Toughie 2472 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2472

Toughie No 2472 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty *Enjoyment ****

This was Ray T in great and friendly form, (it really wasn’t tough enough to be a Beam Toughie IMHO) with several clues in the Acrosses that made me smile (one of which made me email Merusa!). Things went a little downhill in the Downs where there was quite a bit of inserting going on, not to mention a lot of ‘doing things with the letter S’ throughout the crossword,  including a bleep from the repetition radar when it came to the abbreviation for  ‘small’

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Reading of tea leaves? (11)
CRIMINOLOGY The science and study (reading) of the sort of people Cockneys would call ‘tea leaves’

9a    Strike with English replacing current ruler (7)
EMPRESS The abbreviation for English replacing the symbol for electrical current that is the first letter of a verb meaning to strike

10a    Impassive detectives binding crowd over (6)
STOLID Insert (binding) a crowd into some abbreviated Detective Inspectors and then reverse (over) the result

12a    Opening post first female’s left for scripture class (7)
ORIFICE Replace the first F (female’s left) from a post or position with one of the abbreviations for scripture class

13a    Shylock’s beginning with his job being meagre (7)
SLENDER The ‘beginning’ of Shylock followed by a description of his job

14a    Spoken lingo avoiding normal glossary first of all (5)
SLANG The first letters of Spoken Lingo Avoiding Normal Glossary

15a    This compiler’s transparent keeping yours truly keen (9)
IMPATIENT The abbreviated way our setter might say I am (this compiler’s) and a synonym for transparent in the sense of obvious, the latter ‘keeping’ the way he might refer to himself (yours truly)

17a    Recover from illnesses, so perhaps on the turn (9)
REPOSSESS Hidden in reverse (on the turn) in illneSSES SO PERhaps

20a    Star of French feature of ‘Cyrano’? (5)
DENEB The French word for of and a dialect word for the feature for which Cyrano de Bergerac was best known

22a    Trump’s description perhaps provides digression (7)
TANGENT Because of his skin tone, one might describe the POTUS as a xxx xxxx

24a    Obscure Sixties spy agency facing heartless state (7)
UNCLEAR The Sixties TV spy agency and a verb meaning to state or voice without its middle letter (heartless)

25a    Pull leader from Sunday Express (6)
STRAIN The ‘leader’ from Sunday and a railway express

26a    African from a new country almost stifling progress (7)
ANGOLA A (from the clue), the abbreviation for New and almost all of a country ‘stifling’, or having inserted, a verb meaning to progress

27a    Performer blew up single in endless note (11)
TRAGEDIENNE A way of saying blew up (in anger) and I (single) inserted into almost all (endless) of a particular monetary note


2d    Swimming fish landed by crew (7)
REELING A type of fish landed by, or inserted into, a crew

3d    Internet idea receives small uptick making entrance (9)
MESMERISE An idea or question that is disseminated by the internet and changes in form during the course of being passed on [I’d been meaning to look up and find out exactly what one of these was!] ‘receives’ the abbreviation for Small and is then followed by an increase (an uptick is an apparently North American word meaning an increase)

4d    Positions of machine-guns swivelling, then heading for heart (5)
NESTS Reverse (swivelling) some machine guns and then move the ‘heading’ or first letter to the middle

5d    Most wobbly toilet’s position with lid down (7)
LOOSEST An informal term for the toilet and a verb meaning to position, the latter with its first letter (lid) moved ‘down’. Two clues in a row where we have to move an S elsewhere in the word!

6d    Where to cook scones? Good question (7)
GRIDDLE The abbreviation for Good and a puzzling question

7d    Upcoming street art’s no medium to hold show (11)
DEMONSTRATE Hidden in reverse (upcoming) in streET ARTS NO MEDium

8d    Models in work a Cambridge university rejected (6)
OPTIMA Insert between an abbreviated work and A (from the clue) a reversal of the university to be found in Cambridge, Massachusetts

11d    Prominent expert with tirade about television (11)
PROTUBERANT A three-letter expert and a tirade go about a slang term for a television set

16d    United behind after goal side advance (9)
POSTULATE The abbreviation for United and a way of saying behind (time) goes after the item that forms the side of a football goal

18d    Humorist is better having small heart (7)
PUNSTER A better into which is inserted (having small heart) the abbreviation for Small

19d    ‘That woman’ secure hiding Clinton’s last affair (7)
SHEBANG That woman and a verb meaning to secure ‘hiding’ the last letter of Clinton

20d    Figure of Conservative earlier in retreat (7)
DECAGON The abbreviation for Conservative and an adverb meaning earlier inserted into a retreat

21d    Hand is superfluous missing ship (6)
NEEDLE Remove the abbreviation (missing) for a [steam] ship from an adjective meaning superfluous

23d    Bound to grip spoon’s end like a fork? (5)
TINED A way of saying bound ‘grips’ the end of spoon

Mr T’s sweetheart seems to have gone to Windsor to join Her Majesty as neither of them is here today, not too many synonyms were stretched but the clue word length is ‘normal’ for one of his crosswords

24 comments on “Toughie 2472

  1. We know what to expect from Beam and this puzzle delivers it (though without HM and the sweetheart as CS notes).
    I thought that 24a should really have tagged the spy agency as fictional or ‘on TV’.
    The clues I liked best were 1a, 17a, 22a and 19d.
    Thanks to Beam and CS.

  2. This was just my sort of Toughie. It was certainly tough, taking me three times as long as today’s back-pager, but it was great fun. I know we are all different, but I do wonder whether CS and I were solving the same puzzle.

    I think the answer to 21a is a bit of stretch. You can refer to a watch hand or a barometer needle but not vice versa.

    Picking a favourite was quite a challenge. My podium comprises three clues which made me laugh: 22a, 5d & 19d with 22a, my last one in, in first place.

    Many thanks to Ray T and to CS.

  3. Well, that is the hardest “1*” puzzle I have ever tackled!! Heaven knows what Friday’s will be like :( I think your answer to 12a needs taking a stage further? Very little enjoyment today, I’m afraid.

    1. Thank you – I’ve corrected it now. I was expecting this one to be harder as I usually take a bit longer with one of Mr T’s crosswords, whichever hat he is wearing. Friday’s will probably be 5* with knobs on!!

  4. Through my own fault I made heavy work of this, I did like 1, 24 and 27 across but 20 across was new to me but after checking with Bradford’s the parsing became clear, on the downs 3, 7, and 8 butt the PDM was when 4 down finally hit me my COTD was 19 down which brought a smile. Thank you to Beam and Cryptic Sue

    Stay safe everyone

  5. I’m also in awe of your 1* assessment. I liked the clueing but found I required a lot of blockers to get to the answers and then figure out the parse (20d being a prime example). My favourites were 1a, 17a, and 13d (where I spent a fair while trying to work set into an answer before my earlier point applied). With hindsight it now looks much easier than I found it but hugely enjoyable nevertheless. Thanks to Beam & today’s star pupil CS.

  6. Lovely stuff from Mr T with just a necessary pause here to check on 20a.
    1a has to be my winner but I also had big ticks for 22&24a (loved that programme at the time) plus 19d.

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

  7. Don’t know where the * came from-must be at least a **if only for the NW quadrant.
    Last in was 3d, have to admit I failed to parse it, still unclear after looking at Crypticsue’s explanation, never mind .Took a while to parse 21-I assume it relates to the hand of a compass.
    Enjoyable(***) solve and a good companion watching the cricket!
    Favourite was 24a.

  8. I did this one wearing a mask … very difficult to read the clues when one’s glasses are steamed up.

    But I did find it quite easy apart from 4d and 5d -Thanks CS for the enlightenment.

    Favourite: 1a

  9. I gave up, after some pretty heavy labour, with less than a handful missing at the top. Unfortunately I know little or nothing about Cockney rhyming slang and therefore I did not even recognize it as a possibility for unraveling 1a. Without the first letter, I wasn’t able to get the internet idea in the intersecting 3d, and I missed the machine guns in 4d, but by that time I had largely lost the will to persevere. I hadn’t heard of the star in 20a, and I wasn’t completely confident with 22a until I had all the checkers. A great deal more than * in difficulty for me, and for once in a Beam toughie, I found myself missing an anagram or two sprinkled here and there. Thanks to Beam and crypticsue.

  10. I ground to a halt in the NW corner. Being quite sure the opening in 12 a was fissure completely messed it up.
    I was surprised at 24a. Did someone say the other day that one had to be over 70 to do a Toughie? I can’t think anyone younger would remember Illya Kuryakin!

  11. Evening all. My thanks to crypticsue for the decryption and to everybody else for your comments.


    1. Thank you for popping in, Mr T. Despite the comment from JB, I thoroughly enjoyed the reminder of the Man from *****! Hope I can remember 1a, it’s got to be superb to drop into a conversation some time.

    2. Thanks for the TOUGH Toughie, Ray T. As an American, I’m curious about clues that rely on Cockney slang. Do you as a setter automatically assume, for example, that ‘tea leaf’ is common knowledge for ‘thief’ and thus, Q.E.D., your clue for 1a is sufficient unto itself? (It even occurred to me, as I tried to parse 1a, that ‘Reading’ was the city and thus the gaol that might hold tea leaves!!) Anyway, thanks for popping in. I am a fan of your puzzles.

  12. Certainly much more difficult for us than CS found it.
    As ever, thoroughly enjoyable with lots of ticks on our pages.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

    1. Nobody is more surprised than CS as to how friendly she found this Beam Crossword

  13. Solved everything but the blasted ‘tea leaves’! Is there some way we unenlightened ones over here, in these Benighted States, can be clued-in when such clues as 1a occur? I know it’s a cultural matter, but it does seem to me that some kind of ‘cue’ might be forthcoming. I very much enjoyed the puzzle and solved every clue but that one and 4d (and even with many checking letters for 1a, I still couldn’t twig the answer). I do think that CS simply assumes too much when she rates such a genuine Toughie as this one. Her nonchalance in the past has bewildered me and continues to do so with a * rating. So I respectfully disagree with her again. It’s very demoralising to me and makes me consider giving up on the Toughies, especially when she’s the reviewer. Thanks to Beam. **** / ****

  14. Finally done but took as long as yesterday which was ****?
    Found it hard going but finally fell in a heap After guessing criminology

  15. Took some time to finish with 1a, 3,4 and 5d.
    Loud penny drop moments when I finally twigged.
    Thanks to RayT and to CS.

  16. So pleased to read others comments because I struggled with this and was horrified to find just one star for difficulty. Did miss some obvious ones though that I should have got like 1a. Amused by 22a.

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