Toughie No 1346 by Micawber
Shake It All About
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment *****
The name of today’s setter hadn’t appeared on the Telegraph website last night so it was a very pleasant surprise this morning to find the name Micawber, who, as I may have mentioned once or twice, is my favourite Toughie setter. I pretty much solved this one from the bottom up, with chuckles all the way and a great guffaw at 15d.
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8a Edge of asphalt on shed tears — finish off cursory coat of paint (7)
ACRYLIC – the first letter (edge) of asphalt is followed by a verb to shed tears. Then we need a word for a quick and minimal application (coat) of something (e.g. paint) without its last letter (finish off).
10a One of these had homophone cut off (7)
OCCLUDE – the answer sounds like “a ****’d” where **** is one of the 29 found in the puzzle.
11a Does this sausage go with Italian beer? (9)
PEPPERONI – another word for go or oomph followed by a brand of Italian lager.
12a Boom’s gone into reverse — you must offload prime item of jewellery (5)
BIJOU – reverse another word for a boom (on a yacht or a crane, say) and add ‘you’ after removing (unloading) its first letter.
13a North American preference — not frozen kind of chip (5)
NACHO – the abbreviations for North and American are followed by a preference or selection without the frozen part.
14a Occupy hotel, coming in later (7)
INHABIT – the letter for which hotel is used in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet is inserted in a phrase meaning later (2,1,3).
17a Vital to mock ‘cool’ jerks — but it can be wounding if it hits home (7,8)
MOLOTOV COCKTAIL – an anagram (jerks) of VITAL TO MOCK COOL.
19a Rough end of untreated wood (3,4)
RAW DEAL – I’m not sure how to classify this clue. The answer means a rough or unfair outcome and it’s a charade of ‘untreated’ and a type of soft wood. However, another way of describing the answer is ‘the rough end of the stick’ which is pretty much what the whole clue says.
21a Stories to tell in turn, entertaining sailors (5)
YARNS – a verb to tell or state is reversed and contains the abbreviation for our senior service.
24a Extra payout for principal of bank, having responsibility (5)
BONUS – the principal letter of bank followed by responsibility or duty.
26a Problem-free? That can’t be said of falling currency! (2,7)
NO TROUBLE – split the answer 3,6 and you identify a currency that can’t be said to be problem-free at the moment.
27a Socially awkward to leave half of dinner on plate (7)
NERDISH – drop half of the word dinner and add a serving plate.
28a Prepare herb tea to get inspiration (7)
BREATHE – an anagram (prepare) of HERB TEA.
1d Writer’s block coming on? Apply liquid! (6)
DAMPEN – a writing implement is preceded (coming on) by a verb to block or obstruct.
2d River’s current flowing round Middle-earth (8)
TROPICAL – the abbreviation for river has an adjective meaning current or ‘in the news’ going round it.
3d Policeman reported as being wasted on drink (10)
BLUEBOTTLE – a dated British slang term for a police officer is a charade of what sounds like a verb meaning wasted or squandered and a metaphor for alcoholic drink.
4d Legal officer with cops cut off at both ends amid angry riots (9)
SOLICITOR – a more formal word for cops loses its outer letters and what remains goes inside an anagram (angry) of RIOTS.
5d He’s not out to get bank transfer system overhauled (4)
SCAB – reverse (overhauled) the acronym for the UK banks’ clearing system.
6d Joke to needle Asian region (6)
PUNJAB – charade of a type of joke and a verb to needle or stab.
7d Rejection of bottom-pinching old royal (8)
REBUTTAL – an old adjective meaning royal (still used in a form of tennis) grasps (pinches) a North American bottom.
9d He’s not in gear, the fool (4)
CLOT – remove the “he’s” from a word for gear or attire.
15d Prison head sent down with no means to get out of cell — that’s what it’s all about! (5-5)
HOKEY-COKEY – start with a slang term for prison and send the top (head) letter to the bottom. Now add the letter that resembles zero and what you need to unlock a cell. My BRB has this as 5,5 with no hyphen.
16d An extra bed covering retains a bit of heat in heavy snowfall (9)
AVALANCHE – A and some extra drapery intended to stop anyone seeing what’s under the bed contain the first letter (bit) of heat.
17d Lifeless bank suppressing ridicule (8)
MORIBUND – a bank or hillock contains a verb to ridicule or tease.
18d Circus folk wound cetacean surfacing (8)
ACROBATS – a verb to wound (with a dagger, say) is followed by a type of whale, then it all gets reversed (surfacing).
20d Succeed with effort in cold (6)
WINTRY – string together a verb to succeed and an effort or attempt.
22d Head of state Queen Elizabeth going around gardens with barbecue implement? (6)
SKEWER – the first letter (head) of state and the cipher of Queen Elizabeth contain the name of some botanical gardens in London.
23d Mounting objections end (4)
STUB – reverse (mounting) objections or reservations.
25d Body part seen during washing (4)
SHIN – hidden in the clue.
Candidates for top clue included the very smooth 11a, the very clever 19a and the ‘Who can he be referring to?’ 7d, but there can be only be one winner – the brilliant 15d.