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.
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.
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.
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.