Toughie 2288 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2288

Toughie No 2288 by Petitjean

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

We have another lovely example of Petitjean’s humour today – how lucky we are that he left such a golden legacy.
For the most part I found this one reasonably straightforward but I didn’t know the silk or the fragrant resin (though both were gettable from the wordplay) and I also had to have a think about 6d – so I’ve added half a star to the difficulty rating.

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

Across Clues

1a What a lifer does as part of keep fit? (1,4,7)
A LONG STRETCH: double definition, the first an informal term for what someone imprisoned for life has to do ‘inside’.

9a Kid perhaps destined to be conventional (9)
HIDEBOUND: stick together what kid or goatskin is an example of and an adjective meaning destined or headed.

10a Me self-consciously about to get silk? (5)
MOIRÉ: a self-conscious way of saying me, as in “Pretentious? Qui, ***?” followed by a preposition meaning about or concerning.

11a Endlessly vamp chant (6)
MANTRA: in the surface vamp is a verb meaning to repeat but for the wordplay it’s another word for a woman who uses her dastardly wiles to ensnare a poor male without her final P.

12a Maria not one to put on scanty thong in the long run (8)
MARATHON: combine Maria and thong and remove the Roman one from the first and the final letter from the second.

13a Confer with writer about proofing (6)
DUBBIN: a verb to confer (a knighthood, say) and the pointy bit of a writing implement reversed.

15a Shop hand, one working on attachment thanks to farmer’s wife? (8)
RETAILER: cryptically this could be someone repairing the injuries caused by the farmer’s wife in the nursery rhyme. Only Petitjean …

18a Raucous antelopes voiced in trailer? (8)
HORSEBOX: two homophones – the first an adjective meaning raucous or husky and the second some antelopes (and the nickname of the South African rugby team).

19a Habitual pretender: old-maidish and head of school in addition (6)
POSSUM: this is a creature whose main defence when threatened is to feign death. A shortened form of an adjective meaning old-maidish or narrow-minded is followed by an addition or total containing the first letter of school.

21a Lumpy, bumpy bus route (8)
TUBEROUS: an anagram (bumpy) of BUS ROUTE.

23a ‘Be all ears‘ at 10 Down (6)
ATTEND: paste together AT, the number 10 and the abbreviation for down as used in crossword clues.

26a 0-12″ space in numerous cases (5)
OFTEN: collate the letter that resembles zero, the abbreviation for the imperial measurement that is 12 inches in length and a space in printing terminology.

27a Small core affected everyone present (3-6)
ALL-COMERS: an anagram (affected) of SMALL CORE.

28a Minute edited from chirpy daytime broadcast is source of internal discomfort (12)
HYPERACIDITY: an anagram (broadcast) of CHIRPY DAYTI[m]E without the abbreviation for minute.

Down Clues

1d A bogus journalist getting red-faced (7)
ASHAMED: string together A, an adjective meaning bogus and our usual senior journalist.

2d Heading for 50th? Leave it out, that’s ancient! (5)
OLDEN: the ‘it’ to be left out is the aforementioned heading (leading letter) and it’s to be left out of a 50th wedding anniversary.

During their 50th anniversary golf outing, the husband says, “Honey, I love you very much but I have to be honest with you. Early in our marriage I had an affair. It was strictly sexual, and it ended quickly.” 

His wife smiles and forgives him, but after a couple holes says, “Since we’re confessing old transgressions, I should tell you that before we were married… I was a man.”

The husband pauses, then becomes furious. He throws his hat to the ground, turns beet red and paces around. Finally he says, “You mean to tell me I’ve let you tee off from the women’s tee all these years for nothing!”.

3d Garbed for a change in Eastern fabric (9)
GABERDINE: an anagram (for a change) of GARBED followed by IN and E(astern).

4d Loss of old husband from depression: remains found in garden receptacle (4)
TRUG: start with another word for the sort of depression that weather forecasters witter on about and remove the abbreviations for old and husband.

5d Page bound not to be read (8)
ENDPAPER: cryptic definition of an empty page found at either end of a book.

6d Butterfly — also a sign one’s turned up in 23 Across (5)
COMMA: my initial thought was there was a mistake here and that the reference should be to 21a but on further reflection I think it’s saying that one of the punctuation marks found in 23a looks like the answer moved up and turned through 180 degrees.

7d Parsons maybe going commando for crying out loud! (8)
NICHOLAS: the forename of Mr Parsons, the radio host still broadcasting without hesitation or repetition at the ripe old age of 95, sounds (to some) as though he’s ‘going commando’.

8d Note romantic name for diamonds (6)
TENNER: an adjective meaning romantic or sentimental with the abbreviation for diamonds changed to the abbreviation for name.

14d Where a sparrow might take a duck (8)
BIRDBATH: cryptic definition of where a sparrow may take a duck or a dip.

16d Western Avenue in the news or half of Great North Road with better reason (1,8)
A FORTIORI: Western Avenue in London is part of the A40 road. A homophone (in the news) of that designation is followed by OR and half of A1 (the Great North Road).

17d Mob‘s coup plea concocted (8)
POPULACE: an anagram (concocted) of COUP PLEA.

18d Superficially tinker inside bonnet of American souped-up car (3,3)
HOT ROD: insert the outer letters of tinker into what Americans call a car bonnet.

20d Is across the Channel in nothing less than moody reserve (7)
MODESTY: put the French word for ‘is’ into the word moody without one of its zero-resembling letters.

22d With long legs raced extremely gracefully (5)
RANGY: a synonym of raced or rushed followed by the outer letters of gracefully.

24d Fragrant resin laurel emits internally (5)
ELEMI: hidden in the clue.

25d Feller occasionally a parasite (4)
FLEA: alternate letters of ‘feller’ followed by A.

The clues I liked a lot included 7d, 14d and 18d but my favourite has to be 15a. Which ones floated your boat?


19 comments on “Toughie 2288

  1. A magnificent example of a Petitjean Toughie – so many marvellous clues – I’ll agree with Gazza that 15a just has to be favourite but there are so many others that nearly made it to top spot, 7d being just one great example

    Thanks to the Keepers of the Legacy for allowing us to enjoy another Petitjean treat, and to Gazza for the blog

  2. The western half of this went in fine, but there were too many mantraps in the eastern half for me to be able to complete it.

    I felt that 16d was particularly unfair. I don’t know the phrase nor the roads in question, and I don’t suppose there can be many people in Britain who do; nevermind our worldwide readership.

    I only got 7d because I once knew his nephew, very clever musician.

    I’ll still give it ***, with thanks to all.

  3. Somewhat trickier than some of the recent examples from the PJ legacy vault; nevertheless, as enjoyable as ever – 3.5*/4.5*.
    The only way I could solve 16d was by stumbling across a list of legal terms in Latin on you know where and, even then, I could not fathom the parsing.
    Candidates for favourite – 9a, 5d, and 14d – and the winner is 14d.
    Thanks as always to the keepers of the PJ legacy and to Gazza.

  4. Typical Petitjean. Utterly magnificent and completely crazy!

    I didn’t know 10a but the wordplay led nicely to the answer and it brought back wonderful memories of Miss Piggy.

    The list of superb clues is almost endless. I’ll just mention a few: 13a, 18a, 6d, 7d, 16d & 18d, with 14d & 15a my joint favourites.

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

  5. Absolutely brilliant. From an easy entry at 1a, through to more complex structures (e.g. 16d, where through a life in the legal game I knew the answer before trying to parse, and how clever it was) and with such great humour – such as the splashing sparrows and naked TV/radio presenter. Let’s hope the PJ reserves are still plentiful. Thanks to all. ***/*****.

  6. I needed to wade through a list of Latin phrases for 16D and I agree with previous comments on this. Still, the rest was superb. Hat tips to 10A, 13A and 19A but my top pick was 15A. Thanks to Gazza for the review and to PJ for leaving us such a treasure trove.

  7. My favourite was 7d – but I must confess that it took me more than “just a minute” to solve it.

    2nd favourite – the sparrow and the duck one.

    Thanks to Gazza for explaining all the bits I didn’t understand.

  8. The slightly mad hat definitely needed for this one; PJ at his eccentric best.

    Re 16d, struggled for 10 mins with “n wave n … ” then saw “ori” at the end and a little light came on. OK, it’s London-centric but PJ often is. Clue of the day for me.

    Thanks to Gazza and the PJ archivists.

  9. I needed a dictionary to confirm a couple of my answers, but apart from those, the rest flowed very nicely.

    All finished in time for me to stroll down to watch the start of today’s stage of La Vuelta, which kicked off 10 minutes walk from our front door.

    Favourite clue – 14d.

    Thanks for the puzzle, and thanks to Gazza for the review.

  10. Finally finished this lovely puzzle by the late, great PJ – another sad loss to the crossword community as was mentioned about Tstrummer yesterday. I not only found it a tricksy little blighter but these days my concentration level is not as good as it used to be – therefore I have to keep stopping and re-starting during the solve. Mrs SL finds it all very amusing, seeing me in full flow and then nodding off with pen in hand – like a clockwork toy whose spring has run down.

    Anyway – the puzzle. It was solved in an anti-clockwork rotation, starting in the NW corner with 1a the first one in and provided many laughs along the way, conjuring up some very strange images. Like yesterday, I found too many excellent clues to try and single out one particular favourite.

    Thanks to the keepers of the PJ Toughie stash (I do hope we’re not going to run out too soon) and to Gazza for the review.

  11. Had to go out before the review came up and have spent much of the afternoon humming that nonsensical 15a nursery rhyme. Whiled away the time spent in the surgery waiting room!
    Another glorious outing for the mad hat today and I was lucky when it came to most of the potential pitfalls but couldn’t for the life of me parse 16d because I didn’t know the Western Avenue reference.

    Plenty of laughs and penny-drop moments along the way but can’t see beyond 15a for the favourite slot.
    Many thanks to PJ for being such a prolific compiler and to whoever has kept his legacy safe. Thanks also to Gazza for the enjoyable and informative review – the 2d joke would be funny if it weren’t so utterly believable!

  12. We got 16d from the definition and checkers but, not surprisingly, had no idea about the parsing until we came here.
    Lots of fun and hugely appreciated.
    Thanks Petitjean and Gazza.

  13. Three-quarters of this was a delight but the NE caused a spanner in the works and I had to rely on considerable outside help particularly with parsing. 18a was Fav when the penny dropped but there were numerous close contenders. Much appreciation of the Petitjean legacy and thanks to Gazza.

  14. A bit too tough for me. Other comments about the Western Ave cover what I would say. The fragrant resin was elusive and only solved by the when in doubt look for a lurker mantra.
    Can you still get 13a?
    3d recent repeat but petitjean has dibs on using it first.
    1a 4d 5d my podium today.
    Thanks to gazza for explaining things and here’s hoping I get a better hang of Monsieur Littlejohn before they run out for good.

  15. Marvellous!

    Favourite was 15a and didn’t know the silk (last in!) or resin.

    Thanks to Gazza and the Petitjean legacy.

  16. I got 16d from the checkers but would not have been able to parse it in a month of Sundays. It is a long time since I read ‘Catch 22’ and I didn’t watch the recent TV series but isn’t there a character in it called Lt. A. Fortiori?

    My favourite was 7d.

  17. Enjoyed this one-needed the hints for about a quarter and the answers for two;
    liked 4D “loss of old husband from depression: remains found in garden receptacle (4)”

  18. Encouraged by a recommendation in the “normal” blog, I made a rare visit to toughie land for this puzzle. After a few sittings, I didn’t quite manage to complete it unaided but very much enjoyed the challenge and the humour. 7d got the biggest chuckle but many others were entertaining.
    So thanks to Gazza for the hints and to PJ’s legacy.

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