Toughie 1390

Toughie No 1390 by Micawber

Midweek Magic

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

This is pretty gentle as Toughies go but extremely enjoyable. Micawber often turns up on Wednesdays, my Toughie blogging day – long may it continue is what I say.
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 Daughter invested in black and white set lacking electronic capacity (9)
BANDWIDTH – string together B(lack), AND plus an anagram (set) of WHIT(e) (without the abbreviation for electronic). Finally, insert D(aughter).

6a Ad for Jan, say (5)
PROMO – a preposition meaning for or in favour of is followed by the abbreviation for which Jan is one example.

9a Marines disrupted session (7)
SEMINAR – an anagram (disrupted) of MARINES.

10a Quality of the simple roll and French mineral water (7)
NAIVETE – put together the French word for ‘and’ plus a brand of mineral water and reverse (roll) it all.

11a Power source getting current in all directions (5)
SINEW – the symbol for electric current goes inside all four directions.

12a Bird‘s soft sound interrupted by marine with angry tirade (9)
CORMORANT – insert the abbreviation for a Royal Marine into the soft sound (of a pigeon, say) then finish with an angry tirade. There has been some dispute in the past as to whether the abbreviation can be used for a single marine as opposed to the Royal Marines as a whole.

13a Rejection of expensive bathroom by landlord (4,4,6)
DEAR JOHN LETTER – wonderful cryptic definition of a missive from a dumper to a dumpee.

A soldier serving overseas, far from home, was annoyed and upset when his girl wrote breaking off their engagement and asking for her photograph back. He went out and collected from his friends all the unwanted photographs of women that he could find, bundled them all together and sent them back with a note saying……….. “Regret cannot remember which one is you — please keep your photo and return the others”.


16a Spill incurs eco-taxes? Here’s a good get-out (4-4,6)
CAST-IRON EXCUSE – an anagram (spill) of INCURS ECO-TAXES.

20a Trial grew uncontrollably on a mass scale (4,5)
WRIT LARGE – an anagram (uncontrollably) of TRIAL GREW.

22a Reduce racket in casualty (5)
ABATE – insert a type of racket into the abbreviation for the casualty department in a UK hospital.

23a Halting leader’s missing point — to make an impression (7)
IMPINGE – a present participle meaning halting or walking unevenly loses its leading letter and what remains is followed by a cardinal point.

24a Primary language, one recalled when touring Italy (7)
INITIAL – a language (that was once spoken in Italy) and the Roman numeral for one are reversed (recalled) with the IVR code for Italy inside.

25a Visitors deprived of tea, you say? Imagine! (5)
GUESS – invited visitors without the letter that sounds like tea.

26a To isolate grease, get liquid (9)
SEGREGATE – an anagram (liquid) of GREASE GET.

Down Clues

1d Extremely poor recording of player (6)
BASEST – this sounds like (recording of) the player of a musical instrument.

2d Screen I monitor picked up hidden figure entering field? (7)
NOMINEE – hidden and reversed (picked up) in the clue.

3d After turn west the Doctor’s craft’s heading off, arrives in archipelago (8,7)
WINDWARD ISLANDS – string together a verb to turn or coil, W(est), the TV doctor’s deceptive craft without its leading letter and a verb meaning arrives by sea or air.

4d Penned in bold or iconoclastic style (5)
DORIC – hidden (penned) in the clue.

5d Inched awkwardly round bolted barrier (9)
HINDRANCE – an anagram (awkwardly) of INCHED contains a verb meaning bolted or scarpered.

6d Chained so uncomfortably in custody? This could have unfortunate consequences (8,7)
POISONED CHALICE – an anagram (uncomfortably) of CHAINED SO goes inside the sort of custody that means you’re banged up in a nick.

7d Ham and eggs — the Queen tucked in in front of court (7)
OVERACT – the definition (ham) is a verb not a noun. The Latin word for eggs, with Her Majesty tucked inside, precedes the abbreviation for court.

8d Balls in contact with trade union about proposal (8)
OVERTURE – Balls is not, as the setter would have you believe, our would-be Chancellor but some deliveries at cricket. Add the abbreviation for trade union and a preposition meaning about or concerning.

14d Like certain gases, not sensible to sniff (9)
ODOURLESS – I did think at first that this might be a double definition, but both bits would mean pretty much the same so I’ve plumped for a cryptic definition. In the surface sensible means prudent but for the cryptic definition ‘not sensible to (a) sniff’ means not perceptible by the nose.

15d Lowering fish under boat (8)
SCOWLING – an edible marine fish (very useful to crossword setters) comes after a type of boat which is either (in North America) a wide-beamed sailing dinghy or (elsewhere) a barge used for transporting goods to and from ships in harbour.

17d Southern drink to make dotty (7)
STIPPLE – S(outhern) followed by an informal word for an alcoholic drink.

18d African dictator, after time held by storm troopers, shows ability to keep going (7)
STAMINA – the surname of an old Ugandan dictator follows T(ime) and that all goes inside the abbreviation for Hitler’s storm troopers.

19d In the countryside, it may be green  energy (6)
WELLIE – double definition, the second is a slang term for energy or vigour, as in the order ‘Give it some ******’.

21d With difficulty, making Earl sovereign (5)
EKING – the definition is a bit Yoda-like. It’s a present participle (usually followed by ‘out’) meaning managing to make a living with difficulty. The abbreviation for earl precedes a sovereign.

Lots of clues to like including 10a, 7d, 8d and 19d but my runaway favourite is the brilliant 13a. Which one(s) took your fancy?

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31 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Happy solver, jealous blogger – definitely 5* fun. Lots to love but I’m going to keep Kath happy and say that 19d was my favourite.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  2. halcyon
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Yep, quality stuff, though on the light side of Micawber. 13a provided the best LOL moment. Other great clues include 10a [Quality of the simple!] 24a [the whole clue is very clever] 6d [because it took me much longer to solve than it should] and 7d [Ham and eggs indeed].

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for an excellent blog.

  3. happy days
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Very entertaining, thanks, Micawber Nice suface readings and some humour, both biggies with me

  4. Shropshirelad
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I thought this to be at the easier end of Micawber’s toughie range, but great fun nonetheless. There are far tooo many excellent clues to pick a favourite so I shall not incur ‘the Wrath of Kath’ and keep them to myself (aren’t I a good boy)

    Thanks to Micawber for the puzzle and Gazza for his entertaining review.

    • Kath
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Yes – a very good boy! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

  5. Kath
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t attempted a Toughie for ages so I’m glad that I landed on this one – really good fun and doable.
    I wouldn’t say that I found it dead simple – almost gave up on my last few.
    Didn’t know that 20a was a real word – I thought it was just a slangy term so had to check it in BRB – they say it’s two words.
    That and 21d were my last two.
    Loads of good clues – I can’t decide between 13a and 19d as favourite.
    With thanks to Micawber and to gazza.

  6. Kitty
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    I don’t usually have time for a Toughie, but how could I resist when I came here and saw who the setter was? Very glad I made time to fit this in, as it is a rare completion. Yay! Lots of possible favourites, but since 19d was my last in, the moment where I twigged that makes it the winner.

    Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

  7. Hanni
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    I liked this very much. I certainly didn’t find it as easy as the rest of you, but not as difficult as some Micawber puzzles.

    13a was my last in and stand out clue of the day. Joyous moment when the penny dropped.

    6a took me awhile and I completely messed up 10a. On first pass I saw the answer and then pencilled in ‘naivety’ without thinking. Made 8d slightly harder!

    Many thanks to Micawber for an outstanding puzzle and to Gazza for a great blog.

  8. Expat Chris
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    In a minority of one here, because I found this tough and needed the hints (and answers) for 1D, 6D, 19D and 24A. I did like 10A though. Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

    • Kath
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t find it that easy either. Not surprised you needed a hint for 19d.

      • Expat Chris
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

        I actually own Hunter wellies, but mine are a very stylish pillar box red!

        • George
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

          I had never ever heard of 19d either. Had to get the hint which I still don’t understand! Mine are black not green. I must be dense.

          • Hanni
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

            As are mine. I now feel that I have been missing out and red are the order of the day. Great for when I’m wearing a dress!

            • gazza
              Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

              Green wellies have certain connotations. The green welly brigade are Members of the upper-middle class who participate in countryside pursuits such as riding, fox hunting, shooting skeet, etc. Distinguishable by their green Wellington boots and wax jackets.

          • Expat Chris
            Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            I think that the classic green version of the Hunter wellie is favored by the royals, the aristocracy, and the suck-up county set. Growing up in the UK, I had the usual high street black wellies. Over here, wellies are only just becoming available in stores, and they’re cheap, made-in-china uncomfortable. I need them for snow clearing, not country walks, and splashed out on the good ones. Had to get them on line. I reckon that if I ever get up-ended in a snow drift and only my feet show, red will stand out more!

        • andy
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          I have 3 pairs of wellies, two are Hunters for dog walking and then I have my my music festival PETER STORM Men’s Record Wellies. Struggling to get a picture uploaded but if you search the web…..the Hunters are green but I’ve long since lost my yellow Wellies, Pommers as a Yachtsman will be able to explain to George ;)

  9. gazza
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Beam tomorrow.

    • Kath
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

      http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_cry.gif Out all day from early morning until early evening so may not even have time for back page cryptic let alone a Toughie.
      Cunning plan has just emerged – save it for Friday when I shut my eyes tightly on my way past the page with the Toughie on it. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_yes.gif

      • gazza
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

        That’s as cunning as a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford. :D

  10. jean-luc cheval
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    That was fun.
    Guessed 6d and worked the anagram backwards to find the cops.
    Didn’t get 19d.
    Although 20a was easy to get, I didn’t know that expression.
    I did know 13a even though I never received one of these. Much prefer to be dumped after a face à face.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  11. Wolfson Bear
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    Really nice puzzle which, together with the back pager filled the time available perfectly. I would have given it 3* for difficulty – probably due to a number of terms and words that are not so familiar to me. I found the Jay puzzle harder than usual which may make me think the toughie was harder than it really was. I spent a while thinking of words for custody but would never have guessed the actual one used here. Eventually with enough letters in it becomes possible to guess. The boot was my last one in (19d? – to lazy to scroll up!)

    Thanks to setter and Gazza

  12. Una
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Fabulous ! I am not saying I found it easy , but a lovely new take on things.13a is my stand-out favourite, while I thought 14a was quite brilliant and I really liked 10a as well.
    I was actually getting a little bored at times with crosswords, this has renewed my interest.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazzahttp://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  13. andy
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Spent a stoopid amount of time trying to justify mealie for 19d, well it is a maize therefore energy (food). Settled on Wellie fortunately. (unchecked first didn’t help my ignorance) Great stuff as ever from Micawber and thanks to Gazza

  14. Salty Dog
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

    I struggled to get on wavelength, but completed without needing to draw on any hints. Let’s call it 3*/3* on balance. Some very good clues (15a, 19d and 7d in particular) and if l must pick a favourite it’s my last in – 15a. VMTs to Micawber, and to Gazza.

  15. pommers
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    I solved this on-line after completing th back page blog so for once (!) I know how long it took – 45 seconds longer that the back pager. Hardly a Toughie but it was hugely entertaining.
    Many thanks to Micawber for the puzzle (and the fantastic 13a and also 19d where Gazza’s piccy reminded me of a couple of girls who used to attend the clay shoot where I used to live in a previous life) and to Gazza for the usual excellent blog..

  16. George
    Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    I hate to have to look at the hints but 19d was indecipherable for me. Other than that I struggled through it but it took me a while.

    • Expat Chris
      Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

      Are you based somewhere other than the UK, George?

      • George
        Posted May 6, 2015 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Canada.

        • Expat Chris
          Posted May 6, 2015 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

          Ah. I’m a bit south of you in Maryland. The “British-isms” in crosswords can be a bit frustrating at times, but it’s all a learning experience.

  17. Only fools
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink

    Micawber in great form as was Jay for the back page ,absolute favourite of both 19d which certainly took longer than 45 seconds as a differential .Many thanks to both.