Toughie 3023 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 3023

Toughie No 3023 by Beam
Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

Beam makes his regular appearance in the Thursday Toughie slot – thanks to him for today’s enjoyable puzzle. The absence of anagrams in his puzzles does sometimes make the parsing easier – I would probably have tried to make an anagram of 8d, for instance, if the setter had been someone else.

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

Across Clues

1a See record business in a rush (10)
EPISCOPATE: start with the abbreviation for a record then insert the abbreviation for a business into what looks like an alternative to ‘a’ and a rush or flood.

6a Dexterous, exhibiting fine touch initially (4)
DEFT: a ‘first letters’ clue.

9a Copper’s carrying very strong manacles (5)
CUFFS: the chemical symbol for copper and the ‘S contain the musical abbreviation for very strong.

10a Elaborate couturier back in glowing form (9)
EMBROIDER: reverse the name of an old French couturier (or possibly the name of the company he founded) into a glowing remnant.

12a Caught, embarrassed, facing sex’s attributes (7)
CREDITS: weld together the cricket abbreviation for caught, the colour signifying embarrassment and a short informal word for sex with the ‘S.

13a Damn solution absorbing solver’s head (5)
CURSE: a solution or remedy contains the first letter of solver.

15a Crippling game debt guarantees new charges (7)
RUINOUS: stick together the abbreviation for a 15-a-side game and our usual word for debt guarantees then insert (charges) the abbreviation for new.

16a Round container boxes before binge (7)
OVEREAT: our round letter and a container for liquid containing a poetic preposition meaning before.

18a Darlings, little individuals missing sweetheart (7)
MINIONS: an adjective meaning little and a synonym for individuals without Beam’s favourite swEetheart.

20a Ordinary container holding couple’s old hat (7)
OUTWORN: the abbreviation for ordinary and a container (for ashes or possibly The Ashes) contain the number that identifies a couple.

21a Chilli chicken containing some fruit (5)
LICHI: hidden in the clue.

23a English sailor welcoming help over beam (7)
RADIATE: staple together an abbreviation for English and an old informal word for a sailor then insert a synonym for help. Finally, reverse the lot.

25a Share everything outrageous about blokes (9)
ALLOTMENT: a word meaning everything and an abbreviation meaning outrageous contain another word for blokes.

26a Wither following this compiler’s appearance (5)
IMAGE: a verb to wither or decline follows the contracted form of ‘this compiler is’ from the setter’s viewpoint.

27a Greek god angry being rejected (4)
EROS: reverse an adjective meaning angry.

28a Cutting line in a hospital department (10)
ASTRINGENT: another word for a line or column goes between A and our usual hospital department.

Down Clues

1d Power without Queen leading individually (4)
EACH: a word for power or authority loses its first letter which is an abbreviation for queen.

2d Deviation with line drawing complaint (9)
INFECTION: start with another word for deviation or change of tone with the abbreviation for line drawing (in the sense of withdrawing).

3d Astronomer’s accepted alien one makes up (13)
COSMETOLOGIST: another word for astronomer has Spielberg’s alien inserted. I’ve never heard of the answer which is presumably a way of making a job seem more important, like using sanitation engineer for dustman.

4d Occasionally spurned girl making proposition (7)
PREMISS: regular letters from spurned and a girl’s title.

5d Label when company produces sauce (7)
TABASCO: charade of a label, a conjunction meaning when and the abbreviation for company.

7d Comparatively mature tree (5)
ELDER: double definition, the first meaning longer in the tooth.

8d Routine upset restricted European getting thinner (10)
TURPENTINE: reverse a dull routine and add a phrase (4,2) meaning restricted or confined and an abbreviation for European.

11d Setting of gold part encircling box (13)
ORCHESTRATION: our usual gold tincture and a word meaning part or 25a containing a type of box.

14d Chatter about revolting sad Oscar broadcast (10)
PROMULGATE: a verb to chatter or talk foolishly contains the reversal of an adjective meaning sad and the letter that Oscar represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

17d Free former partner married on merit (9)
EXONERATE: start with our usual former partner and add a word meaning married or united and a verb to merit or deserve.

19d Drives up taking primarily tarmacked roads (7)
STREETS: reverse a verb meaning drives or pilots containing the primary letter of tarmacked.

20d Cold’s terrible gripping senior citizen (7)
OLDSTER: our second hidden word.

22d Group with Orff’s first instrument (5)
CELLO: a word for a secret group (possibly of political activists) and the first letter of Orff.

24d Stroked/ soft fabric (4)
FELT: double definition. I did check to see if it could be a triple definition but I can’t make that work.

My top clues were 13a, 15a and 20a. Which one(s) set the standard for you?

16 comments on “Toughie 3023

  1. Six words maximum per clue, no anagrams and superbly concise and accurate. Mr T continues to amaze and confound with his brevity and wit. Quite superb, with 15a my favourite of many.

    Thanks to Beam for the challenge and to Gazza.

  2. I’ve said it before but there’s very little, if any, difference in difficulty between a middle and back-pager by this setter. Still as much fun and wit though throughout, notwithstanding the rather stretchy synonym at 18a
    1a got us off to a cracking start, 20a made me smile and I thought the lurker at 20d excellent. My prodium however is 15a plus 8&17d with special mention to 3d spot (which I assumed was a fancy name for a makeup artist), primarily for the clue but also for the cartoon illustrating it!! Good stuff.
    Many thanks Beam and Gazza.

    1. I think he’s eased off the difficulty pedal regarding his Toughies of recent months / maybe years. I remember some of his Beams were downright fiendishly difficult to solve a fair while ago. However, maybe that’s a reflection of improvement in my solving over time…?

      Thanks Gazza, Beam and the blog.

      1. Incidentally, I vaguely remember (maybe) the first RayT blog Kath did solo after her Archie and Mehitabel pairing. She said she’d had to take a deep breath and walk around the garden mid-solve. I remember that being a tough puzzle and I was rather in awe of somebody being able to solve such a thing; although I was something of a tyro back then. I wonder which puzzle number that was?

  3. I thought this was excellent. Just the right level of challenge and great fun all the way.

    It took me ages to parse both 1a and 8d. For the former, I realised quickly that I needed to justify how “a rush” could lead to ISPATE but it took quite a while for the penny to drop. For the latter, it took time to twig that there is an alternative spelling for the past tense of the required meaning of pen.

    My podium comprises 9a, 15a, 20a & 23a.

    Many thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  4. Not as easy for me as Robert’s back-page comment led me to believe it was going to be but finished it at least, unlike the other one, in a respectable time. The spellings at both 4d&21a weren’t familiar to me & there was a fair bit of head scratching parsing 1a&8d. Enjoyable as ever & nicely clued. Top 3 for me: 10,15& best of all 20a.
    Thanks to G&B

  5. I didn’t find this as straightforward as the previous commentators but I stuck at it and managed to complete and parse everything except the ‘I’ in 1a. Tremendous fun. So many contenders to cotd but I’ll go with 14d. Thanks to Rayt and Gazza.

  6. Good crossword but I still don’t fully get 1A and dislike the spelling of 4D . Otherwise fine and fairly straightforward ; agree with Gazza’s scores .Thanks to both.

    1. The 4d spelling is in the BRB.
      1a is EP (record) + I (a/one as in “I have a/one sister”) + CO (business/company) inside SPATE (rush).

  7. Medium toughness Toughie, and an enjoyable solve. I think Taylor’s choice of 14D is as good as any among the fine fruits on display. Thanks both.

  8. I do love the days when both my favourite setters are on parade. Had a bit of trouble parsing 8d as I’m not familiar with the (4,2) phrase that was required but I do know that our setter will have checked it thoroughly so was happy to take his word for it. Likewise, I’m sure he’s right with the unfamiliar spelling of 21a!
    My favourite was 10a but I also found space on the podium for 9,13,25&28a plus 19d.

    Devotions as ever to Mr T/Beam and many thanks to Gazza for the review and this week’s selection of cartoons.

  9. Found it on par with a RayT backpager.
    Enjoyable nonetheless.
    Thanks to Beam and to Gazza.

  10. Re 2d, with all the checking letters in place except 1a, initially I could not see past deflection as a synonym for deviation; that caused me a little difficulty to finish off the few I had remaining at the top.

    Very enjoyable! Thanks to Beam, and to Gazza.

  11. Late again but had to get some shut-eye after doing puzzles and reading past dawn once more (living life upside down). Like Jean-luc, I thought this Ray T gem about on a par with his backpagers, with perhaps one or two exceptions (8d & 14d–my LOI), and I thoroughly enjoyed not having to worry about anagrams (not that I dislike them). 18a is my favourite but 20a and 10a gave those ‘darlings’ a run for their money. Still, exceptionally well crafted and most appealing throughout, with not a dud in the grid. Thanks to Gazza and Beam.

  12. We had problems in the NW corner which delayed us considerably. Eventually got it all sorted though.
    Really good fun as we expect from this setter.
    Thanks Beam and Gazza.

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