Toughie No 1553 by Micawber
Hints and tips by Gazza
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BD Rating – Difficulty ** – Enjoyment ****
It’s always a pleasure to blog one of Micawber’s puzzles and this one is no exception. It’s a bit easier than usual (though possibly not if you’re a stranger to cricket and rugby) with a fair number of gimmes but it’s superbly entertaining as always.
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1a Painting of model’s footwear (detail) (4,6)
LAST SUPPER – join together a shoemaker’s model, the ‘S and a part (detail) of a shoe or boot.
6a Favourite’s backed for pace (4)
STEP – reverse a favourite and the ‘S.
9a Fast food that’s cooked right (5)
DONER – a past participle meaning cooked followed by R(ight).
10a Drink over limit, getting regularly addled (9)
ORANGEADE – start with the abbreviation for over and add a limit or scope and regular letters from ‘addled’.
12a What ‘ard-working scientist puts in perhaps works (7)
LABOURS – split the answer 3,’4 to get what an ‘ard-working scientist may put in.
13a Old German viewpoint (5)
ANGLE – double definition. The old German is a member of the Germanic people who invaded England in the fifth century AD. Illegal immigrants coming over here, taking our jobs – it’s just as well that practice has died out!
15a What arises in marsh where royal one encounters Macbeth? (7)
METHANE – the pronoun which we commoners would use where a royal might say ‘one’ (as in ‘It gives one great pleasure to name this ship’) followed by the title awarded to Macbeth for his military victories.
17a Movement to keep platform in check (7)
DADAISM – insert a platform into a verb to check or block.
19a Cowboy managed singer (7)
RANCHER – charade of a verb meaning managed and the name of a US singer, actress and plastic surgery aficionado.
21a Grounded without right to go out, producing resentment (7)
DUDGEON – an anagram (to go out) of G[r]OUNDED without the right.
22a Fashion house received English cricketer informally (5)
GUCCI – ‘received’ indicates a homophone and the answer sounds like the nickname of a prolific English batsman of the 1970s to 1990s. Bear in mind that sportsmen are not terribly imaginative when it comes to dreaming up nicknames and they very often just append –y or –ie to the relevant surname.
24a ‘What’s for tea?’ Politician cracks open bottle (7)
CRUMPET – our usual elected politician goes inside (cracks open) a small bottle used for condiments.
27a Amazed at rugby players winning three points (9)
AWESTRUCK – join together AT and a loose gathering of rugby union players where each side is trying to secure the ball on the ground. Now insert (winning) three cardinal points.
28a Macaroni cheese holding interest for minority (5)
NICHE – hidden in the clue.
29a Formerly Queen Street (4)
ERST – our Queen’s cipher followed by the abbreviation for street.
30a One ringing round sets out to create a hit (4-6)
BEST-SELLER – a person who’s ringing surrounds an anagram (out) of SETS.
1d Beach hero bringing 50 to the surface (4)
LIDO – start with a hero or star and move the Roman numeral for fifty up to the top.
2d Make confession to admit one’s acting alone (9)
SINGLETON – an informal verb to make a confession is followed by a phrasal verb to admit or divulge.
3d Abandon abrasive cleaner (5)
SCRUB – double definition, the second a semi-abrasive cleansing lotion.
4d Get sportsman treatment (7)
PROCURE – charade of an informal word for a full-time sportsman and a treatment or remedy.
5d Passed type of Jag with pedals spinning (7)
ELAPSED – the prefix for a classic type of Jaguar car is followed by an anagram (spinning) of PEDALS.
7d Taste grappling with sound (5)
TWANG – a taste or strong flavour contains (grappling) the abbreviation for with.
8d Promotion describing grapes post-treading? (10)
PREFERMENT – cryptically, as 3-7, this could be the stage that the wine making process is at after the grapes have been trodden.
11d Supreme in the year of our lord, our Father’s creator? (7)
GRANDAD – an adjective meaning supreme or pre-eminent is followed by the abbreviation for in the year of our Lord.
14d Deviously prime agent to infiltrate (10)
IMPREGNATE – an anagram (deviously) of PRIME AGENT.
16d I don’t believe where armed robber was seen! (7)
ATHEIST – split the answer 2,5 and it could be where an armed robber was seen.
18d I find in the end dubious nite clubs mainly all the same (9)
IDENTICAL – string together I, the end letter of find, an anagram (dubious) of NITE, the abbreviation for clubs and most of the word ‘all’.
20d One cut off from the world tweaks crossword, perhaps reversing ending (7)
RECLUSE – a verb meaning tweaks crossword (as a setter may do if the editor makes criticisms) with the final two letters reversed.
21d Maybe snare young fox and beat keeper (4,3)
DRUM KIT – what snare can be a type of followed by one of the words for a young fox.
23d Works on ship sailing circuit, it’s said (5)
CREWS – this sounds like a voyage (often a round trip) for pleasure.
25d Set down unfinished pasta (5)
PENNE – a verb meaning set down (on paper) without its last letter.
26d It’s more suitable when not teetotal at heart (4)
BEER – a comparative meaning more suitable or superior loses the two letter abbreviation for teetotal at its centre.
Lots to enjoy but I’ll mention 12a, 15a, 21a, 22a and 8d as being shortlisted for the Oscars. Which one(s) would you vote for?