Toughie 2005 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
View closed comments 

Toughie 2005

Toughie No 2005 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We are indeed fortunate to have an ongoing supply of delightful puzzles from the late Petitjean. I thought that this one was at the easier end of his spectrum but as enjoyable as ever.

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

Across Clues

1a/6a Take canned milk rambling and energy bar (6,4,4)
KENDAL MINT CAKE: an anagram (rambling) of TAKE CANNED MILK.

6a See 1a

9a Subsequently had food, grasped in both hands (5)
LATER: a verb meaning ‘had food’ inside the abbreviations for one’s two hands.

10a Commonly asked what’s wrong in case review? (7-2)
SUMMING-UP: when followed by a question mark this could sound like an informal query as to whether there’s anything wrong.

12a Seraglio guards awkwardly use punch lacking power (7)
EUNUCHS: an anagram (awkwardly) of USE [p]UNCH.

13a Cockney hide-and-seeker’s closer to catching carnivore? (5)
OTTER: this is the word used to inform the seeker that they are nearing the hidden object but as a Cockney would say it.

15a US serviceman stopping dieting regime with reason (7)
LOGICAL: insert the abbreviation for a US soldier into a type of dieting regime (2-3).

17a Evidence of terrible gyp most absent good minute after (7)
SYMPTOM: an anagram (terrible) of [g]YP MOST without the abbreviation for good with the abbreviation for minute bringing up the rear.

19a Old king’s sandwiches cleric heats gently (7)
CODDLES: the name of a merry old king (plus the ‘S) contains a higher degree awarded to a cleric.

21a Name a new strong cloth (7)
NANKEEN: string together the abbreviation for name, A, the abbreviation for new and an adjective meaning strong or intense.

22a Infectious disease mother’s keeping quiet (5)
MUMPS: an informal word for mother and the ‘S include the musical abbreviation meaning quiet.

24a Team consistently expected to operate at a high level (7)
AIRCREW: cryptic definition of a team that regularly works at altitude.

27a Rank info presented by gas supplier, say, not acceptable (9)
GENTILITY: another informal word for info is followed by a supplier of gas (or electricity or water) without the letter meaning acceptable or classy.

28a Replace energy with oxygen at end of spree — it’s a risky game (5)
BINGO: start with a spree involving the consumption of alcohol and change its last letter from the abbreviation of energy to the chemical symbol for oxygen.

29a Vintage oarsmen croaked in railway town? Some of this may be hearsay (4)
CREW: a quadruple definition of which some (two, in fact) are homophones. The vintage relates to wine. This must be a quintessential Petitjean clue.

30a Stop what neglectful cat owner might do (5,2,3)
LEAVE IT OUT: this is an informal verbal instruction to stop one’s current activity. It could also be what a cat owner does when forgetting to let the pet in.

Down Clues

1d Greens producing King’s Head bitter (4)
KALE: the first (head) letter of King followed by another word for bitter. If this were a Rookie Corner puzzle I suspect that Prolixic would say that ‘definition producing wordplay’ is the wrong way round and it should be ‘wordplay producing definition’.

2d What cocky footballer did added spice to game perhaps? (9)
NUTMEGGED: this could possibly mean ‘added a specific spice to a game dish’. The question mark is there because the verb in question doesn’t actually have this meaning.

3d Stage that’s used by Oliver!? (5)
APRON: this Oliver is not young Master Twist.

4d Stage show with Greek character on French lake is over (7)
MUSICAL: a Greek letter followed by the reversal of the French word for lake and IS.

5d Somewhat emphasise Mensa being shown up as unbeatable opponent (7)
NEMESIS: hidden in reverse.

7d Dread Stan Getz taking the lead for improvisation (5)
ANGST: an anagram (for improvisation) of STAN and G (the leading letter of Getz). Stan Getz was apparently an American jazz saxophonist so the surface is meaningful.

8d Crack international troops held in trial (10)
EXPERIMENT: an adjective meaning crack or ace with the abbreviation for international and another word for troops held inside it.

11d Superhero is smooth operator? (4,3)
IRON MAN: the superhero’s name could, cryptically, mean that he carries out a specific household chore involving smoothing. Not one of the more famous superheroes – I’d never heard of him!

14d Need publication to block writer’s evil art (5,5)
BLACK MAGIC: a verb to need or ‘be short of’ and an abbreviated, possibly glossy, publication go inside the proprietary name of a writing implement.

16d Defeat one supporting business giants (7)
COLOSSI: another word for a defeat, especially in a sports match, and the Roman numeral for one follow the usual abbreviation for a business.

18d Noted a wok used for Asian ritual (3,4,2)
TAE KWON DO: an anagram (used) of NOTED A WOK.

20d Skin in sunshine notwithstanding, this is where to make the most of summer (7)
SEASIDE: assemble the outer letters of sunshine and a word meaning notwithstanding as in the sentence “Your poor exam results notwithstanding we have decided to offer you a place”.

21d Wrongly rue envy for one who was light on his feet (7)
NUREYEV: an anagram (wrongly) of RUE ENVY.

23d No end of tropical fruit heading for embarrassingly inflamed skin (5)
MANGE: remove the last letter of a tropical fruit and append the first letter of ’embarrassingly’.

25d Endless rain drenching Boys’ Brigade spiritual leader (5)
RABBI: the word rain without its last letter contains the abbreviation for Boys’ Brigade.

26d Get stuck into butter (4)
GOAT: split 2,2 the answer is a phrasal verb meaning to get stuck into.

I liked 10a, 30a and 2d but my favourite clue was 29a. Which one(s) did you have a soft spot for?

26 comments on “Toughie 2005

  1. 29a is a lovely clue – I’ve added it to my (long) short list for Clue of the Year

    Thank you to the keepers of the Petitjean legacy and to Gazza

  2. If I had consulted the list of setters and seen that this was a Petitjean I would probably have passed on it, but I didn’t, found it to be very enjoyable and I completed it at a fast canter (and slightly faster than the Jay back pager) – **/*****.

    Candidates for favourite – 24a, 2d (I had to use Google to make sure, even though it has appeared before), and 5d – and the winner is 5d.

    Thanks to the late maestro and Gazza.

  3. Finished easily in */** time for me, there have been far harder back-pagers.

    I got 7d, but I think it was a bit clumsy. Took me ages to parse 15a, but got there in the end. That makes it COTD.

    Many thanks to our dear departed setter and to Gazza.

  4. Have to confess that 2d was a retrospective parse – don’t know a great deal about football – and the 21a material was a very faint recollection dragged from the depths of the grey matter but this was certainly a puzzle from the easier end of PJ’s spectrum. No complaints here!

    I’m more familiar with the Yorkshire dialect ‘at’ ending for the first part of 10a but the answer was obvious enough and elicited quite a grin.
    Anybody else have trouble ridding themselves of Kitkat at 1a?

    My favourite was the smooth operator at 11d but many others are worthy of accolades.

    A fun puzzle like this makes it somehow even harder to bear the loss of the great PJ – many thanks to the keepers of his legacy and also to Gazza for a great blog that continued the humorous theme.

  5. 29a is wonderful! Not seen that done before.

    I also really liked (somewhat reluctantly!) 30a as well as 2d, 11d, 14d and 25d.

    Many thanks.

  6. Made a mess of spelling 21d but otherwise great fun and a steady solve. 29a is remarkable; also liked 10a, 30a, 11d, 15a – I could go on.

    “Thank you to the keepers of the Petitjean legacy and to Gazza.” Absolutely.

  7. Took a while to untangle 1/6a as the enumeration for 1a was (6,4) and 6a was clued as See 6 across (4).
    Needed the review to understand my answer in 13a.
    Favourite 29a too.
    Thanks to PJ and to Gazza.

  8. In 26 down, though I understand ‘go at’, how is ‘goat’ the solution? Thanks in advance for any enlightenment!

    1. You’ve used a variation on your previous aliases so your comment needed moderation.
      A goat is a butter, i.e. it butts (with its horns).

  9. One of our sons, who does some distance running, had introduced us to the wonders of the 1a/6a answer. Otherwise it would have been a total mystery for us.
    Just wonderful to have another of these PJ gems.
    Much appreciated and enjoyed, especially 29a.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  10. I didn’t particularly like 29a, because it wasn’t clear which were the homophones from the instructions. But the puzzle as a whole was another brilliant petitjean mad-hat exercise, immensely enjoyable.

    agree with jean luc that the online version (and maybe the paper?) presented 1a in an odd way

    Many thanks setter and gazza (btw, iron man is expertly portrayed by a top hollywood actor these days)

      1. I think Dutch’s complaint was that the clue doesn’t specify which of the four definitions are homophones. I don’t think that matters because it’s easy enough to work out.

    1. I thought having to think which words were the solution and which the homophones was part of what made the clue such fun

  11. The 1 & 6a was among my last in – I needed most of the checkers and Google to crack it because I had not heard of the bar in question. I, too, needed Gazza’s blog to fully understand the carnivore in 13a. However, another hugely enjoyable puzzle. Many thanks to Gazza, and, as others have eloquently expressed, the keepers of the Petitjean legacy.

  12. I’d never heard of 1/6, and the incorrect enumeration on the puzzles site to be quite frank didn’t help. :-) Thankfully it was fairly obvious that it was a cake. Overall a ** for difficulty is about right, and fun throughout. Last in 26d.

    1. The stuff in 1a 6a is horribly sweet and not something I’d eat unless I really was in desperate need

    2. I should have mentioned that 1a and 6a were a bit of a mess on the Puzzles site. I tidied it all up for the blog.

  13. Very much towards the easy end of Petitjean’s offerings and yet, rather like Virgilius on a Sunday, always a pleasure.

    Our favourite clue was 13a.

    We were surprised, Gazza, that you have never heard of Iron Man. Thor, Black Magic, Colossi and Nemesis are other comic book characters/references, so Petitjean is giving a little more than it may seem at first take.

    Thanks Gazza and, of course, Petitjean.

    1. So how did Petitjean know that Thor would be in today’s Times? Knew we’d seen it today or is it all just a massive coincidence?

    2. Thanks Sheffieldsy – all those superheroes went completely over my head (I’ve never heard of any of them). In fact, apart from Batman, Superman and, of course, Howard the Duck I don’t think I’ve heard of many superheroes.

  14. I’m clearly in the minority, it seems, as I found it a harder challenge than recent Petitjean puzzles. I thought that there were some terrific containment and insertion indicators, i.e. “sandwiches”, “stopping”, “drenching” etc., and some of the clues were absolutely sublime as one has come to expect.

    My ticks went to the 1a/6a combo, 10a, 24a, 29a (my favourite), 30a, 22d and 26d.

    Many thanks to Gazza and the keepers of the Petitjean flame.

  15. Saved the dead tree from the recycling and it was worthwhile. Needed a hint or two so thanks Gazza for the hints. Lots af great clues but 2d gets the nod from me.

  16. Do not often try the toughies, but gave this one a go having looked at the rating and description at the beginning of Gazza’s post.
    Found it a very good puzzle indeed.
    Three ticks to 10A and 29A.
    3.5*/4.5*

Comments are closed.