Toughie 2160 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2160

Toughie No 2160 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We are privileged to have another superb puzzle from the late Petitjean. Thanks once more to his family for allowing us to enjoy the large body of work that he left behind.
I had problems with the SW corner because the original 22a (since replaced online) led me to a homophone of a mole – as a result 17d became impossible and I had to check 22a online to work out what was going on.
Those who enjoy anagrams will think that today’s their birthday!

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

Across Clues

7a What Battersea resident may be doing in London suburb … (7)
BARKING: Battersea is famous for its power station and, of more relevance here, its Dogs and Cats Home.

8a … what impatient motorist may be doing in London suburb (7)
TOOTING: the impatient motorist may be noisily venting his (or her) frustration.

10a Err at sea in the wake of vaunted roving explorer (10)
ADVENTURER: an anagram (at sea) of ERR follows another anagram (roving) of VAUNTED.

11a Plump jay regularly overlooked creepy-crawly (4)
PUPA: regular letters are omitted from the first two words.

12a Endorse alternating current — and direct, strangely (8)
ACCREDIT: the abbreviation for alternating current precedes an anagram (strangely) of DIRECT.

14a Independent princess coy about stupidity (6)
IDIOCY: string together an abbreviation for independent, the “People’s Princess” and an anagram (about) of COY.

15a Cook oyster in veg — it rules! (11)
SOVEREIGNTY: an anagram (cook) of OYSTER IN VEG.

19a Scrap subtle plays — bravo going for back of stalls (6)
TUSSLE: start with ‘subtle’ and replace the letter that bravo stands for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet with the last letter of stalls. Now make an anagram (plays) of what you’ve got.

20a Get a role cast for bosom buddy (5,3)
ALTER EGO: for our fifth anagram in a row we need to cast GET A ROLE.

22a Rumoured spy, or mole (4) (Original, incorrect, clue: Rumoured mole, or spy (4))
PIER: this clue was incorrect in the paper and early on online. In fact the homophone (rumoured) relates to the verb to spy not to the mole. This mole is a solid structure on the seashore.

23a Rails crossing river where pike may count in competition (10)
TRAMPOLINE: the rails used by electrically-powered public transport vehicles contain the name of an Italian river that’s very popular in Crosswordland. Pike here is a jackknife.

25a Yak perhaps with Jack Black about diminutive Hawaiian guitar player once (7)
JUKEBOX: what a yak is a type of follows the abbreviations for Jack (in card games) and black which contain the short form of a small guitar of Hawaiian origin.

26a ‘Soppy Chops’ gets half of kisses planted by Henry (7)
MAWKISH: weld together a word for an animal’s chops or jaws, half of the word kisses and the abbreviation used for henry (the SI unit of inductance).

Down Clues

1d Fish caught on land? (7)
HADDOCK: charade of ‘caught’ (by a confidence trickster perhaps) and a verb to land or moor.

2d Island or Blue Note (4)
SKYE: a clear blue colour and a musical note.

3d One loosely untied (6)
UNITED: an anagram (loosely) of UNTIED.

4d Concerning what dog’s doing with bone? (8)
WORRYING: a dog will tear at a bone with its teeth.

5d Nameless cryptic setter’s spin is relative (10)
STEPSISTER: an anagram (cryptic) of SETTER’S SPI[n] without the abbreviation for name.

6d Test 11 protecting soft core (7)
INSPECT: what 11a is contains the musical abbreviation for soft.

9d Afraid delinquent wants answer to waste (7,4)
FRITTER AWAY: a dialect word (4) for afraid (famously used by Mrs Thatcher of Denis Healey) is followed by another word for a delinquent or hooligan without the single-letter abbreviation for answer.

13d Record noise — not I fancy an obstacle in church (4,6)
ROOD SCREEN: an anagram (fancy) of RECORD NO[i]SE without the I.

16d In small part what Americans did in 1980 (8)
ELECTRON: split the answer 5,3 to get what Americans did in 1980 (and again in 1984).

17d Inquisitive writer quits destitute for Conservative (7)
CURIOUS: replace the writing implement in an adjective meaning destitute or poverty-stricken with the single-letter abbreviation for Conservative.

18d Worry intensely? Not very with gas oven set over one (7)
AGONISE: an anagram (set) of GAS O[v]EN (without the abbreviation for very) containing the Roman numeral for one. I’m not keen on over being used as a containment indicator in a down clue.

21d Theatrical performance in that Astaire musical (3,3)
TOP HAT: insert an abbreviated procedure in a hospital theatre into ‘that’.

24d Superior maybe that’s 
red in excess? (4)
LAKE: double  triple definition (thanks Rabbit Dave), Superior being one of five great ones in North America. The third definition describes something available in excess such as a European Wine ****.

I have ticks all over the place including 7a, 1d, 9d, 16d and 21d. My favourite clue was 23a. Do let us know which one(s) gave you pleasure.

22 comments on “Toughie 2160

  1. I too marked lots of clues I really liked – it might be easier to say which ones didn’t merit ‘stardom’ – I think I’ll go for 25a

    Thanks to the keepers of the legacy – a Petitjean crossword is always the highlight of my solving month – and to Gazza

  2. What an inspired start 7a & 8a made to this marvellous puzzle from the late, great Petitjean. In addition to those two 4d & 16d made it onto my podium although most of the other clues came into serious consideration.

    There are two clues that don’t seem quite right to me:
    – Surely 22a should be “Rumoured spy, or mole” as the synonym for “spy” is the homophone and “mole” is the definition.
    – In 25a I can’t see any indication that the yak needs to be placed after the rest of the answer.

    But when a crossword is this much fun, does it really matter?

    Many thanks to Gazza and to the keepers of the PJ legacy.

    1. 25a the ‘with’ is the culprit, Rabbit Dave. The last two letters go ‘with’ the first five, I think.

  3. Loved it. I had a great start on the across clues and it all went in with plenty of smiles. Ta to all

  4. For me, this was a bit of a 19a, especially in the SE, and needed some electronic assistance for completion – ***/****.

    Thanks for the explanation of the error in 22a – it certainly left me with a furrowed brow.

    16d definitely an oldie but goodie.

    Favourite(s) has to be the 7a/8a combination.

    Thanks to the PJ estate and to Gazza.

  5. Didn’t have any trouble with 22a – just chose the spelling which fitted the clever 17d.

    Far and away, my favourite is 16d

    Now to tackle the back page. These days it seems harder. I tried a book of 10 year old DT Cryptics while on holiday recently. I’ll swear they were a lot easier.

  6. ♫♪♪ Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner ♫♪♪ … 7a and 8a provided a wonderful start to a wonderful puzzle.


  7. Excellent. 17d stumped me for some time, not finding the answer, but working it out. D’oh!

    Lots to like, so I’ll just say great puzzle and thanks to whoever makes this possible and to Gazza.

  8. I didn’t so much as think today was my birthday as decide I could gift myself use of an anagram solver. Bit of a mistake perhaps as it proved the gateway drug to using a few more e’s. (Electrons, that is: e’s, not E’s!)

    Apart from 22a problems, all delightfully fun. I don’t personally mind over as used in 18d, but wonder which editors would allow it and which wouldn’t. Maybe one day I’ll manage to get my paws on some of the rulebooks …

    Oh, one more problem: the brb tells me that 24d is a reddish pigment, but I don’t understand the excess. Probably being dozy.

    Beaming thanks heavenward and Devonward.

    1. Hi Kitty. 24d worried me too until I realised it was actually a triple definition – see BRB definition 2.

      1. Ok, on the third visit to the brb I found the excess that had been under my nose the whole time. Not an excess of observation skills, that’s clear. Thanks RD.

      2. Thanks RD. That passed me by – I just thought that ‘in excess’ meant very bright. I’ll update the blog.

      3. I don’t think it was actually meant as a triple definition, to me the question mark indicates that we take the whole of the second half of the clue as meaning when something red (ie wine) is in excess it could be called a lake.

  9. Glad that it was not just us having problems with 22a and 17d.
    Great fun all the way through and much appreciated.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  10. Fairly whizzed through this one until I hit a brick wall with 25&26a plus 24d. Those three took longer than the rest of the puzzle put together.
    So many to choose from for the favourite spot but I think 21d just beat the others.

    Many thanks to the keepers of the legacy and to Gazza for the blog. Glad you sorted out 22a for us – I had a question mark alongside it having solved in the dead tree version.

  11. 25 across is my favourite, with 16 down running it close – another superb offering from the late lamented PJ.

  12. Loved the top half 7a and 8a great. Bottom half was a bit tougher 17d 26a and 22a causing most probs. 9d was bunged in and I had to stand back a bit to see the parsing.
    Thanks to Gazza and Petitjean’s guardians.

  13. One of those puzzles where you’re quick to start and then spend ages picking off lone clues around the grid. In particular 23ac and 25ac caused me some difficulty, perhaps because I couldn’t spot the definition in either, even if at the close the checking letters left little doubt. Enjoyable as ever.

  14. Underneath the Thursday Toughie it says

    Apologies for the misfiring 22ac in yesterday’s Toughie. THe clue should have read: 22 Rumoured spy, or mole?

  15. No time to even start this yesterday, but because it is a Petitjean I kept it for today: and glad I did!

    Lots of fun, especially (for me) 23a, 25a, 9d and 16d.

    Thanks to Gazza and the Petitjean estate.

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