Toughie 1443

Toughie No 1443 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

I never quite know what to expect with a Petitjean puzzle. Over the years I must have awarded them everything from one star to five stars for both difficulty and enjoyment. This was one of the more straightforward ones with only the wordplay for 5 down causing any head scratching. It must have been a quick solve. I did it in less time than it took the Australians to be bowled out

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    Holy Grail-style surreal phoney quest (11)
PYTHONESQUE: An anagram (surreal) of PHONEY QUEST gives an adjective describing the humour of a group of people who did a film about the Holy Grail

9a    Italian hero Lineker and Shearer named? (9)
GARIBALDI: A homophone of the first name of Mr Lineker and a word for someone who has had their head shaved (sheared)

10a    Polished and seductive but wanting approval mostly (5)
HONED: Remove YE (YES with the last letter removed) from a word meaning ‘seductive’

11a    Second of fake yellow rings ‘English antique‘ (3-3)
AGE-OLD: A (the second letter of fAke) + ‘yellow’ round E (English)

12a    Formal do without being restricted by limitations of buffet, that is (5-3)
BLACK-TIE: ‘To do without’ inside the first and last letters of BuffeT + ‘that is’

13a    Sesame paste and Hawaiian tuna in special tin (6)
TAHINI: A Hawaiian name for the yellowfin tuna inside an anagram (special) of TIN. I didn’t know the Hawaiian tuna

15a    Bake tarte without topping for a change to give you a brief rest (3,5)
TEA BREAK: An anagram (for a change) of BAKE ARTE (TARTE with the first letter removed)

18a    Transport to Spooner’s distant part of 28? (3,5)
CAR FERRY: A Spoonerism of ‘distant’ and a county in the south-west of the 28 across

19a    Somewhat austere outlook for conventional sound reproduction (6)
STEREO: Hidden in auSTERE Outlook

21a    Porridge then light meal -– no starter or trifle (4-4)
NICK-NACK: Porridge (jail) + a light meal with the first letter removed

23a    Volatile peace around South is issue (6)
ESCAPE: An anagram (volatile) of PEACE round S (South)

26a    East-End trendy stops for each bird (5)
PIPER: ‘Trendy’ as an East-Ender would say it with the initial H removed goes inside ‘for each’ to give a young pigeon or other bird

27a    Top group in top school is overwhelming (9)
BEDAZZLES: Two letters that precede ‘Top’ in the name of a US rock band go inside the name of an independent school in Steep in Hampshire

28a    Haggard country singer touring supermarkets after Europe and Ireland (7,4)
EMERALD ISLE: E (Europe) + the first name of the country singer Ms Haggard round supermarkets belonging to a particular discount chain


1d    Anthem is about good intro to tune for moving spectacle (7)
PAGEANT: An anthem round G (good) + T (first letter of Tune)

2d    Essentially time for parking is short (5)
TERSE: Take a Latin phrase meaning ‘essentially’ (3,2) and replace P (parking) by T (time)

3d    All in all working graduate’s new to be wearing tie (2,7)
ON BALANCE: ‘Working’ + an arts graduate + N (new) inside ‘to tie (or fasten your shoes)’

4d    Getting a lift, kipper salesman going for more fish (4)
EELS: Reverse a kipper (someone who kips) and then remove a salesman

5d    Old writer who in France confronts Left and Right-winger ignoring one inevitable conclusion (5-3)
QUILL-PEN: The French word for ‘who’ + L (left) + the surname of a French right-wing politician (Jean-Marie or his daughter Marine) with one instance of the letter E (last letter of inevitablE) removed

6d    Way of doing things and what have you with essentially thin content (5)
ETHIC: An abbreviation that can denote ‘and what have you’ goes round the middle two letters of tHIn

7d    Southerner is goal up in playground before end of break (7)
REDNECK: A derogatory term for a poor white farm labourer in SW USA = a reversal of ‘goal’ inside an open area for games + K (last letter of breaK)

8d    A winter look finally that’s fashionable? (8)
KNITWEAR: An anagram (fashionable) of A WINTER K (last letter of looK).The whole clue provides the definition

14d    Not easy being on PC with variable printout (4,4)
HARD COPY: ‘Not easy’ + a PC (police constable) + a letter denoting a variable

16d    Easy to take in one beset by bad debt having imbibed stiffener (4-5)
BITE-SIZED: East to take in (or eat) = I (one) inside an anagram (bad) of DEBT round a gluey material used for stiffening paper or fabrics

17d    Severe test with the Spanish writer turning up after news of team (8)
CRUCIBLE: A figurative term for a severe test or trial = a homophone (news of) of ‘team’ + a reversal of the Spanish for ‘the’ and a make of ballpoint pen

18d    Is it possible for primates to produce food? (7)
CANAPES: When split (3,4) it means ‘is it possible for primates’

20d    Left court, in control (7)
OVERSEE: ‘Left (remaining)’ + ‘to court romantically’ = ‘to control’

22d    In races, running up, one should get help (5)
NURSE: Hidden in reverse in racES RUNning

24d    Maps, finally timeless in the end (5)
ATLAS: Remove T (time) from the end of ‘in the end’ (2,4)

25d    Mild decaf now and then what one fancies (4)
IDEA: Alternate letters of mIlD dEcAf

I enjoyed it



  1. crypticsue
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I enjoyed it too even though it wasn’t that tough

    Thanks to Bufo and PJ too

  2. Una
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I thoroughly enjoyed it , and solved in double quick time , for me, except for 11a which I completely misread.I thought it was some old fashioned phrase meaning “Hear hear”.
    I am going to pick 18d as my favourite .
    Thanks Petitjean and Buffo.

  3. Shropshirelad
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Much easier than yesterday’s puzzle, thank heavens. Even though easier, it was thoroughly enjoyable with the exception of (yes you’re correct) 18a. The top half went in fairly quickly and the bottom half eventually gave up the goods. Some really funny clues, but 9a has to be my favourite of the day. I expect a certain Mr A Shearer from the North East will be seeking legal advice.

    Thanks to Petitjean for the puzzle and entertainment and to Bufo for his review.

    • Una
      Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

      What is wrong with 18a ? Apart from the fact that that county is spelt Kerry.

      • Shropshirelad
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Hi Una, I’m afraid I just don’t like Spoonerism’s. Never have and never will but the rest of the clues were lovely

        • Una
          Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          I usually loathe them to, but this one was quite fair , I thought.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    I loved it, and thought 1A and 9A were wonderful. Bufo, I think that you’d be walkin’ on his fightin’ side by referring to the country singer in 28A as Ms!

    Many thanks to PJ for a fun crossword and to Bufo for the review.

  5. JB
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    This was fun and enjoyable which is more than can be said for the backpage where I could guess the answer but had no idea of the wordplay. I hated it.

    Only one small dislike here – I join in the chorus of disapproval for 18a. Oh for someone brave enough to ban Spoonerisms from crosswords. They are rarely any good though this one was, I suppose, marginally better than most.

    Although I got the answer, the wordplay for 28a defeated me. Being “old school”, I was lookinging for H. Rider Haggard. If I’d got as far as the name, I would have expected a Miss Oberon. There, you see, hopelessly out of date!

    So, thank you Petitjean and Bufo.

  6. Janet and Gavin
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    An enjoyable time was spent on this puzzle with some of the clues having good wordplay, I especially liked 5d, 17d and Janet, as always, went straight for the spooner. The last to go in was 27a due to the fact it is an establishment we had never heard of, but fair play, I doubt the setter will have heard of the institutions we attended. Thanks Petitjean and Bufo.
    I think we deserve a drink… the Jolly Crispin opens at four o’clock today.

  7. Kath
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    I loved it, including the Spoonerism – I didn’t think it was as tricky as today’s Ray T.
    I needed explanations for a few, especially 27 and 28a – I’ve never heard of the country singer and kept trying to make it something to do with Caro Emerald – dim!
    I liked 1 and 21a and 4 and 18d – oh, and !8a – up the Spoonerisms, I say!
    With thanks to Petitjean for such a good fun crossword and to Bufo for sorting out the problems.

  8. Franco
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

    I liked the reference to Mr Shearer in 9a – possibly the most boring football pundit on this planet.

    Good player, though! Why-Aye man!

  9. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Same grid as RayT, same difficulty and same enjoyment.
    Quite surprised to find the Le Pen family there but pleased to see ZZ Top.
    Learned a new synonym for severe test.
    Thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for the parsing of 10a which eluded me.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    A few bits that had us searching for people we were not familiar with, as in 9a, but nothing to hold us up for long. Plenty to chuckle about and we really enjoyed it.
    Thanks Petitjean and Bufo.

  11. halcyon
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    Great return to top form by PJ. Witty and contemporary [well, relatively] with all the rest of his trademarks [think pop music, football, Cockney] .
    Particular favourites were 26a, 4d, 8d and 18d.
    Many thanks to PJ and to Bufo.

  12. Jane
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    For once I am indebted to Mr. Spooner! With a couple of checkers in, 18a was obvious and the link to 28a made it easy enough to guess that answer. Just as well – I didn’t know the singer! Neither did I know the American group – thank goodness for the checking ‘Z’.
    Are you certain about the ‘shearer’ Bufo – or just being polite? I asked Mr. Google about Alan Shearer and he came up with an article and pics. re: his baldness.
    Didn’t figure out the parsing for 26a – is ‘hip’ particularly an East End expression? I also thought ‘stops’ would mean to take something off the end rather than the beginning. Just as well I knew the bird!
    Other unknowns were the Hawaiian tuna (fortunately didn’t need to know) and the definition at 17d. I remember the place as being where severe tests of snooker skills took place – good enough for me!

    Actually, it’s rather amazing that I finished up with a full grid – but I did and much enjoyed getting there.!
    Thanks to PJ and gratitude to Bufo for explaining the thoughts that SHOULD have been in my head.

    • Jane
      Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Just a thought – if 26a had referred to West End it would have been more understandable – that way I’d have been putting the ‘stop’ on the west end of hip, hence -ip.
      Well, it makes more sense to me…….

      • gazza
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        In 26a stops means goes inside (as in to stop or close up a hole) so the East End (Cockney) version of hip (i.e. ‘IP) goes inside PER (for each).

        • Jane
          Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear – knight in shining armour has to come to the rescue again!
          There must be times when you doubt my sanity, Gazza. Some days I’m not so sure about it either.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

        I think you might be in a minority of 1 there.

        • Jane
          Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

          Very probably, Chris, but at least I’m still trying! In fact Gazza would probably say that I’m very, very trying at times.

  13. Expat Chris
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    I was initially surprised that some folks had never heard of the marvelous Merle Haggard, a country music legend with a worldwide following, but then I know little about the British Music scene after the 70s, so I suppose that evens things out.

  14. Hanni
    Posted August 6, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

    Oh Petitjean I like you. 9a is a work of genius.

    Other highlights…1a, 7d and 8d.

    Just marvellous on every level.

    Many thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for blogging.

  15. Only fools
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    9a will last long in the memory from which I have erased yesterday’s “struggle” which made this even more fun .Thanks Petitjean very enjoyable ,more of the same please and thanks Bufo for explaining 13a etc.

  16. Kitty
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    I loved this. Managed to do most of it quite readily, only having to check the tuna. Then my mad hat fell off with a handful to go, all in the SW, which took me about the same time again and put me firmly back in my place. Lots of fun.

    Thanks to Petitjean and Bufo.

  17. spindrift
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    imho i think it’s time that setters moved away from anachronisms such as HIP – it was last in circulation when Simon Dee was on the telly – apart from that quibble i thought this was a good toughie without being overly clever for its own good…no names, no pack drill.

  18. John Pidgeon
    Posted August 7, 2015 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I ran this past my old pal and BlueMoment blogger Richard Williams, whose response was, ‘Well, I use it myself from time to time, as I might use “groovy”. It’s one of those archaisms that never really goes away and might come back in full force at any moment, like “cool” and “hipster”.
    Also, am I in a minority in thinking the solver’s groan is an integral element in the Spoonerism?
    John P

  19. Heno
    Posted August 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Petitjean and to Bufo for the review and hints. I enjoyed it very much, and a Toughie completion to boot! Just needed the hints to parse 23,26,27,28a&4,14,20d. Favourite was 1a. Was 3*/4* for me.