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Toughie 2416

Toughie No 2416 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Her Majesty may still be self-distancing at Windsor Castle but all the other Beam trademarks are here – no anagrams, a sweetheart, and no clue longer than seven words.

Beam is revisiting the 1960s in this exceedingly tricky crossword, – including as it does some double ‘trouble’.   It took me quite a time to solve which, added to the need to check of some of the more stretched synonyms, means that I’d definitely have to give this one the full 5* difficulty which is, for me anyway, unusual for both a Thursday and a Beam Toughie

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Tricks son holding iron having no trouble? (8)
WIFELESS This particular trouble being Cockney rhyming slang. Insert the chemical symbol for iron into some tricks and follow with the abbreviation for Son

9a    Actor who wrestled with O. Reed stops (6)
ABATES This clue refers to a 1969 film with a nude wrestling scene was quite controversial at the time – treat the name of the actor who wrestled with Oliver Reed in the same way as the clue treats the latter and you should get another way of saying stops

10a    Game over following endless stick (4)
POLO The cricket abbreviation for Over following a truncated (endless) stick

11a    Fugitive deserter, Yankee, keeping poles apart (10)
TRANSITORY I’m not entirely sure that the betrayer required for the wordplay is a deserter, fugitive or otherwise. However, if you take the betrayer, add the letter represented by Yankee in the NATO Phonetic Alphabet and then insert the letters for the two Poles, you’ll get a synonym for passing (apart)

12a    Merchant is reportedly more earthy (6)
GROCER A homophone (reportedly) of a synonym for more earthy

14a    Advance of man-eater in embrace sharing sweetheart (8)
PROGRESS A man-eater is inserted into an embrace, although you’ll only need one of the Es (sharing swEet heart)

15a    Mum purchasing cool, small … (6)
MINUTE Mum in the sense of silent ‘purchasing’ the usual synonym for cool in the sense of fashionable

17a    … small containers containing ale finally? Not exactly … (6)
STEINS The abbreviation for Small and some containers ‘containing’ the final letter of alE

20a    … secret drinker seen in almost sinister clubs (8)
ESOTERIC A heavy drinker is inserted into almost all of a word meanly strangely frightening (sinister), the result finished off with the abbreviation for the card suit of Clubs

22a    Ordered and sent back, the thing conked out (6)
TIDIED A reversal (sent back) of a pronoun which can mean ‘the very thing’ followed by a more formal way of saying conked out

23a    Flash one going west helping refinement (10)
FILTRATION Move the letter that looks like a I ‘westwards’ in a synonym for flash and add a fixed helping

24a    Record album with explosive opening! (4)
HELP A long-playing album follows the abbreviation for High Explosive

25a    Excess that is, in retrospect, producing muscles (6)
GLUTEI An excess followed by a reversal (in retrospect) of the abbreviated way of saying that is

26a    Gasp admitting heartless government’s in trouble? (8)
PREGNANT Do people still say ‘in trouble’ when unmarried ladies are expecting?? Remove the middle letter (heartless) of a synonym for government and insert into a gasp


1d    Weight of stamp raised pressing single record (8)
KILOGRAM A reversal (raised in a Down clue) of a verb meaning to mark, ‘pressing’ or going round the letter used to indicate a single thing and a record

2d    Reject overturned ballot with victory for leader (4)
VETO Reverse (overturned in a Down clue) a ballot and move the V for Victory to be the ‘leader’ or first letter

3d    Hamper of foreign cheese mentioned (6)
FETTER This verb meaning to hamper is a homophone (mentioned) of some originally Greek or Middle Eastern (foreign) goat or sheep’s milk cheese

4d    Under pressure idiot left key (8)
PASSPORT Put under the synonym for Pressure an idiot and the word used for the left side of a ship

5d    Conceive of dream, as term indicates (10)
MASTERMIND Hidden in dreaM AS TERM INDicates

6d    Ring’s comprising principally rare jewels (6)
PEARLS The principal letter of Rare inserted into another way of saying ring’s (bells not telephone calls!)

8d    Paddled pathetically, disheartened and wet (6)
SWAMPY Paddled like a duck followed by the outside (disheartened) letters of PatheticallY

13d    Mean criminal act with one displacing article (10)
CONSTITUTE An abbreviated criminal and an act of law where an I (one) ‘displaces’ the indefinite article

16d    Country housing centre for Galapagos tortoise? (8)
TERRAPIN A piece of ground (country) ‘housing’ the middle letter of galaPagos produces a turtle, definitely not a tortoise, hence the question mark at the end of the clue

18d    Left after exercise in bandage providing relief (8)
SPELLING Taking the place of someone at work. The abbreviation for Left goes after some abbreviated school exercise, the result inserted into something I’d think of more as a support than a bandage

19a    Save carefully, reducing irresponsibly made purchases initially (6)
SCRIMP The initial letters of Save Carefully Reducing Irresponsibly Made Purchases

21d    Makes a mistake apparently, suppressing large leaks (6)
SPILLS Insert (suppressing’ the abbreviation for Large into a reversal (up) of SLIPS (slips up – makes a mistake)

22d    Amorous advance? (6)
TENDER An adjective meaning amorous or a verb meaning to advance or offer

24d    Clue is tenuous, time to finish! (4)
HINT Another one of those move the letter clues (like 2d) – the T for time that starts a synonym for tenuous moves to the ‘finish’

IF it isn’t “just me” and this really is a Toughie, then that means if proXimal lives up to expectations tomorrow, that’ll will be a rare sighting of a whole week of proper Toughies!   Let’s hope this continues next week and into the future

32 comments on “Toughie 2416

  1. Thanks Beam & CS, averagely tough Toughie, 2*/3* for difficulty, 3*/4* happiness rating. CotD 3D – great with tomatoes & sliced onion.

  2. That Alan Bates was the last to fall in this very pleasant crossword.
    Apart from that, no real hold ups and managed to finish in good time.
    Nice to see the signature clues such as 19d.
    Thanks to Beam and to CS for the review.

  3. I don’t think that there’s a vast difference between a Ray T back-pager and a Beam Toughie, apart from the lack of anagrams and the slightly more laboured synonyms in the latter.
    I think that the reversal in 21d comes from the ‘up’ in ‘slips up’ (makes a mistake).
    I parsed 11a slightly differently taking the definition to be fugitive, which as an adjective means fleeting or transient.
    My ticks went to 17a, 18d and 22d (and my single cross went to the dodgy homophone at 3d).
    Thanks to Beam and CS.

    1. I normally find them both the same but this morning I did take far longer than I expected to solve this one. Perhaps it was because I didn’t sleep that well last night affecting my solving, but then surely that would have affected my solving ability with the back pager, or indeed today’s Times, both of which were on the friendly side. I didn’t think the homophone was dodgy -perhaps it depends where you come from?

  4. This started wittily enough [7a, 9a] but just got stodgier, except for 21d when the penny dropped.
    I’m with Gazza re 11a. Fugitive is the def, apart serves no purpose except to help the surface.

    Thanks to Beam and CS.

  5. I needed some Help! from CS for this one.

    17a – I’m still not exactly sure what “Not exactly … “ is doing in the clue.

    18d – Spelling mistake?

    21d – Apparently, I don’t understand it either?

    Thanks Beam & CS

    1. 17a As you can see from the picture that CS has provided the containers of ale are not exactly small.

        1. Beer Tricks?

          But I would be very grateful if someone could explain why in 18d “Spelling” = “providing relief”

          1. As in the hint – taking over someone’s work – relieving them – for a short spell of time

  6. As far as the process of filling the grid went, this did not seem particularly difficult – only a bit harder than Tuesday’s toughie CS considered a 1*. Reaching a full understanding is another matter. I was unsure of 23a, 24a, 18d and 21d. I was lost on the Oliver Reed movie which I don’t know but there seemed only one answer when all checkers were available. I pencilled in the answer to 24a as my first one but felt very uneasy – not seen record used to mean a particular song before. Overall quite a fun puzzle though I would always lower the star rating for enjoyment for GK clues like 9a
    Thanks to Ray T and CS

  7. Really enjoyed this one, thanks to the setter. 4*/4* for me with 7A, one of the last to fall, as my favourite.

  8. I worked my way steadily through about three quarters of this. At that point I considered it slightly tougher than normal for Beam but I then really struggled to finish it off so it ended up in my “extremely tough but just about doable” category.

    I think the definition for 13d is overstretched to breaking point but, that apart, this was an excellent challenge with 17a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

  9. Thanks to Beam and to crypticSue for the review and hints. Managed to get the first clue I looked at, 10a. Nothing after that so far!

  10. Very enjoyable as usual from RayT. Toss up for favourite between 7 and 17 which both brought a chuckle. Also thought 13 was very clever. Other goodies were 4 8 11 15 19 20 and 26. Many thanks to Beam for making isolation a little bit less isolating!

  11. I’m glad I was not responsible for suggesting difficulty and enjoyment ratings for this. On my first attempt I was only able to find entries for 2d and 10a, and the rest of the puzzle remained stubbornly blank. I came back to it a few hours later and the weight in 1d came to me which was just enough to get me going and the rest of the puzzled flowed with surprisingly little resistance. I’m not a huge fan of the grid, and for some reason I missed the absence of anagrams in today’s Beam puzzle. I also needed cryptisue’s review to fully unravel some of the word play (the actor/film reference in 9a for instance). However, it was satisfying to finish it eventually. Many thanks to Beam and crypticsue.

  12. Oh, what a great Toughie! And I was so surprised, after *** time, when I finished and got only 96% correct! Turns out that ‘pester’ is not the same as ‘fetter’! (Wonder what kind of cheese I thought was ‘mentioned’? Maybe my senior moment had me thinking ‘pesto’–not a cheese!). Thanks, crypticsue, for unfettering me, and to Beam: many thanks for the puzzle of the week. Big winners:7a, 26a, and a special shout-out to 9a, alluding to that seminal scene in Women in Love (and to DHL for his hyper-erotic creation in the book) with Oliver Reed and Alan Bates, my favourite actor of the 70s, especially after seeing him in Life Class at the Royal Court (I think).
    ***** / *****

  13. Some great stuff, although there also seemed to be some subtle synonyms – and i notice that if you keep sliding letters around it gets harder to indicate them all nicely

    I liked the actor who wrestled (once i got mickey rourke out of my head). I loved the hidden, which I did not see at first, and of course i liked the record album.

    Many thanks Beam and CS

  14. My thanks to crypticsue for the review and to everybody else for your comments. Glad that most of you enjoyed it.


    1. Good evening, Mr T. That was a real Toughie and no mistake. Just as well you weren’t able to hear my running commentary whilst I was solving……….

  15. I can only imagine that Mr T has too much time on his hands due to the lockdown and has unearthed his fiendish hat!
    Sticking points for me were 7a plus 12&18d, probably not helped by my insistence that the 12a merchant had to be a trader – for some obscure reason.
    Top three here were 9,17&24a.

    The usual devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to CS for admitting that this wasn’t a walk in the park even for her!

  16. I thought that this was a difficult solve and a ***/**** difficulty rating and *** enjoyment.
    In my view ‘relief’ in 18d was a tad iffy.
    Remembered the wrestling by the fire scene in9a,it was considered somewhat riske at the time.
    Talking about old films , I watched Billy Liar again and really enjoyed it, for me Wilfred Pickles was the star.
    Anyway nice to wile away the afternoon, ready for a few beers and some music-going to start with Gimme Shelter with Mick and Lisa Fischer-top draw

  17. Took me a while to get there but quite a few smiles along the way. 7a and 17a were my favourites. Thanks to Beam and CS.

  18. We are also in the ‘found it really tough’ camp but did find it very satisfying and enjoyable.
    Noted that CS has done the clue word count (another 7 max puzzle) so we won’t need to.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

  19. This was probably the toughest Beam that I can remember solving. I had about 6 answers for quite some time before I turned off the TV and phone and concentrated as hard as I could and slowly got there in the end.

    Thanks to CS and to Beam for the challenge.

  20. Crikey, that was a slog to finish. Didn’t have any answers after the first read through. One thing that makes Beam slightly easier is knowing you don’t have to consider anagrams. Several synonyms stretched to breaking point though! Pleased I got there in the end.

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