Toughie 2121 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2121

Toughie No 2121 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

We have another example of Petitjean’s art to enjoy. I thought that this one was on the gentle side but as enjoyable as ever. In case you missed the comment from the editor on Petitjean’s previous puzzle he has confirmed that there are enough of the great man’s Toughies left to last into next year. Thanks once more to Petitjean’s family for allowing us to enjoy his work.

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

Across Clues

1a Expert whose clients are relieved to go under (12)
ANAESTHETIST: cryptic definition of a hospital worker.

9a Retreat of republican French female, facing cunning agent selling out (9)
TRAVELLER: ‘agent selling out’ is not a treacherous spy but a sales agent on the road. Join together the abbreviation for Republican, a French feminine pronoun, the abbreviation for ‘facing’ (in a sporting context) and a synonym of cunning. Now reverse the lot.

10a Animated bubbly Romeo (5)
ASTIR: a sparkling drink followed by what Romeo stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

11a Sting’s roots let out by Geordieland tango (6)
NETTLE: an anagram (out) of LET follows the area of England where Geordies live and the letter that tango is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet.

12a Splendid chap and archetypal hero (8)
SUPERMAN: split the answer 5,3 to get a splendid chap.

13a Taking two-thirds some agree would be inadequate (6)
MEAGRE: hidden as two-thirds of ‘some agree’.

15a Force for something stronger than a catnap? (8)
BULLDOZE: this is a much stronger animal than a cat and a synonym for nap.

18a Quite regularly checks pay, which is useful (8)
SALUTARY: regular letters from ‘quite’ are inserted into a form of pay.

19a Wholesome? It’s plausible denied calmer exterior (6)
EDIBLE: start with an adjective meaning plausible and remove the exterior letters of calmer.

21a Work for aircrew in chic society? (4,4)
HIGH LIFE: cryptically this could describe the work of an aircrew.

23a Peculiar cyst he cut (6)
SCYTHE: an anagram (peculiar) of CYST HE.

26a Mistake denying bully 90-year-old British fizz (5)
ERROR: a bully (Terrorizer) without the fizzy soft drink made in Scotland. Apparently it was introduced in 1924 (so probably exactly 90 years old when Petitjean compiled this puzzle).

27a Irritation right away brought about by pioneer (9)
INITIATOR: an anagram (brought about) of IR[r]ITATION without one of the abbreviations for right.

28a Classmate that’s in the same swimming group (12)
SCHOOLFELLOW: the first half of the answer is a name for a large group of fish.

Down Clues

1d Talking bird taking no time turning up — or the opposite (7)
ANTONYM: a bird that can ‘talk’ has NO and the abbreviation for time inserted then it all gets reversed.

2d A gin knocked back on one’s own (5)
APART: A and the reversal of what a gin can be.

3d Have misgivings seeing Ella in unusually smart surroundings (5,1,3)
SMELL A RAT: ELLA surrounded by an easy anagram (unusually) of SMART.

4d No end of vacs — third of theirs and mine (4)
HOLE: start with another abbreviation for what vacs means, remove the final letter and append the third letter of ‘theirs’.

5d Involved university in sort-out for transport (8)
TORTUOUS: insert an abbreviation for university into an anagram (for transport) of SORT-OUT.

6d Staff in more ways than one (5)
STAVE: the answer has the same meaning as staff in two ways, the second relating to written music. Additionally the answer is made up of two abbreviations for ‘way’ – thanks halcyon.

7d Weapon at disposal of one mob after another? (4,4)
ATOM BOMB: start with AT and add an anagram (disposal) of MOB twice.

8d Cutting edge arts festival? (6)
FRINGE: double definition, the second being the name given to an annual arts festival in Edinburgh. Here are what are claimed to be the best one-line jokes from the last few years of the festival:

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14d Parable of galley rowed unyoked at sea (8)
ALLEGORY: an anagram (at sea) of GALLEY RO[wed] without the word that can (in one sense facetiously) mean yoked or joined.

16d Local Cockney actor poolside (9)
LIDOCAINE: this was my last answer and required a bit of Googling. It’s the US spelling of a local (as opposed to a general which might be administered by a 1a). Stick together an open-air swimming pool and the surname of a Cockney actor (born Maurice Micklewhite – not a lot of people know that!).

17d Grand artist with loud following — one leading to work like Banksy’s? (8)
GRAFFITO: this requires us to bring together six different bits as follows: the abbreviation for a grand ($1,000), our usual artist, abbreviations for loud and following, the Roman numeral for one and TO.

18d Some way to go with two noughts missing from school record (6)
SCHLEP: remove the two letters resembling nought from school and add an old record format.

20d Feature of Cockney intellectual? (7)
EYEBROW: this facial feature sounds like how a Cockney would pronounce a synonym for intellectual.

22d Sir Tim’s creation, part in comfortably rich West End theatre? (5)
LYRIC: hidden in the clue is what Sir Tim Rice produces and it’s also the name of a West End theatre.

24d Complete wreck (5)
TOTAL: double definition, the second being an informal verb to wreck or write off a vehicle.

25d Fancy Women’s Institute over-50s (4)
WILL: the abbreviation for the Women’s Institute followed by a double helping of the Roman numeral for fifty.

The clues which I liked best were 9a, 15a and 7d. Do let us know which one(s) pleased you most.

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36 comments on “Toughie 2121

  1. Another fine example of the Petitjean legacy which made for a very enjoyable solve – **/****.

    A small amount of electronic assistance required and a couple of BRB checks – which consonant is doubled in 17d and confirmation of definition for 18d.

    I put in FRIEND as the second part of 28a which played havoc with the SE corner for a while.

    Candidates for favourite – 1a, 16d, and 18d – and the winner is 16d.

    Very many thanks to the Petitjean family and Gazza.

  2. Lovely puzzle and review. Thanks for 8dn, which I just could not see. It is bewildering how the brain works or doesn’t sometimes.

    Thanks again

  3. Lovely stuff as always from the late, great PJ and an excellent blog Gaza.

    As well as the 2 meanings of Staff in 6d there are 2 crossword “ways” making up the answer. This one, 26a and 16d made me chuckle the most.

  4. Another little gem from PJ – we’re so fortunate that he was such a prolific compiler. I assumed from solving 26a that this is one he put together in 2014, Gazza seems to share that opinion.

    So many potential stars of the show but I can’t see beyond 15a for the favourite slot – raised a huge chuckle here.

    Many thanks to those who allow us to continue enjoying PJ’s work and thanks to Gazza for both the blog and the great selection of illustrations.

  5. Great stuff as usual,thank you Petitjean.
    Thanks also gazza for the fizzy drink which I missed.
    My favourites today are 7d & 8d.

  6. It’s always a wonderful surprise to open the paper at the puzzle page and see Petitjean’s name at the top of the Toughie. You know you’re in for treat and this one didn’t disappoint.

    We can’t easily choose a favourite as there are so many examples of PJ’s off-the-wall setting style, but we pick 15a and 14d for the chuckles they delivered.

    Thank you PJ and Gazza.

  7. Entertaining crossword; something stronger than a catnap, ha, ha!

    Thanks Gazza for the blog; especially for the parsing of 26. I enjoyed the poolside and learning about Maurice Micklewhite.

  8. I agree – another wonderfully enjoyable Petitjean puzzle. I had not realized the cleverness of the staff in 6d until I turned to the blog, but I think the stronger than catnap is my vote for favourite. Many thanks to the keepers of the Petitjean legacy, and to Gazza for the review.

  9. Needed the hints to understand the wordplay for 26a but the answer was obvious from definition and checkers. Lots of fun as always from PJ and much appreciated.
    Thanks PJ and Gazza.

  10. Another very enjoyable outing with the incomparable PJ. Did have to pick the brains of a clever friend for the explanation of 26a though. I particularly liked many of the later down clues, but can’t choose a favourite. A toast to the memory of Petitjean, and many thanks to Gazza. Great illustrations. :)

  11. Answers hidden again. Seems to be working.
    Took a while to get the last two in 5d and 15a as I wrote Anaesthesist in 1a giving me a totally wrong checker. Once I unraveled the anagram, everything fell into place.
    Would never have guessed it was from PJ.
    Thanks to Gazza for the review.

      1. I see what you mean. Must be the default message. Someone will need to type in all the answers again. Oh dear! as Kath would say

          1. It seems to be OK now, but a few minutes ago, clicking on “Click here” just gave the reply “Click here”.

            Honest Guv! I haven’t been drinking that much tonight!

            1. You weren’t imagining things because I fixed it after Gazza’s comment and before yours.

              Do you see answers hidden as usual on older blogs, such as this Monday’s? (don’t use Tuesday as a test)

              1. On this Monday’s Blog from Miffypops – there are no “Click here!” thingies visible on my laptop but they are OK on my iPad.

          2. Gazza, on your machine are the answers still visible on Monday’s blog? Or do you see the usual spoiler button?

            1. I’ve just had a look. Normally when I display a blog all the ‘click here’ fields show a vertical bar at first which quickly changes to ‘click here’. On Monday’s (and last Friday’s) blogs (which are only ones I’ve looked at) it gets as far as the vertical bar but doesn’t change to ‘click here’.

      2. That happened when BD reactivated spoilers. I have now fixed it, I hope.

        [Technical details:
        Some people see ‘Click here!” under the spoilers because the spoiler code is being applied twice, once by the code we added by hand and once by the standard spoiler code. If you are in that category, like stan, spoilers might work everywhere for you.

        For others the spoiler code doesn’t work. Today’s blogs work fine but I expect that you will see answers visible on the other blogs.

        I’m changing today’s blogs so they only use the code added by hand, which should make them work for everyone. We are trying to understand why some see spoilers and some don’t.]

        1. Thurs am. Mr K, on the subject of spoiler buttons, I’ve got them on the latest puzzles but on Tuesday and any before there is just a bold grey vertical bar which does nothing when clicked on. Also, on the Rookie puzzle this week, the normal crossword grid that you click on for access has been replaced by a plain blue box. But it does work as normal when clicked on. Just letting you know for info…

          1. PS. Regarding the Rookie, I’ve just tested it using the standard internet explorer and it’s as normal on there, but access via Google Chrome still shows a blue box instead of the crossword grid.

  12. Had a go at this without consulting the hints as I expected the spoilers to be showing. I surprised myself by doing 2/3rds on my own. Thanks to Mr K for the code that allowed me to enjoy Gazza’s hints to parse the final 1/3rd. Thanks to Petitjean for the tizer memories which brought back the man with a van who delivered soft drinks to our endless football/marble/french cricket marathons of summer. Every kid in the street shared the bottle, which was fine as long as you didn’t get the last swig which was full of crisp and biscuit crumbs from earlier drinkers.
    Thanks to BD too for his sterling work keeping this place going.

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