Toughie 1754

Toughie No 1754 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I mad harder work of this than I should have done. I ought to know by now that Beam is very good at hiding lurkers so why did it take me ages to spot two of them today? It was another enjoyable puzzle from Beam with nothing especially obscure.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Fantastic new skill flipping nose holding tip (12)
TRANSCENDENT: A reversal (flipping) of N (new) and ‘skill’ + ‘nose (aroma)’ round ‘tip (extremity)’

9a    Nose about into old relative following endless search (9)
PROBOSCIS: ‘Search’ (5) with the last letter removed + a one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘about’ inside O (old) and a sibling

10a    Capital city of USA about endures (5)
LHASA: The capital of Tibet = a US city round ‘endures’

11a    Showing some front, or rear? (6)
CHEEKY: This word meaning ‘showing some front’ or ‘saucy’ could also be taken to refer to the buttocks or rear

12a    Make beer clear, they say, with dark head (8)
BRUNETTE: A homophone of ‘make beer’ and ‘clear’

13a    Lags inside facing endlessly rigorous sentences initially (6)
LIFERS: The initial letters of the first six words of the clue

15a    Turbulent struggles with son after wife’s left (8)
RESTLESS: ‘Struggles (8) with the letter W (wife) removed from the start + S (son)

18a    In earnest, and in general, upright (8)
STANDING: Hidden in ‘earnest and in general’

19a    Verse talks about gutted Antipodean soldier, mostly (6)
STANZA: A reversal of the first and last letters of ‘talks’ + an Australian or New Zealand soldier with the last letter removed

21a    Solicitor advanced, still returning to collect rent (8)
ATTORNEY: A (advanced) + a reversal of ‘still’ round ‘rent’ or ‘ripped’

23a    Coverage for South American Open? (6)
PONCHO: I decided that this is a cryptic definition for a South American cloak that is worn outdoors

26a    Bowler seen in local competition (5)
DERBY: 2 definitions: a bowler hat/a sporting competition between neighbouring teams

27a    First XI’s carrying idiot partner (9)
INITIALLY: 2 letters that might denote ‘eleven’ round an idiot + a partner

28a    A French master’s story about sex is useless (12)
UNPROFITABLE: The French word for ‘a’ (2) + a master (3) + a story (5) round ‘sex'(2)


1d    Current odds for Thorpe in crawl (7)
TOPICAL: The odd-positioned letters of ‘Thorpe in crawl’

2d    Stood with sailor on deck, both half-cut (5)
ABODE: A 2-letter abbreviation denoting a sailor + the first halves of the words ‘on’ and ‘deck’

3d    Look almost embarrassed admitting retreat’s blocked (9)
SNOOKERED: ‘To look’ (3) with the last letter removed + ’embarrassed’ (3) round a retreat (4)

4d    Eat out, and so on, on husband (4)
ETCH: ‘And so on’ + H (husband)

5d    Very French, turning tail in action, fled (8)
DESERTED: A reversal of the French word for ‘very’ inside ‘action’

6d    Stocking, any long stocking? (5)
NYLON: Hidden in ‘any long’

7d    From heart of Japan, the only temple (8)
PANTHEON: Hidden in the middle of ‘Japan the only’

8d    Beware edges of rocks? They should (6)
CAVERS: ‘Beware!’ + the first and last letters of ‘rocks’

14d    Soft soap less frothy on youngster’s head (8)
FLATTERY: ‘Less frothy’ or ‘having lost more effervescence’ + Y (the first letter of youngster)

16d    Artist‘s first to underwrite rubbish as well (9)
TATTOOIST: ‘Rubbish’ + ‘as well’ + 3 letters that can denote ‘first’

17d    Creepy-crawly’s reportedly creepier in front (8)
ANTERIOR: A creepy-crawly insect + a homophone of ‘creepier’ or ‘weirder’

18d    Retiring having also consumed drink (6)
SHANDY: ‘Retiring’ round ‘also’

20d    Dull article on individual about empty day (7)
ANODYNE: A form of the indefinite article + ‘individual’ round the first and last letters of ‘day’

22d    Material from Queen certainly being played (5)
RAYON: Queen (1) + ‘certainly’ (2) + ‘being played’ (2)

24d    Heartless beauty caught rising star (5)
CELEB: A reversal of a beautiful woman with the middle letter removed and C (caught) = a person of distinction and fame such as Kim Kardashian or Katie Price

25d    Attack over loud argument (4)
TIFF: A reversal of an attack of illness + a one-letter abbreviation denoting ‘loud’

It was good to meet some of you last Saturday. Here’s to next time!



  1. Oldred
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    In 23a could open = upon show ?

  2. Jarman Island
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Am I improving (unlikely!) or are they getting easier? I breezed through last week and am doing the same this week so far! We must be due a stinker!

    Didn’t know 2d could be a past tense till today. Don’t quite get 10a. Shouldn’t there be a t and another s?

    Liked 4d.

    Thanks to Beam and Buford.

  3. Wintrev
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Took some time to finish this one – and wouldn’t have done so without Bufo’s hints. Many thanks! Can’t quite make out why the ‘Open’ in 23a.

    • Rabbit Dave
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Wintrev, I thought “open” was simply to indicate that you wear 23a outdoors in South America.

      • Gazza
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        I thought it just meant loose or unfastened, i.e. open at the neck.

    • dave lawes
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

      I think it could refer to the character in CHIPS plus o, but thereagain, it might not.

    • Kath
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      Although I got the answer to 23a because it couldn’t have been much else I assumed I was missing something and that all would become clear from the hints – now I think that maybe we’re all missing something.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Perhaps we need someone to shed a Ray of light on this for us? :wink:

        • Kath
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink


  4. Rabbit Dave
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I absolutely loved this but certainly found it very tough particularly (for the second time today) in the NW corner. I wasn’t 100% sure about 23a, but, like Bufo, in the end I assumed it was a simple cryptic definition.

    My page was littered with ticks, and, perhaps controversially for some commentators, my favourite was the homophone 12a.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo (or is it Buford with a silent “rd”?)

    • Jarman Island
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      Thank auto correct for that one!

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:10 pm | Permalink


  5. Wintrev
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Rabbit Dave and Gazza – if that’ s so, why a capital ‘O’ for ‘Open’?

    • Gazza
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      False capitalisation to make one think of the South American Open as a sporting event.

      • Rabbit Dave
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        I was about to say just that, but luckily I refreshed and saw your reply first!

        Am I right, Gazza, that it is considered OK to use false capitalisation to mislead but it is not acceptable to use false de-capitalisation?

        • Gazza
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

          You are. You can’t use lower-case ‘man’ for the island – that’s why it’s always the first word of the clue when it means the Isle.

  6. mark
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this . Difficulty *** . 11 a long time to click. 2d ABODE = STOOD ? But had to be. Got 3d but not the parsing …? Got 10 a but HAS = ENDURED ?
    Yes, pomcho worn in cold of Andes in OPEN air. Liked 12a and other homophones.
    We re going to get a stinker very soon !!!

    • LetterboxRoy
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      EndureS = HAS as in suffers an illness for example?

  7. Kath
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I loved it.
    I made a mess of untangling 28a but that was much easier once I stopped thinking that the ‘prof’ was the master – oh dear. :roll:
    As I’ve already said a bit earlier I still think we’re missing something with 23a – I even thought I might be missing another lurker but it isn’t.
    I liked 15a and 8 and 14d. My favourite was 11a.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  8. Jezza
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was very good. Re 23a, apart from adding to the surface, I assumed the “open” was referring to the hole where the head goes…

    2*/4*. Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo

  9. Jane
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Brilliant – of course – even though it did take me for ever to work out 2d.
    In company with others, I decided I must be missing something with 23a – hopefully Mr. T will enlighten us when he pops in later.

    Plenty of ticks dotted about the page but I think my favourite has to be 28a.

    Devotions to Mr. T as ever and many thanks to Bufo for the review.

  10. Una
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Both lurkers were so well hidden that I didn’t see them until after solving.
    12a was a brilliant clue.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo, as I needed a few hints.
    It’s very very stormy outside.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely no doubt about what one we would pick for favourite. When we met 19a nothing else stood a chance. Great fun and word count just what we expected too.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

    • Kath
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      My grandfather was an Anzac but I’ve probably told you that before.

      • 2Kiwis
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes we did know that, and you can feel justified in being proud of him. That whole Gallipoli story is just amazing.

  12. mark
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Please , can someone explain 3 d . I m probably being thick , but…?

    • Miffypops
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      AB = Half of ON = O. Half of DECK = DE. Both half cut.

      • mark
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Yes, got . THREE d. . NOOK is retreat ?

        • Miffypops
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

          Sorry wrong clue. Nook = Retreat is just the sort of stretched synonym this setter (RayT as a back page setter) is noted for. I am sure that if you look in the BRB for both retreat and nook they will cross refer.

          • Jose
            Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink

            MP. Sorry to intrude, but is Nook = Retreat really a “stretched” synonym? To me it’s just a normal, common, everyday synonym (they do cross-refer in the Chambers Thesaurus) – but then my hobby is semantics and I’ve been solving avidly since 1970, so I might be a bit biased. I’m beginning to doubt myself now…

      • Miffypops
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Sailor = AB.

        • mark
          Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          Yes, I suppose nook is OK ; Probably lost plot somewhere thinking snoo was short snoop , then , oh yes , see less last e . then…. ! Duh !
          I dont use references or other aids, apart from the odd google to check. Too little time in Sao Paulo office doing it before troops arrive !
          Thanks again Miffy

  13. Miffypops
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    Once again I have been idling the afternoon away so got on with this puzzle by allowing my grandson to watch too much telly. As always a delight from start to finish which I did with Bufo’s help for the last few. 3d is an excellent example of why we enjoy this setter so much. To clue a four piece charade using just eight words (28ac) is sublime. Stomp tonight at Warwick Arts Centre. Wow.

  14. RayT
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

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


    • Jane
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

      Good evening, Mr. T. Can you throw any more light on 23a for us – did we miss something?

      • RayT
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

        Not really.Bufo had it right in the review.


  15. Salty Dog
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    I’m surprised, and indeed rather smug, to discover that I completed well inside 3* time – albeit that I hadn’t considered the verb at 2d so had to resort to the hint. I enjoyed 17d though, at least I did when I figured it out, so that’s my favourite. Thanks to RayT/Beam, and Bufo.

  16. Expat Chris
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Oops…I made a mess of 26A with darts (well, it fitted the checkers but granted not much else) and so was wrong on 22D. All went well with the rest. 17D and 23A were last two in and I had definite trouble with those. Lots to like, and for me it was 11A, 19A, 1D and 17D that came out tops. Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  17. Jon_S
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    I was heading for something like */** time, but came a little unstuck in the SE corner, so let’s call it ***. Lots of nicely constructed clues – even when stuck, I always felt that if I persevered with the cryptic then I’d get there in the end. In retrospect the SE shouldn’t have held me up for so long, with 23ac and 24d being pretty obvious (at least looking back), but the cryptic for 27ac gave me real issues, and without that I couldn’t think of anything that looked likely for 17d. A good, enjoyable puzzle.

  18. Sheffieldsy
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    We didn’t start this until after midnight, but gave up quickly as we were both too many sheets to the wind. We continued this morning and made slightly heavy weather of it (two meteorological references already).

    Many lovely clues in this but ABODE was our favourite.

    Thanks to Bufo and Ray T.

  19. LetterboxRoy
    Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Have to admire 28a, 6d, 27a, 4d and others, but didn’t think much of the surface of 1a.
    Also pondered 23a – get the misdirection, but surely ‘Coverage of…’ would make more sense in that context?

    Still, who am I to query the Maestro… Many thanks to Mr T and to Bufo.