Toughie 1256 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1256

Toughie No 1256 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Big Dave

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

What bad luck for Bufo – he has a week off and misses this superb puzzle from Micawber. The difficulty level crept into 4-star territory because I always include the time spent unravelling the wordplay.

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1a    Boat‘s condition for sailing west of islands (8)
TRIMARAN: to get this boat with three hulls, the “condition for sailing” is to the west (left in an across clue) of a group of islands off the west coast of Ireland

5a    Radical element attached to plant reported in Middle Eastern city (6)
BEIRUT: This Middle Eastern city sounds like a plant (3) and a radical which is attached to it (4) – difficult to explain, but bay root to see how it breaks down

9a    Encroached after media boss takes centre stage, obstructing (8)
IMPEDING: started with a word meaning encroached and then move the final two letters, the ones that represent a media boss, to the middle of the rest of the word (centre stage)

10a    Evergreen children’s TV character, not favourite to achieve stability (4,2)
FIRM UP: an evergreen tree is followed by a children’s TV character from which PET has been dropped (no favourite)

12a    Reconstruct ace London architectural feature (9)
COLONNADE: an anagram (reconstruct) of ACE LONDON

13a    Beats half-hearted film festival (5)
CANES: drop one of the repeated letters from the middle (half-hearted) of a famous film festival

14a    Posh people not doing time for murders (4)
OFFS: start with some posh people and drop (not doing) the initial T(ime) to get a verb meaning murders

16a    One giving advice on race row, putting in a quiet word (7)
TIPSTER: star with a row and then insert a three-letter interjection meaning quiet

19a    Burning to provoke mostly instinctive reaction (7)
CAUSTIC: most of a verb meaning to provoke or make happen followed by an instinctive reaction

21a    Ply  trade no more (4)
FOLD: two definitions – a ply or pleat and a verb meaning to stop trading as a result of becoming insolvent

24a    Miscreant‘s regret about failure of defence (5)
ROGUE: a verb meaning to regret around the abbreviation for a failure of the defence in a football match that resulted in the a team scoring against themselves

25a    Surrealist’s blade wielded around, causing damage (9)
VANDALISE: the surname of a famous Spanish surrealist painter and the S from ‘S inside (wielded around) the blade of, for example, a windmill

27a    Decorated as home-made eggs? (6)
INLAID: split as (2-4), this could define home-made eggs

28a    Wisdom reversing sections of urban myth? (8)
SAGACITY: start with two words that could represent an urban myth (4,4) and then swap those words (reversing sections)

29a    Modern kind of travellers refuse to reverse initial direction (3-3)
NEW AGE: start with a six-letter word for refuse or effluent and then reverse the compass direction represent by the initial letter

30a    Leading jockey did so and got across (8)
BESTRODE: split as (4,4) this could describe what the leading jockey did


1d    Scary old woman after tea rumoured to look through bins? (6)
TWITCH: a scary old woman follows (after) the letter that sounds like (rumoured) tea to get a verb meaning to look at birds (the feathered kind) through bin(ocular)s

2d    Micawber’s friend, a runner from Africa (6)
IMPALA: the abbreviation for the setter is (1’1) followed by a friend and the A from the clue – many years ago I asked the Telegraph Puzzles editor how those using the online website would know the name of the Toughie setter (in those days the names were not available online) in order to solve a clue like this one; his reply was along the lines of “it will never happen on my watch” – well it has!!

3d    Poet not featuring adult content in Arab port (5)
AUDEN: put the rating that indicates a film does not feature adult content inside a Yemeni (Arab) port

4d    Plants needing a non-westerly lawn dappled with sun (7)
ANNUALS: the A from the clue followed by an anagram (dappled) of LA[W]N without the W (non-westerly) and SUN

6d    See is special op compromised? (9)
EPISCOPAL: an anagram (compromised) of SPECIAL OP

7d    Ponder booze I put away touring north (8)
RUMINATE: some booze or alcoholic beverage followed by I and a verb meaning put away or consumed, the latter around (touring) N(orth)

8d    Hear recordings first — various strands contribute to this picture (8)
TAPESTRY: a verb meaning to hear in a court of law preceded by (first) some (old-fashioned) recordings gives a picture woven from various strands of thread

11d    Hide from rain (4)
PELT: two definitions – the hide of an animal and a verb meaning to rain heavily

15d    Helping to produce big fish that’s been gutted (9)
FATHERING: split as (3,6) this is an adjective meaning big or large and a seven-letter fish from which the middle letter has been removed (gutted)

17d    One responsible for sting confining commander in false prison (8)
SCORPION: a Commanding Officer inside an anagram (false) of PRISON

18d    Bribe getting first piece of action cheap? But it’s all on the level! (8)
BUNGALOW: a bribe followed by the initial letter (first piece) of A[ction] and an adjective meaning cheap or inexpensive gives a building that is all on one level

20d    Western and eastern states producing fizz (4)
CAVA: a charade of the abbreviations for a western US state and an eastern one gives a fizzy Spanish wine

21d    Flourish money to get to the gig? (7)
FANFARE: split as (3,4) this could be the money required by an enthusiast to get to a gig

22d    Art of throwing a little butter in middle of onions (6)
AIKIDO: the A from the clue followed by the young (little) of an animal famous for butting things inside the middle two letters of on[IO]ns

23d    Worry, failing to open yard before exercise? Try key again (6)
RETYPE: a four-letter verb meaning to worry without its initial letter (failing to open) followed by Y(ard) and some Physical Exercise

26d    Hang around for something heavy on the radio (5)
AWAIT: this sounds like (on the radio) something heavy (1,6)

Bufo should be back from holiday by next week.

14 comments on “Toughie 1256

  1. Poor Bufo indeed – I did wonder why we had a Toughie worthy of the description on a Thursday. thanks to Micawber for a great puzzle and lucky BD for the explanations.

  2. Cracking puzzle from the maestro, favourites were 1d 19a and 27a thanks to Micawber and to Big Dave for the comments.

  3. Terrific toughie and well worthy of the description, many thanks to Micawber and to BD for the super review.

  4. Managed all but 30A without hints, but needed the review to fully explain several of my answers. Held up for a while by putting cola in early for 20D, though I knew full well that Louisiana was not an eastern State. Loved 27A and 25D in particular. Many thanks to Micawber and to Big Dave for the invaluable review.

  5. Managed it all … but needed BD to explain 5a, 9a and 29a.

    22d: my favourite … I really should recognise “butter” by now!

    3d – seems to be the poet of the week in CrosswordLand.

  6. Pleased to think I’d finished this without BD’s help. However, I then found I had “fattening” for 15d. Pride comes….!

  7. I managed about 3/4 and appreciated BD hints and click heres for the rest.Good fun .21d and 25a were my favourites. Thanks to all concerned.

  8. Needed hints in the SE as had inexplicably written humanity for 28a rendering 21d problematic. Mea culpa.
    Excellent toughie. Thank you Micawber and BD

  9. A really good fun puzzle for us. Mainly solved individually but a bit of consultation needed to finish the last few in the lower centre of the grid. If only people wishing to vote would postpone their visit to the library until both crosswords were out of the way, life would be much simpler. They would also not be distracted by the issuing officer smiling and chuckling as he tucks the grid under the paperwork. And there was plenty to smile and chuckle about in this one. Specially 15d.
    Thanks Micawber and BD.

  10. A puzzle of two halves for me. I got all the top half in no more than 3* time, but even after wracking my brains (such as they are) for another half hour l had only added 23d to the grid. On balance, then, 4*/3*. In the end l cracked, and drew on three of BD’s hints to finish the job. If I’m still allowed a favourite, it would be 1a. My thanks to Micawber, and to BD for the helping hand.

  11. Smashing puzzle as you would expect ,27a my personal favourite but I dithered over selecting that amongst so many .JB you have my sympathy re 15d (my first answer too ,tenning and chips sounds ok to me .)
    Cheers to both yet again.

  12. Thanks to Micawber and to Big Dave for the review and hints. A very enjoyable puzzle. Needed to look up 14&21a, just couldn’t see them. Used the hint on 15d. I was very pleased to have got that far. Favourite was 25a. Was 4*/4* for me.

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