Toughie 1450

Toughie No 1450 by Micawber

Hints and tips by Gazza

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

Micawber is on top form today with laughs and d’ohs aplenty.

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 Moor seen by place where Arabs often rest? (7)
PADDOCK – a verb to moor or tie up follows a slang term for a place or home.

5a Sources for video stream where BMW ace’s broadcast … (7)
WEBCAMS – an anagram (broadcast) of BMW ACE’S.

9a … online message from number one in road racing event (5)
TWEET – what a child may refer to as a number one goes inside an event held on the roads of the Isle of Man. I always avoid the number two item on a Chinese restaurant menu.

10a One fixing hearing over dodgy loot found next to substance (9)
OTOLOGIST – string together the cricketing abbreviation for over, an anagram (dodgy) of LOOT and a word meaning substance or heart of the matter.

11a Deal with e.g. yeast growth on mug (4-6)
FACE-FUNGUS – a verb to deal with or confront followed by what yeast is an example of.

12a Army team transport (4)
TAXI – the old abbreviation for our volunteer army is followed by a shorthand way of referring to a cricket or football team.

14a International club that’s for the vulgar rich? (12)
COMMONWEALTH – split 6,6 this could be what vulgar rich people have. The late Alan Clarke MP (a somewhat snobbish character with inherited riches) once sneeringly referred to a nouveau riche family as having “bought their own furniture”.

18a In atonement, treacherous rat gets exile (12)
EXPATRIATION – inside a word meaning atonement or penance insert an anagram (treacherous) of RAT.

21a Drinks centre forward puts away (4)
EATS – start with some non-alcoholic drinks and move the central letters forward (to the front).

22a Rock chick on fringes of groupie circle (10)
STONEHENGE – join together a rock or boulder, a female chick and the outer letters of groupie. It’ll be nice when they’ve got the roof on.

25a They hold two thirds of magic’s rubbish (9)
OCCUPANTS – the first four (of six) letters of an adjective meaning magic or supernatural are followed by a slang term for rubbish.

26a Cocky Republican infiltrating party (5)
BRASH – the abbreviation for Republican worms its way into an informal word for a party or social event.

27a Exercised pester power, and perhaps got something from Santa? (7)
HASSLED – split 3,4 this could mean ‘now possesses an appropriate gift from Santa’.

28a Item for securing hair on head (7)
LOCKNUT – a piece of hair followed by a slang term for head.

Down Clues

1d Upper-class type turning up first is deterred (3,3)
PUT OFF – an upper-class type is preceded by the reversal of the word UP.

2d Wet nurse with child overseen by doctor (6)
DRENCH – letters denoting a qualified nurse (no longer used in the UK, I believe) are followed by the abbreviation for a child and that’s all preceded by one of the abbreviations for a doctor.

3d A bit sick of having exhausted classes? (3,2,5)
OUT OF SORTS – cryptically this could mean that all the classes or varieties have been used up.

4d Nerd going up north identified (5)
KNOWN – reverse a nerd or studious person and follow that with N(orth).

5d Mystery rogue I hunt down (9)
WHODUNNIT – an anagram (rogue) of I HUNT DOWN.

6d Perhaps novel smell’s acceptable (4)
BOOK – the abbreviation for a personal smell and an informal adjective meaning acceptable or satisfactory.

7d Friendly Vince’s expression of existential crisis? (8)
AMICABLE – how time flies. I’d almost forgotten this chap who turned up in crosswords practically every week doing the period of the Coalition Government. Split the answer 2,1,5 and he seems to be questioning his very existence.

8d Don’t go getting model drunk (3,5)
SIT TIGHT – charade of a verb to model or pose and one of the many informal adjectives meaning drunk.

13d Prejudiced, conservative mountain-dweller from the south maintaining ban on Vietnamese food? (10)
XENOPHOBIC – C(onservative) is followed by a mountain-dwelling animal. Now reverse that and insert (maintaining) a phrase (2,3) forbidding the provision of a Vietnamese noodle soup. I was unaware of the soup but the BRB wasn’t.

15d Done Times cryptic? Got it licked, perhaps (9)
MOISTENED – an anagram (cryptic) of DONE TIMES.

16d If that man’s an insect, it’s a monster (8)
BEHEMOTH – split the answer 2,2,4 and you have a rather old-fashioned way of saying ‘whether that man’s a specific insect …’.

17d Californian rises with sun in shift (2,6)
UP STICKS – a North American word for rises or improvements (in the stock market, for example) has the abbreviation for sun inserted in it.

19d Reportedly, where injection goes will be making no difference (2,4)
IN VAIN – this sounds like where an injection may be introduced.

20d Ginger’s sexy — but untouchable? (3,3)
RED HOT – the colour of hair often called ginger is followed by an informal adjective meaning sexy or erotic.

23d Prominent feature’s where astronauts are principally landing (5)
NASAL – the agency in the USA where astronauts are likely to be found is followed by the principal letter of landing.

24d Stone circle north of China (4)
OPAL – the circular letter precedes what a Cockney may refer to as his or her china.

I’ve got too many asterisks against the clues I liked to list them all so here are just a few: 9a, 10a, 21a, 22a and 8d. Which ones would have pride of place in your list?

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28 Comments

  1. crypticsue
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I have a very long list of clues I liked lots and lots but it would take far too long to put them all in. 3*/5* for me too

    Thanks to Micawber and Gazza too.

  2. Expat Chris
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I was making steady progress until the SW corner, where I came to a grinding halt. I eventually revealed the first letter of 16D, which gave me the kick start I needed to finish. 25A was arrived at by the checking letters but I certainly couldn’t parse it. Those pesky British slang words strike again! 17D was the last one in and it was a case of bung it in and then parse, followed by big groan. Even I think that’s a horrible Americanism! So much to like, but my shortlist is 9A, 11A, 14A, and 22A. Thanks for the fun and workout Micawber, and many thanks to Gazza for the review.

    • Franco
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

      Expat Chris,

      I thought your favorite today would have been 18a … presumably a voluntary exile?

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

        A voluntary relocation rather than an exile, Franco. I am still allowed back in from time to time, even if I do spell funny! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_whistle3.gif

  3. happy days
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Humour at last. A twinkle in the clues. I often find whole-word anagrams boring, particularly these days when I suspect they’re made up electronically, but the Done Times cryptic? anagram (15d) is really good. And, I’m sure, Micawber-generated. Plenty of smiles in plenty of other clues, too. Thanks and come again soon

  4. halcyon
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Yep, quality stuff and plenty of chuckles. The top half seemed a lot easier than the bottom but 3*/5* overall is about right.Favourites were 21a, 25a, 7d and 13d [loved the ban on Viet food].

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the blog.

  5. the dodger
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    A fabulous puzzle from the master of fun,I only needed the explanation for 17 dn {thanks Gazza}, but what fun! Favourite has to be 13dn , many thanks.

  6. jean-luc cheval
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t find it that tough apart from the SW corner with 17d and 25a being my last ones in.
    I couldn’t parse 17d and was thinking of up states for the Californian. Silly really.
    Liked the Am I and the Be he.
    13d was very clever. Not easy to include such a word in a grid.
    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review.

  7. Shropshirelad
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    A really enjoyable puzzle from one of my favourite setters. It proved to be a steady solve with the SW corner the last to complete. I admit to having to consult my Chambers Crossword Dictionary to confirm my parsing of 13d (what a wonderful clue). Far, far too many clues to pick a favourite but I thought that 15d was a particularly excellent.

    Thanks to Micawber for the puzzle and Gazza for his review and confirmation of the 13d parsing.

  8. Una
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    I put stars at 14 clues, so yes, very enjoyable. I just guessed 13d, and 17d, so thanks Gazza for the explanations.
    Also thanks to Micawber, hope we see you again soon.

  9. gazza
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    It’s Giovanni tomorrow.

    • Una
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

      Oh dear, that’s me out , probably.

      • Kath
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

        And me – I struggle with his back page cryptics. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif

  10. Kath
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    I loved almost all of this and the only bits I didn’t love were the bits that I couldn’t do – my fault! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_sad.gif
    All went remarkably well until the bottom left corner and then I got completely stuck.
    I still don’t understand 17d even having read the hint numerous times and I’ll have to read the hint for 13d several more times before I ‘see’ that one although I did get the answer.
    Not sure that I get gazza’s italicised comment about 9a but I think, by now, I know better than to question it!
    I think, although I could be out of date yet again, that the nurse in 2d is OK – what isn’t OK any more is SEN.
    Too many brilliant clues to mention them all but the ones that made me laugh most were 11 and 22a and 6, 8 and 20d.
    With thanks to Micawber and to gazza and a big http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif to both of them.

    • gazza
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      The American (Californian) word for rises in 17d is UPTICKS – just insert S(un).
      My rather weak joke on 9a was that if No. 1 is wee I don’t want to order what No. 2 is from a Chinese Restaurant menu.

    • andy
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      Kath 17d Took me ages to parse, had to think what a chart of stocks and shares pricing fluctuations looks like, then think of what a tick looks like, Nope i’m not helping and never going to be a blogger ;) Did know the term but really struggled to sort it. Cynth Cuth Stan Lupo (STILL HERE )and newcomer Goose say thanks to Micawber and Gazza

    • Expat Chris
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

      Kath, try backing into it. Mentally reverse the instruction in the clue. A two-word term for shift, or relocate to another place, is up sticks. Now remove the first letter of the second word and you are left with a one-word American expression meaning rises, or increases. An example of usage would be ‘an uptick in the economy’.

      • andy
        Posted August 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        Much better Expat Chris than my feeble attempt, but an uptick I don’t think is a common word in the UK which I think is Kaths issue here

    • Kath
      Posted August 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Thanks all – just didn’t know the “upticks” bit – thought it might be “ups” – and rather guessed what gazza’s comment was about – should have known better . . . me, I mean!

      • Expat Chris
        Posted August 20, 2015 at 12:16 am | Permalink

        No reason at all why you should have known better. It’s a peculiarly (and as far as I am concerned ugly) American term. I loathe these kinds of made-up words.

  11. 2Kiwis
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Excellent stuff once again from Micawber. We did not know the Americanism in 17d but managed to work out what it had to be. Spent a long time wrestling with 18a thinking it was all an anagram. Lots of laughs and much enjoyed.
    Thanks Micawber and Gazza.

  12. pommers
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    The SUBSTANCE = GIST bit was in the Grauniad Philistine puzzle today. Is that simply a coincidence or evidence of a deeper conspiracy?

    Whatever, great stuff as always so thanks to Micawber and Gazza.

  13. Angel
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    I don’t often get around to having a stab at the Toughies but if I can expect clues like 25a and 9a I might decide to give them a miss in future. Altogether somewhat pedestrian. Thanks Micawber and perhaps I’ll give you another try. Thanks Gazza for several hints. ****/**. http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/icon_neutral.gif

  14. Wolfson Bear
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    I raced through the top half and was thinking this was not a toughie but then slowed down significantly in the lower half (especially the SW quarter like a number of others) Overall a decent challenge but a game of two halves

    Thanks to Gazza (particularly for explaining the Americanism which I had not heard of before) and to Micawber

  15. Jane
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Found this one quite hard but eminently enjoyable. 3.5*/4.5* for me.
    Needed Gazza’s hints to parse 13&17d and spent far too long getting the answer for 21a.
    My favourite has to be 16d, closely followed by 22a&19d.

    Many thanks to Micawber for a very clever puzzle and to Gazza for simply being clever! http://bigdave44.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-monalisa/icons/wpml_good.gif

  16. Hanni
    Posted August 19, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    ****/*****

    Two outstanding crosswords today.

    I got myself into a pit of mess with the SE corner. For 13d I had answer ending with an ‘a’. This meant 28a was impossible with the letters I had. Couldn’t parse 13d either.

    14a I initially pencilled in as ‘common market’ until I realised that didn’t fit the clue.

    Not sure that I could pick a favourite. Just too many brilliant clues.

    Many thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the hints…especially the SE corner. Great blog.

  17. Only fools
    Posted August 20, 2015 at 12:19 am | Permalink

    Hugely entertaining from start to finish (17d) Would not pick a favourite but 9a brought the biggest smile amongst many from a setter who rarely disappoints in that department ,nor does Gazza with his usual aplomb .Thanks to both.

  18. Heno
    Posted August 21, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to Micawber and to Gazza for the review and hints. A super puzzle, with lots of laughs. Took ages to get the last few clues. 18,25,27a, and 17d was last in, but I couldn’t parse it. Favourite was 7d. Was 3*/5* for me. Brilliant.