Toughie 1797 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1797

Toughie No 1797 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

I feel privileged to be able to blog another great puzzle by the late Petitjean. There are a couple of old chestnuts but lots of his very inventive clueing.

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

Across Clues

1a Traditionalist with mobile phone — and gong (8)
NEOPHOBE – an anagram (mobile) of PHONE followed by a gong.

5a Cult member catching cold with a cry of apprehension (6)
GOTCHA – a cult member (one who favours the colour black) contains the abbreviation for cold. Finally append A to get an informal exclamation once notoriously used by The Sun.

10a Lonesome fanfare could be the making of me (1,4,3,7)
A NAME FOR ONESELF – an anagram (could be the making of) of LONESOME FANFARE.

11a Styled in the salon and put away, as we say, in the saloon? (7)
COIFFED – this sounds like a verb meaning put away some drink.

12a One tough heartless rogue keeping busy (2,3,2)
ON THE GO – an anagram (rogue) of ONE and TO[u]GH without its middle letter.

13a Prisoner guarded by more obnoxious member of community (8)
VILLAGER – an informal word for a prisoner is contained inside a comparative meaning more obnoxious.

15a Assume Harpo’s Italian — at least partly (5)
POSIT – our first lurker today.

18a No limits to correct speed (5)
HASTE – remove the outer letters from a verb to correct or discipline.

20a ‘The Go-Between‘: novel to admire or ‘arid tome’? (8)
MEDIATOR – this is reminiscent of our esteemed Sunday setter. It’s an anagram (novel) of both TO ADMIRE and ARID TOME. What a brilliant surface!

23a Attempts resistance in Cornish resort (7)
STRIVES – insert the abbreviation for electrical resistance into the name of a Cornish resort (2,4).

25a Freak out over constant source of rancour for gas worker (7)
FRACKER – make an anagram (out) of FREAK containing the constant used for the speed of light then append the first letter of rancour.

26a Little calumnies can create reasonable doctrine (15)
INTELLECTUALISM – an anagram (can create) of LITTLE CALUMNIES gives us a doctrine based on pure reason.

27a Singsong’s ending slightly bonkers and schmaltzy (6)
GLOOPY – the last letter of singsong precedes an informal adjective meaning slightly bonkers.

28a Most extreme ‘chef art’ Heston’s the source of (8)
FARTHEST – our second lurker.

Down Clues

1d Trace French article about Caen being redeveloped (6)
NUANCE – reverse a French article and add an anagram (being redeveloped) of CAEN.

2d Mafia boss overthrown — it is about revenge ultimately and attempts to hide the truth (9)
OPACITIES – reverse the Italian word for a Mafia boss and add IT IS containing the last letter of revenge.

3d Cautious as necessary, putting out note for husband? (7)
HEEDFUL – start with an adjective meaning necessary and replace the abbreviation for note with that for husband.

4d Minor artery supplying East Anglian waterway (5)
BROAD – insert a space into the answer to get a minor artery (in the UK – in some other countries it is apparently a major artery). A real old chestnut.

6d It’s a measure of Cockney’s clean record (3-4)
ONE-STEP – measure here means dance. Start with an adjective meaning clean or virtuous and drop the first letter in the Cockney way. Finally add the abbreviation for a type of record.

7d Pancake or sole? (5)
CREPE – double definition, the second a type of sole (on footwear).

8d Snubs a loud pair of pants with no opening (8)
AFFRONTS – string together A, the abbreviation for loud and a pair of underpants without the bit at the front.

9d Officer scowled and blushed (8)
COLOURED – join together the abbreviation for an officer in charge and a verb meaning scowled or looked sullen.

14d Small move for Oval’s unloved landmark could be better (8)
GAMESTER – having spent many a happy day watching cricket at the Kennington Oval in the 1960s I was well aware of the landmark which towers over it. Remove the O (unloved) from it and move the abbreviation for small a couple of places to the right to get a better or gambler.

16d Save family mansion (9)
STOCKPILE – charade of a word for family or bloodline and an (often facetious) term for a mansion or imposing building.

17d Hopephully phutile ephphort to phlush out phool? (8)
PHISHING – who but Petitjean could have produced this clue? It’s the practice of angling for confidential information (e.g. bank account details) by sending fraudulent emails. Phantastic!

19d Compass set up North or South against North East (7)
ENVELOP – compass here is a verb meaning to surround. String together what could be North or South geographically and abbreviations for ‘against’ and ‘North East’ then reverse it all.

21d Fabulous rock from former New Romantic star (7)
ADAMANT – this is the name of an imaginary rock with fabulous properties (new for me). Split it 4,3 to get the stage name of Stuart Leslie Goddard, a pop artist of the seventies and eighties.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

22d Occasionally perform drill on time (6)
PROMPT – regular letters from ‘perform’ plus the abbreviation for drill.

24d Relationship that’s somewhat aspirational (5)
RATIO – our third and final lurker.

25d No end to ostentatious display of cash that constitutes a threat (5)
FATWA – a large roll of banknotes (3,3) as popularised by Harry Enfield’s character ‘Loadsamoney’ without its last letter.

I really liked the clever 10a and 14a and the superb 20a but my favourite has to be that archetypal Petitjean clue 17d. Which one(s) gave you the most pleasure?

22 comments on “Toughie 1797

  1. It is going to be an extremely sad day indeed when we reach the final Petitjean crossword.

    My favourite has to be 17d but I’d agree with Gazza’s choice of runners-up. Thank you to him for the explanations and to PJ for the continuing entertainment.

  2. This wasn’t particularly tough, but what a delight it was to solve from start to finish! I’m going to rate it 2*/5*.

    Every single clue could have come into contention as a plausible favourite but, as Gazza and CS, have already said, 17d eclipses them all. This was definitely the Mad Hatter’s maddest hat clue of all time. I also had double ticks by 10a, 20a, 14d (I started going to the Oval in the 50s towards the tail end of Surrey’s seven successive championship wins) & 19d. Presumably 27a was semi-autobiographical from a slightly bonkers setter?

    I needed Google’s assistance to find out about the fabulous rock in 21a.

    Many thanks to Gazza for the review and to Phil McNeill for continuing to publish PJ’s wonderful puzzles. Long may the stock last.

  3. 17d made me laugh.

    Didn’t know the cricket oval landmark. Started off with an -ING ending to 3d which I had to correct to fit in 13a.

    I liked 5a, 10a, 11a (i liked the salon/saloon), well the list goes on..

    I now know (I think) what a new romantic is.

    Manythanks Petitjean and Gazza

  4. Not as bad as I first feared but was stuck on 1a. I really must stop relying on my small electronic dictionary. 1a is not listed! (Seiko). Thanks for all the help.

    1. I’ve often wondered whether someone I could actually claim to know would turn up on the BD blog. If I’m right, I think one of my daughter’s used to work for you some years ago when we lived in Whitegate.

  5. So that’s who it was! Little wonder I smiled so much during the solve. I needed to confirm the new-to-me word at 1A and the second definition for 21D. A goodly number of ticks on my page, but the clever 20A beat out 17D by a whisker. Many thanks to PJ for leaving so many puzzles behind when he had to leave, and to Gazza for the blog.

  6. A beautifully crafted piece of work, as a relative newcomer to the Toughie I’ve only experienced two of his offerings.Both excellent fun and fair to boot. As others have said I hope there are a few more to come (please use sparingly!) 17 top dog for me.Thanks Gazza

  7. What a lovely surprise to get another puzzle from the Mad Hatter – it’s going to be a very sad day when we get the ‘this is the last one’ notice from the DT.
    I had to check on 1a – new word for me – and I didn’t know the fabulous rock although I do remember the performer. New Romantics always strikes me as being an odd description of that particular type of musician.

    Think I probably have RD to thank for the ease with which I got 14d. I suspect that it must have come up in one of our tongue-in-cheek discussions about cricket fielding positions!
    Favourite was 17d and I would also give a mention 25a&16d.

    Many thanks to the keeper of the PJ pearls and to Gazza for the review.

  8. First scan yielded four answers 1a, 1d 4d & 24d – then it was a slow one by one for the rest. Then the hints beckoned.

    I do like the 27a word, 17d raised a smile but 20a was the biggest D’oh! so I’m not sure which is my favourite… all of them. (Sorry Kath).

    Thanks for the fun PJ, and thanks to Gazza for the pointers.

  9. I’d agree with Gazza’s ratings. It wasn’t particularly tough but certainly kept me cogitating for some time. As others have said, I’d go for 17d as being the pick of the bunch.

    Thanks to Gazza and the hopefully long-continuing legacy of PJ.

  10. Once I saw who the setter was from the blog, the small disappointments I had over things that I hadn’t heard of didn’t seem to matter nearly so much. A wonderful puzzle. Being a relative newcomer, I am very tempted to try and look back to find Petitjean puzzles that I have not seen before – and wonder if there is an easy way of doing this? Many thanks to all.

  11. Just managed to find time late in the day for this PJ puzzle. A couple of bits of GK in the bottom half that needed research; Oval landmark, fabulous rock and pop singer but did eventually get it all sorted. 17d certainly the standout favourite for me too.
    Thanks PJ and Gazza.

  12. Well my mad hat still fits but did phall ophph a couple of times.

    Detailed pheedback pheels pointless but I will say that the phantastic 17d has to be the phirm phavourite.

    Thanks to Petitjean phor the phun and to Gazza phor the phitting review.

  13. I got stuck on the Birmingham to Euston train with a free paper so gave this a go – have just found this blog and it’s so useful for a newbies thanks! Can someone let me know what you mean by a lurker?


    1. Welcome to the blog, BeckyG. Now that you’ve found us I hope that you’ll stick with us.
      A lurker is a hidden word, i.e. the answer is lurking/hiding inside the clue.

  14. I haven’t had any time to look at this one today but I’m really looking forward to having a go at it tomorrow.
    Another treat in store . . .

  15. Third time lucky? Each time I’ve tried to post a comment I’ve been interrupted. Big apologies if it has caused any problems.

    I simply had to attempt this. It’s a very special treat to have a Petitjean crossword. He was always one of my fave setters.

    I enjoyed all of this puzzle. All went well until I reached the SW corner. There I got stuck. I needed Gazza’s hint for the brilliant 17d. I also needed Gazza’s help to explain my answer to 14d. Then the pennies dropped, and the rest fell into place.

    A superb puzzle and an excellent blog. Thanks and appreciation to the late PJ and to Gazza.

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