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Toughie 918

Toughie No 918 by Petitjean

Echoes of The Coasters!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Petitjean slips into the Tuesday slot with one of his easier puzzles.

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1a    Chest with walnut or softwood inlay (5)
{TORSO} – hidden (inlay) inside the clue

4a    Beckham messed up rejecting Hearts for good — and United — then succeeded, making a fortune (9)
{MEGABUCKS} – an anagram (messed up) of BECK(H)AM with H(earts) replaced by G(ood) and U(nited) and followed by S(ucceeded)

9a    Blumenthal for one and Fort tucked into meal without starter (9)
{INNKEEPER} – Heston Blumenthal, owner of The Crown at Bray, is an example (for one) of this occupation – a fort inside (tucked into) a meal without its initial letter (starter)

10a    Wordlessly sing a hymn — ultimately isn’t that like all of us? (5)
{HUMAN} – a verb meaning to sing wordlessly followed by the A from the clue and the final letter (ultimately) of hymN

11a    English tax haven claims to get boost (7)
{ELEVATE} – E(nglish) followed by a sales tax inside (claims) a haven

12a    Well-known landscapes — no kidding — these could be set in the Lambourn Valley (7)
{STABLES} – pictures by a well-known landscape artist without the initial verb meaning to kid or deceive – the establishments of many racehorse trainers are set in the Lambourn Valley!

13a    Britain and Italy break spy cell in America (6)
{MOBILE} – B(ritain) and I(taly) inside (break) a spy who successfully infiltrates a rival organization – the Americans call this a cell(phone)

15a    What designers of new rail link do in summary? (4-4)
{PLOT-LINE} – a cryptic definition of this summary of the main features of a play, novel or film

18a    Endless squabble that is stopping go-ahead for broadcast (8)
{NOTIFIED} – most of (endless) a squabble and the Latin abbreviation of that is inside (stopping) a quick forward motion of the head indicating a go-ahead

20a    Drank reportedly clear amber tipple (6)
{NECTAR} – what sounds like () a colloquial verb meaning drank followed by AmbeR with the inner letters removed (clear)

23a    Game New Order covering ‘Echoes’ (3,4)
{ROE DEER} – game in the sense of wild animals hunted for sport – an anagram (new) of ORDER around (covering) two of the letters represented by Echo in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

24a    Hancock’s first pint or so according to the lad himself could be dangerous (7)
{HARMFUL} – the initial letter (first) of Hancock followed by Tony Hancock’s description (according to the lad himself) of a pint or so of blood

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26a    In the company of a master playing golf (5)
{AMONG} – the A from the clue followed by M(aster), a two-letter word meaning playing and the letter represented by Golf in the NATO Phonetic alphabet

27a    Art collector accepting ‘Thora and Romeo’ may be rubbish (5-4)
{THIRD-RATE} – the name of the art collector who founded a gallery in London around the surname of famous actress Dame Thora and the letter represented by Romeo in the NATO Phonetic alphabet – rubbish in this context is an adjective

28a    Doctor yet to separate oxen producing gas (6-3)
{YAKETY-YAK} – an anagram (doctor) of YET separates two Tibetan oxen – gas in the sense of idle talk (and a cue for a video!)

ARVE Error: need id and provider

29a    High quality run in exceptional time (5)
{MERIT} – R(un) inside an anagram (exceptional) of TIME


1d    TB remains problematic for member of ethnic group (9)
{TRIBESMAN} – an anagram (problematic) of TB REMAINS

2d    Cycle race leader at home on banks of Seine (5)
{RINSE} – a cycle in a washing-machine program comes from the initial letter (leader) of Race followed by a two-letter word meaning at home and the outer letters (banks) of SeinE

3d    Done everything by and large (7)
{OVERALL} – a word meaning done or completed followed by everything

4d    Dumbo is a character controlled by others (6)
{MUPPET} – a double definition

5d    Fish is hot, extremely lemony and without conventional taste (8)
{GARISHLY} – a pike-like fish with a long slender beaked head followed by IS, H(ot) and the outer letter (extremely) of LemonY

6d    Pat‘s husband snared in extra cunning (2,5)
{BY HEART} – pat, in the sense of exactly memorized, comes from H(usband) inside an extra run in cricket and followed by a word meaning cunning

7d    Dissatisfaction with free ticket that gets left is not common (9)
{COMPLAINT} – a shortened for of a free ticket followed by L(eft) and the common way of saying “is not”

8d    Camber could be small and on one side of slope (5)
{SANDS} – the necessary capitalisation of Camber is concealed by placing it as the first word in the clue – S(mall) followed by AND above (on in a down clue) the initial letter (one side of) of Slope

14d    Author’s heartfelt plea reported word for word (2,3,4)
{BY THE BOOK} – sounds like (reported) an author’s heartfelt plea to purchase his novel

16d    Joining programme in French, learner meets chaps getting into moonshine (9)
{ENROLMENT} – the French for in followed by L(earner) and some chaps inside (getting into) moonshine or nonsense

17d    Undercover detective leaving discreetly out the window (8)
{SECRETLY} – an anagram (out the window) of (DI)SCREETLY without the DI (detective inspector leaving)

19d    Alarm about Eastern transport of goods (7)
{FREIGHT} – an alarm or shock around E(astern)

21d    Europe, America and World middle- and long-distance leaders ahead of Farah coming up for title (7)
{EARLDOM} – E(urope), A(merica), the middle letter of woRld and the initial letters (leaders) of Long and Distance followed by (ahead of) the first name of Olympic double gold-medallist Farah reversed (coming up) – a Lego clue, constructed from bits and pieces

22d    Reduce personnel during depression (6)
{SHRINK} – the abbreviation for a company’s personnel inside (during) a depression in a surface+

23d    Organised variable display first (5)
{READY} – a mathematical variable preceded by a verb meaning to display or indicate

25d    Feel Prime Minister’s heading for change (5)
{FLAIR} – the name of a former Prime Minister with his first letter (heading) changed

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13 comments on “Toughie 918

  1. I’ve known easier Petitjean’s than this one – I had to do a lot of muttering at a couple of clues – especially 12a which a friend has described as ‘obscure definition of the century’ – I didn’t find it that obscure as a definition, just kept trying to work out how horses or gallops might fit in – D’OH.

    Thanks to Petitjean for enlivening my terminal boredom and to BD for the usual excellent explanations.

  2. Most of this went in without much difficulty, but there were 3 or 4 which I had to come back to later to finish off. Last one in for me was 12a.
    Thanks to Petitjean, and to BD for the clarifications.

  3. I found this quite tricky but very good fun, 12a gave me no trouble but I had never heard of 8d, loved 4d and 23a. Many thanks to Petitjean for a most enjoyable toughie and to BD for the very entertaining pictures and review.

  4. Found this at the easier end of Petitjean’s puzzles but the “slightly mad hat” came useful for a few of the clues!
    Favourites were 24a and 4d.

    Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  5. Good entertainment on offer today, favourites were 6d 14d 24a and 28a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for the cmments.

  6. Delighted with 22D – I’m not very keen on the “profession” involved at the centre of this and the depression surrounding is appropriate.

  7. When I can do them I enjoy Petitjean’s crosswords – I loved this one.
    I was defeated by 12a and 8d and struggled for a long time with 20a.
    Loads of good clues 15a (very topical) and 5, 6, 14 and 17d. 24 and 28a were my favourites and absolutely made my day!
    With thanks to Petitjean and BD.

  8. Lots of smiles in this for me when I finally got there .particular favs 4d, 6d and 23a.
    Thanks for the review which clarified one or two and to the setter .

  9. It took us a lot of hard work to finish this one. The geographical clues in the NE needed Google help as both places were unfamiliar to us. We are staying with grandkids for a few days, so had help from 9yr old Alice who helped with the answers for 16d and17d. Perhaps we have another enthusiast in the making. About 4* time for us and 3* for fun.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD.

  10. Maybe PJ and I share a sense of humour – I think this is one of the most amusing crosswords I’ve ever seen. Some wonderfully inventive definitions [13ac, 2d, 6d, 8d] and the “mad-hat” constructions at 23ac, 24ac and 28ac are lovely. Defeated by 12ac but Mrs H saw it straight away.
    Many thanks to PJ and to BD for the review.

  11. Sorry I am late on parade – work and personal and all. Loved this as per Halcyon.
    Thanks to T’Jean and BD .

  12. Tough going but v. enjoyable. Needed the tips to finish the NE corner, having deflected ourselves by putting in PUPPET instead of MUPPET at 4d! Thanks to P’j and BD.

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