Toughie 593 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 593

Toughie No 593 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

A good challenge from Petitjean today which includes several bits of popular culture. This suits me because I’m much happier with popular culture than with obscure classical composers and the like that I’ve never heard of.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.


8a    Heading to Rhodes aboard old airline with the Monarch Mini-Break (8)
{BREATHER} R (first letter of Rhodes) goes inside an airline that merged with BOAC in 1974. This is followed by THE R (Monarch) to give a rest taken to recover breath

9a    Harvester meal does not include drink but has unlimited bread to start (6)
{REAPER} Someone who harvests is formed from a late-night snack from which the first three letters (a word meaning “to drink”) have been removed. This follows the middle three letters of bread

10a    Korchnoi zugzwang traps retreating piece (3)
{UZI} A piece (gun) is hidden in reverse inside KorchnoI ZUgzwang

11a    G for joint of mutton? (5-3)
{SCRAG -END} A cut of mutton (from the neck area) could be used in a cryptic clue to indicate the letter G

12a    Singer welcoming return of sanctimonious nonentity (6)
{CIPHER} A female singer who came to prominence as a duo with her husband and whose career has spanned six decades goes round a reversal of “sanctimonious” to give “nonentity”

13a    Ex-manager entertaining England with lewd retort tailored for 4 down perhaps (5-6,4)
{SEVEN-LETTER WORD} Take the first name of a former England soccer manager (the Swedish one) and put it round E (England). Than add an anagram (tailored) of LEWD RETORT to give something of which 4 down is an example

15a    Big-name rock’n’roller concealing good tenor voice (7)
{DOMINGO} The surname of an early rock and roll star (big in more than one sense of the word) whose biggest hit was Blueberry Hill goes round G (good) to give the surname of one of the Three Tenors

18a    Without hesitation discordant chorister is not one to take off (7)
{OSTRICH} An anagram (discordant) of CHORISTER without the ER (hesitation) gives a bird which cannot fly

21a    Twice 13 yet still one short here? (8,7)
{FOURTEEN LETTERS} The number of characters in two 13 across‘s is one less than the number of characters in this answer

24a    Church official not very mobile before joint operation (6)
{MERGER} A church official loses the initial V (very). This is preceded by M (mobile) to give the joint operation

25a    Ill-informed about outskirts of Toxteth, find one’s way through (8)
{UNTHREAD} “Ill-informed” goes round TH (first and last letters of Toxteth) to give “to find one’s way through”

26a    Monkey is evenly dappled (3)
{APE} Take the even letters of dApPlEd

27a    Feverish — somewhere ultimately between hot and cold — with compulsive twitching (6)
{HECTIC} “Feverish” is derived from E (the last letter of somewhere) between H and C (hot and cold) followed by a compulsive twitching

28a    Longship Raider’s new jockey losing lead (8)
{NORSEMAN} A person who made raids in a longship is derived from N (new) + a word for a jockey with the first letter removed


1d    Accident reported in Knightsbridge nursery (6)
{CRECHE} A word for a nursery (for infants) might sound like an accident as spoken in an upper-class accent

2d    Charge covering a fine house wine served in this (6)
{CARAFE} “Charge” goes round A F (fine) to give a vessel from which wine is served

3d    Given time sporting cheerleader gets urge for fun event (5-6,4)
{THREE-LEGGED RACE} T + an anagram (sporting) of CHEERLEADER goes round “to urge” to give a fun athletic event for teams of two

4d    Learned first part of etiquette: grabbing it is impolite (7)
{ERUDITE} “Learned” comes from E (first letter of etiquette) + IT inside “impolite”

5d    Off-and-on players perspiring in these? (7,8)
{CRICKET SWEATERS} These are items of clothing worn by sportsmen who may be standing on the “off” or on the “on” side of the pitch

6d    Warm, open, flexible workforce (8)
{MANPOWER} An anagram (flexible) of WARM OPEN gives “workforce”

7d    After Police nothing Clapton put out is particularly fast (8)
{METEORIC} An abbreviation for the London police force + O (nothing) inside the first name of the guitarist Mr Clapton gives “particularly fast”

14d    Energy is one third vigour plus a bit of muscle (3)
{VIM} Energy is derived from one-third of the word “Vigour” + M (bit of muscle)

16d    Counter stink in US involving New York art museum and nude bottom (8)
{ODOMETER} A counter (for measuring distance) is obtained form the US spelling of a word meaning “stink” going round an abbreviation for a New York art museum + E (last letter of nude)

17d    Angry about equipment getting wet (8)
{IRRIGATE} “Angry” goes round equipment to give “to wet”

19d and 22d    He backed his wife missing start to walk with English painter (3,6)
{IKE TURNER} The answer is the husband of a very successful female singer (simply the best!) who sang with her in the 1960’s on hits such as River Deep and Mountain High. His name is derived from “walk” without the first letter + the surname of an English artist

20d    Add essence of rum after taking top off acrid-smelling ointment (7)
{UNGUENT} U (middle letter of rum) goes inside “acrid-smelling” with the first letter removed to give an ointment

22d    See 19 down

23d    Flying Squad officer protecting a president (6)
{REAGAN} The name of one of the main characters in the TV series The Sweeney (Sweeney Todd = Flying Squad) goes round A to give a former president of the USA

I enjoyed this one and thought it was about the right standard for a Toughie

17 comments on “Toughie 593

  1. I didn’t find this as much fun as previous petitjeans and also found it rather a lot easier. That said I waited for ages to get 21a and the 19/22d clues (I kicked myself on the latter!). I thought that the references between 4d/13a/21a a bit weak in terms of a Toughie puzzle. 11a jumped out at me immediately but I wonder if others found it a bit unfair. 15a was fun and nice to see Old Slow Hand popping up as usual!. Thanks to Bufo and to petitjean.

  2. I too thought this easier than previous PJ Toughies. No complaints and enjoyable to solve on the way to work. Like the Gnome 11a went straight in! Favourite clues were 16d and 15a. Many thanks to Petitjean for the crossword and to Bufo for the review.

    1. 11a used to be very popular – perhaps in these straightened economic times, it will make a return.

      1. Had some recently – great in a stew. I think you mean straitened – if the economy were straight then we wouldn’t all be wondering what’s around the corner!
        (sorry – couldn’t resist! ;-) )

  3. Not the toughest toughie – it took me exactly the same time as the back page – but I would definitely give it 4* for enjoyment. My favourite clue was 19/22. Thanks to Petijean and Bufo.

  4. I quite liked this one. Not convinced about the homophone in 1d, other than that no complaints from me.
    Thanks to Petitjean, and to Bufo for the notes.

    1. I was going to mention that – I would have thought that the Knightsbridge accent would be somewhere between Russia and the Middle East at the moment!

  5. Most enjoyable but fairly straightforward crossword from Petitjean today, definitely not the hardest this week but good fun. I loved all four of the big clues. Pedantry I know but I didn’t think an ape and a monkey were the same. Thanks Petitjean and Bufo for the review. ( By the way, maybe it’s the Scots accent I’m usedt to but I liked the homophone in 1d, it’s how I imagine they talk in Knightsbridge. )

    1. That’ll be the old question, “What do the do about sex in Edinburgh?”, with the answer, “Och; they usually have tea.”

      I had too many interruptions all day to concentrate on the Toughie. Which was a shame, because I liked it overall. Albeit, I found 21a a tad annoying.

  6. No complaints – a satisfying solve. Just a tiny edit needed in the answer to 23d Bufo.

  7. No complaints from me either, thoroughly enjoyable solve favourites for me 11a 5d and 19/22d thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for the comments.

  8. I must have had the ‘slightly mad’ hat on today as I didn’t find this one too hard!
    Lots of good clues but I think has to be 11a.
    Very enjoyable puzzle and a good review so thanks to Petitjean and Bufo.

  9. Thanks to Petijean for a very enjoyable puzzle,and thanks to Bufo for the review.Sorry for posting this so late, but I was trying to finish my first Toughie ever.I came close, but needed the hints for 15&24 across, which enabled me to get 16&17 down.favourites were 11,13 & 21across.Some very ingenious clues, great fun.

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