Toughie 1326 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1326

Toughie No 1326 by Beam

The Die is Cast

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

After a couple of flirtations with a single anagram Beam has given himself a good talking to, pulled himself together and returned to austerity with his latest Toughie. All the usual Beam characteristics are there including a spot of innuendo at 9a. I enjoyed unravelling 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.

Across Clues

1a Neat catching Queen appearance by chance (12)
PERADVENTURE – an adjective meaning neat (like whisky) or unadulterated contains the Queen’s regnal cipher and an appearance or arrival.

8a Order from Churchill to Potsdam summit (7)
HILLTOP – hidden (order from) in the clue.

9a Endowed? Not so much in sack (7)
BLESSED – a word meaning ‘not so much’ is put inside what sack is an informal word for.

11a Take damage going over barricade (7)
RAMPART – a charade of a verb to take or capture and a verb to damage or spoil, with the whole lot reversed (going over).

12a Back case for doctors accepting time slows down (7)
RETARDS – a back or hind part is followed by the outer letters (case) of doctors with T(ime) getting inserted.

13a Rough and vulgar, practically without love (5)
UNCUT – start with an adjective meaning vulgar or unrefined, drop its final letter (practically) and also take away the letter that resembles zero.

14a Shoots soldier after order’s official (9)
OMBUDSMAN – shoots (as found on plants) and an ordinary soldier follow the abbreviation for an order awarded by the sovereign.

16a Warning bitter’s cut short by boozer (9)
HARBINGER – an adjective meaning bitter or harsh loses its final letter and that’s followed by an informal word for a boozer (the person, not the place).

19a Crack visibly opening in bottom of shoe (5)
SOLVE – the opening letter of visibly is inserted into the bottom part of a shoe.

21a After cake turnover nibbled small waffles (7)
RABBITS – string together the reversal (turnover) of a cake (of soap), a verb meaning nibbled and S(mall).

23a Probe planet with craft missing outside of Sol (7)
MARINER – bring together one of the planets of our solar system and a passenger craft then take away the outside letters of Sol.

24a Spout of half dead sea creature swallowing one (7)
DECLAIM – half of the word dead is followed by a marine mollusc containing the Roman numeral for one.

25a Circle Line? (7)
TANGENT – cryptic definition of a straight line which just touches a circle without entering it.

26a Cleared of stink, rogue scoundrel let out whiff (12)
UNDERCURRENT – start with an old-fashioned word for a rogue or scoundrel and drop its first two letters (which are an abbreviation for stink or a deficiency in personal hygiene). Now add another word for a scoundrel and a verb to let out (a property, say).

Down Clues

1d Hostile argument from boom with sound equipment (7)
POLEMIC – a charade of what a boom on a yacht is and the abbreviation for an item of equipment used to convert sound waves into a form suitable for broadcasting.

2d Reverse backwards in dustcart erratically (7)
RETRACT – hidden (in) and reversed (backwards).

3d What’s common sounding in ‘How now brown cow’? (9)
DIPHTHONG – this is a word (tricky to spell) for the ‘ow’ sound common to all four words in the phrase used to teach elocution. I’m probably missing something but I can’t see that this is very cryptic.

4d Hot piece Parliamentarian male’s got cut off (5)
EMBER – cut off the (first) M(ale) from someone elected to Parliament.

5d Made a posting and affected trend oddly (7)
TWEETED – an adjective meaning affected or precious is followed by the odd letters of trend. A very neat surface.

6d Stage performer’s about right with guitar ending raised (7)
ROSTRUM – a slang word for a professional musician contains the two-letter abbreviation for right. Finish with the end letter of guitar then reverse it all (raised).

7d Pedigree during race almost turned outside ring (12)
THOROUGHBRED – a preposition meaning during is followed by the reversal (turned) of a classic race run at Epsom without its last letter (almost). Finally we have to insert the letter that looks like a ring.

10d Around top of grave unearth corroded decay (12)
DISINTEGRATE – a verb to unearth or exhume goes round the top letter of G(rave). After that there’s a verb meaning corroded or gnawed away.

15d Traffic circling capital dropping initial indicator (9)
BAROMETER – a verb to traffic or wheel and deal contains a European capital city without its initial letter.

17d Figure following stroke on river (7)
RUBICON – a figure or image follows a verb to stroke or massage to make the name of the river in north-east Italy which defined the point of no return for Julius Caesar’s army.

18d Fake sex accepted by single partner (7)
IMITATE – an informal word for sex goes inside one (single) and a partner.

19d Surreal, say, painting’s put up round nail head (7)
STRANGE – string together the abbreviation for ‘say’ and a general word for painting plus the ‘S. Now reverse (put up) all that and insert the top letter of nail.

20d Unevenly lie on linen, not soft (7)
LENIENT – remove the even letters from four words to leave the answer.

22d Tree starts to shoot up magically after cow (5)
SUMAC – the starting letters of five words in the clue. ‘After cow did what?’ I hear you cry.

9a made me laugh but my favourite clue today was 5d. Let us know what you liked.




57 comments on “Toughie 1326

  1. I’d give this enjoyable toughie 3.5 for difficulty – for two reasons (a) the working out of the ‘why’ of some of the solutions and (b) the fact that I got an ‘It is him, isn’t it?’ email this morning
    Thanks to Beam and Gazza

  2. Fairly gentle puzzle today but still enjoyable, favourites were 13a and 26a thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. What a splendid puzzle – best Toughie for some time IMHO.

    I’d give it ****/*****. No real favourite as it’s all great stuff.

    Many thanks to Beam and Gazza

  4. Brilliant!

    It’s not often that I venture into the Toughie world but I love Ray T’s back pagers so much that I thought I would have a go today, and I’m very glad I did! I found it challenging but not super-tough and wonderfully enjoyable. My rating is 3*/5*.

    I note, Gazza, that you singled out the innuendo in 9a. What about 26a, 4d & 18d? Very amusing stuff.

    My take on 3d was that the repeated use of “how now brown cow” in elocution lessons is to try to prevent the common sounding pronunciation of “ow” as two syllables, but I might be barking up the wrong tree.

    I expect Kath will look in later so I won’t give my long list of favourites. Suffice to say for obvious reasons that I have a soft spot for 21a, but 4d was my overall favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza, whose explanations I needed to understand why my answers were right for 26a & 6d.

    1. Thought of you as soon as I worked out 21a – so glad you enjoyed this venture into Toughie territory as much as I did.

  5. Just like Rabbit Dave (I think I can simply ditto his comments in future), I am grateful to Gazza for explaining why the answers for 26a and 6d were right. I had not come across the term for a musician in 6d.

    I also had the same take as RD on 3d, the diphthong I thought was seen as a common way of saying “how now brown cow” (which of course had me trying to say this out loud without a diphthong, not sure how well-elocuted I sounded, more likely I sounded like an idiot but no-one yet has commented)

    Brilliant puzzle. Took me ages to get started, but once the cross checks appeared it gained momentum. all great clues, I particularly liked18d. I thought the surface was very neat in a lot of clues, until the cow made a reappearance in 22d. There must be a lot of words starting with c that might have made more sense. Very enjoyable all round,

    many thanks Beam and Gazza

    1. I take your ( and Rabbit Dave’s) point about 3d but I’m not sure you’re right. My understanding is that the dipthong is used in “correct” English (as taught by Professor Higgins) whereas the ‘common’ or uneducated way of saying the phrase doesn’t use the diphthong.

      1. I’m not too familiar with diphthongs but I remember a phrase: The water in majorca doesn’t taste like it ought to. Is it an example of what you mean?

        1. Not exactly. I think that sentence is used as an example of the glottal-stop in Cockney speech. A cockney would say it like “The wa’er in Majo’a doesn’t taste like it ough’a”.

      2. Mmm.. On reflection I agree with you, Gazza. The diphthong (which you’ve spelled corrrectly once and incorrectly once, but we’ll pass quickly over that) is a single vowel sound whereas the “common” pronunciation of “ow” involves two syllables. So, I have changed my mind and I now think that common in the clue refers to the fact that four different words have the same vowel sound in common.

      3. you’re probably right, but wouldn’t that undermine the clue, where the answer diphthong is somehow associated with a play on “common” ?

  6. Many thanks to Beam for an excellent puzzle, and to Gazza for the write-up.
    4*/4* for me today.

  7. Really enjoyed this one also and as everyone I needed Gazza’s breakdown of 6d and 26a.
    For 7d I thought the race was breed without an E and could not make sense of turned until the penny dropped.
    Glad the queen made her appearance.
    I’m even going to vote. I enjoyed it so much, and not only because I managed to solve it without help, but because RayT/Beam deserves all the stars he can get.
    Thanks to him and to Gazza.

  8. Enjoyable puzzle with a good mix of clues, most with nice smooth surfaces. I too failed to parse 6d [didn’t spot the hidden musician]. My favourites were 23a [I liked the removal of the outside of Sol equally from the planet and the craft] and 3d [which I found novel and amusing, in contrast to yesterday’s “Boo” where I just felt “is that all there is?”] – probably just me, but on the other hand those “Excalibur-type” clues always seem to split opinion don’t they?

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the explanations.

  9. Something of a momentous occasion for me – I’VE COMPLETED A TOUGHIE!

    Please can I be allowed 7* for enjoyment & satisfaction, just this once?

    Too many really good clues to choose from but, as for favourite – Mr. T of course (would you expect anything other!)

    Come on Kath & Hanni – if I can do it, you two certainly can.

    Thanks to Gazza for explaining the ‘why’ of the two common sticking points of the day – 26a & 6d and, as for you Mr. T – just how many can I fit in before I get struck off the blog!

    1. Oh Jane! Why isn’t there a hug emoticon thingy? Well done you. for you.

      I’ve got 13 so far. I shall persevere later on but saw that you had posted. :-)

    2. Well done Jane. It took me a quarter of a century to solve one in its entirety.
      Even if you went ad astra per aspera, you are now in the hall of fame.
      I’ll drink to that…ad honorem.

  10. Thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review and hints. I am very pleased that I managed to solve 25a. Hats off to those who have completed it. I tried very hard, but couldn’t do anymore. Even after putting down the definitions, no more were solved, couldn’t get any from the hints either. Beyond the pale for me.

  11. Feeling just a tad on the side but finished it so too!
    I admit to needing gazza to explain the two that everyone else had trouble with plus 7d.
    My new tactics for hunting out the hidden answers seemed to work.
    Great puzzle – what else would we expect? It has taken me ages.
    I liked too many of these to single out any particular ones – my favourite was either 9 or 13a.
    With thanks for the fun to Ray T and thanks for all the explanations to gazza.

    1. Well done to you, Kath, and to Jane too. Isn’t it satisfying for us Toughie novices to complete such a superb puzzle?

      Hip! Hip! Hoo RAY! (T)

  12. A very pleasant and fair Toughie, which was much more enjoyable than yesterday’s offering. I liked 5d, 21a and plenty of the others.

  13. I wonder what we’d need to do to persuade Ray T to come to the Blog Birthday Bash on 31st – so far we can offer him a piece of CS’s birthday cake and I could just throw in a and maybe a too.

      1. I don’t know what is worse. Motorway or TGV madness?
        In France every mayor dreams of having the high speed train coming to their town. But on the other hand I will be able to take the Marseille to London for £100 starting this spring or autumn for you.

    1. OK – that just leaves the question of funds for air/Eurostar fares and a hotel room.

      Actually, maybe there’s also the question of whether he’d willing and able to come anyway.

      1. Just got back in from my Bird Club meeting (must have been mad to go in this wind!) and scanned through for Mr. T’s usual ‘pop in’. He didn’t even MENTION the Birthday party…………..

    2. That might just have been one of my less than good ideas. Oh well, if you don’t try you never know.

        1. Thank you for the kind thought, but I’m afraid I won’t be able to make it. Do have a great time and I’ll be with you all in spirit!


  14. I always find it quite hard to pick up the Toughie after just having finished the blog for the other puzzle. But a Beam puzzle is impossible to resist. Agree that parsing 6d and 26a were the hardest portions of a really good fun puzzle. Word count spot on of course, the rest of you do not need to bother checking. Great to see so many regulars from the back page giving this one a go.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

    1. I know what you mean about finding the toughie hard after having finished the blog for the backpager. Your cryptic brain seems to say ‘really? are you sure? can’t I have a little rest?’

  15. Very many thanks to Gazza for the decryption and to all for your kind comments. Much appreciated, as I may have said before…


  16. Super puzzle from Mr T. Just the right level for me and with the RayT sense of humour too. He seems to have drawn quite a number of comments for a Toughie and almost all are favourable (or better). 26a is probably my favourite as it took a while for the penny to drop after guessing the answer

    Many thanks to Mr T and Gazza

    1. Join the club. I’m still working on Elgar New Year special. A few days…. Umh. That’s very generous.

  17. Well it took me several before I was able to complete the back pager with any regularity. And it looks like it’s gonna take me a few more before I get the hang of these toughies which I have tended to avoid up until now cos of the time needed.
    Well, that’s been my excuse!
    12 clues solved / 11 correct today.
    I shall be back!
    Thanks to Ray T and Gazza.

  18. Oh yes!

    A Beam Toughie is done.

    I had to resort to the hints for a few but I don’t care. At all. 1a and 17d proved tricky and even though I got 7d it was a complete guess so I needed Gazza to unravel it. I also needed to check for the spelling of 3d.

    I’m counting it as a victory.

    And what a great crossword. Some wonderful innuendo and humour. 18d was my real laugh out loud moment.

    Many thanks to the lovely Beam and to the amazing Gazza for blogging. :-)

    1. I’ve been waiting for you to check in with a result – didn’t us Ray T fan club do well.

      BEAMing smiles all round!

      1. You should download the Arachne grid. It is very light and a couple of clues will make you laugh. 21a and 8d have fab surface.

      2. Isn’t it brilliant.

        I’m sure not many people understand that wonderful feeling you get. Do you think I can justify opening the corner for a celebratory drink? Hope your bitd watching club went. :-)

        1. Only trouble is, Hanni, we’ll be expected to repeat the success next time there’s a Mr. T Toughie.

          Please do open the corner meantime – I’ll bring some ‘fizz’ along. May need a loan of your Arachne/David Baddiel puzzle – I can’t get it to print out properly. I’m up for a challenge but, with every other line of the clues almost missing, I think it could be a bit of a bridge too far!

          Bird Club had a great speaker but was, sadly, poorly attended – the wind here is quite fearsome and there are large lumps of tree all over the roads.

          1. Hee hee. That’s the trouble with setting a precedent.
            I haven’t looked at the Arachne yet but I do see the problem you might be having! Much nicer to solve it over a very civilised drink. ;-)
            It’s blowing a gale here too but it seems to be melting some of the snow? I admire your dedication. :-)

            1. Dedication? More like commitment – I’ve got the code to unlock the Uni building and the cheque book to pay the speaker!

              Arachne with missing clue words is challenging, to say the least.

              1. Ahh. Yes I can see your need to be there. Let’s hope that missing clues isn’t the next step in crossword solving ;-) I’m sure one of us will be able to help with the current dilemma! I’m not sure how yet mind. :-)

Comments are closed.