Toughie 2440 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2440

Toughie No 2440 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

A proper Toughie – not helped by the fact that we have that grid which gives us four separate mini crosswords – this time I found that solving the left-hand side of the crossword was (relatively) more straightforward than the right.

Time was also spent checking several of the synonyms, but then that’s par for the course with a Beam crossword – as is the fact that there isn’t a single anagram. Although Her Majesty is still socially distancing, we do have an appearance from Beam’s sweetheart and, shock horror, a clue that has as many as eight words in it!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    It’s worth obtaining work that’s routine (8)
PRACTICE A synonym of worth into which is inserted a verb meaning to work

5a    Woods almost owns tee showing strengths (6)
FORTES Almost all of some large woods ‘owns’ or has inserted the letter that sounds like tee when said out loud

9a    Some hoover, all sweaty, in dungarees (8)
OVERALLS Hidden in some of hoOVER ALL Sweaty

10a    Stone cut with diamonds is uneven (6)
JAGGED D’oh moment of the week – The Stone is a Rolling one and you need almost all of his surname (cut) followed by the abbreviation for Diamonds

11a    Earliest proper toilet English rebuffed (8)
PRIMEVAL A word meaning proper or stiffly formal followed by a reversal (rebuffed) of an informal term for a toilet and the abbreviation for English

12a    Copper’s method rejected imprisoning delinquent finally as formality (6)
CUSTOM The chemical symbol for copper, an S (copper’S) and an abbreviated Latin term for a way of working (method), into which is inserted (imprisoning) the final letter of delinquenT

14a    American Democrat sensitive being trapped in zip (10)
DELAWAREAN The abbreviation for Democrat followed by an adjective meaning conscious of (sensitive) trapped in some vigour (zip)

18a    Smitten, certain hosts caught during a lapse (10)
FASCINATED Certain in the sense of destined to happen ‘hosts’ the abbreviation for Caught inserted into an offence (lapse)

22a    Ran following close to bride? (6)
ELOPED Part of a verb meaning ran with long strides follows the ‘close’ or final letter of bridE

23a    Julius perhaps, emperor recalled covered with honour (8)
FORENAME A reversal (recalled) of a well-known Roman emperor covered by or inserted into some renown (honour)

24a    Infuse where moonshine’s produced, nearly (6)
INSTIL Nearly all of the way you’d refer to somewhere moonshine was produced

25a    Lying down having lost right organ (8)
PROSTATE Remove (having lost) the abbreviation for Right from an adjective meaning lying down

26a    Grand antique could be precious (6)
GOLDEN The abbreviation for grand and an adjective meaning antique

27a    Nice ladies cross over sweetheart in trouble (8)
MESDAMES A reversal (over) of a word meaning very cross and Beam’s usual swEetheart inserted into some trouble – the ladies here may well be nice but, more importantly for the solving of the clue, you need to know that they are also from the French city of Nice


1d    Under pressure, reportedly played for occasion (6)
PROMPT Occasion here being a verb meaning to instigate – a homophone (reportedly) of a synonym for played or frolicked goes under the abbreviation for Pressure

2d    Tart giving saucier twitch, occasionally (6)
ACETIC The occasional letters of sAuCiEr TwItCh

3d    Passage from composer after Tzigane’s opening (6)
TRAVEL A famous French composer goes after the opening of Tzigane

4d    Protocol later allows outside security (10)
COLLATERAL Another hidden word – this time in protoCOL LATER ALlows

6d    Mysterious about the eyes, artist’s admitted (8)
ORACULAR The usual abbreviated artist ‘admitted’ to an adjective meaning related to the eyes

7d    United tie incorporating upcoming game (8)
TOGETHER A rope or tie ‘incorporating’ a reversal (upcoming in a Down clue) of a game of skill

8d    Current’s rising with ships stuck in silt (8)
SEDIMENT A reversal (rising in a Down clue) of some currents of water into which is inserted some ships (usually accompanied by of-war)

13d    Maybe Chantilly Lace discovered in appeal (10)
RACECOURSE The inside (discovered) letters of lACe inserted into a verb meaning to meaning to stir up (appeal)

15d    Present topping without cherry in centre (8)
OFFERING A US slang term for killing (topping) goes ‘without’ the letters in the centre of cherry [Yes, we know it’s unindicated but I hadn’t realised it was an American term until I was synonym-definition-checking in the BRB] 

16d    Reversed decline taking over American support (8)
ESPOUSAL You can’t get a clearer reversal indicator than the word reversed! Reverse a decline and then insert (taking) the abbreviation for over and an abbreviation for American

17d    One’s cornered by large cat, needing rope (8)
LIFELINE The letter that looks like a number one ‘cornered by’ or inserted between the abbreviation for Large and a cat

19d    Understood origin includes excavated Neanderthals (6)
SENSED The outside letters (excavated meaning that you’ve dug out or removed the inside ones) of NeanderthalS inserted into an origin

20d    Ally intercepting American war weapon (6)
NAPALM An informal friend (ally) ‘intercepting’ the way an American might refer to the war in Vietnam

21d    Takes pleasure from shows lacking adult content (6)
REVELS Remove the A (lacking Adult content) from part of a verb meaning shows

In amongst all the insertions (more than half the clues require something to be put inside something else) and reversals, there’s something a bit French going on today. I’m going to pick 10a as my favourite because it was such a splendid d’oh moment.

26 comments on “Toughie 2440

  1. Normally I take no notice whatsoever of the grid but I couldn’t fail to notice that the four quadrants here are peninsulas each linked to the mainland by just a single rickety bridge. As a result I solved each quadrant in turn, finishing in the NE.

    I thought that it was pretty much as we’ve come to expect from Beam, not much trickier than his alter ego Ray T and with plenty of elasticated synonyms. Thanks to him and to CS for the review.

    The outstanding clue for me was 10a but I also ticked 13d and 20d.

    There is some wordplay in 1a – it’s a synonym of worth containing a verb meaning to work and the definition is just ‘routine’.

  2. Needed hints for NE corner. Thought 14a was stretching it and 20d downright nasty.

  3. Exactly the same experience here as CS found – left side submitted long before I made any headway in the right. As usual, I didn’t notice the grid construction so it didn’t bother me at all!
    Very relieved to see that Mr G backed me up over what I assumed I’d invented as an answer to 14a and I’ll go along with the current consensus of 10a for the favourite slot.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and thanks to CS for the review.

  4. While the Thursday back-page trend continues with one excellent week (RayT) followed by one lacklustre week (and today’s wasn’t even on the back-page again – a sign perhaps that that the effects of the coronavirus are receding), at least we have a very enjoyable Beam Toughie to get our teeth into today.

    This was certainly a real challenge for me but well worth the effort. I managed eventually to complete it except for the parsing of 10a. Now I understand it thanks to CS’s review, that clue gets my vote as my favourite of a great selection.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

  5. I started this in a bad mood. I find Beam’s self-imposed restrictions on clueing somewhat irksome and really didn’t need that coupled with the worst grid in the world [4 virtually isolated corners and only 3 different solution lengths]. But his clues are entertaining enough and I enjoyed solving it, tho’ I’m with Gazza rather than CS re the difficulty. Top picks are the all in one at 22a and the [slightly] cunning 27a.

    Thanks to Beam and to CS.

  6. A Charles de Gaulle grid as I call it. With corners separated by 4 Lorraine Crosses.
    NW, SE, SW and NE were solved in that order.
    Same penny drop moment with Mick in 10a.
    Tried very hard to insert the middle letters of Neanderthals in 19d. That would have replaced the missing Queen.
    The usual stretched synonyms but not too obscure for a change.
    Thanks to Beam and to CS.

  7. Like Gazza I too solved the puzzle in quadrants from the NW.
    The puzzle became more difficult as I meandered around the grid and a ****/*** overall.
    Last in was 15d, I assumed that topping was an Americanism.
    Eventually remembered what Chantilly was -what a beautiful word, nothing to do with the Big Bopper !

    1. I am surprised that no one has taken me up on it. How can you trivialise a disgusting invention like 20d?

      1. I agree the weapon cannot be justified morally, ethically or from the standpoint of humanity. To my mind, crossword clues never try to trivialise anything. They merely reflect the world we live in and that upsets us. Nobody likes a mirror held up to their soul.

      2. The only alternative would have been “Salaam”
        Greetings from Fatima, a lascivious revolutionary [6]

      3. Seems to come up regularly in crosswords. So not particularly RayT.
        Serpent only last week had
        “Petrol-based agent launched principally in Vietnam (6)”

    2. Thank you for popping in RayT. I am getting the hang of your back pagers but, as Beam, you have a more devilish persona! I refrained from commenting about my efforts with today’s Toughie because I could only solve about ten on my own.

      I need to practice more! 😀

  8. What a terrific puzzle! Bean (aka Ray T) at his superlative best, I thought. Worked each quadrant pretty steadily and finished without help in a bit over ** time, probably the best I’ve ever done with a Beam Toughie. 10a was my LOI, but not the best of the batch, which is saying something. My choices (of a host of winners) are 17d, 5a, and 23a. I did have to google to see if there were horses at 13d. Thanks to crypticsue for the review and to Beam for the great pleasure. *** / *****

  9. Sitting in the garden all afternoon for a change so had time for mr. Beam. I too found the LHS fell into place but apart from the Nice Ladies I really struggled with the right side and I would never have got 14a. So many thanks for the clues which helped without having (apart from the honourable member from Delaware) to use the reveal.

  10. We certainly had to work hard but enjoyable as ever to slowly work through all the clues.
    Too many ticks to even start to pick a favourite.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

  11. Like others, I thought 10a was brilliant for the doh moment. I also liked Julius.

    Thanks CS for explaining the ship-of-wars, I didn’t see that.
    Is 11a really earliEST? ok, it’s pretty early.
    I struggled with the IN in 9a, didn’t seem to work with the hidden. Maybe just me.

    Many thanks Beam and thanks CS

  12. This is way beyond my (current?) level (I got just 2 clues on my first pass, and only another 4 on a re-pass with the hints), but thank you to CrypticSue: with the hints and lots of electronic help, I eventually got there.

    Thank you to Beam. 23a was my favourite, for the definition; I have a colleague with a toddler called that.

    A couple of queries: for 22a, the bit hinted as “Part of a verb meaning ran” — what in the clue specifies the “part of”? And in 15d, what’s “the letter in the centre of cherry”? Even with the answer, I can’t work out the American killing. Thanks.

    1. This is how I saw it Smylers
      To off someone is to kill (top), so offing does outside (without) the two centre letters of cherry

      Loped is ran…goes after the e (close of bride)

      1. Ah, thanks. Sorry, I should’ve paid more attention to CrypticSue’s scare quotes around ’without’; I was too busy trying to remove a letter, and getting confused by ‘cherry’ having an even number of letters.

    2. Stephen has beaten me to it (I was solving the Elgar before looking at the overnight comments)

      With a Beam crossword one can get a little fed up with saying ‘a synonym for’ so I put ‘part of a verb meaning’

      1. Yes, I see now. I was misinterpreting ‘part of’ to mean ‘only some of the letters of’. Thanks.

        And pleased to hear it’s an Elgar today: almost no change of my being able to do it, but they’re always fun to read and marvel about.

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