Toughie 1304

Toughie No 1304 by Micawber

A leg end in his own lifetime

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

An enjoyable puzzle that wasn’t all that difficult. That was fine by me because I was pushed for time this morning.

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.


1a    Product of confused dreaming, but real — a once-in-a-lifetime destination? (7,8)
BERMUDA TRIANGLE: An anagram (confused) of DREAMING BUT REAL gives an area where ships and aeroplanes are alleged to have mysteriously disappeared

9a    Plant used to sweeten retro tomato sauces — mash soundly (5,4)
SUGAR BEET: A reversal of Italian sauces containing tomato + a homophone of ‘to mash’

10a    Trade Union member picketing hospital for strike (5)
THUMP: Abbreviations for Trade Union and Member (of Parliament) round H (hospital)

11a    Superhuman — bowled out in classic style (5)
IONIC: Remove B (bowled) from a word meaning superhuman (especially with parts of the body replaced with electronic devices)

12a    See if wandering past backward places makes confused (9)
STUPEFIES: An anagram (wandering) of SEE IF follows a reversal of ‘places’

13a    Seeing fit to prosecute charity in case of intoxication (6,2)
TRYING ON: Seeing whether a garment fits = ‘to prosecute’ + an abbreviation for a type of organization that is neither a part of a government nor a conventional for-profit business inside the first and last letters (case) of IntoxicatioN

14a    Beginning to freeze stiff? (6)
FRIGID: The first letter of Freeze + ‘stiff’. The whole clue provides the definition

16a    England, following on, are in for payback (6)
REBATE: E (England) follows ‘on’ and ‘are in (at cricket)’

18a    Cooks skins beforehand? (8)
PREPARES: A prefix denoting ‘beforehand’ + ‘shaves the skin off’

22a    Turning dusky gold, Tuesday’s moon not full at time of harvest? (3-6)
MID-AUTUMN: A reversal of ‘dusky’ + the chemical symbol for gold + a 2-letter abbreviation for Tuesday + the first and last letters of MooN

23a    Intuitive ability held back by mateRIAL Facts (5)
FLAIR: Hidden in reverse in material facts

24a    Could it be a legend happening? (5)
AFOOT: Tut, tut! You know some people (or at least one person) will disapprove. For ‘legend’ read ‘leg end’. A + what’s on the end of a leg

25a    One supporting hip kind of school gets second-highest mark in style (5,4)
THIGH BONE: A kind of school and the second-highest mark (after A) inside ‘style’

26a    Prepared for battle, using choppers to transport weapons? (5,2,3,5)
ARMED TO THE TEETH: The choppers are the ones in your mouth


1d    Born support musician (7)
BASSIST: B (born) + ‘to assist’

2d    Early 19th century vehicle’s identified by this concise encyclopedia (7)
REGENCY: The combination of letters and numbers shown on a motor vehicle + an abbreviation for ‘encyclopedia’

3d    World body cut corners dreadfully, one from 1950s having failed to move with the times (15)
UNRECONSTRUCTED: A world body + an anagram (dreadfully) of CUT CORNERS + an unruly adolescent from the 1950s

4d    A kind of loving? The opposite (8)
AVERSION: A + ‘kind (variant)’

5d    Leaders of the group in defeat in low spirits? (6)
ROTGUT: The first letters of The Group inside an utter defeat = a cheap poor-quality alcoholic drink

6d    Might bowler be let go so peremptorily? (2,3,4,2,1,3)
AT THE DROP OF A HAT: The bowler is one that is worn on the head

7d    Forcing out unionist government outwardly making progress (7)
GOUGING: U (unionist) and G (government) inside ‘making progress’

8d    Former lover allowed pictures to be made public (7)
EXPOSED: A former lover + sat for an artist or photographer

15d    Show off cereal bowl (8)
BRANDISH: A cereal + a bowl

16d    Sweet bachelor breaking into a dance (3,4)
RUM BABA: A sweet (dessert) = a Bachelor of Arts inside a dance

17d    Boredom’s chronic in place for retired people (7)
BEDROOM: An anagram (chronic) of BOREDOM

19d    Following recipe, added trimmed meat to pan with head of endive and stirred again (7)
REAWOKE: R (recipe) + the middle two letters of mEAt + a pan used in Chinese cookery + the first letter of Endive

20d    Harsh noise from church covered by ‘rock’, loosely (7)
SCREECH: An abbreviation denoring ‘church goes after a sloping mass of loose weathered rock on the side of a mountain

21d    Only two elements, to be precise (4,2)
JUST SO: ‘Only’ + the atomic symbols of two common elements

Good stuff



  1. halcyon
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Good fun as usual from Micawber and, as you say Bufo, not too taxing – tho, being a cricket ignoramus, I did spend a while on 16a wondering if “following on” was “re-bat”.

    Particular favourites were 13a [seeing fit is clever], 5d [low spirits ditto] and 19d [stirred again should have been obvious but the culinary context worked very well].

    Many thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  2. jean-luc cheval
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to the Telegraph for putting that ad next to the toughie. It gave me enough space to scribble the two long anagrams. I first had unconstructured for 3d but the Greek style of 11a and the beetroot of 9a soon proved me wrong. I only had to reveal 3 answers today as 5d and 7d were new to me and could not find anything sensible for 19d. Great entertainment for a dismal day again. Will it ever stop raining? Thanks to Micawber and to Bufo for the review.

  3. Expat Chris
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Right hand side went in quite quickly. Left hand side was slower. And then there was 24A, which remained unsolved. No comment on that clue. Well, not one that’s fit to print. Someone please enlighten me on what NGO stands for in 13A. 1A (when the penny dropped) and 5D and my favorites today, with 9A close behind. Thanks to Micawber for a very enjoyable puzzle, despite 24A, and to Bufo for the review.

    • spindrift
      Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      here you go – A non-governmental organization (NGO) is any non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group which is organized on a local, national or international level.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted December 4, 2014 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

        Thanks. that’s new to me.

  4. 2Kiwis
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    Our eyes lit up with glee when we saw who the setter was to be, and once again we were not disappointed. The long answers went in without too much of a fight and this gave heaps of checkers for the trickier clues. All good fun.
    Thanks Micawber and Bufo.

  5. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    As always for me with Toughies it took ages but I especially liked 22a with its various nuances, and 17d took far too long to dawn. Alas failed totally on 24a. Leg end indeed!
    4*/4* With thanks to Micawber and Bufo.

  6. F1lbertfox
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Despite completing solving this Toughie, I can’t pretend that it was one that I especially enjoyed – it reminded me of the cross-country runs I did as a schoolboy – glad I finished, but didn’t like the run.

  7. halcyon
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Clearly none of you lot remembers Henry Cow, but I bet Petitjean does. They were an avant-garde rock group active in the 70s. One of their better-known albums was “Legend”, the cover of which depicted a sock.

  8. andy
    Posted December 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    Enjoyed this as always with a Micawber puzzle, thanks to Bufo and setter, and the parsing of 16a has only just twigged.

  9. Derek
    Posted December 5, 2014 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Finished this very late last night – actually early this morning – so didn’t blog it!

    Faves : 13a , 22a, 7d & 21d.

  10. Sh-Shoney
    Posted December 6, 2014 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Just finished this morning (Sat). Very enjoyable puzzle with the exception of 1a. This explanation didn’t seem to be up to Micawber’s usual high standard. The rest however was great stuff 9a, 12a, and 22a all being excellent fare, for example. So thank you, Micawber and thank you Bufo. Now to Friday……is it as hard as usual? Sh-Shoney.