Toughie 1195

Toughie No 1195 by Micawber

Hints and Tips by Gazza

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

We have another Wednesday treat from the wonderfully inventive Micawber. I thought it was fairly gentle and my main difficulty was deciding on exactly what to underline in a couple of the clues where the wordplay morphed (did you see what I did there?) into the definition.
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 Infer island becomes a peninsula? (11)
{LINDISFARNE} – an anagram (becomes) of INFER ISLAND gives us an island in the North Sea which becomes a peninsula at low tide. Wonderful clue which had me scratching my head in deciding how much of the clue is the definition.

7a Anglo-Saxon King of England would shortly triumph (5)
{EDWIN} – in the seventh century AD this chap was King of the region that later became Northumbria. The first letter (shortly) of England and the short form of would are followed by a verb to triumph.

8a Bird a vet is ruffling preens (9)
{TITIVATES} – a small songbird followed by an anagram (ruffling) of A VET IS.

10a Away from the coast perhaps, pure virgin western part ruined (7)
{UPRIVER} – an anagram (ruined) of PURE and VIR(gin).

11a Most of 20 in trouble — one’s stoned? (7)
{AVOCADO} – all except the last letter of 20d go inside a word meaning trouble or fuss.

12a Had tendency to be advanced when in advanced surroundings (5)
{LEANT} – the abbreviation for advanced is inserted (in … surroundings) in a verb meaning advanced (money, say).

13a Breaks front locks, getting in first (9)
{INFRINGES} – locks on one’s front or forehead are preceded by IN.

16a In ferment, otherwise known as agreement for secession (9)
{BREAKAWAY} – the 3-letter abbreviation used in police records to identify a criminal or suspect’s aliases and nicknames goes inside a verb to ferment or agitate. Finish with a Scottish word of agreement.

18a Suit in sea-green (5)
{AGREE} – hidden in the clue.

19a Poetic opposite (7)
{INVERSE} – split as (2,5) for poetic.

22a Northern Ireland’s Morrison covered by artist in grunge band (7)
{NIRVANA} – start with the abbreviation for Northern Ireland then insert the forename of Mr Morrison the singer (from Northern Ireland) inside (covered by) the usual artist. I hope you’ll forgive me if I provide a number by Mr Morrison rather than the grungy ones.

23a Accompaniment to minute steak? You may find it inside pet! (9)
{MICROCHIP} – as (5,4) a cryptic accompaniment to a very small steak.

24a Dead complicated, 500 plus 6 (5)
{ADDED} – an anagram (complicated) of DEAD followed by the Roman numeral for 500. The 6 relates to the answer to 6d.

25a Club‘s sound cables connected (5,6)
{LEEDS UNITED} – this football club in Yorkshire sounds like a word for electrical cables followed by a synonym for connected (in matrimony, for example).

Down Clues

1d It’s not capital, so perhaps it won’t be heard in High Court? (5-4)
{LOWER-CASE} – double definition, the second a cryptic definition of a trial held in a subsidiary court.

2d Trade union leaders and world body heading north in Canadian territory (7)
{NUNAVUT} – string together the abbreviation for trade union, an abbreviated word meaning those at the front (leaders) and the world body based in New York and reverse the lot (heading north). This is the newest, largest and most northerly territory of Canada – it only came into existence in 1999 when it was split off from Northwest Territory.

3d Encounter in which one requires fantastic wit and nerve (9)
{INTERVIEW} – a semi-all-in-one. Start with I (one) and add an anagram (fantastic) of WIT and NERVE.

4d Sport’s governing body gets two Scots for legal opinion (5)
{FATWA} – the governing body of football in England is followed by a Scottish word meaning two.

5d Right instrument for filling top-class Italian food (7)
{RAVIOLI} – start with R(ight) then insert an old stringed instrument inside (for filling) the abbreviation for top-class.

6d Lover rejected role coming up, not lead — this, perhaps? (5)
{EXTRA} – this was another clue where I had trouble deciding what to underline. This is someone who appears in a film but doesn’t play the lead role and very rarely speaks at all. Start with a short word for a dumped partner (lover rejected) then reverse (coming up) a theatrical role without its leading letter.

7d Suppressing any reported horse tranquilliser for peace of mind (11)
{EQUILIBRIUM} – put together another word for horse without the two letters that sound like ‘any’ and the proprietary name for a tranquilliser.

9d Unionist gives information on Heath’s grasp of conflict (4,7)
{SHOP STEWARD} – a verb meaning gives information or grasses someone up is followed by the common forename of Mr Heath our old PM containing (grasp of) military conflict.

14d One found in kitchen is Spooner’s voyeuristic admirer (6,3)
{FRYING PAN} – the confusing Reverend might deliver this as prying fan.

15d Fish caught in bays (around head) (9)
{GARLANDED} – the bays here are laurels. A pike-like fish followed by a verb meaning caught and brought ashore.

17d Knock back strong drink before giving assent for public performance (7)
{KARAOKE} – reverse (knock back) an aniseed flavoured drink from the Levant (similar to ouzo and raki) and add an informal word of agreement or assent.

18d A brute crossing river keeping pace (7)
{ABREAST} – A (from the clue) and an animal containing (crossing) R(iver).

20d Community leader suffering cut of 90% gets outspoken (5)
{VOCAL} – start with an adjective meaning community or covering a small area and reduce the value of its leading letter (taking it as a Roman numeral) by 90%.

21d That lot has bottom up disposition (5)
{ETHOS} – the pronoun used for people away from the speaker (that lot) with its bottom letter promoted to first place.

I liked 13a and 23a but my co-favourites were the excellent anagrams at 1a and 3d. Let us know which ones lit your fire.

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27 Comments

  1. BigBoab
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Terrific toughie today from Micawber, not his toughest but absolutely brilliant, far too many excellent clues to pick a favourite. Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the excellent review.

  2. crypticsue
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Lovely crossword as always from Micawber. I liked 23a best. Thanks to him and Gazza.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    All present and correct without Gaza’s hints as far as the answers go, but I got some electronic help for 7D and needed the review to unravel the clues for 20D and 21D. I have also never heard of the letter D being the short form of would, or the drink in 17D. A number of very clever clues. I did like 1A and 23A, but I think 15D is my favorite today. Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      I’D be very surprised if you’ve never seen D being used for would.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        Do’h!!! Go to the bottom of the class, Chris. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_redface.gif

  4. Pegasus
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Good stuff from the maestro, favourites were 1a 15d and 23a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  5. Bluebird
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t normally have the time or the skill for the toughie, but IT’S RAINING……..

    Managed to finish, although had to look up 2D. Who knew there was a place with that name there? I thought I knew them but……..
    I also needed Gazza’s help afterwards to see how three or four of them worked. Thanks Gazza!

    How many of us here had years of 22A reverberating throughout the house over more than one offspring?? I know I did……funny, I can appreciate them now it’s not distorted through bedroom doors and, memorably for us and our neighbours, through amps and garage doorshttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_wacko.gif

    • Kath
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes – I echo your first sentence – it’s rained non-stop here since Monday and it’s not even warm. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

      • spindrift
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

        I’m building an Ark & the CH is back on. Summer starts on Saturday according to the Met Office & we’re supposed to be in for a decent weekend. I’m not getting the barbie out just yet though.

        • Kath
          Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

          Heating not on here but I do admit that we’ve lit a fire for the last couple of evenings and have every intention of doing the same tonight. Ridiculous . . .http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

          • andy
            Posted May 28, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

            Stick a jumper on as my Dad would have said ;)

  6. Kath
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Yes – a lovely crossword.
    As usual I was defeated by something – 2d – thought I must have got another answer wrong.
    I liked 1 and 25a (even though that one was football) and 7d. My favourite was 23a.
    Thanks to Micawber and gazza.

  7. neveracrossword
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I agree with the comments of CS.

  8. JonP
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Very enjoyable indeed – thanks to Micawber and Gazza for the hints (needed 9 & 15 dn). Apart from that, managed to do the rest by myself which is a first for me regarding a toughie. Will revel in the kudos of completion for today and brace myself the inevitable slapping back into place that awaits tomorrow. ***/**** for me today.

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

      Well done. There’s no looking back now.

  9. Heno
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. A brilliant puzzle, so many super clues. Most enjoyable, managed without the hints. At last, a Toughie completion :-) Favourite was 23a, was 3*/4* for me. Roll on the good weather :-(

    • gazza
      Posted May 28, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      Well done, Heno – it was only a few hours ago that you were saying that you always struggled with Toughies!

      • Heno
        Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Gazza, I normally do struggle with Toughies, perhaps today was a kind of breakthrough?

  10. crypticsue
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Shamus tomorrow.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    2d was new to us so we needed Google assistance for that one. Well up to the standard that we have come to expect from this setter. Loved it all.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  12. Salty Dog
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    This was great fun, and I’d rate it at about 3*/4*. Lots of excellent clues to choose from, but 16a was my pick. Many thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza for the review.

  13. Dutch
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Micawber, many wonderful clues, a very enjoyable and solvable puzzle (though I had to look up 2d, and I missed the nice wordplay in 20d). I liked 24a, successfully mislead by the “plus”, it took me a while to realise the def was at the end. I also liked 22a, and many thanks gazza for a tune from van instead.

  14. andy
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    2d was my “I hope so but i’m not sure moment”. Once again Micawber proves 2* can equal great fun. The anagram at 1a gets my vote for favouriite. Thanks to Gazza as always.

  15. Una
    Posted May 28, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    I was surprised to my spouses name included in the crossword and on his birthday ! Okay it’s not quite the same as having Omaha etc in the telegraph cryptic puzzles in May 1944, but still a strange coincidence.You could say macabre.I managed about 3/4 , often having the answer but not feeling sure enough to write it in. Thanks Gazza and Micawber.

  16. Only fools
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Smashing puzzle yet again from Micawber ,23a my personal favourite .
    Well done Heno always enjoyed the honesty of your comments on near misses but no more perhaps .
    Thanks Gazza and Micawber for the enjoyment .

  17. Catnap
    Posted May 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Thought this was delightful. My fave was also 23a, but I also singled out 11a, 5d, 7d and 14d for special mention.

    I managed to complete this without hints. It’s most helpful to be able to go through this review now. I didn’t get all of the definition for 1a. I missed the double definition in 1d and didn’t appreciate that 3d is a semi-all-in-one. I needed explanations, too, for the wordplay of 2d, 6d and 20d. Otherwise, my parsing was correct.

    Thanks and appreciation to Micawber for a most enjoyable puzzle, and to Gazza for the invaluable review.

  18. Molly
    Posted June 24, 2014 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Late on parade again, but what a wonderful crossword and thanks Gazza for an excellent review. This setter is always so witty! I don’t like Spoonerisms, though…..