Toughie 2269 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2269

Toughie No 2269 by Beam
A Prime Number For A Prime Puzzle
Hints and tips by Shaft

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

Some years ago I spent about three weeks struggling through a Beam Toughie ending up with one unsolved clue of four letters with two checkers. I puzzled over that clue several times a day for many weeks. In desperation I typed the clue into Google and found Big Dave’s Crossword Blog. I would never have thought that one day I would write the hints for a Beam toughie. Well that day has arrived and it is thanks to Big Dave and his team of bloggers that I can sit here confidently writing these hints and tips.

All that can be said of this setter has been said before. I just want to say thank you to him for providing excellent quality puzzles throughout the years.

If you are tackling a toughie you will be well up on how the site works so here we go…two three four

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Possibly scuba buddy’s inside empty aquarium (7)
ACRONYM: Scuba stands for self-contained underwater breathing apparatus which is an example of the answer to this clue. It is formed by placing a synonym of a buddy or pal inside the outer letters (empty) of aquarium

5a    Remember a test employing slates? (7)
BERATES: Why do I not follow my own advice which I think came originally from Gazza. If all else fails, look for a lurker. The answer here lies hidden (employing) within the words of the clue. Some bloggers will tell you exactly where it is hidden. I say go and find it yourself.

9a    Waste time in prison (7)
DUNGEON: The waste here is the type dropped by elephants and rolled into balls by beetles. Evolution is a wonderful thing. This is followed by an indefinite and very long period of time

10a    Role is turning with facility expressed on this? (7)
TRAPEZE: A role in a theatrical production is reversed and followed by a homophone of the singular answer to 13 across (facility)

11a    Ship nearly caught by Siren’s lament (9)
BELLYACHE: The ship here is a medium-sized sailing boat equipped for cruising or racing. Remove its last letter (nearly) and place it within a siren or beautiful woman

12a    Upset American disturbed admitting Republican crisis (5)
DRAMA: Our setter has given us three parts to this clue and kindly clued a reversal. Here goes. The abbreviation of America together with a word meaning mentally disturbed need to be reversed (upset) and placed around the abbreviation for Republican

13a    A leader of socialists in spot over moderates (5)
EASES: To spot or espy is reversed (over) and has inserted (takes in) the letter A from the clue and the initial letter of socialists

15a    Goddesses so powerful holding back infatuated (9)
POSSESSED: As with 5 across the answer here lies hidden and reversed (holding back) within the words of the clue

17a    Hint offence involves Conservative — upset everyone with it (9)
SCINTILLA: an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law includes the abbreviation for Conservative. This is followed by the reversal (upset) of a word meaning everyone and the word it from the clue

19a    Seal starts to swim in glacial icy lake (5)
SIGIL: The initial (starts to) letters of five of the words in the clue

22a    High tea missing starter (5)
UPPER: The final meal of the day needs to have its initial letter (starter) removed

23a    Ship‘s second crew facing stick hiding nothing (9)
STEAMBOAT: The abbreviation for second is followed by a crew or sporting side. This is followed by a stick which a cricketer uses to strike the ball. This self-same stick contains (hiding) the letter that looks like the symbol for nothing

25a    No one’s fool going back for love (7)
PASSION: Begin with the word no from the clue. Add the letter that looks like the number one. Add the S from ‘S. Add a three-letter foolish or gullible person. Reverse (going back) what you have

26a    Honour men led without cover taking big shot (7)
ENNOBLE: let’s begin with the words MEN LED and the phrase without cover. So, remove the first letter of the first word and the last letter of the last word. Insert into these (taking) a synonym of a big shot or an important or influential person

27a    See duck in chop suey occasionally (7)
DIOCESE: The letter that represents a score of nothing in cricket (duck) sits inside a synonym of the word chop meaning to cut into cubes. This is followed by the alternative letters (occasionally) of the word suey

28a    Work out including cycles oddly for victory (7)
SUCCESS: A verb meaning to realise or grasp something includes the odd numbered letters of the word cycles


1d    Distinct foreign car ran endlessly (7)
AUDIBLE: A quality German make of car is followed by a synonym of the word ran with its last letter removed (endlessly) Think of a liquid vital to life

2d    Beginning to roll joints creates irritation (7)
RANKLES: The initial letter of the word roll followed by the joints nearest to your feet.

3d    Disadvantaged born with case of deficiency (5)
NEEDY: An adjective meaning originally called; born (used in giving a married woman’s maiden name after her surname) is followed by the outer letters of the word deficiency

4d    City, German city, mostly one leading knees-up (9)
MUNICIPAL: The capital city of the state of Bavaria has its last letter removed (mostly). The letter that looks like the number one follows. The reversal of a word for your knees (up) follows that. If you cannot think of said synonym think of what your children and grandchildren sit on when they sit on you

5d    Isolated hill side finally south of base (5)
BUTTE: The mathematical term for base sits below (south of in a down clue) a word meaning the thicker end of something, especially a tool or a weapon.

But CrypticSue  says Side finally gives us the E which goes after BUTT (base,)

6d    Forward adult wearing ruddy frock! (9)
READDRESS: The abbreviation for adult sits inside (is wearing) a word meaning ruddy. This is followed by an example of what a frock is

7d    Boss in argument about digital protection providers (7)
TOECAPS: The abbreviation for Chief Executive Officer sits inside a petty argument. The whole lot needs to be reversed as indicated by the word about

8d    Waiter is tough blowing top after dish (7)
STEWARD: A word meaning tough (like this puzzle) has its first letter removed (blowing top) this follows a dish of meat and vegetables cooked slowly in liquid in a closed dish or pan.

14d    Stern well-balanced circling round island (9)
SATURNINE: A word meaning of sound mind surrounds a verb meaning round (as in to round a corner) and the abbreviation for island

16d    Son unlucky to embrace sweetheart that’s dumpy (9)
SHAPELESS: The abbreviation for son is followed by a word meaning unlucky, unfortunate or ill-fated which sits around the letter E the heart or centre of the word sweet

17d    Raced around block sharing parking and crashed (7)
SLUMPED: A verb meaning to have raced sits around a synonym of a block, a compact mass of a solid substance, especially one without a regular or definite shape, but they share the letter P(arking)

18d    Sort of painting in my opinion’s about done (7)
IMPASTO: The textspeak acronym for in my opinion surrounds a word meaning done or over with

20d    Deity without love with Echo for so long (7)
GOODBYE: A deity includes the letter representative of the love score in tennis. A word meaning with or near to follows. Finish off with a code word representing the letter E, used in radio or telephone communication.

21d    They may rent B&B, for instance (7)
LETTERS: B and B are examples of characters in the alphabet

23d    Following Church upholding transgression (5)
SINCE: The transgression here appeared in 17 across. It precedes the abbreviation for Church of England

24d    Crazy old lady needs innumerable cats initially (5)
MANIC: A term for your old lady or mother is followed by the initial letters of the three words that precede the word initially

A corker of a puzzle


12 comments on “Toughie 2269

  1. More of a Ray T than a Beam but with the usual enjoyment factor
    Thanks to setter and blogger

  2. 1a is a great start to a great puzzle, top notch day in crosswordland (including The Times, not so much The Graun)

    Many thanks to MrT and our somewhat familiar sounding blogger

  3. Very entertaining puzzle full of superbly clever clues; 11a, 4,7 and 8d to name but few.

    Unless I am missing something, I did not like 5 down: Is “Side finally” meant to indicate “butt”? And if so surely it is North of base?

      1. Thanks CS, I completely misparsed it and was a little further confused by Miffypops’ version who I now see has added your interpretation to his blog. Thanks to all

  4. Welcome to the blogging chair, Shaft.

    I needed more than a few hints … so Many Thanks.

    I’m not very good at maths … but I do know that #1 is not a prime number? Puzzled?

  5. I enjoyed this very much. The NE corner was last and slowest to go in – the floodgates opened once I saw the lurker in 5a which should have been obvious to me much sooner. Many thanks to Beam, and equally many thanks, and welcome, to Shaft.

  6. The usual excellent fun from this setter and as long as we kept chanting, “there won’t be any anagrams” it all flowed smoothly. We checked the clue word count of course’
    Thanks Beam and the new Toughie blogger.

  7. Evening all. ‘Beam’ thanks ‘Shaft’ for the review and also thanks everybody else for your observations.


    1. Better late than never, Mr T!
      The 19a seal was new to me and I’m sure I should have known, but didn’t, that scuba is a 1a!
      My favourite was definitely the siren’s lament – we all know the feeling……..

      Thank you so much for another first class puzzle.

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