Toughie 1978 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 1978

Toughie No 1978 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

With the panic buying done I had intended to hibernate all day today but the snow was so nice this morning that I felt I had to go out for a walk in it. Before I set out I had completed the top half of this puzzle with comparative ease. But the brain must have got frozen when I was out because when I returned I struggled with the bottom half. I’d already decided that the original online 13 down didn’t work before I noticed that Crypticsue had emailed a replacement that did work.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Pipes clink around chimney breast’s opening (8)
PLUMBING: The system of pipes in a building for water, etc, = ‘to clink’ round a Scottish word for a chimney and the first letter of BREAST

5a    Films area with troops in charge of retreats (6)
CINEMA: A reversal of A (area), troops, and the abbreviation for ‘in charge’

9a    Settles split taking a husband back (8)
INHABITS: ‘Settles’ or ‘dwells in’ = ‘split’ (2,4) round a reversal of A and H (husband)

10a    Confirm it’s always same resort after vacation (6)
ASSERT: The first and last letters of ALWAYS, SAME and RESORT

11a    Flirtation, getting diamonds out, leads to marriage (8)
ALLIANCE: Remove D (diamonds) from the front of a word meaning ‘flirtation’ or ‘amorous relationship’

12a    Keener winning, comparatively, following ace (6)
ACUTER: A (ace) + the comparative form of an adjective meaning ‘winning’ or ‘attractive’

14a    Duty securing a trail withdrawing soldiers (10)
PARATROOPS: A role or duty round A + a reversal of a track or trail, especially that of a hunted animal

18a    Proceeds to embrace darling grabbing large part (10)
INCOMPLETE: Proceeds or revenue round a term of endearment (darling) round L (large) = ‘part’ (as an adjective’

22a    Select empty carton to hold stockings (6)
CHOSEN: The first and last letters of CARTON round stockings

23a    Reportedly one eats spotted lizard (8)
DINOSAUR: A homophone of someone who is eating and ‘spotted’ = an extinct reptile. My first reaction was to groan at the homophone but then I decided that it is perfectly OK

24a    Joked audibly facing sex in buff (6)
PUNDIT: A homophone of ‘joked’ + sex = a buff or expect such as someone interminably dissecting a football match on TV

25a    Derivation through assuming root’s European English (8)
PEDIGREE: ‘Through’ (3) round ‘to root’ (3) + E (European) + E (English)

26a    Starts to enlist new recruits on list, say (6)
ENROLS: The first letters of ENLIST, NEW, RECRUITS, ON, LIST and SAY. The whole clue provides the definition

27a    A help confining limits of blaze set? (8)
ASBESTOS: A + ‘Help!’ round the first and last letters of BLAZE and SET. The whole clue providea a clue for this fireproof material


1d    First the French in revolution supporting puritanical (6)
PRIMAL: ‘Puritanical’ or ‘prudishly disapproving’ + a reversal of the French definite article

2d    Sinful, having no weaknesses, say (6)
UNHOLY: A homophone of a word that if it existed would mean ‘having no weaknesses or gaps’

3d    Feline shows craft sporadically trailing duck (6)
BOBCAT: A kind of lynx = ‘to duck’ + alternate letters of CRAFT

4d    Guy accepts sweetheart, after a fashion, turned plain (10)
NOTICEABLE: A reversal of I (one = a) and a fashion + a guy (for holding something steady) round E (middle letter of SWEET)

6d    Precarious easy job with popular promotion (8)
INSECURE: Take a word for an easy or cushy job and move the letters IN (popular) to the start

7d    House perhaps changing right to left for vote (8)
ELECTION: Take a word for a building of any kind and change R (right) to L (left)

8d    Broadcaster is known to protect star (8)

13d    Sweetheart, in essence, reveals vulgar quality (10)
Revised version: Menswear, thin, essentially covers indecency (10)
EARTHINESS: In the original clue in the online version the answer is not quite hidden. It was later changed to one in which the answer is genuinely hidden

15d    Record collection one lifted for fan (8)
DISCIPLE: A gramophone record (4) + a collection ($) with the letter I (one) moved to the front

16d    Glass preferably filled by both taps? (8)
SCHOONER: A large glass for drinking from = ‘preferably’ round C (cold) and H (hot)

17d    Grand monkey enclosure erected housing ape finally (8)
IMPERIAL: A monkey (mischievous child) and a reversal of an enclosure for beasts round E (last letter of APE)

19d    Apprentice about to turn very cool (6)
NOVICE: A reversal of ‘about’ (2) + V (very) + ‘to cool’

20d    High spot seeing stocking support half raised (6)
GARRET: An attic room = a six-letter word for a band used to support a stocking with the last three letters reversed

21d    Roses’ borders covered by cheese plants (6)
BRIERS: A French cheese + the first and last letters of ROSES

Thanks to Kitty for filling in for me last week when I was at (yet another) funeral. I’m now at the age when I think I need a season ticket for the crematorium.

35 comments on “Toughie 1978

  1. So I thought I would start doing the DT Toughie and I am curious as to how others find the challenge!

    I thought today’s puzzle was great – not too difficult not too easy. Bit of a dodgy clue in 23a as they were not lizards but there you go!

    Interesting that I think this is the first time I have a higher temp outside in Canada at this time of year than many folks in the UK!

  2. Apart from 13d (which I assume is meant to be a lurker except that it isn’t), I really enjoyed what proved to be a stiff challenge getting harder as I worked my way from NW to NE to SW with, finally, the SE taking longer than the rest put together. 21d was my last one in.

    Two nice homophones battled it out for the title of my favourite with 24a just edging out 23a.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

      1. Very irritating because in the paper version of 13d “heartiness” is a lurker so it destroyed both 14a and 18a. I felt heartiness was a rather vulgar quality so how was I supposed to suspect a boo boo? Grrrr!!

        1. Yes, “heartiness” is what I meant when I said “the wrong lurker” … think I should have worded that as “the actual lurker!”

  3. As it says on the tin…. tough!
    Got going again when I realised 13d wasn’t accurately clued, but failed to parse 4d. Still not entirely sure about it. Favourite clue was 27a. Thanks to Bufo and Ebam

  4. Pretty tough. 13d was holding me up for quite a while; once I saw the correction it came together. Some of the definitions are exquisitely well hidden. Liked 24a, 8d & 20d in particular, but all good (apart from the error).

    Brilliant stuff, thanks Beam, and thanks Bufo.

  5. I thought this was properly on the Toughie spectrum and needed a bit of muttering in several places.

    Thank you to the 2 Bs

  6. many thanks Bufo and Beam

    favourite was 27a. Wasn’t keen on the “of” in 5a. Took me a while to see ‘part’ as an adjective, like partial, in 18a.

    I also enjoyed 16d, very nice

  7. The error really threw me because I’d confidently (albeit with a note querying the definition) entered the wrong lurker for 13d. It took a while to see that that had to be wrong, but the 14a rescued me.

    Other than it was the expected fun, which felt for the first half easier than the usual Beam but then rather harder (and I think that would still be the case without being held up by the mistake).

    I neglected to make a note of favourites, but did note that Gazza would hate 23a!

    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

    1. You’re quite right, Kitty. I’ve written two giant crosses against 23a (one for each part of the ‘homophone’).

  8. I’ve been whizzing through the Toughies the last couple of weeks but really struggled to get going on this one and, as the hints/answers here were later than normal, resorted to crosswordsolver.
    I only get the paper versions so had the original 13d. I thought it was a good question, throwing me for a few seconds before my lightbulb moment, with the ‘in essence’ applying twice (once for the ‘iness’ and the other for implying the answer wasn’t all there).
    Roll on tomorrow’s.

    1. Welcome to the blog

      As far as 13d is concerned, it is one of those things where you see the lurker and then have to think ‘hang on a minute there’s something not quite right here’ although I was slightly forewarned as I’d had an email querying it before I’d even printed the crossword off.

      I do miss my newspaper versions of the puzzles, roll on Saturday when it is supposed to be ‘warm’ enough here to thaw out the roads

      1. Here in Kent we have a lot of snow and my paper boy has delivered every day. Good lad!

        1. I’m in Kent too but our nearest source of newspapers is over two and a half miles away and they don’t deliver out as far as our village, even when the roads aren’t as dangerous as they have been this week

  9. An enjoyable crossword once the initial problem with 13d was sorted out. Like JB I originally wrote ‘heartiness’ in for 13d, thinking it’s not a very good simile for vulgar quality but I suppose it just about works.
    My top clues were 8d (for the cleverly-hidden lurker) and 20d.
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  10. Thoroughly enjoyed the challenge – SE corner took longer than the rest of the puzzle put together (sound familiar, RD?!).
    Pleased to see that the clue for 13d was revised – had the right answer but couldn’t figure out what I was missing in the wordplay.

    Impossible to nominate a favourite, so many could qualify for the honours although 20d certainly made me smile.

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Bufo for the blog.

    PS If anyone has time – the answer for 26a needs slight correction.

  11. 23a is enrols, surely, rather than enlists ? Yes, a good Toughie, once I’d worked out the 13d slip. I liked the wordplay in 27a, although the material in the answer has turned out to be dangerously carcinogenic. Also liked 15d and 17d, which both took a long time to work out. Beam’s lack of anagrams is always a pleasant change and challenge.

  12. I put ‘heartiness’ for 13d (although I did not like it), and after a lot of head-scratching threw the towel in with a handful left unsolved. The first Beam puzzle I failed to finish for some time…

    Favourite clue 8d.

    Thanks to Beam, and to Bufo for the review.

  13. As soon as I got up this morning I came to the computer to see what I had missed in understanding the lurker in 13d.
    I had a real struggle in the SE corner with 27a being the toughest nut to crack. Just knew that 23a would upset Gazza and even I did wince a little at the homophone. Found it a bit tougher than Beam puzzles often are but that might be because it was a solo solve,
    Word count checked as usual.
    All good fun.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  14. Struggled today and was not helped by putting heartiness in for 13d despite feeling it didn’t mean vulgar. Crap clue. Also not happy with ton meaning fashion in 4d. Apart from that great!

  15. Yes we saw both possibilities for 13d until 18a came to our rescue. Couldn’t fully parse 14a although had the answer, also 20d was a little b….r for a while. A bit of a struggle.

  16. Definitely a puzzle of two halves for me. The left came together without too many issues, but I got hung up on the right hand side, particularly in the SE. I was stymied rather than misled by the 13d error because I already had 18a in the grid. The rest fell into place after Kitty relayed to me that there was an error in 13d, and I realized that the 21a plant could be spelled in a way I hadn’t seen before. 3d of course gets an honourable mention (last weekend I met one named Rufus), and my favourite would be either 7d or 8d. Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  17. Evening all. Finally managed to get in, so many thanks to Bufo for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


  18. **** for difficulty here, and a good time had throughout. Last in 25ac which caused me no end of trouble.

  19. Thanks to the intrepid Kath who has been out for a paper and reports that

    there is an apology for yesterday’s mistake in the Toughie – it’s under today’s Toughie. It says apologies for the misfiring 13d in yesterday’s puzzle. The clue should have been: “Menswear, thin, essentially covers indecency”.

      1. Thanks Big Dave. I’ve been before but clearly forgot which email address I used before I rebuilt the pc! Ah well

  20. Very entertaining puzzle.
    Took ages to twig the lurker in 13D, even though using the paper version-liked the expert in 24A !

Comments are closed.