Toughie 1240 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1240

Toughie No 1240 by Petitjean

The Grumpy Old Man is back!

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

I didn’t enjoy this puzzle very much first time round, and even less second time when writing the review. Many of the clues were very messy, and I can’t remember the last time I saw a good Spoonerism (the one here certainly wasn’t).

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    Furniture manufacturer’s checking not exactly strict about stoppages, etc (6,6)
STRIKE ACTION: – the name of a Swedish furniture manufacturer inside (checking) an anagram (not exactly) of STRICT followed by a two-letter word meaning about or concerning – I did once go to one of said furniture manufacturer’s stores to visit the restaurant, which had been recommended; so much merchandise that I would never ever want to purchase inside just one shop

9a    Asphalt covering fifties ring road the ultimate sticky assignment (4,5)
TALL ORDER: – a three-letter word meaning asphalt around two of the Roman numerals for fifty, the letter shaped like a ring (I detest that way of indicating an O just as much as I detest “ball”), R(oa)D and the final letter (ultimate) of [th]E

10a    French dish taking name from flower (5)
DAUBE: – drop the N(ame) from a Continental river to get this meat stew

11a    Number of drinks provided by new recruits (6)
INTAKE: – two definitions

12a    Polish learner in a mess getting straight up (8)
HONESTLY: – a verb meaning to polish (I always thought it meant to sharpen) followed by L(earner) inside a mess or filthy place

13a    Moonshine a whiskey? That’s a laugh (6)
GUFFAW: – some moonshine or nonsense followed by the A from the clue and the letter in the NATO Phonetic alphabet represented by Whiskey (why do we use the horrible American spelling in the phonetic alphabet?)

15a    Broadcast blue sentence (4,4)
SEND DOWN: – a charade of words meaning broadcast and blue or unhappy

18a    Fast food outlet‘s flapjack? (5,3)
SNACK BAR: – two definitions – I really must add my flapjack recipe to Big Dave’s Kitchen

19a    Port in a storm  can be bedlam (6)
ASYLUM: – two not-very-different definitions

21a    The sum I manage without keyboard (8)
CALLIOPE: – a three-letter word meaning the sum or total and the I from the clue with a verb meaning to manage around the outside (without, a construct of which the less said the better) gives a keyboard instrument similar to an organ, with a set of whistles operated by steam or compressed air

23a    Nonconformist’s about to be rejected for college, furious (6)
HECTIC: – start with a nonconformist and drop (to be rejected) the RE (about) in favour of C(ollege)

26a    Virile and sultry somehow but no Romeo (5)
LUSTY: – an anagram (somehow) of SULT[R]Y without the R (no Romeo)

27a    Chip in record one might cue here (4,5)
POOL TABLE: – A verb meaning to chip in or share followed by a record or list

28a    A hymn’s cooler arranged in the style of the Beach Boys (5,7)
CLOSE HARMONY: – an anagram (arranged) of A HYMN’S COOLER


1d    Session singer possesses that certain something (7)
SITTING: – a British male singer around the two-letter word for “that certain something”

2d    Cook let rip endlessly to get fired again (5)
RELIT: – an anagram (cook) of LET RI[P] without the final letter of the second word (endlessly)

3d    Swallow  rejection (5-4)
KNOCK BACK: – two definitions

4d    Assistant‘s papers in attache case (4)
AIDE: – some papers or credentials inside the outer letters (case) of A[ttach]É

5d    Yield together rather than surrender separately (8)
TURNOVER: – together as (8) this means yield or revenue, separately as (4,4) it means to surrender

6d    Senior military man is shelled (5)
OLDIE: – this person of senior years is derived by dropping the outer letter (shelled) from a military man

7d    Area that’s become very dry and stony allotment according to Spooner (4,4)
DUST BOWL: – swap the initial letters of the two words in the answer to get words meaning stony or impoverished and an allotment or allowance – I have only one question to ask about the use of Spoonerisms in crosswords – why?

8d    Bank’s old name generating trust (4,2)
RELY ON: – a verb meaning to bank or depend followed by O(ld) and N(ame)

14d    Female’s wild sound (8)
FLAWLESS: – F(emale) followed by an adjective meaning wild or anarchic

16d    Tiredness affected 1a’s organiser? (9)
DISSENTER: – an anagram (affected) of TIREDNESS

17d    Mouth organ a source of pleasure before timeless snippet’s made a hash of (3-5)
PAN-PIPES: – the A from the clue preceded by (before) the initial letter (source) of P[leasure] and followed by an anagram of (made a hash of) SNIPPE[T] without the T (Time-less)

18d    Strike at last following feeble left hook (6)
SICKLE: – the final letter (at last) of [strik]E follow an adjective meaning feeble and L(eft)

20d    Minute garden feature’s leaking water butt a farce (7)
MOCKERY: – M(inute) followed by a garden feature without (leaking) the final letter (butt) of [wate]R

22d    No metre in mildly quirky poem (5)
IDYLL: – an anagram (quirky) of [M]ILDLY without (no) the M(etre)

24d    Forbidden cigarette evoked satisfied expression (5)
TABOO: – a three-letter colloquial word for a cigarette followed by what sounds like (evoked) an expression of satisfaction

25d    Eats jalapeno’s hottish centre (4)
NOSH: – hidden in the middle (centre) of two words in the clue

Let’s hope for something better tomorrow, otherwise I will be extremely grumpy!

25 comments on “Toughie 1240

  1. Certainly not my favourite toughie but it had enough scratch head moments to keep me going, thanks to Petitjean and BD.( check 1a Dave)

  2. I always enjoy this setter and today was no exception, favourites were 1d 20d and 27a thanks to Petitjean and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. No, l didn’t particularly enjoy this one either (but then l am well known as a miserable old git). BD – the first word of the hidden solution to 1a is surely “strike”, rather than “direct”. 3*/2*, l suppose, and l have no particular favourite clue. But thanks anyway, Petitjean, and of course BD.

  4. I enjoyed the challenge and appreciated your help, BD. I had Bag pipes for 17d , where the mouth is also involved.I couldn’t agree more about spoonerisms. I loathe them, because I can rarely do them although Rufus had one lately that I could do.Before Spooner got at it , would the answer have been bust dowl ?
    I liked 13a and 9a.I understand that these toughies weren’t designed for the likes of me.

    1. Yes. I worked it out as bust (as in stony broke) + dowl ( pronounced dole, for allotment)

  5. Hello all :). I just popped in here to see what the terrible Spoonerism might be. And, yuck! I’m not a great fan of ring to mean o, but I don’t mind it (there are o-rings after all). What I really detest is the use of glasses for oo – a horrible convention which has to be learnt, rather than being logically deducible. (I half-remember liking a clue recently which used this, but I don’t claim to be consistent!) Re 13a, I always thought that there was Irish whiskey (and American), and Scotch whisky. Maybe it’s due to the nicer (to my mind) spelling that I love a wee drop [] of Scotch.

    Anyway, I’m glad I didn’t attempt this Toughie, or I would be grumpy too!

  6. I’m with Pegasus and thought it was fun, as always with Petitjean.
    Particularly liked 12a [nice definition], 20d [leaking water butt is nice] and the superb28a.
    Thanks to PJ and to the GUM.

  7. The only problem I had was stupidly writing in ‘older’ for 6D, which made 12A impossible. No favorites. Thanks to Petitjean and BD.

    1. 6d was my problem too! And I had written out the word and crossed off the first letter, so why not the last as well???

  8. Managed three quarters of this. 6d was a d’oh and a giggle.
    Appalling to think Ikea is up there with Sheraton and Chippendale.
    Like the grumpy old man, I HATE spoonerisms. This was appalling.
    Agree the word play was messy. I solved too many clues without understanding them – 20d was a case in point.
    Is there any point in trying tomorrow? Friday’s offering is usually quite beyond me!

  9. Well, I enjoyed this and I like Spoonerisms. Shall I duck now?
    I found it quite tricky and screwed up 6d which made 12a impossible.
    My favourite was definitely 28a.
    With thanks to Petitjean and BD, even if he is grumpy. Would a little flower help?

  10. Started this at the hair dressers! So concentration not at a premium. Quite liked 1a but found all the anagrams so well sign-posted. Wasn’t keen on 20d and had wrong word In my head for cigarette so struggled with 24d. I think I am joining the Grump!

  11. Another rare completion, and another surprise at the rating. I did the first half of this in record time and found myself looking forward to the tongue-lashing it would get here for being too easy. The second half held me up much longer but I’m still surprised to see a 3*, given the number of 2* Toughies I am just totally stumped by.

    On a more general note (posting here for increased likelihood of a reply rather than in the entry from two days ago; please do correct me if this is poor form), I have a question about indirect anagrams. In Tuesday’s Toughie there was the one about oxygen and steam and carbon monoxide which received a comment to the effect that BD would disapprove as it was an indirect anagram. As it happens I don’t think well-known abbreviations of chemicals which are named in the clue really constitute an indirect anagram, but my question concerns the proscription of them generally. It is not clear to me why they are held to be unfair when other clues of a very similar nature are thought to be reasonable.

    Why is it OK, as in Elgar’s Toughie 1141, to suggest the word “emphatic” with the synonym “stressing”, and then require that a further operation be performed on it, in this case moving the H down two spaces, to arrive at the word “empathic”, when it would apparently not be OK to suggest the word “emphatic” with the synonym “stressing” and then require that a further operation be performed on it, in this case rearranging the letters, to arrive at the word “empathic”? I am struggling to see any substantive difference in the expectation placed on the solver in terms of an intuitive leap or anything like that. Any thoughts?

  12. We got ourselves into all sorts of trouble in the NE corner. Had put in ‘lean on’ for 8d (it fits the clue) and ‘older’ for 6d (soldier with the IS taken out, although it is not strictly Ximenean) which made 12a impossible. So, concede defeat to the setter. Found it quite a challenge but did get enough smiles (even the Spoonerism) to keep us amused.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD

  13. The NE corner was my downfall. Have already mentioned the problem with 6d. Like the 2Kiwis, I put in ‘lean on’ for 8d. Thus, 12a was impossible. I never did work out what the Spoonerism was.

    That aside, Petitjean puzzles are among my faves. I found parts quite tricky but the whole was enjoyable — 3*/4*. I liked 17d and 20d. Many thanks to Petitjean.

    Many thanks to Big Dave for enabling me to untangle my problems in the NE corner. I was all right with the remainder of the puzzle. That is a lovely illustration of 21a. (I once had a Greek friend whose name was 21a. Am certain she never played that keyboard, though!)

  14. Spent nearly all weekend doing this! Should a 65yr retired male be wasting so much life doing this? Anyway, I failed right at the end with10a (don’t eat French food) & 7d which I still don’t understand despite BD’s help. I can’t find “DOWL” in the BRB. Many thanks to BD and Petitjean, who I have yet to defeat. Sh-Shony.

    1. It’s meant to be Bust Dole, which ranks up there with the worst Spoonerisms ever inflicted on the crossword solving public. Spoonerisms are “sound like” clues not “spelt like”.

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