Toughie No 1949 by Petitjean
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
What a great legacy of puzzles Petitjean left us. This one is right up there in the enjoyment stakes and my only gripe is that it was all over a bit too quickly.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.
6a Mars, say, battered once — nice to fry (13)
CONFECTIONERY: an anagram (battered) of ONCE NICE TO FRY. What a brilliant anagram about the Scottish delicacy!
8a Make less theatrical escape? (6)
DECAMP: cryptically, as 2-4, this could mean to make less theatrical. As with 27a the question mark really belongs with the first three words rather than at the end.
9a Form of entertainment for those who are up for it (2-6)
IN-FLIGHT: cryptic definition with ‘up’ meaning flying.
10a Oh dear, ignore every other character, it’s that woman (3)
HER: remove every other letter from the first two words of the clue.
11a Uniform required during shift worked for butcher’s (6)
SHUFTI: insert the letter that uniform represents in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet into an anagram (worked) of SHIFT. The answer is a military slang term, from Arabic, for a butcher’s (hook) – Cockney rhyming slang for a look.
12a Waiting in the wings regardless of scenery and props (3,5)
SET ASIDE: cryptically this could mean ‘apart from the stage furniture used for a particular scene in a play’.
14a Spooner’s collapsed on honeymoon with banquet inside? (4-3)
WELL-FED: Spooner might have rendered this as collapsed or tumbled (when) married.
16a Branch in East Anglian market town is charming (7)
DISARMS: insert a branch or division into DISS, the Norfolk town which is such a boon to setters.
20a US final wise one abandoned — left before close of play commendably (8)
SUPERBLY: start with the name given to the annual final of the USA football competition (5,4). Now remove the creature celebrated for its wisdom and add the abbreviation for left and the closing letter of play.
23a Extra insurance covers rolling stock (6)
24a Cobbler for one is occasionally pricey (3)
PIE: just the odd letters of pricey.
25a Singleton losing out to everyone in daring partnership (8)
ALLIANCE: start with a noun meaning daring or bravery then swap the abbreviated forename of Ms. Singleton (the one-time Blue Peter presenter and a dab hand with sticky-back plastic, now 80) for a word meaning everyone.
26a E-e sound? (2-4)
RE-ECHO: repeat the word used to represent E in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.
27a Why the hell give someone the third degree? (5-8)
CROSS-QUESTION: with a space rather than hyphen this could be an angry query, such as ‘Why the hell …?’.
1d Intergovernmental organisation heads shocking, claiming Luxembourg to be criminal (8)
UNLAWFUL: join together the abbreviation for the intergovernmental organisation set up in 1945 to maintain order worldwide and an adjective meaning shocking or terrible. Finally insert the IVR code for Luxembourg.
2d Novelty enthusiast with mobile phone getting one over the French (8)
NEOPHILE: an anagram (mobile) of PHONE followed by the Roman numeral for one and a French definite article.
3d A thirst with following for Hearts to begin with (2,5)
AT FIRST: the first two words of the clue with the abbreviation for the card suit Hearts replaced by the abbreviation for ‘following’.
4d Di’s avoiding defeat in 6 Across (6)
COMFIT: a verb to defeat or disconcert without the DIS at its start.
5d Information I exploit endlessly, such as 7 (6)
GENIUS: assemble an informal word for information, I and a verb to exploit or ill-treat without its last letter.
6d EU member reported police concerning government (5,8)
CZECH REPUBLIC: stitch together what sounds like a verb to police or regulate, a preposition meaning concerning and a synonym for government when used as an adjective (as in ‘government spending’).
7d The old Paul Newman film: one with soldiers suitable for all, Henry’s lead in ‘Fiddler‘? (6,7)
YEHUDI MENUHIN: take a deep breath and make a seven-piece charade of: an old word for ‘the’, the name of a Paul Newman film about an unscrupulous young Texas rancher, the Roman numeral for one, some ordinary soldiers, the letter used in film classifications to mean ‘suitable for all’, the leading letter of Henry and IN.
13d Muggins is somewhat harassed (3)
15d Blaze in Isle of Man — Douglas? (3)
FIR: start with another word for a blaze and drop its last letter in the Manx fashion (more specifically like a Manx cat) to leave something of which Douglas is an example. Petitjean has used ‘Isle of Man’ and ‘Douglas’ before to trigger cutting the tail off a word – I don’t really like it when there’s no mention in the clue of the relevant feline.
17d Bury remains sharing right concern (8)
INTEREST: put together a verb to bury and a noun meaning remains then remove one occurrence of the duplicated R(ight).
18d Which publisher half separates adults creating scholarly environment? (8)
ACADEMIA: “Which?” is published by the Consumers’ Association. Put their abbreviation and a prefix meaning half between two occurrences of the abbreviation for adult.
19d Sweet record you heard initially turned high … (5,2)
HYPED UP: cement together another word for sweet or afters, an old record format and the initial letters of you and heard. Now reverse the lot.
21d … phonograph with part of record turned on? (6)
EDISON: this is a make of phonograph (and the name of its inventor). Reverse a part of an old record (could be A or B) and add ON.
22d Dismiss party taking Ulster (6)
BANISH: a party (of the sort we’re having at the end of this month) contains the abbreviation for the part of the UK which corresponds (in popular usage, though inaccurately) with the province of Ulster.
I liked 8a, 20a and 27a but my favourite clue today by some distance was 6a. Which one(s) had you applauding?