Toughie No 1512 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Dutch
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BD Rating – Difficulty **** – Enjoyment ***
I struggled with this and by the time I had filled the grid there were many clues left unparsed. Mind you, I did try it after an evening in the pub. In the morning I was able to parse the remaining clues, though when I re-solved the puzzle on paper (useful for making notes), I struggled again and had to consult my online solve for reminders! Writing the review, it’s hard to see what caused all the fuss, but it’s always easier in hindsight. I filled the grid in about one and a half normal Toughie time so that would be 4* for difficulty. This felt like work without too many laughs, but some very interesting clueing going on so 3* for enjoyment.
After last week’s Friday Toughie, a friend bought me some Kendall mint cake for my enlightenment. I’m saving it for when I climb an alp.
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1a Number 1 in F key? (5,3)
SHORT CUT: A double definition. Number 1 as may be requested at the barber’s, and what a function key on your computer gives you.
5a Stand by and accompany? (6)
AFFIRM: a verb meaning to confirm or stand by can also be a stuttered translation of a-c-company
9a More than one bill to prohibit ties with leader of extremists introduced (9)
BANKNOTES: a 3-letter verb meaning prohibit, plus a word that can refer to the ties in your shoelaces, for example, into which the first letter (leader) of extremists is inserted
11a Tailors essentially copy line for part of jacket (5)
LAPEL: The central letter of taiLors (essentially), a 3-letter verb meaning copy or mimic, and the abbreviation for Line
12a Fanciful alternative to tricky agreement (6)
TREATY: Think Halloween, and what the kids say when they come to your door. “fanciful” refers to the adding of the Y.
13a Dying to have a dig into bank (8)
MORIBUND: Insert a 3-letter verb for have a dig at or tease into a word meaning bank or heap of earth
15a Set test for doctors (5,8)
GROUP PRACTICE: A 5-letter word for a set, and an 8-letter word for test or drill
18a Burp mainly held in check by lawman with swelling ribcage? (6-7)
Burp mainly held in check by little man with swelling ribcage? (6-7) – revised clue – see Micawbers comment below
BARREL-CHESTED: A 5-letter word for burp is contained (well, “mainly” contained) in a word meaning “held in check by lawman”. I was worried “held in” might be doing double-duty, what do you think?
22a Political correctness drowning confused date in nit-picking (8)
PEDANTIC: The abbreviation for Political Correctness contains (drowning) an anagram (confused) of DATE IN
23a Cool friend confusing head and heart joins group behaving similarly (6)
APLOMB: take a 3-letter word for friend and move the middle letter to the front (confusing head and heart). Then take a 3-letter word for group or gang and do the same.
26a One’s got hump having turned up late and not had dinner (5)
CAMEL: Take a simple 4-letter verb meaning turned up or arrived, add Late from the clue, then subtract a simple 3-letter verb that means had dinner (or any other meal)
27a After reversal, Labour’s third in the west with Conservative gaining swing overnight (9)
NOCTURNAL: Labours third in the west equates to the first two letters of Labour, add the 3-letter abbreviation for Conservative, reverse that lot then insert a 4-letter word for swing or rotate
28a Dundee’s new strip (6)
DENUDE: Anagram (new) of DUNDEE
29a Spread ash round in country (8)
Anagram (round) of SPREAD ASH Anagram (spread) of ROUND ASH
1d Clog mangle regularly to gum up the works? (8)
SABOTAGE: A 5-letter word for clog (as in footwear) plus the even letters of mangle
2d It’s lightweight getting run out from aggressive delivery, not bowled (5)
OUNCE: Take a 7-letter cricket term for a short-pitched fast delivery bowled so as to bounce and rise sharply off the ground, and remove the abbreviations for Run and Bowled to get a light unit of weight.
3d Go down to back of shop for knitwear (4,3)
TANK TOP: take a 4-letter slang word meaning to go down or lose (not one I was familiar with), and add to from the clue and the last letter (back) of shoP
4d Doing no more than (2,2)
UP TO: double definition, the first as in what are you doing?
6d Director having left subject of swimming pool confession to the end? (7)
FELLINI: Think of a confession (1,4,2) you might make about a minor swimming pool accident, then move the first word (which is the subject) to the end
7d Lacking caution, the compiler’s burned up rent, retaining a penny (9)
IMPRUDENT: Think of how you would say “the compiler is” from the setter’s perspective (1’1), add an anagram (burned) of UP RENT into which the old abbreviation for penny (not p) is inserted (retaining)
8d Complaint of girlfriend dominated by mother (6)
MALADY: A word for girlfriend (as in she’s my ****) underneath (dominated by in a down clue) a 2-letter version of mother
10d Release valve to allow farmer to enjoy lie-in? (8)
STOPCOCK: To allow a farmer to enjoy a lie in there is a certain farm animal that needs to be prevented from carrying out its early morning routine (4,4)
14d Trembling in fear, I start to stalk bull (8)
FRIESIAN: Or cow. Anagram (trembling) of IN FEAR I S(talk)
16d Investigator, loading new ammunition up, shoots (9)
OMBUDSMAN: To get this official appointed to investigate complaints, reverse the abbreviation for N(ew) plus a 4-letter familiar contraction of ammunition, then insert (loading) a word for shoots (the plant kind)
17d Characters taking chances around globe (8)
ODDBALLS: You can get these eccentric characters by placing a 4-letter word for chances around a 4-letter word for globe or sphere
19d Embittered sergeant perhaps took charge (7)
RANKLED: The “perhaps” indicates a definition by example, so a sergeant is an example of a position in the military or a ****, then add a 3-letter word meaning took charge or showed the way
20d Interpret in old money (7)
EXPOUND: A 2-letter prefix meaning old and a unit of money used in our currency
21d Seasoned Sun journalist acquiring photo (6)
SPICED: The abbreviation for Sun and the abbreviation for a leading journalist surround (acquiring) an informal contraction of a word for photo or image
24d One possessing depressant drug lost head (5)
OWNER: Remove the first letter (head) of a depressant drug
25d Dave chose to show repeat (4)
ECHO: And we end with a lurker (to show) hiding in Dave chose
I think my favourite is the swimming pool story (6d), perhaps also because I used to watch every movie I could by this guy. What did you like?
Sorry for the delay but, because of performance problems, it has taken me over 3.5 hours to set up this post. BD