Toughie 1949

Toughie No 1949 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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.

Across Clues

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!

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

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)
TRAINS: hidden.

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 …?’.

Down Clues

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.

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

13d Muggins is somewhat harassed (3)
ASS: hidden.

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?

26 responses to “Toughie 1949

  1. Another splendid Petitjean treat – I have lots of clues marked for special mention, including those on Gazza’s list

    Thanks to the keepers of the Petitjean legacy and to Gazza

  2. Ditto to what CS said!

    I will just mention two specific clues:
    – 27a which was my favourite favourite. Only PJ could have come up with that one.
    – 7d which, despite its wordiness, is such an exquisite charade.

    I couldn’t full parse my answers to 25a & 15d and I didn’t know that 21d could also refer to the device as well as the inventor (in similar way I suppose to a Hoover) so I was very grateful to Gazza for explaining those.

  3. Yes agree that 6a was a beauty, but as with Rabbit Dave, I think 7d is wonderful in its manic intensity.

  4. Proof if ever it were needed that I have a long way to go to hone my crossword-solving abilities to your standard, Gazza! I found this one really difficult not helped by the things I didn’t know – the town in E. Anglia, the novelty enthusiast, the 7d film, the publisher of Which magazine and the device used to cut off the end of the 15d blaze. I also neglected to think of Ms Singleton when solving 25a and didn’t make the Hoover/Edison leap in 21d.

    Amazing that I got a completed grid bearing in mind all of the above but somehow I did – considerably aided by a few ‘well, it must be’ insertions along with the odd ‘gimme’ like 7d once the first letter was in place.

    Best for me were amongst the easier ones – 8,9&23a. Would have included the very clever 6a anagram but the very thought of that particular ‘delicacy’ sets my stomach churning!

    Many thanks yet again to the keepers of the PJ gems and to Gazza – despite your 2* difficulty rating for this one!

  5. I found this a wonderful puzzle, and a smoother ride than yesterday, although I had to cheat on 4d which was unfamiliar to me. I was fortunate in getting the longer clues around the outside relatively early which assisted with the many clues that had unchecked opening letters. I hope there are many more PJ puzzles waiting in the wings. Many thanks to Gazza for the review.

  6. One of my rare forays into Toughie territory, but seeing who the setter was, how could I resist? I was so glad I took the plunge, there was such a wealth of excellent clues to savour.

    Surprisingly I needed the Blog just to confirm three parsings, it was tricky but not quite as formidable as I had originally anticipated.

    Top clues for me: 8a, 12a and 23a. Most humourous clues: 6a, 14a, 7d and 15d, although I share Gazza’s reservation about the latter. For 22d, I was reminded that Big Dave’s Pedant’s Guide says that Ulster and Northern Island are not synonymous but I suspected that Gazza would mention that in his review, and he did!

    The Telegraph can be rightly proud of both its crosswords today. Many thanks to Gazza and I hope that the Petitjean mine still has the odd seam left to be excavated.

  7. 7d was incredible. I’m afraid I guessed the answer and then parsed it.
    17d was an appropriate clue for this voice from the grave! I hope there are more to come?

    • Apparently when his last puzzle is published a suitable message will accompany it in the paper. Since that message has not yet appeared we can be confident that at least one more puzzle is still to come – let’s hope the message doesn’t appear for a considerable time.

  8. Another wonderful puzzle from the Petitjean archive. Much appreciated and enjoyed.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

    PS Gazza, in the hint for 7d we think you mean the old word for ‘the’ rather than ‘you’.

  9. Brilliant and interesting puzzle from Petitjean! I liked especially 6a (very tasty!), 14a and 7d although like others I guessed the answer and then worked on the parsing. Missed the reference to the Blue Peter stalwart in 25a…..

  10. Just wonderful, as always – I’m so glad to hear that PJ’s Toughies haven’t quite come to an end yet and that we’ll get a bit of warning before they do.
    Others have already said what I would have said which just serves me right for being so late today.
    15d caused huge grief until I looked again having been out all afternoon.
    There were a few that I didn’t manage to untangle – feeling lazy so thanks Gazza for sorting them out – the main ones were 7d and 25a.
    I think my favourite has to be 27a – made me laugh.
    With thanks to Gazza for the help where necessary, and to PJ’s family for continuing to allow us to appreciate his talent and humour.

  11. Don’t know what to say – a great bitter-sweet enjoyment of Petitjean’s posthumous puzzles.

    Live on!

    Thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle of course. Loved 1a and many others. Thank you Petitjean for your legacy of excellent stuff, and thanks Gazza for making sense of it.

  12. I could not parse 20A or 15D, though I had the correct answers. Had to reveal a couple of letters, too, in order to finish. That did not spoil my enjoyment. 27A is my standout. Thanks to the keepers of the flame and to Gazza.

  13. Had a bit of trouble trying to justify the All in 20a and which word would substitute All in 25a.
    But All is clear now… Thanks to Gazza.
    Great charade in 7d but favourite is 11a.
    Love that word and smooth clue.
    Thanks to PJ and to Gazza again.

  14. Fun and frothy throughout, without too many problems along the way. I only really came unstuck at the close at 4d which I sort of knew. But could I think of an appropriate synonym for defeat? No I could not. Cue long minutes staring at the clue awaiting inspiration. 7d was a clue and a half, wasn’t it? :-)

  15. Fantastic puzzle by PJ. Wonderfully constructed and extremely enjoyable.
    Love 6a – specific reference for our Scottish friends.
    7d dropped into place once I had plucked the Paul Newman film from the cranial recesses
    14a made me smile.
    20a being a sports buff helped with this.
    Many thanks Gazza for the hints on a couple of others that had me head scratching.
    I will sleep contently tonight.

  16. An absolutely cracking puzzle. Kept me head-scratching, on and off, all afternoon, evening and finally getting the last three stragglers in bed. Too many excellent/brilliant clues to pick out a favourite. A real sense of achievement when this one was finished!

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: