Toughie 825 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 825

Toughie No 825 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Bufo

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

A very nice puzzle of moderate difficulty

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1a    Silly act, with that woman’s underwear in (7-5)
{FEATHER-BRAIN} A silly person = an act (exploit) + ‘that woman’s’ + an item of women’s underwear + IN

8a    Happen to recall former police company (5)
{OCCUR} ‘To happen’ is a reversal of the police force in Northern Ireland from 1922 to 2000 and the abbreviation for ‘company’

9a    Person taking more painkillers? That’s me (6,3)
{NUMBER ONE} This term meaning ‘me’ or ‘oneself’ also suggests a person taking more painkillers in that they now have less feeling

11a    Crazy Rasputin, hanging around Nicholas’s inner circle to act superior (3,2,4)
{PUT ON AIRS} An anagram (crazy) of RASPUTIN goes round O (a circular letter found in Nicholas) to give ‘to act superior’

12a    Passage from saga is learnable (5)
{AISLE} A passage is hidden in sagA IS LEarnable

13a    Don’t get me wrong number, belonging to criminal! (2,7)
{NO OFFENCE} ‘Don’t get me wrong’ = the abbreviation for ‘number’ + OF (belonging to) + a receiver of stolen goods

16a    Subject to choice? Not entirely (5)
{TOPIC} A subject = TO + choice with the last letter removed

18a    Bewildered fly-half surrounded by non-drinkers (2,3)
{AT SEA} ‘Bewildered’ = either half of a 6-letter fly inside Alcoholics Anonymous

19a    Followed twisting route north-east then south, start to finish not being in gear? (9)
{NAKEDNESS} Take ‘followed twisting route’, NE and S and then put the first letter at the end. This gives the state of not being in gear (clothes)

20a    Problem child (5)
{ISSUE} 2 meanings: problem/child

22a    Bad name, one I try to scrap (9)
{NOTORIETY} ‘Bad name’ is an anagram (scrap) of ONE I TRY TO

25a    Innovations associated with Jon Snow? (9)
{NOVELTIES} These innovations, when split (5,4), might suggest items associated with the broadcaster Jon Snow who apparently is known for his colourful neckwear

26a    One putting cross into box from left or right wing, perhaps? (5)
{VOTER} A cryptic definition of someone who exercises their democratic right

27a    Really rather twee (6-6)
{PRETTY-PRETTY} A word meaning ‘really’ is followed by the same word (this time meaning ‘rather’) to give ‘twee’


1d    Flip ace of suit out of sequence (9)
{FACETIOUS} ‘Flip’ (as an adjective) is an anagram (out of sequence) of ACE OF SUIT

2d    It’s nearly All Fool’s Day — get protective clothing (5)
{APRON} Remove the letter E from the end of All Fool’s Day to get protective clothing. (Shouldn’t it be All Fools’ Day?)

3d    Back Italy’s language (5)
{HINDI} Back + I (Italy) gives a language of India

4d    Cut wood supporting seats (4,5)
{RUMP STEAK} A cut of beef = a type of wood after seats (backsides)

5d    Played red ace with ten, and played again (2-7)
{RE-ENACTED} An anagram (played) of RED ACE TEN gives ‘played again’

6d    Presses offices of tax and statistics (5)
{IRONS} ‘Presses’ is formed by the abbreviations for the government departments responsible for collecting taxes and for the collection and publication of statistics

7d    Redress main cost with open payout (12)
{COMPENSATION} An anagram (redress) of MAIN COST OPEN = payment (for loss, injury, etc.)

10d    Fit place for people doing stretches? (8,4)
{EXERCISE YARD} This part of a prison is where those doing stretches (i.e. prison sentences) might do stretches (keep-fit manoeuvres)

14d    Bean that gives you a bit of wind (9)
{FLAGEOLET} 2 meanings: a small pale green bean/a small high-pitched flute (wind instrument)

15d    Hoist 90 ton? That’s nothing (9)
{NONENTITY} An anagram (hoist) of NINETY TON gives a nothing (a person or thing of no importance)

17d    Practice holding grudge at a point in the near future (9)
{PRESENTLY} I think this must be a clue for the American market because, as I see it, ‘practice’ needs to be a verb for it to work. ‘To practice’ goes round ‘to grudge’ to give ‘at a point in the near future’. I’m sure someone will let me know if I’ve misunderstood it.

21d    Cut, and cut hard (5)
{SEVER} ‘to cut’ = ‘hard’ with the last letter removed

23d    Non-lethal weapon was tested once more during uprising (5)
{TASER} An electroshock weapon which doesn’t kill is a reversal (uprising) of ‘was tested once more’

24d    Drive metal fastening through, but don’t bore (5)
{RIVET} 2 meanings: drive metal fastening through/not to bore (i.e. to keep someone enthralled)

I’m away again next week and so you can have another rest from me


16 comments on “Toughie 825

  1. I am in a bit of a quandary with this one. It took me the same time as a Monday Rufus (half the time of today’s Ray T) and were it on the back page I would have given it 1* for difficulty, so what am I to award it when it appears in the middle of the paper, a quarter of a star perhaps. There is also the problem that if it had been compiled by one of the other setters whose easy puzzles appear in the tough slot, I would have defintely said that it wasn’t a toughie and should never have appeared in the middle of the paper, but it is a Micawber so…??!! I am a great fan of Micawber puzzles and this one was no exception, it might have been straightforward but boy oh boy was it 4* fun.

    Thanks to Micawber and Bufo from a slightly hypocritical crypticsue.

  2. Very gentle but very entertaining, Favourites for me were 4d 13a and 25a thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for the comments.

  3. Having followed Gazza’s advice this morning and had another go at the Toughie – Bingo !

    Finished without hints and rushed to the computer to………………but then read the above comments ! Back to the drawing board !

    I thought my crossword handicap might be slashed from 24 to 18 immediately but no such luck.

    Found this very enjoyable and having put the answer in for 19a – it took me ages looking at it before the penny dropped.

    Thank you Micawber and Bufo – a first Toughie solve !

    1. Well done William. Despair not, a crossword handicap is a personal thing so you can certainly change your score without further delay.

        1. And then buy the Champagne! Well done, keep at it and keep using this site, the hints and comments are so useful. Has been to me for sure.

          1. Thanks Andy ! I’ll start saving now.

            Using the site – only started a few weeks ago – has helped me enormously.

  4. Easier than the back page but for 14d. I like the Webster definition – “a small fipple flute”, from “flabeolum”.

  5. I can only echo crypticsue’s comment at #2. This one took me 2/3 of the time of the RayT.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  6. We too knocked it off more quickly than than back pager. Lots of fun. Being new to the Toughie not familiar with Micawber but look forward to his next one. Thanks setter and Bufo

  7. 14d I had to cheat on, another for the memory bank, addled as it is. Usual **** enjoyment from Micawber, and thanks as ever to bufo

    1. Don’t think it’s really cheating but for 14d I got the answer from the ‘bean’ bit and a couple of checkers but had to visit the BRB to check the 2nd definition.

      1. Ah, then I agree, oh to have a BRB when at work ….I just couldn’t parse it, the old case of it it fits but why.

  8. Micawber is one of my favourites and I enjoyed this puzzle, as usual. Easy, yes, but that’s better than being abstruse. I did think the 25a clue about Jon Snow was too much of an “in” joke.

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