Toughie 857 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 857

Toughie No 857 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Thanks to Big Dave for covering for me last week. It was nice to get back in the swing with this enjoyable puzzle which was not quite as difficult as the last couple of Petitjean puzzles I have blogged.

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    Stretcher bearer? (3,7)
{HOD CARRIER} A cryptic definition. A stretcher is a brick laid horizontally with its length parallel to the length of a wall

6a    Amateur bread oddly not risen (4)
{ABED} A (amateur) + the odd letters of BrEaD

10a    No recipe for roast breast should make you ‘drizzle with jus’! (5)
{BASTE} An anagram (should make you) of BREAST with the letter R (recipe) omitted

11a    Campaigns in which market forces clash? (5,4)
{PRICE WARS} A cryptic definition for periods of intense competition among retail enterprises in which the customers pay less and less for things

12a    Separate group wanting nothing before a hike (8)
{POLARISE} A group with a letter O (nothing) omitted + A + hike (increase)

13a    Later aid compromised by European Union (5)
{ADIEU} An anagram (compromised) of AID + EU (European Union)

15a    Sloth‘s eye by the sound of it having detached retina (7)
{INERTIA} A letter that sounds like ‘eye’ + an anagram (detached) of RETINA

17a    Knock back gin and anything to create kind of harmony (3-4)
{TWO-PART} A reversal (knock back) of gin (snare) and a dialect word for ‘anything’

19a    Impromptu movement involving single beat where the band played on (7)
{TITANIC} An impromptu movement (of certain muscles) goes round I (single) and ‘to beat’. Here the band, led by Wallace Hartley, kept playing till the end (‘Nearer, My God, to Thee’)

21a    Discount Bolt victory (7)
{BARGAIN} Bolt + victory

22a    Pink, lilac or alabaster interior (5)
{CORAL} Hidden in lilaC OR Alabaster

24a    Hole in skirting-board where pointer tends to sit? (8)
{MOUSEPAD} This is where Jerry (in Tom and Jerry) could be said to live (through a hole in the skirting board). The answer is a piece of fabric backed with foam rubber used when moving a pointer (cursor)

27a    Inappropriately funny to confront journalist leaving flat (9)
{FACETIOUS} ‘To confront’ + ‘flat (monotonous)’ with ED (editor) removed

28a    Stash with no end of street cred? (5)
{CACHE} remove the last letter from ‘street cred’

29a    Southern gardens in colour (4)
{SKEW} S (Southern) + some famous gardens in London = ‘to colour’

30a    Ferry often arranged brass (10)
{EFFRONTERY} An anagram (arranged) of FERRY OFTEN


1d    Tramp‘s in hospital — old boy’s on oxygen (4)
{HOBO} H (hospital) + OB (old boy) + O (oxygen)

2d    Two-timing glamourpuss put on fourteen lb (9)
{DISHONEST} A glamourpuss + fourteen pound (3,2) (where the 2 is an abbreviation)

3d    A near disaster in Earls Court? (5)
{ARENA} An anagram (disaster) of A NEAR

4d    Record company pressing original of Elvis Presley’s first ’51 cover version (7)
{REPLICA} The record company which produced most of Elvis’s records goes round E (first letter of Elvis) P (first letter of Presley) LI (51)

5d    Demanding immediate action at one time, it is gripping information (7)
{EXIGENT} At one time + It round ‘information’

7d    Waterman recorded one of the Platters in India (5)
{BHAJI} An Indian appetizer sounds like a waterman on the canals

8d    Loathsome detective’s windy (10)
{DISGUSTING} An abbreviation for a detective + ‘S + windy (squally)

9d    Heckle with simple political slogan (8)
{BELABOUR} This could be a political slogan (2,6) for one of the main parties

14d    If stuff is dealt around clubs the result may be fighting (10)
{FISTICUFFS} An anagram (dealt) of IS STUFF IS round C (clubs)

16d    Key heavyweights extremely touchy (8)
{TONALITY} A heavy weight + the name of a heavyweight boxer + the first and last letters of TouchY

18d    Potentially disastrous slip from a Blue Peter presenter he can put right (9)
{AVALANCHE} A + the shortened form of the name of a long-serving and much-loved female Blue Peter presenter + an anagram (put right) of HE CAN

20d    Be successful or give up (4,3)
{COME OFF} 2 meanings

21d    Tough being bowled by deception without one run (7)
{BRUISER} A tough = B (bowled) + a deception round I (one) + R (run)

23d    Tuck in — last of the hot dog rolls (5)
{RUCHE} A tuck = a reversal (rolls) of E (last letter of the) + H (hot) + a dog

25d    Old lag with trousers on, as Spooner might have put it? (2-3)
{EX-CON} When spoonerised this sounds like ‘trousers on’ (5,2) (or 4,2)

26d    Without that certain something irreverence can be fine (4)
{LEVY} Remove IT (that certain something) from ‘irreverence’ to get a fine

Good stuff

23 comments on “Toughie 857

  1. Thank you Bufo for the explanations, 27 across was my final sticking point, I just couldn’t see where the ed fitted a DOH moment as was 16 down but I got it at last even after consulting the dictionary to see if tonali was perhaps some obscure measurement of weight Petitjean boxing clever as usual
    Such fun

  2. Very entertaining puzzle from todays setter, Favourites were 12a 16d 24a and 27a thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Thank you, bufo, for helping me complete this puzzle: only my third Toughie ever.
    Got stuck in NE corner after putting 11A as “trade wars”. After my “face in hand moment”, replica and exigent fell into place.
    See you tomorrow!

    1. Hi middleofnorfolk,
      Well done. I haven’t been doing Toughies very long either – don’t get round to trying every day. I also started off with ‘trade wars’ – it played havoc with 4 and 5d.
      Good luck with tomorrow’s – I have to confess that I steer well clear of Friday Toughies, especially if it’s by Elgar.

  4. Very nice to meet the man himself for an enjoyable morning. thank goodness the puzzle was on the straightforward side and was solved in good time in order to save embarrassment all round.
    Thanks for the blog, Bufo !

  5. I enjoyed this very much.
    It all went a bit wrong in bottom left corner – couldn’t do 29a or 23d – and I needed the hints to explain quite a few of my answers.
    Although I got 25d (it couldn’t have been much else) I still don’t get the Spoonerism bit. I’ve said it over and over again to myself but had better stop now before they come to take me away!!
    With thanks to Petitjean for the crossword, and to Bufo for the explanations of the ones that I wasn’t clever enough to unscramble for myself.

    1. Kecks is a dialect word for trousers , northern england I think but could be wrong., so either ex con or Kecks on

      1. Thanks andy – that’s what I was saying but didn’t know the word – should have looked it up – have just done so. So many new words to remember (from yesterday mainly) – will my brain cope?!

        1. To answer your question from yesterday, I doubt very much my vocab is much bigger than yours, used to play scrabble with my wordsmith Grandad so a knowledge of words containing the letter Q proved very useful!!! God rest his Soul when I moved to Peterborough I took him and Nan to an Indian restaurant and he spent the night speaking a mixture of Gujarati Urdu and Punjabi fluently to the waiters, they were agog to say the least. I don’t think we paid!!!

  6. Most of this was fairly straightforward, with a few to think about. Thanks to Petitjean for the enjoyment, and to Bufo for the review.
    3*/4* for me.

  7. Thanks to Bufo for the review and Petitjean for both an enjoyable crossword and an excelent workshop. thanks also to Gnomey for an excellent lunch and to Colin for the excellent company.

  8. Found this fairly easy to complete but difficult to parse some of the clues, very enjoyable however. My thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo.

  9. Enjoyed this and found it not too taxing. However, (yes another however) did not get 7d. Had worked out from the wording that it could be “boati” for the dish but could not find it in our references. (not surprisingly). 25d we had correctly but, like Kath, had never heard of kecks so the Spoonerism was lost on us. Thanks Petitjean and Bufo.

    1. 2Kiwis – Good Morning!

      7d – Wot! No Indian Restaurants in NZ?

      You are forgiven for not having heard of the record producer Pete Waterman (How did he get an OBE?).

      He was very lucky!

      1. Sorry to be late replying, just been for our beach/estuary walk. We do have Indian restaurants here and Carol did know bhaji when we saw it so no excuse really. As you say never heard of Pete Waterman but the clue still works without that. Cheers.

        1. ,just walked the dogs pre bedtime and all of us are soaked , pouring here, oh for an antipodean stroll on a beach.Without wishing to give you nightmares think Stock Aitmen and Waterman. Rick Astley, Jason and Kylie et al in the 80’s manufactured dross imho

        2. Waterman? Sorry! Just my interpretation of the surface reading! (Apologies to Petitjean, aussi!)

    2. I spent too long trying to parse balti until the penny dropped, d’oh of the day
      As for Pete Waterman I just close my ears la la la

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