Toughie 2349 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2349

Toughie No 2349 by Beam

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

I struggled with this somewhat but I think that was more down to me than to the puzzle. Still it was enjoyable though I really had to think hard to unravel some of the wordplay.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Height of skill with Left usurping power (8)
ALTITUDE: Take a word meaning ‘skill’ and replace P (power) by L (left)

5a    Disheartened after Spurs finally got a goal (6)
SCORED: The last letter of SPURS + ‘removed the centre of, e.g. an apple’

9a    Criminals do time sharing small guard (8)
CONSERVE: ‘Criminals’ and ‘do time’ share a letter

10a    Starts to lead awful, perfectly shameful existence, straying (6)

11a    Game with rake capturing the French better’s heart (8)
ROULETTE: A rake (profligate) round the French definite article and the middle two letters of BETTER

12a    Trespasser is hidden by edge of bushes (6)
SINNER: The last letter of BUSHES + ‘hidden’

14a    Shares completely lavish seconds holding hands (10)
ALLOTMENTS: ‘Completely’ + a 3-letter abbreviation for a term meaning ‘lavish’ round hands (or workers)

18a    This could be yours or mine (10)
POSSESSIVE: A straight definition for a pronoun such as ‘yours’ and ‘mine’

22a    Remove posh jumper during exercise (6)
UPROOT: A single letter denoting ‘posh’ + an animal that jumps inside exercise done in the gym

23a    Thank God, practically purchasing rented house showing embarrassment (8)
PLETHORA: ‘To thank God’ with the last letter removed round ‘rented’ and an abbreviation for ‘house’ = an embarrassment or excess

24a    Chased, being ridiculously outdistanced (6)
TOOLED: ‘Chased’ or ‘engraved’ = ‘ridiculously’ or ‘extremely’ + ‘outdistanced’

25a    Last on is heckled taking floor (8)

26a    Bit of a pig is more premature (6)
RASHER: 2 meanings: bit of a pig, especially bacon/more premature

27a    Pious back part of Bible without saint (8)
REVERENT: ‘Back’ with the letter S (saint) removed + part of the Bible


1d    A cold fish admitting Romeo’s tender (6)
ACCORD: A + C (cold) + a food-fish round R (Romeo)

2d    Measure size perhaps missing large organ (6)
TONGUE: A measure of weight + sticky stuff such as size with the letter L (large) removed

3d    Having rows with socialist upholding obligation (6)
TIERED: ‘Having rows or different levels’ + an obligation + a socialist

4d    Sap cheers hugged by almost cruel sweetheart (10)
DEVITALISE: ‘To sap or weaken’ = ‘Cheers!’ inside ‘cruel’ with the last letter removed + E (the middle letter of SWEET)

6d    Pull roughly assuming one’s in pain (8)
CHARISMA: ‘Pull (of an individual that inspires devotion in others)’ = a 2-letter abbreviation denoting ‘roughly’ round ‘pain’ containing I’S (one’s)

7d    Echoing Queen raised note in unfinished composition (8)
RESONANT: A reversal of our Queen + N (note) in a musical composition with the last letter removed

8d    Portion of dessert’s ideal getting over sorrow (8)
DISTRESS: Hidden in reverse in DESSERT’S IDEAL

13d    Caught after going round low points in rally (10)
CONVALESCE: ‘To rally (after an illness)’ = C (caught) + ‘after’ round tracts of low-lying country surrounded by hills

15d    Let out oddly supple voice (8)
SPLUTTER: The oddly-positioned letters of SUPPLE + ‘to voice’

16d    Money-grabbing, you said, with nearly certain debts (8)
USURIOUS: A homophone of ‘you’ + ‘certain’ with the last letter removed + debts

17d    Fuel spouted up in field with energy (8)
KEROSENE: A type of paraffin oil + ‘spouted up’ inside a field or range of knowledge + E (energy)

19d    Contested to keep Republican within range (6)
STROVE: R (Republican) inside a range that you cook on

20d    Corset that could make person freeze (6)
BODICE: A person + ‘to freeze’

21d    Reputation of a Church establishment’s head in court (6)
CACHET: A and an abbreviation for ‘church’ and the first letter of ESTABLISHMENT inside an abbreviation for ‘court’


11 comments on “Toughie 2349

  1. :phew: A real Toughie for me which took several sittings to complete, but it was very enjoyable so well worth the effort.

    For 12a I stupidly looked up “binner” in my BRB to see if it could mean trespasser before I realised I had taken the wrong edge of bushes!

    My podium comprises 5a, 24a & 16d.

    Many thanks to the 2Bs.

  2. I found this a real Toughie too so am relieved to find it ‘wasn’t just me’

    Thanks to Beam for the enjoyable battle and Bufo for the enjoyable blog

  3. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who struggled with this one but it was an enjoyable struggle. Thanks to B&B.
    My ticks went to 5a, 25a and 13d.

  4. A tough but exceptionally good day in crosswordland today
    Thoroughly enjoyed this apart from the rather tired and obvious 10a (sorry MrT)
    I gave the tea tray a good bashing for 25a – never mind barking up the wrong tree, more like quacking in the wrong neck of the woods
    Many thanks to Beam and Bufo

  5. This was hard but, to my amazement I finished it. I needed help with the parsing. Never thought of “Ken” for “field”, “accord” for “tender” or “plethora” for “embarrassment “ although that’s what they had to be.

    If this was the Thursday offering I dread to think what tomorrow will bring – on all fronts. It is the 13th after all!

  6. A very enjoyable puzzle that needed a couple of visits to complete.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Bufo.

  7. I found this a puzzle of two halves. I got the left half in its entirety, but only a handful in the right half, and eventually I threw in the towel. Of the ones I did not get, I had several that would have been correct but I did not enter – for instance the trespasser in 12a in which I was not at all convinced by the ‘hidden’ part of the wordplay. Please forgive me, but I did not enjoy this as much as I usually enjoy a Beam puzzle. Thanks anyway to Beam and Bufo.

  8. Beam had us working hard for this one, particularly in the SE but perseverance got us there eventually. A real pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Beam and Bufo.

  9. Evening all. My thanks to Bufo for the decryption and thanks to everybody else for you comments.


  10. Jeepers, Mr T, you don’t believe in letting us off lightly for Christmas, do you!
    I was almost done for by the 23a ’embarrassment’ – in fact, I was for quite a while………
    Think my favourite was 25a, completely fooled me.

    Thank you for the challenge Mr T and devotions as always. Also thanks to Bufo for his sterling efforts.

  11. Called time with 14 across and 4 down refusing to fall. I find the fun with Beam puzzles often comes from working out just how an answer works with the clue. Kerosene for wordplay and Plethora for for both wordplay and definition for examples. I couldn’t get away from recommends for 14 across but could not justify it. Solved on Friday afternoon, it made up for a surprisingly easy Giovanni puzzle. Many thanks to RayT and Bufo.

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