Toughie 608

Toughie No 608 by Petitjean

All Our Yesterdays

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

Undeterred by the quartet of double unches I enjoyed this puzzle with its mini-theme of singers from the 1950s and 1960s. There are quite a few easy ones to give you a good start on solving the trickier clues.
All comments, as usual, are welcome and please take the time to click on one of the stars below to indicate your enjoyment rating.

Across Clues

5a  Craven character stifling cry of pain (6)
{COWARD} – put an odd or amusing character around (stifling) an exclamation of pain to make a spiritless person (craven, which can be a noun as well as an adjective).

8a  Famous Belgian caught in unruly maul gets protection (8)
{UMBRELLA} – how many famous Belgians can you name? The one we want here is Jacques, the singer-songwriter. Put his surname inside (caught in) an anagram (unruly) of MAUL to make the protection which was also one of the trademarks of another famous Belgian, the surrealist painter René Magritte.

9a  Overrule unpopular veto for a change (7)
{OUTVOTE} – a short word meaning unpopular or not in favour is followed by an anagram (for a change) of VETO.

10a  Lively joint denied late closing time (5)
{BRISK} – start with a joint of meat from the breast of an animal and remove the last letter (closing) of (lat)E and T(ime) to leave an adjective meaning lively.

11a  Self-important drunk goes round knocking back vermouth accompanied by jerk (9)
{EGOTISTIC} – an anagram (drunk) of GOES contains a reversal (knocking back) of Italian vermouth. Finally, add a facial jerk to make an adjective meaning self-important.

13a  Risky diversion when journey is interrupted by problem with service (8)
{ROULETTE} – a diversion which is risky (to your bank balance) comes from a journey or course around (interrupted by) a problem with a service on the tennis court.

14a  Could it be Wayne is not paying attention? (6)
{ASLEEP} – one of these (1,5) could be Wayne, the diminutive dancer.

17a/19a  Try a restaurant meal with no starter or light entree — and everything in French! (3,3)
{EAT OUT} – the definition here is “try a restaurant”. The setter, unusually, gives us two ways of getting the first two letters – a) a meal without its first letter (with no starter), or b) the initial letters (light) of E(ntree) A(nd). The last four letters are the French word for everything.

19a  See 17a

20a  Illegal rave held in empty town pub (6)
{TAVERN} – insert an anagram (illegal) of RAVE in an empty T(ow)N.

23a  Villain lied over running amok (4-4)
{EVIL-DOER} – the villain is an anagram (running amok) of LIED OVER.

26a  Da Vinci work — no thanks to Tate — is free from criticism (9)
{VINDICATE} – the definition is free from criticism, as a verb. It’s an anagram (work) of DA VINCI followed by (ta)TE without the small word for thanks.

28a  ‘Transport Brits out of Oz!’ gets backing? (5)
{MOPED} – the question mark is definitely needed here! It’s a means of transport which, if reversed (backing), could possibly be an instruction to rid Australia of Brits.

29a  Religious glibness taking the edge off social gathering (7)
{UNCTION} – remove the initial F from a social gathering to leave the oily smarminess or religious glibness exemplified by Trollope’s Rev. Obadiah Slope.

30a  Whenever surrounded by aristocracy, turn posh (8)
{GENTRIFY} – this is a verb meaning to turn something posh. Put a conjunction meaning whenever inside a social class (aristocracy). Chambers does give aristocracy as one of the meanings although I always thought that this class was one level below the aristocracy (still, I’m just a pleb so I really know nothing of these upper classes).

31a  Coax ‘Heroin’ number out of John Cale on tour (6)
{CAJOLE} – John Cale is another singer-songwriter and musician who was a founding member of The Velvet Underground. Remove (out) the abbreviations for H(eroin) and N(umber) from his name and make an anagram (on tour) of what remains.

Down Clues

1d  In short this is no analgesic (6)
{NUMBER} – something that takes away the pain is a word for which the short form is no. Superb!

2d  Old spartan picked up stroke (7)
{OBLIQUE} – O(ld) is followed by an adjective that sounds like (picked up) an adjective meaning spartan or austere to make a stroke/solidus.

3d  Squeal with alarm about one exploiting workers (9)
{BEEKEEPER} – an exclamation or squeal expressing fright is contained in (with .. about) a personal alarm or pager to make someone benefiting from the labours of workers.

4d  Cartel spilled blood (6)
{CLARET} – an anagram (spilled) of CARTEL gives us a slang term for blood.

5d  Marine biologist’s force out in cold water of the Loire? (8)
{COUSTEAU} – the surname of a French oceanographer, marine conservationist and documentary maker is formed by putting a verb to force out between C(old) and the French word for water.

6d  Married women’s relaxed views (5)
{WIVES} – an anagram (relaxed) of VIEWS.

7d  Cruelly retire an old family servant (8)
{RETAINER} – an anagram (cruelly?) of RETIRE AN gives an old family servant.

12d/21d  Be ready to go for complete collection (3,3)
{GET SET} – double definition – be ready/to go for complete collection.

15d  Beatles first to abandon Billy J Kramer for one in tie (9)
{STALEMATE} – Billy J Kramer is an example (for one) of someone in the same organisation as the Beatles (they were both managed by Brian Epstein). Remove (abandon) the first letter of B(eatles) from a word meaning someone belonging to the same training establishment to leave a chess position counting as a draw or tie.

16d  Otherwise ideal ranch hands wanting accommodation there (8)
{HACIENDA} – this is a sort of semi-all-in-one – i.e. it’s a place of accommodation on a ranch. Make an anagram (otherwise) of IDEA(l) (r)ANCH after removing L(eft) and R(ight) (hands wanting).

18d  A born romantic’s last to show excessive affection for personal story (8)
{ANECDOTE} – the definition is personal story. String together A, a French word (masculine) meaning born, the last letter of (romanti)C and a verb to show excessive affection.

21d  See 12d

22d  Copper coming up with less than helpful suggestion for swimmer (7)
{DOLPHIN} – a less-than-flattering slang term for a police officer is reversed (coming up, in a down clue) and followed by most of (less than) a helpful suggestion to make a swimmer of interest to 5d (and to Prolixic).

24d  Maybe ex-GI Elvis mostly entertained with a voice like this (6)
{VELVET} – a description of a smooth voice is constructed from an American abbreviation for an ex-serviceman (maybe ex-GI) containing more than half (mostly) of the letters of Elvis.

25d  Overnight flight has heads of European delegations enthusiastically getting stuck into whisky (3-3)
{RED-EYE} – this is a slang term for an overnight flight. Put the initial letters (heads) of European Delegations Enthusiastically inside (getting stuck into) a type of whisky.

27d  The same simple song with another ending (5)
{DITTO} – replace the last letter of a simple song to make a word meaning the same.

I liked 28a (because it made me laugh), 3d and 15d but my favourite clue today, for its elegant simplicity, is 1d. Let us know which ones you liked.


  1. Qix
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff, very enjoyable.

    It’s not often that you see a Velvet Underground reference in a cryptic crossword!

    • Libellule
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Its not just the John Cale reference, but “Heroin” is actually a song on the Velve’s 1967 debut album, “The Velvet Underground & Nico”. Superb stuff. I had the pleasure of seeing them in London when they did their European Tour in 1993. As such 31a gets my vote as best clue.

      • gazza
        Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for that, Libellule. The heroin reference passed me by completely.

        • Libellule
          Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

          And here is an appropriate link.

          • Qix
            Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

            I saw them on the ’93 tour as well, in Edinburgh.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Superb stuff thank you Petitjean, even if 15d did start me remembering Billy J Kramer songs that are probably best forgotten :) Thanks to Gazza too for yet another excellent and well-illustrated review. Yet again we like the same clues – great minds eh!

  3. Phil
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    I was taught that the abbreviation for Number, ‘No.’, should always include the full stop, and Chambers Dictionary agrees with this, therefore as clever as 1d appears to be it is in fact incorrect.

    15d: Aside from the fact that the Beatles and Billy J Kramer were under the same management, what in the clue indicates that it is referring to them being stablemates. I understand how the clue is supposed to work, but I don’t see anything that explains the stablemate element. Please advise on what I’m missing

    • gazza
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      1d It’s cryptic licence isn’t it? Full-stops and other punctuation marks are often omitted in clues. If it were the other way round and we had to enter the abbreviation for number in an answer then there’s no way of putting the full-stop in.
      15d. The “for one” indicates that BJK is just an example of this, but other than that you’re right – it’s not defined explicitly. I’d be surprised if many people got the answer in any way other than the way I did, i.e. a) notice that “stalemate” fits the grid and is a tie, b) work out that with B added the original word would have to be stablemate, c) confirm that both sets of artists were under the same management.

      • crypticsue
        Posted August 3, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

        When I was at secretarial college back in 1969, there was a fairly new regime introduced at the time where we didn’t have to put a full stop after Mr and Mrs and initials and also after things like No when it meant number. I find it very odd now to see such things with full stops and I agree with Gazza that you certainly couldn’t have them in crosswords.

        • Phil
          Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          I have to say I’m not too happy about answers where there is supposed to be an apostrophe, full stop or hyphen in the word(s) which is not included in the answer, unless it is indicated as such in the clue (hyphens tend to be indicated but not apostrophes for some reason).

          I just think that to write the clue correctly somehow the clue should have been written with a full stop after no.

          As another example, ‘n.o.’ means not out. Would it be acceptable to write ‘no’ to mean not out? I’m not sure it would.

          My main issue is that cryptic crosswords are hard enough as they are without anonalies such as this!

  4. pegasus
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Very entertaining offering from Petitjean, I couldn’t argue with Gazza’s favourites but I’ll also throw in 2d and 22d. Thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for an excellent review.

  5. pommers
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Nice puzzle and not too hard for a Toughie! Perhaps my brain is just in gear today.
    Thanks Gazza for explaining 16d. Got the answer and as far as the IDEA(l) bit but couldn’t see the rest so gave up thinking and had a look at the blog! Agree with your favourites.
    Thanks to Petitjean for the entertainment.

  6. Prolixic
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

    Many thanks to PJ for an enjoyable toughie and to Gazza for the review. Favourite clue was 3d.

    I think we need a new challenge for our esteemed setters, which is to devise a crossword that cannot be illustrated with a picture of a scantily clad woman.

    • crypticsue
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

      When I commented to Gazza that the last Virgilius I blogged didn’t have any scope for pictures, he tried to convince me that ‘Norfolk Broads’ might be an opportunity, were I to employ some lateral thinking :D Luckily for all of us, I thought sensibly… :).

    • AtH1900
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      As Gazza suggests, there can be no crossowrd wherein at least one clue cannot, with sufficient lateral thinking, be illustrated with a picure of an attractive woman (or man, for the ladies), scantily clad or otherwise. [Pictures of scantily-clad unattractive women should not be used under any circumstances. Oops! Is my non-PC-ness showing?]

    • pommers
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      There’s always a way! Take my piccy for 11a in Jay’s back pager!

  7. andy
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    On first look through I thought heck, there’s no way in!! Then slowly it all came together. Agree with Pommers needed help in parsing 16d. I originally had veiled (for reasons i know not) but wasn’t sure, kept mulling it over and that was my penny moment drop of the day. Agree with 28a and 1d as favourites. Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza for review

  8. Jezza
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Petitjean for the puzzle, and to Gazza for the review.
    Favourite clues 1d, and 16d.

  9. AtH1900
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    I scratched my head for a while over 17a/19a. I removed STARTER from RESTAURANT and L (entree of LIGHT) from MEAL to leave UANMEA … and the checking letters A and U fitted. When my scalp turned bloody I wondered whether I was being too obtuse … and I was. 5d brought back memories of ‘The Undersea World’ and ‘Calypso’. Great stuff in the ’60s. 1d was my favuorite, an old answer with a fresh clue … maybe the days of the tired old clues are numbered. Sorry!

  10. Posted August 3, 2011 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    From the Urban Dictionary: “unch: The entire crotch area of a human being, with emphasis on the lower part of the genitalia.” I keep reading about ‘double unches’ but I was always afraid to ask, now I’m glad I didn’t!

  11. AtH1900
    Posted August 3, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Gazza, whilst the gentry rank below nobility they are still classically [pun intended] aristocracy. However, modern use (from the mid-Victorian era) includes the landed (albeit today likely mortgaged to the hilt) ‘middle class’.

    • gazza
      Posted August 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for that.

  12. Posted August 3, 2011 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjpyable puzzle today from Petitjean – many thanks to him (when is he going to properly credit me on his Wiki page – I can send the permalink to the quotation!!).
    Loved the musical references. Many thanks too to gazza for the review and the helpful illustrations.

    • Posted August 3, 2011 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

      p.s. – bless you for the Jacques Brel link!