Toughie 1706 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1706

Toughie No 1706 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An odd solve. I got off to a slow start having solved very few on the first run-through. Then there was a sudden burst of activity as I completed the top half and part of the bottom. This was followed by a lot of head scratching particularly in the SE corner where several unhelpful definitions added to the difficulty. In the end I was into 4* difficulty time. As usual with Beam there were no anagrams but there did seem to be a lot of reversals

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Male model, topless, reversing partiality (8)
NEPOTISM: A reversal of M (male), ‘to model’ and ‘topless’ = undue favouritism to one’s relations

5a    Roots said to provide seasonings (6)
SAUCES: A homophone of ‘roots’ or ‘sources’ = dressings poured over food. The homophone doesn’t work for me (and I’m not sure it works for Mr Chambers either)

9a    Menace of hard right in time destroyed (8)
THREATEN: ‘To menace’ = H (hard) R (right) in T (time) and ‘destroyed’

10a    Crossing Tiber, I arrived somewhere far away (6)
IBERIA: A en in TIBER I Arrived of Europe is hid

11a    Unusually high plunge nearly leading contest (8)
FALSETTO: ‘Singing in an unusually high voice’ = ‘plunge’ with the last letter removed + a fierce contest (3-2)

12a    One’s sat around waiting (6)
POISED: I (one) inside ‘sat (as a model)’

14a    ‘Stubborner’, in essence, describes American obstinacy (10)
ORNERINESS: Hidden in ‘StubbORNER IN ESSence’. The definition didn’t help here but the wordplay was straightforward

18a    Destroyed mice finally spread round cellar’s opening (10)
ERADICATED: E (last letter of micE) + ‘spread (like light)’ round C (first letter of Cellar)

22a    Open up head of big fish (6)
BROACH: B (first letter of Big) + a freshwater fish of the carp family

23a    Pleading victim’s encased in concrete (8)
REBUTTAL: A victim (of a joke) inside ‘concrete’ or ‘not abstract’. One of the unhelpful definitions

24a    Ship in extremities rolls (6)
TOSSES: The abbreviation for steamship inside the extremities of the feet

25a    Substantial hint compiler almost ruined (8)
TANGIBLE: A smack, tinge or hint + a pronoun denoting the setter + ‘ruined’ with the last letter removed. I hope that’s OK. It’s another unhelpful definition and I’m not convinced by the ‘ruined’ either

26a    Audibly grind the stuff producing grain (6)
MILLET: ‘A homophone of ‘grind the stuff’ (4,2) a grain fed to budgies

27a    Lacking guts, novice evaded love scenes as ‘unnecessary’ (8)
NEEDLESS: First and last letters of NovicE EvadeD LovE SceneS


1d    Occasionally in boat his fly’s broadcast (6)
NOTIFY: Alternate letters in ‘iN bOaT hIs FlY

2d    A little skill seen in work (6)
PARTLY: ‘Skill’ (3) inside ‘to work’ (3)

3d    One follows bullet’s end, one going fast (6)
TRACER: The last letter of bulleT + someone that goes fast

4d    Strong new top on rubbish bag’s lifted (10)
STENTORIAN: ‘Strong’ or ‘having a loud voice’ = a reversal of N (new), ‘top’ or ‘first class’ (2), rubbish (3) and bag’s (4)

6d    A doctor’s reportedly healthier anti-ageing remedy (8)
AMBROSIA: A + an abbreviation denoting a doctor + a homophone of ‘healthier’ = the food of the gods which conferred everlasting youth and beauty

7d    Fondled and was inclined to embrace curvy figure (8)
CARESSED: ‘Was inclined to’ round the spelt-out name of a curvy letter

8d    Blue china’s overturned by husband being careless (8)
SLAPDASH: A reversal of ‘blue’ or ‘unhappy’ and ‘china’s’ or ‘mate’s’ + H (husband)

13d    Fallen Greek character went back up (10)
DEGENERATE: ‘Fallen’ or ‘having become base or immoral’ = a reversal of a Greek letter (3) and ‘went back (on one’s promise)’ (7)

15d    Energy shown covering Queen hit precisely (8)
VERBATIM: Energy (3) round the abbreviation for our Queen(2) and ‘to hit’ (3) = ‘precisely’ or ‘word for word’

16d    Motor with old exhaust left roundabout (8)
CAROUSEL: A motor + O (old) + ‘to exhaust’ + L (left) = a roundabout on a funfair

17d    Unattached and careful with one sweetheart to finish (8)
DISCRETE: Take a word meaning ‘careful in one’s action and choice of words’ and move one letter E (middle letter of swEet) to the end to give a homophone meaning ‘unattached’ or ‘separate’

19d    Baseless financial statement Democrat changed (6)
BUDGED: A financial statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer with the last letter removed + D (Democrat). Another definition that I found unhelpful

20d    Sure flipping bonkers, the French! (6)
STABLE: A reversal of ‘bonkers’ + the French word for ‘the’

21d    Foreigners‘ right to inhabit outskirts of Athens (6)
ALIENS: A legal right inside the first and last letters of AthenS

I’m not sure whether I enjoyed it or not. I’m not around next week so I’ll see you in a fortnight

16 comments on “Toughie 1706

  1. I found this very tricky – indeed, I emailed to find out whether it was ‘just me’ and then put the crossword on one side for two hours while I did some of what they pay me to do. On returning I filled in some of my remaining 8 but needed a bit more head-scratching to finish it off.

    5*/3* from me – and thanks to Beam and Bufo

  2. I eventually finished this, but quite a slog – quite a bit of stretched synonym hunting which isn’t my favourite game, though all seems fair in retrospect

    I managed NE, then came to a grinding halt. slowly found a few in SW and SE to keep me going and NW was last to be completed.

    many thanks Bufo and thank you Beam

  3. Like others, I also found this difficult. My last handful took as long as the rest of the puzzle to complete, with 4d being my last in. My favourite was 11a.

    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  4. Agree with you all. Too clever clever and lacking in elegance. Didn’t get 25a at all and Bufo’s parsing is far better than anything I could come up with but still doesn’t satisfy me. 5* 2* for me. Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  5. We agree that this was a significant challenge but perseverance saw a satisfactory completion. Our last bit to sort out was 27a where we initially only eviscerated the first word of those providing the wordplay. Good fun as ever from Beam.
    Thanks Bufo and Beam.

  6. Oh dear – haven’t made a start on this one yet but the comments thus far don’t look very encouraging to one in my ‘bracket’.
    Not to worry, I don’t give up on a Mr. T very easily.

  7. Evening all. Setter here, with thanks to Bufo for the decryption and to all for your comments.


      1. Made it – and most enjoyable it was (OK so I’m biased!).
        Podium places going to 27a plus 8&16d with several others in contention.

        Devotions to Mr. T and thanks to Bufo for confirming all the parsing.

  8. I thought 25a was a fine clue. Ble(d), in the sense of drained, exhausted or fleeced, bled dry, etc., does (just about) = ruined and the definition “substantial” is a direct synonym (BRB) of the answer. One of my pet hates is setters who use the most obvious definion possible (in standard cryptic clues) which makes the wordplay redundant. I welcome stretched definitions.

    1. Sorry, I ran out of time before I’d tweaked my comment:

      I thought 25a was a fine clue. Ble(d), in the sense of drained, exhausted or fleeced, bled dry, etc., does (just about) = ruined and the definition “substantial” is a direct synonym (BRB) of the answer. One of my pet hates is setters who use the most obvious definition possible (in standard cryptic clues) which makes the (possibly brilliant) wordplay redundant. I welcome stretched definitions and synonyms, especially in a Toughie.

      1. Yes, that’s an even better synonym for ruined – which enhances my point about Bufo not being convinced by it.

  9. Never keen on these kinds of grids.
    Gave up with a few answers missing in the SW and NE.
    Learned new words in 4d and 14a which I didn’t get and in 22a which was the only word I needed to check.
    Thanks to RayT and to Bufo. Have a nice break.

Comments are closed.