Toughie 2090 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2090

Toughie No 2090 by Beam

Hints and tips by Kitty

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


Hello everyone.  Bufo is away today so I’m taking my first opportunity to blog a puzzle by a setter whose work I always enjoy but who has not previously had a crossword degraded by a Kitty review.  I liked this one as much as expected.  Insertions are a favourite wordplay type of mine, and I certainly had my fill here.  I also particularly noted and appreciated the clever disguise of many of the definitions.  With a Beam puzzle you know you will have to think laterally.

The word count is, as usual, never more than eight per clue, and Beam’s sweetheart has made her usual appearance, while Her Majesty has taken the day off.

Definitions are underlined in the clues below and indicators are italicised when quoted in the hints.  You’ll find the answers inside the buttons.  The exclamation mark is not an imperative — click only if you wish to reveal all.

As usual you may click on pictures to enlarge them or uncover hidden extras.



1a    Copper works without energy, accepting small duties (7)
CUSTOMS:  The chemical symbol for copper and some literary works (large volumes of) without E(nergy), containing (accepting) S(mall)

5a    Rats on beam held by stakes (7)
BETRAYS:  Another word for Beam inside (held by) stakes or wagers

9a    Officer shoots back, engaging hard force (7)
SHERIFF:  The reversal of (… back) shoots (a gun perhaps) around (engaging) H(ard).  Finally, the physics symbol for force

10a   The French revolting in disorder, European getting cross (7)
SALTIRE:  One of the French definite articles (The French) is reversed (revolting) inside a synonym of disorder.  Then an abbreviation for European

11a   Cross, they’re oddly bitten by mosquito? (9)
INTERSECT:  Cross this time is a verb.  The odd letters of they’re (they’re oddly) inside (bitten by) the kind of creature of which a mosquito is an example (the definition by example indicated by the ?)

12a   Capital place for drink knocked back before time (5)
RABAT:  Somewhere serving drinks (1,3) reversed (knocked back) preceding (before) the abbreviation for time

13a   Your destiny may be in these hands! (5)
TAROT:  A cryptic definition of a set of cards used for fortune-telling.  (I typed furtune-telling there.  I suppose that would be trying to guess what I’m attempting to play)

15a   Hollow veins in cerebellum’s covering (9)
INSINCERE:  A lurker, where part of the clue is holding (‘s covering) the answer

17a   Vegetable like empty pea — sweet tips (9)
ASPARAGUS:  Like (2) and pea without its middle letter (empty … ), after which a word for sweet is reversed (tips).  Sweet here is a sweet substance which is given in Chambers as a Shakespearean adjective meaning sweet.  I also think the equivalence might work as a noun, as a term of endearment perhaps

19a   Heath area trailing grass east to west (5)
ERICA:  A(rea) following (trailing) a cereal grass with the end letter moved to the beginning

22a   Lounges of first-class people being announced? (5)
IDLES:  A homophone (being announced) of some objects of worship (IDOLS) (who may or may not actually be first-class).  Lounges is a verb

23a   Dainty little maiden keeping time in form, perhaps (9)
SWEETMEAT:  A Scottish word for little and M(aiden) containing (keeping) T(ime) together go inside something of which form is an example (form, perhaps).  The dainty is edible (like many of the best things in life)

25a   Bow during church receiving nothing in return (7)
INCLINE:  Bow or bend (your head perhaps).  During (2) and the initials standing for a type of church (2) containing (receiving) nothing or zero, reversed (in return)

26a   Expert cineaste finally comprehending rubbish film (7)
ACETATE:  An expert (3) and the last letter of (… finally) cineaste around (comprehending) some junk

27a   Divine being divine, outlandish replacing superior (7)
GODDESS:  The second divine in the clue means to intuit; in that word, replace the letter which can mean superior or posh with a synonym of outlandish or eccentric (3)

28a   Sexy curvy character including sex, initially? (7)
HOSTESS:  Sexy (3) and a curvy letter — S — containing (including) the first letter of (… initially) sex.  The answer is used as a euphemistic term for a lady of the night, so the whole clue provides the (rather elliptical) definition



1d    Shy around this person, gripped by American quibbler (7)
CASUIST:  Russian dolls time.  Shy as in throw goes around a first person pronoun contained within (gripped by) American (2).  A new word for me

2d    Climate not hot after summer’s start? Wear this (7)
SWEATER:  A word for the climate in the short term is missing H(ot).  This comes after the first letter of summer (summer’s start).  The definition references the wordplay

3d    Willowy thing is more blushing, topless (5)
OSIER:  An adjective meaning redder is missing its initial letter (topless)

4d    Enduring endless bother over iron girdle (9)
SUFFERING:  Bother or ado (4) minus the last letter (endless), reversed (over), followed by the chemical symbol of iron and a girdle or belt

5d    It’s worst to embrace sweetheart’s attack (5)
BESET:  Worst or defeat (a word which is also an antonym of worst) is to go around (to embrace) the central letter (heart) of sweet

6d    Play  patience (9)
TOLERANCE:  Two definitions, the first being flexibility or give

7d    Is it possible for me to get warm? (7)
AMIABLE:  Rephrase the question “is it possible for me?” (2,1,4) and join together to get friendly

8d    Cover the woman with two articles (7)
SHEATHE:  A pronoun meaning the woman with two grammatical articles

14d   Rotating mechanism for fans (9)
TURNSTILE:  A cryptic definition of a rotating barrier letting crowds into venues one person at a time

16d   Singular Scottish ‘tut’ assuming a point about English (9)
SASSENACH:  S(ingular) and a mild Scottish interjection (3) containing (assuming) the following: the A from the clue plus the reversal of (… about) a geographical point or headland.  (Alternatively, you can put the A into the reversal — since we have two of them it doesn’t matter which)

17d   Standing in front of auction making offers, disheartened (7)
ABIDING:  Standing in the sense of tolerating.  Start with the first letter (front) of auction and add a word for making offers (in said auction perhaps) without its middle letter (disheartened)

18d   Guarded in dock, brought up, then executed (7)
POLICED:  A three-letter word for dock or cut (off) reversed (brought up, in a down clue) followed by a slang term for killed

20d   State again specifically limiting train’s highest speed (7)
ITERATE:  An abbreviation for a Latin term meaning specifically or in other words (2) containing (limiting) the initial letter of train (train’s highest), followed by speed

21d   Frank is ruthless for EastEnders (7)
ARTLESS:  Take a word meaning without pity (9) and drop the first bit in East End style.  The first bit is actually two letters, but I think that’s ok

23d   Starts to slough hard exterior, discarding skin (5)
SHEDS:  Initial letters of (starts to) the last five words of the clue

24d   Rows could create sound of crying (5)
TIERS:  A homophone (sound of) of crying, as in no more crying/no more _____


Thanks to Beam for the fun.  I can’t possibly pick a sensible number of favourites, so I’ll just ask you: which made you beam?


These hints and tips are for anyone who might find them of use (and who doesn’t need help now and then?).  The asides and illustrations are to add a personal perspective and some colour.  The comments section is — or should be — for everyone.  Please do ask if you need anything clarified, have any suggestions as to how the blogs could be improved, or have anything else you’d like to say.


22 comments on “Toughie 2090

  1. I didn’t really have time to do this justice, so I used the hints a little to speed up the last few, which were mostly in the SW corner. Another enjoyable puzzle, definitely a little trickier than the Tuesday ones tend to be.

    Thanks to Kitty and Beam

  2. I liked the Beam/Ray synonym in 5a. I had entered CARDS for 13a, as in “in the cards”. Soon corrected. Got stuck in SW for a bit, then saw 18d and it all came together. I guessed 14d but wasn’t sure, checkers soon confirmed.

    I liked the reverse hidden, very good. And I enjoyed east to west in 19a

    Lots of fun, many thanks Beam and Kitty

  3. Excellence as always although, like Kitty, I didn’t know the quibbler and – like Dutch – I started out with CARDS for 12a which, dare I say it, I thought was a more precise definition.

    Not going to play favourites but 7d raised a particularly broad smile despite the fact that it’s probably something of a chestnut in one form or another.

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Kitty for the great review – I very much doubt that Mr T will feel that a Kitty review degraded his puzzle, I should think that he’ll be beaming along with the rest of us!
    PS Loved the lazy black cat.

  4. I thought that the synonyms today were less stretched than Beam sometimes gives us and I enjoyed the puzzle a lot.
    My ticks were awarded to 5a, 19a and 14d.
    Thanks to Beam and to Kitty for the double duty this week.

  5. Great puzzle as usual by the master of lurkage. Took me a long time to spot 15. Never heard of 1d so I made a guess that happened to be right. Favourite was 28 for the surface followed by 5a but there were so many good clues to mention them all. As usual no anagrams but a great test in lateral thinking. Thanks to RayT and I am pleased that Kitty did not know 1d either!

  6. I thought this was another excellent, though challenging, puzzle. Like yesterday, progress for me was very slow, with all of the quadrants offering resistance. However eventually I ended with a complete puzzle, but with one gap – 28a. In retrospect I think I probably should have been able to sort it out, but I was looking in vain for the definition, which I agree with Kitty, ended up being rather elliptical. Many thanks to Beam and Kitty.

  7. Very good fun all round. We particularly liked 4d and 17a, but top of the shop we thought was the lurker in 15a. The usual slightly off-beam clues (if I may use a semi pun) from Mr T.

    Wrt to 5a, are we always going to hail Ray T as clever when he uses ray as a synonym for beam in a clue?

    Thanks to Beam and Kitty

    1. I can’t remember seeing it before, but i guess it’s obvious – no doubt he’s capitalised on it. it raised a smile for me today.

  8. When I have nothing to do and all day to do it a Beam puzzle would be a perfect companion.. Unfortunately The Daily Telegraph are too mean to include The Toughie with their regular subscribers package. I am not driving 24 miles to Inveraray to get a paper. I have done the free Gaurdian puzzle instead.

  9. Really good fun from Beam once again. No major hold-ups but slowly and surely it all came together. The answer to 17a reminded us that the season for our favourite vegetable is just about start here. We had of course checked the clue word count but see that Kitty has beaten us to it this time.
    Thanks Beam and Kitty.

  10. It’s been a tough Toughie week, but fair so no complaints here. Bit surprised at the lack of comments today. Not even CrypticSue?

    Cheers all.

  11. Oh dear, fell asleep after a lengthy trustees meeting and the paper fell into the bath. First time I’ve done that, not fallen asleep but dropped the paper. No more from me tonight. Pity.

  12. Oh, nice thought Kitty. What a lovely group of people I have stumbled upon! But I am absolutely knackered , in bed and switching off. I am very taken with the disfunctional shed, what fun. I shall probably dream about it ……..

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