Toughie 1670

Toughie No 1670 by Beam

It’s Rekrul Day

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A typical Beam puzzle with all his usual trademarks. I know that Beam doesn’t do anagrams so why do I still look for them? There are three instances where an answer is hidden in reverse (somebody recently referred to such an answer as a rekrul).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Stop and start with street overwhelming learner (7)
STAUNCH: ST (street) replaces (overwhelms) L (learner) at the start of a 6-letter word meaning ‘to start’. This gives ‘to stop the flow of’

5a    Before endless support check bodywork (7)
CHASSIS: A 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘check’ + ‘to support’ with the last letter removed

9a    Drug‘s extra bottle, both unfinished (7)
MORPHIA: A drug obtained originally from opium = ‘extra’ (4) with the last letter removed + a small bottle (usually for medicine) (5) with the last letter removed

10a    Drunker from drink first to last in line (7)
TIPSIER: ‘To drink’ (3) with the first letter moved to the end inside a line or row

11a    Act’s arresting sets exposed little bust (9)
STATUETTE: put an act or law expressly enacted by the legislature around the inner letters (exposed) of [s]ET[s]

12a    Change function of key cut without master (5)
REMAP: ‘To cut down grain’ round M (master)

13a    Relation with sweetheart in particular … (5)
NIECE: A female relation = E (middle letter of swEet) inside ‘particular’

15a    … heartlessly consoled about trick to get engaged (9)
CHARTERED: ‘Consoled’ (7) with the middle letter removed round ‘trick’ = ‘engaged’ or ‘hired’

17a    Hardy girl sheltering allows answer turning vulgar (9)
TASTELESS: A female title character in a Thomas Hardy book goes round a reversal of ‘allows’ and A (answer)

19a    Fills empty stomachs having stuffed interior (5)
SATES: The first and last letters of StomachS round ‘stuffed’

22a    Surprised expression eating last of chocolate cereal (5)
WHEAT: An expression of surprise round the last letter of chocolatE

23a    Former capital of Austria (9)
SCHILLING: A cryptic definition of the former currency (capital) of Austria

25a    Go over and over in apple-cart erratically (7)
RETRACE: Hidden in reverse in applE-CART ERratically

26a    Solicit catching gentleman rolling visitor (7)
TOURIST: ‘To solicit’ round a reversal (rolling) of ‘gentleman’

27a    A theatrical performance? (7)
SURGERY: A cryptic definition of what takes place in a theatre in a hospital

28a    Launch steered and changed men on board (7)
CASTLED: ‘To launch’ or ‘to throw’ round with ‘steered’ = ‘changed men on a chess board’


1d    Poem’s simple subject incorporating addition such as Homer (7)
SIMPSON: The simple person who met a pieman in a nursery rhyme goes round an addition to a letter

2d    Field for example rotated around crop’s introduction? (7)
ACREAGE: A piece of ground (or field) + a reversal of EG (for example) round C (first letter of Crop). I assume that the whole clue is meant to provide the definition

3d    Indian nationalist encouraged home rule upsurge’s beginnings (5)
NEHRU: First letters of Nationalist Encouraged Home Rule Upsurge’s

4d    Gather article’s penned about rising pain (9)
HEARTACHE: ‘To gather (through the ear)’ + the definite article round a reversal of an abbreviation denoting ‘about’

5d    Attractive girl that is having crop on top (5)
CUTIE: ‘To crop’ + ‘that is’

6d    A simple American boxing up some music gear (9)
APPARATUS: A + ‘simple’ + ‘American’ round a reversal of a type of music

7d    Comparatively flimsy head of lettuce acquired by cook (7)
SLIMMER: The first letter of Lettuce inside ‘to cook by boiling gently’

8d    Son heard touring Portugal with bands (7)
STRIPED: S (son) + ‘heard (in court)’ round P (Portugal)

14d    Work out, held back by muscle, taut nevertheless (9)
EVENTUATE: Hidden in reverse in musclE TAUT NEVErless

16d    Tasteful number missing article from top (9)
AESTHETIC: Remove a form of the indefinite article from the beginning of a number (something that makes you numb)

17d    Artists draw others partly upset in regarding (7)
TOWARDS: Hidden in reverse in ArtistS DRAW OThers

18d    Roof‘s perfect covering flat evenly (7)
SHELTER: ‘Perfect’ round the even letters of fLaT

20d    Frivolous compiler’s no end in suffering (7)
TRIVIAL: Remove the last letter from the abbreviated form of ‘I have’ (i.e. ‘compiler has’) and put it inside ‘suffering’

21d    Whispered about prophet finally having vision (7)
SIGHTED: ‘Whispered’ round the last letter of propheT

23d    Squalid picture’s extremely dirty (5)
SEEDY: ‘To picture’ + the first and last letters of DirtY

24d    Many accepting University produces oafs (5)
LOUTS: ‘Many’ round U (University)

Pleasant enough.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Its definitely a ‘just me then’ day – I found this really tough, especially the top half but I got there in the end. I’d have to give it at least 4* for difficulty and 3* for enjoyment, mainly because I got grumpy with my struggles.

    Thanks to Ray for the battle and Bufo for the explanations.

  2. Jezza
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    The bottom half went in considerably quicker than the top, and I found it quite tricky overall.
    My last one in 15a, took me a while to fathom. 4*/3.5* is my vote.

    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo. There appears to be a missing hint for 11a.

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

      Indeed, and I think the hint for 28a should say ‘with’ rather than ’round’.

    • Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

      It’s now been added. Thanks

  3. Jeroboam
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    It gives me no great pleasure to say I could only give this ** at best for enjoyment. I’m not a big anagram fan myself and so totally respect Beam’s style. It’s just that in this instance it leads to a puzzle where I could not find one favourite and with a number of clues requiring the same sort of parsing, it dropped into place more simply than I would have expected for a toughie. Despite these personal reservations, many thanks to Beam and Bufo for the review.

    • Jeroboam
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

      Coming back late in the day and looking at everybody’s comments I wonder if I know anything about crosswords at all. It looks like I’ve been rather harsh on what was obviously a good puzzle.

  4. dutch
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I really struggled with this, especially NW (my last quadrant) where I had 3d and 9a and nothing else for a long time.

    Of the 3 rekruls, 14d took me longest to see.

    Many thanks Beam for the challenge and thanks Bufo for the review.

  5. LetterboxRoy
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I liked this very much, although I was a bit vague on some of the parsing (10a, 1a, 16d). Last two in were 15a & 1a.

    ****/**** Having a good day today :grin:

    Many thanks to all as ever.

    • ShropshireLad
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      Noticed on the other side – it would appear to be an ‘extra candle’ day for you LBR. Many happy returns of the day if that is so.

      I really love all the names that people give themselves on this blog but I am somewhat mystified how some of them come about. Are you a postman perchance?

      • LetterboxRoy
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

        Thank you SL, indeed it is.

        Re: LBR – No, it’s simply a reference to the box where one writes the letters in a crossword grid – and hence the avatar.

        Thanks again, very kind.

        • ShropshireLad
          Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          You’re welcome :)

  6. R. Burgess-Dawson
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    5a. All classic car restorers separate the ‘chassis’ from the ‘bodywork.

    • Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog R. Burgess-Dawson

      I guess our setter is not a classic car restorer! Blame Chambers Thesaurus which lists bodywork as a synonym of chassis.

  7. ShropshireLad
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, I found this enjoyable but really tough going – it felt like 4 mini crosswords in one grid. That’s how I solved it SW, SE, NE & NW.

    His reverse rekrul’s are getting tougher to spot and I do hope that 28a doesn’t upset our chess minded friends. I liked the ‘cheekiness’ of 22a so I’ll put that on the podium.

    Thanks to Mr Terrell for the puzzle and to Bufo for his review.

  8. halcyon
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    A bit of a grind and I too found the top half much the tougher. Some rather strained surfaces and I’m not altogether sure about 2d [like you Bufo I can only assume the whole lot is the def]. Favourite is 16d, if only because yet again I failed to spot the other number for far too long.

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Beam for the puzzle.

  9. LabradorsruleOK
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    I was one who suggested rekrul recently but others may also. Hadn’t spotted any until I saw the heading. Found them then but found needed too many other hints (4) to get to the finish. It is the Toughie so I don’t expect anything different. Things can only get better
    Thanks to setter & Bufo for the much needed directions – invaluable for me.

  10. JonP
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Tricky in places and needed help with the parsing of a few bung-ins but an enjoyable solve.

    Thanks to Bufo and RayT.

  11. Jane
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Refuse to admit defeat when it’s a Mr. T but that certainly took some effort and I needed Bufo’s help to parse 10a.
    The rekruls were well hidden (good luck, Kath, I found them only when all other avenues had failed!).
    Wouldn’t have got 13a if ‘nicety’ hadn’t popped into my mind and I was very slow to see the ‘simple’ in 6d.
    Don’t think I’ve ever heard 14d used but it makes sense.

    Top slot goes to 5d – made me smile.

    Devotions to Mr. T and many thanks to Bufo – think I need to lie down now……..

  12. crypticsue
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Osmosis tomorrow

  13. RayT
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    Setter here, with thanks to Bufo for the decryption and to all for your observations.


    • Jane
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

      Nice of you to pop in as usual, Mr. T. Well done on hiding those rekruls!

  14. 2Kiwis
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    The back pager was our train trip away yesterday and this puzzle was the return journey. For some reason that is not obvious now the NE was the last to yield. No references needed for this one but plenty of thought and head scratching involved. Enjoyed the rekruls and agree that it did take a while to spot them. Clue words all counted of course and 8 is once again the maximium. Good fun.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  15. upthecreek
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    Most enjoyable puzzle with lots of fun. The hidden words certainly took some finding today. Stuck for ages in NW corner and the best was last ie 11a. Thanks to RayT for keeping off those awful anagrams that filled the backie today.

  16. Salty Dog
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    I needed a couple of hints to complete, both in the NW corner. I’m still flummoxed by 15a (although by an inspired act of bunging-in I put in the right answer); could someone expand a little on the parsing thereof?

    Otherwise, 3.5*/3*, and 1d my favourite clue. VMTs to Beam and Bufo.

    • Bufo
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      15A It’s CHE(E)RED round ART

      • Jane
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, Bufo – you put it so much more concisely!

    • Jane
      Posted September 8, 2016 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      I’ll give it a shot. Take a 7 letter word for ‘consoled’ (cheered), remove its heart (the second E) and place the remainder around a word for ‘trick’ (art).

      • Salty Dog
        Posted September 8, 2016 at 10:04 pm | Permalink

        Jane, Bufo – thanks. I was removing all the letters from “consoled” except the first and last. That had me wondering whether a “hartere” was some sort of trick in some obscure card game. There’s clearly no hope for me!

        • Jane
          Posted September 8, 2016 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

          Worry not, Salty – that’s exactly where I started as well!

  17. Sheffieldsy
    Posted September 8, 2016 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    That was tough. Like many others, NW corner was last and needed a couple of hints, then found we has misspelt the relation at 13a. D’oh as 1d would say. Favourites were 1d, 16d and 9a. 4*/3*.

    Thanks Bufo and Beam/Ray T.

  18. Jose
    Posted September 9, 2016 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    Well, after reading the above, I’ve learned a new bit of blog-jargon – rekrul. Obviously a reverse lurker, but how come I’ve not seen it before – is it new?

    • Jane
      Posted September 9, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Yes, coined by LabradorsruleOK very recently. Seems to have captured our collective imagination!