Toughie 2488 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2488

Toughie No 2488 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

With the temperature in the low 20s (at 8 am) and a refreshing cool breeze, today is a much more 17d day for crossword solving and blogging. Today’s Toughie is a typical Beam offering, although with two references to the pandemic, it is no wonder that Her Majesty is staying safe at Balmoral, rather than making an appearance in the crossword

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1a    Toffee say? Suck oddly covered in fluff (12)
BUTTERSCOTCH A verb meaning to say and the odd letters of SuCk ‘covered’ in a verb meaning to bungle (fluff)

9a    Kill time, say, losing heart (9)
ERADICATE A period of time and another ‘say’ this time one meaning to say or read out for another to write down, from which the middle letter (losing heart) should be removed

10a    Celtic flag initially hoisted (5)
IRISH A type of plant also known as a flag and the initial letter of Hoisted

11a    Pandemic starts to provoke lethargy with fever (6)
PLAGUE The ‘starts’ to Provoke and Lethargy with a fever

12a    Seafood? Bucketload put on board (8)
PLANKTON A heavy weight (bucketload) put on or after a board

13a    Made slightly wet politician’s inside backing obsolete (6)
DAMPED An abbreviated Member of Parliament (politician) put inside a reversal (backing) of a synonym for obsolete

15a    Delay work, retiring, asleep finally in pit (8)
POSTPONE A reversal (retiring) of an abbreviated work and the final letter of asleeP put in a hard seed of a fruit (pit)

18a    Intensely good man mistakenly mislaying wife … (8)
STRONGLY An abbreviated [very] good man and a synonym for mistakenly without (mislaying) the abbreviation for Wife

19a    … wife commonly lets go, we hear (6)
MISSUS A homophone (we hear) of a way of saying leaves out (lets go)

21a    Part of atmosphere there, almost rarefied (8)
ETHEREAL Found in part of atmospherE THERE ALmost

23a    Contagion spot with risk gone discovered (6)
POISON Dis-cover or remove the outside letters from sPOt rISk gONe

26a    Disciplinary board centre in recess (5)
PENAL Reverse the middle (centre) letters of a board

27a    Empower American God, one constrained by good (9)
AUTHORISE The abbreviation for American, followed by a Norse God and I (one) ‘constrained by’ a synonym for good

28a    Lump of old potato with caper dressing (12)
PROTUBERANCE The abbreviation for Old and the type of plant such as a potato inserted into a verb meaning to dance along (caper)


1d    Censored strip rising in sack (7)
BLEEPED A reversal (rising) of a verb meaning to strip inserted into somewhere to sleep (sack)

2d    Elevated top held by dexterity? (5)
TIARA A reversal (elevated) of a two-letter way of saying top (first class) into some dexterity

3d    He likes endless nosh in huge container (9)
EPICUREAN I think ‘nosh’ here is doing double duty, as part of the definition and part of the wordplay. Start with a word meaning impressively large scale (huge) and a container and insert almost all (endless) of a verb meaning to eat (nosh)

4d    Driver’s position in foreign car (4)
SEAT Where a driver sits in a car and the name of a Spanish car marque

5d    Miss sweetheart, left to end love, right? (8)
OVERLOOK Move the L that starts a sweetheart to the end of that word, add the letter used to indicate love and an informal way of saying ‘right’

6d    Collection of stones roughly in rink occasionally (5)
CAIRN The Latin abbreviation meaning roughly and the occasional letters of In RiNk

7d    Corona perhaps involving public uprising for good (8)
VIRTUOUS Sadly we all know which type of Corona Beam is talking about here – insert into that word a reversal (uprising) of a way of saying in public

8d    French anger is about trade (6)
CHANGE Hidden in FrenCH ANGEr

14d    Drug practically changing Ecstasy (8)
MORPHINE Almost all (practically) of a verb meaning to change into something else followed by the letter used for the drug Ecstasy

16d    Common European standard (9)
TRICOLOUR Quite a few European countries have this type of standard

17d    Long to comprehend setter’s restraint, almost amusing (8)
PLEASANT Insert almost all of a restraint used to control a setter of the canine variety into a verb meaning to wish for ardently (long)

18d    It’s plain sweetheart’s rejected exercise (6)
STEPPE The second appearance of Beam’s sweetheart, although he’s once again using the whole word not asking us to put an E in something – here a reversal (rejected) of a sweetheart’s followed by some abbreviated school exercise

20d    Reportedly East Ender’s seeing that present open (7)
SINCERE A homophone (reportedly) of how someone who drops their Hs (like an East Ender) would say ‘seeing that’ and ‘present’

22d    One reigns, usually leading extensive region, principally (5)
RULER The principal letters of Reigns Using Leading Extensive Region

24d    Offspring fostering hundred and one offspring (5)
SCION A male offspring fostering or taking in the Roman numerals for 100 and 1 (if you solved the back pager first, you’ll have had no trouble at all solving this clue!)

25d    Flipping bonkers essay! (4)
STAB A reversal of an informal term for crazy (bonkers)



28 comments on “Toughie 2488

  1. This is our hottest day so far – the temperature must be into the 30s and there’s little wind so it’s pretty stifling.

    In the past I’ve thought that some Beam Toughies were similar in toughness to a Ray T puzzle but sans anagrams. However, I thought that this one was a step up in difficulty and all the better for it.

    I presume that in order to avoid the ‘double duty’ charge the whole 3d clue has to be taken as the definition, making it a semi-all-in-one.

    My ticks went to 12a, 16d and 17d.

    Thanks to Beam and CS.

      1. Could be, but I had a mental image of Desperate Dan tucking into a cow pie in an enormous pie dish.

        1. Not the first individual I’d describe as a ‘person of refined and fastidious taste’ :D

  2. Delicious, despite the references to you-know-what. Had couple of sticky moments with 26a & 4d – thought a disciplinary board might well be a panel of some sort and couldn’t rid myself of Saab for the foreign car but OK elsewhere. However, I would appreciate a further breakdown of 27a if anyone has time.
    Top two for me were 1&12a.
    All the usual devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to CS for the review – hope you manage to keep that cool breeze although I have my doubts.

    1. 27a is A(merican) + THOR I inside USE (good – as in “What’s the good of social distancing in the street if you’re going to crowd together in a pub?”).

      1. Many thanks, Gazza, turns out that I’d got there but couldn’t equate ‘use’ with ‘good’. Makes perfect sense now – shining knight to the rescue once again!

        1. Chambers Crossword Dictionary is equally helpful – I need it quite a lot when blogging a crossword from the King of the Elastically Stretched Synonym

          1. Quite right, CS, I’ve just found it in there. I often wonder just how many crossword-related reference books you possess and – more to the point – how you always seem to know just which one to look in!

            1. We have loads of reference books but I have about 5 or 6 I use regularly, particularly when blogging a Mr T or a Chalicea

              Did you notice another of your favourites has a puzzle in the FT today?

              PS Temperature back up to 31 so the breeze is having a losing battle at trying to keep us cool :(

  3. It’s a cool 16 degrees up here in Durham but nevertheless got off to a slowish start today after not making any immediate progress in the NW corner – where we would usually try and get going first. So began in the SW and worked back up – LOI 2 and 6. Some really enjoyable clues here – nicely challenging and no answers seemed contrived. No phrases or anagrams. And no TV presenters or sports stars. Lots of favourites including 12 and 17. 3* / 5*

  4. As a newbie to the Toughie I was relieved to finish this one, albeit with several bungins and some unparsed. In terms of difficulty it was hard but fair, although I was relieved one or two earlier comments highlighted my own shortcomings in full comprehension. But I enjoyed it nonetheless and will be back for more tomorrow. Thanks to Beam and CS.

  5. I found this a difficult but fair Toughie which was completed with my own brain work, Electronic help, as well as Cryptic Sues help for whom I thank, after which I found my self saying “Why did I make this so hard” , on the podium for me was 15 across, Thank you to Beam for the Toughie and Cryptic Sue for the hints.

  6. I found this a very enjoyable puzzle – but more than ** in diffuclty for me, going in slowly from bottom to top. I was slow in working out the word play in 1a – however, all was well the moment I realized that the ‘say’ was not part of the definition. My last in was 4d (I didn’t know the foreign car). I liked the seafood in 12a. Many thanks to Beam and crypticsue.

  7. After several separate sessions, interrupted by thunder and lightning, I finally finished this puzzle, which I found at the tougher end of Beam’s spectrum but as enjoyable as ever. My only failure was not being able to parse 26a, so thanks to CS for the explanation – so easy when it’s pointed out!

    My podium selection is 1a, 12a & 27a.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

  8. Another thoroughly enjoyable RayT / Beam work of the imagination, which I finished alone and unaided, but I had trouble parsing 3d, so thank you, Gazza and CS, for your endeavours. I had settled simply on “He likes,” not knowing where else to go. My choices: 1a, 27a, 7d, 14d, and 28a, my LOI. Thanks to CS and Beam. *** / ****

  9. Oh, CS,! My bit of Kent was still horribly hot until lunchtime and even now, despite one magnificent thunder storm, it is still too hot and humid for me. I blame the heat on the fact I failed miserably with both this and the back pager.
    I hope you’ve had some rain to fill those water butts?

    1. Positively cacophonous here in Harpenden as I ponder over 5 remaining in the NE – remainder has been surprisingly straightforward

  10. Evening all. Thanks to crypticsue for the review and to all for your comments. I’m glad that most people enjoyed it.


      1. I always find your puzzles most enjoyable and demanding–just why I do these cryptics. Thanks you for joining us.

  11. Totally beaten by 4d. Had never heard of the correct foreign car and there are many many possibilities for an S_A_ word. Even tried to use AA for the ‘driver’s’ to justify SAAB but could not make that work.
    Good fun as ever.
    Clue word count shows 7 as maximum.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

  12. This took me the roughly the same time as a RayT backpager, so I’d have to say it was at the easy end of the Beam spectrum as far as I’m concerned. Plenty to enjoy too…..

    Thanks to CS and Beam.

  13. Really enjoyable crossword. As far as completion is concerned agree with JonP’s comment above but that’s largely because of the absence of the 4 letter homophones that I struggle with in his back pagers. Sadly can’t claim to have parsed a few correctly & needed CS to decipher the wordplay. It’s a three way photo for COTD for me between 1a, 14d & 28a.
    Many thanks to Ray T for the entertainment & to CS for the explanations

  14. Thanks to Gazza for explaining the good=use in Jane’s comment.
    That was my only stumbling block.
    Smooth Beam I thought as Yoda would say.
    Thanks to all concerned.

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