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Toughie 811

Toughie No 811 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

The setter of this puzzle was originally announced on Telegraph Puzzles as Notabilis, but there was no doubt that it was actually by Micawber, just as it said in the newspaper (the website has now been corrected). A very enjoyable puzzle with several of those “penny-drop” moments.

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1a    Organ for which I’ll pay and get ultimately some hard puzzles? (5,9)
For which I’ll pay and get ultimately some hard puzzles? (5,9) (Newspaper version)
{DAILY TELEGRAPH} – organ here refers to a publication, no prizes for guessing which one [if your doing this puzzle in the newspaper then you will be holding it right now], and it is derived from an anagram (puzzles) of I’LL PAY, GET, the final letter (ultimately) of somE and HARD

9a    Right smoky atmosphere obstructs view over shelters (7)
{REFUGES} – start with R(ight) and then put a smoky atmosphere inside (obstructs) a verb meaning to view reversed (over) to get these shelters or sanctuaries

10a    Tower Colliery painting exhibition opening put back (7)
{MINARET}- to get this tower on a mosque start with what could be a painting in a colliery (4,3) then the E (Exhibition opening) is put back a couple of positions

11a    Vote for first person in audition (3)
{AYE} – this word used to indicate a vote in favour of a motion sounds like (in audition) the first person subjective pronoun

12a    Well advanced, one’s old — not primarily a candidate for ‘salad days’? (6,5)
{SPRING ONION} – a charade of a well, a two-letter adverb meaning in an advanced state, I (one), O(ld) and the initial letter (primarily) of Not gives not a person who is a candidate for their ‘salad days’ but a vegetable that is used in salads – these days the food police insist that we use salad for the first word in the answer or alternatively scallion

14a    Expression of sympathy after openly gay lecturer gets ban (6)
{OUTLAW} – put a two-letter expression of sympathy after word meaning openly gay and L(ecturer) to get a verb meaning to ban

15a    Slowly fade one recording on disc that’s very loud (5,3)
{TAPER OFF} – this phrasal verb meaning to slowly fade is derived from someone recording (but not on disc!) followed by the letter shaped like a disc and the musical notation for very loud

17a    Sketched broad principles of devolution, revised after losing 50 per cent of vote (8)
{OUTLINED} – a verb meaning sketched the broad principles of comes from an anagram (revised) of DE(VO)LUTION after removing VO (losing 50 per cent of VOte)

19a    Turn partners back to front at beginning of line (6)
{SWIVEL} – this verb meaning to turn is derived from marriage partners with their final letter moved to the beginning (back to front) followed by the initial letter (beginning) of Line

22a    Shoe wheeled out takes after popular range (2-4,5)
{IN-LINE SKATE} – to get this wheeled shoe put an anagram (out) of TAKES after an adjective meaning popular and a range of goods

23a    Cons of ‘Go West, Young Man’? (3)
{NOS} – these cons or negatives are derived by reversing (go West in an across clue) a young man

24a    Right to have one in case of awful pains? (7)
{ASPIRIN} – put R(ight) and I (one) inside (in case of) an anagram (awful) of PAINS to get something one might take to alleviate awful pains

26a    Who’s the winner when Cambridge University current second team takes on Oxford’s first? (3,4)
{CUI BONO} – a Latin phrase meaning who’s the winner is derived from the two-letter abbreviation of Cambridge University, the symbol for electric current, the letter usually associated with the second team, ON and the initial letter (first) of Oxford

27a    Disallow winning shot that might give one counter-advantage? (10,4)
{BARGAINING CHIP} – a charade of verbs meaning to disallow and winning and a golf shot gives this advantage possessed by one party which can be used to extract a concession in negotiations


1d           I got collar made out of skin (14)
{DERMATOLOGICAL} – an anagram (out) of I GOT COLLAR MADE gives an adjective meaning of the skin

2d           Change ending in film, oddly, with treatment from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (7)
{INFLECT} – a word meaning to change or vary the ending of a word comes from IN, the odd letters of FiLm and the therapy that was used as a treatment in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’

3d           Old European chap turning up with big John and his Scottish cousin? (11)
{YUGOSLAVIAN} – this person from a former republic that fell apart in the years following the death of Tito is derived from a chap (3) reversed, a big size in clothing, an abbreviated word for a john or toilet and a Scottish forename

4d           Make no mistake, France’s in on European summit (6)
{ENSURE} – a verb meaning to make no mistake is derived from the French words for “in” and “on” followed by the initial letter (summit) of European

5d           Swiss produce them, half going ‘cuckoo’ (8)
{EMMENTAL} – to get this hard Swiss cheese start with the second half of thEM and add an adjective meaning going cuckoo or mad

6d           Manage succession (3)
{RUN} – a double definition – to manage or a sequence of events

7d           One supporting left — Communists’ fifth columns (7)
{PORTICO} – put I (one) under (supporting in a down clue) the nautical term for left then add one fifth of COmmunists to get this range of columns along the front or side of a building

8d           Taking decisive action, make reparations to court about upland parking (2,3,4,5)
{AT ONE FELL SWOOP} – this phrase meaning taking decisive action is derived by putting verbs meaning make reparations and court a young lady around (about) an area of upland then finally add P(arking)

13d        Report says abandoning the breast in too many cases is excessive (11)
{OVERWEENING} – what sounds like (report) abandoning breast feeding qualified by a word meaning in too many cases gives an adjective meaning excessive

16d        Northern city, they say (8)
{HELSINKI} – it took a while for the penny to drop that this city was not in the UK but a country further north – split as (4,4) it sounds like (they say) the underworld’s very dark

18d        Fish it up with a pail? Tricky (7)
{TILAPIA} – I’d never heard of this African freshwater fish, but the wordplay combined with the checking letters makes it easy to work out that IT is reversed (up in a down clue) and followed by an anagram (tricky) of A PAIL

20d        Artist from Glasgow area bringing up the rear should take tips from Gainsborough (3,4)
{VAN GOGH} – to get this Dutch artist start with an area of Glasgow, bring the second part (rear) to the front (up in a down clue – it’s ironical that the second part actually means the front) and then adding the outside letters (tips) of GainsborougH

21d        Exercises involving 50 and 60 per cent of Asian opponents (3,3)
{TAI CHI} – to get these exercises take 50% of an offshore island in south east Asia and 60% of the mainland country that lays claim to the island

25d        Outfit to fix e.g. election (3)
{RIG} – a double definition – an outfit and to fix an election or similar process

If this is the Tuesday Toughie it augurs well for the rest of the week!

13 comments on “Toughie 811

  1. A different clue, yet again, in the paper! Why no “Organ” in the organ? Simply:-

    1a – For which I’ll pay and get ultimately some hard puzzles? (5,9)

    1. Possibly because the clue in the paper does not work if you are solving on-line and have not paid for the paper

  2. Starting with 1d/1a, I had the top diagonal filled in, with nothing below it. The rest fell into place slowly but surely.
    Very, very enjoyable. Many thanks to Micawber, and to BD for the notes.

    I’ve just finished Paul in the Guardian, on the recommendation of Gazza and CS, and that was good fun too.

  3. Pleasant surprise for a Tuesday, I always enjoy this setter and today was no exception, favourites were 2d 8d 12a and 24a thanks to Micawber and to Big Dave for the comments.

  4. Many thanks to Micawber for a very enjoyable and yet reasonably straightforward toughie, and to BD for the comments.

  5. Superb as ever, thank you Micawber. Might only have been 2* Toughie difficulty but definitely 5* fun.

  6. Thanks for the blog, BD, and all your comments. Re 1ac, the web version was my original +lit clue, the definition ‘organ’ being added in consultation with my esteemed ed. I think either version works OK for online solvers, as I never actually said : “what you are holding in your hands” or anything.

  7. What a fabulous tuesday offering from Micawber, loved it, 2/3 star, but 5 star enjoyment. Some of the clues / answers still have me giggling, Hope CSue feels better soon. Thanks BD and Micawber. ps 3 * because i went into la la land as tried to put tapes off , the so being “that’s”, I stared and stared, back to the dunce corner……

    1. and yes I know it was a dumb answer, hence the staring at the newspaper, that can’t be right. that can’t be right

  8. I thoroughly enjoyed the crossword however my hard copy Telegraph has For which I’ll pay and get ultimately some hard puzzles? (5,9) I found it hard to start but once it opened up difficulty 3* Enjoyment 5* Many thanks to Micawber

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