Toughie 1294 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1294

Toughie No 1294 by Petitjean

Just put your lips together and …

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment **

You never know which Petitjean is going to show up, but I should have been forewarned by the editor’s decision to publish this one on a Tuesday.

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    Tell-tale phone call coming earlier (7-6)
WHISTLE-BLOWER: a rather old-fashioned slang word for the telephone preceded by a call or chirp

ARVE Error: need id and provider

9a    Cast has inept point — that’s actors for you (9)
THESPIANS: an anagram (cast) of HAS INEPT followed by a compass point

10a    Simulated dives showing loss of heart and energy (5)
FALSE: start with a verb meaning dives, drop its middle letter (showing loss of heart) and add E(nergy)

11a    Sample of unfunny long-winded material (5)
NYLON: hidden (sample of) inside the clue

12a    Endless moonshine generating stimulating experience (4)
TRIP: drop the final letter (endless) from some moonshine or nonsense

13a    A midsummer love that might be mine (4)
AMMO: the A from the clue followed by the middle two letters of [su]MM[er] and O (love) gives some munitions, of which a mine might be an example

15a    Benefit from tasteless twaddle? The reverse (4,3)
SICK PAY: an adjective meaning in bad taste followed by the reversal of some twaddle or foolish chatter

17a    Golf course’s opening of dogleg is relative (7)
GRANDAD: the letter represented in the NATO Phonetic alphabet by Golf followed by what purports to be the name of the world’s most famous golf course (1,3,1), but isn’t, and the initial letter (opening) of D[ogleg]

18a    Time to accept revival of support for refuge (7)
HARBOUR: a period of time around the reversal of the much over-worked, in crossword terms, support garment

20a    Shearer legendarily welcomed back outside left (7)
DELILAH: no, it’s not Alan, but the legendary biblical character who sheared the locks from Samson – the reversal (back) of a verb meaning welcomed around L(eft)

21a    Deposit found now and then in skillet (4)
SILT: the alternate letters (now and then) of the final word in the clue

22a    Billy Bragg originally in support group for Eurovision winners (4)
ABBA: the initial letters (originally) of B[illy] B[rag] inside a support group for heavy drinkers

23a    Take care with answer that is in French for some (5)
ADIEU: A(nswer) followed by the Latin abbreviation for “that is” inside the French for some

26a    Scrounger given shelter by church (5)
LEECH: A word meaning shelter followed by CH(urch)

27a    Ireland’s head coach accepting a nil-one against Sweden (9)
TAOISEACH: the prime minister of the Republic of Ireland is derived by putting a verb meaning to coach around the A from the clue, O (nil), I (one) and the IVR code for Sweden

28a    Back judge’s early maturity ignoring policeman ringing about uncivilised behaviour (13)
FEROCIOUSNESS: reverse the three-letter word for a judge or umpire and follow it with a word meaning early maturity from which PREC, policeman PC) around (ringing) RE (about) has been dropped (ignoring)


1d    Indulge in feeble joke seconds before game against the French (3,4,7)
WET ONE’S WHISTLE: an adjective meaning feeble or weak followed by a joke, as in “have you heard the *** about …”, S(econds), a card game and the French definite article – a bit of a theme with this one and 1 Across

2d    Standard confession of a drug pusher? (5)
IDEAL: split as (1.4) this could be the confession of a drug pusher

3d    Obsolete workplace supplied with plumber’s implement by Spooner (6,4)
TYPING POOL: exchange the initial letters, Spooner style, of this obsolete workplace and you get what could be a plumber’s implement – why do setters persist in using pathetic attempts at Spoonerisms? For every good one there are a hundred poor ones like this.

4d    See about 10ac? Given time you got it (7)
EXACTLY: put a three-letter see or diocese around another the Roman numeral for 10, AC from the clue and T(ime)

5d    Evergreen heather covering area with banks of scarlet (7)
LASTING: another word for heather around A(rea) and the outer letters (banks) of S[carle]T

6d    Wife’s stern air (4)
WAFT: W(ife) followed by the stern of a ship

7d    Confused older male with nothing for a benchmark (4,5)
ROLE MODEL: an anagram (confused) of OLDER M[A]LE after O (nothing) has replaced the A

8d    A rethink in support — nevertheless stumped up (6,8)
SECOND THOUGHTS: a verb meaning to support or back followed by a word meaning nevertheless and the reversal (up in a down clue) of ST(umped)

14d    Mattresses given by Greek character for collection of complete idiots (10)
PALLIASSES: a letter in the Greek alphabet around (for collection of) a word meaning complete and followed by some idiots

16d    Offshore bank said to be in credit before payment returned? (5,4)
CORAL REEF: an adjective meaning said or spoken inside CR(edit) and followed by the reversal (returned) of a payment

19d    Bowled wearing jumper with movement that’s mechanical (7)
ROBOTIC: B(owled) inside an Australian jumper and followed by an involuntary movement

20d    Old boy’s back stuffing face with duck and game (7)
DIABOLO: the abbreviation for Old Boy reversed (back) inside (stuffing) a word meaning face and followed by O (duck)

24d    I fancy Anne, which may be foolish (5)
INANE: I followed by an anagram (fancy) of ANNE

25d    Director of Hammer film? (4)
THOR: the Scandinavian thunder god, who wielded a hammer, is also the name of a film about, yes you’ve guessed it; the Scandinavian thunder god – the poorest type of double definition in which both definitions are, effectively, the same

I am sure that next Tuesday’s setter will be delighted to know that Toro should be back in time to write the review!

16 comments on “Toughie 1294

  1. I think Big D is being a little mean with his criticism of Pettijean. I agree with the two stars for difficulty but I did enjoy this crossword. A relaxing start to the morning.

  2. I found the RHS of this difficult, and came up short on 23A, 27A , 8D and 14D. I’ve never heard of 23A as meaning take care. I though some of the clues were very convoluted, so low on the enjoyment scale for me, I’m afraid. Still, I must thank the setter, and I certainly needed and appreciated the review, BD.

  3. I enjoyed this which is to say I finished, though I am grateful to BD for explaining the famous (?) golf course in 17a which I did not know.

    The long one across the bottom (28a) was a bit lego-like, quite a slog checking the parsing.

    I liked 1d (indulge), 4d with the mislead to 10a, shearer (20a) and refuge (18a)

    many thanks PetitJean and BD

    1. The golf course is known as the R&A, not R and A. It’s not the first time that this inaccurate construct has been used in a crossword.

      1. If you’re going to be pedantic, the R&A is not a golf course, it’s a club. It is based at St. Andrews in Scotland but the courses on the St Andrews links (all seven of them, individually named) are publicly owned and quite separate from the R&A. There is no golf course called the R&A.

  4. I enjoyed this one and was happy to finish it especially as I’m still struggling with the back page!

  5. Great fun as usual from PJ. Needed BD’s reminder of the R&A in 17a and agree 25d is weedy.

    I think 23a is perfectly legit. Isn’t “take care” as close as English language farewells get to adieu/adios and similar? One doesn’t hear “go with God” all that often.

    Loved 20a [Shearer], the clever misdirection of 4d and the offshore bank in 16d [even if it is a bit of a gimme]. Also thought “ignoring policeman ringing about” was quite clever – even if the clue overall might seem a tad convoluted.

    Many thanks to PJ and BD.

  6. Parsing 17a was the last act in this one and we thought we were quite clever to eventually get it. A pity to find out that it is not strictly accurate but we still like it as it kept us amused. About the right level of difficulty for a Tuesday we though with plenty to smile about.
    Thanks Petitjean and BD.

  7. I was having some difficulty with this, especially the right hand half. I was interrupted by a visit to the dentist, and on return, I almost wrote in the right half and finished comfortably (with some good fortune in not fully recognizing some of the niceties). I hope visiting the dentist does not generally improve my solving powers – I may not be left with many teeth in very short order! I enjoyed the puzzle, and the blog responses. Thanks to all.

  8. Having solved 8d pretty early it gave me all these strange endings for the across clues which really helped . The east side was a bit harder and didn’t get 1d until I came to the blog. I had put two “s” for seconds just before the “le” and wit for the first word. Couldn’t get it at all. Apart from that everything fell into place quite nicely. Thanks to BD for the review and to petitjean for the clues.

  9. I always enjoy having a go at a Petitjean crossword puzzle. There’s usually enough there to give the likes of me enough encouragement to keep going without constantly having to take a peep at the hints. That said, I did need to ‘peep’ a couple of times. I kept the paper handy so that I could add bits every so often during the afternoon in between ‘grand-daughter minding’ and preparing our evening meal. It’s fair to say that the answers went in more readily after her mum had collected her rather than during her time with us! Lots of super clues and very good fun – thanks PJ and thanks also BD for your hints and explanations.

  10. About 2*/3* for me, and l quite liked 17a (even though l suspected that – strictly speaking – the four-letter insert was not actually the name of the course). Thank you, Petitjean, and thank you BD for the review (particularly the clip from my favourite Bogart/Bacall film).

  11. I did this one because CS recommended it and I got about half, almost all the across clues and 5 or 6 down clues.I loved what I could solve.My favourite was (R+W) 27a.

  12. Limped home Thur morning with this Beaten by DELILAH and PALLIASSES. Also, having guessed GRANDAD correctly was blown away by the explanation and all associated blogs about its correctness or otherwise! These high-level discussions between experts make great reading! It was a ***/** for me. As ever thank you BD and thank you Petitjean. Wednesday’s next… Sh-Shoney.

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