Toughie 2074 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2074

Toughie No 2074 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Once again I took longer doing a puzzle than perhaps I should have done. It is one of those puzzles of four separate corner puzzles. I managed them without too many problems with the SE corner one the last to yield.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    American prisons in Seattle emptied creating tension (8)
SUSPENSE: ‘American’ (2) and an American word for prisons (4) (a shortened form of a much longer word) inside the first and last letters of SEATTLE

5a    Army enlisting only regulars may train aide (6)
MYRIAD: Alternate letters of MAY TRAIN AIDE

9a    Fish about to return around River Plate (8)
TRENCHER: A freshwater fish of the carp family and a reversal of ‘about’ round R (river) = an old word for a plate

10a    Stands? It’s hard in wellingtons, possibly (6)
BOOTHS: Stands (e.g. at an exhibition) = H (hard) in footwear such as wellingtons

11a    Musical piece plump diva finally accepts before tenor (8)
OPERETTA: ‘To plump’ and the last letter of DIVA round ‘before’ and T (tenor)

12a    Process delicious food, some say (6)
MANNER: A homophone of delicious food (such as that miraculously proved for the Israelites in the wilderness)

14a    Set up sweetheart following accident pinching bottom (10)
PREARRANGE: An accident (crashing a vehicle) round the bottom or buttocks + the middle letter of SWEET

18a    Let off former wife, single, half-heartedly betrayed (10)
EXONERATED: A former wife + single + ‘betrayed’ with the double letter in the middle reduced to a single one

22a    One is found inside vacant lavatory (6)
TOILET: I (one) inside ‘vacant’ (2,3)

23a    Aristocrat tipped domestic welcoming his unlimited friendliness (8)
BONHOMIE: A reversal of an informal word for an aristocrat or person of high social rank + ‘domestic’ round the middle letter of HIS

24a    Article survives containing Holmes’s last monograph (6)
THESIS: The definite article and ‘survives’ round the last letter of HOLMES

25a    Unavoidably detained by worshipper for celebration (8)

26a    Some batted in pairs and left with trophy (6)
LASHES: Parts of the body that can be batted = L (left) + a famous trophy in cricket

27a    Screeching tail of Polaris missile (8)
STRIDENT: The last letter of POLARIS + a submarine-launched ballistic missile


1d    TV show, terribly masculine, covering sex clubs (6)
SITCOM: ‘Terribly’ (2) and M (masculine) round ‘sex’ (2) and C (clubs)

2d    Pierce middle of blockages blocking drain (6)
SKEWER: The middle letter of BLOCKAGES inside a drain

3d    Brings missing female and eats in (6)
ETCHES: Remove F (female) from a word meaning ‘brings’

4d    Loud new look over time catches up (10)
STENTORIAN: A reversal of N (new), a look, O (over), T (time) and ‘catches’

6d    The old old bloke really eviscerated militia (8)
YEOMANRY: The old word for ‘the’ + O (old) + a man + the first and last letters of REALLY

7d    Some sprint on in game, repeating mantra? (8)

8d    Very French, revolting in fact, showing neglect (8)
DESERTED: A reversal of the French word for ‘very’ inside DEED (in fact = indeed). I’m not totally convinced by this one

13d    Bitter man not gutted about romance being rejected (10)
MALEVOLENT: ‘Bitter’ or ‘ill-disposed towards others’ = a man and the first and last letters of NOT round a reversal of ‘romance’

15d    Abstinent stand above nearly everyone swallowing dram (8)
TEETOTAL: A stand or support for a golf ball and ‘everyone’ with the last letter removed round a dram (of spirits)

16d    Ghostly ship appears after ‘Blood’ yielded, oddly (8)
BODILESS: Alternate letters of BLOOD YIELDED + a steamship

17d    Put on some jeans wearing sort of shirt (8)
TELEVISE: ‘Put on the goggle box’ = a make of jeans inside a type of shirt

19d    Look slightly hurt, usually following trivial insult initially (6)

20d    Surface, say, engineers turned over (6)
EMERGE: ‘To surface’ = a reversal of ‘say’ and a corps of engineers in the British army

21d    Join bishops perhaps after church time (6)
CEMENT: The Church of England + chess pieces (bishops perhaps) + T (time)

A typical Beam puzzle showing all his usual trademarks.


17 comments on “Toughie 2074

  1. I’d call it more of a ‘slightly less tricky than usual but typical of a Ray T cryptic’ rather than a Beam Toughie and I’m not alone in this view

    My particular favourite, from quite a long list, is 26a

    Thanks to Mr T and Mr B

  2. Enjoyable as Beam always is. Thanks to him and Bufo.

    While I was solving this it occurred to me that Beam’s lack of anagrams is actually a help for the solver. With any other setter I’m pretty sure I’d have wasted time trying to make an anagram in 17d for instance.

    I justified (to myself, anyway) fact=deed in 8d by dredging up “He was accused of being an accessory after the fact”.

    The clues which hit the spot for me were 25a, 26a and 1d.

  3. The grid was filled in without much difficulty, although I glossed over the parsing of a couple of the answers until I had finished the puzzle, and then I went back for another look at them.

    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  4. A very enjoyable waste of a rainy morning.
    26 my favourite and last one in.

  5. Granted this wasn’t as tough as Mr T can be in his Beam guise, but another little gem nonetheless.
    How refreshing to get a lavatorial clue that causes absolutely no offence – other setters should take note!

    So many goodies to choose from but 26a comes out on top for me with 1d hard on its heels.

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

  6. Yes the batting one for me too. Very good misdirection!

    An extremely enjoyable puzzle, though the grid is a bit of a thug. I think the Toughie editors should have a bit of a clear-out there, but am I alone in this sentiment?

    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  7. Didn’t rate the backie so i was pleased to see the Beam toughie. I thought I had got this setter sussed as I knew he always includes 2 lurkers but I am afraid that 25 was my last one in. So many fine clues with great surfaces as usual. My vote today goes to 22 as I was barking up the wrong [ lurkage] tree for ages. Thanks to RayT for a great puzzle with so many twists and turns.

  8. Got held up at the end, but still much enjoyed. 26a caused some pain when the realisation hit!

    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  9. A speedy solve even at the end of a tiring day. Like Gazza I think the lack of anagrams in Beam puzzles is helpful as it eliminates one possibility completely. I said last month that I thought Mr T was becoming predictable and I stand by that as all his tricks are here again: lurkers, initial letter clue, sweetheart to clue E, alternate letters, vacated to denote use of first and last letters etc etc. All too easy to spot for my liking.

  10. Really good fun for us. Agree that this grid does split into four corners with not much connecting them but on the plus side it does avoid clues of four letters or fewer which we think is a good thing. We chuckled and smiled right through the solve and were still smiling when we checked the clue word count.
    Thanks RayT and Bufo.

  11. Unlike Gazza, I didn’t try to make an anagram of 17d but tried to fit my denim in the word.
    Had to check the explanations for 12a as I only penciled my answer.
    Thanks to RayT and to Bufo for the review.

  12. Easier than yesterday but still ****/**** here. Been a tough week, might have to take tomorrow off!
    Cheers for the blog.

  13. I’m happy to have finished the puzzle after rather a prolonged absence from focused solving. Bonus…I enjoyed it a lot. Thanks to Ray T and to Bufo for the blog.

  14. Thanks Ray for this great puzzle, some lovely clues.

    I’ve enjoyed this week very much, and I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s Toughie!

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