Toughie 1634 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1634

Toughie No 1634 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Tilsit

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BD Rating – Difficulty ***Enjoyment ***

Greetings from Warrington! As Bufo is sunning himself on a Club 18-30 Ibiza Rave Party holiday, BD asked me to fill his boots for the day.

A nice pleasant puzzle from Petitjean today, which fits well into the Thursday slot. As I am now gainfully employed and time is at a premium on working days, this made a fair challenge while I was having my breakfast. A few nice misleading definitions and clues to make you smile. Thanks to Petitjean for the challenge.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a    Captain for Second XI makes forceful drive (4,2,5)
HEAD OF STEAM:    Something that means impetus or what you have forcefully pushing forward is revealed by describing what a captain is and adding S (second) and a word for an eleven in sport.

9a    First of many cutting bad quips wasted in feeble lampoon (4,5)
DAMP SQUIB:    Inside an anagram (wasted) of BAD QUIPS goes M (first letter of many) to give you something that promises much, but fails to deliver.

10a    Ball hit high or one skimming the surface (5)
SKIER:    A double definition. In cricket, a ball that is hit aloft and someone who glides over the snow-covered ground.

11a    Hard workers skipping 50 per cent of grad course (6)
AFTERS:    A word that means people who work hard needs to lose its first two letters (50% of the word ‘grad’) to give a course at a meal.

12a    Twin features of good health (4-4)
CHIN-CHIN:    At first I had ‘well well’ here and then realised it’s a way of saying ‘cheers’ or ‘good health’ to someone using the name of a facial feature twice.

13a    Flier’s contentious account with one chapter removed (6)
TOUCAN:    An anagram of ACCOUNT minus C (Chapter) gives the name of a bird.

15a    The plus surprisingly’s a hidden food additive (8)
SULPHATE:    An oddly-worded clue with an odd definition. An anagram of THE PLUS with A inside gives a name for a chemical compound that could be interpreted as a food additive.

18a    Building likely to go up? (8)
FIRETRAP:    A cryptic definition of a building that is dangerous and can go up in smoke.

19a    Offer to store data — it’ll be expensive if it goes (3,3)
BIG END:    A word for an offer or tender has something that means data or information inside it. This gives a part of a car that’s expensive to repair!

21a    Learn new skill set to bag small check (8)
RESTRAIN:    If you learn a different skill, you do this. Inside this goes S (small) to give a word meaning to check someone or something.

23a    Dumpling — roll in due course? (3,3)
WON TON:    Reverse (roll) an expression that means later or in due course to give the name of some Chinese steamed dumplings. Probably my favourite clue.

26a    Champion losing with bull’s-eye? Not quite (5)
INNER:    The word for a victor or champion needs to lose W (with), its first letter to give the part of a dart board worth 25 points!

27a    Compromise one quietly involved in changing climate (9)
IMPLICATE:    A word meaning compromise is found by taking I (one) and rearranging the word CLIMATE with P inside.

28a    Spill jam with more flimsy packaging (11)
LAMPLIGHTER: a six-letter jam or predicament with an adjective meaning more flimsy outside (with … packaging)


1d    Main connection with notorious alter ego’s endless tirade (7)
HYDRANT:    Something connected to a water main is found taking a famous fictional alter-ego (think Dr Jekyll), minus its last letter (endless) and adding a word for a tirade.

2d    Welcome a timid return? Not I (5)
ADMIT:    A word meaning to welcome is made up of A plus TIMID reversed, minus an I.

3d    Sharp over bowled at Cook by way of an example (9)
OBSERVANT:    O and B (over and bowled) plus what a cook (or butler or maid) used to be gives a word for someone who’s sharp ocularly!

4d    All that’s left of singular unseaworthy craft (4)
STUB:    S (singular) plus the name for a rickety boat gives you something that’s left (of a ticket, for example).

5d    Huge beam spread in expression familiar among Yorkshire folk (2-3-3)
EE-BAH-GUM:    An anagram of HUGE BEAM gives you an expression popular in God’s own county. Which gives me a chance to show….

6d    Nice house one’s been evicted from? What a chiseller! (5)
MASON:    The name for someone who chisels for a living is found by taking a word for a house in Nice in France and dropping (evicting) the I (one). I spent a little while trying to use a slightly longer word that’s very similar.

7d    Forest ranger, somewhat odd (7)
STRANGE:    Hidden inside FOREST RANGER is a word meaning ODD.

8d    Following battered hake and chips oddly another seafood dish (8)
FISHCAKE:    After F (following) goes an anagram of HAKE plus CIS (odd letters of CHIPS) to give something else you can get from your local chip shop.

14d    Pressure on tax collectors mounted in exploiting insurrection (8)
UPRISING:    Inside a word for exploiting goes P (pressure) and the old name for the taxman reversed. This leads you to something that means insurrection or rebellion.

16d    Contamination or opining so anyhow (9)
POISONING:    An anagram (anyhow) of OPINING SO gives a word meaning contamination.

17d    Retired female of indeterminate status providing one better alternative to violence (8)
PACIFISM:    Reverse (retired) the name for a woman who’s neither married nor unmarried. Add to it a short word for ‘provided’ and add I (one) and a word meaning to better. All of which gives you the opposite of aggression and violence.

18d    Blacksmith just about right repeatedly saving energy (7)
FARRIER:    Saw the answer to this and then had to work out how to arrive at it! A word for just has two R’s (right) inserted and then an E (energy) inside to give another word for a blacksmith.

20d    While with Ballets Russes Nijinsky nursed a wound (7)
DANSEUR:    How Nijinsky (the one with two legs, not four) was described when he performed in France is an anagram of NURSED A.

22d    Upper class breaking rules mostly all to do with the countryside (5)
RURAL Inside two R’s (rules) goes the abbreviation for upper-class and add ALL minus the last letter to give a word meaning to do with the countryside.

24d    Eternalists sporadically showing character (5)
TRAIT:    The alternate letters (sporadically) of ETERNALISTS gives a word meaning character.

25d    Old mate’s a gem (4)
OPAL:    A type of gemstone is found by taking O (old) and a word for a mate or friend.

Thanks to Petitjean for an enjoyable solve.

21 comments on “Toughie 1634

  1. A most enjoyable puzzle, which started with a nice surface read to 1a.
    Not too tricky, and was for me a quicker solve than the backpager.
    Many thanks to Petitjean, and to Tilsit for the write-up.

  2. Pretty much on a par with the back-pager today, although Mr. T did seem to be wearing his Beam hat at times!
    Struggled with the parsing of 28a & 22d and made several futile attempts before getting the required spelling of 5d.
    For once, I nailed all the sporting references – quite made my day!

    Plenty of ticks across the page but, like Tilsit, I’ll give the honours to 23a – PJ at his best.

    Many thanks to PJ and to Tilsit for the review, particularly the PR clip for Yorkshire Airlines.

  3. We’ve just started this and may put in more comments later. For now, though, suffice it so say that Mrs Sheffieldsy suggested erection for 18a. We soon got 18d, at which stage she giggled and offered flatpack. Ho hum.

  4. Wasn’t familiar with 1a, and my last one in was the blacksmith, which I worked out only from the wordplay before a distant memory clicked.

    I also liked the dumpling (23a) and the high ball (10a)

    No problems with 15a, it’s a preservative.

    Many thanks Petitjean and Tilsit – thanks for the Yorkshire airlines clip (and that was another clue I got only from the wordplay)

  5. I inexplicably put usurping in for 14D, which held up completion until I saw the error of my ways. I loved this puzzle. I have so many ticks on my printout that it’s impossible to pick just one favorite, so I’ll go with 1D and 23A. Thanks to PJ and Tilsit.

  6. 6d – Mon Dieu! I will never forgive myself for missing the “Nice” house – my nice house was a “mansion” which made the wordplay impossible or “impossible” in French.

    Thanks to Tilsit for the explanation!

    Back to Le Tour – Cavendish wins again!

  7. To avoid readers being able to infer how long we took and so being sent to the naughty step (see post 3), we’ve waited for a duration not to be revealed before posting again.

    2.5*/3* we thought. Bunged in 28a without fully parsing it. We convinced ourselves that the final 7 letters were the reference to more flimsy; we should have known better.

    Liked 1a and 23a, but pick of the bunch was 3d.

    Mrs Sheffieldsy is a Yorkshire lass and says she’s never said 5d. I’m a Lancastrian who’s lived in Yorkshire for for over 30 years and I’ve never heard it used either. However, I’m sure it helps to cement the Southern view of Northerners.

    Thanks to Tilsit for the review and Petitjean for a lovely crossword.

  8. I also wanted the more flimsy in 28a to be lighter and this really delayed the parsing. Some tricky clues in there but there were enough easy ones scattered around to give entry points. Good fun.
    Thanks Petitjean and Tilsit.

  9. As someone else has observed, this was very similar to today’s back-pager. I made this 3*/3.5*. Looking back on it now, I can’t see why it took as long as it did, which reflects my difficulty in picking up the drift of PJ’s clues. Fun, though, and I liked 11a in particular. Thanks to Petitjean and Tilsit.

  10. For the most part fairly straightforward, though I did make heavy work of the SE corner. Or maybe that was just fatigue setting in. First Toughie I’ve tried in a while, tempted to come back for more after this. :-)

  11. Found it on the same par as the back page.
    Learned a new meaning for Spill in 28a and the Yorkshire expression was also new to me.
    I thought everything going wrong in a car is expensive. I wonder how much a car might cost if you were to build it with spare parts.
    Favourite is 23a.
    Thanks to Petitjean and nice to see Tilsit in the blogging chair.

  12. A very enjoyable puzzle – I found several clues much easier to guess the answer than to explain the reason.

    I did not know the compiler’s identity until visiting the blog. Did not guess right – I thought PJ always went for popular music clues?

    At least RayT managed his standard “queen” even if the naughtiness was sadly muted and anagrams sneaked in

    Elkamere tomorrow – for me the Jekyll or Hyde compiler. Some of his are among the best puzzles I’ve seen while others are impossible if you do not share his interests. Fingers crossed

    Thanks to today’s compiler and blogger

  13. Fairly romped through this with the exception of parsing 28a, 8, 17 & 20d. I had the solutions but just couldn’t see the logic, so thanks to Tilsit for his explanations – nice to see you in the blogging chair btw. I’ll go for 1a as my favourite of the day.

    Thanks to PJ for the puzzle and to Tilsit for his review.

  14. Liked the ones I got, but had to resort to hints for 20d (which confused me), & 28a – I couldn’t get ‘lighter’ out of my head either.
    6d is deceptively clever, as is 2d.

    Has to go down in my book as ‘unfinished’. On the other hand, it was easier than the back-pager.

    All good fun, thanks to all as ever.

  15. We found it trickier than many, though easier than the previous Toughie. Getting the grid filled was ok, but quite a few answers took some head-scratching to parse.

    Mrs Sheffieldsy’s alternative answer for 18a was magnificent. (I noticed it would have also fitted into the space available for 17a in the quickie.)

    Many thanks to PJ and Tilsit. I found the crew in the 5d clip refreshingly forthright, even if I wouldn’t necessarily choose to fly with them!

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