Toughie 1461 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1461

Toughie No 1461 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by crypticsue

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

It has been so cold in my north-facing office for the last two days, I was seriously contemplating getting out my woolly hat.   Today, however, I should have looked out the slightly mad hat required when solving/reviewing a Petitjean crossword, not to mention lugging in from home one of my copies of the BRB as the office dictionary does its best but isn’t quite up to ‘Toughie’ parsing requirements.

The right hand of the crossword held out longer than the left hand side, and parsing of some of the clues took a while too which is why I have given it a 5* difficulty rating- there’s a couple of them where I await with interest the thoughts of our ‘foreign correspondents’ and ‘younger viewers’.

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           Unconventional May Queen going to welcome mobile home (8)
BOHEMIAN   Remove the Latin abbreviation for Queen from the Christian name of the guitarist named May and insert (to welcome) an anagram (mobile) of HOME.


5a           Disregard majority of rumour and poison being cultivated (6)
URBANE   Ignore the first four letters (majority of) rumoUR and add a fatal poison.

10a         Remind coalition about covering all angles (15)

11a         Fashionable sad case drinking cuppa as an alternative (7)
INSTEAD   An adjective meaning fashionable followed by the outside letters (case) of SaD between which is inserted (drinking) a ‘cuppa’.

12a         Fit of anger with worker at last having shaken off cold (7)
WOBBLER   The abbreviation for With followed by a worker at a last who has ‘shaken off cold’ or had the letter C removed from the beginning of his job title.  (Unless you are a fan of sumo wrestlers, I don’t recommend typing ‘throwing a xxxxxx’ into Google Images!)


13a         Take this to become invisible? (4,4)
BACK SEAT A cryptic definition of taking an subordinate or inconspicuous position.

15a         Tackle missing hours finding energy to make start (5)
WINCE Start here meaning to start slightly with sudden pain. Remove the H (missing hours) at the end of a crank (tackle) and replace with (finding) the abbreviation for Energy.

18a         It’s due to keep one from being on time for breakfast? (3-2)
LIE-IN I (one) inserted into a due or right.


20a         This would suit a dirty chat with unexpectedly bad line ringing (8)
BIRDBATH No, not that sort of dirty chat  Something that might be used by one of our feathered friends (a chat being a member of the thrush family) is obtained by putting an anagram (unexpectedly) of BAD into another word for line or lineage.


23a         Less than reliable peacekeepers go off (7)
UNSOUND   The abbreviation for the world’s peacekeepers followed by a verb meaning to go off

25a         More buoyant    boat (7)
LIGHTER  Less heavy so more able to float or a type of flat bottomed barge.

26a         Your inner racist turned out revolting (15)
INSURRECTIONARY   An anagram (turned out) of YOUR INNER RACIST.

27a         Morosely swapping medium for small — that’s awful (6)
GRISLY   Awful in the sense of gruesome –   Swap the M (medium) in the middle of a word meaning morosely for an S (small).

28a         Come across Chelsea — no other — boss in news (6,2)
CHANCE ON Meet unexpectedly (come across) – remove (no)  the ‘other’ from CHELSEA, add one abbreviation for News add the abbreviation for a boss or managing director, and finish with another abbreviation for news.

1d           Film writer getting to grips with work this person’s seen before (6)
BIOPIC   I (this person) goes before the abbreviation for work and then both are  inserted into a particular brand of ballpoint pen (writer).

2d           Greeting that reveals sign of nerves? (9)
HANDSHAKE Split 4,5 this form of greeting might well signify nervousness.

3d           Unclear about facing small cocktail on Wednesday (3-4)
MIDWEEK   A reversal (about) of a word meaning unclear, an adjective meaning very small and the ‘tail’ of cock.

4d           Outsiders from CAMRA coming up with free bitter (5)
ACRID   A reversal (coming up in a Down clue) of the ‘outsiders’ of CAMRA followed by a verb meaning to free from something undesirable.

6d           ‘Begorra!’ in bowdlerised content is colourful (7)
RAINBOW Something colourful is found in the content of begorRA IN BOWdlerised


7d           Cancel omnibus without anyone initially on board? (5)
ANNUL   Remove the initial letter of Anyone from inside (on board)  a collection of works usually published on a yearly basis.

8d           Back Frenchman over delay — one end or other of reactor inside it’s blowing up regularly (8)
ENLARGER   Insert either one of the Rs at the end of ReactoR into a delay and then put the result into a reversal (back) of a Frenchman’s name.

9d           One wet acre could be the result of melt (3,5)
ICE WATER The letter that looks like a number one followed by an anagram (could be) of WET ACRE.

14d         Typifies ‘Professional’ after half of them succeeded (8)
EMBODIES The second half of the word thEM followed by the name of one of the ‘Professionals’ in the TV series and the abbreviation for succeeded.


16d         No joke being on edge (3,2,4)
NOT AT EASE Split your solution 3, 1, 5 and the first part of the clue makes sense.

17d         Defying being dismissed in brief flamboyant innings? (8)
FLOUTING Insert another way of saying ‘being dismissed’ in a game of cricket into a brief period of unrestrained behaviour (flamboyant innings).  The letters of the solution appear in flamboyant innings but I don’t think (she said hopefully) that you are supposed to use them to get the solution.  

19d         Upcoming combination of articles in French and English tackles surprisingly true fence-sitting (7)
NEUTRAL   Reversals (upcoming) of the French female definite article and the English indefinite article in combination or ‘sharing’ the A, ‘tackle’ or go round an anagram (surprisingly) of TRUE.

21d         Left adrift, Bligh — or Christian, at root one of the flock? (7)
BIGHORN   A North American breed of sheep, named for what’s obvious in this illustration – remove the L (left adrift) from BLIGH, add OR (from the clue) and finish with the ‘root’ of ChristiaN.


22d         Blue a corny colour? (6)
CRAYON  Not sure about ‘blue’ being an anagram indicator (it might be in the BRB list but that’s at home) but here you need to rearrange A CORNY.


24d         South American welcome for rice dish (5)
SUSHI   This type of clue gets me every time as I always want to start with SA – however, the abbreviation for South should be followed by the abbreviated way of referring to the United States (American) and an informal word for hello (welcome).

25d         Catch fifty in congregation, conceivably (5)
LATCH  The Roman numeral for 50 followed by an abbreviated way of saying (conceivably) that one was part of the congregation in a place of worship.

Thank you to Petitjean for an enjoyable and  properly tough start to the Toughie week  – hence the 5* enjoyment rating (I’m hoping this bodes well for the rest of the week); to Toro for having a work deadline and to  BD for the lunch engagement which meant I could truthfully say I had a lunchtime commitment and couldn’t do something  both time-consuming and totally unnecessary for which  a colleague wanted me to give up my lunch hour!


42 comments on “Toughie 1461

  1. **/*****

    Something is wrong in the universe if I found this easier than CS? The back page caused me no end of trouble. It got 2* for difficulty as I filled the grid but had to go back and parse a few. For example I didn’t spot the hidden in 6d initially. 24d I started with ‘SA…’ for ages. The 2 long anagrams took a while to figure out too.

    Many thanks to Petitjean for a bloomin brilliant start to the Toughie week and to CS for blogging. I think I’ll be brought back down to earth later in the week.

    1. I got quite stuck on the RH side and some of the difficulty rating relates to the time it took for the pennies to drop in parsing certain clues.

  2. I didn’t find it that difficult but couldn’t parse 14d.
    Not very inspiring for me.
    Only liked 2d.
    Thanks to PJ and to CS for the review.

    1. Jean-luc,

      the Frenchman in 8d is becoming somewhat tiresome, n’est-ce pas?

      Do you know anyone called René?

      1. Quite agree Franco.
        At least we had a Serge once.
        I know a René and he looks like Gordon Kaye too.
        Franchement weird!

  3. I loved this one. I got off to a bad start by trying to fit Teresa rather than Brian into 1a, then I had problems in the top RH corner. Top clues for me were 1a, 28a and 4d. Thanks to Petitjean for the entertainment and to CS for the review. I share the hope that this bodes well for a good Toughie week.

  4. Excellent stuff from Petitjean.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this one. My favourite pair of clues were also my last two in … 1a (May Queen) & 14d (“Professional”) … both raised a chuckle when I finally understood them!

    The Mutiny on the Bounty one and the Chelsea one were also much appreciated … along with many others.

    (Begorra! … forgot the CAMRA one)

    Hopefully, we don’t have to wait too long for the next offering from PJ. This Thursday’s back-pager, perhaps?

  5. Blimey. I filled the grid, but thank you CS for the full parsing of 1a, 5a 12a 20a 28a and 14d!

    In 28a, I now see that its a boss *between* 2 N’s. (a plural of new’s – very nice)

    In 19d, where does the N come from? Ah, just saw the review has been reworded, thanks. good grief, devious.

    13a took me many submissions to get right. 8d also took me far too long. 1d was annoying since the answer has two I’s that can be part of the writer, only one works with “seen before”.

    A challenging puzzle for those who like to struggle with parsing.

    many thanks Petitjean and many thanks CS for the much needed review.

    1. 19d you are reversing AN (English article) and LA (French article) but sharing the A. Not the easiest clue to parse and/or explain.

      1. thanks CS – I’ll say it’s hard to parse – and rather gently indicated with “combination”, I think – “sharing” might have given me a stronger hint and works in surface… I’m probably just grumpy because I didn’t see it.

        1. An alternative explanation for the combination of articles is that the French article is just L (as in L‘oiseau) and the English one is AN. What do you think?

          1. amazingly well spotted by our master parser – but would be even more devious – would open up a minefield (so let’s not show PJ!)

  6. I completed the grid, all but 13A. However, there were several I got from the checking letters that I couldn’t parse…1A, 28A, 14D. I didn’t much like the ‘line’ part of 20A or ‘invisible’ in 13A. 21D is my favorite, followed by 8D. Thanks PJ and CS.

    Off on my travels tomorrow. Will have the laptop so fingers crossed that the B-in-L has WiFi! If not, I’ll catch up with you all later.

    1. We are very envious of you Chris. Meeting up with Blog-mates was a real highlight of our visit in May so we are pleased to hear that it is part of your agenda. Have fun.

  7. Gosh! Super toughie. Way above my pay grade but very enjoyable, once I had some help.
    I am in awe of and very grateful to the solver and setter both, especially the former!
    Thanks again.

  8. I really enjoyed this but found it >b>very difficult and didn’t make it to the finishing line by quite a long way.
    I needed the hints for lots that I couldn’t do at all and also to explain several that I did get but couldn’t quite explain.
    I liked 1 and 20a and 2, 3 and 6d.
    With thanks to Petitjean and thanks and admiration to CS for the untangling – you did it in your “lunch hour?” Can’t help wondering how long your lunch break is?

    1. Solved before starting work, blog sorted out during lunch hour. Don’t tell the boss but I might have sorted out some parsing while he was safely out the way in a meeting

      1. I was really only joking!
        I loved the piccie hint for 12a even though I would always have called it a wobbly rather than a wobbler.
        I reminded me of Pet Lambs aged about four and two – elder one was quite sensible – younger was a nightmare and prone (sometimes literally) to throwing wobblies. Her worst effort was coming back from doing some shopping. They were both walking because shopping was in the push chair. She chose the middle of the main London Road to lie down because she wanted her hair to look like our ginger cat’s!
        People were surprisingly tolerant and drove round us . . .

        1. Yep! That’s exactly what No1 only daughter would do.
          Going shopping was a real nightmare.
          She’s a real Sweet Lamb now.

          1. Yes – so is our No 2 Lamb – an absolute sweetie and very beautiful too! Let’s just forget about the shopping!

  9. The musician in 1a and the character in 14d were the only two allusions that were unfamiliar but did not prevent a filled grid and then a bit of Googling. Did not see either of them as being unfair to off-shore people though. Not like lesser known politicians, obscure geography and local interest TV presenters which all seem to give us strife. With 12a were familiar with wobbly but needed BRB to confirm the legitimacy of the er ending. Good puzzle, much enjoyed.
    Thanks Petitjean and CS

  10. Brilliant puzzle, really most enjoyable. I didn’t attempt to parse many of them , just followed Miffypops rule of “Bung it in ” when it appeared to fit.My last two in had errors, enlarges instead of enlarger, and in 17d I got confused between flaunt and flout.
    Thanks for a fantastic blog, CS,especially the parsing of 1a, 5a, 17d, and 28a.
    20a was my absolute favourite . I also liked 3d and 18a among many others.
    Thanks to Pettijean.

  11. Yipee – PJ gets a well-merited 5 for fun with which I wholeheartedly agree. It was indeed on the tricksy side for him but I was on his wavelength for most of it – failing only to remember the professional at 14d. Some delightful clues in here, especially 1a [May/ Queen/ the solution – how good is that] but also 12a [worker at last] 20a [dirty chat] and 3d [cocktail]. Lots more like this please.

    Many thanks to PJ and to CS for an excellent blog.

  12. Started pretty quickly and then slowed d o w n quite a lot, and used a couple of hints (thanks CS) to help finish. Clever stuff from PJ, and fun to solve.

  13. After a prolonged period of absence with free bitter at an event organised by CAMRA here in Peterborough, followed by a wisdom tooth extraction in Hospital I thought a Tuesday Toughie would ease me back in. Oops. Agree with CS ratings, Thanks to Petitjean and CS

    1. Oh dear – hope that wisdom tooth is better in its absence – hate them! Still have two – not much sign of the wisdom though!

    1. Oh God. I’ve still got 5 to go in his Mephisto from Sunday. And hardly any of them make sense anyway.

      This is what I mean CS…reality check for me.

  14. So many people using the word “parse”!!! Are they all former Grammar School students who studied Latin???
    Do they know the meaning of the word???

  15. Thanks PJ for 20a in particular and CS for the review which I did need .As said earlier ,more of the same please .

  16. Couldn’t get a paper today, so turned to this Toughie a day late. It occupied my entire evening as each answer was dragged to the surface (rather like the spaniel who fell in today). Quite a few bung-ins which, miraculously, turned out to be correct. So thanks very much to CS for the explanations, especially 1a and 28a. No real favourites, as I found this, like I find most by PJ, a job of work. It’s a bit like assembling an IKEA chest of drawers. A sense of satisfaction that it’s finished, but no real fun during the task.

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