Toughie 2114 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2114

Toughie No 2114 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

This was a mixture of some very straightforward clues and some fairly intractable ones. It meant that most of the puzzle succumbed easily but the rest took an age. I ended up with a 4* difficulty time once I’d taken into account the time taken to explain the last couple of clues to my satisfaction.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Top horse? (8)
BESTRIDE: ‘Top’ or ‘most excellent’ + a horse with someone on its back. The definition is ‘to top or sit on a horse’

5a    Pro, occasionally greedy, produced counterfeit (6)
FORGED: ‘Pro’ or ‘in favour’ + alternate letters of GREEDY

9a    Human sin? Wrath’s one to start (8)
FALLIBLE: This one took a lot of thought. ‘Human’ (think ‘to err is human’) = a lapse into sin (e.g that of Adam and Eve) + ‘wrath’ or ‘ill-temper’ with its letter I (one) moved to the start

10a    Stops first son leaving believers (6)
DEISTS: Take a word meaning ‘stops’ with three occurrences of the letter S and remove the first letter S. That leaves you with people who believe in the existence of God

12a    Left with party embracing Liberal’s huge victory (9)
LANDSLIDE: L (left) + ‘with’ + a party or faction round L (Liberal)

13a    Singular hard covering for creature (5)
SNAIL: S (singular) + the hard covering on the end of a finger or toe

14a    Labour succeeded ignoring tense questions (4)
ASKS: A labour or piece of work with the letter T (tense) removed + S (succeeded)

16a    Possibly Plath writer’s holding collection back (7)
POETESS: The surname of an American author and the possessive ‘S round a reversal of a collection = someone such as Sylvia Plath

19a    Mockery of victims a crash trapped? Revolting (7)
SARCASM: Hidden in reverse in VICTIMS A CRASH

21a    Sort of thirsty and pale after vacation (4)
TYPE: The first and last letters of THIRSTY and PALE

24a    Egg starts to open, vacated usually leaving eggshell (5)

25a    Cut traffic time in secure chassis (9)
STRUCTURE: ‘Traffic’ or ‘trade’ with the last letter removed and T (time) in ‘secure’

27a    Spot noticed on pitch (6)
SEESAW: ‘To spot’ + ‘noticed’ = ‘to pitch’ or ‘to go up and down’

28a    Legend of rodents’ decline maybe originally rejected (8)
MEGASTAR: Another one that took me a long time. A legend or very famous entertainer = a reversal of rodent, the possessive ‘S’, ‘to decline’ and the first letter of MAYBE

29a    Tenant not so keen having ‘no frills’ (6)
LESSEE: ‘Not so much’ + KEEN with the first and last letters (frills) removed

30a    Study rooks and queen covering incomplete theory (8)
CONSIDER: ‘Rooks’ or ‘swindles’ and R (queen) round a theory with the last letter removed


1d    Happen to breathe, completely embracing female … (6)
BEFALL: ‘To breathe’ or ‘to exist’ and ‘completely’ round F (female)

2d    … still audibly exhale topping fast time (6)
SILENT: A homophone of ‘to exhale audibly’ over a time for fasting

3d    Mars revolves circling centre of ellipse (5)
RUINS: ‘Mars’ or ‘spoils’ = ‘revolves’ round the middle letter of ELLIPSE

4d    Carries on with collaborators supporting Germany (7)
DALLIES: ‘Carries on’ or ‘has an amorous relationship’ = the IVR for Germany + collaborators

6d    Linger in bed as topless sweetheart strips, rising (9)
OVERSLEEP: A sweetheart with the first letter removed + a reversal of ‘strips’

7d    Fine game with queen gobbling piece up (8)
GOSSAMER: ‘Fine (like a spider’s web)’ = a board game and R (queen) round a reversal of a piece or quantity of matter

8d    Show one’s oddly cold surrounded by draught (8)
DISCLOSE: ‘To show’ = I (one) + the possessive ‘S + the odd-positioned letters of COLD inside a draught (of medicine)

11d    Look up to see tower (4)
KEEP: A reversal of a sly look

15d    Tie is masculine head to toe in public (9)
STALEMATE: A tie or draw = ‘masculine’ with its first letter moved to the end inside ‘public’

17d    Backing America in ‘special’ sense with gutless oddball (8)
ESPOUSAL: The sixth sense + The United States of America inside the first and last letters of ODDBALL

18d    Pockets found in slacks? (8)
TROUSERS: 2 meanings: Pockets or appropriates/a garment such as slacks

20d    Nearly all wet losing heart (4)
MOIST: Remove the middle letter from ‘wet’ or ‘damp’

21d    Wreck broke apart round end of deep crack (7)
TORPEDO: ‘To wreck’ = ‘broke apart’ round the last letter of DEEP + ‘to crack’ or ‘to finish’

22d    Bet placed around noon ended void (6)
PUNTED: ‘Placed’ round N (noon) + the first and last letters of ENDED

23d    More expensive models’ charms emerge, all naked (6)
DEARER: The middle two letters of MODELS, CHARMS and EMERGE

26d    Leggings for men? (5)
CHAPS: 2 meanings: a cowboy’s leather riding leggings/men

Another of those puzzles where I can’t decide whether I enjoyed it or not

12 comments on “Toughie 2114

  1. Looking at my handwriting (which is quite a good sign of difficulty level) I see that the LH side was ‘friendlier’ than the right. No particular favourites – I think Bufo’s final sentence sums up my experience too

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  2. I found this quite tricky for a Beam but as enjoyable as ever.
    My favourite clue was the simple but elegant 27a.
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  3. Thanks Beam; a good crossword.

    Thanks Bufo; you seem to have an extra letter in the solution to 20d.

    I liked 18 and 21d.

    1. BTW, I confidently put in ‘Champion’ for 1A at first until it didn’t work with any of the crossers.

  4. :phew:
    That was really tough but very enjoyable. I drew a complete blank in my normal starting place of the NW corner, but then made good progress in the NE before getting another nearly blank corner in the SE. Then I was finally able to fill a reasonably complete SW.

    After worrying away at it for a while, particularly to convince myself that “runs” in 3d could be synonymous with “revolves”, I managed to fill in the NW with only 9a not fully parsed.

    I was then able to complete the NE & SW but was still left with just two answers entered in the extremely stubborn SE corner. Somehow I found myself eventually looking at a full grid but only by “bunging in” partially parsed answers to 25a, 28a & 21d.

    My favourite was 1a with 27a very close behind.

    Many thanks to Beam for a really good workout and to Bufo for decrypting the answers I couldn’t fully parse.

  5. I found this quite tricky, but very enjoyable.

    I made one very silly mistake with the wrong creature at 13a, assuming that “ARK” could at a stretch be synonymous with a covering.

    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  6. Another excellent work-out from Mr T/Beam which had me scratching my head over 10a & 15d for a while. I also found it difficult to accept that ‘shell’ wasn’t going to work for 13a!

    I think 1a was my favourite with a mention for the allusion to the ‘special relationship’ in 17d.

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

  7. Found it much more accessible than yesterday’s.
    I’m probably getting used to this setter.
    Everything parsed successfully.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  8. Golly, I found that hard – usually gat all the anagrams to get me started and they were thin on the ground. So thank you Bufo’s for helping me out, now I can go to sleep!

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