Toughie 2221 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2221

Toughie No 2221 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

A typically Beamish puzzle – enjoyable but not too taxing. I’m sorry the blog’s a bit late but I’m having yet another non-routine Thursday

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Picture being sick with desire sharing large part (12)
ILLUSTRATION: Words meaning ‘sick’ and ‘desire’ with the letter L (large) shared + a part

9a    Honesty of boozer formerly imbibing case of champagne (9)
INNOCENCE: a boozer (public house) + ‘formerly’ round the first and last letters (case) of CHAMPAGNE

10a    Ancient Greek open rallying area initially (5)

11a    Retreat while husband has hurt back (6)
ASHRAM: a place of religious retreat in South Asia = ‘while’ + H (husband) + a reversal of ‘to hurt’

12a    Explosive material about heads of Labour and Tories (8)
VOLATILE: ‘Explosive (or easily driven to anger)’ = a thin fabric round the first letters of LABOUR, AND and TORIES

13a    Abandon computer key short cut (6)
ESCHEW: a key on a computer keyboard + ‘to chop or cut’

15a    Occasionally glad to engage in changes, unpredictable changes (8)
VAGARIES: Alternate letters of GLAD inside ‘changes’

18a    Bishop and sweetheart with pretty exterior rest (8)
BREATHER: B (bishop) + the middle letter (heart) of SWEET inside ‘pretty’ or ‘to a moderately high degree’

19a    Grasp on, gently holding mop (6)

21a    Still rejected taking cut by American lawyer (8)
ATTORNEY: A (American) + a reversal of ‘still’ round ‘cut’

23a    Girl periodically keen to get pregnant (6)
GRAVID: alternate letters of GIRL + ‘keen’

26a    Black suit needed for cabarets (5)
CLUBS: 2 meanings: a black suit in a pack of cards/cabarets

27a    Roll reptile over eating lake reptile (9)
ALLIGATOR: A reversal of a roll (list) ROTA and a lizard (described as a monster) GILA round L (lake)

28a    French miss created single in French department (12)
MADEMOISELLE: A young Frenchwoman = ‘created’ + I (single) inside a French department named after a river


1d    Reproduce with one partner describing sex (7)
IMITATE: I (one) + a partner round ‘sex’

2d    Meal left a French chef half cut (5)
LUNCH: L (left) + the French indefinite article + the first half of CHEF

3d    Rite of Spring’s opening, a piece maintaining beat (9)
SACRAMENT: The first letter of Spring + A and a piece (small coin) round ‘to beat’

4d    Capital of South Africa (4)
RAND: A cryptic definition for the South African currency

5d    Reportedly drink dram not quite fully sober (8)
TEETOTAL: A homophone of a hot drink + a dram + ‘fully’ with the last letter removed

6d    Old Japanese drink, almost a Japanese port (5)
OSAKA: O (old) + a Japanese alcoholic drink with the last letter removed + A

7d    Follower supporting party’s authority (8)
DOMINION: A party + a follower of a powerful person

8d    Vacuous press containing copy right for tabloids, maybe (6)
PAPERS: The first and last letters (vacuous) of PRESS round ‘to copy’ and R (right)

14d    Tree trunk section turning barrel (8)
CHESTNUT: A section of a human’s trunk + a reversal of a barrel

16d    Vegetable like sweet pea reportedly raised around area (9)
ASPARAGUS: ‘Like’ + a reversal of ‘sweet’ and a letter that sounds like ‘pea’ round A (area)

17d    Revolting in street, a renegade’s cause (8)
GENERATE: Hidden in reverse in STREET A RENEGADE. Had this not been a Beam puzzle I might have waster time trying to anagram IN STREET

18d    Part of tree bough’s first spread (6)
BRANCH: The first letter of BOUGH + a spread (salad dressing??? American cattle farm)

20d    Back nag losing hard after tip (7)
ENDORSE: A tip (extremity) + a nag with the letter H (hard) removed

22d    Leader from Africa, Emperor, elevated his follower? (5)
RASTA: A reversal of the first letter of AFRICA and a Russian emperor = a follower of a particular African emperor

24d    Horrible broadcast keeps tenor in key (5)
VITAL: A homophone of ‘horrible’ round T (tenor) = key (important)

25d    Muse about Greece heard on reflection (4)
CLIO: One of the Muses = a single letter denoting ‘about’ + a reversal of a word that has the same meaning as a homophone of Greece. I must admit to bunging in ECHO here as a character from Greek mythology without pausing to think about whether she was a muse or not


19 comments on “Toughie 2221

  1. The second excellent puzzle of the day and another which was both challenging and fun.

    Although I got the answer to 18a quickly as soon as I had a couple of checkers in place, it took me ages to unravel the parsing – very clever. That clue gets on my podium alongside 1d & 8d.

    Many thanks to Beam and to BD.

  2. Not too taxing for a Thursday. My rating was ***/****
    I think that the second part of 18d refers to an American cattle farm.
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

  3. A gentler puzzle from Beam today, but as enjoyable as always.

    I parsed 18d differently – assuming the spread referred to a large farm.

    Many thanks to Beam, and to Bufo

  4. Agree, gentler than usual from Beam but very enjoyable none the less.**/***

  5. I did have to check on the 25d muse and the 27a lizard although think that the latter has put in a previous appearance.
    Like other commenters, I went along the lines of a large American farm for 18d rather than a salad dressing.

    Plenty of podium places awarded but I’ll restrict myself to mentioning 25,26&28a plus 7d.

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to Bufo for the blog. If you’re still about, Bufo, the clue for 8d should refer to the outer letters of PRESS.

  6. What a wonderful way to spend a rare afternoon off. I’m pleased I managed to finish with just a tiny electronic help four the last two. The only one I couldn’t parse was 27a; thank you Bufo.
    So many that delighted me. I loved 16d which was one of my first in. I guessed it having found the lurker at 19a and was thrilled that I could parse it. It gave me the way in to the crossword. I thought 26a was elegantly succinct. My favourite probably 8d because the surface read is so pertinent to the answer.
    I had so much pleasure in finding each answer, some through working the wordplay and others guessing and working backwards. Each one is so skilfully clued. Thank you Beam

  7. I enjoyed this very much. Not too difficult, although the NE corner (7d, 12a, and 15a) held me up for quite a while in finishing. I think my favourite is 13a (I usually fall flat on my face with this particular key, but this time I was waiting for it!) Many thanks to Beam and Bufo.

  8. Another fine puzzle – thanks to B&B.
    I had to check the first reptile in 27a but had no other problems. Top clues for me were 15a, 18a and 17d.

  9. I’m doing them the other way round today, hence my early appearance. Lovely crossword. I agree with all the corrections above. My personal favourite was 10a, I’d never heard of it so I had to look it up but I have now. Very clever. My only quibble was beat = ram? But what do I know. Many thanks to Beam and Bufo for hosting the blog.

  10. Evening all. My thanks to Bufo for the review and to all for your comments.


  11. Good evening, Mr T. I always smile when I read your regular greeting – takes me back to my childhood and watching Dixon of Dock Green on the old black & white TV!

  12. As Gazza said….. Another fine puzzle. Apart from a confirmatory check on the first reptile in 27a it all went together smoothly for us. Word count spot on of course.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

    1. PS In 13a to account for the ‘short’ in the clue we think you need the past tense of the word ‘to cut’ so you can remove the last letter.

      1. I thought the short referred to the fact that ESC is abbreviated – HEW is the bit meaning to cut?

  13. Very enjoyable and on the milder part of the Toughie spectrum. Hard to pick an outright winner but, maybe, 13a. Thanks all.

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