Toughie 1216 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1216

Toughie No 1216 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This is the third week running that I’ve had to work hard! Today I made steady but rather slow progress until I ground to a complete halt with the NW corner still to do. After leaving it for a while I came back to it and managed to do 2 down which led me to 1 across and the rest then followed (but not very quickly). Because of my trials and the fact that it’s taken me a long time to write this blog make me obliged to give it 5* for difficulty. I think the definitions caused me more problems than the wordplay.

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    Bad appetite sharing large helping on plate (12)
{ILLUSTRATION} Take a 3-letter word for ‘bad’ (ending with L) and a 4-letter word for ‘appetite’ (beginning with L). Run them together but make them share the L (large). Then add a helping to give a plate (i.e. a picture inserted into a book)

9a    One enthusiastic about business centre? (9)
{FINANCIER} An enthusiast (as in pigeon *******) goes round the middle two letters of business. The whole clue provides a definition

10a    Sort of a bleeding heart story (5)
{FABLE} The middle letters (heart) of sort oF A BLEeding

11a    French director on the subject of film style (6)
(RENOIR} The surname of a French film director (son of a famous artist) = ‘on the subject of’ (2) + a 4-letter word that goes after film to give a style of film in which the darker side of human nature is presented

12a    Rough break ends keeping perfect standard (8)
{BALLPARK} A word meaning ‘rough’ derived from the American sporting scene = the first and last letters (ends) of BreaK round ‘perfect’ and a standard

13a    Covert organisation in virtually traded group (6)
{SOCIAL} The covert organisation is an agency of the US Government. Put it inside ‘traded’ with the last letter removed (i.e. virtually all the word). This gives an informal gathering of a group of people

15a    Softened, and second, faded around mid-life (8)
{MODIFIED} A second (short period of time) + ‘faded’ round the middle letters of lIFe

18a    Congregation’s beliefs overturned creating fuss (8)
{FOLDEROL} A word for a congregation derived from an enclosure for sheep + a reversal of beliefs = fuss (though this definition is not supported by Chambers)

19a    Most fit turning in pursuit set pace (6)
{APTEST} Hidden in reverse in pursuiT SET PAce

21a    Suppress article about resistance facing extreme Left (8)
{THROTTLE} The definite article goes round R (resistance) and a 3-letter abbreviation meaning ‘extreme’ and L (Left)

23a    Police back breaking heartless establishment’s laws (6)
{EDICTS} A reversal of part of a police force inside the first and least letters of EstablishmenT + ‘S

26a    Bump and grind, initially naked? (5)
{NUDGE} G (the first letter of Grind) inside a word meaning ‘naked’ which is used in the phrase ‘in the ****)

27a    Regulars, right before time, almost preferred returning outside (9)
{CLIENTELE} The set of regular customers = right (4) + T (time) inside a reversal of ‘preferred’ with the last letter removed

28a    Incredible writer nearly consuming last of madeleine, notice (12)
{PREPOSTEROUS} The surname of a French novelist with the last letter removed goes round E (last letter of madeleine) and a notice displayed on a wall


1d    Due to get Marks and Spencer briefs … (7)
{INFORMS} ‘Due’ (2,3) + MS (Marks and Spencers) = ‘briefs (tells someone the facts)’

2d    … underwear‘s new range, top to bottom (5)
{LINEN} A generic term for underwear = N (new) + range with the N put at the end (moved from top to bottom)

3d    Start to sell show for the audience? (9)
{SYNDICATE} S (first letter of Sell) + a homophone (for the audience) of ‘to show’. The whole clue provides the definition (to sell a programme for broadcasting by many different stations)

4d    Gunners one down, as you’d recognise, and bust (4)
{RAID} An abbreviation denoting ‘Gunners’ and I (one) and D (down) = a bust (by the police). The ‘as you’d recognise’ is there because D = down isn’t a standard abbreviation but it is one that crossworders use

5d    What makes seasoned sailor? Previously being in Navy (8)
{TARRAGON} An aromatic herb used for seasoning = a sailor + ‘previously’ inside the Royal Navy

6d    Slaughter and cut everyone’s entrails (5)
{OFFAL} ‘To slaughter’ (US slang according to Chambers) + ‘everyone’ with the last letter removed = edible internal parts of an animal (e.g. entrails)

7d    Irritating when catching supporter in view, oddly (8)
{ABRASIVE} ‘When’ (2) round a supporter for female body parts (3) + the odd letters of In ViEw

8d    As blackbird is cooked and pie finally eaten (6)
{BEAKED} Cooked (like the four-and-twenty blackbirds in the nursery rhyme) round E (last letter of piE)

14d    State of US flag, flapping (8)
{COLORADO} The US spelling of a word meaning ‘flag’ + flapping (as a noun)

16d    Dessert in pieces in cool sauce (9)
{IMPUDENCE} Put an abbreviated form of a word meaning ‘dessert’ (3) inside pieces (of a chess set). Then put the result inside ‘to cool (with frozen water)’ to get ‘sauce (cheek)’

17d    Following turn to toilet, endlessly avoid paper (8)
{FOOLSCAP} F (following) + a reversal of a toilet + a 6-letter word for ‘avoid’ with the ends (first and last letters) removed = a non-metric paper size)

18d    Beds town losing head in football season openers (6)
{FUTONS} Sofa beds of Japanese design = a town (which happens to be in Beds) with the first letter removed inside the first letters of Football Season

20d    Adornments of dancers, less attractive flipping (7)
{TASSELS} Hidden in reverse in dancerS LESS ATtractive

22d    Half-loathe Conservatives’ wing protecting ‘one of them‘ (5)
{THEIR} The second half of loaTHE + the abbreviation for the wing occupied by the Conservatives round I (one)

24d    Song of praise by Church member elevated belief (5)
{CREDO} A reversal (elevated) of a song of praise and a member of the Catholic church

25d    Boarding house possibly takes in (4)
{DIGS} I’m hoping that this answer is correct. It means lodgings (e.g. a boarding house) and I’m assuming that ‘takes in’ is another definition but I don’t really see it  [I guess you didn’t get it / take it in!  BD]

I wonder when normal Thursday service will be resumed. Or is this the new normal?

22 comments on “Toughie 1216

  1. I agree with Bufo this one was very tough, NW corner also the last to yield for me. Favourites were 12a 18d and 26a thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the dissection.

  2. My brain hurts

    Same NW corner was my downfall too so I looked at the hint for 1a and then it all fell into place.

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  3. Superb toughie, SE corner was the most difficult for me. Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the terrific review. I’m still not certain about 28d, it doesn’t really work for me.

    1. I cannot find 28d – but 28a seems to work!

      I’m a bit behind schedule today – A la recherche du temps perdu!

  4. Big Dave, I noted your reply . Yes, sorry, changed name. One day I may be able to comment in real time ! Till then ? I did 1205 today, remaining 10 in arrears ! Not as much pressure as can see comments at my leisure !

  5. A proper Toughie – I will admit some of my struggle was me being dense but thank you to Ray for producing something that fits the description on the tin and gets the cryptic grey matter woken up ready for tomorrow’s hob-nailed boots.

    Thanks to Bufo too. I quite like Tough Thursdays.

  6. Oh dear ! I had a number of wrong answers which seemed to fit the clue and the checkers ! such as hallmark instead of ballpark.Bufo said it, finding the definition was pretty difficult.Thanks Beam for work out , I’m very unfit , it would seem.Thanks Bufo.

  7. Great stuff… half of this was straightforward, the rest was blooming hard! 5*/4* for me.
    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  8. brain hurts too – and I know when I’m beaten.
    Did all the right hand side and some of top left corner and almost nothing in the bottom left corner.
    I really enjoyed the battle even though I was the loser.
    I couldn’t possibly pick a favourite but thanks to Beam and thanks and lots of admiration for all the untangling to Bufo.

  9. If this is the new normal I think I’ll have Thursdays off. 5* for difficulty but would give more if I could.

  10. I expected a RayT backie today but was disappointed as the puzzle did nothing for me. So I turned to the Toughie and there it was – a RayT Beamer!! So many giggles and lots of innuendo as usual. Also crafty hidden words which I did not get straight away. Favourite was 17 and also enjoyed 5 8 10 14 16 18 and 26. Why can’t the other setters put a bit of humour into the puzzles as Ray does?

    1. Try Paul or Arachne in the Grauniad, they usually have a few laughs along the way.

    2. Although I was well and truly defeated by Beam’s Toughie today I totally agree with you about humour in crosswords. It, or the lack of it, can make or break a crossword for me. It’s one of the reasons that I always enjoy Ray T/Beam crosswords and the NTSPP’s – long may they continue, please! A little flower for all the people who make them happen so miraculously.

  11. A bit late on parade this evening, I’m afraid. My thanks to Bufo and to everybody else for your comments.


  12. When we worked on this one we had no idea who the setter was. Kicking ourselves as it has all Ray’s hallmarks and it would have possibly helped us to have realised this. Ended up with a couple of wrong answers, 5d and 12a and ran out of available time to check everything out. The last corner to yield was, like others it seems, the NW. A real challenge for us.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  13. Personally I only had difficulty with the SE,SW ,NE and finally the NW corner ,apart from that no problem .Enjoyed every hour of it so thanks RayT and Bufo you are certainly on a roll ,top notch ..

  14. Yes, a tough but fair and enjoyable Toughie; unlike the ProXimal challenge from a fortnight ago, which I gave up on. Plenty of brilliant clues, including 9a, 18d, 26a and 3d. Many thanks, Beam !

  15. No, l couldn’t even get a foothold in this one, not even after leaving it last night and coming back to it refreshed. I’d have to award 5 stars for difficulty, on the basis that 4* is my limit unaided. I’m never going to be able to cope with operating at this level.

  16. 25 Down: Surely the ‘takes in’ component is a reference to 1960’s American rock ‘n roll slang for ‘understand’, as in ‘do you dig, man’?

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