Toughie 1730 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1730

 Toughie No 1730 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Bufo

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Petitjean’s first posthumous puzzle appeared in July so we’ve waited a long time for the second. Big Dave thought that perhaps it had been kept back for Christmas but (apart from 1 down) there doesn’t appear to be anything festive in it. I finished it in average time but struggled to parse a few answers and so gave it an extra star for difficulty.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought.


1a/4a    Where a head of steam may build up? (2,3,8)
IN THE PIPELINE: A cryptic definition for a term meaning “waiting to be considered or dealt with”

10a    Run from former buccaneer, right? (7)
EXPIATE: ‘Former’ + a buccaneer with the letter R (run) removed = ‘to right’

11a    Train yearling in essence (7)
CORTEGE: A train of attendants = a sheep in its second year inside ‘essence’

12a    Polish term of affection? Not quite! (4)
HONE: ‘To polish’ = a term of endearment with the last letter removed

13a/14a    All-purpose response from goal-scorer, sot and Walter Tell? (3,2,4)
OFF MY HEAD: This term meaning ‘very drunk’ might also be said by a goal-scorer in soccer and by Walter Tell (William’s son)

17a    Resisting drink, perhaps, steward spills one on Nationalist during ball (5-9)
WATER-REPELLENT: A steward (6) with the letter I (one) removed + ‘on’ (2) + N (Nationalist) in a little ball

19a    A cold snap precedes Cockney losing a leg in accident spot (8,6)
ACHILLES TENDON: A + a cold snap + ‘Cockney (as an adjective)’ (4,3) with the letter A removed +’leg’ (one side of the wicket in cricket) = part of the body which sportsmen sometimes injure

22a    Massage unknown girl (4)
RUBY: ‘To massage’ + a letter denoting an unknown quantity = a girl’s name

23a    Temper that results from keeping Julia primarily away from harm (5)
INURE: ‘To temper’ = ‘to harm’ with the letter J (first letter of Julia) removed

24a    Impressive scope of Constable pictures (4)
EPIC: Hidden in Constable pictures

27a    Bill‘s retaken service disrupted by jumping flea (7)
LEAFLET: A retaken service in tennis inside an anagram (jumping) of FLEA

28a    Willing and able? (7)
TESTATE: A cryptic definition for a word meaning ‘having made and left a valid will’

29a    In hand? Journey’s end for women in van delivering (8)
YIELDING: Take a word that means ‘in hand’ or ‘lifting ready to use’ and change W (first letter of women) into Y (last letter of journey)

30a    What’s left of 1966 and 1986 vehicles (5)
DREGS: That letter that appeared on number plates of new vehicles sold in 1966 and 1986 + a plural form of the combination of letters and numbers shown on a number plate


1d    Half of Police and Who performing with empty seats around for Christmas specials? (3,5)
ICE SHOWS: The second half of the word ‘Police’ + an anagram (performing) of WHO inside the first and last letters of ‘seats’

2d    Hair extension‘s hit pocket hard in return (7)
TOPKNOT: A reversal of ‘hit hard’ and ‘to pocket (a snooker ball)’

3d    Entry-level anagram making a case for style (4)
ELAN: Hidden in ‘entry-level anagram’

5d    Somehow seem unromantic — it’s not enough (14)

6d    Here and there repairing net (4)
EARN: Alternate letters in ‘repairing’ = ‘to net’

7d    Unusually nice ref making appearance on cold surface (3,4)
ICE FERN: An anagram (unusually) of NICE REF

8d    As referred to initially, Minnesota Democrat’s correct (5)
EMEND: Spell out the two letters in the abbreviation (zip code) for Minnesota. Then add D (Democrat) to get ‘to correct’

9d    Menu item in surprisingly legible new font (4,10)
BEEF WELLINGTON: An anagram (surprisingly) of LEGIBLE NEW FONT

15d    Rumour of iodine found in champagne (5)
BRUIT: I (iodine) in a type of champagne. This answer was new to me

16d    Risk rifle going off (5)
FLIER: An anagram (going off) of RIFLE = a risky financial speculation. This meaning of the answer was new to me

18d    Burglars reportedly causing bother (8)
KNICKERS: A homophone of burglars = ‘Bother!’

20d    For instance, once popular Swedes about to come up — or another vegetable (7)
CABBAGE: A reversal of ‘for instance’, a popular Swedish music combo, and an abbreviation denoting ‘about’

21d    Potentially pervade and corrupt (7)
DEPRAVE: An anagram (potentially) of PERVADE

22d    Get better in March (5)
RALLY: 2 meanings: to get better/a march or demonstration

25d    Decked, Charlie has pulse that’s up (4)
CLAD: ‘Decked’ or ‘clothed’ = C (Charlie) + a reversal of a pulse from India

26d    Maltreated missing seaman cast off (4)
USED: Remove an abbreviation for a seaman from a 6-letter word meaning ‘maltreated’

A Merry Christmas to one and all. I’ll be back next week unless the beer has finished me off

25 comments on “Toughie 1730

  1. Wonderful to be able to do another Petitjean, with all its enjoyable quirkiness.

    My last ones in were the pesky little 3d and 6d, and I kicked myself when I finally parsed them. Very nicely done.

    I liked all the long ones

    My favourite has to be 30a.

    Many thanks for everything yet again, Petitjean, and thank you Bufo

  2. Lots to admire here, – once I had read Bufo’s tips! Absolutely marmalised me only getting just over half. Spent ages too.

    Thank you Petitjean. And thanks to Bufo for rescuing me from my bewilderment!

  3. Dear me, this is a level above what I am used to! I am trying to learn this more advanced puzzles but I am struggling with the hints as much as the clues. For instance I can see the answer to 30a and understand the first bit but why the EGS. The hint is no help at all. With help I have completed this but must say that I have only understood about half the answers i.e. Where is the ball in 17a and why the C in 20d?
    I did like 10a and 1d.
    Thx to all

    1. Split your answer to 30a 1-4 and then go d’oh
      The ball in 17a is a pellet
      20d c – circa – about

      1. Mrs B and I are looking blankly at each other over 30a. D-Regs=vehicles?
        Too subtle for us I’m afraid. Thx for your help with the other two.

        1. D Reg(istration)s. 1966 was the year that new vehicles had numbers starting with D and 1986 was when they had numbers ending with D.

          1. The other way round I think, the D went at the end of 1966 number plates – I know because my first car had one!

            1. You’re right of course. I can’t remember any of my old registrations – I have enough difficulty with my current one which I can only remember with the aid of a mnemonic.

  4. A lovely Petitjean – some of the parsing took me a while and there are a couple of splendid d’oh moments – one of them being 30a, although my favourite of several starred clues has to be 18d for making me laugh out loud

    Thanks to those who let us have another Petitjean toughie to enjoy and to Bufo for the explanations.

  5. I really enjoyed the opportunity to tackle another Petitjean Toughie and this reminded me of how much I miss them. His clue constructs are so clever and a delight to unravel. So many favourites that it’s difficult to choose just the one but I’ll go for 18a as, when the penny finally dropped, it did make me smile.

    Thanks to everyone concerned for allowing us to have another slice of magic from the pen of Mr Pidgeon. Thanks also to Bufo for his review.

  6. What a joy, and a lovely reminder of Petitjean’s endearing quirkiness.

    Many thanks to Bufo for his review, in particular for parsing 8d and explaining that Cockney in 19a was an adjective as I was wondering where the “er” had gone. Incidentally, what an amazing coincidence that I should make the comment about today’s back pager that the double definition in 25d didn’t work because the second definition needed the word cold in front of the answer, and here, lo and behold, Petitjean has used the correct two word expression in his clue for 19a! Spooky!

    15d was a new word for me, but confirmed in the BRB.

    With lots of brilliant clues to choose from in the favourite stakes, my runner-up is 20d but the indisputable winner has to be the magnificent 30a.

    Let’s hope some more Petitjean puzzles turn up in the fullness of time.

  7. This struck me as one of his tougher puzzles, unless it’s just the lack of practice and I needed to get the mad hat out from the back of the wardrobe. But so typically PJ of blessed memory. Who else would write clues like 1d or the brilliant 20d? …and I join in the applause for 30a. 17a and 6d are quite nifty too. Are there any more left?

    Thanks for the blog Bufo [you need to take “it” out of the fodder for 5d]

  8. Slow start with this as I’d forgotten where I’d stowed my slightly mad hat. Once it was found and donned the whole thing fell into place most satisfactorily, with a few smiles along the way.

    18d was favourite – typical PJ who is sadly missed by me.

    Thanks to Bufo for the hints and to Phil McNeil for surprising me with a late offering from one of my favourite setters who I thought I would see no more. Any more in the pipeline perchance?

  9. I found this one quite tricky, and I was fairly slow with explaining some of my answers too.
    Another fine puzzle from Petitjean, that was a pleasure to solve.

    The two I liked most were 30a and 18d.

    Thanks to Bufo for the review, and Merry Christmas to all the setters, bloggers and sloggers.
    A special thanks to BD for his continued hard work; as always much appreciated!

    Unless Virgilius is out to play on Sunday, that’s it for me until 2017.

  10. I was quite surprised how much of this I managed to do without the need for assistance, even if a few of the parsings proved elusive.

    I did warm to the 13a/14a combo, but the inspired 30a was head and shoulders above everything else.

    It was interesting to see 10a clued in a similarly piratical way to how Drummond had clued it in this week’s Rookie puzzle, except Drummond used “denied right” as opposed to Petitjean’s “run from”. It’s a testament to Drummond that I thought his clue was the equal of today’s.

    A very fitting legacy to Petitjean’s setting skills. Thank you also to Bufo, without whose hints I would not have finished the final couple of clues.

  11. Is it just me who felt almost disrespectful sitting down to solve a PJ puzzle again? That may not be exactly what I mean but I can’t quite find the correct words to explain how I felt.

    Managed to arrive at a full grid but needed Bufo’s help with a few bits of parsing – I’d forgotten the sheep and the cricket side again and got into a terrible muddle trying to sort out 17a.

    30a takes the laurel wreath with the uproarious 18d close on its heels.

    Many thanks to whoever was responsible for allowing publication of the puzzle and to Bufo for all his assistance.

  12. How great to get another puzzle from Petitjean to remind us of the quirkiness of one of my Favourite Toughie setters. I enjoyed this one a lot. Thanks to Petitjean and Bufo. I’ll go along with the majority in choosing 30a, 18d and 20d as top clues.

    The fun continues – it’s Elkamere tomorrow.

  13. Without knowing anything about how the system works in UK we were still able to work out and enjoy 30a. With 17a we noticed that WATER was in anagram form in steward and spent ages trying to put together a workable anagram for the rest. That got us nowhere.
    It was so good to be reminded of the style of Petitjean puzzles and appreciate once more the quirkiness of his cluing. We truly miss him.
    Thanks Petijean and Bufo.

  14. A bittersweet treat, but for me the best Christmas present the crossword editor could possibly have given.

    My mad hat was somewhat dusty but it brushed up ok in the end. I did, however, need Bufo’s assistance to parse 17a. The two new bits for him (15 & 16d) were new to me also, so I did need to check those.

    In tune with others, my picks are 30a and 18d. My thanks to Petitjean, with sadness that they come too late for him to hear, and thanks and Merry Christmas (with just the right amount of beer, because we want to see you back next week) to Bufo.

  15. What a treat – lashings of quirkiness and very elegant clueing. I had to resort to 4 hints to complete, and two of them I would never have solved unaided. My favourites were 30a and 25d, but so many others were just as good. I hope PJ knew how much his puzzles were enjoyed. Thanks to Bufo for the help.

  16. Had to check the registration year for 30a, the young sheep in 11a and the frost in 7d.
    Otherwise, I seemed to be wearing the same couvre chef as PJ.
    Apart from 17a where I was trying to make an anagram of stewart as it contained the letters we were looking for for the first word.
    Loved 8d but favourite is 30a.
    Thanks to the DT for honouring PJ’s memory.
    Thanks to Bufo for the review and please accept my belated congratulations on winning the December prize.

  17. What a treat.

    Didn’t quite finish without Bufo’s help, but great fun nonetheless. The sheep in 11a was new to us. Like the 2Ks we were led up the garden path for a while with the steward/water coincidence. 30a has to be the favourite. The first car I drove, was an Austin, CJM 513 D.

    Isn’t the explanation for 27a inside out?

    Many thanks Bufo and huge respect to the sorely missed Petitjean.

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