Toughie 1849 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1849

Toughie No 1849 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

Petitjean continues to entertain us with no hint that the store of puzzles he left for us is coming to an end – long may they continue. There are a couple of sporting references which may cause problems for some but I found this one fairly gentle.

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

Across Clues

1/11a Contract left southern Conservative underfunded (3,1,4,5,5)
CUT A LONG STORY SHORT – string together an informal phrasal verb (3,5) meaning left, S(outhern), another word for Conservative and an adjective meaning having inadequate funds.

9a Bound to be kept in after boil burst (9)
OBLIGATED – a past participle meaning kept in (at school) follows an anagram (burst) of BOIL.

10a ‘The Joshua Tree’ — carbon copy by half of U2 in a year looking back (5)
YUCCA – insert the abbreviation for carbon copy and the first half of U2 between A and the abbreviation for year then reverse the lot.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

11a See 1a.

12a 1, 11 or ebb? (4)
EDIT – what retreats or reverses during an ebb?

13a Sounds rather like a cute case for haberdashery (4)
ETUI – I’ve only ever come across this case for holding needles in crosswords (that may be because I’m not a great sewer). It sounds like A and an adjective meaning cute or quaint. I like the use of ‘rather’ to ward off any criticism of the homophone.

15a Former Fleet Street newspaper (7)
EXPRESS – a prefix meaning former followed by what Fleet Street is (or used to be) a metonym for.

17a Try cocktail of rum and French, as befits a connoisseur (7)
GOURMET – cement together a try or shot, an anagram (cocktail) of RUM and the French word for ‘and’.

18a Queen noted for reform may be abrasive (7)
ERODENT – our Queen’s cipher and an anagram (for reform) of NOTED.

20a Guide’s earlier version shows French cheese holding own (7)
BROWNIE – our usual French cheese contains OWN.

21a Test English before ten in the morning (4)
EXAM – an abbreviation for English precedes the Roman numeral for ten and the abbreviation we use for ‘in the morning’.

22a Regularly say no to one protester (4)
ANTI – regular letters from ‘say no to’ and the Roman numeral for one.

23a Reactionary football management undecided about getting behind (5)
ABAFT – the initials of the ruling body of football in England have a three-letter abbreviation meaning ‘as yet undecided but to be made known later’ around them. That all has to be reversed.

26a Skill shown by servicemen in extremes of combat (5)
CRAFT – the abbreviation for the men (and women) in one of our armed services goes between the outer letters of combat.

27a First-class county perhaps against China next (9)
PROXIMATE – a non-amateur team (3,2) as exemplified by a first-class county cricket side is followed by what a china is in Cockneyland. In cricket a first-class county is one of the eighteen in the County Championship as opposed to others who play in the lesser Minor Counties competition.

28a Thin gentlemen spread erudition (13)
ENLIGHTENMENT – an anagram (spread) of THIN GENTLEMEN.

Down Clues

1d Curse citation? (5-9)
CROSS-REFERENCE – cryptically, without the hyphen, this could be a word or phrase used to express anger.

2d Cartel concocted case for communications conglomerate (5)
TELCO – hidden in the clue.

3d Umpires’ equipment encountered during match? (5,5)
LIGHT METER – insert a verb meaning encountered into what a match or lucifer is an example of.

4d Fans welcoming promotion of brilliant tricks with football (7)
NUTMEGS – a word for fans or enthusiasts contains the reversal of another word for a brilliant (NB. a noun here).

5d Indirect approach from son showing lethargy (7)
SIDLING – the abbreviation for son and a present participle meaning showing lethargy or sloth.

6d Two unknowns performing before one of the Stones (4)
ONYX – two unknown mathematical variables are preceded by an adverb meaning performing.

7d Blyth for one — Chay capsized with broken mast heading north (9)
YACHTSMAN – concatenate an anagram (capsized) of CHAY, another anagram (broken) of MAST and an abbreviation for north.

8d Interviewee with predictably pedestrian views? (3,2,3,6)
MAN IN THE STREET – cryptic definition of someone who could be the successor to the chap on the Clapham omnibus.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

14d Android installed with one hands-free program? (10)
AUTOMATION – another word for an android with the Roman numeral for one installed in it.

16d Circulate with actual pronounced limp too (9)
PROPAGATE – a homophone (to some people) of an adjective meaning actual or genuine followed by another homophone (indicated by too) of a way of walking (which could be a limp). I don’t really think that ‘limp’ without a ‘perhaps’ or similar really matches the requirement.

19d Spooner’s ‘Shut up, sheep!’ revealing camp constraint? (4,3)
TENT PEG – the reverend gentleman might have described a confined one-year-old sheep.

20d What 7 may do seeing trouble in fight (4,3)
BAIL OUT – put a verb to trouble inside a fight or contest.

24d Residents of Okinawa keep alive (5)
AWAKE – our second lurker of the day.

25d Heads of English, Technology, Art, Latin, and the rest (2,2)
ET AL – the first letters of words in the clue.

I ticked 17a, 20a and 7d but my favourite is 1/11a. Which one(s) took your fancy?

42 comments on “Toughie 1849

  1. Another lovely Petitjean puzzle – I didn’t have any problems with the sporting references – 4d being something I’ve learned about from crosswords

    Thanks to Gazza and to Petitjean for leaving us so many Toughie treats to enjoy. I just hope we aren’t nearing the end of them.

  2. This was everything you would expect from a PJ puzzle at the easier end of his spectrum. I think Gazza’s rating of 2*/4* is spot on, and I also agree with his comments particularly about the homophones and his choice of 1a/11a as favourite.

    Thank you very much, Gazza, and long may the pipeline of Petitjean puzzles continue to flow.

  3. I made problems for myself with 27a, where I read county as country (I am always doing that), and with 20d, where assuming that ‘trouble’ was going to be ail, I was convinced the first word of the answer had to be sail…

    Many thanks to Petitjean for another splendid puzzle, and to Gazza for the write-up.

  4. Thanks for the parsing of 23ac Gazza – I couldn’t be bothered to think about abbreviations of footballing bodies and never even got as far as the other TLA. Just relieved to discover my guess for the answer was in fact correct. I could do with a bit less sport in my puzzles most days but I would agree this was a highly serviceable crossword overall, so thank you to the (surprisingly prolific) Petitjean!

  5. Yes, Gazza – I stumbled a little over 4d (although something tells me that I’ve seen it before) and was grateful for your explanation of the first part of 27a. However, I actually did know 3d – RD will be proud of me!

    Another wonderful puzzle from PJ with the 1/11 combo winning by a country mile.

    Every time we are treated to another crossword from the Mad Hat, I dread the DT announcing that it will be the last we’ll see of him – I wonder how many more of his puzzles we can look forward to solving?

  6. I very much enjoyed this. I hadn’t met 4d before in its sporting context, nor 3d, which slowed me down, but all went well once I had the 1 and 11 combination across sorted out. Many thanks to Petitjean (I hope there are many more) and to Gazza.

  7. I have not tried a Toughie in a long time; but, today, I followed the suggestions in the ‘other’ blog and I am glad that I did – **/****. 4d was new for me, I would be interested to know the derivation of the term.

    I have to agree with Lady Jane that the 1a/11a combo was the best of the lot.

    1. There’s no definitive answer but the suggestion I like best is this:
      The word arose because of a sharp practice used in nutmeg exports between America and England. “Nutmegs were such a valuable commodity that unscrupulous exporters were wont to pull a fast one by mixing a helping of wooden replicas into the sacks being shipped to England,” writes Seddon. “Being nutmegged soon came to imply stupidity on the part of the duped victim and cleverness on the part of the trickster.”

        1. And now cricket has the “natmeg” – a shot by England’s Natalie Sciver where she hits the ball between her own legs:

      1. Very PC of you, Gazza. I was thinking along the lines of a totally different type of nuts!

        1. I have to say that I also thought of a different type of nuts (part of the male anatomy) and that ‘option’ is also included in the Wikipedia article that I think Gazza got his PC explanation from.

  8. Thanks gazza and how nice to have yet another Petitjean. Very enjoyable, over too soon. Plenty of typical mad hat clues – i think my favourite is 12a.

    Thanks as always Petitjean

  9. Thanks gazza and how nice to have yet another Petitjean. Very enjoyable, over too soon. Plenty of typical mad hat clues – i think my favourite is 12a.

    Thanks as always Petitjean

      1. You’ve been waiting a long time for the opportunity to use that – haven’t you RD :cool:

  10. A very enjoyable stroll through Toughie Land thanks to a pleasant puzzle from our dear departed PJ. Lots to savour and enjoy.

    Way too many favourites to suggest only one. Thanks also to Gazza for his review.

  11. I certainly didn’t find this as easy as most of you seem to have done but I have finished it and loved it all. It has taken me quite a while.
    Both lurkers caused even more trouble than the ‘sporty’ bits did.
    I understood the ‘football management’ bit of 23a – it was the rest of it that foxed me for ages.
    I agree with Gazza that 13a is only ever heard of in crosswordland – wish I had one amongst all my sewing stuff then I’d be able to find the needles.
    Too many good clues to pick out any in particular so I’ll just go for 6 and 7d and the Spoonerism.
    Like everyone else I do hope that there’s a good pile of PJ Toughies.
    Thanks to Gazza for the review and I hope you escaped the storms in your part of the country.

    1. Thanks, Kath – we’ve had a few rainstorms and a bit of thunder and lightning but nothing at all like they’ve had at the other end of Cornwall.

    2. The French word etui is also commonly used in double dutch for e.g. pencil cases, etc.

  12. Very enjoyable. Had ‘on’ in 8d and knew the 13a case, but could I remember it to correct my error? No.
    Many thanks to our late setter and to Gazza for the 28a.

  13. The hat still fits and I’m grateful to have another chance to wear it. May there be many more. Another really fun puzzle which kept me smiling throughout. Many thanks.

  14. Found this a brilliant puzzle at the easier end of the Toughie spectrum. Many great clues made it hard to pick a favourite, but I think my biggest smile was for 12a when I finally saw where the reversal came from. I hope there are many more of these still to come, and I realize now that I must check out PJ’s back catalogue. Thanks to Gazza for a great blog.

  15. I seldom stray into Toughie territory, but when it’s a Petitjean puzzle I always try to make an exception.

    “Guide’s earlier version” in 20a was brilliant and I’m slowly warming to the Spoonerism too after being unconvinced originally.

    Many thanks to the late Mr Pidgeon and to Gazza. The clip accompanying 8d was as hilarious as it was depressing.

  16. Oh well, I tried…Got about a quarter of the way before I hit the wall.
    Thanks Gazza and setter,

    1. 19d – Can someone help me with “confined one-year-old sheep”??? I don’t understand the spoonerism.

        1. Collins gives two year old sheep or it’s fleece. Are the dictionaries at odds? BRB anyone?

            1. Thanks for the definition Gazza…
              Never mind that, I’m distracted now by the use of ‘it’s’ and ‘its’. :scratch:

              1. “It’s” (with the apostrophe) should only be used when it means “it is” or “it has”.

  17. I confess I needed the hint for 16d (and wouldn’t have twigged it anyway: l had forgottten that non-horticultural usage of the word). Still, 2*/3.5* seems about right. I loved the shot, sweet and quirky 12a. Thanks to the spirit of Petitjean – no doubt still crafting elegant clues on some less sordid plane of existence – and to Gazza.

  18. I don’t know why I do this…solve early in the morning and forget about commenting until everyone over there is off to bed. Anyway, I loved it. Needed the hint to parse 23A. I did like 1/11 but 20A is my favorite. God bless Petitjean, and thanks to Gazza.

    1. You’re not alone.
      I too find the time to solve in the morning but after that the day flies.
      Often forget to post something in the afternoon and by the time I get home it’s already tomorrow. Well for me anyway.
      Wrote a whole speech on Excalibur yesterday and pressed the wrong button. Everything disappeared and was too annoyed to have to start all over again.
      Enjoyed today’s PJ thoroughly.
      Loved the 1/11 combo and the next clue.
      Thanks to PJ and to Gazza for the review.

  19. I do not think I have ever attempted the Toughie before, but having finished the back-pager in double quick time and,knowing the renown and respect in which Petijean is held, I decided to give it a go. Finished apart from 23a and 4d. Did not know the word at 23a but quickly got it from the BRB. First one I came to that fitted. Best I could do for 4d was Nutters. Did not kick myself (!) when I checked the hints as it was not one I was likely to ever get. Good word to know. Thanks Gazza and I share the hope that there are more Petijean’s to come.

  20. Thanks to Gazza for the review and hints. A very good PJ puzzle, some super clues. Favourite was 19d, l like Spoonerisms. Two in a row toughie completions. Was 2*/4* for me.

  21. Smiles all round. Thanks Gazza for the Jay Leno clip and for explaining the pronunciation of etui and for unraveling TBA.

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