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Toughie 1200

Toughie No 1200 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle from Beam which shows all his usual trademarks (single word answers, no anagrams, short clues). There was nothing too difficult although I did slow down when it came to filling in the last few answers. The time taken took me into 4* difficulty territory.

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    Tip of bud appeared developed (7)
{BLOOMED} The first letter (tip) of Bud + appeared (as out of the darkness or the mist)

5a    Plain, and no oil painting! (7)
{ARTLESS} This word for plain (or simple) could also be taken to mean ‘having no paintings’

9a    Cases containing English coins (7)
{CREATES} Cases (containers) round E (English) = coins (manufactures or invents)

10a    Almost touch overturned rubbish pile (7)
{REACTOR} ‘To touch’ with the last letter removed + a reversal (overturned) of rubbish = pile (at a nuclear power station)

11a    Army unit’s effective support (9)
{REINFORCE} An army unit (the Sappers) + effective (2,5) = ‘to support’

12a    Man of the moment at present time? (5)
{SANTA} A cryptic definition for the man who is very busy at that time of year when presents are distributed

13a    Conjuring starts to make audience gasp in confusion (5)
{MAGIC} Initial letters of Make Audience Gasp In Confusion

15a    Miserable poems work without love for starters (9)
{DESPERATE} Take a 4-letter word for poems and a 7-letter word meaning ‘to work’ and remove the letter O (love) from the front of both words

17a    Turn parking one way round sides of Embankment (9)
{PIROUETTE} P (parking) + I (one) + a way round the first and last letters (sides) of EmbankmenT

19a    Rows and weeping we hear, before bedtime? (5)
{TIERS} A homophone (we hear) of weeping as in the phrase ‘**** before bedtime’

22a    Terror if leader’s concealed weapon (5)
{RIFLE} Hidden in ‘TerroR IF LEader’s’

23a    Placed vase that is outside new grave (9)
{SATURNINE} ‘Placed’ + vase + ‘that is’ round N (new) = grave (serious)

25a    Head controlling extremely religious school of thought (7)
{OPINION} A slang term for the head goes round (controls) ‘extremely religious’

26a    Cooking apple sauce, putting in duck, not done (7)
{COSTARD} A large variety of cooking apple = a sauce (that you might have with apple pie or rhubarb) round O (duck) and with the letter U removed (non-U = not done)

27a    Meddles with problem, start to finish (7)
{TINKERS} A very difficult problem with the first letter moved to the end

28a    Tanned skin of sweetheart bathed in perspiration (7)
{LEATHER} E (the middle letter of sweet) inside perspiration


1d    Grade student going over stiff material (7)
{BUCKRAM} A reversal (going over) of a grade and a student (novice) = a coarse open-weave fabric made very stiff with size

2d    Carrying out old person around journey’s end (7)
{OBEYING} O (old) + a person round the last letter of journeY

3d    Proper medal turned up for decoration (5)
{MOTIF} A reversal of ‘proper’ and the abbreviation for a medal (the award of which is limited to a maximum of 24 living recipients)

4d    ‘Scandal’, record by Queen with polish (9)
{DISCREDIT} A gramophone record + R (Queen) + ‘to polish (an article before publication)’

5d    Match about to stop season (5)
{AGREE} ‘To match’ = about (2) inside age (3)

6d    Fugitive fled stir oddly, in temporary cover (9)
{TRANSIENT} Fugitive (fleeting) = ‘fled’ + the odd letters of StIr inside temporary cover (for sleeping under)

7d    Country in Europe more chilly, reportedly (7)
{ESTONIA} E (Europe) + a homophone (reportedly) of ‘more chilly (cold-hearted)’

8d    Top spot for water sport expert? (7)
{SURFACE} When split (4,3) it could be a water sport expert

14d    Burn got on mount, pronounced (9)
{CAUTERISE} This is a homophone (pronounced) of ‘got’ and a mount (or ‘to mount’)

16d    Doubting infected nearly everybody, including Catholic (9)
{SCEPTICAL} ‘Infected (like a diseased wound)’ and everybody with the last letter removed round C (Catholic)

17d    Spirit‘s seventy-five per cent undiluted drink (7)
{PURPORT} Spirit (substance, gist, tenor) = the first three letters of a 4-letter word meaning ‘undiluted’ + an alcoholic drink

18d    Hooligan sport supporter embracing race organisation (7)
{RUFFIAN} An abbreviation for a particular sport + a supporter round an abbreviated form of Formula One (race organisation)

20d    ‘Dead’ record and welcome return penning hit (7)
{EPITAPH} A record (2) and a reversal of a greeting (2) round ‘to hit gently’. I don’t quite see how this one works. Is ‘Dead’ supposed to be one of these?

[Thanks to Ray T for informing us that the clue should have read ‘Dead’ record record and welcome return penning hit. This revision, and an apology, was published in the following day’s newspaper.  BD]

21d    Lean for small ogle, catching nude intermittently (7)
{SLENDER} ‘Lean (thin)’ = S (small) + ‘to ogle’ round alternate letters of NuDe

23d    Rising star is producing ‘Hole in the Head’? (5)
{SINUS} A reversal (rising) of our star and IS

24d    African leader, Emperor, elevated religious follower (5)
{RASTA} A reversal (elevated) of A (the first letter of African) and a Russian Emperor = a member of a West Indian religious movement

Why wasn’t there an MCC theme?

16 comments on “Toughie 1200

  1. 4*/4* for me too. The bottom half went in considerably quicker than the top.
    20d confused me as well. Is ‘Dead’ the definition?
    Many thanks to Beam for an excellent puzzle, and to Bufo for the review.

  2. Enjoyed this one, favourites were 1d 7d and 27a thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  3. I didn’t think much to the backie so I went to the Toughie and there it was – a glorious Beamer. Typical RayT with no anagrams and loads of giggles. NW corner took me longest and 1d which was my last in, was very good. Also liked 1a 5a 7 8 13 20 21 23a/d and 27. Thanks to RayT – hope he is back next week.

    1. So “record” is doing double duty, as part of the definition and the wordplay (EP) ?

  4. Managed nearly half of this which is a first for me regarding this setter. Found the hints very helpful to decipher the rest. Too tricky for me at the moment but an improvement over my last attempt at a Beam so am encouraged. Thanks to Bufo for the hints and thanks to Ray T for a very polished puzzle. ****/****

  5. Very enjoyable Toughie, at just the right level for me today. I particularly liked 26a, 20d and 17a

  6. I had a very long wait in the doctor’s office this morning, which was a good thing as this took me a very long time. Even then I was still short four answers, all in the NE corner, so I needed the hints. An altogether lovely puzzle, with 1D, 15A and 27A in a dead heat for my top place. Thanks to Beam for the fun and to Bufo for the review and help.

  7. Evening all. My thanks to bufo for the decryption and to all for your comments.

    Ah yes, about 20d…

    What I meant to type was, ‘Dead’ record record and welcome return penning hit.

    Think ‘Grateful Dead’ and it might make sense!


  8. Ah! So that is how 20d should have been written. It had given us problems with the double use of record. Luckily the revision given above, still keeps the word count for the clues at 8 or less too. A most enjoyable top quality puzzle for us again.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  9. I thought this was the best Beam ever – loads of great clues [5a, 26a, 16d, 20d, 21d].

    Surely the definition in 20d is ‘Dead” as an example of a very short epitaph. The surface, as RayT explains, [bless him] is about a Grateful Dead record.

    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  10. Smashing puzzle ,NW corner gave me the most trouble but personal favourite 5a .
    More of the same would do very nicely so thanks RT and Bufo yet again for an excellent review

  11. In today’s paper, underneath the Toughie clues, it has

    ‘Note on Toughie 1200: Clue 20D should have read: “‘Dead’ record record and welcome return penning hit”. Apologies.’

  12. I am very partial to RayT puzzles and saved this to do later. It was thoroughly enjoyable — ****/****. Many super clues, my two top ones being 1a and 5a.

    I found the NW corner took the longest. In fact, I had to put the puzzle to one side and return to it a couple of times before the penny dropped. I managed to complete all but two of the clues, 15a and 25a, without help. I am most grateful to Bufo for providing the answers to these.

    Appreciative thanks to Beam for an excellent and most enjoyable challenge. Thank you very much, Bufo, for your excellent review. I really value being able to go through it and checking my parsing.

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