Toughie No 2308 by Petitjean
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment *****
All good things must come to an end and, very sadly, this is the last ever Petitjean Toughie, but what a magnificent series it has been – one that the Crossword Editor has been kind enough to schedule mostly on Wednesdays so that I have had the pleasure of blogging the majority of them.
There is a message in the paper as follows: “This is the 104th and final Toughie, of which 30 have been published posthumously, by John Pidgeon (Petitjean) who passed away on 19th July 2016. You can read more about John and his puzzles at telegraph.co.uk/puzzles-news”.
This is a typical Petitjean puzzle with both food and music mentioned (do the clues at 17a and 8d reflect his musical tastes?). It’s not tremendously tough but I loved it.
Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of the puzzle.
1a Portion of macaroni cheese special (5)
NICHE: we start with a lurker.
4a KFC cooking Ramadan menu? (4,4)
FAST FOOD: two definitions, the second one cryptic.
10a Triumph perhaps to have made clean getaway from here (3-4)
CAR-WASH: cryptic definition, Triumph being a vehicle marque (which hasn’t been manufactured since 1984).
11a One in the know heard how chorizo or moules Normandes may be cooked (7)
INSIDER: split 2,5 this sounds like how these two dishes (in Spain and France respectively) may be cooked.
12a Top blokes regularly blow this (4)
OBOE: I decided that this was meant as a semi-all-in-one. Use regular letters from the first two words.
13a Wind up eccentric (5)
CRANK: double definition, the first a verb for what drivers had to do in the old days to get a car started.
14a Yours truly hiding sex appeal? There’s not much to this (4)
MITE: the objective pronoun for the writer holds one of the abbreviations for sex appeal.
17a Remixed Neutrinos album impossible to get over (14)
INSURMOUNTABLE: an anagram (remixed) of NEUTRINOS ALBUM. Neutrinos are (I’ve found out) a ‘maverick’ rock band from Norfolk (which I listened to a whole five seconds of but won’t inflict on you here!).
19a The very best TV cook bar one filling cold troops on both sides (5,2,2,5)
CRÈME DE LA CRÈME: remove the Roman numeral for one from the forename of our most famous TV cook then place the abbreviation for cold and the acronym for an army corps of engineers on both sides of that.
22a/23a Difficult dilemma of lanky sisters? (4,5)
TALL ORDER: stick together a synonym for lanky and a word for a society of holy sisters.
23a See 22a
24a One may be sore seeing money transfer rejected (4)
SCAB: reverse the acronym for the UK system used to manage money transfers such as direct debits.
27a Ill-mannered, with no right to get stuck into goody-goody (7)
PIGGISH: start with an adjective meaning goody-goody or self-righteous and remove the abbreviation for right.
28a Tacks stitches (7)
ZIGZAGS: double definition, the first a verb used in sailing to mean ‘makes a series of changes of course’.
29a Praise case for odourless Botox to cleanse the system (8)
DETOXIFY: a verb to praise or worship goes around (i.e. forms the case for) the word Botox without the personal odour.
30a Old lech taking mickey initially out of smarty-pants? (5)
SATYR: remove the initial letter of mickey from S[m]ARTY and make an anagram (pants) of what you have left.
1d Cell death scenario’s not a novel (8)
NECROSIS: an anagram (novel) of SCEN[a]RIO’S without the A.
2d Questioning former Northern Irish police’s mounting debts (7)
CURIOUS: reverse the abbreviation for the former (and misnamed, because Ulster is not coterminous with Northern Ireland) police force in the province and add our usual abbreviation for debts.
3d English crazy about continental cheese (4)
EDAM: bring together an abbreviation for English and the reversal of an adjective meaning crazy.
5d Viral infection contracted during flight? (5,9)
AVIAN INFLUENZA: cryptic definition of a disease that can affect both wild and domestic birds.
6d Foul shot? Rubbish (4)
TOSH: an anagram (foul) of SHOT.
7d Elderly beak summoning the police (3,4)
OLD BILL: charade of synonyms for elderly and beak or snout.
8d Released during nadir, Genesis’s dreary tune (5)
DIRGE: our second lurker.
9d Small religious community cook 4 worker? (5-5,4)
SHORT-ORDER CHEF: string together an adjective meaning small or squat, the same religious community that we had at 23a and a professional cook.
15d Using club, say, beat tense suspect facing pressure (5)
TRUMP: weld together the abbreviation for tense, an adjective meaning suspect or strange and the abbreviation for pressure. The definition relates to card games. Petitjean died before the current US President was elected – I wonder if he would have clued this differently now?
16d Showy breed (5)
FANCY: double definition, the verb to breed relating, say, to pigeons.
18d New edition of Observer is more long-winded (8)
VERBOSER: an anagram (new edition) of OBSERVER. Not a very elegant comparative.
20d Joy’s Democrat going for Republican to fan the flames? (7)
RELIGHT: start with a noun meaning joy or elation and change the initial letter from the abbreviation of Democrat to that of Republican.
21d Soft spot without parking for transport (7)
ENCHANT: remove the abbreviation for parking from the start of a word meaning soft spot or partiality.
22d Cool ’50s character is entertaining private eye … (5)
TEPID: a fashionable young man of the 1950s contains one of the abbreviations for a private eye. I can save Google searching time by reproducing last week’s image of the young man –
25d … with the odds of jail next? Bad luck (4)
JINX: just the odd letters of two words in the clue.
26d No cap on pay for some considerable time (4)
AGES: a word for (normally weekly) pay without its first letter.
I’ll list the following clues as deserving of promotion to the podium: 4a, 10a, 13a, 22/23a, 29a, 30a, 5d and 15d. Which one(s) had you applauding?