Toughie 748 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 748

Toughie No 748 by Petitjean

A Good Run Out

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

I enjoyed this puzzle from Petitjean and I thought it was pitched at just the right level of difficulty, though its cricketing references may make it a bit trickier for those unfamiliar with the Summer game.
Let us know how you got on and please take the time to signal your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Coup as Manx cat brought about end of rat before church (6)
{PUTSCH} – a Manx cat has no tail so we want an informal word for a cat without its final S. This goes round the end letter of (ra)T, then finish with an abbreviation of church.

5a  Injured Ponting almost stopping practice session comeback (8)
{STRICKEN} – the definition here is injured. The forename of the recent Australian cricket captain Mr Ponting gets truncated (almost) and this is inserted (stopping) in a practice session for batsmen which has to be reversed (comeback).

9a  Local development opponent against Lincolnshire town switching memorial’s boundaries admitting nothing orally (3,2,5)
{NIL BY MOUTH} – this is a note that you may see above a patient’s bed in hospital (also the title of a 1997 British film starring Ray Winstone). We want an acronym for someone who comes up with many reasons why a proposed sewage plant, mental hospital, telephone mast or whatever should not be sited anywhere near where he lives, followed by a town in the Lincolnshire Wolds. But there’s more – the extreme (boundaries) letters of M(emoria)L have to be switched.

10a  Music producer loves capturing big opening chord (4)
{OBOE} – a musical instrument comes from a couple of letters that look like zero (loves) around (capturing) the opening letter of B(ig), finishing with a musical chord.

11a  Long jumper perhaps put on strip before covering Nike top (8)
{KNITWEAR} – a long (or even short) jumper is an example of this. A verb to put on clothes is preceded (before) by a sports strip containing (covering) the top letter of N(ike).

12a  Maybe Prince of Wales will accept cost over stay (4,2)
{BEEF UP} – this is a phrasal verb meaning to stay or strengthen. What Prince of Wales is an example of contains (will accept) a synonym for cost charged, then the whole lot has to be reversed (over).

13a  Half-hour in support group produces advance warning of migraine (4)
{AURA} – this was my last answer as I didn’t know that this word can mean ‘the peculiar sensations that precede an attack of epilepsy, hysteria or certain other ailments’. Put half of the word hour inside a support group for those trying to stay on the wagon.

15a  Rocky hit in advance by Ragin’ Bull, causing disgust (8)
{LOATHING} – an anagram (rocky) of HIT goes inside a monetary advance, then finish with the central (bull?) letter of (ra)G(in). Bull is of course the central bit of a target in archery or darts but what do you think of it as an instruction to use the middle letter?

18a  Attempting the ultimate spinning top with saw (8)
{ESSAYING} – the ultimate letter of (th)E and the top letter of S(pinning) precede a saw or proverb.

19a  Barmaid established bottles date from Roman time (4)
{IDES} – hidden (bottles) in the clue is a Roman day.

21a  This prompts one to bring up English setter’s show of nerves (6)
{EMETIC} – something that makes one bring up is a charade of E(nglish), how the setter refers to himself and a visible nervous twitch.

23a  Revealed more than is polite about a Republican being left behind (8)
{MAROONED} – the definition here is left behind though the right behind is also displayed by someone who has revealed more than is polite. Put this around A and R(epublican).

25a  Article recalled imperial rule lacking closure (4)
{AJAR} – ‘When is a door not a door?’ as the old Christmas cracker joke had it. Start with an indefinite article then reverse (recalled) a word for imperial rule in India.

26a  ‘Sausage Skin: Theory and Science’ or the study of 20s? (10)
{SEISMOLOGY} – the study of 20 downs, for example, comes from a) the outer (skin) letters of S(ausag)E, b) a theory and c) a facetious word for a science (as used by Beattie in the famous BT advert).

27a  Magnetism some research discovered in coins (8)
{PRESENCE} – an abbreviation (some) of research goes inside (discovered) in small coins to make a synonym of magnetism or charisma.

28a  In parting felt compassion for bankrupt (6)
{RUINED} – IN goes inside (parting) a verb meaning felt compassion or regret.

Down Clues

2d  Small number in university backing students’ club (5)
{UNION} – string together the abbreviation of number, IN and U(niversity) then reverse (backing) the lot.

3d  Utrillo’s first among revolutionary abstracts shunning cold underlying layers (9)
{SUBSTRATA} – insert the first letter of U(trillo) in an anagram (revolutionary) of ABSTRA(c)TS without C(old).

4d  Play arrangement of unfinished Mahler Concerto No 7 (6)
{HAMLET} – an anagram (arrangement) of MAHLE(r) is followed by the seventh letter of concerto.

5d  Escort taking in bogus earl — and her second mug is a judge (6,3,6)
{SQUARE LEG UMPIRE} – this is the second clue that may cause gnashing of teeth among non-cricket lovers. The judge is one of the two on the cricket field. A verb meaning to escort a lady goes round (taking in) an anagram (bogus) of EARL, the second letter of (h)E(r) and a dialect word for a mug or foolish person.

6d  Itinerant worker featured in a number of papers revealing a lot of bottle (8)
{REHOBOAM} – a mainly North American word for an itinerant workman goes inside (featured in) about 500 sheets of paper to make a wine bottle six times the standard size.

7d  Characters in revival of ‘Under The Volcano’ creating split (5)
{CLOVE} – those with a decent memory may remember this word from yesterday’s Toughie. It’s the past tense of a verb to split and it’s hidden (characters) and reversed (in revival) in the clue.

8d  Oddball sequel Coen Brothers ultimately dismissed as blarney (9)
{ELOQUENCE} – the definition here is blarney. It’s an anagram (oddball) of (s)EQUEL COEN without the ultimate letter of (brother)S.

14d  Officer pursuing occasional guardsman’s heavenly body (4,5)
{URSA MAJOR} – scandal in the barracks? No, the heavenly body is a constellation – a military officer follows the even (occasional) letters of guardsman.

16d  Many old in Hawaii vote over independence (3,6)
{HOI POLLOI} – this is a phrase, from Greek, meaning the many or the masses. Insert O(ld) in the usual abbreviation for Hawaii, then follow this with a synonym for vote, O(ver) and I(ndependence).

17d  Bishop unconventionally ends with ‘Ciao!’ (8)
{DIOCESAN} – this is a bishop in his see. It’s an anagram (unconventionally) of ENDS and CIAO.

20d  Vibration in centre — more or less (6)
{TREMOR} – hidden word.

22d  Tottenham’s underachieving Rafa produced scoring headers showing spirit (5)
{TURPS} – I’m not sure whether it’s true that Rafa van der Vaart is underachieving or not. This is the abbreviation of a spirit used a lot by interior decorators, and it comes from the heading letters of five consecutive words in the clue.

24d  Ex-comic and rock musician (5)
{EAGLE} – double definition – an old boy’s comic and a member of a legendary American rock group.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

The clues which appealed most to me were 5a, 23a and 14d. How about you?

19 comments on “Toughie 748

  1. Hi Gazza, is it just coincidence that in 26a Size (sausage skin) is a homophone of seis and if you study gangsters molls associated with 20’s gangsters you might be doing a “mology”!!! I know with PJ you sometimes have to think outside the box….

    1. Well there’s “outside the box” and then there’s “on a different planet” :D
      How does size mean sausage skin and where is the homophone indicator?

      1. You’re right, for some reason I thought that was the meaning, oh well, suitably red faced now.

  2. First one in was 9a – purely from the definition and the enumeration – Thanks Gazza for the explanation.

    The Cricket clues seem more than a little unfair for those who hate the summer game.

    Start of the Cricket season this week – “Snow stopped play?”

  3. Enjoyed this one and didn’t feel the need for the “slightly mad hat” !

    Favourites 9a and 20d. Liked that one as the hidden word is more or less in the centre of centre more :grin:

    Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza.

  4. Although I was prepared to ask Gnomey for a loan of the mad hat, I didn’t need it at all. The LH side went in quite quickly and once I had 5d (Dad was a cricket fan so that’s what we girls were/are too) the rest soon sorted itself out. I would give this 2.25 difficulty, 4* fun. Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza too.

  5. I had a similar solving experience to crypticsue, where the left side went in fairly quickly, and then the remainder followed.
    Favourite clue 23a, which made me chuckle.

    Thanks to Petitjean, and to gazza.

  6. Thoroughly enjoyed this one, I liked 5a 12a and 14d but the stand out has to be 23a thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for the comments.

  7. Very enjoyable. Like Crypticsue, the left hand side went in without a struggle and the right then capitulated. Thanks to Petitjean for the frolics and to Gazza for the review. For the slightly (totally?) surreal nature of the clue, 26a made me smile. I sometimes feel as though Petitjean is the Salvador Dali of the setting world for some of the surreal images his clues conjour up!

  8. Having rattled off the backpager in record time I was determined that the Toughie would be cracked too.

    A great crossword in my umble hopinion but best of all was gathering 4 others at the Plough to help me justify the guessed answer. Prince of Wales eluded all of us for ages and then the penny dropped. Long laughter from all concerned and that is why cryptic crosswords are better than this soduku nonsense.

    Great stuff Petitjean. Very very entertaining.

  9. I really don’t like the tenuous clue regarding the Prince of Wales — I know there are pubs called the Prince of Wales but there are thousands of pub names and this is a very poor pointer

  10. :sad: … perhaps not quite as clever as I thought I was yesterday!!
    Like lots of others I did the left side – I wouldn’t say easily, but I did it. Unlike lots of others the right side didn’t follow – ended up with just a few there. Had I been able to do the big long one right through the middle things could have been better – managed the last word of that one.
    Lots of clues that I not only understood but really enjoyed. 9a (as a nurse, the answer was easy – the WHY took me some time) 18, 21, 23 and 26a and 8d.
    With thanks to Petitjean and Gazza.

    1. Kath,
      You were unlucky that the long answer is cricket-related. Don’t be put off!

      1. Thanks gazza – I knew that things weren’t going to be easy when I read your introduction to the blog! I’m not put off. I enjoyed the half, plus a bit, that I managed today. I’ll keep “perservating” and am pretty determined to get there in the end! :smile:

        1. Despite my herioc failure with parsing 26a, the only one that really caused me problems was the same as Phil, 12a. Just couldn’t see it. And still not sure for overseas visitors this is fair but hey ho. Thanks to PJ and Gazza, and well done again Kath

  11. Great fun. Loved “Ragin’ Bull” as an indicator for G. Isn’t this the man who gave us “Brideshead Revisited” for BB!
    Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza.

  12. I think that I found this harder than most (starting at 23:30 didn’t help!) but I got it done within the DT time. At least 3* difficulty, but very pleasant indeed!

    My favourite was 26A, it did make me laugh and it did make me think of Beattie!

    Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza. :-)

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