Toughie 2959 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2959

Toughie No 2959 by Beam
Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have an enjoyable puzzle from Beam with his usual economy of words (no clue contains more than six words which is a remarkable feat). Thanks to him.

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

Across Clues

1a Gladiator scraps about cheers nearly ended (9)
SPARTACUS: a verb meaning scraps or fights containing a short word meaning cheers or thanks and all but the last letter of a verb meaning ended or discontinued.

6a Struggle with belief (4)
VIEW: a verb to struggle and the abbreviation for ‘with’.

10a Ascent of Conservative member (5)
CLIMB: an abbreviation for Conservative and a bodily member.

11a Branch or agency covering foreign city (9)
ANCHORAGE: hidden in the clue.

12a The main man, in the main (7)
ADMIRAL: a neat cryptic definition of a top naval person.

13a Unlucky over without taking duck (7)
OMINOUS: the cricket abbreviation for over and a preposition meaning without or lacking containing the duck-resembling letter.

14a Going outside, catching cold, causing fever (8)
EXCITING: a present participle meaning ‘going outside’ contains the tap abbreviation for cold.

16a Fancy clubs with dance party (5)
CRAVE: the abbreviation for the card suit clubs and a large dance party.

19a Abrupt end to Celt language (5)
TERSE: the end letter of Celt and a Gaelic language.

21a Cut charge on shoestring (8)
LACERATE: a charge or cost follows another word for shoestring.

24a Plod arrests nabbing one with ecstasy (7)
TRAIPSE: a verb meaning arrests or captures contains the Roman numeral for one. Finish with the abbreviation for the drug ecstasy.

25a Look almost sweet after hard trim (7)
HAIRCUT: a look or demeanour and an adjective meaning sweet or attractive without its last letter follow the pencil abbreviation for hard.

27a Following proper sex this compiler’s crude (9)
PRIMITIVE: string together an adjective meaning proper or prudish, a short word for sex and the contracted form of the compiler has from his viewpoint.

28a Try hitching up motorway, backpacking initially (5)
THUMB: initial letters.

29a Hypocrisy from bank (4)
CANT: double definition, the second a verb to bank or tilt.

30a Shocking former sweetheart, guy accepts resistance (9)
EXECRABLE: assemble a prefix meaning former, Beam’s usual swEetheart and the sort of guy that might prevent your tent collapsing with the abbreviation for electrical resistance inserted.

Down Clues

1d Ceremony broadcast without a crowd (9)
SACRAMENT: a verb meaning broadcast or transmitted goes around A and a verb to crowd or stuff.

2d Adult kiss on island revealing truth (5)
AXIOM: the film abbreviation for adult and the letter used to signify a kiss are followed by an island in the Irish sea.

3d Naked wearing rubbish silk (7)
TABARET: a synonym for naked goes inside a word for rubbish or shoddy stuff. Not a word I knew but the wordplay is clear.

4d Be faithful embracing unrefined toadying (8)
CRAWLING: a verb meaning to be faithful or adhere to contains an adjective meaning unrefined.

5d Part of church in deterioration’s uplifted (6)
SECTOR: inset the abbreviation for the established church in England into a word for deterioration or decline with its ‘S. Now reverse the lot.

7d What aroma nicely rising enshrouds lover (9)
INAMORATA: hidden in reverse.

8d Makes water, obscuring pupils primarily (5)
WEEPS: an all-in-one clue. A verb meaning makes water or micturates contains the first letter of pupils.

9d Heavenly region around stellar twelve revolving (6)
ZODIAC: reverse a one-letter abbreviation for about or approximately, an abbreviation meaning stellar or first-class and an abbreviation meaning twelve.

15d Japan maybe supporting auto plant (9)
CARNATION: what Japan is an example of follows an automobile.

17d Charming losing Democrat fit for office (9)
ELECTABLE: start with an adjective meaning charming without its initial letter which is the abbreviation for Democrat.

18d Bare below? Possibly change material (8)
CASHMERE: an adjective meaning bare or meagre follows what might be the sort of change found in your purse or pocket.

20d Clairvoyance with endless practice produces life (6)
ESPRIT: the abbreviation for clairvoyance and a practice or tradition without its last letter.

22d One overcomes after firstly escaping bailiff (7)
EVICTOR: someone who overcomes or wins the day follows the first letter of escaping.

23d Symbol of French corruption (6)
DEVICE: the French word for ‘of’ and a synonym of corruption or iniquity.

24d Head in charge? It’s debatable (5)
TOPIC: an adjective meaning head or pre-eminent and the abbreviation meaning ‘in charge.

26d Empty catacomb contains curious piece (5)
CRUMB: the outer letters of catacomb contain an adjective meaning curious or strange.

The clues I liked most were 11a, 12a, 8d, 9d and 18d. Which ones made the cut for you?

19 comments on “Toughie 2959
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  1. It’s hard to know where to start commenting on a Beam puzzle, because they are always so beautifully crafted and concise. The attention to detail is quite superb, and the solving process so rewarding. Even the odd obscurity can be teased out through the tight wordplay.

    As for a favourite, the lurker at 11a was really good, but I went for 9d.

    Thanks to Mr T and Gazza.

  2. Very enjoyable, with the usual clever and concise wordplay on show throughout
    I liked 27a along with 9&18d (where the “ignore all punctuation” mantra was particularly apposite) but my favourite has to be the amusing 8d.
    Many thanks Beam and Gazza.

  3. Got off to a really good start but then our setter led me down several garden paths – 11a,5&9d being the villains of the piece.
    I did need to check on the 3d silk and invariably trip up with the spelling of 30a, today being no exception……..
    25&28a made me smile although the ‘gentlemen’ representing the former would probably just make me laugh out loud!

    Devotions to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Gazza for the review and great selection of cartoons.

  4. Beam is a great setter, just the right degree of difficulty for me, with fair and amusing clues. Have to confess needed help with 5dand 9d; COD was 15d [ possibly as my son in law used to work for Honda!].

  5. What joy again on a Thursday. Silvanus and Mr K in harness for the back-pager combined with Beam and Gazza for the Toughie.

    This Toughie was nicely challenging and a masterpiece of brevity with only 3d, which was a new word for me, requiring a BRB check.

    Every time I thought, “brilliant – that’s my favourite” another clue popped up to take its place so I am going to opt completely out of picking even a podium choice.

    Many thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  6. What a great day for us solvers–Silvanus over there and Beam over here–so what more could we ask for? 3d was new to me but did ring a dim bell once I confirmed my answer. Beyond that, the solve went smoothly and rather quickly for this masterful setter. It helps me to remember, once Mr T dons his Beam cap, that I need not worry about unscrambling anagrams. I think I’ll go with 5d as my favourite because it was my LOI once I stopped cataloguing all of the parts of a church I could remember–how’s that for sending me up the wrong path? Thanks to Gazza and Beam.

  7. Medium difficulty from Beam,just right for a Thursday and a most enjoyable experience to while away a dark and dreary Cheshire rainy day.
    Bit of a hold up in the NE corner until I spotted the lurkers.
    Thanks to Gazza for the pics.3d was new to me too
    Going for a ***/****

  8. Absolutely top drawer from Beam as usual, really the best crossword of the week. 3d was new to me but very fairly clued. I was also looking for part of a church for 5 down until I wrote the letters I had horizontally, them it dawned on me and became my cotd. Thanks to Beam and Gazza.

  9. I knew I wouldn’t be able to finish the Toughie – even before my head went wrong eighteen months ago I rarely finished Toughies but . . . .
    I’m not sure the world in Crosswordland has come to when the back page was SO hard that I had to have a go at the Beam toughie in hope for a bit of luck to manage an answer!
    Predictably I couldn’t do everything but I did better than the back pager crossword.
    I think my favourite was 28a remembering all the times my sister and I got out our thumbs in hopes of a lift!
    Thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  10. We’re a day late getting to this one but could not resist the allure of a Beam puzzle.
    Well up to the expected standard and thoroughly enjoyed.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

  11. I have been a lurker for many years. My in-laws always did the paper crossword, and I tried to help, getting just a few clues. Big Dave has taught me well and most days I can complete the crossword, though being able to check my answers are correct during the week on the electronic site has helped enormously. I am fascinated by the style of the different setters. I certainly enjoy some puzzles more than others. My goodness, my vocabulary has improved too. Certainly 1 across was unknown to me – until today. Huge thank you to Big Dave and team. My day isn’t complete until I have finished the puzzle.

  12. Thanks to Beam and to Gazza for the review and hints. Absolutely beyond me, managed about half of it, but had to look the rest up.

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