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Toughie 1120

Toughie No 1120 by Beam

Another anagram-free zone

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I spent a long time on this including a 5-10 minute period in the middle when I didn’t solve a single clue. I ended up in 5-star difficulty territory for the first time in ages but, as I wrote the review, I couldn’t see any reason why it should have taken me so long. Certainly the complete lack of anagrams and multiword answers didn’t help.

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.


7a    Darling’s cross, flipped over, arriving at threshold (8)
{DOORSTEP} A reversal (flipped over) of “darling’s” and cross (or crucifix)

9a    Try again putting the man in stir (6)
{REHEAR} Try again (in a legal sense) = a pronoun denoting the man inside ‘to stir’. I was puzzled by the use of the word for ‘to stir’ but Chambers does define it as ‘to rouse, stir up (now dialect)’

10a    Part of ship made from hardwood (4)
{HELM} H (hard) + a variety of wood

11a    Nearly sick with desire facing charge for show (10)
{ILLUSTRATE} ‘Sick’ with the last letter removed + desire + charge = ‘to show’

12a    Sweet pout embracing sailors vacantly (6)
{MOUSSE} A sweet (dessert) = a pour round SS (first and last letters of sailors)

14a    Dance in buff and work on desperate man (8)
{FANDANGO} Buff (enthusiast) + ‘to work’ following the name of the Dandy‘s desperate man

15a    Shocking device setting last of clue inside puzzle (6)
{TEASER} A weapon that incapacitates by giving an electric shock goes round E (last letter of clue). This shocking device doesn’t seem to be in Chambers

17a    Choice expression of shock getting award (6)
{BESTOW} Choice (as an adjective) + an interjection expressive of shock (or pain) = ‘to award’

20a    Almost preferred to get round unnatural truncated goodbyes (8)
{CHEERIOS} ‘Preferred’ with its last letter removed goes round ‘unnatural’ with its last letter removed

22a    Part of mushroom encircling top of stalk (6)
{MORSEL} The name of a mushroom goes round S (first letter of stalk)

23a    Crew become old crew with time on board (10)
{MANAGEMENT} ‘To crew’ + ‘become old’ + crew + T (time)

24a    Nit, perhaps, not in school (4)
{SECT} Remove IN from the type of creature that a nit is an example of

25a    Bones from digit risk losing extremities (6)
{HUMERI} Bones found in arms = a digit on the hand + risk, with both parts having the first and last letters removed

26a    Propositions oddly perter girls, not one small! (8)
{PREMISES} The odd letters of PeRtEr + girls with one letter S (small) removed


1d    Keep retaining a little up top (8)
{FOREMOST} A keep goes round a reversal of ‘a little’

2d    Dance for maiden (4)
{PROM} ‘For’ + M (maiden)

3d    Other half is trouble for other half (6)
{STRIFE} A man’s other half is his trouble and ******

4d    Parking, almost begrudge church attendance (8)
{PRESENCE} P (parking) + ‘begrudge’ with the last letter removed + CE (church)

5d    Subsequently, following Buddhist’s end is next world (10)
{THEREAFTER} T (last letter of Buddhist) + a future life following death

6d    Mob from Triad got gang periodically (6)
{RAGTAG} Alternate letters of TRiAd GoT gAnG

8d    A sauce elevated very strong dish (6)
{PILAFF} A reversal of A sauce (cheek) + an abbreviation meaning very strong (or loud) = a highly spiced rice dish

13d    Red meat in special cut half of fellows missed (10)
{SHAMEFACED} Red (embarrassed) = meat inside S (special) and cut (removed) with one letter F (fellow) removed

16d    Huge lair with rodents all endlessly producing plague (8)
{EPIDEMIC} Huge (4) + lair (3) + rodents (4). All three parts have the last letter removed

18d    Went on the pull, admitting Romeo pulled (8)
{WRENCHED} ‘Went on the pull (looking for girls)’ goes round R (Romeo)

19d    Adult strips, rampant in bed (6)
{ASLEEP} A (Adult) + a reversal (rampant) of ‘strips’

21d    Cartwheeling in stunt, vanish unevenly into chasm (6)
{HIATUS} Reverse alternate letters in STUNT VANISH

22d    Mother having heart reproduced issue (6)
{MATTER} A 5-letter word meaning mother with the middle letter put in twice

24d    Spoken aloud in delivery initially (4)
{SAID} The first letters of Spoken Aloud In Delivery. The whole clue provides a definition

Enjoyable nevertheless

13 comments on “Toughie 1120

  1. Quite a lot of the bottom half of this enjoyable puzzle remained empty for some time (and I wasn’t alone in finding this). As you say, once you look at it carefully, it is not exactly clear why the pennies didn’t drop earlier.

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  2. Like CS at one stage I had all of the upper half complete and 1 (one) in the lower!
    Very enjoyable though ,particularly liked18d which was one of the latter solves following 17a .
    Smashing .Thanks Bufo and RayT

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this one with some lovely surfaces, favourites were 7a 15a 19d and 25a thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the comments.

  4. Ditto CS’s and Only Fools comment re top half v bottom.

    I also wondered what was so difficult once the pennies had dropped. ****/***** from me.

    Great stuff so many thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  5. Glad to see that Bufo rated this 5*, as I got stuck in the SW corner. One gripe – surely a nit is the egg of a creature, not the creature itself? Thanks to Bufo for the hints.

  6. Bottom half was where I finished up too. No complaints from me, as I thoroughly enjoyed working through this one.
    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  7. Thanks to Beam & Bufo. I’m amazed that I’ve almost completed the top half, my only recourse to the hints was to check 1d, it wasn’t forelock :-) time running out, have to go and referee some Squash matches. Great fun so far.

    1. Ray, I don’t know if you did this on purpose, to setthe clue up with a trap? But I misread 16d, and had enormous for the answer. Not only did I get the definition wrong, I justified it to myself by getting the wrong two letters of the lair and then dormouse without it’s end letters. Most entertaining.

  8. Tricky one then – can’t say that I hadn’t been warned.
    I have, so far, done enough to make it worth ‘perservating’ but not looked at any of the hints or comments. I’m storing the rest (ie most of it) up to do tomorrow when I know that I will steer well clear of the Toughie
    I’ll be back.
    In the meantime thanks to Beam and bufo.

  9. What a super puzzle! Definitely ***** enjoyment. I got 24a wrong, for which there is no excuse! I had difficulty with the wordplay of 13d, although I arrived at the correct answer. Your clarification is much appreciated, Bufo.These two problems aside, I had correct word play and answers of the rest of the clues.
    Fave clue was 18d, but I also liked many others, including 25a, 16d, and 19d.
    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

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