Toughie 204

Toughie No 204 by Micawber

Experientia does it

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

I always look forward to a new puzzle from Mr Micawber, and this one certainly didn’t let me down.  I would usually complain when there are a number of clues of similar construct, but I would cheerfully accept a whole puzzle full of Micawber’s charades.

[Experientia does it is Mrs Micawber’s misquote of Experientia docet – One learns by experience – in Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield.]

Across
1a Check on audition and two exams (7,4)
{HEARING TEST} – not a homophone for check, as I at first thought, but a check on one’s HEARING which is constructed from two types of exam

7a Stupid, but not sick, politician found with prostitute is characteristic of malaise (7)
{SYMPTOM} – a charade of SY (silly, but not ill / stupid, but not sick) MP (politician) and TOM (one of many slang terms for a prostitute) gives a characteristic of malaise

8a EU institution’s subject of conversation in tube, perhaps? (7)
{ECTOPIC} – this charade combines EC (European Commission) and a subject of conversation to get an very undesirable and dangerous type of pregnancy

10a The cow has cheek — blooming thing (5)
{OXLIP} – staying with the charades – OX and LIP give a flower

11a Two princes’ mistake, in past, might end up in jam? (9)
{RASPBERRY} – combine RAS (an Ethiopian Prince) and P(rince) with ERR (mistake) inside BY (past) to get my favourite jam

12a It could be turned into toad with essential elements of spell (7)
{TADPOLE} – this embryonic toad is an anagram (turned into) of TOAD and (S)PEL(L) (essential elements of spell) – a distinct all-in-one flavour for this allusion to Macbeth


14a Are you soundly sleeping? Most obstinate (7)
{DOUREST} – start with “do you rest” (are you sleeping) and replace you with U (soundly); then put it all together to get a synonym for most obstinate

15a Journalist saying what’ll enable cuts to be implemented (7)
{HACKSAW} – synonyms for journalist and a saying give an instrument for cutting

18a In customary manner, old flame displaces you and me with no hanky-panky (7)
{ASEXUAL} – start with “as usual” and replace us (you and me) with EX (old flame) and there’s no hanky-panky here!

20a Siren’s degenerate depravity at work (2,7)
{IN SERVICE} – combine an anagram (degenerate) of SIREN and VICE (depravity)

21a Tip of Union Jack seen in a British area of African capital (5)
{ABUJA} – put U J (tip of Union Jack) inside A B(ritish) A(rea) for the city that replaced Lagos as the capital of Nigeria

22a You can have a riot with this — rip… ripping time! (4,3)
{TEAR GAS} – combine TEAR (rip) and GAS (ripping time, as in it’s a gas) and you get something that can be used to stop a riot

23a Result of boring maintenance instruction? (3,4)
{OIL WELL} – just for a change, this is a double definition

24a Jumping in bed with a glint, one’ll get laid before the evening’s over! (6,5)
{DINING TABLE} – forget the insinuation in this clue, it’s an anagram (jumping) of IN BED and A GLINT

Down
1d Sound of mosquito, having leaked vital fluid, brought down (7)
{HUMBLED} – on with the charades! – HUM (sound of mosquito) and BLED (having leaked vital fluid)

2d Make a song and dance of getting tea in right place? (3,2)
{ACT UP} – just pour T into A CUP!

3d Great to swap knight for rook and take the plunge (7)
{IMMERSE} – start with IMMENSE (great) and replace the N with R (knight and rook in chess notation)

4d Hit on lodger over the phone (7)
{GUESSED} – sounds like (over the phone) guest

5d In the end everyone’s behind rising — true, sadly, even you! (2,2,5)
{ET TU BRUTE} – E (is this the end of the or of everyone?) is followed by BUTT (behind) reversed and then an anagram of TRUE to get this famous quote from Julius Caesar

6d Dump ash, say, in Essex town (7)
{TIPTREE} – TIP (dump) and TREE (ash) combine for my least favourite clue

7d Queen wearing mini-dress gets summary justice (5,6)
{SHORT SHRIFT} – the mind boggles at the thought of the Queen in a SHORT SHIFT

9d Shout ‘blast off’, everyone — this’ll give you a glimpse of the future! (7,4)
{CRYSTAL BALL} – sandwiched between CRY (shout) and ALL (everyone) is an anagram of BLAST

13d Hormone store gone bad (9)
{OESTROGEN} – this hormone is an anagram (bad) of STORE GONE

16d Comic character taking us in with tart, artlessly filled with this? (7)
{CUSTARD} – take CARD (comic character) and stuff it with US and T (tart, artlessly) to get this sauce – the link is a totally frivolous one to the star pupil of St Custards School

"Pythagoras puzzled by one of my theorems" --Ronald Searle's Nigel Molesworth

17d Not so fast garçon is serving (5,2)
{WAITS ON} –WAIT (not so fast) and SON (garçon) combine for a phrase meaning “is serving” – once again, ScrewedUp drops the accented character and displays garon!

18d Growth involving green shoots that rose after the budget! (7)
{ALECOST} – this plant looks like the price of beer (ale cost) went up in the budget

19d British law has no right over the French — it’s got strings attached (7)
{UKULELE} – put together UK (British) (R)ULE (law has no Right) and LE (the in French) to get this stringed instrument

21d Unplanned statement on campaign to free up commercial sector? (2,3)
{AD LIB} – a part cryptic double definition

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3 Comments

  1. nanaglugglug
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    got on famously, finished it but really didn’t like 18d – too obscure even for our version of Chambers. Really liked 23a – made us smile!

  2. Bellringer
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    4d: Very apt, as this is how I solved most of today. Thank you for the explanations

  3. Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    Surprised there are not more comments about this fine puzzle.

    Excellent work from Mr Micawber