Toughie 1273

Toughie No 1273 by Micawber

Fried Mutton and Chips?

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

Micawber makes a rare visit on a Friday and although the puzzle doesn’t qualify as a fiendish Friday fight it is chock full of his usual humour and is thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it.

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 E.g. paintings I arrange, switching right to left to make meaning clear (10)
ARTICULATE – bring together what paintings are an example of, I (from the clue) and a verb to arrange (exhibits in a museum, for example) with the R(ight) swapped to L(eft).

6a Southern estate perhaps the scene of past injury (4)
SCAR – S(outhern) followed by what an estate is an example of.

9a Self-driving vehicle with an absence of computer control incomplete (10)
AUTONOMOUS – a vehicle is followed by the lack of a specific computer device (2,5) but the final E has to be dropped.

10a Felt bad about heartless objection, in retrospect (4)
RUED – reverse (in retrospect) a word for objection or dissent without its central letter.

12a A former Oriental kingdom losing money — it and a lot of other countries! (4)
ASIA – A (from the clue) is followed by the old name for Thailand without the abbreviation for money.

13a What’s lost, again being recollected? (9)
NOSTALGIA – an anagram (being recollected) of LOST AGAIN.

15a Amazing cat I seek that will walk on water! (3,5)
ICE SKATE – water in its more solid state! This is an anagram (amazing) of CAT I SEEK.

16a Thrilling, a non-western cast coming to Britain (6)
ATHROB – A followed by a verb to cast or fling without the W(estern) plus B(ritain).

18a Hide valuable material, creating uproar (6)
FURORE – a charade of a hide or pelt and material which may yield valuable minerals.

20a One’s right, during dalliance, so to be doing (8)
FLIRTING – insert I (one) and the two-character abbreviation for right into a brief dalliance.

23a Remove from board amid shake-up of left and right initially — see change in top team (9)
RESHUFFLE – this is the regular game of musical chairs round the cabinet table when a few who have made a cock-up, been caught with their trousers down or otherwise transgressed leave to spend more time with their families and others arrive to try to climb to the top of the greasy pole. We want a verb, used in the game of draughts, meaning to remove one’s opponent’s piece from the board for failing to make a capture – that goes inside (amid) an anagram (shake-up) of L(eft) R(ight) and SEE.
reshuffle 2014

24a Demand massage over the phone (4)
NEED – this sounds like a verb to massage.

26a Irishman‘s right to return (4)
NEIL – I wasn’t aware that this is an Irish name but apparently it comes from Gaelic. Reverse a legal right.

27a Indicate guilt and then establish it in digital attachment (10)
FINGERNAIL – charade of two verbs – the first to identify a guilty party and the second to catch him or her.

28a They may follow odds for those finishing (4)
ENDS – these follow odds in a phrase meaning miscellaneous articles.

29a Find out who your friends are perhaps in defeats (10)
CHECKMATES – split (5,5) this could mean to investigate your friends.

Down Clues

1d American method on hostile territory (4)
AWAY – A(merican) followed by a method describes a game played by Liverpool at Old Trafford for example.

2d Child’s seat in a mess in As You Like It (2,5)
TO TASTE – a young child followed by an anagram (in a mess) of SEAT.

3d Is large ship able to turn in centre of Crosby? That’s difficult (12)
CANTANKEROUS – a question as to whether a large merchant ship is able (3,6) precedes a 180 degree turn inside the central two letters of Crosby.

4d Cover with sheet metal in a moulding (8)
LAMINATE – an anagram (moulding) of METAL IN A.

5d Gore’s abandoning philanthropic approach, that’s obvious (6)
TRUISM – where would setters be without this old veep? (Mr Capone would have to make even more appearances!). Remove his forename from the start of a word meaning philanthropy or unselfishness.

7d One soliciting donations to incite uprising among two-thirds of worshippers (7)
CHUGGER – this is a fairly new slang word (derived from bits of ‘charity mugger’) for someone who accosts you on the street and tries to badger you into subscribing to a specific charity. Reverse (uprising) a verb to incite or spur inside 4 of the 6 letters of a word for the body of Christians.

8d A musical King in Communist prison? One may be in a pickle (3,7)
RED CABBAGE – hands up all those who (like me) tried to work out how Abba (the musical) fitted here. What we actually need is A (from the clue) and the initials of Mr King the blues musician (now 89 and still performing). Put that inside how you might describe a communist prison (3,4).

11d Preparing to deep-fry elderly lamb? This could lead to a breakthrough! (9,3)
BATTERING RAM – preparing to deep-fry (in the manner of a Mars bar in a Scottish chippie) followed by an adult sheep. LOL.

14d Fee finder’s adjusted, retaining a hundred in dispute (10)
DIFFERENCE – an anagram (adjusted) of FEE FINDER with the Roman numeral for a hundred retained inside.

17d Soldier who’s on the phone while cycling reacting strongly (8)
ALLERGIC – cycle round the letters of a US soldier on the phone (2,6).

19d Do away with religious studies college in Pakistani province (7)
RESCIND – the abbreviation for religious studies followed by a province of Pakistan from 1947-1955 containing C(ollege). There is a modern province of Pakistan with a similar name but with five letters rather than four. The old Indian province was the subject of a famous (but unfortunately apocryphal) pun – in 1843 General Sir Charles Napier annexed the province and is said to have sent home a one-word telegram saying peccavi (Latin for ‘I have sinned’).

21d Popular old performer’s rough (7)
INEXACT – a charade of popular (2), old (2) and a performer (3).

22d Piscine’s a bit cool (6)
OFFISH – a bit cool in the sense of somewhat aloof. Split the answer (2,4) and you have the meaning of piscine.

25d Drink up — around litre or more (4)
PLUS – a Northern verb to drink is reversed (up) around L(itre).

My top clues today were 23a, 8d, 11d and 22d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.


  1. crypticsue
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I loved it too but was extremely disappointed at the total lack of toughness. Thanks to Micawber for the very nice if extremely short-lived fun and Gazza for the explanations.

  2. Pegasus
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Excellent fare from the maestro, favourites among many, were 7d 8d 16a and 23a thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the comments.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I loved it too, especially 11D and 27A. Much more enjoyable than the back-pager for me. Thanks to Micawber and Gazza

  4. dutch
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I loved it – i am happy with the toughness, it wasn’t a write-in for me, but it didn’t take me all morning either which is just fine. Thanks gazza for explaining the wordplay for 23a, i didn’t know the draughts term.

    excellent clues for me include the self driving vehicle (9a), lost & found (13a), the King!! (8d) and the elderly lamb (11d).

    Thank you Micawber & Gazza

  5. BigBoab
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Really enjoyable toughie once again from Micawber, not too difficult and not too easy, many thanks to him and to Gazza for a super review.

  6. halcyon
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Me too! Super stuff if rather straightforward for a Friday Toughie. Clever clues with decent surface readings.
    Particular favourites [a tough call to narrow them down] were 9a, 13a, 3d, 8d and 22d.

    Many thanks to Micawber [but wish it could have lasted longer] and of course to Gazza.

  7. Charlie3110
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I am one of those who is between the back page (too easy) and the toughie (all levels of challenge). So it is a great lift when I finish any of the toughies with out a hint or two. As I am a silver cruciverbalist and do both crosswords daily it really doesn’t matter much to me whether it is Tuesday or Friday! Monday unfortunately is a disappointing day for me.
    Thanks to Micawber and of course Gazza.

    • gazza
      Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Welcome to the blog, Charlie3110. Now that you’ve introduced yourself I hope that you’ll become one of our regular commenters. Do you have a go at the Rookie Corner crossword on Mondays?

      • Charlie3110
        Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        No. Didn’t know there was such a thing. Used to toy with the GK but didn’t enjoy it much so do not now root out the toughie from the rest of the DT on a Monday. Will be having a look next week. Thanks Gazza for your welcome. Been an avid reader for quite some time but just thought the obsession with Fridays being a special day was overrated and needed defending.

        • Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

          The Rookie Corner puzzle is only available on this site!

          • Charlie3110
            Posted October 10, 2014 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

            Ok thanks BD that’s probably why I hadn’t seen it. Will definitely find it next Monday.

  8. Salty Dog
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    Quite fun, but surprisingly gentle for a Toughie (particularly this late in the week). About 2*/3*, and 11d my favourite (although 8d ran it close). Thanks to Micawber, and to Gazza for review and hints.

  9. 2Kiwis
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    Thoroughly enjoyable puzzle for us. ‘Goldilocks’ difficulty, what more could one ask for. 7d had us stumped for a while but we seem to vaguely remember it from a puzzle long ago as a faint bell eventually rang. Biggest chuckle was 11d.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

    • andy
      Posted October 10, 2014 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

      As a Toughie 7d used in no 646, and guess who the setter was ;:

  10. andy
    Posted October 10, 2014 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Great puzzle, previous comments about difficulty aside. 11d lol moment. Thanks to Gazza and Micawber

  11. Derek
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Enjoyable puzzle.

    Only one I didn’t get was 7d – have been abroad too long!

  12. jean-luc cheval
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Found the East side a bit challenging. Got a bit misled by some of my penciled answers. Not very keen on 21 and 22d. 17d was my favorite. Thanks to micawber and to gazza for the explanations.