Toughie 2711 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2711

Toughie No 2711 by Beam

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

You know what to expect from Beam and this one was probably less tricky than we sometimes get from him with the synonyms not quite as stretched as usual. Thanks to him for the entertainment.

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

Across Clues

1a Dangers of weapon’s gripping ​​short butt (7)
MENACES: a weapon plus the ‘S surrounds a butt without its last letter. The weapon could be either a spiked club or a disabling spray.

5a Mother’s endless worry? Answer is cosmetic (7)
MASCARA: assemble an affectionate word for mother, a verb to worry without its final letter and the abbreviation for answer.

9a More treacherous European dropped by more deceitful (7)
SNAKIER: a comparative meaning more deceitful loses its first abbreviation for European.

10a Spleen’s absorbing single spirits (7)
WRAITHS: a word for spleen or bad temper contains the letter resembling a single.

11a Clothes sturdily made, head to tail (9)
TRAPPINGS: start with an adjective meaning sturdily made or brawny and move its first letter to the end.

12a Musical ability not needed in Eurovision initially (5)
ANNIE: the initial letters of five words in the clue.

13a Old man keeping almost slow and square (5)
PLAZA: a short word for one’s old man containing an adjective meaning slow or lackadaisical without its last letter.

15a Free more time embracing nearly frigid sweetheart (9)
EXTRICATE: a synonym for more and the abbreviation for time contain an adjective meaning frigid without its last letter. Finish with Beam’s usual swEetheart.

17a Has a turn in end maintaining grave (9)
SATURNINE: a hidden word.

19a Horned animals attack hikers finally (5)
GOATS: a phrasal verb to attack followed by the final letter of hikers.

22a Explorer died by rifle (5)
DRAKE: the genealogical abbreviation for died precedes a verb to rifle or comb through.

23a Grand chap’s tense facing single old bag? (9)
GLADSTONE: knit together the abbreviation for grand ($1000), a young chap plus his ‘S, the grammatical abbreviation for tense and a word meaning single.

25a Part of Airbnb booking, possibly housing people (7)
ELEMENT: what could possibly mean accommodation booked online (1-3) contains a word for people.

26a Frenchman adopting say, daughter, went back (7)
RENEGED: one of our usual French male forenames contains the abbreviation meaning ‘say’. Append the abbreviation for daughter.

27a Left eviscerated in precipitous retreat (7)
SHELTER: insert the outer letters of left into an adjective meaning precipitous or very steep.

28a Become hot mess following start of summer (7)
SWELTER: a word meaning a mess or a confused mass follows the starting letter of summer.

Down Clues

1d Indiscretion with girl upset sweetheart (7)
MISSTEP: yoke together the title used for a girl and the reversal of an endearment such as sweetheart.

2d Falls once more over trap’s middle (7)
NIAGARA: reverse an adverb meaning ‘once more’ and add the middle letters of trap.

3d Piece about Republican producing tweet (5)
CHIRP: a piece (of wood or potato possibly) contains the abbreviation for Republican.

4d Plain girl’s first in cool sex tips (9)
SERENGETI: insert the first letter of girl in an adjective meaning cool or calm and finish by reversing an informal word for sex.

5d Yours truly walks oddly and whines (5)
MEWLS: a pronoun identifying ‘yours truly’ and odd letters from walks.

6d Marine is a force in extreme environment (9)
SEAFARING: insert A and an abbreviation for force into an adjective meaning extremely hot.

7d Insect queen raised sentient thing (7)
ANTENNA: stick together an insect and the reversal of a Stuart queen

8d Simple stone in gold, shell-like, for quotation (7)
AUSTERE: insert the abbreviation for a stone avoirdupois between the chemical symbol for gold and what sounds like the thing that shell-like is an informal term for.

14d Welcome holding hands after a union (9)
AGREEMENT: a verb to welcome containing a word for hands or workers follows A.

16d Sign put outside the man’s storehouse (9)
THESAURUS: a sign of the Zodiac contains the contracted form of ‘the man is’.

17d Sailors send a signal up limiting distress (7)
SADNESS: our second hidden word but this one is reversed.

18d Swing door fronting facility for the audience (7)
TRAPEZE: a type of door precedes a homophone of a synonym for facility or effortlessness.

20d Stress consumes doctor within (7)
AMONGST: a word meaning stress or anxiety contains one of the abbreviations for a doctor.

21d Meagre usurer after shilling (7)
SLENDER: someone who could be a usurer (though he/she is not necessarily so) follows the abbreviation for shilling.

23d Snapper with good roll used up (5)
GATOR: the abbreviation for good and the reversal of a roll or register.

24d Seeing that transgression is supported by Church (5)
SINCE: a transgression precedes one of or common abbreviations for church.

Top clues for me were the amusing 12a, 4d and 8d. Which one(s) did the business for you?

27 comments on “Toughie 2711

    1. Not sure I’ve ever made the first comment before. I printed off both the Toughie and the Backpager and accidentally started on the Toughie first by mistake – which explains it, I suppose. I might repeat the mistake again in the future.

  1. It took me a while but I got there in the end, all on my own, and loved every minute of it. Beam in his element, and I on the right wavelength, happily. I’ve had an most unusual cryptic week, doing much better with the Toughies than with the backpagers. Topsy-turvy, I know, but I’ll take it. I’ll go along with Gazza’s top picks but just about any trio would serve. Thanks to Gazza and to Beam.

  2. Cracking puzzle, “proper job” as they say down here in the far south west! Thoroughly enjoyable, a Toughie but not overly so. Slowed in the SW, and 17d my LOI: “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again … and then look for the sodding lurker”.

    As soon as I read 1d I realised this was a Beam puzzle, and was tempted to write in large capitals across the top of my printout “Don’t waste time : No Anagrams!”.

    Several ticks for HMs – 5d, 16d, 13a – but my COTD was 25a.

    2.5* / 4*

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review.

  3. I always enjoy a Ray T puzzle for so many reasons, but especially the conciseness of his clues. 12a has to be my favourite just because it reads so well. 23 and 25a were right up there too.

    Thanks to Beam for a fun and enjoyable challenge and to Gazza for his comments.

  4. Getting a little more selective about which Toughies to tackle and this was my sole pick for this week. Certainly didn’t disappoint and it’s hard work to select just a few for the podium. After much cogitation I’ve opted for 23a along with 8&16d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Gazza for the review and cartoons.

  5. What a great Toughie this was – a joy from start to finish with 25a my favourite.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  6. A mixture of cluing today with some difficult parsing, thought that 25a must have been a spelling mistake before Mrs B enlightened me! and my favourite once the checking letters went in.
    Last in was 27a, took a while to apply the evisceration.
    Lots of enjoyment,thanks to Beam and Gazza-Elgar awaits.

  7. Would love to say I made easier work of this than Giovanni’s back pager but it was a similarly tooth pulling solve. I did at least get over the line unaided with this one though it took me an age to get my first answer into the west having completed the east. As ever with this setter hugely enjoyable though I do often struggle to get on his wavelength & once the penny has dropped you think why on earth has it taken so long. The brain clearly not functioning today as both 17a&d went in before realising they were lurkers. Among many fine clues 9,10,12&26a plus 2,4,8&16d would be my picks with 4d in top spot.
    Thanks to Mr T & Gazza.

  8. Spent a long while with an incorrect answer in 15a which held me up until 16d forced a rethink. The rest was a relatively straightforward affair. I liked 9a and 11a.

    Thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  9. Beam at his best. How does one pick a favourite? If pushed I’d go for 11a. Many thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  10. I’m glad I didn’t waste too much time on this Stretched synonyms and no anagrams just put me off. Sorry. That said I liked the feminine 5a and felt 23a referred to the GOM of dubious Victorian politics

  11. I can’t say that I ever got on a roll with this but I did enjoy teasing out each solution and appreciating the skill and precision of the wordplay as I did so.
    Top three for me are 23&25a plus 20d.
    Many thanks to Mr T and Gazza for an outstanding puzzle and review.

  12. Evening all. My thanks to Gazza for the analysis and to everybody else for your observations. I’m glad that most people enjoyed it.


    1. Thanks, Ray T, for a most wonderful puzzle, the best of the week by far. I remembered being told ‘no anagrams in a Beam Toughie’ a couple of weeks ago and that made my solving even more of an achievement for me.

    2. Good evening, Mr T, and thank you for popping in as usual. Another excellent puzzle that wrong-footed me on occasions but it all ‘came good’ in the end.

  13. Thoroughly enjoyable solve and we remembered to keep chanting “Don’t look for anagrams” which is always a help with Beam puzzles.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  14. Really enjoyed this. RayT is the master of the lurker (17a being a cracking example). Many thanks to RayT and to Gazza for the blog (especially the parsing of 27a).

  15. I always look forward to a Ray T / Beam. I’m usually a day late starting. As usual an excellent puzzle. What I enjoy about these puzzles, is it’s actually straightforward and it just needs me to sort it out. At the same time it’s a real challenge to do that! I loved so many of these as they gradually fell into place. Last ones were 1a,1d and 9a which needed a little electronic help to cross the line. There are not enough superlatives to adequately thank Ray T for his puzzles. And thank you Gazza for hints which were not actually needed for once although I always enjoy the read.

  16. I must confess I came here today solely to check how 5 d represents a sentient thing.

    Am I alone in missing this?

    Other than that, I found this thoroughly enjoyable, if a smidgen tougher than Gazza’s rating might suggest.

    Huge thanks as always to Beam and Gazza.

    1. Sentient means ‘able to feel things’ or ‘responsive to stimulus’ and an antenna is an insect’s feeler.

      1. I’ve been arguing myself out of this in that an antenna, while being part of the creature’s sensory system, isn’t in itself sentient.

        Perhaps I should get out more.

  17. An excellent puzzle solved whilst looking out to sea. Tremendous fun all the way through to the last one in 17 across, the hidden or included word which I should have spotted sooner. Thanks to RayT for the fun and the third great Toughie this week. Thanks to Gazza for the review

Comments are closed.