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Toughie 1881

Toughie No 1881 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Still they keep coming – we have another great puzzle from the late Petitjean. I’m told that there’s no indication in the paper that this is the last one, so let’s hope for many more.

As I often do I wondered how some non-UK solvers might get on with some of the references – today we have a London tube station, Arthur Daley and the Queen Vic.

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

Across Clues

1a C of E tradition is manacling changes (11)
ANGLICANISM – a straightforward anagram (changes) of IS MANACLING.

9a Appear emaciated following cold and cough (4,5)
COME CLEAN – charade of a verb to appear or arrive, the abbreviation for cold and an adjective meaning emaciated. Cough here is what the CID encourage suspects to do.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

10a/11a No surprise from Little Stevie? (5,6)
SMALL WONDER – cryptically this could describe Little Stevie, the young blind singer.

11a See 10a

12a One depressive possesses way of talking back that’s unseemly (8)
IMPROPER – start with the Roman numeral for one, add someone who’s a depressive or listless and insert the reversal of the abbreviation for the ‘standard’ way of speaking British English.

13a Pipe circulating in the ancient expression of celebration (6)
YIPPEE – an anagram (circulating) of PIPE goes inside an ancient word for ‘the’ to make my reaction on learning that today’s setter is Petitjean.

15a At this point in pub the start of trouble is to be expected (8)
INHERENT – insert an adverb meaning ‘at this point’ into another word for pub and append the first letter of trouble.

18a Famous philanthropist almost taken in by regular visitor’s success story (2-6)
GO-GETTER – drop the final letter from the surname of a billionaire philanthropist who made his money from oil and put what remains inside someone who’s a regular visitor.

19a Jerks text resort to the west (6)
SPASMS – the abbreviation for the system used to send and receive text messages is preceded by a resort with a mineral spring.

21a Moving vocal, pleasant but lacking energy, is emotionally charged (8)
VOLCANIC – an anagram (moving) of VOCAL is followed by an adjective meaning pleasant without the abbreviation for energy.

23a ‘Peerless’ pun I query being peerless (6)
UNIQUE – start with words 2-4 of the clue and take away the verb to peer or probe.

26a Somehow eat ants without an inkling (5)
TASTE – an anagram (somehow) of EAT [an]TS.

27a Hype about Andean wool-producer overcoming sloth to become religious leader (5,4)
DALAI LAMA – reverse the abbreviation for some hype or a plug and add an Andean wool-producing animal containing the sloth that’s so useful for Scrabble players.

28a Queen Vic hen night tear shed — that’s ominous (11)
THREATENING – Queen Vic (the pub in the ‘Eastenders’ soap) is being used here as an adjective to tell us that ‘hen’ is to be cockneyfied, so make an anagram (shed, i.e. dispersed) of ‘EN NIGHT TEAR.

Down Clues

1d Park discovered next to Church Street tube station (7)
ARCHWAY – Dis-cover the word park, add an abbreviation for church and finish with a synonym for street.

2d Scamp is oddly glammy and popular (5)
GAMIN – the odd letters of ‘glammy’ and our usual adjective meaning popular or trendy.

3d In addition switching wingers leads to foul (9)
INCLEMENT – start with an addition (to one’s pay, for example) and switch right to left.

4d The last word from me in a note? (4)
AMEN – put ‘me’ between A and the abbreviation for note.

5d Snub bible lessons having gone in to stop one’s humiliation (8)
IGNOMINY – take away the abbreviation for Bible lessons from a verb meaning to snub or cold-shoulder then insert IN into “one’s” from the point of view of the setter.

6d Skinflint‘s turn of card (Queen) (5)
MISER – cement together the reversal of a mobile phone card and the regnal cipher of our Queen.

7d Miscreant sect holding priest on island (7)
CULPRIT – another word for a religious sect containing abbreviations for priest and island.

8d Redundant description of loch or moisture? (8)
DAMPNESS – split the answer 4,4 and it could be an unnecessary or self-evident description of a specific Scottish loch.

14d First person cuts battered lip and gums boxing (8)
PUGILISM – a first person pronoun gets inserted into an anagram (battered) of LIP and GUMS.

16d Never mind old, renovated ex-PO van is English and warm (9)
EXPANSIVE – an anagram (renovated) of EX-P[o] VAN IS followed by the abbreviation for English.

17d Memo on the subject of Arthur Daley’s employee (8)
REMINDER – string together a preposition meaning ‘on the subject of’ and the job of Mr Daley’s employee.

18d Presented gripping flamboyant dance (7)
GAVOTTE – a verb meaning presented or donated contains an abbreviation meaning flamboyant or extravagant.

20d Crooned about Greek goddess of youth with no energy for affair (7)
SHEBANG – a verb meaning crooned contains the name of the Greek goddess of youth without her final E(nergy). This is the second clue (after 21a) where we have to remove the abbreviation for energy but ‘no energy’ doesn’t quite work here because there’s one E left in the name.

22d Skill to tie up the French on the ball (5)
ALERT – a word meaning skill or technique contains a French definite article.

24d Phoney bellringer denied tricky mood (5)
QUASI – start with a fictional Parisian bellringer (whose love interest appeared in yesterday’s Toughie) and take away the mixed-up letters (tricky) of MOOD.

25d Pressure on regulars in illegal action (4)
PLEA – the abbreviation for pressure precedes regular letters from ‘illegal’. I wasn’t sure that the answer was an action but Chambers has ‘a lawsuit (Scottish law and historical)’ as its first meaning

Lots to like here, including 9a, 10/11a, 28a, 3d and 24d, but I’ll nominate 23a as favourite. Which clue(s) fired your enthusiasm?

26 comments on “Toughie 1881

  1. Loved it, especially the wonderful 23a. 3*/4* from us.

    Let’s hope there are several more to come. Thanks to Gazza and Petitjean.

  2. My second Toughie in two days, but this one took a bit longer than the back pager.

    Favourite 1d – I liked the use of ‘discovered’ – closely followed by 17d (one of the best TV shows ever).

    Thanks to the late Petitjean and Gazza.

  3. Considering this was a ***, I am happy that I managed to get half way quickly, before my hangover took over and I threw in thd towel. Thanks Gazza for helping me fill in the blanks.
    Today and yesterday are marked down as successes, however few of these are solved from the wordplay as it is so complex and beyond me, so these will remain a mystery until I can get my head around the wordplay.
    Thanks Gazza and the late Petitjean

  4. Completing two toughies in a week is very satisfying though this was a bit more challenging than yesterday’s puzzle. Thanks to Gazza for explaining the ‘ dicsovered’ in 1d. 24d was my favourite clue.

  5. Many thanks Petitjean and Gazza

    Last ones in were 12a and 5d, both took me a while to parse. I thought 23a was probably most typical of Petitjean’s mad hat and as such it raised a sad smile.

    Hope we have plenty more

  6. Great puzzle although I needed some help , especially 8d.
    the 19/11 combo is my favourite .
    A posthumous thanks to Petitjean and Gazza

  7. I enormously enjoyed this. I often do find UK general knowledge based clues challenging, but for some reason – perhaps the helpful checkers – I did not have any difficulty today, although in some cases (e.g. 17d) I did not completely get the reference. (It’s specific sports men and women that I seem to have the most difficulty with). I did not realize is was Petitjean until I turned to the blog – perhaps I would have lingered and savoured it a little more if I had. Many thanks to him and Gazza.

  8. Well I packed my mad hat, just on the off-chance (it doesn’t take up much room in a suitcase), and how enjoyable it was to wear it too. I inferred Arthur Daley’s employee and the 20d goddess, both of which only rang faint bells. (I’d heard of the programme but never watched it, and I am brilliant at instantly forgetting any mythological stuff I come across – for some reason my brain is Teflon to it.) All-in-all, very nice, gettable with a few stretchy ones to make you think and lots to make you smile.

    Favourite answer word: 13a, which except in cases of sarcasm) should always be spoken (or squealed) with appropriate gusto.


    Favourite surface: 26a.

    Favourite device: the madhat madcap 23a.

    Thanks to my favourite Petitjean and my favourite Gazza.

    1. Glad to see that he is still around.
      Last time you buried the poor soul under a foot of tarmac.

  9. Hi Gazza, sorry for being thick…
    12a sorry, what’s the standard way of speakjng?
    27a I did not understand the hint, I don’t play scramble, what is the sloth?
    Thanks for the hints

    1. Hi Hoofi,
      12a) RP = Received Pronunciation (what posh people, especially in the South-East of England, speak),
      27a) Ai is a three-toed sloth.

  10. Great to see another posthumous PJ puzzle and long may they continue. I didn’t find this one particularly tricky but I did refer to Gazza’s fine blog to check the parsing of a couple of bung-ins.

    Thanks to all.

  11. Very enjoyable, although J didn’t get on the wavelength so much as me. Some discussion about 8d finished it. Thanks to Gazza and Petitjean (we’ll miss him a lot soon, but enjoying his legacy )

  12. The only UK reference that we did not know was the pub in 28a. However we feel a bit smug that we did surmise that it needed us to ‘cockneyise’ the hen to get the anagram fodder.
    Again we feel so privileged to still be able to get our teeth into original Petitjean puzzles. Great fun once again.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  13. Good old petitjean.
    Always a pleasure.
    Last ones in were the same as Dutch. I wanted so much to get ignore in the down clue which gave me some impossible R’s in the across one.
    Thanks for the fun and to Gazza for the review.

  14. Apart from the NE corner, where l needed a couple of hints, this was relatively straightforward. On balance, 2*/4*. As for a favourite, l’m torn between 5d and 20d. As always, a joy to be reminded of Petitjean’s artistry as a setter. Thanks to Gazza for the review.

  15. The bottom half of the grid went by in a flash, but the rest took a while longer, with the NE last to fall, and 5d – which I can’t spell – at the very close. Thoroughly enjoyable, here’s hoping there are still more to come.

  16. I do have a correctly completed grid but I could not parse 28A. I am familiar with the show’s existence but mercifully it is not aired over here and I have no knowledge of the details. I was leaning more to the Old Vic theatre since all the letters for theatre were there, but that’s as far as I got. 1D was not a problem and I was vaguely aware of Arthur Daley. Perhaps it came up in a previous clue somewhere. Lots of ticks, but special mentions for 9A, 25A, 5D, 8D and 20D. Thanks to the wonderful PJ for leaving such a treasure trove behind, and to Gazza for the review

  17. Bit late to write about this but it was a very endearing puzzle and cheered my commute up no end this morning but I had to gird up my loins to tackle the Firefly. I didn’t even clock what was going on in 23ac but it’s rather splendid now I see it! Thanks blogger and requiescat Petitjean.

  18. This was a lovely treat. How very fortunate we are to still be having the late Petitjean’s wonderful puzzles. Grateful appreciation to those who make it possible.

    My two most favoured clues were 23a and 24d. I also liked several others, especially 10 / 11a, and 13a.

    Appreciative thanks to Gazza for the excellent review. I needed the explanation for my answer to 19a, and the reason why there seemed to be a letter too many for the anagram in 28a. I came completely adrift with 3d, and blush to admit I had ‘increment’ as my answer. All the rest was fine, and attempting the whole was a joy.

  19. I was in York this week, helping my goddaughter move back to her uni digs after the summer break, and I was at a loose end on Wed afternoon so I decided to go and buy a DT and tackle the crosswords. And what a cracking puzzle this was – I enjoyed it very much and found it a decent challenge. 23a is a sublime clue! 20d: I was happy with this clue because it states “no energy” not “no energies”, so it was OK (for me) to leave one of the Es in the name in the answer. But maybe it contravened some obscure technical convention? 3*/4*.

  20. I know that three days after the crossword is far too late to comment on it but I just had to.
    What a fabulous puzzle – what a great setter.
    I’ve never heard of the 1d tube station but guessed and looked it up and needed the hint for the 12a ‘way of talking’.
    Spoilt for choice of clues to mention so just a few are 9 and 23a and 24d.
    Thanks to PJ for leaving so many crosswords for us to carry on enjoying after his death and thanks to Gazza for explaining the answers that I didn’t ‘get’.

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