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Toughie 1351

Toughie No 1351 by Beam

Meatier but not the Meatiest

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This took me longer than I thought it was going to after I’d filled in the NW corner with no difficulty and thought it was going to be a doddle. But then I slowed down considerably and I’m not really sure why because it was all perfectly gettable and all perfectly fair. In the end my time was above average and the puzzle proved to be a worthwhile challenge though not the meatiest of Toughies

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    Theft follows oddly clownish plot (10)
CONSPIRACY: Theft (at sea) follows the odd-positioned letters of ClOwNiSh

6a    First signs of massive African landlocked independent republic (4)
MALI: The first letters of Massive African Landlocked Independent

9a    Roughly knocked back free bitter (5)
ACRID: A reversal of an abbreviation denoting ‘roughly’ + ‘to free’

10a    Engaged fantastic teacher possessing writing degree (9)
CHARTERED: An anagram (fantastic) of teacher round a letter that can stand for writing (or reading or arithmetic) + D (degree)

12a    Swear with fury sharing round’s first par (7)
AVERAGE: A 4-letter word meaning ‘swear’ and a 4-letter word meaning ‘fury’ are run together so that they share an R (first letter of round)

13a    Curse comprising last of damn harangues (5)
RATS: An interjection expressing irritation or annoyance goes round N (last letter of damn)

15a    Rubbish for masses consumed by endless celebrity (7)
FLOTSAM: ‘Masses’ (4) inside ‘celebrity’ (4) with the last letter removed

17a    Crack and section mad person (7)
SHATTER: S (section) + a mad person in Alice in Wonderland

19a    Subject‘s state’s leader ousting Conservative in isolated area (7)
ENSLAVE: ‘To subject’ = ‘a piece of territory entirely enclosed within foreign territory’ with S (first letter of state) replacing C (Conservative)

21a    Dressing a nude unevenly in pouch facing sweetheart (7)
BANDAGE: A and the odd letters of NuDe inside a pouch + E (middle letter of swEet)

22a    Awkward sex holding writer back (5)
INEPT: ‘Sex’ goes round a reversal of something you write with

24a    Generates energy, loaded? (7)
CREATES: E (energy) is loaded inside containers for carrying goods

27a    Single fellows in Tibet, empty following a penance (9)
ATONEMENT: A + ‘single’ and ‘fellow’ inside the first and last letters of TibeT

28a    Hospital department admitting stroke’s severe (5)
ACUTE: A hospital department round a cricket stroke

29a    Match without extra time is tied (4)
EVEN: Remove T (time) from a match or other sporting fixture

30a    Rating‘s permit includes ship’s canteen, starter to finish (10)
ASSESSMENT: ‘Permit’ goes round a ship’s canteen with its first letter put at the end


1d    Hard hat’s worn by bloke (4)
CHAP: H (hard) inside a hat

2d    Liars’ rot arranged to hold up tale-tellers (9)
NARRATORS: Hidden in reverse in LiarS’ ROT ARRANged

3d    Fat person, say, rising after dessert (5)
PUDGE: A reversal of an abbreviation denoting ‘say’ follows ‘dessert’

4d    ‘Get Back‘ playing venue unsatisfactory for the audience (7)
RECLAIM: An open area for games + a homophone of ‘unsatisfactory’

5d    Properties rented by Switzerland and Austria? (7)
CHALETS: ‘Rented properties’ follow the IVRs for Switzerland and Austria. The whole clue provides the definition

7d    Secretary turned up with conceivably ‘politically correct’ skirt (5)
APRON: The first two letters are a reversal of an abbreviation denoting ‘secretary’. The last 3 letters have to be split (1-2) with the single letter then expanded. This gives a term (5-2) which can mean ‘politically correct’

8d    Reckless youth one reared purchasing record by Queen (10)
INDISCREET: A reversal of a youth (between 13 and 19) and I (one) goes round a record and R (Queen)

11d    Referee ends up in exercise ground (7)
TERRAIN: A reversal of the first and last letters of RefereE inside ‘to exercise’

14d    Womanly bird in weak embrace (10)
EFFEMINATE: A bird that can be taught to imitate human speech goes inside ‘weak’

16d    House name, it’s missing somewhere in Washington (7)
SEATTLE: A house + a name with IT removed

18d    Change published obscenity in unfinished number (9)
TRANSMUTE: ‘Published’ and ‘obscenity’ inside a 3-letter number with the last letter removed

20d    Avoids function key’s short cuts (7)
ESCHEWS: The short form of a function key on a computer keyboard + ‘cuts’

21d    Sombre at heart stifling sigh (7)
BREATHE: Hidden in somBRE AT HEart

23d    Bolt‘s record with victory cry raised (5)
ELOPE: ‘To bolt’ = a reversal of a record and a victory cry (as heard at bullfights)

25d    Starts to turn hotter after winter season (5)
THAWS: The first letters of Turn Hotter After Winter Season. The whole clue provides the definition

26d    Defeat / unbeatable (4)
BEST: 2 meanings: to defeat/unbeatable


33 comments on “Toughie 1351

  1. So much fun to be had, I was too happy to be grumpy about the ‘toughness’ (it is the toughest this week so far so…)

    Thanks to Beam for a great crossword, I’d better not list the clues I really really liked or I’ll be in trouble with Kath. Thanks to Bufo too.

  2. I did find it rather gentle for a toughie that I first dreaded.
    Even the one obscure word in 15a was easy to parse.
    Nice to see that bird again in 14d. I remember it causing quite a lot of problems in the past.
    8d is my favourite today.
    Thanks to RayT and to Bufo for the review.

  3. This then the lovely cryptic. Oh, happy crossword day today!

    I loved this. Pleased to find that with the exception of 18D (ran = published?), I had also parsed everything correctly. I did question my reasoning for 24A but it was the same as in the hint. Like CS, I had many ‘likes’ but I’ll settle for 12A as favorite. Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  4. Enjoyable puzzle with a bit more of a challenge than the last two. And an anagram!

    1d was a bit Yoda-ish and 7d a bit clunky for me but I did enjoy 24a [loaded] the all in one at 5d and the ref ends up in 11d.

    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  5. That was far too hard for the North London duo, about a third of it done under stress and duress so the newspaper has found itself as an ideal liner for the cat litter tray!
    Difficulty ********/ enjoyment -****

  6. What a lovely puzzle, most enjoyable with lots of interesting wordplay, and a good challenge.

    What’s all this stuff about not listing too many favourites? I don’t know what else to do on a crossword blog!

    So: I liked 10a (engaged fantastic teacher..) for the engaging surface reading. 5d (properties rented by switzerland…) I thought was very cute because of the all-in-one nature – similarly for 25d (starts to turn hotter). And I thought 21d (sombre at heart…) was a very clever hidden word, I for one did not spot it immediately.

    I did think “ron” for politically correct (7d) was bit of a stretch, but it was solvable and the clue did have quotes, and say “conceivably”.

    Many thanks Beam and Bufo

  7. As you would expect – this Mr. T fan refused to be beaten, but didn’t find it as easy as the experts have made out! There was certainly a loud ‘victory cry’ when the grid finally filled up. 3.5*/5* in my book.

    Didn’t manage to fully parse 18d or 28a (darned cricket) but got the right answers anyway.
    Best smiles came from 17a & 3d.
    Favourite could be any one of a dozen or so but I’ll opt for the lovely surface of 1a.

    Devotion to Beam, as always and many thanks to Bufo for the first class review.

    By the way, Bufo – think there’s a letter missing from the answer at 13a.

    1. Forgot to say – glad to see the Queen back in the frame, Mr. T. I rather missed having her around in your last back-pager.

  8. Certainly more difficult than Beam/RayT’s usual Thursday back pager, as it got the old grey matter stretching it’s legs. Not too sure if 24a quite works for me but plenty of fun to be found elsewhere. Liked 1a & 4d amongst others but will go with 2d as my favourite. Thanks to Beam for the puzzle and Bufo for parsing confirmation on a couple of answers.

  9. Bah dipped out on 18d whic I had pencilled in then removed cos I couldn’t get 30 ac either :)
    Enjoyable puzzle and cheers for the explanations

  10. It felt rather tougher than my watch tells me it was: 2*(or maybe a smidgeon over)/3*. My tip for top clue is 18d, but there were other contenders. Thanks to RayT/Beam, and to Bufo for the review.

      1. We have hockey sticks and cricket helmets. It still won’t tempt me. Well, maybe from a distance with a clear exit back to my bunker, aka comfy corner.

        1. Oh, I shall give it my best shot over my morning cuppa. I am nothing if not stubborn. I may even print it out tonight and see if the evening libation, or several, oils the cogs and wheels.

          1. Oh I admire your tenacity.

            But I’m sure your solving abilities are better than mine, that’s not false modesty. Maybe if I borrowed a suit of armour. ;-)

              1. Love it Jane and Chris. I’m a fairly decent shot, so I’ll take up a sniper position. If we send in early air strikes with CS, Jean-luc and Gazza et al, it will take out the ‘problem areas’. Isolate the 4 letter clues with Dutch, Shropshirelad, Rick and Wolfson. Salty, Jon and Gordon can provide a heavy artillery attack whilst Pegasus and Halcyon give cover. Intel provided by you two throughout, will have the whole thing done. BRB’s to be fully op ready.

                1. I fear that CS and Gazza, at least, are rogue agents who will go it alone. We may be behind enemy lines without backup. This calls for subterfuge and cunning and probably more than a few G&T’s, or in my case, single malts.

                  1. I actually like to believe that CS, Gazza et al conspire together anyway – makes me feel far less of a failure.
                    My month of self-imposed abstinence is over – bottle of red at the ready for tomorrow.

                  2. Worry not you two. MrT is clearly on our side. The command structure is cemented with BD, who has global affiliations. Special forces have MP in charge of decrypting anagrams. The Kiwis handle the southern grid whilst all of the Canadians, the north. Rabbit Dave makes MI6 look inept. Kath’s presence is the calming and necessary life force. DT the provider of calm and Pommers a joy. Though he does play bridge.

                    I cannot comment on the Toughie setters.

                    Grab an Oban malt!

                    1. That’s it sorted then. See you all tomorrow – if all else fails we can chuck the empty bottles over into the enemy camp.

                    2. Youse guys crack me up! If I crack the grid, I will crack the 15-year old Dalwhinnie! Or maybe The Balvenie. Or the Glenmorangie. Solving an Elgar with his boots on may be worth the sacrifice. But hey… I printed the puzzle and I got one so far. Things are looking up!

  11. Found this one quite tricky but some of that might be because of still being away from usual solving environment. Eventually got it all sorted and parsed with 18d being the last. Too many good clues (and none of them longer than 8 words of course) to be able to pick a favourite. Good fun from start to finish.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  12. I always find RayT puzzles to be good fun and this was no exception. Every time I start one I tell myself to be alert and not be beaten by his hidden words which in the past have given me more trouble than any other compiler. Luckily no problems today.
    I was a little surprised at the difficulty rating – I found it a touch easier than that but it is the first worthy toughie of the week.

    Shin pads, cricket pads and US football kit all out for tomorrow – alas work demands are likely to postpone the start of this exercise in self-flagellation until Saturday unless Giovanni produces a particularly easy back-pager

    Many thanks to Mr T and Bufo

  13. Blithesome.

    I’ve been looking forward to this since CS kindly informed us yesterday, that today is a Beam day. A wonderful Beam day.

    Like Jane, I certainly didn’t find this easy. I look forward to the days when a Toughie can be called easy. So after I dispatched child type things maths homework, I sat down with a glass of wine and set to. I got 5 clues. Thankfully one of those was 14d. I have also heeded Kath’s advice and therefore looked for all those pesky hidden clues. I even spotted some, including the wonderful 2d.

    Overcoming the odd obstacle is par for the course, God I loathe myself for using a golfing analogy, but for 30a I convinced myself ‘galley’ was part of the clue. 16d I guessed at. 22a made me laugh. 25d was clever. I could go on but I won’t.

    It was a difficult solve and utterly worth it.

    Many thanks to BeamT for a joyful puzzle and to Bufo for a masterful blog.

  14. Well, what a great puzzle, even though it is now Saturday afternoon. Very many fine clues, although I had to look up 23d for the final answer. What will the setters do when all us ancient solvers who enjoyed 4 tracks for the price of 2 on their vinyl 45’s have gone? Thanks to Beam and to Bufo for this ****/***** puzzle. Now – where’s Friday’s paper gone… Sh-Shoney.

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