Toughie 1079 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1079

Toughie No 1079 by Micawber

Chuckles Galore

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

I always get a lovely warm feeling from a Micawber Toughie and today is no exception. There are lots of chuckles and nothing very obscure (although I didn’t know the word for the hummus ingredient in 6a).

If you enjoyed it (or even if you didn’t) do leave a comment and please register your enjoyment factor by using the star system below.

Across Clues

1a  Secret identity masking expression of disgust by Catholic female (10)
{CLASSIFIED} – the abbreviation of identity contains an old exclamation of disgust and all that comes after C(atholic) and a young girl.

6a  Vegetable fat turned into hummus ingredient (4)
{GRAM} – this is a word for chickpeas. To get it we have to reverse the short form of a butter-like product made from vegetable fat.

9a  ‘Must be off, bye-bye’ — first one leaves (5)
{GOTTA} – this is an informal version of a phrasal verb (3,2) meaning must. Start with an instruction to ‘be off!’ and add a childish bye-bye (2-2) without the first occurrence of the letter that can mean one.

10a  Unattractive Conservative presenting no threat (9)
{CHARMLESS} – C(onservative) and an adjective meaning unthreatening.

12a  Left or Right finding division bell’s sound hilarious (4-9)
{SIDE-SPLITTING} – string together a) what left or right is, b) a division and c) the sound of a small bell.

14a  Note: nine at variance with such? (3,2,3)
{ONE IN TEN} – this is a semi-all-in-one with the whole clue identifying that nine of the possibilities are excluded. It’s an anagram (at variance) of NOTE NINE.

15a  Keep breathing smoke? He will (6)
{DRAGON} – another semi-all-in-one. If the answer is split (4,2) it could mean to keep inhaling cancer-inducing smoke.

17a  Thought leader going to practise arms control? (6)
{PINION} – a thought or belief with the leading letter taken away.

19a  Excuses when getting one’s visa processed (8)
{EVASIONS} – an anagram (getting … processed) of ONE’S VISA.

21a  Collapse of shared fence around upland borders causing unneighbourly feeling? (13)
{SCHADENFREUDE} – an anagram (collapse) of SHARED FENCE containing the extremities (borders) of U(plan)D.

24a  Posh  old master? (3-6)
{TOP-DRAWER} – double definition, the second cryptic.

25a  It’s boring being cornered by rotten nuisance (5)
{ENNUI} – hidden (being cornered by) in the clue.

26a  Unusual to see texting abbreviation followed by its translation (4)
{RARE} – an abbreviation used in texting (1) followed by how a civilised person would write it.

27a  China tea’s brewed? About time then! (2,4,4)
{IN THAT CASE} – an anagram (brewed) of CHINA TEA’S containing T(ime).

Down Clues

1d  Start of crossword takes a long time in 3D grid (4)
{CAGE} – this is a structure of crossing bars or wires in three dimensions. C(rossword) is followed by a long time.

2d  Shake up tie with star performer (7)
{ARTISTE} – an anagram (shake up) of TIE and STAR.

3d  Get off your backside, perhaps?  That could help pay the bills (8,5)
{STANDING ORDER} – double definition. The first, cryptically, could be an instruction to get up.

4d  Fool, oddly obstinate and single-minded (8)
{FOCUSSED} – the odd letters of fool followed by an adjective meaning obstinate or stubborn.

5d  Trouble tracking letter? Try this instead (5)
{EMAIL} – a verb to trouble follows the way you’d spell one of the letters of the alphabet.

7d  Staggering fish caught by group (7)
{REELING} – a thin fish is contained in a group or band.

8d  Cruelly toying with miss — he doesn’t like her (10)
{MISOGYNIST} – an anagram (cruelly) of TOYING and MISS.

11d  One coming to class late unfortunately met us and truanted (6,7)
{MATURE STUDENT} – an anagram (unfortunately) of MET US and TRUANTED.

13d  I make type of mixture with gold, incorporating iodine (10)
{COMPOSITOR} – what I make is a page for printing. Start with a mixture that you might produce, or use, in your garden and add the heraldic tincture of gold. Finally insert the chemical symbol of iodine.

16d  Scots tut, volume 26 turning up inside vault (8)
{OVERARCH} – a Scottish interjection expressing regret or impatience with, inside it, V(olume) and the reversal (turning up) of 26a.

18d  I wouldn’t fancy this Japanese drama, musical one with no acting (2-5)
{NO-HOPER} – ‘this’ is possibly a racehorse that I wouldn’t fancy backing. A traditional Japanese drama is followed by a musical drama without A(cting).

20d  Continent regularly touches another to the north rather than south (7)
{OCEANIA} – the even (regularly) letters of touches followed by a continent with its S(outh) replaced by N(orth).

22d  18’s situation, recently arrived? (2-3)
{NO-WIN} – re-split as (3,2) to get recently arrived (at a bookshop, perhaps).

23d  In place of  depravity,  get a grip (4)
{VICE} – triple definition. The first is a preposition, from Latin, meaning in place of or as a substitute for. The third is the verb rather than the noun.

As usual with Micawber there are far too many top clues to list them all, so I’ll reduce my list to just three: 9a, 15a and 3d. I’ll leave you to suggest all the others.

18 comments on “Toughie 1079

  1. Great fun from Micawber, very enjoyable indeed, my thanks to him and to Gazza for the impeccable review.

  2. Splendid – the crossword and the review both – far too many favourites to begin to list – perfect example of why a toughie doesn’t have to be impossible to solve to be brilliantly enjoyable.

  3. Great setter, good puzzle with lots of entertainment, favourites were 3d 4d and 26a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  4. I guess all those people who don’t like anagrams would not have thought much of this – but I loved it. Particularly enjoyed 17a, 3d and 8d. Less impressed with “to the north” etc to indicate a substitution in 20d but nobody’s perfect.

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the usual excellent explanations.

  5. Did most of this grid but did not know that 6a was a word for chickpeas so that and 7d remained undone

  6. I almost did it but came a bit unstuck with a few in the bottom left corner, not helped by being completely unable to get 13d.
    I enjoyed this one very much and thought there were some really good clues. I did know the chickpea word as we use gram flour in something – can’t remember what though!
    I liked 14 and 17a and 3 and 8d. My favourite was 26a – I absolutely hate ‘text speak’.
    With thanks to Micawber and gazza.

    1. Hi Kath, I always write texts in plain English. So I have no idea what the hint for 26a is about. Could you explain please.

      1. Don’t think that I can add much to Gazza’s explanation above. “R” is the text abbreviation for “ARE”. Put them together for the answer. Cheers.

  7. Gazza we liked your description of a ‘warm feeling’ from Micawber puzzles. That is exactly our reaction too. Last in was 6a which took a little researching in spite of the fact that we regularly make hummus as our favourite nibbles dip. All good fun.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  8. Thanks to Micawber & to Gazza for the review and hints. A super puzzle from Micawber, a lot made me smile. I only needed 6 hints to finish, but I think I would have been a bit closer if I had had more time. I had to dash off to play squash, and not knowing the answers was bugging me, so I resorted to the hints. Very happy with what I did solve though. A lot of favourite clues, but I thought the best was 21a. Was 3*/4* for me.

  9. Outstanding puzzle ,6a last in by quite a marg in .
    Still smiling about the simplest 15a .
    Thanks once again Gazza and Micawber .

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