Toughie 2301 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2301

Toughie No 2301 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

It’s a Beam day so the Kiwis can get busy with their word counter, Gazza can put his anagram counter away until tomorrow and everyone can watch out for the usual couple of lurkers. I had a slow start, then accelerated to fill the top half, and finally completed the bottom half at a leisurely pace. It was enjoyable as Beam puzzles usually are.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Worldly Brits back in chilly island, brown (12)
COSMOPOLITAN: A reversal of Brits (as our Antipodean friends would say) inside ‘chilly (but not very chilly)’ + I (island) + ‘brown’

9a    Reportedly shrink with restricted girdle (9)
WAISTBAND: Homophones of ‘to shrink’ and ‘restricted’

10a    Cheerless love welcoming Republican (5)
DREAR: ‘Love (as a term of endearment)’ round R (Republican)

11a    Lift concrete taking exercise (6)
REPEAL: ‘To lift’ or ‘to revoke’ = ‘concrete (or not abstract)’ round ‘exercise’

12a    Dead old fish covered in batter, oddly (8)
OBSOLETE: O (old) + a flatfish inside the odd-positioned letters of BATTER

13a    Top score before season nearly is over (6)
SUMMIT: The top (e.g of a mountain) = ‘Score’ + a reversal of ‘season’ with the last letter removed

15a    Flushed if ever I shrink trousers (8)
FEVERISH: The first lurker. Hidden in IF EVER I SHRINK

18a    Catch one dieting eating nibble, unfilled (8)
FASTENER: A catch for securing something = one abstaining from food round the first and last letters of NIBBLE

19a    Big-screen agents retaining troops seen in retreat (6)
CINEMA: US agents (spies) round a reversal of ‘soldiers’

21a    Beam pens ‘more off-colour’ banter (8)
RAILLERY: A beam of light round ‘more off-colour’ (though this is not the usual comparative form)

23a    Business right to secure house for partner (6)
COHORT: A two-letter abbreviation denoting ‘business’ + a two-letter abbreviation for ‘right’ round a two-letter abbreviation for ‘house’

26a    Foreign port otherwise very good knocked back (5)
OSAKA: A Japanese port city is a reversal of ‘otherwise known as’ and ‘very good’

27a    Following prudish sex this compiler’s crude (9)
PRIMITIVE: ‘Prudish’ + ‘sex’ + ‘this compiler has’

28a    In vacant chippies one batters fish guts (12)
CHITTERLINGS: The first and last letters of CHIPPIES round someone who batters and a fish = the smaller intestines of a pig used as food


1d    Combat in Call of Duty’s for wimps! (7)
COWARDS: ‘Armed combat’ inside an abbreviation for ‘Call of Duty’ + the possessive ‘S. I wasn’t sure about the abbreviation but it seems to be commonly used for a video game

2d    Miss eating start of meal? Tighten your belt! (5)
SKIMP: ‘To miss’ round the first letter of MEAL = ‘tighten your belt’ or ‘be niggardly’

3d    Banish East German Nazi maybe getting detailed east (9)
OSTRACISE: The German word for ‘east’ + a word that might describe a Nazi with the last letter removed + E (east)

4d    Gemstone in lid of oriental china (4)
OPAL: The first letter of ORIENTAL + a Cockney’s china

5d    Marry holding empty bouquet being thankful (8)
INDEBTED: ‘Marry!’ round the first and last letters of BOUQUET

6d    Sound alarm until danger is over initially (5)
AUDIO: The first letters of ALARM, UNTIL, DANGER, IS and OVER

7d    Living provided with English bill uplifted Church (8)
BENEFICE: A church living = a reversal of ‘provided’, E (English) and a dialect word for a bill or beak + the Church of England

8d    Soundly split seat (6)
BREECH: A homophone of ‘split’ = seat or buttocks

14d    Obscure girl with thrill for the audience (8)
MYSTICAL: Homophones of a young girl and ‘to excite with a pleasant thrill’ (Could she be the daughter of a Mr Man?)

16d    Upsetting trend Independent’s spoken about leader (9)
EDITORIAL: A reversal of ‘trend’ + I (independent) inside ‘spoken’ = a leader in a newspaper

17d    Battered pancake almost fixed up outside (8)
DECREPIT: A pancake with the last letter removed inside ‘fixed” reversed

18d    Buried shot inside stronghold (6)
FORGOT: A shot or attempt inside a stronghold

20d    Simple cargo for vessel travelling northwards (7)
ARTLESS: We’ve had to wait a long time for the second lurker. Hidden in reverse in VESSEL TRAVELLING

22d    Restraint remains supporting the French (5)
LEASH: A restraint for a dog = the French definite article + remains from burning

24d    Star group playing round festival venue (5)
ORION: A constellation = ‘playing’ round a South American city where a festival is held each year

25d    This compiler‘s explosive! (4)
MINE: 2 meanings: this compiler’s/an explosive device


22 comments on “Toughie 2301

  1. I got three answers on my first pass, and am now stuck. Should I really need the hints to progress this early?

    Nah, out of my league.

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo anyway.

  2. I found this much easier than the back pager and am surprised it got more than 2* for difficulty as I don’t think it is harder than a typical Ray t back page puzzle. Still a nice entertaining puzzle with the usual Ray t humour. The guts along the bottom were at the limits of my vocabulary but eventually the word came back to me once I had all the checking letters. I guess 27a has to be my favourite as it is “very Ray t” – but plenty of other nice clues

    Thanks to Mr T and Bufo

  3. Thanks to Beam for his typical ‘Beam’ Toughie and to Bufo for his usual accurate decipherment.

    My podium places went to 11a, 21a and 28a.

    On a different but related matter I wonder what’s happened to Micawber (whom we haven’t seen since April). I do hope that he hasn’t been ‘disappeared’ like Shamus!

    1. I was going to ask you a few days ago the very same question about Micawber – as he always seemed to appear when you were on duty.

  4. As is often the way when Mr T is wearing his Beam hat, this was a case of ‘in-out, in-out and shake it all about’. I often wonder whether he stands on his head whilst compiling these or is an expert in mirror writing!

    Plenty to enjoy and I put 21&27a on the leader-board along with 20d – simply because I was so slow to spot it.

    Devotions as always to Mr T/Beam and thanks to Bufo for the review. Your comment about 14d made me laugh and took me back a few years!

  5. Nothing too taxing in this one today, and as enjoyable as always from Beam.

    Thanks to Beam, and to Bufo for the write-up (as did Jane, I also laughed at your comment at 14d).

  6. Lovely puzzle from a favourite setter. I am curious; have any of you ever heard anyone use “marry” in its “indeed” guise? I got it from the crossers and the clearly indicated BT element of the clue.

    Thanks all

  7. I’d put this one firmly at the slightly trickier RayT/extremely easy Beam rate of difficulty with the usual enjoyment factor to be found whichever of his setting hats he is wearing

    Thanks to him and to Bufo

  8. Certainly not as tricky as Beam can be but still a pleasant solve over a Guinness in the local pub. I would’ve probably solved it sooner but there’s a Rowley Birkin type regaling anyone that dares to pay the slightest bit of attention about his various public school stories. Still, a change from the usual swearing I guess…

    Thanks to Beam and Bufo

    1. If the swearing upsets you, find your local Sam Smiths pub. They’ve banned swearing, and mobile phones, and juke-boxes, and TVs and their stout does a damn good impression of Guinness, for just £3/pint. Whether or not electronic crossword solvers are banned is currently is the subject of heated debate.

      1. Heard about those places. I don’t mind swearing – just every other word can get a bit tedious.

        However, I generally solve electronically so may come under fire, but the 3 quid Guinness impression might seal it.

  9. The bill in 7d was new to me and although the answer seemed obvious I couldn’t relate it to the def either.
    So I can’t say that I finished but managed the rest without any problems.
    I miss a tickle too. Haven’t had a good laugh for a long time.
    Thanks to Beam and to Bufo for the review.

  10. Well beaten by Beam today though I did manage more than half .
    I never heard of 28a or 7d .Or if I have I have forgotten them .
    Thanks to Beam and Bufo for taking me out of my misery .

  11. Yes we did have the word counter out as usual and can report that everything is in order.
    We started chuckling when we identified the Brits reference in 1a and the fun continued for the rest of the solve.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

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