Toughie 1311 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1311

Toughie No 1311 by Petitjean

Even Homer Nods

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BD Rating – Difficulty **/***Enjoyment **

I’m usually a big fan of Petitjean’s puzzles but I found this one a bit flat. There is a trademark music-related clue but not much of his usual quirkiness. Am I just being a Mr Grumps? – Do let me know.

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.

Across Clues

1a Conference is one that’s held over in outskirts of Warsaw (6)
POWWOW – the abbreviation for someone held (in Colditz, perhaps) is followed by the cricket abbreviation for an over inside the outer letters of Warsaw.

4a Reflector‘s red top (6)
MIRROR – double definition.

8a Against further ridicule about old Republican (8)
YUGOSLAV – string together a letter used to mean against (in a sports fixture), an adverb meaning further or additionally and a verb to ridicule or send up. Finally reverse the lot (about).

10a Top-less rock group putting on Slade’s glitter (6)
DAZZLE the first two words here appear to be doing double duty. Initially we have to remove the word “Top” from the name of an American rock band. Then the two remaining letters go inside (putting on)  a small valley which is what a slade (with no capital) is [Thanks to pommers for that – please ignore the rest of my ramblings on this cluean anagram (rock) of (s)LADE (topless). The only thing that tells us to re-use topless and rock appears to be the ‘S. I don’t like this much but I don’t have a better explanation – do you? Anyway, here’s a track by Slade that includes the answer in its title:

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a Hard to puncture enthusiastic expression, it’s clear (4)
GHEE – insert H(ard) in an enthusiastic expression.

12a Get better treatment needed for repeat cure (10)
RECUPERATE – an anagram (treatment needed for) of REPEAT CURE.

13a Smooth clue set: hollow-eyed and tight-lipped (5-7)
CLOSE-MOUTHED – an anagram (set) of SMOOTH CLUE followed by the outer letters (hollow) of eyed.

16a Waste of popular expertise (12)
INEFFICIENCY – charade of an adverb meaning popular or trendy and a word for expertise or competence. Not one of Petitjean’s better clues?

20a Mo runs at pace eventually that’s substandard (6-4)
SECOND-RATE – string together a short period of time (mo), the cricket abbreviation for runs, AT (from the clue) and the final letter of pace.

21a Buffoons regularly identify alien craft (4)
UFOS – craft, in the sense of vessel, is the same in the plural as in the singular. We need to extract regular letters from buffoons.

22a Dam antelope confronts male showing a lot of bottle (6)
MAGNUM – a female parent (dam) is followed by a large African antelope and M(ale). I was going to comment that ‘dam antelope’ didn’t make much sense but I see from the BRB that dam is an alternative spelling of damn.

23a Mending  cables perhaps (8)
KNITTING – double definition, the first relating to the healing of a fractured bone, say. Cables are types of stitches.

24a Goody-goody with smutty illicit reproduction (6)
PIRACY – a charade of an informal adjective meaning goody-goody or holier-than-thou and an adjective meaning smutty or risqué.

25a Poem about husband’s hard-core outpouring of despair (2,4)
OH DEAR – a poem containing H(usband) followed by the core letters of hard.

Down Clues

1d Entry of pipe organ underpinning piano (8)
PLUGHOLE – an informal word for a bodily organ follows P(iano).

2d With half hour left note total (5)
WHOLE – build the answer from W(ith), half of the word hour, L(eft) and a musical note.

3d Barrel is round and filled now and then with strong drink (3,4)
OIL DRUM – the round letter precedes regular letters (now and then) from the word filled. Finally we need a tot of strong drink.

5d Not floundering or searching (2-5)
IN-DEPTH – searching here is an adjective meaning thorough (an investigation, for example). The answer, with space instead of hyphen, could also mean in the water but not flailing around in the shallows.

6d R for risky situation? (5,4)
RAZOR EDGE – the answer could be a cryptic clue for the letter R.

7d Quarrel a teeny bit — but get on (6)
RELATE – hidden (bit) in the clue.

9d After brief holiday, sulk and fume endlessly about acquiring a thermos (6,5)
VACUUM FLASK – start with the abbreviation for a holiday and follow this with an anagram (about) of SULK and FUM(e). Finally insert (acquiring) A. Should there not be some indication that Thermos is just one example of the answer?

14d Tycoon given black eye boxing … jump to draw conclusions (9)
SHIPOWNER – an informal word for a black eye contains (boxing) the concluding letters of three words in the clue.

15d He croons at sea in ship (8)
SCHOONER – an anagram (at sea) of HE CROONS.

17d Scholar with ambition to displace a rat found in a particular area (7)
ENDEMIC – start with a scholar (or teacher) in higher education and replace the A and the rat or rotter with an ambition or goal.

18d Nouveau riche approaching sheikh’s banks for value (7)
CHERISH – an anagram (nouveau) of RICHE followed by the outer letters (banks) of sheikh.

19d Escape city shrouded in mist (6)
DECAMP – the postal area of the City of London is contained in mist or moisture.

21d Free broadcasting service not the answer in short (5)
UNTIE – the affectionate nickname used for a UK broadcasting service without the single-letter abbreviation for answer.

The clue I liked best today was 1a. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.

37 comments on “Toughie 1311

  1. Just 8A was left, and I would never have worked that one out by myself! I also needed the review to understand everything except the ww in 1A and the dam in 22A. I enjoyed this, with 11A my favorite. Thanks to Petitjean and Gazza.

  2. Gentle offering today apart from 10a. favourites were 1d and 14d thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. Re 10a

    The BRB defines a slade as a small valley so it’s a dale (valley) around the topless band. Naughty false capitalisation though

    Quite enjoyed this but it ain’t as tricky as is usual for Petitjean.

    Thanks to him and to Gazza too.

  4. The bottom half went in OK but the top half was a real struggle. I am still very new to the Toughie so could someone help me out with an explanation 10a and 6d I’m afraid neither hint really helps much. I have the answers but don’t understand why.
    Did like 21d.which I thought a super clue.
    Thx to all.

    1. 10a ZZ TOP without the TOP (Top-less) leaves ZZ. Put DALE (slade) around that.
      6d If you treat the answer as a cryptic clue Razor Edge (i.e. the edge letter of razor) is R.

      1. Thanks, that really helps. Both clues are very clever but probably out of my reach for the moment.

  5. Not a tough Toughie!

    Faves : 8a, 22a, 1d &17d.

    Very damp day here in NL.

    Four more days to the shortest daylight period at last!

  6. Straightforward for about 80% of the puzzle for me. Thanks to Gazza for sorting out the wordplay for the ones that confused me and thanks to petitjean.

  7. Although I had the correct answer for 10a, I had no idea of how the wordplay worked. I assumed that it must refer to a band I had never heard of and at least was right about that. Thanks for the explanation gazza and pommers. Favourite clue was 8a.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

      1. Thanks Dave. I did manage to listen to about half of it. Don’t think that I will join the fan club just yet.

  8. The staff at a lunch-time restaurant cleared my telegraph together with the rest of the table. This really annoyed me as I hadn’t had a chance to do the toughie yet. And my iPad was dead so I couldn’t do my Times either – one of those days.

    Looking at the review it doesn’t appear that easy to me, not sure how well I would have done.

    many thanks Petitjean and gazza

  9. Hmm – no-one else seemed to find this difficult – it was quite difficult enough for me.
    To be entirely honest I made a bit of a mess of it and ended up with three gaps, all in the bottom left corner. I also needed quite a few explanations.
    If I lived to be more than a hundred I would never have worked out 8a for myself.
    I did enjoy it – my favourite was 25a as it pretty well sums up how I feel about my effort today.
    Anyway, thanks very much to Petitjean and to gazza for the much needed explanations – all of them.

      1. I had every checker, couldn’t find the Slightly Mad Hat (it’s probably hiding with the missing Christmas tree lights and 23a with them) and still couldn’t get it. Pathetic – 25a again!

        1. You were far from alone on 8a and not at all pathetic! I could never have worked it out in a month of Sundays from the clue.

  10. Solved by bunging in and hoping for the best. Would never have parsed 10ac without the blog. That’s two days running I have joined the Toughty Club

  11. I really enjoyed this because I was able to do most of it. 25a is a stand out clue, while I used a letter hint to get 8a in the end.Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.I didn’t parse 10a, just bunged it in, like MP.

  12. Well I completed this. But I’m not sure if it counts because I invoked the Miffypops rule a few times. Certainly 10a was a complete guess…very clever indeed. Not helped by the fact that I forgot about ZZ Top as a band. Eek.

    Favourite clue today is 24a…it’s deliciously worded, with 25a getting a chocolate from the Christmas tree.

    Many thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for blogging…I certainly needed your explanations. :-)

  13. If anybody’s still up over there, I was thinking today that we haven’t seen Big Boab on here for ages. He used to be such a regular commenter on the Toughie as well as the cryptic. I’m concerned.

  14. Good morning all. The right side went quite well as I think I spotted the pangram. 10a was a bung in for me so thanks to Gazza and pommers for the explanations. Incidentally I am sure pommers is happy to be called a tycoon. I also was left with 8a. I was looking for a Russian politician. 25a made me laugh too. Thanks to petitjean and to Gazza again.

      1. Sorry, I thought a pangram was when all the letters of the alphabet showed up. Maybe I still don’t understand the concept. I think I need more information on this.

        1. That’s what a pangram is but there’s no Q in this one (I haven’t checked all the other letters).

          1. You are absolutely right. It’s no way near a pangram. I’ll try to be a bit more thorough in the future.

  15. I came to this very late in the day yesterday and found it quick to do, much to my amazement, and a lot of fun. However I did need electronic help to find a word to fit between the checking letters in 8a. When I suddenly realised it was backwards all was clear, but would never have solved it unaided so a moral victory for Petitjean, to whom many thanks. Also thanks to Gazza whose hints I didn’t need for once.

  16. Right, that is Wednesday’s finished and it was much harder than it’s predecessor. 10a was well outside my grasp, and the explanation was even more obscure! (This is despite having a large collection of their vinyl. Yes – sad, I know). I seem to remember GHEE coming up a week or two ago (11a). I couldn’t find the rat 17d and I still can’t see what the scholar is, so I guessed it. Must move on to Thursday now. ***/*** for me. Thank you Petitjean and thank you Gazza.

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