Toughie 1765 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1765

Toughie No 1765 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

What a delight to get another delightful posthumous puzzle from the much-missed Petitjean. Let’s hope that he’s left us several more.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared with the puzzle and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a Leak to be fixed in vessel (8)
KEELBOAT – an anagram (fixed) of LEAK TO BE gives us a type of yacht with a heavy bottom to offset the weight of its sails.

5a One glued to mobile phone with fingers crossed (2,4)
IN HOPE – the Roman numeral for one followed by an anagram (mobile) of PHONE.

10a Attains dry facts about possibly unhealthy substances (5,5,5)
TRANS FATTY ACIDS – a (third in a row) anagram (about) of ATTAINS DRY FACTS.

11a End result of 23? (7)
CLOSURE – this could be the result of a company going to the wall (i.e. folding in the manner of 23a).

12a Seriously guttural — not the ultimate in cool (7)
GRAVELY – start with an adjective meaning guttural or rough-sounding and take out one instance of the ultimate letter of cool.

13a Care a bit about germs (8)
BACTERIA – an anagram (about) of CARE A BIT.

15a Game against stifling odds in Championship (5)
AEGIS – suppress the odd letters of the first two words.

18a Female born by walls of Damascus making demands (5)
NEEDS – an adjective identifying how a woman was born followed by the outer letters of Damascus.

20a Theatrical remake of Oscar hit (8)
ACTORISH – an anagram (remake) of OSCAR HIT.

23a Cash activity? (7)
ORIGAMI – cryptic definition. The cash here is not coins but folding paper.

25a To digress, I’ve backtracked in court (7)
DEVIATE – reverse I’VE inside a verb to court.

26a Unbrewed? Unlaid? Unread? Un objet (6-5,4)
COFFEE-TABLE BOOK – a typical Petitjean ‘mad hat’ clue. For the three words we need one thing that may be brewed, one thing that may be laid and one thing that may be read. The whole is a thing lavishly illustrated and put on display to impress visitors.

27a Rubbish and junk in river (6)
DERIDE – insert a verb to junk into a UK river.

28a Storage unit Logan heartlessly installed in French holiday home (8)
GIGABYTE – the forename of Ms. Logan the sports presenter without its middle letter goes inside a French holiday home.

Down Clues

1d Stein’s first in his field avoiding extremes of epicurean ostentation (6)
KITSCH – this Stein is Rick. Insert the first letter of Stein into the place where he works and remove the outer letters of epicurean.

2d Fancy someone hooked on research eating nothing, getting into Ecstasy pills (9)
ELABORATE – we need a slang and somewhat derogatory term (3,3) for someone hooked on research or a scientist who works long hours (a term which hasn’t yet made it into Chambers). Insert the letter resembling nothing into that and put the whole thing between two occurrences of E(cstasy).

3d Italy taken in by dreadful Cubist, Florentine perhaps (7)
BISCUIT – an anagram (dreadful) of CUBIST contains the IVR code for Italy.

4d A dose of Obama zeal causing surprise (5)
AMAZE – hidden in the clue.

6d Win over hard core — a sight to behold (7)
NIAGARA – reverse a verb to win or captivate and add the core letters of hard and A.

7d Think overlong when torn in two? (5)
OPINE – split overlong into 4,4, then use the abbreviation for the first word and an alternative verb for the second.

8d Alain de Botton, for instance — it sounds like he could be trying (8)
ESSAYIST – this could mean someone who tries or endeavours.

9d Party with new soldier is unhealthy (8)
STAGNANT – start with a type of party or social gathering and add the abbreviation for new and our usual soldier insect.

14d Boxer interrupts breaks, those that are practical (8)
REALISTS – the greatest boxer is inserted into breaks or respites.

16d More than half promoted Suggs, thanks to short track that’s a matter of taste (9)
GUSTATORY – reverse the first three letters of Suggs and add a short word of thanks, TO and the abbreviation for a track.

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17d On paper only, submitted bill with new heading? (8)
UNVOICED – start with a verb meaning submitted a bill and change the first letter to a different vowel.

19d Tangle of small spawn noted by Spooner in the Firth? (7)
SEAWEED – I think that the definition here is split at the start and end of the clue. Spooner may have referred to the answer as wee seed.

21d Nice seaside? (7)
RIVIERA – cryptic definition. Nice here needs its capital letter.

22d Outrageous cheek covering up Left speaker’s put-down (6)
HECKLE – an anagram (outrageous) of CHEEK containing the abbreviation for left.

24d Resoundingly how you wouldn’t expect to see PETA supporters gather (5)
INFER – this (2,3) sounds like the last way in which you’d expect to see PETA supporters.

25d Tax haven in which vendor’s suggestion might sound tempting (5)
DUBAI – another homophone, this one sounding like the exhortation of a desperate salesman (2,3).

I don’t usually go for anagrams as top clues but some of them here are very good with excellent surfaces (of which the best, for me, is 5a). Others clues that hit the spot were 28a and 7d but my favourite has to be 26a. Which one(s) had you in stitches?

29 comments on “Toughie 1765

  1. Another splendid Petitjean puzzle – thank you to him (I’m sure he’s looking down on us to see if we still like his crosswords) and to Gazza

    My top favourite is the brilliant 26a

    Apparently there are more Petitjean Toughies to come :yahoo: and an announcement will be made when the last one appears. :cry:

  2. Great fun, thoroughly enjoyable. Had to stop and think about lots of clues to find the clever little quirks. Couldn’t see 6d inexplicably but got there eventually. Had to look up 8d.
    So many good clues – 5a, 7d, 17d, 19d, 22d; I could go on, but I have to agree 26a is a remarkable clue.
    Thanks to Gazza for the review and explaining 28a.

  3. It’s good to know that there are more of PJ’s Toughies on their way.
    This was much more than a 3* difficulty for me but worth every hour that it took.
    I missed both the first two anagrams for far too long.
    The capitalisation of ‘Championship’ in 15a confused me – no doubt it was meant to.
    7d was my last answer.
    Having got the first and last letters of 25d all I could think of to begin with was ‘Delhi’ which didn’t help anything much.
    I liked 5a (the clue sounds like my husband) and 26a and 7d. My favourite was 1d.
    Thanks to Petitjean, if he’s watching us all, and to Gazza.

  4. Very enjoyable. Particularly 15, 20 & 28 across and 1 & 16 down. 26 across had my head scratching for a few minutes. Thanks for the super explanations. These validated that my brain is attuned at the correct level.

  5. I love PJ puzzles – of course I do – but thought this one was rather lighter on ‘mad hat’ elements than usual. Not to worry, there was still plenty of entertainment.
    26a has to get a mention for being truly mad hat but I gave the laurel wreath to 1d – brilliant.

    Many thanks to those who have preserved the remaining PJ puzzles for us to enjoy and thanks to Gazza, whose help I needed to understand the offering from Rev. Spooner. Laughed over the ‘Kitty type’ pic for 26a!

  6. I found this harder than usual. Perhaps the mad hat had some faulty electrodes as I saw 26 quite quickly but failed to spot Mr Stein for ages. Didn’t realise Ms Logan had 2 Bs so spent a while trying to fit GY into an unknown French wardrobe. The 23/11a pair were also my last in and they are so typically PJ.
    Favourites were the slightly less mad 2d and 24d, partly for the lovely surfaces.

    Many thanks to Gazza. RIP PJ and let’s hope there really are some more to come.

  7. Thanks to Gazza for explaining 23a. Obvious from the checkers but couldn’t make sense of it.
    Got the first letter of 17d wrong too but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the crossword.
    26a favourite too.
    Thanks to PJ and to Gazza.

  8. Thanks for the explanations, Gazza. We didn’t need them except for 26a across, although we had what was clearly the right answer. Even now, though, it’s difficult to see why the clue has UNbrewed, UNlaid, UNread except to harmonise with Un objet. It’s not any type of clue we’ve ever seen before (nor probably ever will again) and we’d have to fully agree with your ‘mad hat’ description. We also got 14d, but didn’t think ‘those that are practical’ was necessarily a good pointer to realists. We know some realists who are very definitely a long way from being practical; they’re different qualities, are they not?

    Overall we give it 3*/4*. favourites were 1d and 28a.

    Thanks again to Gazza and to Petitjean, sorely missed.

    • Un (or ‘un) is a dialect word for one so I think that UNBREWED could mean ‘one (that is) brewed’, etc.
      One of the meanings for realism in the BRB is ‘the taking of a practical view in human problems’.

      • Isn’t it simply French for ‘one’? (Only ever heard of big’un, wrong’un etc, never as a prefix.)
        I have a feeling PJ is playing with the English and French meanings of ‘un’ as a misdirection, the indicator for that being Un objet.
        Still, all roads lead to Rome.

        • You could be right, but I thought that the English un fitted better with the English words. Sadly we’re unlikely to find out what Petitjean meant.

  9. OK, I’ll accept the dialect version of un now that you mention it. Now we have the problem that three words of the clue are meant to be read as two words, for a total of six words, but it’s a great clue nonetheless.

    Have now found the relevant definition for realism in the BRB – my mistake, sorry for that.

    Cheers, Gazza.

  10. We got held up for a while with 28a as we did not know the Logan. By contrast the Stein in 1d is watched and enjoyed here. Excellent fun from PJ and we are so pleased to hear that there are still more to come.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  11. I broke with normality (not for the first time) and started this one first, over breakfast. Halfway or so in, it was time to leave and the rest had to wait until, ahem, lunch. (In actual fact, sneaky glances through the day). Weirdly but appropriately it felt like back page (breakfast) level difficulty for that first bit and much more Toughie stiffness later, but all very entertaining. I loved many of the easier bits (generally towards the top) and so found my breakfast portion tastier. The exception to that was 26a, which I thought I was going to love right from the start but began to reconsider as it did not fall until nearly the end.

    I did have a few brain-sneezes which necessitated Gazza’s assistance: apologies to her but Gabby slipped my mind, and I did not know the holiday home in which to place her; my brain folded at 11a … and I have no idea why I couldn’t quite get there with 17d even though I could read the signposts clearly enough.

    My take on 26a is as per Gazza’s hint: these things may be brewed, laid or read respectively, or they may not – so the uns are as well put in as left out, and it’s putting them in that leads to the pleasing sound of the surface. (My kind of coffee table book is the kind that can be dipped into at random, thus giving visitors something to entertain them when you’re being boring. (Or brewing them that coffee.) – but that’s by the bye.)

    The mad hat lives on, and I’m so happy there will be a few more opportunities to wear it.

    Beaming thanks skywards to Petitjean, and westwards to Gazza for another perrfessional blog, complete with literate cat and my kind of origami. :good:

  12. What a pain to open today’s paper to try and find the puzzle page – moved for fashion? However, what a delight to find a puzzle from our dear old friend Petitjean – super fun. I am so pleased to hear that there are more in the pipeline :)

    Plenty of laugh out loud moments and the opportunity to wear the ‘mad hat’ once again. Far too many good ‘uns to single out one particular favourite – I will only say that the least said the better of 19d.

    Thanks to the people responsible for allowing PJ’s puzzles to be printed – much appreciated. Thanks also to Gazza for a fine review – I loved the pic for 26a.

  13. Superb puzzle. 3*/5* for my money, and several times I had that familiar “skating on thin ice” feeling, going on a wing and a prayer from one mad hat clue to the next. My favourite was 28a, but lots of other clues deserved the accolade. Thanks to the good-humoured shade of the peerless PJ, and to Gazza.

  14. I switched off the tv in disgust when Leicester went 2 down and concentrated on the crossword. I managed to finish, but was unable to parse much of the south west corner. Thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for the explanations.
    I understand Leicester managed to score a goal but fortunately I recorded the match.

  15. Well, that was good. I needed to concentrate throughout, without ever really getting stuck, but each of the clues was worth the time taken. Overall perhaps a little above average difficulty for a Toughie? Good to hear we’ve got more to come.

  16. Ooops! Nearly forgot. Happy 85th Birthday to Roger Squires ( ‘Rufus’ )
    Had the pleasure of meeting him at the Bert Danher Memorial Crossword bash at Canary Wharf in 2003. What a lovely man. Not only a prolific crossword compiler but a mean magician on the side.
    All the very best Roger.

  17. Well, I posted my comment and then looked at the puzzle again, and the hold-outs fell one after the other, except for 19D. S till, I don’t mind that. I ticked quite a few, but my standout is 26A. Wish PJ were still around to thank, but I will content myself with thanking Gazza for the blog.

    Hot toddy time now.

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