Toughie 2153 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2153

Toughie No 2153 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Things are not quite back to normal after the holiday season because I still don’t know what day of the week it is. It wasn’t until I was about to have lunch that I realised that it was Thursday and that I was on blogging duty today. After solving a lot of the puzzle with little difficulty I then got frustrated because there were several clues where I really had to convince myself that I’d got the right answers. I hope that I managed to sort it all out in the end. It took me a long time to come up with an explanation for 26 across

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


7a    Notch heartlessly cut by old man getting divorce (8)
SEPARATE: A seven-letter word meaning ‘to notch’ with the middle letter removed goes round ‘old man’ or ‘father’ to give ‘to divorce’

9a    Speaks of bad habits without love (6)
VOICES: Bad habits round O (love)

10a    Starts to snivel or blubber, say (4)
SOBS: The first letters of SNIVEL, OR, BLUBBER and SAY

11a    Lacking will to take Queen’s highway (10)
INTERSTATE: ‘Not having made a will’ round R (queen) = an American highway

12a    Cunning incorporating maturity with wisdom (6)
SAGELY: ‘Cunning’ round ‘maturity’

14a    Too French, outsiders switching positions and insulting project (8)
PROTRUDE: The French word for ‘too’ with the first and last letters swapped + ‘insulting’ = ‘to project’

15a    Oddly easier to take in course and pass (6)
ELAPSE: The odd-positioned letters of EASILY round a course or single circuit of a racetrack

17a    Saint continued turning wicked people (6)
DEVILS: A reversal of S (Saint) and ‘continued to exist’

20a    Playful cats lacking energy in silence (8)
SKITTISH: Young cats with the letter E (energy) removed goes inside ‘Silence!’

22a    Poor person born almost destitute on reflection (6)
BEGGAR: B (born) + a reversal of ‘destitute’ with the last letter removed

23a    Comradeship until the end of time, we hear! (10)
FRATERNITY: If you try hard enough (and I doubt that Gazza will be able to) you can make this word for comradeship or brotherhood into a homophone for ‘until the end of time’

24a    Skin is pale and light after vacation (4)
PELT: The first and last letters of PALE and LIGHT

25a    Head admitting education flipping dull (6)
DEADEN: A head (in a cathedral or a university) goes round a reversal of ED (education) to give ‘to dull’

26a    US military prison term with zero relapsing (8)
PENTAGON: The US Department of Defense (from the building that houses it) = a US prison + ‘term’ + a reversal (relapsing) of ‘zero’ or ‘not any’


1d    Sound judge imprisons beak being brought up (8)
RESONATE: ‘To sound’ = ‘to judge’ round a reversal of a beak (facial feature)

2d    Rising wave occasions course changes (4)
YAWS: A reversal of ‘wave’ = (of a ship) deviates temporarily from its course

3d    Quick hugs providing calm (6)
PACIFY: ‘Quick’ round ‘providing’ = ‘to calm’

4d    Some lover to neglect innuendo (8)

5d    Worrying girl’s finding ladder finally in hose (10)
DISTURBING: The short form of a girl’s name + the possessive ‘S’ + the last letter of LADDER inside material for making hosepipes

6d    The cat fed, missing starters, becoming angry (6)
HEATED: Remove the first letters from THE, CAT and FED

8d    Sees sweetheart upset in bars (6)
ESTOPS: A reversal of ‘sees’ and E (middle letter of SWEET) = an archaic word for ‘bars’ or a legal term for ‘hinders’ or’ precludes’

13d    Rigour of former exploit topping sex, you’d declared (10)
EXACTITUDE: ‘Former’ + ‘exploit’ + ‘sex’ + a homophone of ‘you’d’

16d    Moving empty incubator cutting cord (8)
STIRRING: The first and last letters of INCUBATOR inside ‘cord’

18d    Steed is back restraining unbelievable performing (8)
STALLION: A reversal of IS round ‘unbelievable’ + ‘performing’

19d    Edible crustacean, Marines catching the one in boat (6)
SHRIMP: Take a word for a boat and put RM (marines) round its letter I (one)

21d    Officer reportedly shows soft heart (6)
KERNEL: A homophone of a senior army officer

22d    Relation accepting the past over and over (6)
BEYOND: A relation goes round a reversal of the old form of the definite article

24d    New mountain climbing chart (4)
PLAN: A reversal of N (new) and a high mountain

Maybe it’s the cold (our central heating’s not working) but I didn’t particularly enjoy this one.


20 comments on “Toughie 2153

  1. This was very challenging and very enjoyable despite the inclusion of two of my regular grumbles: an unindicated Americanism in 11a and a nebulous girl in 5d.

    Coincidentally, I see a crustacean from today’s back-pager has popped up here.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  2. Relatively speaking, I found the back pager slightly trickier than this one. No particular favourites

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  3. For once, a Beam that I could finish. Have to agree that I still do’nt entirely follow the parsing of 26a. Favourites for me were 14a and 20a Thanks to all!

  4. I thought this was great fun although I did write ‘RD!’ alongside 11a & 5d.
    The truly dreadful homophone in 23a had me laughing out loud and gets my vote for the top spot.

    Devotions to Mr T and thanks to Bufo for the blog – hope your heating soon gets fixed.

  5. Did anyone else have ‘leaden’ for 25a? I thought head/lean fitted into Beam’s ideas on synonyms (e.g. I leaned/headed leftwards).
    Apart from that I didn’t have any problems.
    The clues I liked best were 24a, 26a and 3d. Thanks to Beam and to Bufo (I hope you have an accommodating plumber – it’s not a good time to be without heating).

  6. I agree with you Jane! An appalling homophone that made me giggle! That one wins my CoD.

    Also agree a very gentle solve for a Toughie, and indeed the back page was a little bit harder. No complaints with either however, and heartfelt thanks to Beam and Bufo for the entertainment.

  7. This took me a little less time than today’s backpager, though I was still half asleep for that one (and uncharacteristically alert for this). Thought it wouldn’t have been out of place as a Tuesday Toughie or a Thursday RayT.

    Like Gazza, my 25a answer started with L – grr!

    Other than that, all very enjoyable indeed.

    Naturally my favourites were 6d and 20a.

    Thanks to RayT and Bufo – hope your house gets 6d soon.

  8. I did enjoy this very much, although I was hesitant at the outset in seeing another grid with so many (14?) unchecked first letters. I chuckled at the comments regarding the homonym at 23a! I did have ‘deaden’ at 25a but probably more by luck than judgement. Many thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  9. I wasn’t sure about several answers and almost surprised when everything turned out to be right on submission. Thanks bufo for 22d which I had bunged in. I liked 3D 4d 16d 19d

    Many thanks beam

  10. We also started off with an L for the first letter of 25a but kept looking further and found the correct answer. We also puzzled about the zero part of 26a. Again we had to remind ourselves to stop looking for anagrams. There won’t be any in a Beam puzzle!
    Enjoyed the solve and checked the clue word count as usual.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  11. Hugely enjoyable , other than 2d which I didn’t get .
    I loved 23a ,and I also like 11a, 14a , 20a and 13d .
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo .

  12. Another very enjoyable puzzle! I also went through most of this without any problems but then became stuck on the last few which took ages. I did work out the parsing of 26a, but needed Bufo’s blog to confirm this and explain my answers to another three clues.

    Very many thanks to Beam for a most pleasurable solve and to Bufo for an excellent blog.

    1. Good evening to you too, and thank you for all the entertainment for crossword lovers such as I.

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