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Toughie 1402

Toughie No 1402 by Micawber

A Trusty Steed

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

We have another highly entertaining puzzle from Micawber, the Midweek Maestro. I just hope that he can keep them coming.
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

7a I say so — one’s an island (7)
CORSICA – string together an exclamation of surprise (I say!), the Latin word meaning so and a single letter that can mean one.

9a Make mild sausage mixes (7)
ASSUAGE – an anagram (mixes) of SAUSAGE.

10a Me, for example? I disagree (3,2)
NOT SO – me, here, is an example of a note from tonic sol-fa and it’s defined with reference to a different note.

11a Steed, say, starts to stagger crazily first and totter (9)
SCAVENGER – Steed was the character who was lucky enough to have Diana Rigg (as Mrs Emma Peel) as his on-screen partner. Precede his role in the series with the initial letters of stagger crazily.

12a Unusual reproduction showing fowl in chapter of Old Testament book (15)
PARTHENOGENESIS – insert a fowl or chicken into a chapter or section of an Old Testament book (4,1’7).

13a Round up sheep to return to groom (7)
SMARTEN – charade of a verb to round up or capture and male sheep with it all reversed (to return).

16a Kind of red spy infiltrating America from the east (7)
MAGENTA – insert a spy into a 2-letter abbreviation for America which is reversed (from the east).

19a Thrown out comb with bald side that’s hopeless (15)
DISCOMBOBULATED – an anagram (that’s hopeless) of OUT COMB BALD SIDE.

23a Increase share in maintenance (9)
UPHOLDING – charade of a verb to increase and a share or allocation in one’s possession.

24a Solid copper biro (5)
CUBIC – the chemical symbol for copper followed by the proprietary name for a make of ballpoint pen.

25a Work peripatetically in the docks, heartlessly exploited (3-4)
HOT-DESK – this is how an employee of a company with more staff than office furniture may have to work. It’s an anagram (exploited) of THE DO[c]KS.

26a I will get in record book with typical example (7)
EPITOME – insert I between a record and a large book.

Down Clues

1d Images picked up from one who’s had too much of this? (8)
SCHNAPPS – how one who’s overindulged on the answer would pronounce (picked up) a word for still photographs.

2d Affluent holding company with excellent trade at first glance (8)
RICOCHET – an adjective meaning affluent contains the abbreviation for company. Finish with the initial letters of excellent trade.

3d Mother’s boy that may get in jam (6)
DAMSON – bring together an animal mother and a male child.

4d Fool’s been fleeced of billions — no refund available (2,4)
AS SEEN – a fool or dimwit is followed by the word ‘been’ without (fleeced of) the abbreviation for billions. Although m can stand for either million or millions this letter (according to my edition of Chambers) only relates to billion (singular) and not to the plural.

5d Head of gendarmerie interrupts naked naughtiness — thus? (6,2)
BARGES IN – insert the first letter of gendarmerie into ‘naked naughtiness’ (4,3).

6d Try at first to salute quarterdeck? (6)
HEARTS – the question mark is definitely required here. This is a quarter of a deck, i.e. 13 out of 52. A verb to try (in court) is followed by the first letters of ‘to salute’.

8d Withdraw from euro to revalue what’s in circulation (5)
ROTOR – hidden (withdraw from) is something that can be read backwards (or forwards).

9d Mixture of molten rock thrown up around US city (7)
AMALGAM – a word for molten rock from within the earth’s crust is reversed (thrown up) around the abbreviation for a west-coast city (which also needs to be reversed). This doesn’t quite work for me because the clue implies that only the molten rock needs reversing.

14d A Baltic resident and French/English art lover (8)
AESTHETE – string together A, a word for an Estonian of the original Finnish stock (a new word for me), the French for ‘and’ and E(nglish).

15d Liberal briefly confused seeing Clegg outside club (7)
NIBLICK – an anagram (confused) of the short form of LIB(eral) with ex-party leader Clegg’s forename around it.

17d Festival city mainly erected to house third category of stars (8)
GALACTIC – a festival or pageant is followed by the reversal of all but the last letter (mainly) of the word city. Then insert (to house) the letter used for third category.

18d Leader of team with outward advantage took risks, having a compulsion (8)
ADDICTED – the leading letter of team has around it the abbreviation for advantage (in tennis scoring) and a verb meaning took risks (often of a fatality).

19d Soft currency? Yen (6)
DOUGHY – a slang term for money is followed by Y(en).

20d Drillers involved in despoilment (6)
OILMEN – hidden (involved) in the clue.

21d Free from infestation without special instruments (6)
BUGLES – an adjective meaning free from infestation loses one of its final two letters, both of which are abbreviations for special.

22d Bar bill ending with two zeros (5)
TABOO – an informal word for a bill or account and two of the letters that look like zero.

Lots here that I liked, including 10a, 5d, 6d and 15d, but my favourite clue is 11a. Which one(s) engaged you?

12 comments on “Toughie 1402

  1. Most enjoyable offering from the maestro. favourites were 10a 11a and 15d thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the comments.

  2. Humour at last after a succession of lacklustre offferings. Well done, that man! My favourites were 7a and 10a

  3. I loved it, not least because I was able to complete it without any help! OK, I couldn’t parse 10A and Google helped me out when I keyed in the first 11 letters of 12A, but I’m still a happy puppy. I did know 15D; that’s a word that has stuck in my mind over the years for some reason. And 19A is a particular favorite of mine. Lots of favorites…7A11A, 19A, 1D and 6D (also the last one in). Many thanks to Micawber for the challenge and the fun, and to Gazza for the review.

  4. Yet again I found it easier than the back page.
    Maybe because I got the two 15 letter words quite early.
    Favourite is 6d.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  5. Thoroughly enjoyable way to spend an afternoon with one of my favourite setters. Lots of fun to be had with well constructed clues, good surfaces and humour. I’ll plump for 6d as my favourite – v. clever imho.

    Thanks to Micawber for the puzzle and Gazza for his usual splendid review.

  6. Really enjoyed this one – finished it quicker than the back pager too… Thanks to Gazza and Micawber.

  7. Very enjoyable solve on a windy beach, many thanks Micawber and Gazza

    Like Jean-Luc, quicker for me than back-pager

    Will return to civilisation, wifi, phone signals, etc next saturday

  8. Despite feeling slightly jaded we just could not resist tackling this puzzle from a setter we really enjoyed meeting and chatting with at The George last week. A delight from start to finish. Last in and a laugh out loud clue for us was 1d. Appreciated 19a and actually got it with only two checking letters as we are familiar with the word as it was a favourite of the NZ writer for children and young readers, the late Margaret Mahy.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  9. What a way to complete my rehabilitation after yesterday’s humiliation!

    I agree with Gazza’s rating of 3*/5*. This was a joy from start to finish. Lots of goodies to choose from and particularly honourable mentions go to 1d, 5d & 6d. It took me quite a bit of research to find out what the answer to 11a across had to do with “totter”, and many thanks to Gazza for explaining the parsing of 7a which eluded me.

    A great big thank you to Micawber. Your Toughies are definitely going to be on my to do list in future.

  10. Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. Way beyond my comprehension, needed 12 hints to finish. Was 5*/2* for me.

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