Toughie 947 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 947

Toughie No 947 by Micawber

Being Pampered

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

Once again I have the good fortune to get a Micawber Toughie on a Wednesday. This one is as good as usual with some great clues (and one plant that I’ve never heard of).
Let us know what you thought and please rate the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

1a  Influential prisoner with no answer to reprimand (8)
{POWERFUL} – a wartime prisoner followed by an informal reprimand from which the A(nswer) has been removed.

6a  Smart society babywear (6)
{SNAPPY} – S(ociety) and absorbent babywear.

9a  Colourless character released on bail (6)
{ALBINO} – an anagram (released) of ON BAIL.

10a  Joint project to earn money and spend it? (8)
{WORKSHOP} – combine two verbs – the first to do what’s necessary to earn money and the second to dispose of it with a spot of retail therapy.

11a  American journalists at heart liking R and R in Davos? (5-3)
{APRES-SKI} – string together A(merican), a word for journalists collectively and the letters at the heart of liKIng.

12a  Quiet Conservative held in check (6)
{PLACID} – check here is a garment or fabric with a pattern of small squares. Insert C(onservative).

13a  A trained cat’s cultivated plant (12)
{TRADESCANTIA} – I resorted to an anagram solver to get this cultivation of A TRAINED CAT’S. Apparently it’s an American plant with triangular three-petalled flowers.

16a  ‘Kiss me quick’? That’s rank (7,5)
{PECKING ORDER} – superb cryptic definition. Rank here means position in a hierarchy (or a henhouse).

19a  Do a favour to returning soldier in joint without wife (6)
{OBLIGE} – put an American soldier inside a bodily joint without the W(ife) then reverse it all (returning).

21a  To kill fish, move around on surface of water (3-5)
{ICE-SKATE} – a charade of a North American slang verb to kill and a large fish of the ray family.

23a  High-pitched argument follows taking out of rubbish (8)
{FALSETTO} – an argument (3-2) follows rubbish or the rejected parts of a carcase after you’ve taken out the OF.

24a  Thief wants to get new equipment on the way back (6)
{LOOTER} – a verb meaning to install new equipment in a factory or production line has to be reversed (on the way back).

25a  Reduce status of cleric touring Middle East (6)
{DEMEAN} – a senior cleric contains (touring) the abbreviation for Middle East.

26a  Africans take legal action to contain Britain’s former settlers (8)
{SUDANESE} – a verb to instigate legal action contains the Scandinavian nationals who invaded Britain in the ninth century.

Down Clues

2d  Extra large detective turning up wearing extra large yellow floral items (6)
{OXLIPS} – an abbreviation for extra large clothing and the reversal (turning up) of an abbreviation for private investigator go inside (wearing) a third abbreviation, this being another extra large clothing size. I don’t really know which of the clothing sizes is the larger or whether they’re interchangeable.

3d  English reduced fat cream (5)
{ELITE} – E(nglish) followed by the simplified adjective that food and drink manufacturers put on some of their products to try to persuade you that consuming them won’t condemn you to wearing the clothing sizes from the previous clue.

4d  Show disapproval, suppressing distressed gasp — jellied eggs? (9)
{FROGSPAWN} – a verb to show disapproval in your facial expression contains (suppressing) an anagram (distressed) of GASP.

5d  Lecturer, nocturnal type, providing escape finally for criminal (7)
{LOWLIFE} – string together a) L(ecturer), b) a bird that hunts at night (or someone who’s more alert at night than during the day), c) a conjunction meaning providing or in the event of and d) the final letter of (escap)E.

6d  Wobbly, with more than one wine knocked back (5)
{STROP} – this is the sort of wobbly that you might throw. Reverse (knocked back) fortified wines.

7d  Eat brains fried? I’d rather not (9)
{ABSTAINER} – an anagram (fried?) of EAT BRAINS.

8d  Bar backing Scottish team losing final to Italian (8)
{PROHIBIT} – backing here is not a reversal indicator but a preposition meaning in favour of. Follow that with the shortened name of an Edinburgh-based football team without the final S (losing final) and finish with the abbreviation for Italian vermouth.

13d  Object is to adopt children (4,5)
{TAKE ISSUE} – double definition.

14d  Bovine foodstuff, formed into a mass and battered (9)
{CUDGELLED} – what cows like to chew is followed by a past participle meaning formed into a mass or solidified.

15d  For example, grade one conciseness mostly set back by prolixity (8)
{VERBIAGE} – bring together the abbreviation of for example, what looks like the abbreviation for grade one or top-class and more than half (mostly) of a synonym for conciseness. Then reverse it all (set back).

17d  0-0, two places above bottom, is worrying (7)
{OMINOUS} – what looks like a football score is actually a mathematical expression. Start with the letter that resembles zero then add what “-“ means when doing sums. Finally add the second zero-like letter, but two places up rather than at the bottom.

18d  Pressure from lover leaving note (6)
{STRESS} – a female lover without the third note of tonic sol-fa.

20d  Consumed 14 with no starter (5)
{EATEN} – a synonym for 14d without its initial B.

22d  It’s understood North Korea’s leaders may receive their currency from the South (5)
{KNOWN} – the initial letters (leaders) of North Korea have their currency inserted between them, then it’s all turned upside down (from the South, in a down clue).

Top clues for me were 6d and 17d but best of all was 16a. Which ones pleased you?

21 comments on “Toughie 947

  1. I know I am extremely repetitive every time there is a Micawber toughie but I do love them even though they aren’t tough. Smiled throughout and have remained cheerful ever since (which given the prevailing mood in the office today is somewhat of a major miracle).

    Thanks to Micawber for the superb start to Wednesday morning, to Gazza for the great review (I have the same favourites plus several others) – I am sure you will have met the plant from time to time, its just that very few people actually refer to it by that name.

  2. Great fun without too much head scratching. Thanks to Micawber for a splendid puzzle and to Gazza for an equally splendid review. (loved 16a )

  3. Smashing puzzle ,loads of smiles .
    Faves .10a,16a,21a and 4d .
    Thanks very much .

  4. No internet access at work today until about 10 minutes ago. Fortunately Gazza mentioned yesterday that is would be a Micawber toughie today, so I went out and purchased the paper (I cannot believe it is £1.20 these days!).
    An excellent puzzle, and worth every penny! Thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza for the notes.

  5. This setter never fails to deliver excellent entertainment and today is no exception, Favourites for me were 5d 16a 17d and 19a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  6. 16a – Pecking Order – my all-time favourite clue – “Kiss me, Hardy”.

    (I think it appeared in a cryptic somewhere on a date celebrating either the birth or the death of Nelson)

  7. I managed this one and really enjoyed it.
    I needed the hints to explain quite a few of my answers.
    I liked 6, 10 and 13 (better known as Wandering Jew if I’m allowed to say that in these days of PCness) and 16a and 4, 6 and 18d.
    With thanks to Micawber and gazza.

  8. An enjoyable puzzle as we have come to expect from Micawber – thanks to you. I knew the plant from years back but still needed to throw it into an anagram solver. Thanks gazza for the review.

            1. That’s it, Qix. Its the other site for peoiple who are crap at crosswords AND maths :P

  9. Really had to struggle with this one. Used yesterday’s technique and used over-night cogitation to finish the NW corner. Tradescantia was actually our first answer in (must be better known here as it is an introduced, all-pervasive, noxious weed that smothers indigenous vegetation in some areas). Oxlips was the plant that had us searching our references. A really clever puzzle that gave much enjoyment.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  10. As is ever with Micawber I stare for ages then it all falls beautifully into place, one plant was ok (the long one) but for stoopid reasons my last in was 1d, could I see the detective could I heck. Thanks to Gazza and Micawber

  11. Very enjoyable, all the more so because it wasn’t too tough. 19a was my favorite, and 14d.We have oxslips and cowslips in , garden, some but not every spring.

  12. Another very enjoyable Micawber puzzle.

    Also, the second consecutive day when excellent Toughies have featured obscure plants as their only real trouble-spots.

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