Toughie 2173 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2173

Toughie No 2173 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I never really warmed to the task today and so made heavy weather of this puzzle. The four minipuzzles were done in the order NW, SW (except for 18 across), NE, and SE. 18 across and 19 down were the last two to be sorted (together with 3 down which I eventually parsed when writing the review). I found writing today’s review more of a chore than usual (maybe because I had to keep stopping to convince myself that a definition worked).

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Bugs move in live atmosphere, circling (8)
BACTERIA: Bugs (microorganisms) = ‘to move’ in ‘to live’ + a reversal of ‘atmosphere’

5a    Info delivered in broadcast (6)
SPREAD: 2 letters that can mean information (from a term used in racecourse betting) + ‘delivered (eg lectures)’

9a    Take part divided by fifty to produce whole (8)
COMPLETE: ‘To take part’ or ‘to contend for a prize’ round the Roman numeral for fifty

10a    Digests cheese with strong smell initially (6)
BRIEFS: ‘Digests’ or ‘summaries’ + a letter denoting ‘strong’ or ‘loud’ + the first letter of SMELL

11a    Agent soon to drop M’s predecessor, admitting fault (8)
EMISSARY: An agent sent out on a secret mission = ‘soon’ with the letter L (M’s predecessor) removed round ‘fault’

12a    Manuscript hides unwritten code? (6)
MORALS: The abbreviation for manuscript round ‘spoken (i.e. not written)’

14a    This hones blade and skins in grand condition (10)
GRINDSTONE: ‘Skins’ inside G (grand) and ‘condition’

18a    One keeps beat keeping time finally for ‘Revolver‘ (10)
PEACEMAKER: A device for helping the heart beat regularly goes round the last letter of TIME to give an old name for a revolver (eg the Colt Single Action Army according to Wikipedia). That’s new to me

22a    Right milk-giving animal has one steer using this? (6)
RUDDER: R (right) + that part of a cow from which milk is obtained

23a    Troll acquires first-person shooter link (8)
LIGATURE: A troll used for catching fish goes round a first-person pronoun and a gun or revolver

24a    Kind / offer (6)
TENDER: 2 meanings: Kind or sympathetic/an offer or proposal

25a    Dull tension, topless in bed (8)
MATTRESS: ‘Having a dull surface’ + ‘tension’ with the first letter removed

26a    Waits ages catching the French retreating (6)
DELAYS: ‘Ages’ round a reversal of one of the forms of the French definite article

27a    Pretty pass keeps sweetheart crazy over French ladies (8)
MESDAMES: A pretty pass (bad situation) round a reversal of ‘crazy’ and the middle letter (heart) of SWEET


1d    Kick the thing, reportedly, and you’re dead! (6)
BUCKET: Someone who’s died is said to have kicked this

2d    Confine and execute (6)
COMMIT: 2 meanings: confine/execute or perpetrate

3d    Register and take notice seeing lean behind (6)
ENLIST: Take a 6-letter word meaning ‘take notice’ and move the first four letters (a word meaning ‘to lean’) to the end

4d    Bury, old city stop between Leeds and Manchester? (10)
INTERURBAN: ‘To bury’ + an ancient Sumerian city + ‘to stop’ = ‘between cities’

6d    Creature which is expert rolling in elegance (8)
PORPOISE: An aquatic mammal = a reversal of an expert (not an amateur) inside ‘elegance’

7d    Lift European tax, in part raised (8)
ELEVATOR: A lift = E (European) and a tax inside a reversal of a part played by an actor

8d    Regrets aside about mounting misfortune (8)
DISASTER: Hidden in reverse in REGRETS ASIDE

13d    Saucy show includes ‘the lot’, naked (10)
INDELICATE: ‘To show’ round the middle two letters of THE LOT

15d    Lively, oddly speedy about split up over sex (8)
SPIRITED: The odd-positioned letters of SPEEDY round a reversal (over) of ‘split’ and ‘sex’

16d    Motor set up without new key (8)
CARDINAL: A motor (automobile) + a reversal of ‘set’ round N (new) = ‘key’ or ‘important’

17d    Graveyard church filled early missing regulars (8)
CEMETERY: The Church of England + ‘filled’ + alternate letters of EARLY

19d    Blew with rear end emptied (6)
WAFTED: W (with) + ‘rear’ + the first and last letters of END. I decided that this couldn’t just be a definition for a word meaning ‘broke wind’ so had to look for an alternative

20d    Work in silence here? (6)
MUSEUM: ‘Work’ inside ‘silence’ = a place of study (where perhaps people work in silence)

21d    Starts to feed excessively and scoffs, taking seconds (6)

This was not my favourite Beam puzzle of all time!


21 comments on “Toughie 2173

  1. I spent a proper Toughie [almost Friday-ish] time on this crossword – I sent one of my ‘is it just me or is it Beam?’ emails and was pleased to learn that it wasn’t just me

    I marked 1d as a favourite

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  2. I found this tough (but not as tough as today’s back-pager) but I did enjoy very much completing it gradually over several sessions. As Bufo mentions, for several of the clues the longest delay was fully reconciling the wordplay with the answer. The only one I couldn’t completely resolve was 3d, so I needed Bufo’s review for that.

    4d was my favourite but also on my podium were 22a, 19d & 20d.

    Many thanks to the 2Bs.

    1. The Beam took me three times as long as the inside back pager (but I’m not, of course, going to say exactly how long that was in either case)

      1. In my case, this one took me around 75% of the time I spent on the back-pager. I usually find I can get onto Beam’s wavelength relatively faster than I can with many other setters.

    2. It took me lots longer than the back pager to get halfway. Twelve unchecked first letters is never going to end well

  3. This was the hardest Beam puzzle I have tackled to date, that required some electronic help to complete.

    I couldn’t parse 3d for the life of me, so thanks to Bufo for the explanation.

    Thanks to Beam, and to Bufo.

  4. I thought this was a fairly typical Beam Toughie – thanks to him and Bufo.
    I couldn’t parse the first bit of 3d so thanks to Bufo for sorting that out.
    Like Bufo I desperately wanted 19d to mean ‘blew with rear end’ (though knowing that it would never make it into the Telegraph) so the clever construction of the clue to make us think of that made it my favourite clue.

  5. I definitely found this one tough, particularly the parsing of 5a and 3d.
    Also had to check on both of the firearms and hadn’t realised that 4d is all one word.

    Tops for me were the ‘elegant’ creature and the blowing rear end!

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam despite the torture he put me through today and to Bufo for the comprehensive blog.

  6. Very difficult. Having consumed wine last evening, I wasn’t best placed to persevere either, but stick with it I did, eliciting a certain amount of enjoyment along the way. The ‘listen’ clue was probably the main offender, but of course, as I look back and subtract the merlot-related fuddlement, I see some very nice clues.

    Thanks Beam and Bufo!

  7. Two brains on this one and it took a very long time but got there in the end with no help needed. 22A last one in, why could I not see the answer??

  8. The left hand side went in readily enough, but my last four on the right hand side gave me a lot of trouble and I resorted to revealing a couple of letter on the DT puzzles site. I couldn’t parse 3D or 5A either, so many thanks to Bufo for that. Thanks also to Beam.

  9. Had “disabuse” for 23a. Didn’t parse but it did contain “abuse” which is what I link to online trolls.
    The rest was heavy going. I needed Bufo’s hints to explain my answers. They weren’t exactly bung-ins as they made sense and proved to be correct – the question was “why”!
    Favourite is definitely 1d.

  10. Far too difficult for me … I wish I could stop looking for anagrams when I know that there are none.

  11. No problem with the parsing of 3d but failed on 23a and 19d.
    Needed the review for these two.
    Solved NE, SW, NW in that order and almost finished SE.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  12. I found this puzzle challenging and it took me considerably longer to complete than the back-pager with a modicum of external assistance to boot.

    I’m not a great fan of the 4 mini puzzle type grid but, because it was adopted by one of my favourite setters, all is forgiven.

    Tricky stuff indeed, with thanks to Bufo and Beam.

  13. Not a quick solve. Beam never is for us, but we thoroughly enjoyed it.
    19d was our last one and we had the same problem mentioned above of having to work past the obvious bung-in answer.
    Word count checked of course and all in order.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  14. Evening all. Thanks to Bufo for the review and I’m glad that most of you enjoyed the crossword.


  15. Needed Bufo’s help for my last: I had three half-parsed candidates for 19d, none of which of course were the right answer. The rest went in pretty slowly but steadily. In common with others, the LHS yielded first.

    I thought 1d was a homophone (… reportedly) of BUCK (kick) IT (the thing).

    Plenty of good stuff, but my favourite penny-drop was 3d.

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  16. As I consider what must be the ‘main thrust’ of Beam puzzles I’d say this was rather an anomaly, being pretty tough without eliciting much enjoyment. How the world turns.

Comments are closed.