Toughie 712

Toughie No 712 by Micawber

Just what the doctor ordered

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A puzzle by Micawber is the very thing to cheer me up on a freezing winter’s morning. This is not one of his more difficult ones but is excellent entertainment.
Let us know your opinion and please take the time to register your enjoyment factor by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Form of transport that might contain eight kings and queen (6-6)
{DOUBLE-DECKER} – there are four kings in a single pack of playing cards, so what would you need to get eight? Add our current Queen to make a form of transport.

8a  Note I put on page in book (it’s one I mentioned before) (2,3)
{OP CIT} – this is a latin abbreviation used in books to refer the reader to another work of which the title has been quoted previously. A musical note and I follow P(age) and all that goes inside the older part of the Bible. A nice semi-all-in-one.

9a  Master said test’s wrong, inaccurately expressed (9)
{MISSTATED} – M(aster) is followed by an anagram (wrong) of SAID TEST.

11a  Retired player, after run, pulling muscle (9)
{RETRACTOR} – this is a muscle used for pulling in (as opposed to one used for extending). Start with an abbreviation for retired and add a player or performer after R(un).

12a  Islands in France, to the east of river in Angers (5)
{RILES} – the definition here is the falsely-capitalised Angers. Put the French word for islands after (to the east of, in an across clue) R(iver).

13a  Seafood in market — get last of coley, not bothering about the rest? (9)
{SELFISHLY} – insert food from the sea inside a verb meaning to market, then finally add the last letter of (cole)Y.

16a  A Northern European recoiling in dismay (5)
{APPAL} – a verb meaning to dismay (much used by the Prince of Wales) comes from A followed by a Northern European reversed (recoiling).

18a  Have wrong to confess (3,2)
{OWN UP} – a phrasal verb meaning to confess is a charade of a verb to have and a synonym for wrong (as in the query “What’s wrong?”).

19a  Comeback for urban Los Angeles music wrecked (9)
{PARALYTIC} – wrecked here means hopelessly drunk and we want another informal adjective that means the same. String together a synonym for urban, the abbreviation for Los Angeles and a form of music involving words being recited rapidly and rhythmically, then reverse the lot (comeback).

20a  Degree’s the thing to do (5)
{DITTO} – D(egree) is followed by a pronoun used for something inanimate (the thing) and TO (in the clue) to get a word for which “do” is used as an abbreviation.

22a  Way to solve problem of capped right molar decaying (9)
{ALGORITHM} – an anagram (decaying) of RIGHT MOLA(r) which has been truncated (capped).

25a  Doesn’t make much of blue stage shows (9)
{DOWNPLAYS} – another word for blue or depressed is followed by theatrical works (stage shows).

26a  Exhausted former PM changing sides (5)
{BLOWN} – our last PM (before Dave) has R(ight) changed to L(eft) to make an adjective meaning exhausted or out of breath.

27a  Is stuffing added to mashed up soldiers? (6,6)
{GROUND FORCES} – soldiers are examples of these land-based troops. A verb meaning stuffs (a turkey, perhaps) follows a synonym for mashed up.

Down Clues

1d  Clubs in dead heat struggling halfway through Olympic city’s event (9)
{DECATHLON} – this is a men-only athletic event that normally takes two days to complete. Insert C(lubs) inside D(ead) and an anagram (struggling) of HEAT, then finish with the first half of this year’s Olympic city.

2d  Extremist sect rejecting Catholic god (5)
{ULTRA} – remove (rejecting) the leading C(atholic) from a sect or religious group and add the sun god of the ancient Egyptians to form an adjective meaning extremist.

3d  Pale one’s outwardly glowing (5)
{LIMIT} – this is a noun meaning pale or extent (as in the phrase “beyond the pale”). Put a contracted form of how a non-royal would say “one is” inside a synonym for glowing or burning.

4d  Killer quadruped taking control of southern city in ancient times (9)
{DESTROYER} – the definition here is killer. Put a four-legged animal round (taking control of) S(outhern) and an ancient city which played a major part in Homeric legend.

5d  Provide sound barrier for hideous noise (9)
{CATERWAUL} – a charade of a verb to provide and a homophone (sound) of a barrier or partition produces a shrill howling or wailing noise.

6d  Speak highly of former charge for the most part (5)
{EXTOL} – bring together a prefix meaning former and a charge (for crossing a bridge, perhaps) without its final L (for the most part).

7d  Suited, scruffy person put tie on to go out (12)
{CORRESPONDED} – this is the past tense of a verb to suit or match. An anagram (scruffy) of PERSON is contained (to go out) in the past tense of a verb meaning to bind (put tie on).

10d  Shifting mountains I had seen rising, to fuse together (12)
{DISPLACEMENT} – the definition is shifting. Reverse (seen rising) a European range of mountains and the contracted form of “I had”, then follow this with a verb meaning to fuse or bond together.

14d  Spontaneous spirit put out about rule by order (9)
{IMPROMPTU} – start with a small mischievous spirit and add an anagram (out) of PUT, then between the two (about) insert R(ule) and a decoration (order) in the gift of the sovereign.

15d  A pub with a quiz ending with difficult round (random) (9)
{HAPHAZARD} – an adjective meaning random comes from A, the abbreviation for a pub, another A and the ending of (qui)Z with a synonym for difficult placed round them.

17d  King Edward, perhaps non-smoker, but consuming one, or more than one drink (9)
{POTATIONS} – to get multiple drinks bring together what King Edward is an example of (perhaps) and the abbreviation for non-smoker and insert (consuming) I (one).

21d  Keep time or we’ll intervene (5)
{TOWER} – T(ime) followed by OR with WE inside.

23d  Zest of bergamot… sugar… coming up (5)
{GUSTO} – a word meaning zest or enthusiasm is hidden (of) and reversed (coming up) in the clue.

24d  Damage half of cerebellum with old instrument (5)
{REBEC} – an anagram (damage) of the first half of cerebellum gives us a medieval musical instrument with three strings shaped like a mandolin.

The clues I enjoyed most were 11a, 13a, 20a and 3d. How about you?


  1. Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff and very enjoyable.

    Couldn’t see where the second part of 18a was cming from so thanks for that Gazza. Too many good clues to pick a favourite but 20a is worth a mention.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  2. Jezza
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    As Pommers says, too many clues to pick a favourite. Thanks to Micawber – great fun! Thanks also to Gazza for the review.

  3. andynew2
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to you Gazza and to Micawber for an entertaining Toughie. I don’t very often attack the Toughie but being home from work today thought I’d give it a try. Pleasantly surprised to finish it, Particularly liked 1a but I am easily pleased


  4. SpikeyMikey
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    Just not my day for crosswords today!! struggled with the cryptic and struggled with the Toughie – Thank you Gazza for the useful hints and tips – they very much helped me out today.

  5. crypticsue
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    The only thing that got me out from under the cosy duvet this morning, into the SIberian wind and then onto the icy roads, was the thought that once I had my trusty paper, I would have the great pleasure of a Micawber Toughie to solve. Thanks to Micawber for the tremendously entertaining crossword and to lucky Gazza for the excellent review. Too many good clues to pick favourites.

  6. pegasus
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    Very entertaining fare today favourites being 1a 14d 15d and 27a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for a sterling review.

  7. gazza
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Giovanni tomorrow (and Elgar on Friday)!

    • Jezza
      Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

      Myops must have gone off on holiday for the winter!

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

        The last few Myops puzzles:

        24 Feb 09 100
        24 Jul 09 187
        09 Sep 09 213
        02 Oct 09 227
        18 Dec 09 271
        20 Jan 10 288
        26 Feb 10 310
        26 Mar 10 326
        25 Jun 10 378
        27 Aug 10 414
        29 Oct 10 450
        04 Mar 11 522
        01 Apr 11 538
        10 Jun 11 578
        09 Sep 11 630
        04 Nov 11 662

        • Jezza
          Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

          I’m surprised – I thought he was around a bit more than that. A shame, because as I’ve said on more than one occasion, I think he sets a good Toughie.

      • Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        BTW he is in the Glasgow Herald every Monday (along with Qix)

        • Jezza
          Posted February 1, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes – you did let me have one a while back (The wee stinker). I prefer his Toughies, which are a little more ‘meatier’.

    • crypticsue
      Posted February 1, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

      I checked very carefully for a glint in Elgar’s eye on Saturday when I mentioned this week’s Toughie but no sign of one. Not letting that lull me into a sense of false security ….. we’ll just have to wait and see :)

  8. Heno
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Micawber & Gazza for the review & hints. A nice puzzle, but totally beyond me. I found this much more difficult than yesterday’s Toughie. Got about half way before resorting to the hints. I knew I was struggling when there were 8 answers that I couldn’t even get with the hints.

  9. Posted February 1, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    A really fun puzzle from Micawber to day – I got briefly stuck with about 6 to go but they fell in nicely in the end. Many favourites but 20a was lovely, misleading and concise. THanks to gazza for the hints!

  10. BigBoab
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Got to this late after teething troubles with my new Internet provider, veery enjoyable and entertaining toughie from Micawber and an excellent review from Gazza.

  11. Posted February 1, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    After a hard day at the orifice I finally got to this a bit late. “Brain Fade” perhaps, but it was more 3 than 2 star for me – I found some of the clues just a bit too contrived. I’m sure a glass or 2 will lubricate matters, however, and great thanks are due to Mr M and Gazza.

  12. jaehancock
    Posted February 1, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Lovely puzzle. I didn’t think I’d finish it when first I looked at it, but finally managed it and then did a little dance around my kitchen when Gazza confirmed that I’d answered correctly. Harder for me than 2**, but I’m just happy to have solved it. Thank you to Micawber for setting it and to Gazza for explaining the answers I wasn’t entirely sure about. Favourite clue was definitely 1a when I eventually rumbled it.