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Toughie 2400

Toughie 2400 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Beam has set us a proper Toughie crossword, my time taking 2.5* on the Toughie difficulty scale (the extra 0.5 being the time taken to parse a couple of trickier bits of wordplay). His devoted fans won’t have failed to notice that as usual Her Majesty, the sweet heart, the stretched synonyms and the short clue length are all present and correct

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Sweet say, namely found in mess (12)
BUTTERSCOTCH A synonym for say and a two-letter Latin abbreviation meaning namely inserted into a verb meaning to mess up

9a    Unconscious patient without unlimited agitation (9)
INANIMATE A patient goes ‘without’ a synonym for agitation without its outside letters (unlimited)

10a    Bleed former partner owing, you said, to start (5)
EXUDE The two-letter way of referring to a former partner and another way of saying owing, the letter U (you said) being moved to the ‘start’ of that word

11a    Depressed following endless depression, depression (6)
HOLLOW A synonym for depressed follows a depression from which the final letter (endless) has been removed

12a    Dessert’s ideal suppressing back pain (8)
DISTRESS So who else spent a bit of time looking for some sort of pudding? Another word for pain can be found in reverse (back) suppressed in deSSERTS IDeal

13a    Endure return of Queen follower purchasing single (6)
REMAIN The reversal (return) of the regnal cipher of our current Queen plus a follower ‘purchasing’ I (single)

15a    Underwear from pound shop’s opening attended by king (8)
KNICKERS A slang term for a pound sterling and the opening of Shop go after (attended by) the chess abbreviation for King

18a    Skinflint practically accepts spoken lecture (8)
MORALISE Practically all of a synonym for skinflint ‘accepts’ an adjective meaning spoken

19a    Provide a doctor with sick taking a turn (6)
AFFORD A (from the clue) followed by a reversal (turn) of an abbreviated doctor and another way of saying sick

21a    Turning against turning in part (8)
ROTATION A reversal (turning) of a preposition meaning against inserted into a part or allowance

23a    Issue of Republican in very hot water (6)
STREAM The abbreviation for Republican inserted into some very hot water

26a    Best returns around end of soccer game (5)
SPORT A reversal (returns) of a synonym for best goes ‘around’ the end letter of soccer

27a    Old people devastated reportedly? It’s not right (9)
INCORRECT Homophones (reportedly) of an ancient civilisation (old people) and a synonym for devastated

28a    So, one being in allure, almost passionate (12)
ENTHUSIASTIC An adverb meaning so, in this matter, the letter that looks like a number one and a conjunction meaning being are inserted into almost all of a verb meaning allure.


1d    More careless talk about nothing (7)
BLITHER Depending on how you pronounce the third letter, the solution can either mean more careless or an alternative way of spelling a verb meaning to talk about nothing

2d    Path from the bar in York? (5)
TRAIL How a Yorkshire dialect speaker would refer to a horizontal bar

3d    Column‘s retreat over current upset (9)
EDITORIAL A reversal (upset in a Down clue) of a retreat, the cricket abbreviation for over, and a tide of water

4d    See, check and notice initially (4)
SCAN The initial letters of See Check And Notice

5d    Love criminal accepting pass to be law-abiding (8)
OBEDIENT The letter representing love and a slang term meaning criminal ‘accepting’ a verb meaning to pass

6d    Gossip about European scam (5)
CHEAT A verb meaning to gossip informally goes ‘about’ the abbreviation for European

7d    Drink then swallows last to salve conscience (8)
SUPEREGO A synonym for drink and an adverb meaning then or therefore ‘swallows’ the last letter of salvE

8d    Repeatedly gutted, Conservative needs useless vote (6)
CENSUS Repeatedly gutted indicates the need to remove the inside letters from both ConservativE and NeedS UselesS

14d    Staff covering grass before hot old race (8)
MARATHON A verb meaning to staff ‘covering’ an informant (grass) and the abbreviations for Hot and Old

16d    Articulate account written up about fair canteen (9)
CAFETERIA A reversal (written up in a Down clue) of a verb meaning to articulate or voice and the abbreviation for account go about a fair

17d    Shock with least on is hard outside (8)
ASTONISH Lurking inside leAST ON IS Hard

18d    Gold found in lump in swamp (6)
MORASS The heraldic term for gold found in (inserted into) a lump

20d    Vulgar flash — summoned up to apprehend (7)
DEMOTIC An abbreviated short period of time (flash) inserted into (apprehended by) a reversed way of saying summoned or called

22d    God of sex raised whip (5)
TITAN A reversal (raised) of an informal term for sex followed by a verb meaning to whip

24d    Standing before court (5)
ERECT A literary preposition meaning before and the abbreviation for court

25d    Performances from hotshots taking time for sweetheart (4)
ACTS Beam’s sweetheart sneaks in (or should that be sneaks out at the very last minute! Replace the E in some ‘hotshots’ with a T for time

22 comments on “Toughie 2400

  1. I don’t know whether to blame the weather, the news or the shortage of toilet rolls but I’m feeling quite grumpy today and I found this puzzle rather a grind with not a lot of laughs. Some of the surfaces (e.g. 10a and 20d) don’t make a great deal of sense.
    8d is surely a count rather than a vote?
    Thanks to Beam and CS.

    1. Mrs Bradford’s list of synonyms for 8d includes the word POLL, and one of Mrs B’s definitions for POLL is VOTE. A stretch or what??

      1. As has been pointed out many times, just because A can mean B and B can mean C it doesn’t necessarily mean that A means C.

        1. I agree. ‘Vote’ is stretching it. ‘Poll’ can be either ‘count’ or ‘vote’ but a census is a count, not a vote!

          As any pedant will tell you.🧐

    2. I can’t fault this puzzle technically but I’ve had more fun at the dentist. Perhaps I’m dyspeptic, having started it after supper.

  2. That was a true Toughie for me but very enjoyable. As mentioned in my comment on Mr K’s back page blog on Tuesday I don’t feel satisfied that I have completed a puzzle until everything has been fully parsed, and two answers today took me a particularly long time to unravel: 10a & 28a.

    My one hmm went to 8d; I think the definition “vote” is a real stretch.

    My joint favourites were 1d & 11a. The surface of the latter would have made a good description of some of Leonard Cohen’s songs.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

  3. I started off at a gallop, then slowed down to a halt in the top left, which was where I finished up.

    Re 8d, I parsed U(seles)S as also part of the ”gutted’ wordplay.

    Thanks to Beam, and to CS.

    1. So it is – probably if the abbreviation had been different, I’d have noticed the ‘gutted’ third word straight away but as it was I thought US = abbreviation

      1. The clue would have been more relevant to Mrs May’s struggles if it had said Unionists instead of useless.

  4. Very good puzzle as usual with all the normal Beamisms including 2 great lurkers. No anagrams as usual but there were some beautifully constructed clues such as 1a 9 and 14 but my favourite was 11 which was last in with a large guffaw! Ray can’t resist a bit of innuendo which makes his puzzles fun to solve.

  5. Another nice puzzle from Mr T that makes the Toughie grade. I don’t mind his elastic definitions at all as he tends to stick to normal vocabulary (Queen’s English?) and common rather than general knowledge. I can stretch the meaning of a word I know but cannot do anything with an obscurity. Plenty of elastic in 15a.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to CS for the blog

  6. This took me a long time and two sittings before I eventually got it all sorted out. I thought it was a terrific puzzle and well worth the struggle. Like Jezza, the NW quadrant was the last and slowest to succumb. In many instances the definition came to me long before the parsing became apparent. In 8d I thought the word play was so clever that I forgave what I agree seems to be a very stretched definition. I also agree that the lurkers were very well disguised (as they usually are in a Beam puzzle). Speaking of Beam puzzles, for the first time ever I did not waste any time looking for anagrams! Many thanks to Beam and crypticsue.

  7. We found this hard work with not much to raise a smile. In short, we were not amused. ***/*

  8. Certainly took me a while to get everything correctly parsed and – yes, CS, I did spend time looking for a ‘pud’ to fit into 12a!
    8d jarred a little as I always think of a vote being a voluntary matter and the answer being somewhat compulsory but I’ve no doubt Mr T can justify it.
    Think my top three were 15 & 27a plus 1d.

    The usual devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to CS for the review.

  9. A good level of challenge and a pleasure to solve.
    We see that CS has already checked the clue word count too.
    Thanks Beam and CS

  10. I suppose that if you pronounce 27a fast enough it might just work.
    Wondered about 17d too.
    Didn’t know about the second meaning of 1d.
    Favourite 24d. Simple mais efficace.
    Thanks to Beam and to CS.

  11. My thanks to CS for the decryption and to all for your observations. I’m pleased that most people enjoyed it.


  12. I enjoyed solving this although fell short on parsing in a couple of places. Like Jepi I’m confused as to why outside in 17d. Favourite was 27a. Thanks to Beam and CS.

    1. hi Jonners,
      Same with the inside /outside thing. Like without as an insertion indicator. Does the setter means with the sides out?

  13. Fairly enjoyable and quite doable. Completed while watching Man U crushing LASK in an empty stadium. Thanks to CS and setter.

  14. This took me two sittings and I found it hard then having finished I wondered why? The art of good crossword compiling I suppose. I think RayT is my favourite setter as, regardless of the difficulty, they are always accessible, even to me. Favourite has to be 15a because it took me so long to work it out and it made me laugh when I did. Many thanks to Beam and CS.

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