Toughie 1243

Toughie No 1243 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Micawber is once more in cracking form – great stuff from the maestro.

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 Thrashing killer whale almost does for range rover? (10)
HILLWALKER – an anagram (thrashing) of KILLER WHAL(e).

6a Couple with little one delay getting married (4)
ITEM – start with a small child (often preceded by ‘poor little …’) but delay putting in the M(arried) until you reach the end.

10a Foreign money  upsets  county (5)
BUCKS – triple definition – the first an informal term for dollars and the third the abbreviated name of a county in central England.

11a Indeed it’s true — daughter retired, turning in some hours ago (9)
YESTERDAY – we want a word of agreement (indeed) and another word meaning much the same (it’s true) with between them the reversal (turning in) of D(aughter) and the abbreviation of retired.

12a How goods may be taken back, blouse oddly lacking colour (4,4)
NAVY BLUE – reverse (back) how goods may be transported on the road (2,3) and add the even letters (oddly lacking) of blouse.

13a Cause of stoppage in food processing sector (5)
COLON – double definition – what causes a short pause when reading a sentence, say, and part of the digestive system.

15a Wake up kids for dinner? (4-3)
STIR-FRY – charade of a verb to wake up or rouse oneself and a word for youngsters (often preceded by ‘small’).

17a Call on Miss Woodhouse to get rid of a problem (7)
DILEMMA – a verb to call by phone without the A (to get rid of a) followed by the only one of Jane Austen’s heroines to have her name in the book title.

19a Little woman keeping home gets big let-off (7)
AMNESTY – one of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women contains (keeping) a comfortable home.

21a Let rip on accelerator — that’ll clear the road! (4,3)
TEAR GAS – a verb meaning to go quickly (let rip) followed by a mainly North American term for what you step on in order to accelerate.

22a Have fun in bar after retirement (5)
REVEL – reverse (after retirement) a bar or rod.

24a Scented an instant reaction from Italian team? (8)
AROMATIC – split the answer (1,4,3) and it could be an involuntary reaction by a football team from the Italian capital.

27a They are in case of nasty sting with tail (9)
LITIGANTS – an anagram (nasty) of STING and TAIL.

28a Church’s representative entering cloth (5)
CREPE – put the abbreviation for a sales representative inside one of the abbreviations for church.

29a Screech owl’s repeated call (4)
ECHO – the ‘S here stands for ‘has’ so we want a word that the clue has or contains.

30a One using time during break returned to do exams again after having raved excessively (10)
ADVERTISER – this is someone who pays heavily to use the time during the breaks in TV programmes (the bits that we all fast-forward through if possible). Reverse (returned) a verb to take exams once more after an anagram (excessively) of RAVED.

Down Clues

1d That one’s local shrub (4)
HEBE – this, apparently, is an evergreen flowering shrub found in the southern hemisphere. If you split the answer (2,2) it’s how ‘that person is’ may be rendered in local dialect, especially in parts of the West Country.

2d Failed to include Chinese, perhaps, in report of milk production (9)
LACTATION – this sounds like (in report of) ‘was short of [a] person from the East’ (6,5).

3d West’s game fine (5)
WISPY – W(est) followed by a children’s game (1-3).

4d Kings and queens changing sides at first don’t show it (7)
LOYALTY – semi-all-in-one. Start with what kings and queens are and change the initial letter from one side to the other.

5d Wapping boss maybe to ‘urry in ‘ere? (4,3)
EAST END – Wapping is the new Fleet Street so a boss there might be a newspaper boss. Insert (in) a verb to hurry, dropping its initial letter as the people living in that area of London are prone to do.

7d Note pulse rising and falling? (5)
TIDAL – a charade of a musical note from tonic sol-fa and a Hindi word for a pulse such as lentil.

8d You can get chips with this Asian money when converted (10)
MAYONNAISE – an anagram (when converted) of ASIAN MONEY.

9d Paul came out to make a confession (3,5)
MEA CULPA – an anagram (out) of PAUL CAME.

14d Heads for extreme sports gym, clutching a training shoe (10)
ESPADRILLE – the first letters (heads) of Extreme Sports are followed by the abbreviation for gymnastics containing A and a word for physical training.

16d Blend beer, mostly, in main part of crate (8)
FUSELAGE – crate here is an informal word for an old aeroplane. Start with a verb to blend or combine and add a type of gassy beer without its last letter.

18d Sucker getting directions just before end, being close (9)
MUGGINESS – I initially thought that the sucker was the first three letters but the rest of the wordplay didn’t work so a rethink was needed. The sucker is actually a 7-letter word and before the last letter (just before end) we have to insert two compass directions.

20d Did long November come early within accounting period? (7)
YEARNED – start with an adjectival phrase relating to an accounting period (‘We expect to break even by **** *** 2015’) and move the letter that November is used for in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet up a bit (come early).

21d Blasts heads of Internet Explorer for juvenile digital item (7)
TOOTSIE – blasts (on one’s horn) followed by the first letters (heads, again) of Internet Explorer.

23d Plant to check and check (5)
VETCH – a verb to check or screen followed by the chess abbreviation for check.

25d Perhaps one from Ayr racecourse (5)
ASCOT – as (1,4) this could be a person from Ayr.

26d Lech Walesa governed without majorities on left and right (4)
LEER – this was my last answer. Lech here is a verb to lust or look lasciviously. The answer comes from the central letters (without majorities on left and right) of two words in the clue.
leer

As is usual with Micawber I had a problem limiting the number of my favourites. I’ll go with 6a, 8d and 26d but I could have cited half-a-dozen more. Let us know which one(s) you liked.

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24 Comments

  1. BigBoab
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Terrific toughie from the best compiler of toughies, not as difficult as some but truly brilliant and highly enjoyable, many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for a superb review.

  2. stanXYZ
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    I was hoping that gazza would have given it more than 3* marks for difficulty … but, alas, no.

    Took me an age to get started … and even longer to NOT finish (I had no idea at all about the “Lech Walesa” one).

    Thanks to Micawber and “dziękuję” to gazza for explaining 26d.

  3. the dodger
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    As is usual for a Micawber toughie so many wonderful clues,great fun, and many thanks to Gazza for the explanation to 6ac and the confirmations of a few others. Lovely stuff.

  4. crypticsue
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Lovely stuff – thank you Micawber and Gazza.

  5. Expat Chris
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    I came to grief in the NW corner, with 1D, 10A (well, it’s not foreign to me!), 12A and 3D unsolved. And 26D was a mystery, too. I really liked 13A, 15A and 21D. A fine puzzle altogether. Thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza for the review and help.

    PS: Do people over there really put mayo on chips? Ugh!

    • gazza
      Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      Mayonnaise on chips is not so popular in the UK but in Belgium (which is the chip capital of the world) it’s pretty much the standard dressing. There are kiosks everywhere selling frites in stiff paper cones (really delicious) and most people seem to ask for mayo with them.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, Gazza! Ketchup is the norm here, though malt vinegar is sometimes available if we’re lucky. I may give mayo a whirl on one chip….just to say I’ve tried it.

        • spindrift
          Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Try your chips (best triple cooked) dipped in Mayo with mussels in garlic sauce. Ambrosia!

    • stanXYZ
      Posted August 20, 2014 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      I think that they dip their chips into the mayo! N’est-ce pas? Unless they’re Walloons?

  6. Pegasus
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

    Another excellent offering from the maestro, favourites were 1d 15a and 26d thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the comments.

  7. crypticsue
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Giovanni tomorrow

  8. JB
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Guessed at 7d -I thought it was “dahl”? and. like the others, didn’t think of “lech” as a verb. With Mr Walesa’s history I think it’s a bit disrespectful!

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    We started making a list of those clues that had given us most trouble and noticed that pesky 4 letter answers made up the majority. With 1d we got the answer quickly as it is very common here but still struggled with the parsing. Last in was 26d but we did eventually pick the misdirection and worked out the correct answer. For 6a we had parsed that as being alternate letters of LITTLE, clued by ‘one delay’ and then M for married. It worked for us and gave the right answer, but not as good as Gazza’s explanation. Not a quick solve for us but really good fun.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  10. F1lbertfox
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    What a strange crossword puzzle – to me at least it was. The top half was completed mostly by guessing some the answers without totally understanding why they should be so, then cross checking them with Gazza’s hints and tips for an explanation, but the bottom half, with two or three exceptions were mostly write- ins. I couldn’t for the life of me get 26d, without peeping at the answer and that became my last one in. 4d led me astray for a while in the beginning, as I made the obvious mistake and for 30a I needed a big hint. Very pleased to have completed a Micawber Toughie, but I can’t pretend it was the most satisfying puzzle I’ve ever completed.

  11. halcyon
    Posted August 20, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    Quality gear as usual, except for the dodgy homophone at 2d. Favourites were 12a, 5d, 21d and the very cunning 26d.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  12. Una
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    A tough toughie , in my opinion.I needed several hints and 30a plus 26d fully exposed. Still, it was fun ! Thanks Gazza and Micawber.http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_smile.gif

  13. Only fools
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Smashing puzzle ,stand out favourite 26d .Stangely I will return to Belgium next Wednesday and one of my first visits will to be to one of the “frietkots” where the standard dip is 8d but there are up to 50 alternatives available .The secret I am told is the potato “bintje ” but only twice cooked – Spindrift
    Cheers Gaza I was too thick for 6a .

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted August 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Could hardly make a dent in this last night, but managed it (xmt 12a and 26d) today. Definitely 4* territory for me, and 2d was my favourite. Thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza for those last two hints!

  15. reggie
    Posted August 22, 2014 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Having got a few clues very quickly I thought this might be quite easy. How wrong I was. I came to a complete standstill and needed too much help to finish. For me this would be a 5*. Had I been able to complete a 5* for enjoyment as well but as it was only 2*

  16. BillyBusker
    Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Only finished this yesterday so this comment a tad late. I got the answer for 5dn but couldn’t justify the part of the wordplay which when ‘aste’ (haste) is subtracted from East End leaves ‘end’ for Wapping (ex-Fleet Street) (ergo newspaper) boss. Still don’t get it after having read Gazza’s hints and tips. PLEASE HELP!

    • Expat Chris
      Posted August 27, 2014 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Try ‘asten’ for hurry instead of ‘aste,’

  17. Molly
    Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Only four weeks behind…..but I know someone will see this, thanks to Micawber for a wonderful funny puzzle and Gazza for a brilliant review. This made my day!

    • gazza
      Posted September 21, 2014 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, Molly. You may like to know that there’s an equally good Micawber puzzle (Toughie 1256) that’s more recent.

  18. Marky
    Posted October 24, 2014 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    2 months behind . Did it all but 26 D , makes no sense , and lech is not used by anyone I know !!! and 1 d never heard off and I dont accept solutions that are obscure in cryptic puzzles. They are for the GK crossies !