Toughie 891 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 891

Toughie No 891 by Petitjean

When the seagulls follow the trawler

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

We don’t often come across Petitjean on a Tuesday, but this is one of his easier puzzles.

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.


5a    Like seabird following trawler perhaps (6)
{ASTERN} – a two-letter preposition meaning like followed by a seabird gives, with an allusion to Eric Cantona, the position of a seabird relative to the trawler it might be following

ARVE Error: need id and provider

8a    To endlessly bellow lines is worthless ostentation (8)
{TRUMPERY} – start with a verb meaning to bellow like an elephant, drop the final T (endlessly) and add the two-letter abbreviation for train lines

9a    Little shopping arcade’s pound-off token (7)
{MINIMAL} – an adjective meaning small followed by an American-style shopping arcade without its final L (libra / pound off) – note that the definition is an adjective

10a    Pick holes in East London poetess’s work? (5)
{ERODE} – split as (‘2,3) this could be the work of a Cockney (East London) poet

11a    One may have bread on this diet and lapse into a mess (4,5)
{SIDE PLATE} – an anagram (into a mess) of DIET and LAPSE

13a    Awarded draw taking catch with runs levelled (8)
{SCREEDED} – a verb meaning awarded a place in the draw such that the best players do not meet in the early rounds around C(atch) and R(uns)

14a    Latest estimates making retrospective case for pest (6)
{TSETSE} – hidden (case for) and reversed (retrospective) in the clue

17a    Turn cold after a time (3)
{ACT} – C(old) after the A from the clue followed by T(ime)

19a    Greens may be more approachable given such support (3)
{TEE} – a cryptic definition of of a support used by a golfer

20a    A balloon to boot (2,4)
{AS WELL} – the A from the clue followed by a verb meaning to balloon

23a    Ancient hunter (3-5)
{OLD-TIMER} – a hunter is a type of watch that used to be word by gentlemen

26a    Wanting expression of gratitude spy protects his mysterious guru (9)
{MAHARISHI} – start with a famous female spy, drop (wanting) the two-letter expression of gratitude then insert an anagram (his mysterious) of HIS

28a    Did you ever mark articles in the past? (2,3)
{MY EYE} – M(ark) followed by two old-fashioned definite articles

29a    Come up with joke told at Edinburgh Fringe (7)
{GESTATE} – what sounds like (told) a joke followed by AT and the initial letter (fringe) of Edinburgh

30a    It’s not fair if Yahoo restricts web (8)
{BRUNETTE} – a darker (not fair) hair colour is derived by putting a yahoo or lout around (restricts) a web

31a    One who takes keen interest ignoring pawn to wrongfully seize queen (6)
{USURER} – someone who lends money at excessive rates of interest comes from a word meaning to wrongfully seize possession without (ignoring) the P(awn) followed by the usual cypher for the Queen


1d    An engaging article on Sweden’s capital (6)
{ATHENS} – AN around (engaging) a definite article followed by the IVR code for Sweden

2d    Tittle-tattle unusual coming from us (7)
{RUMOURS} – a three-letter adjective meaning unusual or odd followed by a pronoun meaning coming from or belonging to us

Guess the connection!

ARVE Error: need id and provider

3d    Short-lived FM broadcast with days left (9)
{EPHEMERAL} – a word fragment that sounds like FM followed by a longish period of time (days, as in days of old) and L(eft)

4d    Gamekeeper’s case against river bird (6)
{GROUSE} – the outer letters (case) of GamekeepeR followed by a river

5d    In a nutshell what do I do given early start? Drink! (8)
{ANISETTE} – the A from the clue followed by the outer letters (shell) of NuT around a phrase meaning “I compile a crossword” (what do I, Petitjean, do?) and followed by the initial letter (start) of Early

6d    Hearing Chinese gang left for dead (5)
{TRIAL} – a legal hearing is derived from a Chinese gang by putting L(eft) in place of D(ead)

7d    One side of bread in toaster ruined in trial (4,4)
{ROAD TEST} – one side of breaD inside an anagram (ruined) of TOASTER

12d    Catch tiddler now and then (3)
{IDE} – a fish closely related to the chub (catch) comes from the even letters (now and then) of tIdDlEr

15d    Thought conveyed about new term (9)
{SENTIMENT} – a verb meaning conveyed around N(ew) and a term or period

16d    Bats see space and they take flight (8)
{ESCAPEES} – an anagram (bats) of SEE SPACE

18d    Shut up about loaf including soft crust (8)
{CLOISTER} – a verb meaning to shut up or confine comes from the single letter Latin abbreviation for about followed by a verb meaning to loaf about around the initial letter (crust) of S0ft – I would have thought that crust would indicate the outer letters not the initial letter

21d    Quite a lot of blood in new hospital drama (3)
{NOH} – the most common blood type inside N(ew) and H(ospital) gives a traditional Japanese style of drama

22d    Fancy man is French with yen for indulgence (7)
{AMNESTY} – an anagram (fancy) of MAN followed by the French for is and Y(en)

24d    ’54 English railway company’s insignia (6)
{LIVERY} – The Roman numerals for 54 followed by E(nglish) and R(ailwa)Y

25d    Jacket  that one may pull on and get ripped (6)
{REEFER} – two definitions – a short thick double-breasted jacket and a cigarette containing marijuana, the smoking (pulling on) of which may get one high or ripped

27d    Sickly Rita’s out of bed (5)
{ASTIR} – an anagram (sickly) of RITA’S

I’ll be back tomorrow with the regular puzzle as Scchua is on holiday.

14 comments on “Toughie 891

  1. I had the same difficulty as you with 18d. Rationalised it by thinking of the crust on a pie which is just on the top (in the down clue). Otherwise I found the puzzle reasonably straightforward. Thanks for the commentary.

  2. I enjoyed this – thanks to PJ and BD. In 13a I couldn’t find any reference to C meaning catch (as opposed to caught).

  3. Decent start to the Toughie week favourites were 3d 5d and 28a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. Some nice clues in this one. A little more than 3* on both votes for me. Thanks to Petitjean, and to BD.

  5. I enjoyed this one too – 2*/3.5* for me. Definitely no need for the Gnome to find his hat today. Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  6. Completed in about our usual time for a Toughie. Did not get 19a until we had two checking letters despite the fact that we were doing the puzzle immediately after the return of Mr 2K from 18 holes of the said game. Took us a while to parse 10a too. An enjoyable challenge.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD.

  7. I enjoyed this but needed your review to explain why my answers were correct as I was by no means certain for 3of them .Quite a few smiles as well .
    Thanks once again .

  8. Thanks to Pettijean & to Big Dave for the review & hints. Way too tough for me, Just can’t get on the setter’s wavelength. Needed 17 hints, 3 of which I had to look up.

  9. Well, I found this harder than most but enjoyable nonetheless.

    Thanks to Petitjean, and double-thanks to BD (because of the 2D video).

  10. I am with the bearded one above. about 10 clues held me up until this evening (although i didn’t get a look after the morning commute). Thanks to Petitjean for a very fun solve and also to BD for the ace blog.

  11. Totally agree with BD about the crust thing….got the answer but assumed it would be the outer letters. Struggled (and didn’t get!) 10a, 13a and 1d….damn!

  12. Enjoyed this as always with Petitjean but the NW corner put up a stuggle.
    I’m with Gazza on 13a [C=caught], but if you put the slightly mad hat on and think about the score-sheet the C indicates the player who was “taking [the] catch”. Is that it maybe?

    Many thanks to PJ and BD.

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