Toughie 1558 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1558

Toughie No 1558 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

The SE corner went in fairly quickly and the NE and SW corners yielded without too many problems. The NW corner proved somewhat more difficult and the time spent getting 1 across and 7 down (where the checking letters were not very helpful) caused me to give the extra half star for difficulty

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.


7a    Roman god girding heavens, old and dignified (8)
DECOROUS: The Latin word for ‘God’ goes round ‘Heavens!’ and O (old)

9a    Material‘s twinkling hot look (6)
MOHAIR: A twinkling (short time) + H (hot) + a look

10a    Drunk said hello (4)
HIGH: ‘Drunk’ or ‘intoxicated’ is a homophone of ‘Hello!’

11a    The iron fist oddly seen in ‘Fight Club‘ (10)
FRATERNITY: The odd-positioned letters of ThE iRoN fIsT inside ‘fight’

12a    Musician perhaps, one producing multiple hits? (6)
RAPPER: 2 meanings: Eminem or Kanye West or Jay-Z or Nicky Minaj or (that’s enough)/someone who hits repeatedly (e.g. when knocking on a door)

14a    You, the French, sample mousse possibly (8)
TOILETRY: A French word for ‘you’ + a French word for ‘the’ + ‘to sample’

15a    Unusual aphrodisiac with kiss for redhead (6)
EXOTIC: Take a word meaning ‘aphrodisiac’ or ‘arousing sexual desire’ and change R (first letter of Red) to X (kiss)

17a    Heavenly region around stellar twelve rotating (6)
ZODIAC: A reversal (rotating) of ‘around’ (1) and ‘stellar’ or ‘first-class’ (2) and an abbreviated form of dozen (3)

20a    Triad almost put away sharing Eastern menace (8)
THREATEN: A triad with the last letter removed and ‘put away’ or ‘consumed by mouth’ share a letter E (Eastern) = ‘to menace’

22a    Centre of Yellowstone’s forest ranger (6)
WARDEN: The middle letter of YelloWstone and the name of the forest in As You Like It

23a    Sober sailor’s routine, dropping date for male (10)
ABSTEMIOUS: An abbreviation denoting a sailor + ‘S + an adjective meaning ‘routine’ with D (date) replaced by M (male)

24a    Dough reportedly is raised (4)
BRED: A homophone of ‘dough’ or ‘money’

25a    Strip rich man before end of heist (6)
DIVEST: ‘To strip’ = the name of the rich man at whose gate Lazarus lay + T (last letter of heisT)

26a    Record that’s about record backing for follower (8)
DISCIPLE: A record + ‘that is’ round a record


1d    Treat, going round clubs giving treat (8)
MEDICATE: ‘To treat (or negotiate) round C (clubs) = ‘to treat a sick person’

2d    Finally crash following test flier (4)
MOTH: H (last letter of crasH) follows a test given to a motor vehicle

3d    Pine maybe, losing heart for present (6)
CONFER: Remove the middle letter from a type of tree such as a pine

4d    The compiler’s favourite function, accepting current complaint (8)
IMPETIGO: ‘The compiler is’ (1’1) + a favourite (3) + ‘to function’ (2) round I (current)

5d    Caught composer, one with Queen providing light support (10)
CHANDELIER: C (caught) + the surname of a German composer + I (one) + our Queen

6d    Bedding material for some cats? (6)
LITTER: 2 meanings: straw, hay, etc. Provided as bedding for animals/a brood of young born to an animal, e.g. a cat

8d    Beams hard astern on board ship (6)
SHAFTS: H (hard) and ‘astern’ in the abbreviation for a steamship

13d    Having grounds, nosed around, nothing fresh (10)
PROPERTIED: ‘Having grounds’ or ‘owning land’ = ‘nosed’ round O (nothing’ and ‘fresh’

16d    Insinuate topless single friend may become affectionate (8)
INTIMATE: ‘To insinuate’ (4) with the first letter removed + I (single) + a friend

18d    Skilfully making handle in kaolin, not amateur (8)
CLEVERLY: A handle (or bar turning on a fulcrum) inside kaolin with the letter A (amateur) removed

19d    Offensive rising from Rwanda or Nigeria (6)
INROAD: Hidden in reverse in RwanDA OR NIgeria

21d    After stripping, shy bride gets cross (6)
HYBRID: Remove the first and last letters from ‘shy bride’

22d    Most sage survives being imported by occident (6)
WISEST: ‘Survives’ inside ‘occident’

24d    Cheese starts to become runny if eaten (4)
BRIE: Initial letters of Become Runny If Eaten

Enjoyable enough

24 comments on “Toughie 1558

  1. I got half way through (mainly in the bottom) without any tears, then had to reach for the electronics to get unstuck. It turned out there was nothing that should have been beyond me, but left to my own devices I might have taken all year.

    1a and 7d were my last in too. :wacko:

    Given the grid, I looked for a nina, but all I could find was a word ascending in column 5. That doesn’t do much on its own so it’s unintentional or I’m missing the rest. (And several of the pairs of words in the same row/column ran together amusingly, but I’m sure that’s just me.)

    The biggest smile award goes to 21d, which was also a nice gentle Kitty-accessible clue – very helpful in getting me going.

    Many thanks to Beam and Bufo.

    1. No tears in the bottom either (thankfully) – top was a bit trickier to get started on but came together after a while of hammering away at it.

      Certainly needed a few hints here though – Thanks Bufo and RayT

  2. Was beaten by 25a as I didn’t know the rich man.
    But that didn’t spoil the fun.
    Some people might object to 12a being referred as a musician though. First thought it was Harper as I’m sure there must be a famous music publisher or producer named so.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  3. My last in was 7 across, and too was looking for a nina as this grid has exactly 50% answers with unchecked firsts. Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  4. Wow. I found this hard going but got there eventually. Needed the review to parse 9A, and I bunged in 25A. My main hold-up was in the NE corner, with 14A and 11A the last two in. Favorites are 23A, 4D and 13D. Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  5. I must have been looking over Bufo’s shoulder as I completed it in much the same way. I would tend to agree with J-L about 12a and I’m agog that Bufo knows the names of so many of them. Lots to like and very little, if any, to dislike.

    Thanks to Beam for the enjoyment and to Bufo for his review, innit bro’.

  6. NW corner was also my last to yield, but it all came together quite nicely.
    Many thanks to Beam for the very pleasant diversion, and to Bufo for the review.

  7. Strangely enough, 7a was almost my first one in but the same cannot be said of 1d – definitely the final hurdle.
    As always, a very satisfying solve from my hero – I’m giving the honours to 17a with 11a coming into second place.

    Devotions to the Beaming Mr. T and many thanks to Bufo for confirmation of the parsing.

  8. Agree with others. Last to go in were 7a and 1d. Biggest smile 21d.
    Thank you one and all. What torments do we have in store tomorrow?

        1. It’s the pleasure/pain principle SL. I’m excited about it but I know there’ll be pain along the way.

          Stuck on this one right now.

  9. The north east corner was also the last in for me. Like expat Chris and Jean Luc, I don’t know the name of the rich man, but just bunged it in.
    Very satisfying.15a is my favourite and I also really liked 11a and many others.
    Thanks Beam/Ray T and Buffo.

  10. 20a, although we got the answer quite easily was the last one for us to work out all the wordplay. A special delight was re-reading all the clues to enjoy the innuendo in the surface readings. When we are solving we tend to have ignored much of it. Lots of fun and much enjoyed. Word count checked and found to be perfect once again.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

    1. Lovely to ‘see’ you drop in Beam, thanks again for the enjoyable puzzle. Did we have a hidden theme in the grid? I did wonder when the top row produced a lot of Roman numerals although I don’t think 2,249 has any significance. :smile:

  11. Hi Mr. T,
    A pleasure as always to have you popping in.
    I wonder whether you have a reasonable idea which clues we’re likely to struggle with when you’re setting a puzzle? I can envisage you sitting there chuckling!!!

    1. Not really. I can pretty much guarantee that the clues which I think are difficult don’t pose problems and that the ones which I think are easy, don’t.
      It”s the same with enjoyment. The clues which I particularly like, others don’t, and the clues about which I have no strong feelings seem to go down well.
      That’s why we have an editor!

  12. I found this the easiest Toughie of the week so far – in line with Blog ratings too – but a nice puzzle as always from Mr T. I have an inkling that the “easiest of the week” prize is not going to be snatched away by Elgar tomorrow so perhaps it is a first for RayT.

    Given the extremely unlikely event of an easy puzzle tomorrow it has been a pretty reasonable Toughie week

    Thanks to Ray T and the blog

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