Toughie 1155

Toughie No 1155 by Micawber

A Good Serving of Peas

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

This is turning out to be an excellent Toughie week (so far) with the excellent Petitjean yesterday and today a Micawber on top form.

Please leave a comment telling us what you thought. You can also add your assessment by selecting from one to five stars at the bottom of the post.

Across Clues

1a  Rejected sweets, under pressure (8)
{STRESSED} – reverse some sweets or puds.

5a  Meagre spread — odd bits of corn garnished with mushy peas (6)
{SCRAPE} – the odd letters of corn are contained inside an anagram (mushy) of PEAS.

9a  Extended passion bridge partner’s held from a distance (4-5)
{LONG-RANGE} – start with an adjective meaning extended and add a word meaning passion or wrath with the abbreviation for a bridge player held inside it.

11a  Install powerful leader (5)
{PUTIN} – very topical! Split (3,2) to mean install.

12a  Two peas reportedly — note where you’d see them burst out (6)
{POPPED} – what sounds like (reportedly) two peas and a musical note go inside where you’d see two identical peas.

13a  African state gets this cop’s bias exposed, serially (8)
{ETHIOPIA} – expose, by removing the outer letters, four consecutive words in the clue.

15a  Teaches throwing perhaps to geeks (13)
{TRAINSPOTTERS} – split as (6,7) this could mean teaches would-be artisans to throw things on a wheel.

18a  Sequence inevitably following flush? (5,8)
{CHAIN REACTION} – we’re in the smallest room here and it’s got a proper dangly thing rather than one of those nasty modern push-button efforts.

22a  Hang around outside toilet, turning crazy (8)
{DOOLALLY} – we haven’t moved far from the previous clue. A verb to hang around or dawdle goes round the reversal (turning) of an informal word for toilet.

23a  Tap dancing cue — enter during ‘Grease’ (6)
{FAUCET} – this is what our transatlantic cousins call a tap. Put an anagram (dancing) of CUE inside some grease or lard.

26a  Spice French novelist brought from East (5)
{SUMAC} – if you read the answer from East to West you get the surname of a French author, philosopher and Nobel Prize winner. He also played as goalkeeper for a university team in Algeria.

27a  Presumably deep enough for the Spanish carrier, and Russian, heading to port (9)
{NAVIGABLE} – a semi-all-in-one. Heading to port tells us to construct the clue from right to left. So, we need to string together ‘the’ in Spanish, a container or carrier and a common Russian male name, then reverse the lot.

28a  Something loud audibly grates (6)
{ANNOYS} – the answer sounds like something loud (1,5).

29a  Deviously lure lamb into shelter (8)
{UMBRELLA} – an anagram (deviously) of LURE LAMB.

Down Clues

1d  Sympathetic to number one spy, I felt moved (4-4)
{SELF-PITY} – an anagram (moved) of SPY I FELT. I think that you have to assume an additional word, such as ‘being’ at the start, otherwise the definition reads like an adjective rather than the required noun.

2d  Go to the top of steps in preparation for delivery (3-2)
{RUN-UP} – this is what a bowler goes through prior to delivering the ball. Change the hyphen to space and you have a phrasal verb meaning to climb steps. Thanks to Jezza.

3d  Colleague making nurse go crazy (7)
{SURGEON} – an anagram (crazy) of NURSE GO produces a colleague of the nurse.

4d  Swine leaves birds for ages (4)
{EONS} – remove the swine from homing birds.

6d  Upset, head will have a fit if this is right! (7)
{CAPSIZE} – wonderful! Split the answer (3,4) and the wordplay becomes clear.

7d  Part of mean tip, a stingy Italian diner might offer these (9)
{ANTIPASTI} – hidden (part of) in the clue.

8d  Unruly teen with aggression outwardly of one blowing top? (6)
{ETNEAN} – an anagram (unruly) of TEEN followed by the outer letters of aggression give us an adjective meaning characteristic of the usual European volcano.

10d  Heading in goal with power? (8)
{ENTITLED} – put a heading (at the top of a document, for instance) inside a goal or aim.

14d  Old correspondent exchanging last letters — attention finally undivided (4-4)
{OPEN-PLAN} – O(ld) followed by a friend (usually abroad) with whom you correspond (these days presumably via Facebook or Twitter rather than airmail) with the last two letters reversed. Finish with the final letter of (attentio)N.

16d  One broadcasting from a twelfth-century church interior (9)
{ANCHORMAN} – in the twelfth century English churches were built in the style of our recently-arrived conquerors. So we want A (from the clue) and the relevant architectural style with the abbreviation for church inside.

17d  Mum holds up one article after another repeatedly as something loathsome (8)
{ANATHEMA} – another affectionate short word for mum follows (holds up) one article after another after another.

19d  Governed during uprising, in painful chaos (7)
{ANARCHY} – reverse (during uprising) a verb meaning governed or administered and put it inside an adjective meaning painful.

20d  What Richard III wanted, perhaps  that would prevent loss of power? (7)
{CHARGER} – double definition – another word for what Shakespeare had King Dick offering half his kingdom for and what you need to keep your battery or mobile topped up.

21d  Port, old, handed round unopened (6)
{ODESSA} – O(ld) followed by the reversal (round) of a verb meaning transferred by hand without its opening letter.

24d  Labour and Conservative leaders turning up in secret council (5)
{CABAL} – the usual abbreviation for Labour followed by the leading letters of A(nd) and C(onservative) with the whole lot being turned upside down.

25d  Man United forwards resurgent after 0-5, showing a bit of life potentially (4)
{OVUM} – start with what looks like zero, then add the Roman numeral for five and the reversal (resurgent) of the leading letters (forwards) of M(an) U(nited).

It’s a real difficulty picking out a limited number of clues to mention from a host of possibilities, but I’ve decided to put 15a and 18a on the rostrum with the gold medal going to the brilliant 6d. I won’t be at all surprised if you have a different selection, but please do tell us what it is.

16 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    A superbly brilliant Toughie – definitely 3*/5* for me. Kath already knows that I had 9 favourites on first solving this, but reading through again at lunchtime, I’ve added a couple more – I won’t bore you by listing them, but Gazza’s top 3 are in there.

    Thanks to Micawber for another brilliant start to the solving morning and to Gazza for the nicely illustrated explanations.

  2. andy
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    Excellent, Putin and Odessa – very topical! Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  3. Jezza
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    As others have said, excellent, brilliant…
    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

    Re 2d, I thought the definition might be “steps in preparation for delivery”, with the phrasal verb at the beginning perhaps used as in to hoist/run up a flag?

    • gazza
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Jezza. I agree about the definition, but I’m not convinced by the flag bit.

      • Jezza
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        I’m not either! I was trying to justify the first bit :)

  4. BigBoab
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Agree with everyone else, not his most difficult toughie but absolutely excellent, many thanks to Micawber and of course to BD, more please!

  5. Pegasus
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    I always enjoy puzzles by this setter and today is no exception, favourites for me were 6d ( I knew that would be Gazza’s fav) 20d and 22a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the comments.

  6. Expat Chris
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    So much to like! Terrific puzzle and happy to say completed without hints. 6D was outstanding, but I also liked 11A,18A, 22A, and 27A. Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.

  7. Kath
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    I couldn’t resist having a go at today’s Toughie – a few went a bit wrong in the right hand side but I loved it anyway.
    As everyone has already said it’s jolly difficult to pick just a few good ones from so many – not even going to try.
    My favourite, in the end, was 17d. The Mum is clearly the Mum of teenagers so I thought the reading of the clue was brilliant and it made me laugh.
    With thanks to Micawber and gazza.

  8. Only fools
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    Top notch fun filled puzzle . 22 a brought the bigest smile but only just .
    thanks very much Micawber and of course Gazza .

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    “Oh Goody” was our comment when we saw who the setter was. We were certainly not disappointed when we sat down to solve. Great fun that all fitted together smoothly with lots of smiles and chuckles along the way.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  10. gazza
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Kcit tomorrow.

    • stanXYZ
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      How do you know who is setting tomorrow’s Toughie?

      • gazza
        Posted March 19, 2014 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        The setter’s name is put up on the Telegraph Puzzles site the evening before (sometimes as early as mid-afternnon, sometimes as late as midnight and sometimes they forget completely).

  11. Salty Dog
    Posted March 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    I think this is one of the most enjoyable crosswords l have ever attempted. A bit stiffer than 3* difficulty, but it certainly delivered 5* satisfaction. Thank you Micawber! There are some marvellous clues here and it wasn’t easy to pick a favourite, but in the end l will plump for 22a.

  12. Catnap
    Posted March 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I thought this was brilliant! I needed the answer to 12a, but managed to complete the remainder without hints. I did need explanations for my answers to 14d and 21d. Otherwise, all was well and I’m particularly pleased because I didn’t miss the double definition in 20d. Oh dear! How to choose a fave clue with so many delightful ones. I particularly liked 15a, 18a, 22a, 27a, 6d, 16d and 20d. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yahoo.gif
    Many thanks to Micawber for a super puzzle. Many thanks to Gazza for his much appreciated explanations.
    http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gifhttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_rose.gif