Toughie 1434 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 1434

Toughie No 1434 by Micawber

Please may I have some more, sir?

+ – + – + – + – + – + – + – +

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

Micawber is in a benign mood today and I wrote in my last answer with a feeling of disappointment that there were no more clues to solve. What’s there is really entertaining as usual but I have a fear that if he persists in being so charitable he’ll be moved to the Tuesday slot – and that wouldn’t do at all!

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

9a Go over summit after moment of hesitation’s rejected (5)
RECAP – a summit or uppermost part follows the reversal of an expression of momentary hesitation.

10a Dater involved with breaking rule? (9)
ADULTERER – this is an all-in-one clue. We have to make a single word from anagrams of DATER (involved) and RULE (breaking).

11a Sediment   surrounding garden (7)
GROUNDS – double definition, the second being the garden or land surrounding a building.

12a Clean little dog after end of Crufts (5,2)
SWEEP UP – an adjective meaning little and a young dog follow the end letter of Crufts.

13a Own about a pound then make 50p? (5)
HALVE – a verb to own or possess contains the abbreviation for a pound sterling.

14a/2d Polish girls here maybe foolishly choosing to be detained by heartless Nordic lecturer (9,6)
FINISHING SCHOOL – an anagram (foolishly) of CHOOSING goes between an adjective meaning from a specific Nordic country without its middle letter and L(ecturer).

16a Old bird out of bounds? (2,6,7)
NO SPRING CHICKEN – cryptically this bird could have lost the capability of bounding.

19a A long way from home for soldiers, heading off to eastern Arabia (5,4)
LIGHT YEAR – start with a slang word for home (i.e. Britain) used by our soldiers serving abroad during the two world wars and drop its first letter (heading off). Then add abbreviations for eastern and Arabia.

21a Mother packs key for Mediterranean island (5)
MALTA – the affectionate term for mother contains one of the keys on a standard computer keyboard.

23a Germs in second-rate air-conditioning bringing misfortune to island (7)
BACILLI – string together the letter used to identify something second-rate or of lesser importance, the abbreviation for air-conditioning, a synonym for misfortune and an abbreviation for island.

25a Treat disrespectfully and swear in debate (7)
DISCUSS – charade of a slang verb meaning to treat someone disrespectfully and a verb meaning to swear or turn the air blue.

27a Toy for baby — boy won’t stop chattering (7,2)
RATTLES ON – charade of a baby’s noisy toy and a boy relative.

28a Old time-server is political turncoat perhaps (2-3)
EX-CON – how one might describe a political turncoat such as the only current UKIP MP.

Down Clues

1d It’s a bore to smoke (4)
DRAG – double definition, the first an informal word for something boring or tedious.

2d See 14a

3d Everyone knows this writer’s captivated by awful coterie I won’t be part of (4,6)
OPEN SECRET – a writing implement plus the ‘S go inside an anagram (awful) of COTER(i)E without the I.

4d Service provided for big rock group? (6)
MASSIF – a religious service and a conjunction meaning provided.

5d Navy vessels almost all kept in readiness, not like the fastest jets (8)
SUBSONIC – types of navy vessel followed by a phrase (2,3) meaning kept in readiness without its last letter (almost).

6d Something troubling your eye, primarily (4)
STYE – the first letters (primarily) of words in the clue.

7d Give up repeated attempt to get ball airborne (4,4)
DROP KICK – a verb to give up or dump is followed by a verb to give up or escape from (a habit, say).

8d Druid-supporting poster put up in effort to influence public opinion (10)
PROPAGANDA – Druid-supporting (3-5) followed by the reversal of a poster or notice.

13d What riders require, and publicans are required to do (10)
HANDLEBARS – split the answer 6,4 to get what publicans have to do.

15d Male wearing item of clothing mostly seen on female causes scuffles (10)
SKIRMISHES – insert a male pronoun into a garment without its last letter and the title used for a (usually unmarried) female.

17d Wisdom of Storyville? (8)
SAGACITY – split Storyville into two words and provide a synonym for each word.

18d Stops working, coming into category of those with no job or training, extremely deserving (8)
NEEDIEST – a verb meaning stops working, like an engine that conks out, goes inside an acronym describing a young person who is neither working nor learning.

20d Animal home amid rubbish (6)
RODENT – a home for a wild creature goes inside an informal word for rubbish or nonsense.

22d Fire head of accounts just after start of meal (6)
LAUNCH – a meal has the top letter of accounts inserted just after its start.

24d Laugh out loud with a senorita? (4)
LOLA – an abbreviation used in textspeak to mean laugh out loud (not ‘lots of love’ as our current Prime Minister thought) followed by A.

ARVE Error: need id and provider

26d Drop agreement made verbally (4)
SINK – this sounds like the short form of a word meaning agreement or correspondence.

I really liked 19a, 5d and 7d but my favourite today was 16a. Which one(s) took your fancy?

46 comments on “Toughie 1434

  1. Funny how straightforward ‘toughies’ can make one grumpy but however straightforward he is, you have to love a Micawber puzzle. 1*/4* for me – My favourite was 16a too.

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  2. Agree with Gazza’s ratings.
    Remembered the “Not in Education and Employment” from this blog.
    Loved the “home for soldiers” in 19a and the construction of 25a and 13a.
    7d brought back memories of Sir Jonny Wilkinson while in Toulon. Some matches were won just from his kicking.
    Favourite is 25a, both for the surface and the clueing as previously mentioned.
    thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  3. Oh yes – more of the same, please! Maybe too benign for you hardened Toughie solvers but I absolutely loved it.
    1.5*/4.5* from me.
    The 14/2d combo and 16a get a nod but favourite goes to 13d.
    By the way, Gazza, I thought ‘sing’ might qualify as a cryptic def. for 26d?

    My thanks to Micawber for the enjoyment and to Gazza for doing the honours with the review.

    1. I’m not sure how ‘sing’ works with 26d, Jane. The homophone of sink is synch (‘in synch’ meaning in agreement).

      1. Yes, I’m quite happy with the homophone, Gazza – that is what I finished up putting in – but thought that a criminal ‘singing’ is breaking an agreement made with his mates and doing so verbally.
        Can I at least have a few points for imagination?!!!

  4. Sorry Gazza,
    I just read your thoughts on 25a.
    I broke down the clue as an instruction to “treat” dis, respectfully with swear to get the answer.

    1. I don’t think it’s as complicated as that, J-L. To ‘dis’ someone is a slang verb meaning to treat them with disrespect.

      1. Yes. I have just looked it up.
        It’s the toughie effect.
        As the letters appeared in the word itself I thought there must be a complicated way to parse them.
        And the setter could have used another word like “be rude and swear in debate”.

  5. Absolutely loved it. How many ‘chuckles’ can a setter pack into one crossword? 10A, 12A, 19A and 17D took my fancy, but 16A was the stand-out for me. Thanks for the fun, Micawber, and thanks to Gazza, too, for the blog.

  6. Woohoo! Today I finished a Toughie. That is very rare. (To be fair, I don’t often have time to attempt them, but that is because they generally take me ages.) No quibbles, no sly cheats, nothing to subdue my

    Micawber is the one setter whose Toughies I always attempt, as his puzzles rely on artful construction rather than obscure stuff or iffy wordplay to up the difficulty (in this case only a little) from the back-pagers. Plus they are always entertaining and funny. I loved every moment of this – and I don’t think I have ever spent so few moments on a Toughie. (Still enough moments to keep me out of trouble for a while.) There were plenty of smiles laughs, but the biggest was at 16a.

    Many thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  7. I disagree with the ratings, not all that benign.I solved it be, but only after an age .I thought 10a very prescient , given the news about Ashley Madison.
    Too many other likes to mention them all.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

      1. Aren’t the Matt cartoons just the best.
        I also love the ‘It just occurred to me’ column written by his dad in the weekend issues.

        1. Oh – never noticed that column in the weekend issues and, even if I had, probably wouldn’t have known it was written by his Dad.

  8. Having done yesterdays toughie, was tempted to try todays after encouraging comments on the back page blog, glad I did as it was not too difficult, no obscure words, and brought a few chuckles- 16a,which held me up together with13d going for a **/**** .Thanks to Micawber and Gazza-loved the Blighty pic.

  9. Excellent stuff from one of my favourite setters. A trifle benign but a pleasure to complete with super surfaces and clue constructs. I have far too many favourites to single out just one – so to avoid the wrath of Kath – I will hold my peace (Please note that ‘peace’ is correctly spelled)

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

    1. Hi SL – hope you’ve recovered from yesterday’s instant promotion to blogger (which you handled extremely competently despite the Pinot Grigio!).

      Re: piece and peace and holding onto same – I can recall thinking that a man may well hold onto his (cod)piece in a potentially volatile situation but that left me in rather a quandary regarding someone ‘saying his piece’.
      Probably that’s the only way I learnt to appreciate the difference – and I look forward to receiving another Gazza for imagination!

    2. I think that you did so well yesterday that I will allow you, and only you, to have more than one favourite today – as long as it’s only today and doesn’t become a habit!
      Not sure that I want to go any further along the lines of anyone ‘holding his piece/peace’ – you must by now know the general ‘smuttiness’ of the minds around here . . .
      Me – I’m squeaky clean, always!

  10. It’s always very disappointing when I actually finish a Toughie only to find that the cognoscenti found it fairly easy.

    However, I loved it!

    Thanks, Micawber.

  11. All done bar 26d fo which, thank you Gazza. There are a few to,parse but mostly quite easy. Thanks for the recommendation Jane.

  12. Probably my favourite crossword this year. Some wonderful clues, especially 16,19 and 28 across. Thank you Micawber.

  13. Loved this toughie, I know pros think he’s easy but for me it’s a real confidence boost to finish it!

  14. Not much to add really – everyone else has already said it. I loved it but didn’t think it was that easy.
    26d almost defeated me as did 19 and 25a and, for some reason, 20d.
    16a made me laugh and was definitely my favourite – I even had to text it to a crossword-solving friend and I only send him the very special clues.
    With thanks to Micawber and to gazza – I did need a couple of explanations – got into a terrible pickle with 15d.

    1. I agree about 16a, the brilliance of which is only really sinking in now. And as for 19a, I guessed it from the checkers but needed Gazza to explain it.

        1. Thanks. I went back and looked at 1413. I remember now… the discussion as to whether Rhett (whom I believe I called Brett) actually lived there, only to find out that the reference was to Mrs. Rhett. Looking forward to tomorrow, then.

          1. I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that there aren’t any Gone With the Wind references tomorrow!

  15. What chance has anybody over 40 got with a question like 21ac. The key in question will only be known to young computer whizz kids.

    1. Excuse me but, as you know, I’m well over forty! I’m now, thanks to this blog, used to hunting out that kind of thing. The one that always still gets me is the ‘esc’ thingy – always a bit too scared to touch it in case it means something like ‘ejector seat’ so that I disappear for ever . . .

        1. So what’s it for – I’d always assumed that it was short for ‘escape’ from something but, as I heard on the radio this morning, “Assumption is the mother and father of all cock-ups”.

          1. I haven’t got a clue, Kath. All I know is that nothing much seems to happen if you press it.

            1. ‘alt’ codes are extremely useful especially when you need something like grave (alt 130 ( é) or acute accents (alt 138 (è) say. I use alt 0128 (€) a lot for my European customer accounts.


              Here endeth the lesson.

  16. Lovely stuff. Chuckled from start to finish and roared with laughter at 16a.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  17. My first attempt, well, other than a five minute glance, and completed all but three. I gather this was not as difficult as usual, but I was pretty pleased with my effort, I usually confine myself to the back page pair.

  18. Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. Hooray, a Toughie completion at last. I don’t care if it was rated easy :-) Very entertaining, 13a was very clever, favourite was 17d. Just needed the hints to parse 19a&8,15,18d. Last in
    was 11a. Was 2*/4* for me.

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