Toughie No 1287 by Micawber
… and Fanny’s Your Aunt
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
This is another very enjoyable puzzle by Micawber. I didn’t find it that difficult and my biggest problem was that the Puzzles website adamantly refused to accept my answer to 12a; that’s now been sorted out by a change to the clue – see below.
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1a To bend spine, around 50, brings repercussions (8)
BLOWBACK – a verb to bend one’s body and another word for spine contain the Roman numeral for 50.
5a After which PM begins reforms (6)
AMENDS – split the answer (2,4) for the wordplay. PM here is not Prime Minister.
9a Posh lass in movie, one about alien, recalled as having screen presence (9)
TELEGENIC – put an informal word for a posh lass between an adjective meaning movie and the usual movie about an alien. Then reverse it all (recalled).
11a Red, but not in the red (5)
FLUSH – double definition, the second an informal adjective meaning well supplied with money.
12a Newspaper boss stops working but maintains circulation? (6)
EDDIES – a charade of the usual abbreviated newspaper boss and a verb meaning stops working or conks out. NB In the paper version of the clue (and the on-line version earlier on) the verbs are in the past rather than present tense, so the answer (if you have that version) also needs to be in the past tense.
13a Greek character captivated by little monster (8)
MINOTAUR – the nineteenth letter of the Greek alphabet is contained in an adjective meaning little or slight.
15a Subservient to western leadership? Not very impressive (13)
UNDERWHELMING – string together a preposition meaning subservient to, W(estern) and the sort of leadership or steering given by the coxswain of a lifeboat, for example.
18a Rouble’s bouncy, fluctuating — job done! (4,4,5)
BOB’S YOUR UNCLE – an anagram (fluctuating) of ROUBLE’S BOUNCY. As often happens I got diverted during the solving process into investigoogling the derivation of this phrase – there’s no definitive answer but the most appealing suggestion is that it originated in 1887 when the Prime Minister, Robert Cecil, appointed his under-qualified nephew to a prestigious ministerial post in an act of nepotism.
22a Rupert in broadcast obsessed with sex (8)
PRURIENT – an anagram (broadcast) of RUPERT IN.
23a Shooter making comeback, striking left side of target — it’s gold! (6)
NUGGET – reverse something that shoots and add the word target after deleting (striking) its left-hand half.
26a News agency covered up pest (5)
APHID – the abbreviation for a well-known news agency is followed by a verb meaning covered up or concealed.
27a Religious, consumed by joy, shedding that which is superficial? (9)
EPILATION – an adjective meaning religious in a holier-than-thou way goes inside (consumed by) a word meaning joy or glee.
28a Seasoned advisers accompanying betters? (6)
ELDERS – this word for seasoned advisers or senior figures in a tribe is often coupled with Betters in a phrase identifying those to whom children should show respect and deference.
29a Truant, badly beaten, keeps bearings (8)
ABSENTEE – an anagram (badly) of BEATEN contains two compass directions.
1d Flatter end turning white (6,2)
BUTTER UP – an end or stub is followed by the reversal (turning) of an adjective meaning white or virtuous.
2d Went in front after result of deflection perhaps was more than glancing (5)
OGLED – a verb meaning went in front comes after the abbreviation for what may result from an unfortunate deflection on the football field.
3d To stand under tap’s what one can’t stand (7)
BUGBEAR – a verb to stand or endure follows a verb to tap or eavesdrop.
4d What’s used for pine reproduction furniture, ultimately supporting scam (4)
CONE – the ultimate letter of furniture comes after (supporting) a scam or hoax.
6d Gangsters subverting aims of independence (7)
MAFIOSI – an anagram (subverting) of AIMS OF is followed by I(ndependence).
7d Going over university clearing turned out painful (9)
NEURALGIC – an anagram (turned out) of CLEARING contains (going over) U(niversity).
8d Thespian’s heart in this place, the Globe (6)
SPHERE – the middle letters of thespian followed by an adverb meaning in this place.
10d Young person tailed by thug needs to relax (5,3)
CHILL OUT – a young person gets tailed or docked and that’s followed by a thug or hooligan.
14d Revolting South American’s desire to touch north-east American native (8)
CHEYENNE – charade of the usual revolting South American (LOL), a desire or inclination and the abbreviation for north-east.
16d Dissolute society girl longed to possess symbol of upper-class acceptance (9)
DEBAUCHED – a society girl of the sort that used to ‘come out’ is followed by a verb meaning longed or yearned with the letter that symbolises upper-class acceptance contained inside it.
17d What precedes period of time inside? (8)
SENTENCE – this is very clever and could be either a cryptic definition (i.e. what a judge hands down) or a double definition, where the first is what precedes a period or full-stop and the second (time inside) is what a prisoner serves.
19d Amazing performance finding viewers not so keen (7)
BLINDER – for viewers read eyes.
20d Act like Wailers knocked back as support for rising female vocalist (7)
ULULATE – this is a verb meaning to wail or keen in grief. A verb meaning knocked back or consumed follows (as support for) the reversal of a Scottish female vocalist.
21d Grasp increased profit (6)
UPTAKE – a charade of an adverb meaning increased (a price, say) and profit or income.
24d Donation Republican accepted is a con (5)
GRIFT – a donation with the abbreviation for Republican inserted.
25d Frenchman getting involved in party branch (4)
LIMB – the French equivalent of Mr goes inside the abbreviation for an old political party.
I liked 2d and 4d but my favourite clue today was 17d. Let us know which one(s) you liked.