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Toughie 2528

Toughie No 2528 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

A proper Thursday Toughie from Beam(quite a bit of my time being spent unravelling the SE corner) with almost all of the trademarks you expect in one of his crosswords apart from Her Majesty.  I was a bit surprised to find one of the clues had as many as eight words in it as recently his clues did seem to be getting shorter and shorter!!

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Support of the French purchased by sweetheart (8)
PEDESTAL A French word meaning ‘of the’ inserted into (purchased by) a term of endearment (sweetheart)

5a    Friends maybe gather scoff, almost over … (6)
SITCOM A verb meaning to gather followed by a reversal (over) of almost all of a synonym for scoff in the sense of deride

9a    … means suppressing initially rumbling guts (8)
ENTRAILS Another way of saying means in the sense of involves into which is inserted (suppressing) the initial letter of Rumbling

10a    Secures hatch on board (6)
STRAPS A hatch goes on board an abbreviated Steam Ship

11a    Frailty occasionally waylaid by raging bug (8)
IRRITATE The occasional letters of fRaIlTy ‘waylaid’ by another way of saying angry (raging)

12a    More natural Conservative comparatively blue (6)
CRUDER The abbreviation for Conservative and an adjective meaning more indecent (comparatively blue)

14a    Eats in suits first off displaying gluttony (10)
GREEDINESS Another verb meaning ‘eats’ inserted into part of a verb meaning fits or suits without its first letter

18a    Stress beginning to lessen during illness (10)
INFLECTION The ‘beginning’ to Lessen inserted into (during) a disease you can catch (illness)

22a    Hardy perennial? (6)
LAUREL This hardy perennial tree has the same name as the long-time (perennial) comedy partner of Oliver Hardy

23a    China form perhaps turned bodily (8)
MATERIAL China here is the Cockney rhyming slang for friend, so you need another word for friend followed by a reversal (turned) of an animal retreat, form being the name of the one used by a hare

24a    Swelling, the thing’s covered in blood (6)
GOITRE The exact thing one is looking for ‘covered’ in some blood

25a    Home provided in retirement lodge (8)
FIRESIDE A reversal (in retirement) of a conjunction meaning provided followed by a verb meaning to live in permanently (lodge)

26a    Gets up without nightclothes originally and bathes (6)
RINSES A verb meaning gets up goes ‘without’ the original letter of Nightclothes

27a    Some imitation Euros issued creating disorder (8)
NEUROSIS Hidden in some of imitatioN EUROS ISsued


1d    Lyrical American writer surmounts boundless criticism (6)
POETIC An American writer surmounts, or goes on top of in a Down solution,  either some informal criticism from which the outside letters have been removed (boundless) or as Jonners suggests criTICism (from the clue) also ‘boundless’

2d    Party piece involves right geezer (6)
DOTARD An informal party and a small piece into which is inserted (involved) the abbreviation for right

3d    Army supporting fight for ancient city (6)
SPARTA The abbreviation for the Army Reserve ‘supporting’, or going after in a Down solution, a verb meaning to box (fight)

4d    Say some sounds sounding similar, say? (10)
ALLITERATE The clue being a fine example of how one would say a sentence with each word starting with the same letter

6d    Make United popular team rising around season (8)
INTERMIX The usual synonym for popular and a reversal (rising) of the Roman numerals for eleven (team) put around a limited period of time (season)

7d    Purveyor of wicked articles? (8)
CHANDLER A maker of and dealer in candles (wicked articles)

8d    Fancy woman, very French, embraced by mademoiselle (8)
MISTRESS The French word for very ’embraced’ by a young lady (mademoiselle)

13d    Pervert said to be in ruin (10)
DEMORALISE A word meaning uttered by the mouth (said) inserted into another word for ruin

15d    Hamlet character more wretched about delay (8)
VILLAGER An adjective meaning more wretched goes ‘about’ a delay

16d    Discharge from volcano I suffered climbing (8)
EFFUSION – Hidden in reverse (climbing) in volcaNO I SUFFEred

17d    Train connected to stiff carriage? (8)
REHEARSE The preposition meaning in connection to and a carriage for a corpse (stiff)

19d    Falling star made the other all gutted (6)
METEOR Remove the inside letters (all gutted) from MadE ThE OtheR

20d    Fingers will be number with onset of syndrome (6)
DIGITS A figure used to represent a number with the ‘onset’ of Syndrome

21d    Watchful missing last of English ways (6)
ALLEYS Omit the second E (missing last of English) from a two-word expression meaning watchful  Was I the only one who tried to find something from which you could remove an H (the ‘last’ of English) before realising what was required?


32 comments on “Toughie 2528

  1. I found this very enjoyable. Took a bit of head scratching in places and I also spent time trying to remove an H in 21d. Favourite clues were 7d, 17d and 21d. Thanks to Beam and CS.

      1. I don’t think Ray T would use ‘boundless’ to mean the removal of three letters from each end so I’m sticking with ‘stick’ where only the boundaries have to be removed.

        1. | think my first/your thought is correct but I’ve re-amended the hint to show both options

        2. G. Yes, I’m with “stick” too. For the first reason you cite, plus the “stick” option is just a tad more remote and slightly more cryptic – in that you have to think of a synonym of criticism and head-and-tail that instead of simply removing the (multiple) boundaries from a word that is visible in the clue.

  2. Knowing that there are no anagrams in a Beam puzzle can be a help to the solver. I’m pretty sure that I’d have been looking for anagrams in 11a and 13d, for example, with any other setter.
    I enjoyed all 4 mini-puzzles – thanks to Beam and CS.
    My podium selections were 23a, 25a and 21d (you weren’t the only one to try to find an H to delete at first).

  3. The SE also held me up the longest, but so did 5a and 7d. I did manage to finish the puzzle correctly but could not parse 21d, so thank you, CS. I began to suspect that this was the handiwork of Ray T with the first clue, but then I was thrown by a word actually meaning ‘sweetheart’ (which I take to be ‘petal’, rather oddly). Most enjoyable, with favourites galore: 14, 18, 22, 25a, & 7d. But 5a does seem to me a bit beneath Mr T’s usual level of artistry (why not ‘Friends’?). Thanks to CS and Beam.

    Same here with the H in English.

  4. Yes, it was the SE corner that held out for quite some time here, particularly the missing ‘H’ conundrum in 21d.
    Very satisfying to achieve completion and I particularly enjoyed 17d.

    Devotions to Mr T as always and many thanks to CS for the review and the confirmation that this was indeed a 4* puzzle.

  5. SE corner was also my hold out. I was relieved to see both the rating and the relatively few comments so far as I found genuinely this tough. There were no obscurities as such, but some of the constructions took a lot of teasing out. 17d was my favourite of many.

    Thanks to Mr T, to CS and to Gazza at #2 for telling me that this setter in his Toughie guise does not do anagrams. Worth remembering as it will save considerable time and head-scratching going forward.

  6. Going to agree with Cryptic sue on a****/*** as the clues were generally difficult to parse, especially the SE quadrant and 21d in particular as the last letter was not H from English but as Sue says was the last E from the two word expression-tough indeed! Thanks Sue.
    Favourite was 23a for the surface and that I remembered the Hare!
    Probably a ***** offering tomorrow-we will see.

    1. Many years ago, my friend and I were out for a walk and decided to glean a few onions left in a field after the harvest. She bent down to pick up an onion and realised it was right beside a hare carefully hidden in its form. Her cairn terrier had walked right past without noticing. A wonderful, never to be forgotten experience

  7. Yesterday I posted that it took me all of the morning to complete the Toughie. Happy Days! Today I hardly scratched the surface and the cryptic is resisting too. Oh, to be on the same wavelength as CS who probably completed 3 before breakfast! I can only dream.

    1. Apart from never doing crosswords before breakfast, I only solved the back pager and the (proper) Toughie this morning. I then prepared the blog and didn’t go near another crossword until this afternoon, not least because I find Beam’s clues quite hard to parse and then explain, so the brain does need a bit of a rest after that

      1. I think you are being modest! Lights and bushels come to mind. How are the injuries progressing? Some things seem to take forever.

        1. Still suffering with bruises and cracked ribs but a lot better thank you

          I’m actually not solving as many puzzles as I used to, partly because I’m sore and also because I’m finding all the virus stuff very miserable. We had so many plans for this year, I do hope we can actually do some of them next year, but it doesn’t look hopeful, does it ? :(

  8. I was pleased to have got about 75% of this before giving in and looking at the excellent hints.
    I thought 17d not in the best taste but a good clue all the same, and I’m not sure how PC 8d is these days but it did induce a smile. 2d also amused as I seem to remember Kim Jong-un using it to describe someone!
    16d was my favourite of the ones I solved unaided.
    Many thanks to Mr T and Cryptic Sue.

  9. I certainly found this very tough, not helped by being another one looking for an H to remove in 21d.

    It was certainly very enjoyable and well worth the fight. Although it’s very clever, I’m not entirely convinced by 22a. Also I don’t think that “geezer” is an accurate definition for 2d. I have always taken “geezer” to be slang for a man, whereas a “dotard” is a person (male or female) who is confused.

    My joint favourites were 5a & 15d.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

    1. RD, 2d. Yes, that has always been my interpretation of “geezer”, but I’ve just found this in the online Chambers 21st Century Dictionary and it does seem to justify “dotard” somewhat. Admittedly, it’s not the BRB:

      geezer noun, colloq a man, especially an old man, often one who is odd in some way.
      ETYMOLOGY: 19c: from a dialect pronunciation of guiser a masked actor in mime.

    2. RD, 22a. Sorry to be (very) late with this but I didn’t make the discovery until last night, whilst in bed with a crossword book. This clue/answer is an old/recycled one and is used exactly the same in The Telegraph Big Book of Cryptic Crosswords No 4, published in 2019 by Hamlyn (crossword No 104, 5d). I’m pretty sure it’s a Ray T puzzle as it has only one-word answers. This is far from unknown – I’ve seen many recycled cryptic clues over the decades.

  10. We also has our biggest problems in the SE and trying to remove the H from something was partly to blame. Good fun as ever and much appreciated.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

    1. Good evening, Mr T. You certainly made us think about it today – no bad thing to take our minds off the current ghastly situation. I do hope that you are managing to stay well and that your son is being sensible, so many of our youngsters are being somewhat cavalier, believing themselves to be invincible.

      1. I’m very well, thank you, as is my son, and as I hope are you,. At seventeen and six foot plus I would hesitate to call him a youngster though!


        1. My daughters are now in their forties and I still refer to them as my little girls! Mind you, given that neither of them is male or over 6 foot tall I’m possibly reasonably safe to do so! Pleased to hear that you’re well – still battling on and playing it safe here, thank you.

  11. This has just convinced me that I really am not Toughie material.
    I did better than I sometimes do but was a very long way off from finishing it.
    Looking at some of the hints I would never have got the answers so maybe it’s OK and I won’t hit myself on the head too many times.
    I think this makes me realise just how much I depend on anagrams to get going – Gazza seems to think that knowing there are none can help – it sure as hell doesn’t help me. :sad:
    Thanks to Beam and thanks, and admiration to CS.

  12. Super crossword – finished at 5th revisit today though needed 5a to open the NE & couldn’t parse 14a. Clear favourite was 17d even if it was questionable taste.
    Thanks to Ray T & to CS.

  13. Well, only 2 days late doing this, but completed unaided after a couple of hours. 21d last in, but had to check the parsing afterwards. 17d favourite by far.
    Thanks all

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