Toughie 1638 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1638

Toughie No 1638 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Tilsit for covering for me last week when I was on the Club 18-30 knees-up in Ibiza. To be honest it was more of a Club 68-80 feet-up in Southport (and it’s not often I go somewhere these days and bring down the average age). While there I did manage to resist the temptation to visit the lawnmower museum. Today I thought I was on for a record time for a Beam puzzle when most of it went in quite easily. Then I stalled in the NW (though I’m not sure why) and I ended up in average difficulty territory (especially when the parsing time is taken into account).

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7a    Splitting, roughly splitting? (8)
CLEAVING: A one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘roughly’ or ‘approximately’ + ‘splitting’

9a    Turned very pink concealing two sweethearts (6)
VEERED: V (very) + ‘pink’ round two instances of the middle letter (or heart) of swEet

10a    Miss start of Open University (4)
OMIT: ‘To miss’ = the first letter of Open + a US university located near Boston

11a    Period fashion mostly seen in illuminated English writing (10)
LITERATURE: A period of time and ‘to fashion’ with the last letter removed go inside ‘illuminated’ and E (English)

12a    Half drunk during bow, showing bottom (6)
BEHIND: One of those where I bunged in the answer and then realised when writing the review that I hadn’t worked out the why. It’s the first 2 letters of a 4-letter word meaning ‘drunk’ or ‘intoxicated’ inside ‘to bow’

14a    Reckon Church prayer over departed’s about done (8)
EVALUATE: A reversal of a prayer to the Virgin Mary + ‘departed’ round a single letter denoting ‘done’ or ‘socially acceptable’

15a    Messy agreement including sex upset date (6)
UNTIDY: Another one that I didn’t parse when solving and I’m still having difficulty with it. But I think it works as follows. Take a 5-letter word meaning ‘agreement’ that contains the letters IT (sex). Reverse (upset) the IT to get TI and then put the resulting 5 letters round D (date)

17a    Assassin? Oliver Stone wouldn’t accept legal decision initially (6)
OSWALD: The first letters of Oliver Stone Wouldn’t Accept Legal Decision

20a    Coarse food and wine’s consumed hot, almost mellow (8)
ROUGHAGE: French red wine goes round H (hot) and ‘to mellow’ with the last letter removed

22a    Tribal symbols carry clear meanings (6)
TOTEMS: ‘To carry’ + the first and last letters of MeaningS

23a    Occasionally sits reading — that means order (10)
STRAIGHTEN: Alternate letters of SiTs ReAdInG tHaT mEaNs

24a    Cut from Eminem’s opening in his music style (4)
REAP: The first letter of Eminem inside the type of music for which he’s famous

25a    Position of power held by a religious group (6)
ASPECT: P (power) inside A and a religious group

26a    Precipitation‘s unendingly cold during autumn (8)
RAINFALL: A 3-letter word meaning ‘cold’ or ‘not cooked’ or ‘chilly and damp’ with the last letter removed + ‘during’ + ‘autumn’


1d    Female left male lover carrying a torch (8)
FLAMBEAU: F (female) + L (left) + M (male) + ‘lover’ round A

2d    Truck‘s detailed route going north (4)
CART: Here ‘detailed’ means ‘de-tailed’ or ‘with the tail removed’. The answer is the reversal of a route with the last letter removed

3d    Encouraged to eat, hardly satisfied (6)
FILLED: I thought I had this one worked out but now I’m not sure. I had it as encouraged (3) round (to eat) ‘hardly’ (3) [both words are in Chambers Thesaurus, but only back from the answer not forward from the clue  BD]

4d    Malodorous pal, revolting, holding back covers (8)
OVERLAPS: Hidden in reverse in malodorouS PAL REVOlting

5d    Moderation one’s lost round at the French bistro (10)
RESTAURANT: ‘Moderation’ (9) with the letter I (one) removed goes round the French for ‘at the’

6d    Small island’s last character to start mystery (6)
SECRET: S (small) + a Greek island with the last letter moved to the front

8d    Grey originally cheers up the woman producing crop (6)
GATHER: G (first letter of Grey) + a reversal of ‘Cheers!’ = ‘the woman’ = ‘to crop’

13d    Some inside target nicely lifted United (10)
INTEGRATED: Hidden in reverse in insiDE TARGET NIcely

16d    Swallows could be easy game (8)
DRAUGHTS: 2 meanings: swallows/a game played on a chequered board (easier than chess)

18d    Infernal island, Napoleon’s first, and lunatic flipped (8)
DAMNABLE: A reversal of an island associated with Napoleon, the first letter of Napoleon, and ‘insane’

19d    Awaken heartless creature with icier exterior (6)
BESTIR: A creature (5) with the middle letter removed + the first and last letters of IcieR

21d    Slow old coach takes time heading east (6)
OBTUSE: ‘Slow’ or ‘dull-witted’ = O (old) + a coach (vehicle) round T (time) + E (east)

22d    Game‘s raised from overs in nets (6)
TENNIS: Hidden in reverse in overS IN NETs. I thought at first it was an anagram of IN NETS but (a) it doesn’t quite work and (b) Beam doesn’t do anagrams

24d    Queen provided loud hook (4)
RIFF: a one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘queen’ + ‘provided’ (2) + a one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘loud’. According to Chambers a hook is ‘in pop music, a catchy phrase’ and the answer is ‘a musical phrase or figure played repeatedly’

I don’t know why but it was by no means my favourite Beam puzzle.

19 comments on “Toughie 1638

  1. A stern test, especially as I was flying solo on this today.

    8d and 13d are masterpieces of the reverse hidden word clue. 17a is superb. 18 and 19d are wonderful. Top of the pile, though, has to be the outstanding 7a – fantastic.

    4*/4*, although, no doubt, Mrs Sheffieldsy will say it was easy when she sees it.

    I parsed 3d as you suggested, Bufo.

    Thanks to Bufo for the review. Thanks also to Beam – well done, indeed.

  2. Thanks to Bufo for explaining 3d and 15a.
    Half parsed bung ins as far as I am concerned.
    Thought 23a (occasionally sits) was very clever and the reversed hidden clues quite good.
    Thanks to Beam.

  3. The first time that I have solved a Beam … well apart from failing to explain 15a & 3d!

    Maybe too many hidden clues backwards and forwards!

  4. Ooo those reverse hiddens… very good.
    Also liked 17a (assassin) and 22a (tribal symbols)

    I spent a long time on SW, had to reveal some letters in the end. Of course it all looks fine in hindsight. Didn’t help that I was trying to fit in a 5-letter religious group, doh.

    many thanks Beam and Bufo

  5. Not easy, but I did complete the grid and I did enjoy it. i couldn’t parse 3D either. My picls are 1A and 20A. Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  6. Sorry, Bufo, but I really enjoyed this one despite having the same problems as others over the parsing of 15a&3d.
    So many contenders for podium places but I’ll go with a top three of 7&17a plus 18d. Also a mention for the clever 23a.

    Devotions to Mr. T/Beam and many thanks to Bufo for the review.

  7. As usual quite tough and clever. It took my grandson to fall asleep before I made any real headway. Thanks RayT and thanks Bufo.

  8. Quite difficult but as brilliant as ever.
    Like others I didn’t understand my answers for 15a or 3d. Also didn’t see the ‘done’ bit of 14a which was silly – I still don’t get 3d.
    I thought all the hidden answers were really good, and I found them which is even better!
    I liked 7a and 26a, although that one took me too long to understand, and 16 and 18d.
    With thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the explanations.

    1. 3d is FED (encouraged as in ‘the promotion fed my self-esteem’) containing ILL (hardly as in ‘we could ill afford the extra rent’).

      1. Thank you, Gazza. It had to be what it was but, somehow, and don’t ask me why, I couldn’t make ILL = HARDLY. Really should try harder – which was the general tone of my school reports all those years ago.

  9. Parsing 15a was the last bit for us to sort out but we did eventually get it. Lots of the usual Beam cleverness that kept us challenged and amused for quite some time. Particularly enjoyed the well disguised reversed lurkers. Word count checked, spot on!
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  10. Evening all. Thanks to Bufo for the review and to all for your comments. I’m glad that most of you appreciated it.


    1. Good of you to pop in, Mr. T – of course we appreciated the puzzle, we always do!

  11. Most enjoyable toughie from RayT as usual. Thanks to the 3 hidden words i got a great start – I always look for them first. I reckon 12 was best as it made me chuckle. Also liked 6 17 23 and the lurkers.

  12. A jolly good puzzle from a master. I could not remember the torch but it was easy to look up as the first 4 letters were obvious. I vaguely recall encountering the word in a puzzle in recent years but I only use torches with AA batteries inside so the word did not stick. I am also quite new to the musical hook – not sure I would recognize one if I heard it. I guess Queen must have used them. Easier to spell than leitmotif (or is it leitmotiv?) which appears in crosswordland often enough and is presumably similar

    Thanks to RayT and Bufo

  13. Thanks to Bufo for the considerable number of explanations etc.Some were just too difficult for my skills , such as they are.
    However those clues I got I really enjoyed.
    Thanks to Ray T and Bufo.

  14. Didn’t get a chance to do this yesterday, just finished it today and very enjoyable it was too.
    I got one wrong – 19d. My best guess was ‘hector’ so I bunged it in.

    7a & 18d favourites, though they were all good in one way or another

    A very enjoyable and varied puzzle, thanks to all.

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