Toughie 1011

Toughie No 1011 by Micawber

A Wicked Wednesday

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

Glorious weather here in Devon, the first day of an Ashes series on the box and a Micawber puzzle to blog – could life get any better? This one wasn’t that difficult but is chock-full of his usual witty clues. Do let us know how you got on.

Please give your assessment of the puzzle by clicking on one of the stars below.

Across Clues

7a  Convinced now? (3,4)
{WON OVER} – this is what you might call a reverse reversal, where the reversal indicator is in the answer rather than in the clue.

8a  Double agent left CIA in turmoil (7)
{REPLICA} – a sales agent is followed by L(eft) and an anagram (in turmoil) of CIA.

10a  Big guns ditching organisation’s leader — possibly worse coming in (9)
{ARTILLERY} – drop the leading letter from a political organisation and inside it put a comparative which could (possibly) mean worse or more sick.

11a  Time to take hot drink and retire? (5)
{NIGHT} – a very good all-in-one clue. String together T(ime), H(ot) and an alcoholic drink then reverse (retire) the lot.

12a  Cut and dried item (5)
{PRUNE} – double definition.

13a  Cooked breaded turkey — after being hollowed out it’s stuffed (5,4)
{TEDDY BEAR} – an anagram (cooked) of BREADED and T(urke)Y after it’s been hollowed out.

15a  Sign of an unsuccessful solver? (2,5)
{NO ENTRY} – a road sign which could also be evidence of an unsolved clue.

17a  Central section with organs where guitarist stops suddenly? (7)
{MIDRIFF} – as (3-4) this could be the point at which a guitarist suddenly stops playing.

18a  An Irishman (I forget how this ends), a Scotsman and an ancient Roman … (9)
{PATRICIAN} – join together the traditional Crosswordland names for an Irishman and a Scotsman but forget to include the former’s last letter.

20a  Navigation aid for a sailor heading west (5)
{ATLAS} – A followed by the reversal (heading west) of an informal word for a sailor.

21a  Underwear is worn out, by the sound of it (5)
{PANTS} – what an exhausted black Labrador does in the current hot spell.

23a  Messy pigs at the western  food? (9)
{SPAGHETTI} – an anagram (messy) of PIGS AT THE produces both a type of western film and food.

24a  Right lead for Iolanthe found in subsequent recall for second audition (7)
{RETRIAL} – insert R(ight) and the leading letter of I(olanthe) in the reversal (recall) of a synonym for subsequent.

25a  Middle Eastern deserter’s confession repeated? Resistance abandoned the second time (7)
{IRANIAN} – how a deserter might confess (1,3) is repeated but the R(esistance) is dropped from the second instance.

Down Clues

1d  This month charge includes sum initially deducted for agency (10)
{INSTRUMENT} – start with an abbreviation used in business letters to mean the current month and add a hire charge. Finally insert (s)UM without its initial letter.

2d  Attractively slim Americans separately leaving bar after hours (6)
{SVELTE} – put together a preposition meaning bar or except for and an adverb meaning after hours or past the usual finishing time. Now remove the single-character abbreviation for American from each part.

3d  ‘Number unknown’ appears after man enters web address in a hurry (8)
{URGENTLY} – insert a posh word for a man into the abbreviation for the address of a site on the worldwide web and finish with one of the letters used in algebra for an unknown number.

4d  Musician Charles, between the sheets, made an ass of himself? (6)
{BRAYED} – the forename of the blind singer, Mr Charles, is cryptically placed ‘between the sheets’.

5d  Amazed in love, intense suppressed desire mounting (4-4)
{OPEN-EYED} – the letter resembling love or zero is followed by an adjective meaning intense or profound containing (suppressed) a desire, with the last seven letters all being reversed (mounting).

6d  Wound round by Wossy? (4)
{WING} – how the TV entertainer with the slight speech impediment might pronounce something round or circular.

7d  Women discussing part of press coverage for the present (8,5)
{WRAPPING PAPER} – string together W(omen), a present participle meaning discussing or chatting informally and something produced by the press or print media.

9d  Kind of like someone in a designer shop? (5,1,7)
{AFTER A FASHION} – cryptically what a customer in a designer shop may be.

14d  Greedy-guts having full monty in up-and-coming place could be a barrier to culinary inspiration! (10)
{EPIGLOTTIS} – a metaphor for a greedy person and a word meaning everything (the full monty) go inside the reversal (up-and-coming) of a place to make the flap in your throat that stops food going down the wrong way.

16d  Ducks put leg below bottoms and dive (8)
{TAILSPIN} – types of duck with pointed bits at the back have their syllables swapped so that the word meaning leg follows (below) their bottoms.

17d  Official  language (8)
{MANDARIN} – double definition, the first a high-ranking official like Sir Humphrey.

19d  Wild sunlit flame (6)
{INSULT} – an anagram (wild) of SUNLIT produces the sort of flame that is an abusive email or online posting.

20d  Religious retreat has troublesome gatecrasher (6)
{ASHRAM} – an anagram (troublesome) of HAS followed by something that may be used to crash through a gate or door.

22d  A, B, C, D, F or G (4)
{NOTE} – the one missing may be expressed as (3,1).

As usual with Micawber there are too many great clues to list them all so I’ll limit myself to 7a, 11a, 21a and 16d. Which ones would you include in your list?


15 Comments

  1. Jezza
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    A marvelous puzzle with oodles of entertainment. Not too tricky, but a few required some contemplation.
    Last one in was 16d; I had the definition, worked out the bottoms and leg bits, but couldn’t fathom how ducks fitted in.
    3*/5* for me. Many thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    :) :) :) :) :)

  3. BigBoab
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable and entertaining toughie ( if not exactly tough), my thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the usual superb review.

  4. Expat Chris
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    Finished without hints, although I did have electronic help for 14D prior to the blog coming up. Defintely needed explanations for several, though. 6D threw me for a loop. Wossy? What’s a wossy? Google again and sorted. Darn these Brit-media-centric clues! I was sure of 11A but had no idea why. Lovely stuff altogether, with 7A the runaway favorite. Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the explanations.

    • spindrift
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      “Wossy” is the soubriquet of Jonathan Ross who has an inability to roll (or woll) his tongue to form the letter “R”. He was a chat show host & and BBC Radio 2 DJ before his fall from grace following “Sachsgate”.

  5. halcyon
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

    With one exception an excellent puzzle. Lots of clever clues [11a, 2d, 4d] and the superbly disguised 7d]. But 10a is a real disappointment from Micawber. How can “ditching organisation’s leader” indicate an organisation without its leader?

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  6. the dodger
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Bliss, so many wonderfully constructed clues,they read so perfectly, they tickle and tease, and though not the toughest – surely one of the finest.
    In case you hadn’t noticed I loved this.
    Many thanks to Gazza for the enlightenment regarding ducks in 16 down- I took it as a term of endearment to the solver and it worked for me!
    Bravo Micawber.

  7. Pegasus
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Superbly entertaining puzzle a joy to solve, favourites for me were 7a 8a 17a and 21a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the splendid review.

  8. Only fools
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Solving was great fun but I was bamboozled for a while with post solve parsing of 10a,16d and even dare I admit it 6d.
    Great stuff which started the day well ,the subsequent round of golf was another matter
    Joint favourites7a and 7d .
    Thanks very much to Gazza and Micawber .

  9. Andy
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Damn! One wrong answer! Missed substituting the ‘W’ for the ‘R’ in Ring (6 D). Wotten luck, as Wossy might say!

    • gazza
      Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

      You’ve changed your handle again so your comment needed moderation. Your new one could get confused with our other Andy so it might be better if you retained your Andy G alias.

  10. Vigo
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    Great fun, lots of enjoyable clues. Managed to finish faster than the back page puzzle – less distractions. Slightly held up with 3d due to misspelling 10a but otherwise plain sailing.

  11. neveracrossword
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    It’s still glorious weather here in Devon. A reasonably softie toughie, which suits me.

  12. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    Just like Expat Chris, 6d was a complete mystery to us until we investigoogled. We also took a bit of time to find where the ducks fitted in with 16d. The clue seemed to work perfectly well with them sitting on the bank, but we did chuckle when we got them into the action. Had a tentative look at Hibernian for 19a too, until it didn’t work. A lot of very enjoyable fun.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  13. andy
    Posted July 10, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    “Our other Andy “here, 5 star entertainment but slightly more than 2* for me coz as Jezza says I couldn’t parse 16D until could get near to tinterweb / dictionary to be sure. Cracking puzzle . Cheers Micawber and Gazza