversed (capsizing).

25a  Severe scrap in ‘correctional’ institution (7)
{SPARTAN} – a scrap or fragment goes inside the abbreviation for the institution where one may go to ‘correct’ one’s ill-health.

26a  Passionate European one in French department? (12)
{MADEMOISELLE} – the surface paints the traditional picture of a young female teacher from France working in a British school – although the one that our school shared with the local Girls’ school was exceedingly shy and would hastily skip over any pages containing underwear pictures in the French magazine articles that we were attempting to translate. Start with an adjective meaning passionate or fervent then add E(uropean) and the name of a département in eastern France with I (one) inserted.

Down Clues

1d  Cover can include Independent leader (7)
{CAPTAIN} – a cover followed by a can containing I(ndependent). As Jezza was the first to point out my parsing doesn’t work, so unless someone can come up with a different explanation we’ll have to assume that there’s an error in the clue.

2d  Headless lack of purpose provides the opposite (7)
{UTILITY} – a word meaning lack of purpose or uselessness loses its first letter (headless) to leave another word meaning the opposite.

3d  Time slowed down taking second to change (9)
{TRANSLATE} – T(ime) followed by a phrase (3,4) meaning slowed down contains (taking) S(econd).

4d  Creature seen in many a lake (5)
{NYALA} – hidden (seen) in the clue.

5d  Part of body almost swelled getting gangrene (7)
{NECROSE} – I think that gangrene here has to be a verb (to become gangrenous) for the clue to work. The answer is a verb (new to me) meaning to be affected with gangrene. Start with a part of the upper body without its final K (almost) and add a verb meaning swelled (like a successful soufflé, for example).

6d  Fellow feeling compiler up and slap hardly ends! (7)
{EMPATHY} – reverse (up) how Beam refers to himself, than add a slap or light hit and both ends of hardly.

7d  Persuading supporter where Obama lives to lose weight (12)
{BRAINWASHING} – a support garment is followed by where the US President lives (2,10) but with the heavy weight dropped.

10d  Demonstrate embodying New Age apprehension (12)
{PRESENTIMENT} – a verb to demonstrate or display contains N(ew) and a synonym for age.

15d  Oddly, chap to head riskiest release (9)
{CATHARSIS} – the odd letters from four consecutive words in the clue.

17d  Musical virtually without backing raised from state (7)
{INDIANA} – a stage (and later film) musical loses its final letter (virtually) and that goes outside (without) a word for backing or assistance. Finally it’s all reversed (raised, in a down clue).

18d  Imagine Scot pickled with no limits (7)
{PICTURE} – an ancient Scot from the Highlands is followed by a past participle meaning pickled or preserved without the letters at either end (with no limits).

19d  Pitt’s the greatest, we hear, boring tool! (7)
{BRADAWL} – Pitt is neither the Elder nor Younger but a modern star. Add what sounds like a word meaning the greatest or the maximum.

20d  Choke from carburettor a garage put back (7)
{GAROTTE} – hidden (from) and reversed (put back) in the clue.

22d  Cricket ground since over without a volley (5)
{SALVO} – a charade of a London cricket ground and a synonym for since, all reversed and dropping one of the As.

The clues which I liked best today were 12a, 6d and 7d. Let us know which ones entertained you.

22 comments on “Toughie 1043

  1. 3*/4* for me. I am still confused by 1d; I am no doubt being very stupid, but i have CAP(cover) TIN(can), but where does the A come from?
    Thanks thanks to Beam, and to Gazza.

    1. Oops! I just wrote the answer straight in without thinking too much about it. It looks like a bit of a boo-boo (unless anyone can come up with some alternative wordplay).

  2. Thanks to Beam for the fun and Gazza for the illustrated explanations. Anyone else suffer extreme ‘d’oh-itis’ when they realised what 23a was?

    1. Yes, I even googled sheet hoping wiki would come to the rescue before the answer rawboned – d’oh indeed!

      Thanks to Beam for an enjoyable puzzle and to Gazza without whom I would not have finished!

  3. Good stuff pity about 1d, favourites for me were 2d 7d and 17d thanks to Beam and to Gazza for a fine review.

  4. Finally finished but not without looking at the hints for 1 and 7d to get me going again, having ground to a halt and realising that without them I was stuck.
    I liked 12 and 26a and 7 and 15d.
    With thanks to Beam for the Toughie and to gazza for the hints.

    Maybe we could ask Beam if he has already decided whether he’s Beam or Ray T when he starts to set a crossword, or if he waits until he’s finished to see how tricky it is. There again I suppose it’s possible that the Crosswords editor decides which envelope it goes in.

    1. Don’t know about Beam but I had a conversation with Micawber once who said that he can’t tell how difficult a crossword is because, of course, he knows all the solutions!

      1. Yes, but I still don’t understand how all the great and good, not to mention clever, set crosswords of different degrees of trickiness. Never mind – not terribly important really – I’ll just stick to the “I know my place and I can’t really do Toughies”. One day I will be able to but not sure when that might be . . .

  5. Even overnight cogitation could not work out the parsing for 1d so concluded that it must have been an error. Took a while to parse 17d but did get there. Did the usual word count on the clues and pleased to report that the 8 word maximum has been adhered to once again. Lots of chuckles and even a guffaw or two.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  6. Will somebody, either the Setter or the Editor, please explain 1d?
    What a pity this marred such an enjoyable puzzle. I loved the construction of “that’s missing date” in 16a. 23a is very clever given Beam’s well-known aversion to them. 26a is a lovely “and lit” and thanks to Gazza for his reminiscence. At my school we were never so lucky to have a young french assistante.
    Oh, and 7d is fun.

    Thanks to Ray T and Gazza

  7. Setter here…

    A little late on parade today, but many thanks to Gazza for the analysis and to all who left a comment. The explanation for 1d is that I saw what I wanted to see rather than what was there! Apologies for the oversight…


  8. Thanks Gazza ,too thick to spot the problem with 1d I was too busy retro parsing 24a
    Favourite clue certainly 7d in a very enjoyable puzzle from Beam ,to whom thanks also for the frank admission of a fault so common with this solver in particular .

  9. This is the best I’ve ever done on a toughie – 7 clues I needed hints for. My poor general knowledge scuppered me on 21A and 18D.

    25A – To aid my education, any chance someone could kindly expand on the abbreviated institution used here please?!

      1. Thank you!

        I had a delightful French teacher named Miss Simien…. and it’s hard to forget her as Simien is probably my most predominant nickname :o)

  10. I very rarely venture into Toughie-land. They are usually way too hard for me. I thoroughly enjoy RayT puzzles and so had a go at this. It has taken me ages! I had lots of ‘doh!’ moments (such as in the middle of the night on realising 19d down referred to someone rather more contemporary that the Williams Pitt). It has been good fun and very rewarding. I was left with four clues for which I needed help. I think my faves must be 26a and 7d. Large thanks to Beam aka RayT and to Gazza.

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