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Toughie 2204

Toughie No 2204 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have another serving of great fun from the late Petitjean today. The extra half-star for difficulty that I’ve awarded it is due to my spending time going down a blind alley on 9/11a (well it seemed a good idea at the time!).
Thanks once more to Petitjean’s family for providing us with so many enjoyable puzzles.

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

Across Clues

1a Heartless Blue Peter clip playing on YouTube perhaps (11)
PERCEPTIBLE: an anagram (playing) of B[lu]E PETER CLIP.

9a/11a What many Ecuadorian truckers must do to annoy? (5,7)
DRIVE BANANAS: double definition, the first relating to one of Ecuador’s major exports. I spent quite a long time trying to find out if there is a South American truck called a bonker!

10a Sent back in Marxist Vietnam, second left-of-centre leader (9)
COMMANDER: string together the colour associated with a Marxist, the informal name used in the USA for Vietnam, a second or short period of time and the leftmost letter of ‘centre’. Now reverse it all.

11a See 9a

12a Ample fog to stir up total disaster (8)
MEGAFLOP: an anagram (to stir up) of AMPLE FOG.

14a Impractical person‘s to-do file (8)
IDEALIST: split the answer 4,4 to get a file of ‘possibilities’.

15a How the French describe their own intellect (4)
NOUS: double definition, the first being the word for ‘we’ in French.

17a Vegetable knife cut tell-tale rejected outside leaves (7)
LETTUCE: reverse ‘knife cut tell-tale’ and pare away the outside bits.

19a A wrong meaning (2,2)
AS IN: split the answer 1,3 to get a moral wrong.

20a They’re on track to win (8)
ATHLETES: a rather gentle cryptic definition.

21a With end of Satanism, Lucifer may become forgiving (8)
MERCIFUL: an anagram (may become) of the last letter of [Satanis]M and LUCIFER.

23a Diplomacy is about key game plan (7)
TACTICS: stick together a synonym of diplomacy and IS containing a musical key.

25a Bill that amuses by getting on court (3,6)
OLD BAILEY: the surname of a comedian called Bill follows an adjective meaning ‘getting on’.


26a Butt of cigar ekes out smokes (5)
REEKS: the tail of [ciga]R followed by an anagram (out) of EKES.

27a Love not left in grimly acted out drama (11)
TRAGICOMEDY: start with GRIMLY ACTED, replace the abbreviation for left with what looks like a score of love and make an anagram (out) of what you now have.

Down Clues

2d Writer leaves legendarily faithful wife to do a moonlight flit (5)
ELOPE: remove a writing instrument from the name of the wife of Odysseus who remained faithful to him during his prolonged absence.

3d This may have a bearing on one’s progress (7)
COMPASS: cryptic definition of an instrument used to show you the direction to travel.

4d Disadvantage in a sleep being disrupted (8)
PENALISE: an anagram (being disrupted) of IN A SLEEP. Disadvantage here is a verb.

5d Fish hook (4)
BARB: double definition, the first a small freshwater fish.

6d Online chat about ear, nose and throat, but teeth? None (8)
EDENTATE: what could be an online tête-à-tête (1-4) contains the abbreviation for our usual hospital department. I’m not really convinced that the online assignation that we need here is the same as a chat – what do you think?

7d ‘Buy any?’ posed by odd characters in Arles and, say, Venice and Whitstable festivals (9)
BIENNIALS: a homophone (posed) of ‘buy any’ followed by the odd letters of Arles. The only festival that I knew of in Whitstable is oyster-related but that happens every year so I had to use Google to discover that there’s also an arts festival there that does match the answer.

8d Spectacular opening to album in ‘Rolling Stones in LA’ (11)
SENSATIONAL: insert the opening letter of album into an anagram (rolling) of STONES IN LA.

12d Source of Old Trafford’s talent production line? (11)
MANUFACTORY: Old Trafford is of course most famous for being a test cricket ground in Manchester but it’s also the name of a nearby stadium where a local football team play. Cryptically their on-field talent might come from the answer when split 3,1,7.

13d Hypocrisy and spite I’m battling (7)
PIETISM: an anagram (battling) of SPITE I’M.

16d Flapping about like Rupert’s trousers? The opposite (9)
UNCHECKED: flapping about could mean not restrained or tied down. The answer could also be the opposite of Rupert’s trousers – see below.

17d Most guarded and, so it’s said, most like literary king (8)
LEERIEST: this sounds like a most accurate likeness of a Shakespearean king.

18d Cute revolutionary Cubist swapping sides in Cork (8)
CHERUBIC: fuse together our usual South American revolutionary and the name of a Hungarian ‘cubist’ inventor with a letter in his name being changed from the last letter of Cork to the first.

19d In biryani, mismatched items from nature providing soul food? (7)
ANIMISM: hidden word.

22d Overturn fork out where yew is called for to replace what’s left of spruce (5)
UPEND: start with a verb to fork out and change the leftmost letter of spruce for the letter that yew sounds like.

24d Tizzes over fizz (4)
SODA: reverse another word for tizzes or agitations.

My printout has lots of ticks including 9/11a, 4d, 8d and 12d but my favourite clue was 25a. Do let us know which one(s) earned your seal of approval.

29 comments on “Toughie 2204

  1. What a joy once again to be able to solve another splendid Petitjean crossword. Lots of ticks by lots of clues but 9/11 and 25a are top of the list

    Thanks to the keepers of the legacy and to Gazza

  2. Typical Petitjean – completely mad and absolutely wonderful.

    10a took a while to unravel, and the definition for 1a was totally off-the-wall.

    7d was my last one in and favourite after the penny dropped with a resounding clang. Fighting it out on my podium were 9/11a, 19a, 25a & 18d.

    Long may the supply last; it’s always a great relief not to find a note from the editor telling us we have reached the final Petitjean puzzle.

    With many thanks to the keepers of the PJ legacy and to Gazza too for the review. I agree with you about 6d, Gazza, but, being very much out of touch with social media and the like, I wondered if one can now have a chat on-line as a virtual date? Not nearly as much fun as the traditional method of dating, though.

  3. Great fun. 9/11 very funny, also liked 14a & 16d, while 17d doesn’t seem quite right but near enough I suppose.

    6d could absolutely be a prearranged chat or Skype virtual meeting, so no query with that. Not something I would ever even consider though.

    Many thanks to the keepers and to Gazza.

    • Just watched the Bill Bailey clip – what a talented and funny man he is. Thanks for that Gazza.

  4. 11a stuff from the mad hat and just as 8d as ever.
    I did have to check with Mr Google about the faithful wife and also about the timing of the 7d festivals – plus, I’m obliged to Gazza for the correct parsing of 10a.

    My top three were 14&25a plus 16d.

    Many thanks to the keepers of the mad hat and to Gazza for a great blog and the chance to enjoy 25a again – what a talented man (and such a good bird-watcher).

  5. Needed to check (quite aptly) if my reasoning behind 16d was right.
    Great crossword.
    Thanks to Petitjean and to Gazza for the review.

  6. I have been looking forward to this since he appeared on the ‘coming up’ list. Another great Petitjean.

    Because I foolishly put inbasket for 14a, I could get knickers out of my mind for a part of 7d. Just the sort of word he would inject. But sadly, knickers weren’t to be.

    I especially liked 6d, 16d and 18d, but together in top spot the brilliant 9a/11a and 25a.

    Let’s hope still more to come.

  7. Another joy. Fun and bonkers from beginning to end.

    On 12d, Gazza, both the cricket ground and the football stadium are called Old Trafford (the former since 1857, the latter since 1910). The cricket ground is now officially known as Emirates Old Trafford for sponsorship reasons.

    Many thanks to Gazza and the Petitjean treasure chest.

  8. Thanks Gazza.
    I did most of this while waiting in the cafe in Debenhams in Croydon while the Mrs went shopping.
    I failed in the NE corner mainly because I have to rely on bung-ins due to the parsing being too obscure for me in some cases, but very enjoyable nevertheless.
    Thanks to the late Petitjean too.

  9. What a really enjoyable crossword, matched only by my delight at being able to complete it. 19d was a new word for me so I had to check it, 6d is no longer a new word word as it cropped up a couple of weeks ago. Too many penny drop moments to mention. It it allowed to have all of them as favourites? Many thanks to the keepers of the PJ legacy and Gazza for hosting the blog.

  10. When we were solving there were three clues that we put aside to come back to at the end of the solve. These were 1a 12d and 7d. Slowly but surely we unpicked these with the very last one being 7d. There was some GK there that we did not know so had to work just from wordplay and then Google check. Very satisfying to find we were correct.
    We feel so privileged to have this store of excellent puzzles to solve.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  11. A most enjoyably solve, which for once, I completed in a personal record time for a PJ Toughie. On that basis I think that I’ve finally and belatedly latched onto his wavelength. Particular favourites among many were 12 & 16 down Very pleased to read that there are a few more to enjoy from the late maestro. As regards 5 down; the River Severn is well known by anglers for some superb barbel fishing, but curiously I had never previously heard them referred to as ‘barb’ before. One more for the aging memory bank.

  12. Lots of fun, reasonably difficult but not intractable. Hopefully we’ve still got lots more to come.

  13. such joy. loved 9a, 15a, 12d and many more. well, all of it.

    I was fine with e-date, but did think “in” in 10a was verbiage, and “rejected outside leaves” (17a) was a somewhat contrived reverse hidden indicator. Not sure i understood “food” in 19d. But it is uncomfortable to find niggles in a posthumous puzzle. I’m a fan, and I’m very pleased to hear there are more in the pipeline.

    A million thanks petitjean, and thank gazza as always, in particular for the parsing of 18d.

    • I parsed ‘rejected outside leaves’ as meaning ‘reversed’ (rejected) with the outside (i.e. outer letters) leaving (i.e. being dropped).

      • Agree, and on reflection it’s a fair way of getting “leaves” as in salad leaves into the surface

  14. Lighthearted and with enough of a challenge to make it a real pleasure to solve. Great that with his family’s blessing there is more of Petitjean’s legacy yet to entertain us – thank you to them for that and also thanks to Gazza for hinting.

  15. Late to the party. I took this to bed and didn’t finish it til this morning. I too was driven bonkers until I saw where my breakfast banana was from. 7d LOI as I was unaware of Whitstable’s occasion.
    Thanks to Petitjean’s guardians and Gazza for the entertaining blog.

    So is this an e date?

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