Toughie No 1498 by Micawber
Micawber Pulls It Off
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BD Rating – Difficulty *** – Enjoyment *****
We have another great puzzle from Micawber, a joy from start to finish. I may have mentioned once or twice that he is my favourite Toughie setter.
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1a Rude blow — Britain lost domestic fixture (5-2,8)
BUILT-IN WARDROBE – an anagram (lost) of RUDE BLOW BRITAIN.
9a Made fresh start to train with journalist after career changes (9)
RECREATED – the starting letter of train and our usual journalist follow an anagram (changes) of CAREER.
10a Jag regularly parked in Home Counties (5)
SPREE – insert regular letters from parked into the abbreviation for the area of the UK that we know as the Home Counties.
11a Celtic keeper’s back between uprights — Hibs wingers repelled (5)
IRISH – insert the rearmost letter of keeper between two upright letters and follow that with the outer letters (wingers) of Hibs reversed.
12a A Conservative runs into difficulty, getting rasher, in part (5,4)
BACON RIND – put A, an abbreviation for Conservative and R(uns) into a difficulty or predicament.
13a With which primarily door had to be rebuilt? (8)
HARDWOOD – a semi-all-in-one. We need an anagram (to be rebuilt) of W[hich] DOOR HAD.
14a Audio’s stored in memory and converted into money (6)
CASHED – this sounds like (audio’s) stored in computer memory for fast access.
16a France farewell — I must go to Portugal, it’s getting gradually clearer (4-2)
FADE-UP – string together the IVR code for France, a word for farewell without the I (I must go) and the IVR code for Portugal. Since the answer is a noun ‘getting’ must be a gerund.
18a Yen’s exchange rate mechanism over time not designed for quick profit (4-4)
LONG-TERM – a verb to yen or ache and the abbreviation for the exchange rate mechanism contain T(ime).
22a Outstanding desert (9)
UNSETTLED – double definition. Desert, here, is an adjective.
23a Monitoring share of money in gold (5)
EYING – hidden (share of) in the clue. The spelling of the answer doesn’t look right but it is in Chambers.
24a Advertisement for Farah? (5)
PROMO – charade of a preposition meaning in favour of and the forename of the athlete Mr Farah.
25a Taking on ape? Retrograde appointment society’s held to be nonsense (9)
GIBBERISH – start with a small ape native to the forests of S-E Asia and take away the ON. Now reverse the appointment or engagement of a worker and insert the abbreviation for society.
26a Nurse getting into something like mud therapy for cold shoulder? (6,9)
SILENT TREATMENT – insert one of the abbreviations for a qualified nurse into the muddy stuff that’s deposited in an estuary for example. Add a word meaning therapy or medical care.
1d Cause to gleam like running water? (7)
BURNISH – this is how someone, especially a Scot, might cryptically describe the water running in a small stream.
2d In jug with no opening for parole, one’s increasingly irritated (7)
ITCHIER – inside a large jug without the opening letter of parole insert the Roman numeral for one.
3d Keep playing when tooth and gums so throbbing (3,4,4,2,2)
THE SHOW MUST GO ON – an anagram (throbbing) of WHEN TOOTH and GUMS SO provides an exhortation to keep playing.
4d What journalist would carry dead tree edition? (8)
NOTEBOOK – split the answer 3,1-4 and you’ll be describing it as being the opposite of modern technology.
5d Take sailor’s pipe (6)
ABDUCT – one of the abbreviations for a sailor followed by a pipe or tube.
6d Transported fish in dark, with net requiring this? (15)
DISENTANGLEMENT – the answer, as well as being what may be required for a net, is also here used as the anagram indicator for the fodder NET. Before that we need to insert a verb meaning transported or dispatched and a verb meaning to fish inside an adjective meaning dark or sombre. Clever but tricky to write a hint for!
7d Swimmer stupid to plunge right in (3,4)
OAR FISH – an adjective meaning stupid or doltish with the abbreviation for right plunged into it. I didn’t know this swimmer which is long (possibly very long) and slender with a red ribbon running the length of its body.
8d Letter wound up improved (7)
EMENDED – one of our 26 letters followed by a verb meaning wound up or finished up. This was my last answer as I was trying to find the reversal of a wound.
16d To copy dad’s embrace of United is a mistake (4,3)
FAUX PAS – string together a verb to transmit an exact copy of a document, an affectionate word for dad and the ‘S, then insert the abbreviation for united.
17d I sloped off conveying plunder (7)
DESPOIL – an anagram (off) of I SLOPED.
19d Organisation‘s independence entered into demotion of head of Federal Reserve (7)
EDIFICE – start with the abbreviation for federal and drop its first letter to the bottom (demotion of head) and insert I(ndependence) into it. Finally add a synonym for the falsely-capitalised reserve.
20d Still warning to handle drink with care? (7)
MUGSHOT – split the answer 3’1,3.
21d Fix parking lamp (6)
PLIGHT – the abbreviation for parking and a lamp or illumination.
Lots of clues jostled for the lead but I’ll restrict myself to 12a, 1d, 4d and 20d. Which one(s) made your shortlist?