Toughie 643 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 643

Toughie No 643 by Petitjean

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the …..!

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

A relatively easy solve of a puzzle that will not rank as one of Petitjean’s best.

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.


1a    Meeting to debate university entrance being restricted by class (5)
{FORUM} – this meeting to debate topics of public concern is created by inserting the initial letter (entrance) of University inside a school class

4a    Architectural row: a media centre in North-East (9)
{COLONNADE} – to get this architectural row of columns start with the punctuation mark “:” and follow it with A, from the clue, and the middle letter (centre) of meDia inside the abbreviation of North-East

9a    Quickly name Labour’s last prime minister with no end of following (6,3)
{RATTLE OFF} – this phrasal verb meaning to name quickly is a charade of the final letter (last) of LabouR, a former Prime Minister without the final E of his name (with no end), OF, from the clue, and F(ollowing) – I bet those of you who haven’t already forgotten about him were trying to fit Gordon “Prudence” Brown in there!

10a    Burn peat or charcoal nuggets (5)
{TORCH} – a verb meaning to burn is hidden inside (nuggets?) the middle three letters of the clue

11a    What landlord may do, denied right to evict (7)
{UNHOUSE} – remove (denied) the initial R(ight) from a verb that could describe what a landlord does (3,5) to get a word meaning to evict

12a    Fuss caused by mate continuing to swear (7)
{PALAVER} – this fuss is a charade of a mate and a verb meaning to swear or affirm

13a    Pacino’s outstanding in ‘Home of the German Shepherd’? (6)
{ALSACE} – a charade of actor Pacino’s first name, the ‘S from the clue and an adjective meaning outstanding gives the location associated with the German Shepherd dog

15a    Abandon endless project one’s on (8)
{JETTISON} – a verb meaning to abandon by throwing overboard is constructed from a verb meaning to project or jut out without its final letter (endless), I (one), the ‘S and ON from the clue

18a    Appalling lairy chav lacking a code of good behaviour(8)
{CHIVALRY} – an obvious anagram (appalling) of LAIRY CH(A)V without (lacking) an A gives a code of good behaviour

20a    Issue of Right infiltrating traditional power (6)
{STREAM} – a verb meaning to issue or flow is created by inserting R(ight) into the traditional form of locomotive power

23a    Turn up clutching jar for stewed fruit (7)
{COMPOTE} – take a verb meaning to turn up or arrive and then insert a jar to get this fruit stewed in syrup

24a    Granny’s enthusiastic for this stuff (7)
{NANKEEN} – a charade of another name for a Granny and an adjective meaning enthusiastic gives this buff-coloured cotton cloth

26a    Wine is all right after third of bottle (5)
{TOKAY} – this sweetish Hungarian wine is created by putting a word meaning all right (not its abbreviation) after the third letter of boTtle

27a    Tanks beginning drive back to capture revolutionary old military machine (9)
{TREBUCHET} – The initial letter (beginning) of Tanks is followed by a verb meaning to drive back around that overworked Argentinian revolutionary to get a machine used in medieval siege warfare for hurling large stones

28a    Acting boisterously in ‘Equus’? (9)
{HORSEPLAY} – a word meaning acting boisterously if split (5,4) could describe “Equus” – Christmas is still a couple of months away, but the old chestnuts are already roasting!

29a    Retrospective focusing on Gaudi — clearly a Spanish hero (2,3)
{EL CID} – Reversed and hidden (retrospective focusing) inside the clue is this Spanish hero, memorably portrayed in the eponymous film by the late Charlton Heston


1d    Grand Prix about slavishly following rules (9)
{FORMULAIC} – start with the classification used for the Grands Prix (7,1) and add the single-letter abbreviation of the Latin for about to get an adjective meaning slavishly following rules

2d    Unfortunate individual not quite getting gag (5)
{RETCH} – take an unfortunate individual and remove the initial W (not quite) to get a word meaning to gag or puke – for me “not quite” suggests dropping a letter from the end of the word not the beginning

3d    Little Miss Malone onto us about what’s on her wheelbarrow (7)
{MOLLUSC} – a shortened form of the sweet Miss Malone is followed by US, from the clue, and the same abbreviation of “about” that was used just two clues earlier to get what might be found on the young lady’s wheelbarrow

4d    Split in criticism primarily over dénouement of novel (6)
{CLOVEN} – a word meaning split, as in the hooves of cattle or sheep, is created from the initial letter (primarily) of Criticism over (in a down clue) an anagram (dénouement) of NOVEL

5d    Long-term detainee gets discharge and he lords it (4,4)
{LIFE PEER} – start with someone detained in prison for a long term and insert a discharge of urine to get someone appointed to the House of Lords

6d    Let on about alien’s brief communication (7)
{NOTELET} – reverse (about) LET ON and then add Steven Spielberg’s alien to get this brief communication

7d    Upstart’s rare visit arranged (9)
{ARRIVISTE} – this upstart or ruthlessly self-seeking person is an anagram (arranged) of RARE VISIT

8d    Clear air whether Smith initially takes leave (5)
{ETHER} – this clear air is created by removing the initials of a chain of newsagent and stationery shops from (WH)ETHER

14d    One who turns out yacht’s propellers? (9)
{SAILMAKER} – a cryptic definition of the artisan who manufactures the sheets of canvas that propel a yacht

16d    Moult no bird gets over could be proposed (9)
{NOMINATED} – put the first name of former radio personality Moult after NO, from the clue, and a bird (one of several alternate spellings) to get a word meaning proposed – is this use of a very minor celebrity, who committed suicide 25 years ago, unfair – especially to younger solvers?

17d    Relation worked in the East (8)
{ORIENTAL} – an anagram (worked) of RELATION gives a word meaning from the East – another old chestnut to throw on the fire!

19d    Not what Cagney was to Lacey anyhow (7)
{ACOLYTE} – a follower rather than a partner is an anagram (anyhow) of TO LACEY

21d    The game’s up — Rolling Stone covering bald patch! (7)
{TONSURE} – reverse the abbreviated form of a team sport and then insert into (covering) an anagram (rolling) of STONE to get a bald patch found on a monk

22d    One in seven miners showing signs of nasal irritation (6)
{SNEEZY} – one of Snow White’s seven friends has the signs of a nasal irritation

23d    Net gain (5)
{CATCH} – a double definition

25d    And here in Rome is a singular morality (5)
{ETHIC} – a charade of the Latin words for “and” and “here” gives this singular morality

This grid is unusual in that there are 32 answers, none of them less than 5 letters – perhaps certain other setters might be encouraged to use it!

12 comments on “Toughie 643

  1. Not too taxing but most enjoyable favourites were 9a 13a 8d and 27a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for the comments.

  2. Thank you for the review BD.
    Certainly could have been a back pager.
    I would agree that dear old Ted Moult would be unknown to the younger generation.
    27ac favourite for its mediaeval overtones.
    I remain uncertain about 15ac.
    Although the answer is obvious I do not get “jetty” as a verb.

  3. One of the simpler toughies more befitting to the back page, fun though! Thanks to Petitjean and to BD.

  4. ..and just when I was about to engage smug mode I discover it should have been on the back page where I belong it seems…

  5. 1* tough for me but quite enjoyable, if slightly disappointing for a Petitjean. Thanks to him – I did like 8a and 22d – and to BD too.

  6. 9a admit to thing of the prudent one. Re 16d, being one of the ‘ahem’ younger generation I vaguely remember said person as the man from the double glazing advert, but had no idea he was a radio personality. Live and learn. Thanks to Petitjean and BD

  7. A satisfying (for me) toughie solve. 7d was a new one for me…only just got used to a P…..u as an upstart,. Good to learn new words though. Liked 24a and 14d. Thanks setter and BD.

  8. Very gentel for a Petitjean Toughie – more his Tuesday or Thursday page page standard. Enjoyable but not one of his better Toughies.

  9. I would echo the comments on difficulty. There were still clues in the Petitjean stylee that made me smile (although I do believe that using Dear old Ted Moult is asking a bit much for most solvers – I solved it long before I realised the significance. Thanks to PJ and to BD for the review.

  10. Rarely look at toughie (mainly because I usually throw my hands up in horror at the first couple of clues) but today, having cut grass, dog walked AND had massive bonfire, I awarded myself time off to have a look at it. I did most of it without using the hints – was slightly disappointed to discover that it was, as toughies go, a very easy one and would have been better placed on the back page – oh well …
    I would NEVER, in a million years, have got 27a. I don’t know what the average age of DT cryptic solvers is (now there’s an interesting topic – could be worth conducting a survey?) but I have never heard of Ted Moult so, although I got the answer I couldn’t explain it.
    I thought that there were some very clever clues – 13, 24 and 28a and 1, 5 and 19d – best of all, for me, was 22d. With thanks to Petitjean, for giving me enough confidence to occasionally look at the toughie, and to Big Dave for sorting me out when it all went wrong!!

  11. Thanks to Petitjean, and to BD for the review.
    I put the answer in to 16d, then checked google to see if there was such a person as Ted Moult!

  12. Thanks to Petitjean for the puzzle and to Big Dave for the hints and review. Only needed 3 hints to complete. Found this a nice puzzle. Favourite was 13.

Comments are closed.