Toughie 1152

Toughie No 1152 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another Beam puzzle with no anagrams or multi-word answers. As usual with Beam puzzles I found it quite tough and I had to think hard to justify some of the answers.

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.


1a    Word, possibly Excel or PowerPoint, for certain applications (12)
{POLYSYLLABLE} A type of word as exemplified by ‘Excel’ and ‘PowerPoint’ and, for certain, ‘applications’ (but not by ‘word’ itself). Is there more to it than this? [According to Chambers it means a word of many, or of more than three, ‘segments’, so it certainly applies to ‘applications’ and possibly the other two. BD ]

9a    One striving in opposition keeping goal, repelling United (9)
{CONTENDER} Take a 7-letter word meaning ‘in opposition’ and remove (repel) U (United). Put what’s left round a 3-letter word meaning ‘goal’

10a    Ship carrying around dead fish (5)
{SCADS} A 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘ship’ goes round (carries) a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘around’ and D (dead) to give fish (in the plural), e.g horse mackerel

11a    Heads of illegal syndicate prosecuted and released (6)
{ISSUED} The first letters of Illegal Syndicate + ‘prosecuted’

12a    Revolutionary adopting incoherent argument with other ends (8)
{AGITATOR} A revolutionary = the first and last letters of AdoptinG, IncoherenT, ArgumenT and OtheR

13a    Ape with aristocrat, famous in retreat (6)
{GIBBON} A reversal (in retreat) of ‘aristocrat’ and ‘famous’

15a    Turn craft over in empty sky for manoeuvres (8)
{STRATEGY} A reversal (over) of ‘turn’ and ‘craft’ in SY (first and last letters of sky). I’m not convinced by ‘turn’ as a synonym here

18a    Claimed a career holds back scholarly life (8)
{ACADEMIA} Hidden in reverse in clAIMED A CAreer

19a    Caught in Amsterdam selecting girl (6)
{DAMSEL} Hidden in AmsterDAM SELecting

21a    Sparkling drink unit’s drunk before daybreak … (8)
{SPIRITED} A brand of lemon-lime flavoured, caffeine-free soft drink created by the Coca-Cola Company round I (unit) + D (first letter of day)

23a    … effervescence precedes spasm of the digestive system (6)
{PEPTIC} Effervescence + spasm

26a    Feeling sorry for one called ’round’ (5)
{RUING} I (one) goes inside ‘called (on the phone)’

27a    Smart European inclined to accept Government being gauche (9)
{INELEGANT} ‘Smart’ + E (European) + ‘inclined’ round G (Government)

28a    One gives complaint purchasing new player (12)
{BENEFACTRESS} A complaint round N (newer) + a female player (on the stage)


1d    Carrying a gun past supremo seen around clubs (7)
{PACKING} An abbreviation for ‘past’ + a supremo round C (clubs)

2d    Couples may be found here (5)
{LINKS} 2 meanings: couples (as a verb) / where Fred Couples might be seen playing golf

3d    Hold worker day after day before in bank (9)
{STEVEDORE} A dock worker who loads and unloads things from a ship’s hold = the day before + D (day) inside ‘bank’

4d    Misses that is, missing blokes (4)
{LADS} Remove IE (that is) from misses (females)

5d    End scoffed about supporter accepting own goal (8)
{ABROGATE} ‘To end (annul or rescind)’ = ‘scoffed’ round a supporter (of parts of the female anatomy) round OG (own goal)

6d    Record covering unknown composer (5)
{LISZT} ‘Record’ goes round a letter denoting an unknown quantity to give a Hungarian composer

7d    Big head possesses synapse’s top speed (8)
{FASTNESS} Big (corpulent) + head(land) round S (first letter of synapse)

8d    Bird‘s well up over quarry (6)
{OSPREY} A reversal of ‘well’ + quarry (hunted animal)

14d    Joyful whip provided by sick heart (8)
{BEATIFIC} ‘To whip’ + ‘provided’ + the middle letters of sICk

16d    Subsidence in a cellar? Time for spades (9)
{ABATEMENT} Take A + cellar (8) and change S (spades) into T (time)

17d    Wood board with overlapping edges for home (8)
{FIRESIDE} A type of wood (conifer) and ‘to board’ overlap in that the last letter of the wood is the first letter of ‘to board’

18d    Seaman beginning to sail globe in hold (6)
{ABSORB} An abbreviation denoting a seaman + S (first letter of sail) + a globe

20d    Once irregularly covered by dead small spots (7)
{LOCATES} Alternate letters of OnCe inside ‘dead’ + S (small) = spots (finds). I don’t really see why ‘irregularly’ should denote alternate letters

22d    Fire one losing head (5)
{INGLE} Remove the first letter from ‘one’ to get a fire

24d    Tantalise, then answer oddly (5)
{TEASE} Alternate letters of ThEn AnSwEr

25d    Very big match changing halves (4)
{MEGA} Take a match (sporting event) and put the first half of the word at the end

A proper Thursday Toughie for once.


  1. BigBoab
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was a brilliant toughie, difficult enough to make you think but not so much that it would take the fun out of it. Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for a super review.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Phew! Finished without hints but with much head scratching to work out the word play for some. I don’t “get” 15A either. Particularly liked 1A and 3D,5D and16D. Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Prolixic
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    I thought that “turn” was being used in terms of making money on a share transaction – as it “I hope to turn/get a 10% profit on the sale of the shares”.

    • gazza
      Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I thought turn and get could be interchangeable in a sentence such as “If you stop him drinking he’ll get/turn nasty”.
      Thanks to Beam and Bufo. I still don’t really understand 1a.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I had to check the calendar to make sure it was Thursday as this crossword was just as Big Boab describes above. The SW corner was particularly tricky (or as my friend said in an email this morning: a stinker!) Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  5. spindrift
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    this is not for me i’m afraid. i gave up after 10 minutes & skulked over to the ft. i doff my cap to those who have managed this thursday toughie.

    • Chris T Heswall
      Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you on this one although I struggled a little longer and then just read the hints.

  6. Pegasus
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    A very challenging Toughie but still enjoyable, favourites were 2d 12a and 17d thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the comments.

  7. Catherine
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Beam for a very good Toughie. Thanks also to Bufo for the parsing, I was thinking ‘tender as in goaltender for 9a but knew I had to explain the missing “u”. Also misdirected by the Sprite and the spirit in 21a. Have to remember too that pa is an acceptable short form for past as in 1d.
    Many thanks again for the unscrambling where I could not unscramble!

  8. spindrift
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    i cheated! i looked at bufo’s hints for all of the outside clues & filled those in. that gave me a starter & now i’ve finished. i know it’s not big & i know it’s not clever & the purists would probably ban me from this site but at least i gave it a lash & didn’t give in,well, not completely.

    • crypticsue
      Posted March 13, 2014 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      Not sure who these purists are but I thought the whole point of the site was to provide hints to enable people to solve puzzles when they were stuck. Seems to me you followed the instructions ‘on the tin’ and finished the crossword so well done you.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    We had our twosome back in operation, and a good thing too, as it was quite a challenge. SE corner was the last to yield and a couple that we had not fully parsed, 12a and 21a. Lots of really good clues and much enjoyed. The word count is all in order. Several clues at the 8 word self-imposed maximum, but nothing exceeds this.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  10. RayT
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    My thanks to Bufo for the analysis, and to all for your comments.


  11. Only fools
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bufo much appreciated and Beam for quite a workout ,Fav 17d which was almost last in !
    The parsing of 1a remained a mystery for far longer than I care to admit .Cheers

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    I had to draw on four of Bufo’s excellent hints but got there in the end. 28a was an absolute corker. Hats off to Beam.

  13. Catnap
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Much as I tried, the upper half of this puzzle got the better of me. needed the answers to 1d, 3d, 7d, and 9a. I also needed explanations for my answers to 5d, 1a, 12a and 15a. Oh dear me! I didn’t see the reversal in 18a. Surprisingly enough, I parsed the rest correctly. Fave was 28a.

    Although this was such a challenge, I enjoyed it greatly (as I do all RayT/Beam crosswords). So many thanks to Beam.

    Many thanks to Bufo for the much needed and appreciated enlightenment.