Toughie 1913 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1913

Toughie No 1913 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Just how many posthumous puzzles did Petitjean leave us? Here’s hoping that there are many more to come.

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

Across Clues

1a What joiners do daily and strikers less often (3,3,8)
HIT THE WOODWORK: joiners here are skilled craftsmen and strikers are football forwards who occasionally fail to score a goal by a small margin.

10a Breathe in/out to get you to sleep (9)
HIBERNATE: an anagram (out) of BREATHE IN.

11a Displaying cheek make-up (5)
LIPPY: double definition, the first an informal adjective meaning impertinent.

12a Polish conger perhaps back in stream (3,4)
LEE TIDE: stick together a verb to polish or rephrase and what conger is a type of and reverse it all.

13a After first-half loss in trophy, nothing is twisted but masseur‘s needed (6)
PHYSIO: lose the first half of ‘trophy’ and append the reversal of the letter resembling nothing and IS.

15a Witness dropping a very pained expression (4)
OUCH: drop the A and the V(ery) from an archaic verb meaning to bear witness.

17a Old authority welcoming volunteers and not available on call (10)
OBTAINABLE: put together O(ld) and a book regarded as authoritative and insert (separately) the old abbreviation for our volunteer soldiers and the abbreviation meaning ‘not available’.

18a Sense economic decline with trendy Italy supplanting the French (10)
DEFINITION: start with a noun meaning economic decline or what the BRB calls ‘a decrease in the amount of money available relative to its buying power’ and replace its French definite article with an adjective meaning trendy and the IVR code for Italy.

20a Some wholesome nutrition in list of dishes (4)
MENU: hidden in the clue.

22a Malady in which one might fail to pronounce ‘th’ (6)
ASTHMA: the name of this malady is normally pronounced without the ‘th’. This seems weak – am I missing something?

23a There’s a point to this security for those temporarily under cover (4,3)
TENT PEG: cryptic definition of something with a tapered point so that it can be hammered into the ground.

26a Beginnings of grisly epidemic rats might spread (5)
GERMS: the starting letters of five words in the clue.

27a Surprisingly Romania is elsewhere (4,5)
ASIA MINOR: an anagram (surprisingly) of ROMANIA IS produces a geographic area where Romania isn’t.

28a Esoteric conservationists opening up lands re-enact fighting (14)
TRANSCENDENTAL: the abbreviation for the body set up to conserve buildings and places of historic interest goes inside an anagram (fighting) of LANDS RE-ENACT.

Down Clues

2d It’s steep that Cockney chap getting depressed with loss of pound (5)
IMBUE: steep here is a verb. Stick together a pronoun meaning that chap as a Cockney would say it and an adjective meaning depressed without the abbreviation for a pound sterling.

3d Peak before rising depression renders you sleepy (6)
TORPID: join together a rocky peak and the reversal of a depression or indentation.

4d To make matters worse former champion facing cut missing middle of green (10)
EXACERBATE: concatenate a prefix meaning former, a champion or top player and a cut or discount without the middle letter of green.

5d Microwave demonstrated without preliminary hype (4)
OVEN: start with a past participle meaning demonstrated or established beyond doubt and remove the first two letters which are an abbreviation meaning hype or spin. Since microwave is an example of the answer a ‘perhaps’ or ‘maybe’ would not have gone amiss.

6d Party with measure of acid nothing to be upset about? One jumps in the water laughing (7)
DOLPHIN: start with a festive party and add the abbreviation used in chemistry as a measure of acidity with a word meaning nothing or zero reversed around it.

ARVE Error: id and provider shortcodes attributes are mandatory for old shortcodes. It is recommended to switch to new shortcodes that need only url

7d Like Democrats appear to Republicans, as all fingers and thumbs? (9)
OPPOSABLE: an adjective describing how one political party regards a rival one.

8d Remedial treatment for peeping Tom? (7,7)
KEYHOLE SURGERY: a hospital procedure which might be appropriate for a nosey person who uses an available aperture to spy on others. My other thought was that the treatment is being applied to the aperture rather than the peeper, but I don’t like it much in either case.

9d Characteristic of tender superficial sketch? (7,7)
SHALLOW DRAUGHT: charade of an adjective meaning superficial or perfunctory and a preliminary sketch. Tender here is a small craft used to convey people and provisions between ship and shore.

14d Musical interval with topsy-turvy improvisation or tango heard being announced (5,5)
MAJOR THIRD: assemble the reversal of an improvised musical session, OR, the letter that tango is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and a sound-alike of ‘heard’.

16d Buffet — feta and rice — on a self-service counter (9)
CAFETERIA: an anagram (buffet) of FETA and RICE followed by A. This is obviously the word of the day.

19d Female relative as well as males turned up carrying ecstasy, leading to downfall (7)
NEMESIS: a female relative and another word for males all reversed with the abbreviation for ecstasy inserted.

21d Kind of band with nothing new besides mounting reputation (3-3)
ONE-MAN: the letter that resembles zero and N(ew) are followed by the reversal of a word meaning reputation or celebrity.

24d Shot commercial about protected species in black and white (5)
PANDA: a shot from a video or film camera and the reversal of the abbreviation for a commercial.

25d Lassa fever cases out of danger (4)
SAFE: hidden in the clue.

I have placed my ticks adjacent to 12a, 23a, 9d and 24d. Which one(s) fired your imagination?

20 comments on “Toughie 1913

  1. Wonderful as ever – I do hope there are quite a few more to come.

    Too many ‘clues I really liked’ to list

    Thanks to the DT and the Pidgeon family for letting us continue to enjoy these mad hat crosswords and to lucky Gazza for the blog

  2. Great entertainment. Completed while I was sitting by the sea in the warm sunshine in Lyme Regis. Thanks to Gazza and the late Petitjean.

  3. A super crossword puzzle, despite 12 across utterly defeating me. Never heard of that term before. Too many superb clubs, so I’m not picking any favourites.

  4. All the fun of the fair, as we’ve come to expect from the late, lamented PJ. Relatively straightforward, we thought, so 2* /4*.

    We liked 17a, 18a and 9d. We smiled at “One jumps in the water laughing”.

    Gazza, for 22a, we also thought that an asthmatic is short of breath, so has trouble correctly aspirating aitches. Thus, one would tend to drop the aitch.

    Thanks to Gazza and Petitjean.

  5. Looks like it’s just me then – I struggled with this for some reason. Much of the wording completely threw me. Fave was also 24d.
    Many thanks Gazza, and to PJ

  6. Oh for goodness sake – a football reference! I spent ages going back through all the relevant ‘downs’ to see if I’d made a mistake somewhere as the only answer I could come up with for 1a didn’t seem to make much sense even though it did turn out to be right. I thought football strikers hit the post or the bar?
    12a and 2d took some time to fall and I needed Gazza’s help with the parsing of 14d.

    Podium places went to 23a plus 6,8,9&21d with several other possible contenders.

    Thanks to Gazza and obviously to the keepers of the PJ gems. First thing I do these days before looking at the clues in a PJ puzzle is to check for that little note that must come one day saying ‘that’s it folks’. Part of me rather wishes the DT would tell us how many more we have to look forward to……..

  7. Just what you’d expect from PJ – madcap and entertaining. Who else could have come up with the definition for 6d?

    I wasn’t keen on 17a which seemed a bit contrived but that apart this was great fun all the way starting off with the magnificent 1a which earned a double tick as did 23a, 8d & 24d.

    Many thanks to Gazza and to PJ.

  8. I liked the all fingers and thumbs, the treatment for a peeping Tom, the breathe in/out, the sense of economic decline and more.

    Took me a while to find the first word in 1a and even then I thought the striker was someone refusing to work.

    I thought tender in 9d was pretty devious – had to work that out backwards.

    Always nice to see PJ again, thanks and thanks gazza.

  9. Had to check idioms with “woodwork” having successfully guessed the last word and the meaning of 9d along with “tender”. Didn’t know the stream in 12a either.
    Lots of great definitions and wordplay.
    Really enjoyed it.
    Thanks to PJ and to Gazza for the review.

  10. I am glad I kept at this and though it took me a long time the end result is a sense of accomplishment. Thanks to Gazza for helping me understand the relevance of hype in 5a. I liked 2d,1a, 8d and 9d. I will file away 12a as yet another new thing learnt thanks to the crossword.

  11. Great fun as ever and very much enjoyed. We had thought of tennis players in 1a but agree that footballers are a better option. 12a new to us and last in.
    Thanks to PJ and Gazza.

  12. I very much enjoyed this puzzle, although disappointingly I came close to, but not quite, finishing. The NE corner was the slowest to fall, and in the end I was only beaten by 1a (not a phrase that made sense to me, even suspecting the correct joiners) and 5d. many thanks to PJ and Gazza.

  13. Good, witty fun. Completed the grid, but toughie shy husband had to help me parse 1a, 5d and 9d. Thank you PJ. You live on!

  14. Quite a “kind” puzzle, in that once you crack the four long answers round the sides you are a long way towards completion. Nevertheless, a worthwhile and entertaining puzzle: **/****. I loved 9d and 28a, but have a minor quibble with 12a. I have come across ebb tides and flood tides, neap tides and spring tides, but never lee ones. Even though the answer was quite easily derived, l do not recognise the expression or its meaning. Still, many thanks to the much-missed Petitjean, and to Gazza.

    • Well, that just shows what l know! Just looked it up, and am smearing egg on face even as l type…

      • Lee tide was a new one on me too. I found this just a little harder than some of the recent posthumous Petitjeans (esp 17a for some reason), but still very enjoyable. 1a was my favourite once I got it….

  15. About three quarters completed pretty quickly, but the rest took an absolute age. Last in 9d, 12ac and 22ac.

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