Toughie 1227

Toughie No 1227 by Micawber

A Nappy Event

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ****

I must have been very good in a previous life because I’m being rewarded with more than my fair share of Micawber Toughies to blog. We have another excellent puzzle from him today, not too difficult but really entertaining.

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 Personal contacts  that can be useful when roaming? (6,4)
{MOBILE HOME} – this is actually a non-fixed abode but could, cryptically, be the page from which you access details of personal contacts on your 3G device. I presume that this is correct – not having a 3G or any other type of signal where I live, my contact details are still kept in a paper diary.

6a Footballer’s wife turning president’s head, producing stare (4)
{GAWP} – reverse the acronym for a footballer’s wife and add the top letter of president.

10a Run  straight (5)
{LEGIT} – double definition – as (3,2) it means to scarper, but it’s also an informal adjective meaning straight or law-abiding.

11a Cleric’s debts incurred by someone else? (9)
{VICARIOUS} – a charade of a C. of E. cleric and debts.

12a Detectives essentially don’t stick together (8)
{DISPERSE} – senior detectives in a police force followed by a phrase (3,2) meaning essentially or intrinsically.

13a Compact wooden seat covers (5)
{DENSE} – hidden.

15a Cheer double returns on program (7)
{APPLAUD} – an abbreviation for a computer program followed by the reversal (returns) of an adjective meaning double.

17a Overwhelms oil region held by players excluding West (7)
{ENGULFS} – the oil region that we call Persian but which the Arabs call Arabian goes inside all the players round a bridge table except West.

19a Popular soap cut by US legal officer — it’s violent entertainment (7)
{CORRIDA} – it’s certainly violent – whether it’s entertainment is extremely questionable. The popular abbreviation for a long-running British soap opera loses its last letter (cut) and that’s followed by a US state prosecutor.

21a One presenting large bill in place that’s corrupt (7)
{PELICAN} – a wonderful bird whose beak, according to Edward Lear, can hold more than its belly can. It’s an anagram (that’s corrupt) of IN PLACE.

22a Shopping centre backing a South American carrier (5)
{LLAMA} – reverse (backing) a shopping centre and add A.

24a London council  undecided (8)
{HAVERING} – double definition, the first a borough in East London.

27a Underworld boss caught by informer is one with wealth and power (9)
{PLUTOCRAT} – a charade of the Greek god of the underworld, C(aught) and an informer or grass.

28a I drink noisily and get subjected to glacial reaction (3,2)
{ICE UP} – this sounds (noisily) like I drink (in the North of England).

29a Couple to get loaded and pull? (4)
{YOKE} – cryptic definition of a pair of draught animals.

30a Rewrite losing some words like selfie and twerk (10)
{NEOLOGISMS} – a very relevant clue in the week that a new edition of Chambers is published. This is an anagram (rewrite) of LOSING SOME.

Down Clues

1d Plant  that produces pepper (4)
{MILL} – double definition, the second what Italian waiters like to brandish over your pizza.

2d Stars  experience rapid rise and fall here — that’s entertainment! (3,6)
{BIG DIPPER} – double definition, the first being the North American term for what we Brits call the Plough.

3d Exposed to glare, appeared happy (3,2)
{LIT UP} – and the third double definition in a row. The second definition here means became bright or happy.

4d South Coast constituency leftist was suspended (7)
{HOVERED} – a parliamentary constituency and town next door to Brighton followed by a leftist or Communist.

5d The setter admits hurt by tip of pocket knife (7)
{MACHETE} – the objective form of the pronoun by which Micawber refers to himself contains a verb to hurt or be painful and the final letter (tip) of pocket.

7d Love to adjust bearing and dress up (5)
{ADORN} – start with a verb meaning to love and shift the bearing or direction through 90 degrees anticlockwise.

8d Having power over gangs, turn informer (10)
{POSSESSING} – I initially thought that the definition here was just ‘having’ but the wordplay doesn’t work for that. It actually means having power over someone, like an evil spirit, and it’s a charade of gangs assembled to enforce the law and a verb to turn informer or grass.

9d Anti-analogue, perhaps, not wanting IT to be wasteful (8)
{PRODIGAL} – if someone is anti-analogue then according to cryptic logic they must be ***-*******. Remove (not wanting) the IT.

14d Nappy problem? It’s constantly dropping off (10)
{NARCOLEPSY} – superb cryptic definition. Nappy as in taking an excessive number of naps.

16d One drawing up list of staff protecting old African leader (8)
{ANIMATOR} – a list of staff showing who’s on duty contains (protecting) a nasty old Ugandan dictator. That all has to be reversed (up).

18d Publicans distressed since surrounded by dregs (9)
{LICENSEES} – an anagram (distressed) of SINCE is contained inside dregs of wine or other alcoholic liquor.

20d Heaters burning wood source (3,4)
{ASH TREE} – an anagram (burning) of HEATERS.

21d Rise in City of Angels, to celebrity, is important (7)
{PIVOTAL} – string together the abbreviation for the ‘City of Angels’, TO (from the clue) and the abbreviation for a celebrity then reverse (rise) the lot.

23d Wild game, ducks unlimited (5)
{AMUCK} – I’ve never come across this variant spelling but the editors of the BRB have. We have to take away (unlimited) the outer letters of two consecutive words in the clue.

25d Feeling regret, bring down government (5)
{RUING} – a verb to bring down or wreck and G(overnment).

26d Elects old parties at regular intervals (4)
{OPTS} – pick out letters from ‘old parties’ at regular intervals.

Lots of great clues (of which I’ll mention 10a, 21a and 30a) but for my money the outstanding one is 14d. Let us know which one(s) you enjoyed.

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23 Comments

  1. Salty Dog
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Yes, 2*/4* is about right. Thanks to Micawber for a very jolly puzzle, and some lovely clues (l particularly enjoyed 10a and 21a). Ta to Gazza for the review too.

  2. Pegasus
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    A very enjoyable puzzle from the maestro, favourites were 10a 14d and 23d thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Dutch
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Thank you Micawber, a lovely puzzle that kept me entertained a while. SW only fell into place after i got the magnificent 14d. I really liked 21a, took me a while to recognise this as an anagram, and I liked 23d for great surface and construction. 16d was particularly nice too. For 1d, i though a plant from which cereal flakes are made was a viable alternative, and 8d i dithered thinking the first word only sufficed as definition, a great misdirection. 4d and 24a seemed almost the same which confused me.

    Many thanks again Micawber and Gazza

  4. BigBoab
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    A gentle but highly entertaining toughie and an excellent review, loved 14d. Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza.

  5. crypticsue
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree with both Gazza’s ratings and Big Boab’s comment. 14d was my favourite too.

  6. pommers
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Very fine puzzle. Agree 14d is favourite but I also like 1d.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

    P.S. Today’s Grauniad puzzle by Qaos is well worth a look.

  7. gazza
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    MynoT tomorrow,

  8. Heno
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 7:04 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle, but quite a lot was beyond my ken. Needed 7 look ups and 5 hints to finish. Favourite was 11a, with 9d a close second. Was 4*/4* for me.

  9. wahoo
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Did most of this last night but through tiredness or ignorance got stuck on a few and needed to look at the hints this afternoon for 14d and 30a which I have never heard of; should have used the Net to work out the latter as opposed to pen and paper!. Overall though very enjoyable. Thanks Micawber.

    Gazza, can you just run the logic of 1a pass me again. What has a “home” to do with a mobile communication device?

    Loved the use of “unlimited” in 23d

    • gazza
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

      As you may have noticed in the blog I’m not totally confident of the first part of 1a (but nobody’s suggested anything better). The second definition is fairly straightforward – i.e. a mobile home is useful if you move around a lot. I think that the first bit is just saying that your personal contacts (e.g. telephone numbers) can be accessed on the ‘home’ page of your mobile phone.
      Do chip in if you have any alternative suggestions.

      • wahoo
        Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

        Do you think it could be both a double definition and almost an “all in”. If one is, say, travelling alone and wants to use one’s mobile phone to call home, I suppose that under “Contacts” (the usual place on the phone for names, as I have never seen a “Home Page” on mobiles) one might have “Me at home” – i.e. my mobile’s “home” personal contact details? Tenuous but a thought! Enough.

        • Kitty
          Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

          Nooo, I don’t think so… I agree with Gazza’s hints. But the choice of the word “roaming” is very clever, because that’s the name for the system that keeps the connection going when travelling beyond the coverage of the mobile company’s home network. (Thanks Wikipedia for wording!) Hence those “roaming charges” which can catch you out overseas.

  10. 2Kiwis
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    We found this one quite tricky and were totally defeated in the NW corner. We had MINT as the plant, the source of peppermint, but this left us with the only possible and completely unjustifiable answer for 10a as NIGHT. 24a area was new to us but we did work it out. Lots of smiles and chuckles as usual from this setter.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  11. Kath
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    I’m with the 2Kiwis – got completely stuck in top left corner. Being unable to get 1a didn’t help – no starting letters!
    I don’t think I’ve ever heard of 19a.
    I absolutely loved 14d – brilliant and it really made me laugh. I thought that 30a was pretty smart too.
    With thanks to Micawber for stretching the brain just a little bit too far and to gazza for filling in the gaps that the already stretched brain just couldn’t cope with!

    • Kath
      Posted July 23, 2014 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

      PS I’ve never heard of 23d being spelt like that but eventually had a bit of a guess and looked it up.

  12. Kitty
    Posted July 23, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    My best attempt yet at a Toughie! There were a handful in the South that I needed to get some kind of help with, but feeling pretty pleased overall. Am glad I tackled this one (inspired by Gazza’s intro). I’d like to try more Toughies (and crosswords from other papers), but there just aren’t enough hours – especially at my pace of solving! :(

    I agree that this was a lovely puzzle, with so many great clues that I really enjoyed. Thanks Micawber, and thanks Gazza :).

  13. reggie
    Posted July 24, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    This must have been a bit easier than usual as I managed well over half without help. There were some really enjoyable clues but I didn’t like either 23dor 29a. I don’t think I would ever have solved alone. With 29a I still don’t really understand the answer. I get the couple but cant see how the rest of the clue fits in

    • gazza
      Posted July 24, 2014 at 8:26 am | Permalink

      For 29a the surface is inviting you to think of a pair of individuals who get drunk (loaded) and acquire sexual partners (pull). Actually it’s a pair of draught animals (typically oxen) who are given a load to pull. Yoke here is a noun rather than a verb.
      I thought 23d was rather good.

      • reggie
        Posted July 24, 2014 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Thanks for that -I see how it works now. 29d is just a word I hadn’t recognised as an alternative spelling of a word usually linked to run a…

  14. Micawber
    Posted July 28, 2014 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, coming to this a bit late, but I felt I should explain 1ac, as it doesn’t quite seem to have made the desired connection. My thinking was that HOME and MOBILE are the two main categories of personal contact number.

    • gazza
      Posted July 28, 2014 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for clarifying that, Micawber, – I don’t think I’d have ever made that connection. Thanks too for the entertaining puzzle.

    • Kitty
      Posted July 28, 2014 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

      Ohh, of course!. Thank you so much for taking the time to explain, Micawber. It really is much appreciated :).

  15. Molly
    Posted August 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    a month behind as usual…..thanks gazza for an excellent review, I needed a couple of hints this time. And thanks to Micawber for a superb crossword and some good laughs along the way.