Toughie 2552 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2552

Toughie No 2552 by Beam

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

Everything you’d expect from a Beam Toughie

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Disappears accompanied by the woman’s ‘sharing’ husband (7)
WITHERS take a preposition meaning accompanied by and a way of saying ‘the woman’s’ and join them together, losing one of the Hs in the process (sharing husband)

5a    Place to have a wee place? (7)
INSTALL To be IN a toilet cubicle (wee place)

9a    Tense and oddly stern, welcoming argument (7)
STIFFEN The odd letters of StErN ‘welcoming’ a slight argument

10a    State, too French, rejected Charles de Gaulle? (7)
AIRPORT A verb meaning to state and a reversal of the French word for “too”

11a    Plant, for instance, bound to trap insect (9)
EGLANTINE The abbreviation meaning for instance and a limit (bound) ‘trapping’ an insect

12a    Bad language makes one quietly revolted (5)
PROSE The musical abbreviation meaning quietly and a synonym for revolted

13a    Enormously depressed tipping back drinks (5)
SODAS A two-letter word meaning very (enormously) followed by a reversal (tipping back) of a synonym for depressed

15a    Snack, falafel, even sesame cakes (9)
ELEVENSES Hidden in (cakes) falafEL EVEN SESame

17a    The man, Beam, embracing European paradise (9)
HEREAFTER The male third person pronoun and a beam (misleading capital time!) ’embracing’ the abbreviation for European

19a    It’s marvellous having drink with Queen (5)
SUPER A verb meaning to drink and the regnal cipher of our current Queen

22a    Cover nether regions back to front (5)
SHADE Take another name for hell (nether regions) and move the ‘back’ letter to the front of the word

23a    Trial run with judges having legitimate case (9)
REHEARSAL A verb meaning judges inserted (having …. Case) into a synonym for legitimate

25a    Adult portion keeping smug over getting fat (7)
ADIPOSE The abbreviation for adult and a portion of medicine ‘keeping’ a reversal (over) of the two-letter word meaning smug

26a    Learned without learner provoking stress (7)
ITERATE Remove the L (without learner) from a synonym for learned

27a    Stands for position single Democrat overturned (7)
DENOTES A reversal (overturned) of a verb meaning position, a single number and the abbreviation for Democrat

28a    Belief, strange for universal deity (7)
GODDESS Replace the U (universal) in a belief or judgment with a synonym for strange


1d    Layabouts spoke abruptly, briefly (7)
WASTERS Another way of saying spoke abruptly, briefly indicating that you don’t need the final letter of the second word

2d    Played seeing Tottenham’s lead plundered (7)
TRIFLED The ‘lead’ of Tottenham and a verb meaning plundered

3d    Small fish gutted above dorsal (5)
ELFIN Remove the middle letter (gutted) from a type of fish and put it above (in a Down clue) an organ found on the back of a fish (dorsal)

4d    Feeling without masculine feeling (9)
SENTIMENT Put an adjective meaning feeling round ‘without’ the abbreviation for Masculine

5d    Stupid intellectual not accepting novel’s ending initially (5)
INANE The initial letters of Intellectual Not Accepting Novel’s Ending

6d    Capsized vessel, part submerged, holding without support (9)
STRAPLESS Hidden in reverse (capsized) in veSSEL PART Submerged

7d    Endlessly excite taking second for loving (7)
AMOROUS Remove the final letter (endlessly) from a verb meaning to excite and insert (taking) an informal term for a very short period of time (second)

8d    Landlords possibly providing B and Bs? (7)
LETTERS Double definition

14d    School’s first head set about whipping boy (9)
SCAPEGOAT The first letter of School, a headland and a verb meaning to set about

16d    Topless miss, just about left for me? (9)
EARTHLING Remove the first letter (topless) of a narrow escape (miss just) and insert (about) the abbreviation for Left

17d    Mitt keeps American budget’s first reserve (7)
HUSBAND Mitt is a slang term for part of your body into which should be inserted (keeps) the abbreviation for American and the first letter of Budget

18d    Shake up genuine drink one raised (7)
REALIGN A synonym for genuine and an alcoholic drink with the I (one) raised or put over the first letter

20d    Way of old man’s sweetheart accepting droop? (7)
PASSAGE An informal way of saying father’s (old man’s) and the ‘usual’ swEetheart ‘accepting’ a verb meaning to droop

21d    Substitutes with fabrication swallowed by match officials (7)
RELIEFS A fabrication ‘swallowed’ by some abbreviated match officials

23d    Reportedly studies some flora (5)
REEDS A homophone (reportedly) of a verb meaning studies

24d    Repair pieces inside plug (5)
AMEND Some chess pieces put inside an abbreviated advertisement (plug)


25 comments on “Toughie 2552

  1. Had to check bad language in the BRB, other than that no obscurities, and good entertainment, if a bit towards the easier end of the Beam spectrum.

    1. Whilst out walking the dog it occurred to me what the root of prosaic had to be. If I had thought of that earlier I would not have had to pick up the BRB.

  2. For once I rate a puzzle easier than you do CS – and I usually struggle a bit with Beams. All the usual trademarks but there seemed even more double entendres than usual which provided some welcome chuckles on the way. I particularly liked 12a [once I’d realised that the answer can indeed mean “bad language”] 16d [a clever construction] and 20d [what can he be suggesting?].

    Thanks for the blog and thanks to Beam for a fun puzzle.

  3. An enjoyable Beam puzzle with visits to both Heaven and Hell. Thanks to the setter and CS.
    I liked 6d, 14d and 16d but, rather predictably, my favourite was the place to have a wee at 5a.

  4. The easiest Beam puzzle I have ever solved. This is because the Toughies are included in the puzzles section of the Daily Telegraph Newspaper Subscriptions App. Because I now solve the Toughie on most days. Because I can read the letters I have put into the grid. I’m attempting Beam puzzles every time they appear instead of saving them for later which never comes. Still an enjoyable puzzle though. Thanks to RayT and to CrypticSue

  5. Those of us who do these puzzles online do not know who the setter is, so when we see “Beam” the significance is lost and we wonder why there is a capital B. Perhaps setters could bear that in mind. I enjoyed the puzzle, though, finding the top left the hardest part. Thanks.

    1. If you look at the home page of the blog, there is a list on the RH side with the Toughie setters for the week. Many people will probably find it helpful to learn from that list that tomorrow brings us Elgar again!

  6. I am afraid the schoolboy humour at 5a also proved to be my favourite in this quite testing but ultimately satisfying Toughie. Beam’s commendable brevity was evident throughout with no more than seven words used as a maximum in each clue.

    Thanks to Mr T and CS.

  7. What a superb Toughie. Even though I found it at the easier end of Beam’s spectrum, it was certainly very enjoyable indeed.

    In 2019, RayT was working on an 8-word per clue maximum. This year it’s 7. Next year 6? His skill is to keep the clues brief while maintaining accurate wordplay and smooth surfaces.

    The only thing I needed to check was that specific meaning of the answer to 12a. Isn’t English wonderful? How has it managed to develop so that the same word can mean both “non-poetic language” and “bad language”?

    5a & 20d raised smiles but 4d was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to CS.

  8. I had to really concentrate to parse this puzzle and hence the agreement with CS’s **** rating.
    12a had to be what it was ,thanks to BD for explaining the bad element.
    Husband was a new synonym in 17d and 1d last to parse.
    Favourite was 22a when the penny dropped confirming the only cover that fitted
    Spot on for a wet Cheshire afternoon and a **** enjoyment , thanks all.

  9. What a joy this puzzle was. Lots of innuendo as usual with many funny moments, especially 5a. The lurkers also took some finding but at least with a Beamer you know they are there somewhere. Other goodies were 4 10 15 17a 25 28 6 and 16. The last one in, 22a took ages and I was tearing my hair out when the penny dropped. Thanks to RayT for warming a cold and wet December day.

  10. Unlike others I found this hard going & whilst I got all of the answers bar 22a unaided before I read the review I struggled to parse a couple (16d & 27a ) & failed to clock 6d was a reverse lurker. Agree with RD that 4d was the pick of the bunch.
    Thanks to Ray T & to CS.

  11. Found it somewhat easier than the back page.
    Nice to see all the trademarks of this setter in one crossword.
    Favourite is 6d.
    Thanks to Beam and to CS.

  12. Enjoyed this and agree with others that this was gentle by comparison to some of Beam’s offerings. 12a provided some education today and 5a made me laugh. Thanks to Beam and CS.

  13. What an oasis of calm in a Toughie week which has brought us two new setters and threatens us with another Elgar tomorrow.
    So much to enjoy here and I’ll go along with those who put 5a plus 4,6&20d at the top of the pile.

    Extra special devotions today, Mr T, for your wonderful ability to make us laugh and thanks also to CS for the review.

  14. Even by this setter’s standard I thought this was superb. Certainly not easy for me, in fact I had the whole of the East filled in with only 9a in the West. Eventually got there, albeit with a couple of bung ins and a hint for 11a.
    My page is littered with ticks, 5,10&15a plus 14d all caught my eye.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to CS for her excellent review

  15. Really good fun from start to finish. Not a quick solve but very satisfying as the pennies dropped.
    Once again the clue word count has a maximum of seven.
    Thanks Beam and CS.

  16. I’m still learning. Only managed two thirds of this one. Thanks to CS I’ll hopefully improve. Certainly needed your input today. Thanks all.

    1. Two thirds is a good first attempt at a Beam Toughie. There are no anagrams to give you any help. You can have a pat on the back from me Greta

  17. I struggled with this Sue and really needed your hints. I thought of closets for 5a stalls are presumably in the men’s loos! I enjoy the challenge and get huge satisfaction from the clues I get on my own. I am still struggling with the vision of guardsmen eating with their bearskins on. What about the chin straps? Very uncomfortable. Thanks to clever Beam as well.

    1. The guardsmen appeared in a search for an image of ‘elevenses’ – it made me smile although as you say, why they were eating with their bearskins on is anyone’s guess

      don’t let the fact that today’s Toughie is by Elgar and do have a go. He definitely wasn’t at his most fiendish when he set this one

  18. Started late last night on puzzles site, forgot to save, so had to start again this morning. D’oh! No bonus points for my completion time, and not enough asterisks on my keyboard to put here! Really enjoyed the challenge, but needed the hints for a couple in SE corner. Thanks to all.

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