Toughie 1276 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1276

Toughie No 1276 by Petitjean

Of Mice and Men

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment **

Gather ye all the old chestnuts and save them up for Christmas!

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1a    Support presiding wisdom (10)
BRAINPOWER: that old chestnut, the female support garment followed by a phrase meaning presiding (2,5)

9a    Smuggler‘s an obstinate individual … and slippery? (4)
MULE: two definitions together with an allusion to this item being also a type of slipper

10a    Writer, touched by piece of advice, shut up (4-3,3)
FELT-TIP PEN: a verb meaning touched followed by a piece of advice and a verb meaning to shut up or enclose

11a    French engineer said by English to be one who’s evidently striking (6)
EYEFUL: Sounds like (said by English) the designer of a famous French Tower – the French pronounce the name of this engineer differently to the English

12a    New treatment for tumours not a universal elixir (7)
NOSTRUM: an anagram (new treatment) of TUMO[U]RS without one of the U(niversal)s

15a    In France, where tanned Foreign Legion officer leads women’s release (7)
OUTFLOW: the French for “where” followed by the initial letters (leads) of four words in the clue and W(omen)

16a    Faux pas in French article could be oversight (5)
LAPSE: an anagram (faux / false) of PAS inside a French definite article

17a    Proceed to talk at length … (2,2)
GO ON: two definitions

18a    … and in French with notes about cheese (4)
FETA: the French for “and” inside a couple of notes in the diatonic scale

19a    This forms a connection with poem ‘In Midsummer’ (5)
MODEM: a poem inside the middle letters of [Su]MM[er]

21a    Property men snitch (7)
TRAITOR: a property or characteristic followed by some enlisted men

22a    Dismounted, adjusted feet and stood straight (7)
RIGHTED: start with a verb meaning dismounted, then swap the initial L(eft) for the opposite side

24a    To manage duck after five overs adds up to bad spell (6)
VOODOO: a two-letter verb meaning to manage and O (duck) preceded by the Roman numeral for five and two O(ver)s

27a    They gather in chamber for review after business rises (10)
COLLECTORS: reverse (for review) a chamber or compartment and put it after a two-letter abbreviation for a business and before some rises or hills

28a    Part of bush with cotton on (4)
TWIG: two definitions

29a    Bluesman coming in very late with chord recorded his part separately (10)
OVERDUBBED: The bluesman who calls his guitar Lucille inside a word meaning very late and followed by a chord or note

It’s a lovely story:

In the winter of 1949, King played at a dance hall in Twist, Arkansas. In order to heat the hall, a barrel half-filled with kerosene was lit, a fairly common practice at the time. During a performance, two men began to fight, knocking over the burning barrel and sending burning fuel across the floor. The hall burst into flames, which triggered an evacuation. Once outside, King realized that he had left his guitar inside the burning building. He entered the blaze to retrieve his beloved $30 Gibson guitar. Two people died in the fire. The next day, King learned that the two men were fighting over a woman named Lucille. King named that first guitar Lucille, as well as every one he owned since that near-fatal experience, as a reminder never again to do something as stupid as run into a burning building or fight over women.


2d    Felt sorry about making vulgar broadcast (4)
RUED: sounds like (making … broadcast) an adjective meaning vulgar

3d    Where festival-goer may stay committed (6)
INTENT: split as (2,4) we get another old chestnut

4d    Case of pneumonia’s almost entirely miserable (7)
PAINFUL: the outer letters (case) of P[neumoni]A followed by most of a phrase (2,4) meaning entirely

5d    Wife, incapable to scrub home, was in tears (4)
WEPT: W(ife) followed by a word meaning incapable from which IN (home has been dropped (scrubbed)

6d    Rebel, missing a degree, must get posh instead or fail to fulfil promise (7)
RENEGUE: a rebel from which the A from the clue and D(egree) have been dropped (missing) and replaced by the single-letter representation of posh gives an alternative spelling of a verb meaning to fail to fulfil promise

7d    Realisation there’s no end of whole fibre lacking in America (10)
FULFILMENT: drop the final letter of a four-letter word meaning whole then add a fibre without (lacking) the A(merica)

8d    Cry out in pain — case for caution (6,4)
YELLOW CARD: a phrase meaning to cry out in pain (4,2) followed by a case or eccentric person

12d    Lack of interest, say, in first Christmas (10)
NEGATIVITY: the Latin abbreviation for say (for example) inside a word for the first Christmas

13d    Cash Phil’s blown, including two noughts — that’s an incorrigible spender (10)
SHOPAHOLIC: an anagram (blown) of CASH PHIL around two Os (noughts)

14d    A mouse might be found under a seat such as this (5)
MANOR: I pondered over this one before the penny dropped with a resounding clunk – split the answer as (3,2) and follow it (under in a down clue) with MOUSE to get a well-known expression

15d    Sleeveless underwear that could be woven (5)
OSIER: drop the outer letters (sleeveless) from some underwear to get this product that can be woven into baskets

19d    Hide more detailed measurement in discs (7)
MOROCCO: drop the final letter (de-tailed) from MOR[e] and then add a measurement of volume inside O and O (discs)

20d    Man possibly choking daft fool (7)
MISLEAD: the type of land mass of which Man is an example (possibly) inside an adjective meaning daft gives a verb meaning to fool

23d    Two times nothing coming up in hard university book where we can immerse ourselves in numbers (3,3)
HOT TUB: two T(ime)s and O (nothing) all reversed inside H(ard), U(niversity) and B(ook)

25d    Tip that’s given before you start work (4)
CLUE: what you need before you start work on a puzzle like this one

26d    Provocateur gendarme’s content to goad (4)
URGE: hidden (content) inside the clue

All being well, Bufo should return next Thursday.

12 comments on “Toughie 1276

  1. I thought that this one was going to be subtitled “The French Connection”.

    Didn’t understand the “mouse” one!

    1. I think its a play on the expression ‘man or mouse’ in fact I’m sure it is :-) And of course a ‘manor’ is a country ‘seat’.

      Old chestnuts they may have been to some, but just like old jokes that have done the rounds, there’s always someone to whom they are new and fresh. I enjoyed the challenge and am well pleased to have completed this Toughie with the barest minimum of peeps at the hints. Thank you both Petitjean and Dig Dave.

      1. I did put that in the hint. If you hover over the picture of the mouse that looks like a man it says “Man or Mouse”, and it inspired the subheading. I’m not sure what more I could have done, but thanks for spelling it out.

        1. Aha, sorry BD, but as I remarked previously ‘with the the barest minimum peeps at the hints’ – I hadn’t hovered over the picture, so I had missed your hint :-)

  2. The mouse one (14d) was my last fill – I almost gave up, then got it on a revisit. Sleeveless underwear took me a while as well. French connection indeed! Ah, I wrote in Eiffel – should have seen that – tough grid with all the double blacks. I found this quite hard, with some great clues: 7d realisation, 15a with the tanned foreign legion, I especially liked the 23d where we can immerse ourselves in numbers.

    29a was sweet, and thanks for the story BD. I seen BB live several times, last time was in Manchester where Gary Moore was the warm-up. Sensational evening.
    other nice clues 19a, 12d –

    a great puzzle thank you Petitjean and thanks Big Dave for the review

  3. I thought this was a bit more tricky than the usual PJ but just as much fun. Particular favourites were 11a, 16a [first time I’ve seen both the anagrind and the fodder in French], 14d [v clever] and 19d [a well-disguised def and clever wordplay].

    Many thanks to PJ and to BD [loved the story].

  4. 20d was the last one for us to work out. We amaze ourselves sometimes that we can be misled over and over again by the same wordplay. We went through all our synonyms for man; guy, chap, hand, staff etc etc before remembering the relevant one. Enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD.

  5. Enjoyed this puzzle – not so easy, not so hard but mercifully free of obscure words. Thanks to setter and blogger. With a Ray T for the back-page crossword-land in the DT was just spot on for me today

  6. Well, Petitjean, you’ve blown me away with this one! I was a long way off wavelength and managed only about 60% before resorting to BD’s hints. For me, therefore, this was in 4*+ territory.

  7. I got 29ac without knowing why, but then, I’d never heard of BB King! (it’s an age thing…)

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