Toughie No 2224 by Petitjean
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
It was our very own Gnomethang who originally commented “I always consider that I need to put a ‘slightly mad’ hat on in order to solve a Petitjean crossword“. This was a phrase which stuck, which appears in John Pidgeon’s Wikipedia article and which John himself enjoyed. This delightful puzzle builds on that comment.
BD (who keeps track of these things) tells us that this is Petitjean’s 100th Toughie to be published (we don’t of course know that his posthumous puzzles are being provided to us in the order that they were written) – what a tremendous achievement.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
6a/18d Rump of goat but no duck in hearty red hot meat tapas dished up for un-birthday bash (3,3,7,3,5)
THE MAD HATTER’S TEA PARTY: the ‘un-birthday bash’ really gives away the answer leaving us just to work out the fodder for the anagram (dished up) of [goa]T HEARTY RED H[o]T MEAT TAPAS.
8a Infamous atoll‘s sparse cover? (6)
BIKINI: double definition. If you’re old enough you’ll remember the English name of the atoll in the Marshall Islands where the US carried out nuclear tests post-WWII (infamous because the USA shipped out the natives, destroyed their way of life and contaminated their land).
9a Sylvester Stallone shortly to tackle Shaft? Quite! (8)
SLIGHTLY: Mr Stallone’s nickname contains what a shaft or ray consists of.
10a See 6d
11a Run through gardens in South East by river (6)
SKEWER: stick the name of the famous botanical gardens inside the abbreviation for South-East and append the abbreviation for river.
12a Stock improvement from genius involved with Eric Clapton initially (8)
EUGENICS: an anagram (involved) of GENIUS and E[ric] C[lapton].
14a Dowager Dame Myra or Deputy Führer Rudolf suppressing rage (7)
HEIRESS: the surname shared by Dame Myra, the pianist best known for her lunchtime concerts during the war, and Rudolf, the long-term resident of Spandau prison, contains a synonym of rage or anger.
16a Dried meat left in small piece not quite gone off (7)
BILTONG: put the abbreviation for left into a small piece and add an anagram (off) of GON[e].
20a Recall wife hit out against lottery (8)
WITHDRAW: string together the abbreviation for wife, an anagram (out) of HIT and another word for a lottery.
23a Delighted to have got on without introduction (6)
ELATED: start with a verb meaning ‘got on’ or ‘had a rapport with’ and drop the introductory letter.
24a Two short words promising one long commitment (1,2)
I DO: a promise made to another individual as part of a ceremony. Not very cryptic?
25a New York baseball team possibly makes alpine move? (4,4)
STEM TURN: using the second word as an instruction to be performed on the first word will give us the name of a NY baseball team.
26a Elvis, Ali asked regularly to work together (6)
LIAISE: regular letters from the first three words of the clue.
27a Leftie egghead last in line going for leader of Labour somehow soaring (5-8)
EAGLE-FLIGHTED: an anagram (somehow) of LEFTIE EGGH[e>L]AD after the last letter of line has been changed to the leading letter of Labour. Not a term I knew but it’s in Chambers.
1d One should be critical about Gogglebox participant? (8)
REVIEWER: I’ve never seen Gogglebox but it is a TV programme where a group of people watch (and comment on) other TV programmes. Join together a preposition meaning about or concerning and such a participant.
2d Bores worry about liberation South supports (8)
CALIBRES: a synonym for worry or concern contains the abbreviation for liberation (as in Women’s *** presumably). The abbreviation for South finishes it off.
3d Suppress a stench that’s spread (7)
CHASTEN: an anagram (that’s spread) of A STENCH.
4d Freelance journalist with no sign of hesitation following thread (6)
STRING: start with a word for a local journalist who may contribute stories of interest on a part-time basis (STRINGER) and remove the expression of hesitation.
5d Ha’pence for change caught out object of extravagant courtship (6)
PEAHEN: drop the crickety abbreviation for caught from HA’PEN[c]E and make an anagram (for change) of what remains.
6d See 19d
7d Would-be personality exchanged views with bishop dismissed for empty stalls (4-9)
SELF-CONFESSED: start with a word for one’s personality or nature and add a verb meaning exchanged views with the 2-letter abbreviation for a bishop replaced by the outer letters of ‘stalls’.
13d Slippery character list announced in EastEnders? (3)
EEL: how a Cockney might pronounce a verb meaning list or incline.
15d Close border? (3)
END: double definition.
17d Sounds like science of identification, reads like freshwater fish science, but is an entire way of thinking (8)
IDEOLOGY: when spoken this sounds like it relates to identification or identity, when written it looks like it might be all about a freshwater fish of the carp family.
18d See 6a
19d/6d/10a Krays perhaps surrounding rickety Elk Lake billet (misprinted, Times admitted) — nonsense from 6 Across 18 Down (7,7,6,3)
TWINKLE TWINKLE LITTLE BAT: Reggie and Ronnie Kray were both born on 24/10/1933 – what that makes each of them goes round an anagram (rickety) of ELK. Now add an anagram (misprinted) of LAKE BILLET with two instances of the abbreviation for time inserted.
21d Silver lining in showing respect (6)
HOMAGE: the chemical symbol for silver goes inside (lining) a meaning of ‘in’.
22d Painter of plump pulchritude not having finished eating English salt beef sandwich (6)
REUBEN: The Flemish painter famous for his voluptuous and well-padded nude figures loses his last letter and contains the single-letter abbreviation for English. I didn’t know the name of this hot sandwich which contains corned beef, melted cheese and sauerkraut.
As well as the two long theme-related clues I particularly enjoyed 25a, 17d and 21d. Do let us know which clue(s) had you raising your hat in 21d to the maestro.