Toughie 2679 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2679

Toughie No 2679 by Beam

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Today we have a Beam puzzle with all his usual characteristics, except for a ‘no show’ by Her Majesty. I found it a bit less tricky with fewer debatable synonyms than we normally get from him. How about you?

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

Across Clues

7a Drug supplier with speed accepts abuse (8)
PHARMACY: an adjective meaning ‘with speed’ contains a synonym of abuse.

9a Church said to produce psalm (6)
CHORAL: an abbreviation for church and an adjective meaning said or spoken.

10a Doctor on morning rounds (4)
AMMO: one of the abbreviation for a doctor follows the abbreviation for morning.

11a Vow prisoner’s facing time finally before case (10)
CONSECRATE: stitch together one of our usual prisoners plus the ‘S, the final letter of time and a packing case.

12a Bird little upset being eaten by quarry? (6)
PEEWIT: reverse an adjective meaning little inside a quarry or deep hole.

14a Best ran generally around getting divorce (8)
ESTRANGE: our first hidden word.

15a Turning wrong way wears razor sharpeners (6)
STROPS: reverse a verb meaning wears. 

17a Pampered and upset without love (6)
SPOILT: a verb meaning upset or knocked over containing the letter resembling love or zero.

20a Deck hands in old Royal Navy attending (8)
ORNAMENT: insert a word for hands or workers into abbreviations for old and Royal Navy and a preposition meaning attending. Deck here is a verb.

22a Land round hard, hard area (6)
GHETTO: a phrasal verb (3,2) meaning to land or arrive contains the pencil abbreviation for hard.

23a It’s hot on Haiti, maybe causing stress (10)
INTONATION: charade of a preposition meaning ‘hot on’ or ‘taking a keen interest in’ and what Haiti is an example of.

24a Solitary working lavatory’s vacant (4)
ONLY: an adverb meaning working or functioning and the outer letters of lavatory.

25a Get impulse to embrace sweetheart (6)
DERIVE: a synonym for impulse or urge containing the heart of sweet.

26a President raves, typically about mockery (8)
TRAVESTY: our second hidden word.

Down Clues

1d Bubbly Conservative bridles (8)
CHAMPERS: an abbreviation for Conservative followed by a verb meaning bridles or curbs.

2d For this reason monster arises (4)
ERGO: reverse a monster.

3d Maybe almost supernatural charm or talisman initially (6)
MASCOT: initial letters of six words in the clue.

4d Arrest nabbing mob showing bottle? (8)
SCREWTOP: a verb to arrest or halt contains a mob or gang.

5d Explore excavation obtaining a large gem (10)
TOURMALINE: assemble a verb to explore or travel round and an excavation then insert A and the clothing abbreviation for large. The answer is a brittle mineral used as a semi-precious stone.

6d Occasionally Real get large crowd (6)
RAGTAG: odd letters from three words in the clue.

8d Bet from jerk never missing odds (6)
YANKEE: this is a combination bet on four horses in different races. A verb to jerk is followed by the even letters of never.

13d Labour fanatic? (10)
WORKAHOLIC: a gentle cryptic definition.

16d A criminal flipped, ruddy willing! (8)
PREPARED: reverse A and an informal word for a criminal (which will be very familiar to those who watch US cop shows) and append an adjective meaning ruddy.

18d All of dram drunk inside, yes? (8)
TOTALITY: start with a dram or shot of strong drink and add a term meaning drunk inside one of the spellings of a word meaning yes.

19d Close second, second short on time (6)
STRICT: glue together the abbreviation for second, a second or short period of time without its final E and the abbreviation for time.

21d Perform Shylock perhaps, right to take pound (6)
RENDER: what Shylock was an example of with the abbreviation for right replacing the abbreviation for a pound sterling.

22d Alarm after game’s first shooter (6)
GUNMAN: a verb to alarm or cause someone to lose their nerve follows the first letter of game.

24d Finished float losing hydrogen (4)
OVER: a verb to float (like a hummingbird, say) without the chemical symbol for hydrogen.

I’ve got 10a, 23a and 25a on my podium. Which clue(s) appealed to you?


40 comments on “Toughie 2679

  1. I managed about four fifths of this excellent puzzle before resorting to electrons. I haven’t got so far in a Thursday Toughie before so a bit of a milestone for me. Excellent clueing throughout but it is by Beam, whose wavelength I am starting to grasp. Too many good clues to be able to pick out a favourite but, if pushed, I would go for the short and sweet 13d.

    Grateful thanks to Beam for the challenge and to Gazza for the hints.

  2. I too had to get help to finish this one. The top half went in quite easily, once I had realised my ‘DRAM’ in 10a was wrong. The bottom half wasn’t so forgiving. I completely missed the lurker in 26a until I had all the checkers, and I didn’t know the ‘alarm’ in 22d. 22a also took a while to parse.

    Many thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  3. A nice steady solve done at my leisure. A typical Beam puzzle requiring a little more thought to solve. All fairly clued with plenty to smile about along the way. Thanks to Beam for the puzzle and thanks to Gazza for the review. I do hope that is not a suppository in your illustration for 7 across

  4. 10a was my top clue from this excellent Beam crossword, despite putting in ‘dram’ at first! The rest flowed very nicely, and the lurkers were superb. The conciseness of the clueing was, as ever, quite remarkable.

    Thanks to Mr T for the challenge and to Gazza.

  5. The top went in quite easily but the SW corner defeated me. If I could have got 20a it would have helped but I just did not think of that meaning of “deck”. I shall think of it next Christmas when we sing of holly and halls. No, don’t tell me how many shopping days are left!

  6. I usually find that the 4-letter clues are the most difficult to solve … but today, the 4 “wee-stinkers” were absolute gimmes.

    Thanks, Beam & Gazza.

  7. Very nice indeed with the Thursday Toughie dream team of Beam and Gazza.

    I came up with parsing for 23a & 22d which I found unconvincing, but when I checked Gazza’s review I see I was in fact correct. I didn’t understand the definition “close” for 19d, and when I checked my BRB it says it’s obsolete.

    10a was my favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  8. Thought the SW corner was going to defeat me, certainly had to walk away and return a while later. It was the wily old Shylock who caused me so much grief!
    Plenty that I liked for different reasons but my final top three comprised 25&26a plus 13d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Gazza – as RD said, a dream team!

  9. I’d never heard of the criminal in 16d so I Googled it, anyway it had to be what it was. With that bit of help I managed to parse everything which I haven’t managed to do for some time. Favourite was 11a. Thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  10. A most enjoyable and completed puzzle – neither of which I could say about yesterday’s Toughie (having signally failed to get anywhere near the setter’s wavelength, although wondering why not on reading the blog afterwards) – which for me posed a good challenge, especially in the SW corner, which held me up the longest.

    So many great clues, all fair, and so well and concisely constructed, almost all could go on the podium, but for me the COTD is 15a – wonderfully deceptive, reads so smoothly, and is inherently true!

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza

  11. Like others, I was not only held up by the SW, I was ultimately chastened by it and forced to go electronic to finish this excellent puzzle. I kept trying to make an anagram of ‘hot Haiti on’ in 23a, and that obsession of course made the Shylock clue impossible for me to get. Otherwise, I rather breezed through, with terrific clues at 4d, 22a, 10a, and 11a. I very much enjoyed this true Toughie. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Beam for the joy.

    1. You should have remembered that Beam doesn’t do anagrams (which I find helpful in sorting out the wordplay). :D

      1. Kept telling myself that but it didn’t stop me from wondering whether he’d chucked in a googly!

        1. Now I seem to remember Miffypops once listing the Commandments according to Ray T, and one of those was No Anagrams. I tell myself now that I will remember that! Thanks for the reminder, Gazza.

          1. Robert, RayT does use anagrams for his back-pagers. It is only in his Toughie guise as Beam that there are no anagrams.

            1. Sorry, Robert, I popped back into the blog after a very busy afternoon and didn’t notice that the question of RayT/Beam and anagrams had cropped up in a different thread to which Gazza had already replied. The good news is that both Gazza and I are saying the same thing!

  12. I was left with 3 undone. An improvement on yesterday’s Serpent which I found extremely tricky but there’s room for improvement. If tomorrow is Elgar, I don’t think it will come then.

  13. Evening all. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to all for your comments. Always appreciated.


    1. Good evening, Mr T. You almost had me beaten in the SW corner – always did think Shylock was a nasty piece of work!

    2. Thanks, Mr T, for the challenge. Gazza reminds me that you don’t do anagrams. Anyway, I very much enjoyed this sweet Toughie.

      1. It’s only wearing his Beam hat that Mr T doesn’t do anagrams. For his back-page puzzles he does do anagrams.

        1. Oh. Thanks for setting me straight again, Gazza. On a completely unrelated note: Have you ever read The Count of Monte Cristo? I am now ‘escaping’ the rest of the summer by reading it (I must have read it in my teens but have no memory of it) and thoroughly enjoying the trip.

          1. I did read some Dumas many years ago, Robert, but I don’t remember reading The Count of Monte Cristo.

    3. Wonderful puzzle, Ray T and a PB for me with a Thursday Toughie. Thank you.

  14. We also keep chanting to ourselves “Don’t look for anagrams” when we solve Beam puzzles. It actually does help.
    SW corner was our stumbling block but not for too long.
    A pleasure to solve.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  15. An abject failure. Nowt wrong with the examination paper, which was well clued & perfectly fair as you’d expect from the master of brevity, but today this examinee wasn’t up to the task. Took 3 visits, 2 letter reveals & eventually Gazza’s help with 4 unsolved to make it over the finish line. I’ll forgive myself 5d as I’ve never heard of it & thought the explore synonym far from obvious – figured it began with M as I guessed mine was the excavation. No excuse for the other 3 in the SW ( 23&25a plus 21d) – even after reading the hint to 25a (which only confirmed what I thought the wordplay & definition were) I resorted to looking up synonyms for impulse. Pick of the clues for me – 10&23a plus 13&16d though there plenty to choose from.
    Thanks to Mr T & to Gazza.

    1. 23& 22 ac beat me otherwise this is the closest I’ve come to finishing a toughie so must have been light but excellent clueing

  16. Not sure that 9a works properly.

    “Psalm” is a noun but “Choral” is an adjective.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Grammarian.

      Chambers says choral can be a noun meaning “a psalm or hymn tune”.

  17. Thanks Gazza.

    I hesitate to take issue with so weighty an authority as Chambers but in my 60+ years experience of church music I have never known “Choral” to be used otherwise than as an adjective. The noun is “Chorale”.

    1. To quote Chambers in full:
      choral noun: (often altered to chorale) a single harmonized composition with slow rhythm; a psalm or hymn tune; any part of the service sung by the whole choir (RC); a choir or chorus (esp N Am).

  18. That’s interesting – particularly where it says in relation to the noun version “often altered to chorale”. I think that “invariably” would be more appropriate than “often”. Presumably Chambers also refers to “choral” in its adjectival form.

  19. Thanks Gazza. It has been an interesting conversation but I think that’s as far as we can take things. Thank you for your input.

    1. Now that you’ve introduced yourself, Grammarian, I hope you’ll comment again in the future.

      ps. It’s better to use the ‘reply’ button rather than starting a new thread when you are ‘continuing’ a conversation. That way all the posts in a thread are kept together.

  20. Late comment as usual but like to join the party! Completed all but strops which I hadn’t heard of. Favourite was 13d.

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