Toughie 1858 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1858

Toughie No 1858 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Another Thursday and another Beam puzzle with all the usual Beam characteristics (including a number of definitions that I wasn’t totally convinced by). The puzzle wasn’t too difficult. I finished it in 2* time but gave it an extra ½* because of the time taken parsing the last couple of clues.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Bird, domesticated, possessing a comb (8)
PARAKEET: ‘Domesticated’ round A and ‘comb’

9a    River running through Panama zone (6)

10a    Sole working lavatory’s vacant (4)
ONLY: ‘Working’ + the first and last letters of LAVATORY

11a    Wandering Mariner’s Rime recalled empty supply (10)
ABERRATION: A 2-letter abbreviation denoting a mariner or sailor + a reversal of the first and last letters of RIME + a supply

12a    Bond maybe accepts knock over being fashionable (6)
SNAPPY: The occupation of James Bond goes round a reversal of ‘to knock’ or ‘to criticise’

14a    Bird watching ‘gripping’ first of larks (8)
STARLING: ‘Watching’ round the first letter of LARKS

15a    Bit starter of smooth foie gras? (6)
SLIVER: The first letter of SMOOTH + that part of a duck or goose from which foie gras is obtained

17a    Hoists part of roof on hotel (6)
HEAVES: H (hotel) + the projecting edge of the roof

20a    Incumbent Trump possibly losing head? (8)
RESIDENT: Remove the first letter from Donald Trump’s position

22a    One might be coming or going (6)
GERUND: ‘Coming’ and ‘going’ are both examples of this type of noun which is formed from a verb

23a    Solitude of drink — Venetian dismissing outsiders in bar … (10)
LONELINESS: I had difficulty sorting the wordplay out for this. A drink (as in a quick ***) and the middle three letters of a 5-letter window screen that may be Venetian inside ‘bar’ in the sense of ‘except’. I hope that’s right

24a    … gave expression of one having miserable exterior (4)
SAID: I (one) inside ‘miserable’

25a    Flail about in the endless quiet (6)
THRESH: ‘About’ (2) inside the first two letters of THE and ‘Quiet!’

26a    Type of small rodents put back inside cage (8)
SPECIMEN: S (small) + a reversal of small rodents inside a cage or ‘to cage’


1d    Fancies taking top off for pay (8)
EARNINGS: Remove the first letter from ‘fancies’ or ‘longings’

2d    It may produce cry sucking end of thumb (4)
BABY: The cry of a hound round the last letter of THUMB

3d    Member caught in ‘yes’ vote for heritage (6)
LEGACY: A member (limb) + C (caught) in a ‘yes’ vote

4d    Crowd’s rising frenzy catching first person in nuptials (8)
MARRIAGE: A reversal of ‘to crowd’ or ‘to cram’ + a frenzy round I (first person)

5d    Beam seeing hypocrisy current party promoted (10)
CANTILEVER: A beam fixed at one end and free at the other (as used in some bridges) = ‘hypocrisy’ + the symbol for electric current + a reversal (promoted) of a party or ‘to party’

6d    Swathe of love embraced by company do (6)
COCOON: O (love) inside the abbreviated form of ‘company’ and ‘to do’ or ‘to swindle’

8d    One has Mass supporting article of faith (6)
THEISM: The definite article + I (one) + ‘S (has) + M (mass). I suppose the whole clue could be the definition

13d    Snooped around base before midnight in secret (10)
PRIVILEGED: ‘Snooped’ round ‘base’ or ‘foul’ and G (middle letter of NIGHT)

16d    View of frozen water summit on air (8)
EYESIGHT: A homophone (on air) of frozen water (3) and summit (6)

18d    Guard present in electric blankets (8)
SENTINEL: Once again it took me longer than it should have to spot a Beam lurker. The answer is hidden in PRESENT IN ELECTRIC

19d    Capital couple of articles on Poles (6)
ATHENS: The indefinite article + the definite articles + two letters identifying the poles of the Earth

21d    The woman rings officer up for dates (6)
EPOCHS: A reversal of a female personal pronoun round a police officer

22d    Mark, perhaps, try and arrange letters — one’s missing (6)
GOSPEL: A try or attempt + ‘to name or set down in order the letters of’ with the last letter removed

24d    Drink essence of tasty syrup (4)
SWIG: A pesky four-letter word. ‘To drink’ = the middle letter of TASTY + a syrup (as used in Cockney rhyming slang)

I wonder when summer will return

15 comments on “Toughie 1858

  1. All went well except 22d , the answer to me was obviously lester ( Oliver actor ) and fitting anagram . So I couldn’t find anything to fit 22a
    Back to the drawing board .
    Thanks to b&b

  2. The pesky four letter word held me up at the end – it’s a long way through the alphabet to get the letter you need to say ‘Ah.. that sort of syrup’!

    Thank you to Beam and Bufo

  3. Encountered a few tricky moments with the 22a/d combo and the pesky 24d but the only thing that never unravelled itself was the parsing of 23a – thank you so much for that, Bufo.

    Thought 7a was clever, the whole clue being a good description of the bird in question, but 16d was decidedly cringe-worthy!

    Devotions to Mr. T/Beam and many thanks to Bufo, particularly for the parsing of 23a.

  4. Slow going, but all good. Wasn’t sure about the definition for 6d for a while. Candidates today are 7a, 21d & 24d – 21d wins by a nose.
    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review. ***/***

  5. I never did get either of the 22’s and it took me ages to remember the cockney syrup.
    23a caused trouble – I think I see it now.
    Missed the 18d lurker for far too long.
    I liked 15 and 25a and 6d. My favourite was 2d.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  6. I thought that this one was at the lower end of Beam’s difficulty range but enjoyable as always. Highlights for me were 2d, 18d and 24d.
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  7. We too had LESTER for 22d which left us unable to answer 22a. The rest went in bit by bit – 3*/3.5*

    We though 2d was a wonderful all-in-one and 18d is a great lurker.

    We parsed 23a the same way you did, Bufo, but it took some doing.

    Thanks to Bufo and Beam.

  8. Put in, but couldn’t parse, 7a and 23a. Was completely beaten by 22a. Was no one else looking for a palindrome?
    Not looking forward to tomorrow!

  9. I thought this was really good, with outstanding clues like 2d and 7a my favourites. I also really liked 10a, 1d, and the use of Beam as the definition in 5d.

    I realise now I’d bunged in 23a and forgotten to try and parse it, so thanks Bufo – must be right.

    Many thanks Beam

  10. We struggled with 24d as that particular syrup took a bit of searching and we eventually needed help from Mrs B to point us in the right direction. That only left the parsing of 23a which took quite a bit of thinking about before we saw it. We note now that we had 22a wrong. We found a word we then justified in BRB that seemed to almost fit the definition, GYRANT. Annoyed that we had missed the right answer.
    Checked the word count of course.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  11. I acquired this one on Sat morning and spent many short sessions on it over the weekend. I got stuck on just 2 clues – 22a and 22d, even though I had all the checkers in the grid. I wasted a lot of time on 22d because I convinced myself that Mark was an Apostle and if you arrange the letters with one missing (the O) it had to be PASTEL – and it fitted with the existing checkers. I eventually cracked it on Sun afternoon. An excellent crossword, a good challenge and I always enjoy a long battle. 3*/4*.

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