Toughie 2631 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2631

Toughie No 2631 by Beam

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

It’s been a long time since I blogged a Ray T or Beam puzzle (in the old days I used to blog a Ray T puzzle every other Tuesday when he alternated with Shamus) and it’s a pleasure to meet him again in his Beam guise.

This one has all his usual hallmarks and didn’t provide too many problems though 16d needed a bit of head-scratching.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.

Across Clues

1a Zeppelin tune, then leader to smoke joint! (7)
AIRSHIP: bring together a synonym of tune, the leading letter of smoke and a bodily joint.

5a Polished losing gladiator’s first sword (7)
CUTLASS: start with an adjective meaning polished or refined (of an accent, say) and drop the first letter of gladiator.

9a Zeppelin possibly playing, showing wildness (7)
ABANDON: what ‘Zeppelin’ were an example of (1,4) followed by an adverb meaning playing.

10a Ceremony involving King in each country (7)
ERITREA: a Russian doll clue – a ceremony contains a Latin abbreviation for king and all that goes inside the abbreviation for each.

11a One can shout, welcoming European traveller (9)
ITINERANT: string together the Roman numeral for one, a can and a verb to shout or rave. Insert an abbreviation for European into that.

12a Audibly cry out for massage (5)
KNEAD: this sounds like a verb to cry out for or be desperate for.

13a Discovers taking top off makes money (5)
EARNS: a verb meaning discovers or finds out without its first letter.

15a Stewardesses so polite holding back berserk (9)
POSSESSED: hidden in reverse.

17a Oil part in silent power turning over (9)
PETROLEUM: an acting part goes inside the reversal of an adjective meaning silent or dumb and the abbreviation for power.

19a Initially serves, and launches volley on volley (5)
SALVO: initial letters of five words in the clue.

22a Game over with vacant mob about (5)
OMBRE: knit together the crickety abbreviation for over, ‘mob’ without its middle bit and a preposition meaning about or concerning to make an old card game.

23a ‘American Way’ missing Republican, lacking a will (9)
INTESTATE: start with a major American road and remove the abbreviation for Republican.

25a Snappers circling Queen start to harass, maybe (7)
PERHAPS: the abbreviation for celebrity-chasing snappers contains our Queen’s regnal cipher and the first letter of harass.

26a Misses relief found in Gents, commonly (7)
MAIDENS: insert a word meaning relief or welfare into a common term for the public facilities called Gents.

27a Break down and do all this again (7)
RESOLVE: double definition, the first a process in chemistry and the second what you may have to do if your answers to this puzzle are wiped out by an internet glitch, say.

28a Singular couple adopting little darling (7)
SWEETIE: the abbreviation for singular and a verb to couple contain a synonym of little.

Down Clues

1d God upset, consumed by a weakness, greed (7)
AVARICE: the reversal of an Egyptian god goes inside A and a weakness or moral failing.

2d More willing to use exit in back (7)
READIER: a verb meaning to go out (in a permanent way) goes inside a synonym for back or hind part.

3d What could create hard border? (5)
HEDGE: a semi-all-in-one – assemble the pencil abbreviation for hard and a border or rim.

4d Fruit pulp, zest only, in long drink (9)
PINEAPPLE: the outer letters (zest only) of pulp go inside a verb to long and an alcoholic drink.

5d Court accepts the man’s case (5)
CHEST: the street-sign abbreviation for court contains the contracted form of ‘the man is’.

6d Novel heroine embraces rustic new body (9)
THICKNESS: a Hardy heroine contains a derogatory term for a rustic person and the abbreviation of new. The body here is what is often promised by commercial hair products.

7d Close shaven, cutting head (7)
AIRLESS: an adjective meaning shaven without its first letter.

8d Oddly sick ally dreads getting very heated (7)
SCALDED: odd letters from words 2-4.

14d Play for time protecting whole wicket (9)
STONEWALL: an all-in-one clue – a verb meaning to play for time or procrastinate contains an adjective meaning whole or undivided and the cricket abbreviation for wicket.

16d Up, feel great about University, occasionally (9)
SOMETIMES: a verb to feel or appear and an abbreviation meaning great or very large contain the identity of a university situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Now reverse it all (up).

17d Shakespearean character’s endless boom … (7)
PROSPER: a major character from The Tempest without his last letter.

18d … cheers Shakespeare’s old habits (7)
TABARDS: rivet together a short word of thanks and term used for Shakespeare plus the ‘S.

20d Thinnest and smallest eating nectarine’s rind (7)
LEANEST: a superlative meaning smallest contains the outer letters of nectarine.

21d Lover seems to be taking control (7)
OVERSEE: a hidden word.

23d Stuff wasting time for offspring! (5)
ISSUE: a type of material or paper without the abbreviation for time. Stuff seems rather vague as a description of the material but it works well in the surface as an exclamation of rejection as in “Stuff that for a game of soldiers!”

24d River wave, sort of catching tide finally (5)
SEINE: a type of wave or periodic oscillation contains the final letter of tide.

The clues I liked best (mainly for the humorous surfaces) were 13a, 26a and 23d. Which one(s) had you tittering?


30 comments on “Toughie 2631

  1. Delighted to finish this just as the blog appeared..
    No real favourites, just a pleasant solve. I really think of 14d in connection with a certain Mr Jackson of the USA rather than cricket.
    I did like 17d from my favourite Shakespeare play so that will be by COTD.

  2. Good, challenging, toughie. Only disappointment for me is the clueing of 24d.
    The answer is obviously SEINE but the only definition of SINE that I am aware of is a function in Trigonometry.
    My online dictionary only has that.

    1. I too only knew SINE as a function (unless you count sine die) and that didn’t fit. I wondered if it might be some technical term that I had not heard of but didn’t bother to look it up. That wouldn’t have helped anyway, as my elderly BRB does not have either sine wave or sine curve. Instead, I took ‘sort of’ as a homophone indicator (wave = sign = sine). Anyway, I got the answer. Evidently, there is more than one way to skin a cat.

  3. Thanks to Beam for a cheery accessible toughie.
    Only the card game was new although I thought my lack of pop knowledge would sink me when I saw 1&9ac. But all’s well.
    Thanks to Gazza for help parsing 17ac and 16d .

  4. Often struggle with Mr Terrell’s Cryptics, so was really delighted to finish his Toughie with minimum effort; just needing Gazza’s hints to explain the whys of 17a, 4d, 14d, 16d and 24d. Thanks to all.

  5. Miffs did tell me over on the back pager blog that this was doable for a Beam and he was right. I did need some help but for only about a third of it. I found it more satisfying than today’s back pager and iy was a satisfying solve.

    Many thanks to Beam for the tussle and thanks to Gazza for the hints.

  6. Any day that I finish a Toughie is a good day for me. I couldn’t really parse 12a, and I don’t know 22a, but the wordplay make both the answers obvious.

    I struggled to parse 26a and had 16d pencilled in for ages until I managed to tease it apart.

    A Toughie time of ***/****, but with an awful lot of scribbling too.

    Many thanks to Beam and Gazza

  7. As others I needed help to parse 22a, 25a, 14d and 16d but I’m happy with that success rate. I hadn’t heard of the card game but obvious from the clue, so a quick visit to Google to confirm that. Favourite was 10a my first in. Many thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  8. Lovely solve done doing deckchairobics in the sun. I found this easier than the cryptic.
    Clip for 9a took me back to seeing them on the Caird Hall, Dundee in 1973, a fabulous night out.
    Thanks to Beam for just the right level for me and Gazza for the hints.

  9. Lovely solve done doing deckchairobics in the sun. I found this easier than the cryptic.
    Clip for 9a took me back to seeing them at the Caird Hall, Dundee in 1973, a fabulous night out.
    Thanks to Beam for just the right level for me and Gazza for the hints.

  10. A few oldies but goodies from Beam today.
    Took a while to parse 25a as the paparazzi didn’t come readily.
    Liked the charade in 11a.
    Thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  11. A lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon in the garden ,birdwatching and doing the toughie, somewhere around a ***/***..
    A wide variety of clues, liked the Shakespearean ones, failed to parse last in 16d and the ‘paps’ in 25a ,abbreviations are not my favourites-thanks Gazza .

  12. The answers flew in for me at first, and I thought I was heading for sub 2* time with a puzzle that could have been on the back page … and then I hit my last 7 clues, which took me to 3*.

    Very enjoyable, all fairly clued and solvable from the checkers, though I’d never heard of the card game. So many polished, good, clues – plenty of chuckles and difficult to pick a favourite, possibly 19a, 23a, 7d or 8d, but on balance the pairing of 1a and 9a.

    Many thanks to RT/B and to Gazza for the review.

  13. What a relief to see Mr T after a double dose of Giovanni!
    Took a while to fully parse 4&16d and – with the checkers in place – I had something of a struggle to see beyond ‘euros’ for 13a. Common sense eventually prevailed.
    Like Beaver, I was rather taken with the Shakespearean clues but don’t really have a specific favourite to mention – just a shout out for a most enjoyable puzzle.

    The usual devotions to Mr T/Beam and thanks to Gazza for the review – so nice to have one of the old partnerships back in place.

  14. I wouldn’t say it quite as bluntly as Jane but this was a definite step up in enjoyment from yesterday, I thought it was superb from start to finish, displaying all this setter’s trademark cheek and wit.
    I particularly appreciated the Zeppelin clues along with 23,25,26&28a plus 4&14d. Top stuff.
    Many thanks to Mr T and to Gazza (just couldn’t parse 16d) for the fun.

  15. I thought that this was just about as perfect as a puzzle gets, whether Toughie or simple Cryptic. I just ran through it in one sitting, enjoying the surfaces as much as the solutions. As for favourites, pick just about any one of them, and I’ll go along, but the Zeppelin clues, as well as 7d and 16d, had a particularly strong resonance. Thanks to Gazza and Beam (aka Mr T).

  16. Beam in a friendly mood today I thought, with this very enjoyable and accessible Toughie. Everything was beautifully and tightly clued, as ever, with the Zeppelin and Shakespearean duos being my favourites.

    Thanks to Mr T and Gazza.

  17. Evening all. My thanks and a ‘welcome back’ to Gazza and my thanks to all for your observations.


    1. Good evening, Mr T. Always a pleasure to ‘see’ you and to solve your creations – added bonus to have you reunited with Gazza!

    2. Many thanks, Ray T for the challenge. I didn’t finish all unaided but I enjoyed the tussle. No wonder I got on with most of it because I do like your back pagers. As I have only recently started the Toughie in earnest, I did not know Beam is an alias of yours. Without our dear Queen and a sweetheart, of course. 😎

  18. Great fun and like some others I did most of it whilst sunbathing in the garden this afternoon.

    I liked 5a and 23a best, not sure why.

    Thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  19. Thoroughly enjoyable solve with chuckles all the way.
    Clue word count maximum of 7 once again.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  20. Finished in less time than it took to do the backpager. Some nice humour and good surface readings. Only one word I was unfamiliar with at 22a, as opposed to several in the backpager. For what it’s worth, apropos Giovanni’s comments yesterday, I don’t mind having to look up new words (for me), just a pity I don’t remember them! Thanks everyone.

  21. An extremely late start on the Toughie for me after a very busy day, but well worth waiting for. It was good fun from start to finish with every clue a gem. After much deliberation I’ll settle for 26a as my favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza – definitely a dream team.

  22. An even later start for me & thank goodness it wasn’t a slog like yesterday. Robert’s comment said it for me. A thoroughly enjoyable solve even if it was a wee bit easier than some of his back page productions. All parsed in a brisk solve – a Toughie rarity lately. 26a was my clear pick with the berserk reverse lurker runner up.
    Thanks Beam & to our new Thurs reviewer

Comments are closed.