Toughie 2061

Toughie No 2061 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Another lovely ‘mad hat’ puzzle from the late Petitjean who’s given us such a wonderful legacy. I would have given it just two stars for difficulty but the problems I had with 12a made me add an extra half-star.

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

Across Clues

1a Following disorganised protest in anorak (12)
TRAINSPOTTER: start with a following or entourage and add an anagram (disorganised) of PROTEST. This gives me another chance to include one of my favourite pictures:

9a Bibliophiles or what keeps their interest up? (9)
BOOKCASES: cryptically the answer could mean people who are mad about printed volumes.

10a Commonplace fish ordered by posh diner? (5)
TRITE: LOL – this sounds like how posh people (Prince Charles, for example) would pronounce the name of a freshwater fish.

11a Celibate chivvied stridently (6)
CHASTE: a homophone (stridently) of a verb meaning chivvied or pursued.

12a Bag of bones e.g. dancer’s in a spin (5,3)
SCRAG END: I spent more time on this clue than the whole of the rest of the puzzle. ‘Bag of bones’ means unhealthily thin or emaciated as does the first word of the answer. However I can’t find (in the BRB or anywhere else) any indication that the whole answer means the same thing. Also, there seems to be an error in the fodder for the anagram (in a spin) of EG DANCER’S (i.e. it contains a 6d E). Any light that you can shed would be welcome.

13a Leave when one’s not at one’s best (3-3)
OFF-DAY: with a space rather than a hyphen this could mean a short period of leave.

15a Request computer back-up or risk trouble (3,3,2)
ASK FOR IT: double definition. For the first the third word is in capital letters.

18a Nothing missing from a dry onion spread that’s vegan (3-5)
NON-DAIRY: remove one of the zero-resembling letters from an anagram (spread) of A DRY [o]NION.

19a Otherwise making a threat? (2,4)
OR ELSE: double definition, the second being a spoken threat of the consequences if one’s orders are not obeyed.

21a Not quite able to escape burning moorland mirage (4,4)
HEAT HAZE: this is unfortunate timing following yesterday’s horrific disaster in Greece which cost the lives of so many people. Start with a synonym for moorland and add an adjective meaning burning without the first three letters of ABL[e].

23a Ship built around yard capsizing bumped into structure (6)
SYSTEM: put the usual abbreviation for ship around the single-letter abbreviation for yard then append the reversal of a verb meaning ‘bumped into’ or ‘came across’.

26a Do one square (5)
LEGIT: split the answer 3,2 and it’s an informal phrase meaning ‘run away’ or ‘do one’.

27a What one might see looking up Bjork, possibly (5,4)
NORTH STAR: … because Björk is a celeb who hails from Iceland.

28a Confession of ignorance from a stumped setter? (1,6,1,4)
I HAVEN’T A CLUE: no idea.

Down Clues

1d Old boy tucked into cold-filled tortilla for a quid perhaps (7)
TOBACCO: the abbreviation for ‘old boy’ goes inside a type of tortilla which also contains the abbreviation that appears on a cold tap.

2d See through Scandinavian group’s welcome (5)
ALOHA: insert an old exclamation meaning ‘see’ or ‘behold’ into the name of a Norwegian band.

3d Unnatural action in a plant (9)
NICOTIANA: this apparently is an ornamental plant related to 1d. It’s an anagram (unnatural) of ACTION IN A.

4d Endless basil sauce can be bother (4)
PEST: drop the last letter from a sauce made with basil.

5d Taste sec blends — sip from a dozen bottles as trial run? (4,4)
TEST CASE: an anagram (blends) of TASTE SEC. Cryptically this could mean to try all twelve bottles of wine bought together.

6d Redundant actor? (5)
EXTRA: double definition, the first meaning spare.

7d Criminal held raid using two different planes (8)
DIHEDRAL: an anagram (criminal) of HELD RAID.

8d Smarter to reflect before one goes for English check again (2-4)
RE-EDIT: reverse a comparative meaning smarter or neater and replace the Roman numeral for one with E(nglish).

14d Freddie’s opening with a new shot: it’s what Queen invited clown to do (8)
FANDANGO: string together the opening letter of Freddie, a conjunction meaning ‘with’, A, the abbreviation for new and another word for a shot or attempt.

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

16d Daly’s former partner raised excellent grower (9)
FORSYTHIA: my immediate thought on seeing Daly was of Cagney and Lacey but the clue is about a more recent TV show (one I’ve never watched). Join together (Tess) Daly’s former partner on that show and the reversal of an abbreviation meaning excellent.

17d Bowled with reverse swing trapping unknown hard Northern big-hitter (8)
BREZHNEV: weld together the crickety abbreviation for bowled and the reversal of a verb to swing or swerve. Now insert one of the mathematical unknowns and the abbreviations for hard (relating to pencils) and Northern.

18d Mobile phone ringing line could be hindrance (2,4)
NO HELP: an anagram (mobile) of PHONE contains the abbreviation for line.

20d Saint coming out of film studio including Moore’s debut that’s thoroughly wooden (3,4)
ELM TREE: Petitjean was obviously not a fan of Roger’s acting! Remove the single-letter abbreviation for saint from the name of an English film and TV studio complex (where The Saint was filmed) and insert the first letter of Moore. I’m not sure why the ‘thoroughly’ is needed.

22d Problem with husband’s incessant desire (5)
HITCH: the abbreviation for husband followed by an incessant desire that’s said to appear after seven years.

24d Destroy books containing short story? Quite the opposite (5)
TOTAL: another word for a story without its last letter contains the abbreviation for some Biblical books.

25d What are the odds of bargains being found in such a tub? (4)
BRAN: the odd letters of bargains. Very clever!

The clues which I liked best were 10a, 14d, 20d and 25d. Do let us know which clue(s) had you in stitches.

31 thoughts on “Toughie 2061

  1. What a delight! All of Petitjean’s trademark quirkiness is in evidence in this puzzle, which was an absolute joy to solve.

    To pick just a few examples, surely 10a is one of the best awful homophones ever; no-one else could have come up with a clue like 11a; and the definition in 17d is as far off the wall as it is possible to go especially when combined with the accurate but utterly inapposite wordplay.

    Assuming I have parsed it correctly, I think there is one “e” too many in the anagram fodder in 12a, but who cares when there’s this much fun on offer?

    Picking a favourite is quite a tough task with so many candidates but I’ll settle on 28a closely followed by 14d & 25d.

    Many thanks to the keeper of Petitjean’s legacy and to Gazza.

  2. My last clue in was 12a and I too noticed that there was an extra E which made it rather difficult -I cannot help regarding this ,it may just be an error .The definition came to me when I solved 8d, I had heard of ‘scrag end ‘ but thought it had something to do with say a neck of lamb?
    Anyway I agree with a **/**** not withstanding the above and really enjoyed the solve.
    Hard to pick a favourite 16d tickled me.
    17d was really off the wall.

    1. Full marks for inventiveness, Jane, but I can’t see that working as it’s somewhat incestuous – we’d be taking a letter from the answer to be part of the anagram of the answer.

  3. When a crossword is as wonderful as this one (even allowing for the extra E) you have to forgive and forget the fact that it isn’t really a middle of the paper crossword.

    Thanks to Gazza – I’ll just mention, out of the many clues I’ve marked, 10a 28a, 16d and 20d – and more importantly to the keepers of the Petitjean legacy for keeping us entertained in such a splendid fashion

  4. Once again, because I didn’t check the setter beforehand, I have solved a Petitjean – as on previous occasions, if I had checked I would probably have passed.

    After finding the Jay back pager a bit of a grind, this was very enjoyable. I can’t offer any suggestions on 12a – I had enough checkers to be able to write in the answer without, for example, detecting the extra letter in the anagram material; I only saw what I wanted to see.

    I thought that 17d was quite brilliant; the definition was a great exercise in misdirection, but, with careful assembly of the ‘Lego bricks,’ it was easy to complete the parsing.

    So, 17d together with 28a are my joint favourites.

    Thanks to the Petitjean ‘organisation’ and Gazza.

    P.S. 16d is named in honour of a number of greats-grandfather of Sir Bruce who was Superintendent of the Royal Gardens in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

  5. Very entertaining if not too taxing. Lots to like and it’s a toss-up between 10a (very amusing) and 28a (D’oh!)

    12a – I interpreted ‘bones’ to also be an alternate letter indicator (slight double duty, perhaps?) using the reversal (in a spin) of ‘dancer’ giving me rEcNaD, making a kind of all-in-one. I can’t believe a toughie compiler is going to mess up an anagram.

    Many thanks to Gazza and long may the legacy of PJ continue.

    1. Very ingenious, LbR, but I’m not really convinced. Bones as an alternate letter indicator? Bones doing double duty? How does the “e.g.” fit in? What’s giving us ‘scrag’?
      We have had messed up anagrams from Toughie setters before. I hope that Mr Ed will look in to let us know what PJ had in mind.

  6. Such a delight to be able to don the mad hat again – doesn’t matter a jot how easy or difficult his puzzles are!
    I did have to check on 7d and wondered about the relevant Daly for quite a while (tried for Tom the diver but he has an extra ‘E’ in his name – maybe the one left over from 12a?).
    My other slight hold-up was 21a. However, I now know plenty of interesting facts about ‘fire haze’!

    So much to savour and I think 15&28a plus 25d came out on top for me.

    Many thanks to the keepers of the legacy and to Gazza for an excellent blog. Loved your hint for 28a and the moral tale that accompanied 2d.

  7. I’m glad to see that I wasn’t alone in struggling to parse 12a, a great pity that we can no longer hope that the setter might pop in and explain all.

    This was wonderfully good fun, at the easier end of Mr Pidgeon’s range I’d venture, and 10a was my overwhelming favourite.

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

  8. I’ll throw my two pennorth in and agree this was a delight to solve. And I also spent far too long trying to untangle the NE corner, thanks to 12a.

    There was quite a bit of GK required, Daly’s partner, the two planes, Scandinavian group and Bjork, but I will be forgiving, as I knew them!

    Twin winners for COTD at 9a and 10a. (As a young lad in a pantomime, I was completely stumped when the Director told us we all had to bring our own tarls. When I politely enquired what a tarl was, a collective snigger ran round the room).

    Many thanks to all.

  9. I enjoyed this, solved steadily, left at end with just ” quid ” + 3 d which I did nt understand the obvious answers to.
    **
    Thanks for great blog Gazza

  10. I thought this was a wonderful puzzle. It did take me longer than it should, but I got there in the end by working from the bottom up. Many thanks to keepers of the Petitjean legacy, and to Gazza.

  11. Some of the GK, such as the Norwegian band and the Daly partner really stretched us and we scratched our heads over 12a for a long time before deciding it must be an error. However despite all that we did find it a lot of fun and thoroughly enjoyed the solve.
    Thanks for the puzzle and Gazza for the review.

  12. So glad to have completed another PJ and thanks to Gazza for helping my uncertainty with 12a.

    Favourites were 17d and 25d.

  13. A wonderful challenge with contemporary clues from beyond the grave. PJ is the gift that keeps giving. 17d would be my only quibble – the indicator just a little too generalised – unusually dated for the Master. As a complete irrelevant matter of interest, I am privileged to meet in our local pub, PJ’s son, B. He’s a charming young man, a talented musician and constantly and rightly proud when I tell him that his late father and I have had a cruciverbalist joust.

    1. Thanks for that interesting information, Zat. Please ensure that PJ’s son is aware of how grateful we are to his family for allowing us to enjoy PJ’s stockpile of most enjoyable puzzles.

  14. I ran into a little trouble at the close on 17d and 21ac – mostly because I’d forgotten how to spell the former – but the rest was on the easyish side for a Toughie. Enjoyable throughout, here’s hoping there’s still lots more to come.

  15. Much fun with the mad hat (wide-brimmed floppy sunhat today).

    I agree with our reviewer’s ratings. Had a couple of brain fails, where I turned to my brb more readily than I might have on a cooler day. Also had the same questions about 12a as Gazza did.

    My favourites were 14d and 25d. Many thanks all.

  16. Thanks to Gazza for the review and hints. Great to see another Pettijean puzzle, it was certainly very inventive. Needed the hints to parse 16&17d. Seemed to be an extra “e” in the fodder for 12a. I liked 20d, but my favourite was 10a, really made me laugh. Was 2*/4* for me.

  17. Just did a software update, now I can’t post using incognito mode any more, but the good news is that the ordinary window now works again. The joy of software 🤭

  18. Brilliantly entertaining puzzle from Sir Petitjean. And – a Toughie I could complete unaided. Many laughs on the way, the biggest of which was 10a. How many other of his archive still to come, I wonder.

    1. It’s B[owled] followed by the reversal of VEER (swing) containing Z (mathematical unknown) H(ard) and N(orthern), so B RE ZHN EV.

  19. Great solve, too easy for a toughie though. Back page Thurs of Fri more like.

    10a pushed it but very funny when it clicked. Reminded me of the old joke with Prince Philip telling the queen as they were going out..
    P “Cold out there dear”
    Q ”Yes I’ll get my dearstalker”
    P “Wear the fox hat”
    Q “It’s in my wardrobe, won’t be a minute”

  20. R.E. toughie 2061, 12a. It’s pretty colloquial and thus obscure but, but with reference to scrag end of lamb, my gran, who came from mid somerset, would have been said to be cooking up a bag of bones when making a scrag end stew. As for the other part of the clue, maybe it’s an, albeit not very good, idouble indicator that you need the end letter of scrag to complete the anagram eg dancers – scrag end.

    1. Please don’t use unnecessary capitals – I’ve edited them in your name. On the internet, the use of capital letters is equivalent to shouting (and please don’t tell me that because the US President does it that makes it OK).

  21. 12a
    I thought bag of bones was also off cuts perhaps from a butcher. These might also be the scrag end. Frustrated mostly by the inaccurate anagram.

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