Toughie 2695 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2695

Toughie No 2695 by Beam

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Thanks to Beam for an enjoyable puzzle with all his usual trademarks except a ‘first letters’ clue. I completed the four mini-puzzles in the order NW, SE, SW and NE.

Beam seems to have completed his transition from an 8-word maximum clue size to a 7-word maximum. I wonder whether he will be spurred on to yet further feats of succinctness – Brendan (Virgilius) had a puzzle in the Guardian this week with a maximum of 3 words per clue.

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

Across Clues

1a It’s left controlling local political system (8)
REPUBLIC: something left from an earlier time contains a local.

5a Turned east, beginning to dither, went west (6)
EDDIED: assemble the abbreviation for east, the first letter of dither and ‘went west’ or kicked the bucket.

9a Stand almost excessively behind catching Queen (8)
TOLERATE: join together an adverb meaning excessively without its last letter and an adjective meaning behind containing our Queen’s regnal cipher.

10a Embraces embracing sweetheart causing complaints (6)
GRIPES: a verb meaning embraces contains the letter at the heart of sweet.

11a Dance in buff — desperate man gets fit (8)
FANDANGO: charade of a buff or aficionado, the desperate comic character and a verb meaning fit or be compatible.

12a Initially Manchester United retains single stand arena (6)
MILIEU: the initials of the football team contain the letter resembling one and a verb to stand or be positioned.

14a Soldiers trail army strike in retreat (10)
PARATROOPS: stitch together a trail or scent, the abbreviation by which our army reserve was known prior to 2014 and a verb to strike. Now reverse the lot.

18a On table, plan to swallow European drink (10)
CHARTREUSE: a synonym for table is followed by a plan or subterfuge containing an abbreviation for European.

22a Rough diamonds seen in charge (6)
OFFICE: bring together an adjective meaning rough or poorly and an informal word for diamonds.

23a Abandoned, showed behind, taking a run (8)
MAROONED: a verb meaning ‘showed behind’ contains A and the cricket abbreviation for run.

24a Hand is redundant without ship (6)
NEEDLE: an adjective meaning redundant or gratuitous without the usual abbreviation for steamship.

25a Salvation of one bitten by large cat (8)
LIFELINE: the Roman numeral for one is contained in the abbreviation for large and a cat.

26a Slow time in last day (6)
RETARD: the abbreviation for time goes inside an adjective meaning last or hindmost. Now append the abbreviation for day.

27a Clueless character losing head over harangue (8)
IGNORANT: paste together a character or symbol without its initial letter, the cricket abbreviation for over and a harangue or tirade.

Down Clues

1d Beam accepts endless argument for sanction (6)
RATIFY: a synonym of beam contains an argument without its final F.

2d Using rod, possibly getting river fish (6)
POLING: the answer is a charade of an Italian river and a cod-like fish.

3d Foreign Office? (6)
BUREAU: cryptic definition – it’s a foreign word for office.

4d United from inside target nicely turned (10)
INTEGRATED: hidden in reverse.

6d Bottom of the French class? (8)
DERRIÈRE: a word meaning bottom or buttocks that you probably learned in a French lesson. Has anyone a better explanation of what the word class is doing here?

7d Rogue revolted vocally being put inside (8)
IMPRISON: a rogue or rascal and what sounds like revolted or rebelled.

8d Detective’s men reportedly in plain clothes? (8)
DISGUISE: the abbreviation for a senior police detective and the ‘S are followed by a homophone of an informal word for men.

13d Repugnant to the French in new accommodation (10)
NAUSEATING: a French word meaning ‘to the’ goes between the abbreviation for new and a term for accommodation (in a restaurant perhaps).

15d Wine container preferably passed round church (8)
SCHOONER: a comparative meaning preferably or rather contains one of our usual abbreviations for church.

16d Most cracked crackpot concealing iffiness occasionally (8)
DAFFIEST: an adjective meaning crackpot or silly contains regular letters from iffiness.

17d Authoritarian abuse over the French right (8)
STICKLER: an informal word for abuse or criticism is followed by one of the French definite articles and the abbreviation for right.

19d Warning shot leads to surrender (6)
FOREGO: rivet together a warning shout and a shot or attempt.

20d Pain from pang in arm? (6)
ANGINA: hidden.

21d What’s coming from plug hole? (6)
ADVENT: combine an abbreviated plug or promotion and a type of hole.

My ticks today went to 5a, 11a and 19d. Which clue(s) pleased you?


18 comments on “Toughie 2695

  1. I thought this a friendlier than usual Beam Toughie – it did help the solve if you were wearing your best chapeau or even an onion seller’s beret as there was definitely a French vibe. My piece of paper also says ‘cornery’ and ‘NE corner the hardest’

    Thanks to Mr T and Gazza

  2. Managed about half and, on reading the blog, am not surprised why. I don’t understand 22a or 24a and I thought 25d only held Sherry? I think perhaps I have heard it called Sherry wine.
    I did like 23a though I notice the illustration is suitably discreet!

    1. 22a Both charge and the answer can mean duty or responsibility.
      24a Redundant is needless – remove the SS. The answer can mean a pointer on a dial or a hand.
      Sherry is a fortified wine.

      1. I’d rather worked 24a out but you don’t talk about the hour needle on a clock do you? These synonyms get me at times.
        Now, 23a. After the illustrations of nubile ladies which seem to appear in this blog on the flimsiest of excuses, I rather expected to see a delicious male 6d!

  3. ‘Class’ in 6d confused me as well. I suppose the french lesson would have been in a french class? Thanks to Mr T and Gazza

  4. This puzzle has considerably brightened up the crossword scene for me today – a typically enjoyable Beam Toughie yielding slowly but steadily, which is as it should be. My top three were 5a, 11a & 21d.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  5. Mon Dieu!

    How many French clues are allowed in a Toughie?

    Un grand merci à M.Beam et M.Gazza.

  6. Using all five online letters (scattered here and there), I still needed Gazza’s help to solve 12a and 17d, both of which seem now so terribly obvious. I usually do a bit better with Beam’s Toughies, but I did enjoy the challenge very much. Whether it’s Ray T on the backpage or Beam here with the Toughie, I always look forward to his succinct style and his cleverly off-centred synonyms. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to Beam for the pleasure.

    1. You did better than I’m doing Robert. I’ve only 8 answers & come to a grinding halt. Apart from Elgar can’t recall struggling to this extent so think I’ll return to it later. I thought of you while watching a BBC programme called Write Around The World hosted by Richard E Grant yesterday evening. Not sure if you can access it but am sure you would enjoy it if you can. Essentially locations visited that inspired classic literature.

      1. Thanks, H, for the tip; I’ll see if I can find it. I’ve made many literary pilgrimages over my peripatetic years, but now that my travelling days are over, I do enjoy such programmes.

  7. Really enjoyed this one. Pleasantly tricky and concisely clued as always. My thanks to Mr T and Gazza.

  8. Late getting to this but it was, of course, well worth the wait. Couple of clues that stretched my imagination a little but that’s typical of our setter and the self-referential 1d made me smile.
    Leader-board here shows 11&25a plus 8&21d.

    Devotions as always to Mr T and many thanks to Gazza for performing the honours. As JB commented, you were very ‘discrete’ when it came to illustrating 23a!

  9. Very enjoyable. Saved it for the train to Paddington, and solved by Ealing Broadway. Thanks to Gazza and Beam.

  10. Unlike Jonners reckon I went right round the rail network & got nowhere fast with this one (well 10 answered). Talk about a game of two halves. A long walk under leaden skies to pick up the car following a predictably expensive service & 2 new tyres constituted the half time break. With a fresh look a few pennies dropped & slowly but surely I made it to the finish line unaided. Looking at the completed grid I’m not sure why I drew such a blank first time around as I’m usually a bit better tuned into Ray T’s wavelength. Agree with CS that the NE was certainly the trickiest – 5a & 8d drove me potty, despite realising what the first 3 letters of the latter were. Thought 15d a bit crafty & 5a was a bit of a bung in as I didn’t know that particular euphemism for death – one of the few Palin didn’t employ when Cleese assured him the parrot was only resting. Picks for me – 11,12&23a plus 6&8d.
    Thanks to Ray T & Gazza.

  11. We wondered if there was something we had missed in 6d but looks like there isn’t.
    Thoroughly enjoyable solve once again.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  12. Morning all! Again, completely forgot what day it was. Anyway, my thanks to Gazza for the analysis, and to all for your comments.


    1. Hi Mr T – thought you’d remember the date eventually. I reckon that like the rest of us, lockdown fever has interfered with your time clock. Don’t worry, I can rarely remember what month we’re in let alone individual days of the week!
      Thank goodness you can still produce excellent puzzles and I’ve got enough brain power left to solve them………

    2. Thank you for a cracking puzzle, Mr T: a great challenge, enjoyable and very satisfying.

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