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Toughie 1906

Toughie No 1906 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Over the years I’ve got used to Beam’s style and I now finish his puzzles far more quickly than I used to. This one went in fairly easily apart from a final hold-up in the NW corner. It was an enjoyable puzzle with all the usual Beam trademarks.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Swapped men seeing players were in front (7)
CASTLED: “Swapped men on a chess board” = players (company of actors) + ‘were in front’

5a    Etiquette of French? Well, I’m not sure (7)
DECORUM: The French word for ‘of’+ ‘Well!’ + ‘I’m not sure!’

9a    Period when bats fly around? (7)
INNINGS: A cryptic definition for a turn of batting in cricket

10a    Journalist following second eleven moved quickly (7)
STEAMED: S (second) + eleven footballers or cricketers + a journalist

11a    American measure facing supporter closely (9)
LITERALLY: The American spelling of the metric unit of capacity + a supporter

12a    Men in confusion bottling up pressure for nothing (5)
CHAPS: Take a word meaning ‘confusion’ and replace O (nothing) by P (pressure)

13a    Checks edge of smashed guitar gear? (5)
DAMPS: The last letter (edge) of SMASHED + the abbreviated form of devices used by guitarists for producing extra loudness

15a    Extraordinarily dirty place hiding robber’s first treasure (9)
STRANGELY: A dirty place (where pigs live) goes round R (first letter of ROBBER) and a treasure (a valued helper or friend)

17a    Stunned senior forced to take on United (9)
SURPRISED: The abbreviation for ‘senior’ and ‘forced with a lever’ round U (United)

19a    One’s performance entails ruddy aria initially (5)
OPERA: First letters of five words in the clue

22a    Captivated by paint, Rothko’s beginning (5)

23a    Feeling thrilled, the setter proposed, losing heart (9)
SENTIMENT: A feeling = ‘thrilled’ or ‘roused to ecstasy’ + a pronoun denoting the setter + ‘proposed’ with the middle letter removed

25a    Ego run down comprehending love produces divorce (7)
ISOLATE: A one-letter alternative to ‘ego’ + ‘to run down’ or ‘to criticise’ round O (love)

26a    Service in main reflecting collects (7)
AMASSES: A religious service inside a reversal of the main

27a    Dubious party wielding useless power (7)
SUSPECT: A party (or a body of people united in favour of a political cause) goes round abbreviations for ‘useless’ and ‘power’

28a    Best coat for tiger cat (7)
TROUNCE: ‘To best’ = the first and last letters (coat) of TIGER + the snow leopard


1d    Cold cold hearts, sick facing empty end (7)
CHILLED: C (cold) + H (hearts) + ‘sick’ + END with the middle letter removed

2d    Study reportedly brought down corporation (7)
SANCTUM: A study or a private room = a homophone (reportedly) of ‘brought down’ + a corporation (belly)

3d    Old railway company possesses single means of transport (5)
LINER: One of the Big Four railway companies created in the early 1920s goes round I (single)

4d    Lays bare round ends overlapping (9)
DISCLOSES: A round object shares its last letter with the first letter of ‘ends’

5d    Gorgeous girl not forthcoming (5)
DISHY: An abbreviated form of a girl’s name + ‘not forthcoming’ or ‘shrinking from notice’

6d    High point of teaching taking short view (9)
CRESCENDO: ‘Teaching’ or ‘a set of beliefs’ round a view with the last letter removed

7d    May’s core politician in raving frenzy (7)
RAMPAGE: The middle letter of MAY and a politician inside a raving

8d    Old bedsit oddly covered by fancy simplicity (7)
MODESTY: The odd letters of OLD BEDSIT inside ‘Fancy!’

14d    Representative, American, promoted bishop before old ‘scandal’ (9)
SURROGATE: A reversal of ‘American’ + a 2-letter abbreviation denoting a bishop + O (old) + a suffix denoting a scandal

16d    Right about flipping naked desperate man being unemployed (9)
REDUNDANT: A 2-letter abbreviation for ‘right’ goes round a reversal of ‘naked’ and the name of the desperate man from The Dandy

17d    Gets undressed turning back to hide one’s feelings (7)
SPIRITS: A reversal of ‘gets undressed’ round I (one)

18d    Sailor put up on chains missing right tack (7)
RATIONS: A reversal (put up) of a sailor + chains or fetters with R (right) removed

20d    Manuscript absorbing Queen penned by period author (7)
EMERSON: The abbreviation for manuscript round our Queen goes inside a geological period to give the surname of an American writer

21d    Excerpt of part is testing performer (7)

23d    Prison supports last of uniforms with time done (5)
SPENT: S (last letter of UNIFORMS) + an American prison + T (time)

24d    State of India shook unevenly (5)
IDAHO: Remove the even letters from INDIA SHOOK

As far as I know I’ve now finished going away for this year so you’ll be stuck with me on a Thursday for the next few weeks.


24 comments on “Toughie 1906

  1. I too was held up by the NW corner but not for long.

    Welcome back to Bufo and thanks to both him and Mr T

  2. Having been starved of RayT on the back page for what seems like forever, I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into this and jolly good it was too – just right to keep me from tidying up the garden on an utterly miserable and damp day.

    I made life rather difficult for myself by putting in “discovers” as an alternative seemingly plausible answer for 4d, which led to 11a & 15a being my last two in.

    1a was of course my favourite. How nice to see that particular piece of terminology used correctly!

    Many thanks to Beam and to bufo.

  3. I’m probably wrong , but I read 12 a to mean replace the o with p . Other than that , most enjoyable . 2 d my favourite .
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  4. Well I think the answer to 12 is CHAPS and not CHAOS, which would partially explain it. But the ‘bottling up’ bit is superfluous, I think, which makes things a little harder to spot.

    1. You are right, Goblinski, and that is the answer that bufo’s explanation leads to. The wrong answer has been hidden under “Click here!”

  5. All good fun as one would expect from Mr T. Favourites include 2d, 5a &12a. 18d new to me.

    Not sure either the King (or Queen for that matter) should be referred to as men (1a). The pieces and pawns are the King’s men in the wibbly-wobbly world of my own making. Chambers doesn’t agree, but that’s how I logically think of it. (No need to correct me, RD!)

    Many thanks to Beam for the fun and Bufo for the review.

  6. Started of wondering why 1d was 7 instead of 6 letters, C+H+ILL+ the end of emptY. Funny how you get locked in like that.

    The rest went smoothly and my favourite was 5d.

    I didn’t know the old railway and had to look it up. Some definitions a bit of a stretch perhaps, but it was all solvable to fine.

    Many thanks Bufo and Beam

  7. When I solved this one earlier the name of the setter wasn’t available on-line (and still isn’t) so it was good to find very quickly that it was unmistakably a Beam production. Thanks to him and to Bufo for the review.
    I don’t think that 9a works very well as a cryptic definition and only got the answer from the checking letters. Top clues for me were 17a, 2d and 5d.

  8. This was right at the edge of my limit, and I was pleased that I was able to complete this without resorting to the hints. The right half went in first (slowly) and the the left half even more slowly. I suspected early on that 9a was what it was, but I had to wait until I had sufficient checkers to be confident with it. Lots of nice penny-drop moments (13a for example). I enjoyed this very much. Many thanks to all.

  9. Sorry to appear pedantic, but re 6d ‘crescendo’ Is not a high point, it is the process of getting louder (the opposite of diminuendo).

    That apart, thoroughly enjoyed the challenge, and also the engaging blog.

    1. Hi Conrad – Chambers online gives the following:

      crescendo noun (crescendos)
      1 a gradual increase in loudness.
      2 a musical passage of increasing loudness.
      3 a high point or climax.

      The setters are generally incredibly diligent and almost always correct.

  10. Thank goodness – like RD I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms. I also just knew that RD would appreciate 1a!

    All the usual brilliance from the master of tongue in cheek cluing – my podium places went to a selection of those, in the shape of 5,19&27a plus 5d.

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to Bufo for the review – very happy to be ‘stuck with you’ for future Thursday Toughie blogs!

  11. The top left was where I finished up too. 12a and 2d both got a tick from me. 9a had me stumped (no play on words intended) for a while.

    Great stuff; many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  12. I enjoyed this very much but unfortunately was left defeated by three clues I couldn’t do without the hints – in the NW corner. I thought I had 7d wrong too, having never heard of raving being a noun. (It is, says the BRB, not to my surprise. I agree wholeheartedly with LetterboxRoy’s comment in 9 above..)
    Many thanks to Mr T and Bufo. Much appreciated.

    1. Hi Mr T – thank you for popping in to ‘see’ us and for another great puzzle. Not too keen on opera, then?!!

  13. Hi LetterboxRoy – a crescendo is not a climax. Crescendo is the present participle of the verb crescere, meaning to increase. When used as an instruction in a musical score it means getting louder. Therefore, unlike a high point or a climax, one cannot arrive at a crescendo. So a climax comes at the end of a crescendo.

  14. Technically you are right, but as the definition used by the setter is in the dictionaries, it is therefore also correct. ‘The cheers reached a crescendo’.

  15. Liked this quite a lot – 3/4.

    At the risk of stoking some fires, we had no issue with crescendo. Our favourite clue was 28a but 3D gave us a chuckle.

    Thanks to Bufo and Ray T

  16. Just short of 3* difficulty but an absorbing test so 4* for enjoyment. 16d was my stand-out favourite ( l loved the “desperate man”!). Thanks to Ray T/Beam, and Bufo.

  17. A *** for difficulty here too, though with a panicky moment halfway through where I thought I was completely stuck. Last in the NE corner, and 6d in particular.

    Talking of which, Chambers has, under its third definition for Crescendo, “A high point, a climax (figurative)”.

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