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Toughie 1288

Toughie No 1288 by Beam

What’s the world coming to?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An anagram in a Beam Toughie! I never thought I’d live to see the day. This was a tricky puzzle with a mixture of straightforward clues and some that were definitely not straightforward. Some of the wordplay needed teasing out. I enjoyed the challenge and won’t be complaining about lack of toughness this week.

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    Shelter inside as deluge inside’s turning loud (10)
STENTORIAN A shelter (of canvas) inside ‘as’ + ‘deluge’ with the middle two letters transposed

6a    Musical heroine doesn’t open song (4)
ARIA Remove the first letter from the name of the leading character in West Side Story

9a    Endless petition by church about organised attendance (10)
APPEARANCE ‘Petition’ with the last letter removed + the Church of England’ round ‘organised’

10a    Sailor sails sea and nautical jaunt ends (4)
SALT The ast letters of sailS seA and nauticaL jaunT

12a    Spun question with Arab independent republic (4)
IRAQ A reversal (spun) of abbreviations denoting ‘independent’, ‘Arab’ and ‘question’

13a    Screening series involving aliens, oddly (9)
STRAINING A series goes round alternate letters of AlIeNs

15a    Most prepared answer fails to oust Conservative (8)
READIEST To answer is REACT, then the C(onservative) gets replaced (ousted) by a verb meaning fails.

16a    Brute’s solitary end to start bird (6)
PIGEON A brute + a word meaning ‘solitary’ with its last letter moved to the front

18a    Fill with feed after drink (6)
SUPPLY ‘To feed’ follows ‘to drink’

20a    Starts to speak tentatively then finally speaks (8)
STUTTERS The first letters of Speak Tentatively + ‘speaks’. The whole clue provides the definition

23a    Overhear greeting said heartlessly in study, perhaps? (9)
EAVESDROP A greeting and the first and last letters of SaiD go inside a 4-letter string. When reversed this 4-letter string spells a word which when followed by ‘over’ means ‘to study’

24a    Prison objective’s to change heart (4)
GAOL Take a word meaning ‘objective’ and transpose the middle two letters

26a    Elects heads with Tory leader moving right (4)
OPTS Take a word meaning ‘heads’ and move the letter T (first letter of Tory) to the right

27a    Sailor’s parrot’s retired facing island before touching parting (10)
SEPARATION A reversal of ‘sailor’ and ‘parrot’ (as a verb) and ‘S + I (island) + ‘touching’

28a    Ego of a London author (4)
SELF 2 meanings: ego/the surname a London-based author, journalist and television personality

29a    Reprobate‘s default overturned in time (10)
DEGENERATE A reversal of ‘to default’ inside the time of an event


1d    ‘Sun’, that’s good for reading, for men only (4)
STAG Take the king of object that the sun is an example of and change R (reading as in the three R’s) into G (good)

2d    Shops one in interim without judge around (7)
EMPORIA I (one) goes inside a 9-letter word meaning ‘interim’ from which the first, eighth and ninth letters have been removed. These removed letters form a word meaning ‘to judge’

3d    Still teaches English catching pen one dropped (12)
TRANQUILLISE ‘To still’ = ‘teaches’ and E (English) round an old-fashioned pen. The fourth letter which is I (one) is then moved so it becomes the tenth letter

4d    Legislature as session includes judge again (8)
REASSESS Hidden in LegislatuRE AS SESSion

5d    Dead fantastic bird about to flip compact (6)
ACCORD A reversal (flip) of D (dead), an enormous bird described in Arabian legend, and ‘about’

7d    Produce / cotton on / twig (7)
REALISE 3 definitions: to produce/to cotton on/to twig

8d    Needle before admitting past transgression being over (10)
ANTAGONISE ‘To needle’ = ‘before’ round ‘past’ and a reversal of ‘transgression’

11d    Diet’s ruined with eating, eating recipe for crumble (12)
DISINTEGRATE An anagram (ruined) of DIET’S EATING round R (recipe)

14d    Wealthy French writer mainly huge through being purchased (10)
PROSPEROUS The surname of a French writer with the last letter removed goes round a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘huge(on clothing labels)’ and ‘through’

17d    Work pressure in time leads to strike (8)
STOPPAGE A 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘work’ and P (pressure) inside ‘time’

19d    Important celebrity elevated on lot losing head (7)
 PIVOTAL A reversal of 3-letter abbreviation that might denote a celebrity + ‘the lot’ with the first letter removed

21d    Almost bitter split going over Kama Sutra, say (7)
EROTICA A reversal of ‘bitter’ with the last letter removed and ‘split’ (as a past tense)

22d    Band going round room with cool sound (6)
FRIEZE A homophone of ‘to cool’

25d    Origins of old native civilisation erased long ago (4)
ONCE First letters of Old Native Civilisation Erased

A very nice Toughie

21 comments on “Toughie 1288

  1. 4*/4* – a proper workout for me today!
    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo for the write-up.
    I will cast my vote above, after reading a comment from RayT last week…

  2. I thought there might be a Beamer this week and I wasn’t disappointed. So many fine clues its difficult to pick a favourite but 3 was last in after much thought , not helped by a wrong answer in 12, and so this gets the vote. Also liked 4 10 11 14 and 16. Thanks to RayT for a teasing but doable puzzle. Back to the backy next week, hopefully.

  3. Seem to be attempting the toughie more these days after the ‘back page ‘cryptic.
    The right half was relatively straight forward but then things became more difficult. I did manage to solve the puzzle but needed some of Bufo’s hints to unravel the exact wordplay, i agree with him on the difficulty rating ! at least there were no words new to me, which usually happens in hard toughies-thanks Bufo.

    1. I think that’s probably how lots of us started doing Toughies – before you know where you are you’ll be trying them nearly every day.

      1. Tell me about it! So late making a start on the ‘back page’ today (and so disconsolate when I realised it wasn’t a Mr. T) that I’ll have to save this one for the weekend. Probably just as well – today’s was a real struggle.

        Early start tomorrow on the bird-watching front and a meeting in the evening so I could have crosswords piling up for Sat/Sun. Oops – just remembered that I’m out most of Saturday and Sunday as well……….

  4. I find it hard to resist a Beam Toughie so I didn’t even try today – try to resist I mean!
    I agree with 4* for difficulty and for enjoyment, and I have clicked on the 4 in the yellow stars between the hints and the comments – thanks for the reminder, Jezza.
    I got a lot of the answers from the checking letters and worried about the how and why afterwards – not sure that’s what’s supposed to happen but sometimes it just does.
    My favourite was 7d but I also liked lots of the other clues.
    With thanks to Beam and to Bufo for untangling the ones that I couldn’t.

  5. Although I needed a few hints, I managed to complete many more clues than I’m usually able to in a Beam. A lot went in from definition only initially and I needed Bufo’s hints to unravel a few. All in all it was a great puzzle and thoroughly enjoyable albeit tricky! Thanks to RayT and thanks to Bufo for the helpful hints.

  6. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the “find a word that fits and then apply it to the clue” approach, Kath! It certainly works for me, anyway. My only glitch was on 3d, which l had as “tranquillness” (l know, it’s probably not a word, and doesn’t fit the clue exactly, but l thought l was looking for a noun). My 16a didn’t work as a result, obviously. This was a tough but challenging puzzle, and l agree with the 4*/4* rating. My favourite – out of many contenders – was 8d. Thanks to Beam, and to Bufo, but l confess l still don’t follow the hint for 3d.

    1. 3d is TRAINS (teaches) + E(nglish) with QUILL (pen) inserted – so that gives us TRAIN QUILL S E, but then we have to move the fourth character (the I) down a few letters (one dropped) to between the L and S.

      1. Ah, OK. So the extent of the slippage of the “I” is not indicated in the clue. I think l understand.

  7. Really good fun. Quite a few where the definition came first and the wordplay later, but that does not diminish the enjoyment for us. 18a kept us guessing for a while as we tried to make ‘wyvern’ or ‘wivern’ work as the monster. We, of course, had to check the word count for the clues and everything totally in order this week.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  8. Many thanks to Bufo for the analysis and to all for your comments which are, as ever, much appreciated.


  9. This has to be one of the strangest solves that I have ever completed. I began by taking a peep at 1 across just to get a start and working my way through from there. Some clues had fairly obvious or straightforward answers, but with most of the remaining clues I either stumbled across or guessed the correct answer without fully understanding the wordplay and also being non the wiser after checking some of Bufo’s hints afterward. I’m happy to have completed it, but I reckon it was more by luck and some fair judgement (or guesses.) Thank you Beam, good fun and I’m certainly sufficiently encouraged to try another of your ‘brain-benders’. Thanks to Bufo too. :-)

  10. Well, I had all but 3 answers completed, and I was left with 1A, 1D and 2D when play was interrupted by a visit to the ER with Mr. Expat who is now in a soft cast from middle of hand to upper arm. After that, I couldn’t get back into this. What I managed was a lot of fun, if a slow solve. I needed the hint to understand 8D and I’ve never heard of the 28A author, though the answer could not have been anything else. I liked 3D, mostly because I managed to unravel it correctly, but 7D is the standout for me. Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

    1. Do hope that Mr Expat is OK. I’m not surprised that you couldn’t get back into the Toughie after all that.

  11. Feeling moderately pleased to manage all but 5 clues of this one. The NW corner was just beyond me, so thanks to Bufo for the explanations and of course to RayT.
    Very challenging and excellent fun. 4-5* / 4* for me.

  12. 3rd toughie in a row that I’ve had time to have a go at and very nearly a third unaided completion in a row but not quite. Sadly I fell at the first/last hurdle, depending on how you view it, being unable to solve 1a without a hint. I was missing 1d as well but that fell into place once I had the first letter from 1a.

    Thanks to Beam for a very good challenge which just defeated me, and to Bufo for helping me finish.

  13. This was the first 4* rated toughie I’ve managed a good shot at. I filled in most of the 4 letter words almost immediately then with a few guesses that I could confirm the parsing of later a managed about 75%. I checked 1a that I’d guessed correctly with Bufo and that helped with a few more. In all I need help and confirmation on about 5 clues. Thoroughly enjoyable

  14. Tried SO hard because I’m a real Mr. T fan – but had to admit defeat with about half of the answers completed. Even with Bufo’s hints (and occasional revealing of answers) I found some clues almost impossible to parse.

    I WILL persist with future ‘Beams’ – one day I’ll get there………

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