Toughie 1574

Toughie No 1574 by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Maybe I have now got used to Beam’s style because this was by far my quickest solve of one of his puzzles. There were no significant problems once I’d stopped trying to justify SOLE for 25 down.

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    Boy precedes girl; man, woman: it’s in order (12)
ALPHABETICAL: Look at the first letters of the words in the following list and note the order: Boy, Girl, Man, Woman

9a    Finishes these things around day after cheating (9)
CONCLUDES: ‘Cheating’ + the things you are solving (or attempting to solve) round D (day)

10a    Your life might be in their hands! (5)
TAROT: A cryptic definition for a pack of cards used in fortune telling

11a    Confesses, pale, head to toe (6)
ALLOWS: Take a word meaning ‘pale’ and move the first letter (head) to the end (toe)

12a    Obstruct knife, catching clasp — one line is cut (8)
BLOCKADE: A knife goes round (catches) a clasp with a letter L (line) removed

13a    Old lady taking in clubs for good crack (6)
CRANNY: Take an old lady and replace G (good) by C (clubs)

15a    Embroiders small person’s name finally in smalls (8)
STITCHES: A small person (from the name of a music hall artist) and E (last letter of name) inside SS (S = small, therefore SS = smalls)

18a    Second key almost revealed master key? (8)
SKELETON: S (second) + the first two letters of KEy + ‘revealed’ (3,2)

19a    With destructive behaviour, idiots emptied rubbish (6)
DEBRIS: The first and last letters of DestructivE, BehaviouR and IdiotS

21a    Fakes nearly worked in cold lower regions (8)
CHARADES: ‘Worked’ (3) with the last letter removed inside C (cold) and lower regions (or the underworld)

23a    Childhood disorder preceded getting confused (6)
ADDLED: An abnormal inability to concentrate for more than very short periods of time + ‘preceded’

26a    Central character from ‘Medea’? (5)
DELTA: The Greek equivalent of D which is the middle letter of Medea (a Greek mythological figure)

27a    Hate to drop off — no minutes being cuddled? (9)
ABOMINATE: ‘To drop off’ or ‘to grow less’ (5) goes round ‘no’ (1) and ‘minutes’ (3)

28a    Caught and struck fish, in short, cut guts (12)
CHITTERLINGS: C (caught) + ‘struck’ (3) + a fish (4) inside ‘short (5) with the last letter removed = the smaller intestines of a pig prepared as a dish


1d    Old part of fingerprint agency turned up (7)
ARCHAIC: One of the basic patterns of the human fingerprint + a reversal of an agency of the US Government

2d    English learner holding up slate tablet (5)
PANEL: ‘To slate’ or ‘to criticise’ + E (English) + L (learner)

3d    Amount’s first cut accepting reduced payment (9)
ALLOWANCE: The amount that’s in your bank account with the first letter removed goes round ‘reduced’

4d    Aims and kills (4)
ENDS: 2 meanings: aims (as a noun)/kills (as a verb)

5d    Lag‘s offence receiving answer by end of sentence (8)
INSULATE: ‘To lag’ = an offence round A (answer) + E (last letter of sentence)

6d    Initially ascend top tread into cold room (5)
ATTIC: First letters of Ascend Top Tread Into Cold

7d    By seizing power becomes minister (8)
PREACHER: ‘By’ (3) round ‘power’ (5) = a minister

8d    Oddly, satire eases tension (6)
STRESS: The odd letters of SaTiRe EaSeS

14d    Willing adult males on island flipped (8)
AMENABLE: A (adult) + ‘males’ + a reversal of an island associated with Napoleon

16d    Look at male trapped by work’s drudgery (9)
TREADMILL: ‘To look at’ (4) and M (male) inside ‘to work’ (4)

17d    Divine Celia losing heart in woods (8)
FORECAST: ‘To divine’ = the first and last letters of CeliA inside ‘woods’

18d    Split from diocese about Church getting Germany’s support (6)
SECEDE: ‘To split’ = a diocese round an abbreviation denoting ‘Church’ and the IVR for Germany

20d    Misery capsized in distress? Send a signal (7)
SADNESS: Hidden in reverse in distreSS SEND A Signal

22d    Stayed in elevated hot area, saturated (5)
AWASH: ‘Stayed’ inside a reversal of H (hot) A (area)

24d    Further education? (5)
LEARN: A crypitic definition which should be read as ‘to further one’s education’

25d    Single that makes audible advance (4)
LONE: A homophone of an advance of money

Sorry the review’s a bit late. Blame roadworks and the local bus service.


  1. halcyon
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    That’s offal 2 days in a row.
    Straightforward puzzle although 1a and 26a caused some head scratching. What’s the opposite of a “penny-drop moment” when one starts to suspect that’s all there is?
    Favourite was 9a [“these things” raised a smile].

    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the blog.

  2. Gazza
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo for the blog.
    I had a slightly different parsing of 3d: A(mount) + LANCE (cut) containing LOW.

    • dutch
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      interesting – I went the bufo route but looks like both work fine

    • halcyon
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      I’m with you Gazza. Sorry Bufo – didn’t previously spot the difference from your version.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      I did it the same as Bufo. Well done Gazza and everyone else that saw the other way. Never even occurred to me.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s more direct getting lance from cut than balance from amount, so that may have been the setter’s intention – it’s just a pleasing coincidence how cleanly it works both ways.

      • Hanni
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        It is quite clever that it works both ways. I wonder how Beam set it?

        Hope the ribs are healing? I have still not finished the IO.

        • Dutch
          Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

          Slowly but I hope surely. I find elgars quite a challenge.

          • Hanni
            Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

            Just commented below. You really do have my sympathy about the ribs. Remember one of the time I did mine in and I had to sleep sitting up. Just horrible. I’m not sure challenge is the right word. But I am enjoying it.

  3. Kitty
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Much as I enjoy this setter on the back page I couldn’t justify spending time today on a Toughie, so have only read the review. I do think even the easiest Toughies (with a very few exceptions) are still quite a big step up from the back pagers and would not like to predict how long this would have taken me. Still, great clueing to appreciate.

    My favourites, if I am allowed any, are some of the easiest of the bunch: 4, 8 and 20d.

    With thanks to Bufo and apologies to Beam.

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable puzzle albeit at the middle to lower end of the ‘difficulty’ spectrum. The top half went in much quicker than the lower but that was due to me being interrupted by the cat. Anyone want a 20 year little black moggy with a bad heart, high blood pressure etc? Of course, I wouldn’t really part with her.

    Anyway, some really good clues which made me smile but I’ll opt for 28a as it’s a brilliant word – takes me back to when I started off my working life as an apprentice butcher.

    BTW – My parsing of 3d was the same as Gazza’s

    Thanks to Beam & Bufo.

  5. dutch
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Slow progress today. I had to check 10a could mean the whole pack. Tried to use Sch*** for too long for 18d… I have friends who would maintain the abbreviation in 23a is neither a disorder (yes I know that’s what the D stands for) nor is it limited to children. I knew 28a was a word we had seen recently, but it still took me a while to remember it.

    I liked 1a, though the punctuation is a bit ott.

    Many thanks beam and Bufo

  6. Hanni
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Not easy from where I was sat (my desk), but very very enjoyable.

    LOI was 28a. I guessed at the answer and couldn’t parse it even after writing it our several times. But what a great word. 1a caused quite a few problems too and the less said about the hidden reversal of 20d the better. I do have a blind spot for them.

    Loved 11a and 28a

    Enjoyed this lots.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for a great blog.

    • Dutch
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

      Where is easier than your desk? Wish I had a desk….

      • Hanni
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

        To clarify I wasn’t sat on my desk. I was sat on my chair, it reclines and goes up and down. But my sofa is comfier. My desk isn’t very interesting. And it’s covered in bits of work I don’t want to do.

      • Dutch
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

        I share the kitchen table with kids’ homework and meals

        • Dutch
          Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

          And the chairs are static

        • Hanni
          Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

          Yup…you need a desk. You could try portioning off the table with masking tape. Although it’s not very fair that you still have to do homework. 7 clues to go in the IO.

          • dutch
            Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

            haha – i don’t do the homework, just have to make room for the kids. i do the meals, though.

            • Hanni
              Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

              I bet you help out though. Blimey…can all the men on the blog cook?

              • spindrift
                Posted March 25, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink


                • Hanni
                  Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

                  That’s the spirit!

  7. Expat Chris
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Yep, I had sole for 25D. Well, the soles of one’s shoes can make an audible noise, can’t they? Otherwise, no problems and it may have been on the easy side but no less enjoyable for that. My picks are 1A, 26A and 28A (yes, I have eaten them as a child in the UK). I, too, went the ‘lance’ route for 3D but I like our blogger’s interpretation. Many thanks to Beam and Bufo.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      Oh forgot that I went down the sole route for 25d too.

  8. jean-luc cheval
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t going to comment as I didn’t believe this was a Beam.
    Found the surface rather poor in quite a few clues. (12a, 15a, 23a, 27a, 28a, 1d, 14d).
    Wasn’t keen on the “nearly worked” in 21a.
    However I loved 19a.
    Thanks to the setter and to Bufo for the review.
    Ps: Parsed 3d as Gazza.

    • 2Kiwis
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

      JL, if in doubt, just do a word count on the clues. If they are no more than 8 and all the answers are single words, it is pretty good evidence that it is Beam. Additionally, although in his RayT guise he uses anagrams, they do not appear in Beam puzzles. He is one setter we never fail to identify.

  9. JB
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Why is “reach” “power”? 7 d
    You do realise that the answers to your hints are not hidden on either this or the back page?

    • dutch
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      It is listed as a synonym in chambers thesaurus. If you have reach, you have power ( I guess)

    • stanXYZ
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

      The answers to the hints are hidden here …

      … using Chrome / Firefox / IE aka Edge – using Windows 10,

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    We did this on line which is not our favourite way to solve a crossword. They just seem to belong on paper for us, must be an age thing. However we were not going to miss the chance to tackle a Beam. It all went together relatively smoothly but not particularly quickly for us and we found it very satisfying and fun.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  11. crypticsue
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Sparks tomorrow

    • Hanni
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Goodygoodygoodygoodygoody. I like Sparks.

      • Gazza
        Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        Don’t forget to search out the Nina!

        • Hanni
          Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

          I promise I will do my best Gazza. Got an awful feeling that I will be asking for help from you and Dutch. 😔 but it’s Sparks on a Friday!! Yay.

  12. RayT
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Evening all. Many thanks to Bufo for the decryption and to all for your comments. An interesting take on 3d which works just as well!


    • Shropshirelad
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

      Nice to see you pop in Mr T. Thanks for the puzzle and I do hope if you’re on ‘back page’ duty next Thursday – I will not be too stressed trying to tease out the answers to your clues. I’m looking forward to doing the review.

    • Hanni
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Good stuff as always. Many thanks.

    • dutch
      Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

      many thanks for dropping in, cheers.

    • Jane
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 12:31 am | Permalink

      Just calling to say Hi Mr. T. Haven’t had a chance to get at the puzzle today but it will be tackled ‘ere long. Heaven forbid that I should miss out on one of yours!
      Many thanks for your usual visit to the site – it really is appreciated by us all.

      • jane
        Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        All done now but can’t say that I found it easy. Liked many of them but initial ticks went by 9&18a plus 5d.

        Many thanks to the man himself and also to Bufo – I did need your help with a couple of bits of parsing!

  13. Jon_S
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

    Slow but steady progress, but solved too late in the evening for me, so hard to judge difficulty. An enjoyable challenge though, despite not being in the right frame of mind to appreciate properly!

  14. upthecreek
    Posted March 24, 2016 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    Wow! What a struggle. RayT had his hard hat on today. Only one hidden word and no anagrams. It took all day but managed in the end after a long time solving 12. Thought the surface was great on 8 whilst 26 was a pure guess. Many thanks to Ray for making a wet day, complete with power cuts, bearable.

  15. fenwick
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Isnt 25 down “lone” ? Your helpful comments on the toughie are much appreciated when we get stuck on the last few clues.

    • Deep Threat
      Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog fenwick.

  16. fenwick
    Posted March 25, 2016 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Should have read more carefully – sorry. You have put lone.