Toughie 1778 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1778

Toughie No 1778 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I found this to be a very gentle Beam puzzle with only the SW corner putting up any kind of a fight. There were a few definitions that I didn’t find totally convincing but it was a pleasant enough puzzle. The early finish has given me more time to study the Cheltenham form in an attempt to recoup some of the last two day’s losses when I have suffered from a bad attack of seconditis.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Company efficiently tackling trouble in turnover (8)
ASSEMBLY: ‘efficiently’ (4) round a reversal of ‘trouble’ (4)

5a    Painting for excursionists, Canaletto with selection of exteriors (6)
FRESCO: The first and last letters of FoR, ExcursionistS and CanalettO

9a    Empty rows during show leading to cancellation (8)
REVERSAL: The first and last letters of RowS inside ‘to show’

10a    Cover nest’s edge protecting new bird (6)
LINNET: ‘To cover on the inside’ round N (new) + the last letter of nesT

12a    Grand being in clear — in retrospect it’s plain (9)
SERENGETI: G (grand) in a reversal of ‘clear’ or ‘unclouded’ + a reversal of IT = a plain in Tanzania/Kenya where people go to see wild animals

13a    Settle Queen’s comeback in time (5)
AGREE: A reversal of the usual two letters denoting our Queen inside a long time

14a    Goes out with European babes occasionally (4)
EBBS: E (European) + alternate letters of BaBeS

16a    Huge proportion of universe is microscopic (7)

19a    Holiday rep embarrassed by film (7)
REDCOAT: Frontline staff at Butlins holiday camps = ’embarassed’ + ‘cover’

21a    Coin cast using carbon — not shilling (4)
CENT: Take ‘cast’ and replace S (shilling) by C (carbon)

24a    In speech remained sober (5)
STAID: A homophone of ‘remained’ (6)

25a    Stable lad in exercise let out (9)
PERMANENT: A lad (male person) (3) in exercise (2) and ‘let out’ or ‘lease’

27a    Tart topping almost instant (6)
ACETIC: ‘Tart’ or ‘sour’ = ‘ace’ or ‘excellent’ + an instant with the last letter removed

28a    Back performing act in church for musical piece (8)
NOCTURNE: A reversal of ‘performing’ (2) + an act (4) inside church (2)

29a    View of English fox hunts reversed (6)
ESTEEM: A reversal of E (English) and fox hunts

30a    European euro’s issued restricting instability (8)


1d    This is not one (6)
ACROSS: This is one down not one ******

2d    No way North to South following Southern river (6)
SEVERN: S (Southern) + ‘no way’ with the letter N (North) moved from the front of the word to the end

3d    Show one’s bottom outside, right idiot (5)
MORON: ‘To present one’s bare buttocks to public view’ round R (right)

4d    What getting left for husband proves … (7)
LEAVENS: Take an interjection meaning ‘What!’ and replace H (husband) by L (left)

6d    … helping to keep union oddly in breakdown (9)
RUINATION: The odd letters of UnIoN inside a helping

7d    Condition offended tramp, reportedly (8)
SYNDROME: A medical condition is a homophone of ‘offended’ (6) and ‘to tramp’ (4)

8d    Transcend expression of pain obtaining endless pleasure (8)
OUTREACH: An expression of pain (4) round a source of great gratification with the last letter removed

11d    Microsoft supports excellent goals (4)
AIMS: ‘Excellent’ (2) + Microsoft (2)

15d    ‘Blast!’ seeing front of bus on hard shoulder (9)
BROADSIDE: A blast (strongly critical verbal attack) = B (first letter of bus) + what could be the hard shoulder

17d    Organ’s flat missing top of register (8)
PROSTATE: A gland in the male body = ‘flat’ or ‘prone’ with the letter R (first letter of Register) removed

18d    Alongside, sailor docked in foreign port on time (8)
ADJACENT: A sailor (4) with the last letter removed inside a Yemeni port + T (time)

20d    Argument escalates into blows (4)
TAPS: A reversal of an argument = gentle knocks

21d    Fabulous bird raised and died breaking eggs — waste (7)
CORRODE: A reversal of a fabulous bird + D (died) inside eggs

22d    Extremes of debate over British Isles … leaves remains! (6)
DEBRIS: The first and last letters of DebatE + two-letters abbreviations for ‘British’ and ‘Isles’

23d    Speaks in murmurs leaving mass (6)
UTTERS: Remove M (mass) from murmurs

26d    Arnie characterising Terminator on release initially? (5)
ACTOR: First letters of Arnie Characterising Terminator On Release

I’ve finished just in time to watch the first race and see my first investment go down the pan

21 comments on “Toughie 1778

  1. Having enjoyed the Not On The Back-Pager I turned my attentions to today’s Toughie, which I found challenging but not over tough and I absolutely loved it from start to finish.

    Extra special mentions go to 5a, 25a, 2d, 7d, 15d & 22d but the biggest smile of all was reserved for 3d.

    Many thanks to Beam and to bufo.

  2. Clever choice of words in 5a conjuring up thoughts of being outdoors – al+(answer) – but I’ll go along with RD in nominating 3d as favourite, followed by 15&17d.
    Lovely stuff, Mr. T – devotions to you and many thanks to Bufo for confirming all the parsing.

  3. Don’t usually have time for the toughie after the back page, but did so today as the car broke down -terminally I think !
    Steadily worked through it and enjoyed the solve as it was not too onerous, the usual quality of cluing needed Bufo for the parsing of 10a and 27a-thanks,
    3d made me smile, as for others .Liked the last in 4d,would have been a struggle without all the checking letters.

  4. Loved it, too. I struggled with 25A because I equate lad as being synonymous with boy rather than man, though I’m sure my 16-year-old grandson would disagree. I liked 5A, 3D made me laugh, but 17D is my favorite because it was so unexpected. Thanks Beam. This was fun. Thanks also to Bufo for the review. Better luck next time with the races! Glad you’re viewing from home. My old home town is a mad house this week.

  5. First read drew a blank, but once I had one or two it all flowed in nicely. A nice mix of clues and surfaces – hard to pick a fave; 4d maybe.
    Thoroughly enjoyable, thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  6. I always enjoy the “what/my” clues indicating an expression of surprise. Another good example here. If this were a marathon I would be passing the finishing line a good hour behind the leaders, but I got there in the end and enjoyed the exercise. Thanks to the two Bs.

  7. As is usual with Ray puzzles, patiently picking away at the clues slowly yields results. We still have to keep reminding ourselves that there are never anagrams in Beam puzzles so it is no use looking for them as entry points. Plenty to keep us amused so much appreciated and enjoyed. Clue word count checked and all in order.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  8. This reminded me of the old days BB (before blog) when a RayT back pager would take all day to solve. Lovely clues which only come out after lots of teasing. Thanks to RayT and thanks to Bufo for the hints.

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


  10. G’s mum always told him you never meet a poor bookmaker!
    Well we’ve finished and happy with our explanations, 12a taking a lot of revisiting before we got there.
    My favourite was 18d.
    We met Elgar once, a very nice lad, looks quite normal, but what a mind! Always look forward to his challenging puzzles 🙂

  11. I count myself among the many fans of Beam/RayT and always look forward to his puzzles. Maybe at the gentler end for some, but I found today’s most absorbing, finishing eventually after quite a battle down in the bottom right corner. Thanks Beam, a very enjoyable tussle

  12. Even with 4 distinct corners, I found the solve quite pleasant.
    Nicely hidden lurkers and constructions like 5a, 22d and 26d give away the identity of the setter. And far fetched synonyms of course.
    3d made me laugh.
    1a favourite.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  13. We’ve been in and out all day so did this in three parts. 3*/3*, we thought with 4d our favourite.

    Nice all-rounder of middling challenge.

    Thanks to Bufo and Ray T.

  14. Solved slowly but surely with half an eye on the television, and half on a glass of scotch. I only really got stuck on 17d and 27ac, so this must have been on the gentle side considering the conditions, but no less enjoyable.

  15. I confess I needed a couple of hints in the NE corner, so on time alone I make this a strongish 3*. As someone else has observed, quite a few of these took a lot of teasing out. 25a and 12a were my favourites. Thanks to RayT in his Beam hat, and Bufo.

  16. I started this yesterday afternoon and had several sessions with it, finally completing in bed at 10.45. It took about 4 times longer than a typical (ie Mon-Wed) back-pager, giving 4x the enjoyment and entertainment. An excellent, challenging puzzle. 3.5*/4*. I’ll will tackle more of these Toughies in future.

  17. Very enjoyable, and plenty tough enough for a bleary-eyed me. My thanks to Beam and Bufo.

    I seem to be suffering from lurker blindness today. At least my common other affliction, anagram blindness, was not going to affect solving a Beam.

    I too really liked 3d, even though sadly there have been one or two of them about this weekend. Not many people will see this now, but nevertheless I can’t resist adding a little something for 28a:

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